The Greenwood Family

The name Greenwood originates from a Wyomarus de Greenwode who built a manor house called Greenwood Lee at Heptonstall, West Yorkshire, which is still standing today. Wyomarus was caterer to Maude, Empress and mother of King Henry 2nd.

At the time the whole area was heavily forested and this is where the surname cam from.

Family Tree


Early Greenwood Family Trees

In 1650 Greenwood Lee was twice sold. For a time it was in possession of the Sutcliffe family and in 1762 it was purchased at auction by Abraham Gibson. There was a rumour that Abraham was so drunk at the auction that he didn't know what he was doing.

In 1764 there was a dispute over land at Stoneshey: “Whereas some disputes and differences have arisen and an action is now pending in the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster between said John Sugden and the said Abraham Gibson and John Greenwood touching the title to a close in Heptonstall called Stones Hey otherwise, Stoney Hey claiming the same respectively as purchasers thereof from John Hartlev late of Furnival's Inn, London, gentleman, as the nephew and heir at law of John Sutcliffe, late of Heptonstall, gentleman, deceased".
Abraham ran a cotton spinning mill at Greenwood Lee and built on an extension to house the wheel before moving down the valley to work at Gibson Mill. Gibson Mill was eventually given to the National Trust in the early 1950’s along with Gibson Mill. The Trust sold Greenwood Lee off and it is now in private ownership.

Hippings or Hippins (Date stone 1650) has been the ancestral home of one branch of the Greenwoods from the earliest times, as was the Great House in Colden.

Henry (Harry) Greenwood bought Upper House, Lee from Joseph Sutcliffe, together with wood and two fulling mills. His son Harry of Fieldhead “Inherited all Upper House at Lee, together with all woods and two fulling mills on the river Hebden through one John Greenwood of Hippins (a kersey or half thick maker, and perhaps through Harry Greenwood of Fieldhead”. Pedigree of Gamaliel Sutcliffe".
He also came by all William Mitchells estate through his marriage to Mary Mitchell.
Referring to the number of Greenwoods now living in Heptonstall vicinity a public writer has said: "In the Calderdale district, from Halifax to Todmorden, the number of Greenwoods is positively amazing. One cannot take up a newspaper, or attend some public or social function, or visit the homes of the people, but the name of Greenwood stands out in numbers almost like the stars in the firmament; and when one remembers that all these came from that original stock found at Greenwood, in Heptonstall, some centuries ago the thought cannot fail to be brimful of significance."

* It appears from a manuscript in the British Museum, No 797 of the Harleian mss., being a collection relating to Moreley Hundred, that John Warren, Earl of Surrey, claimed free warren in Heptonstall by charter dated 37th of King Henry III, A.D. 1253. The right of the manor passed into other hands for by an inquisition taken at Pontefract 25th Aug., 5th and 6th Philip and Mary, or A.D., 1558, that Sir Henry Savile, Knight, died seized in fee tail of the manor of Heptonstall and from him it passed by degrees to Sir George Savile, of Rufford. In the 5th King Charles, 1629, court was held at Heptonstall by Charles Greenwood, Clerk, Rector of Thornhill, Lord of the Manor of Heptonstall. Later the Right Honorable, the Earl of Scarborough, became Lord of the Manor of Heptonstall.

One of the descendants of Charles Greenwood was cornet to Captain Gascoigne and another, Ferdinand Greenwood, was lieutenant of horse in the service of King Charles the First, and was slain at Newark.

** The school building provided for by the will of Rev. Charles Greenwood is yet in use and stands close by the old churchyard in Heptonstall. The school house was given as a free gift to the people of Heptonstall and land and property at Colden, in Heptonstall, was endowed for the perpetual care of the building and continual salary of the master of the school. The executors of the will consisted of John Greenwood, son of Robert Greenwood, John Greenwood of Elfaburgh Hall, William Mitchell, Thomas Greenwood of Learing and Richard Robertshaw and their heirs.

Greenwood Lee
The extension on the left of the house was built to house the water wheel
Photo: Phil Campion



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