Leeds nostalgia: Cannon Hall was farmstead tilled by oxen

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The first recorded evidence of the village of Cawthorne comes from the Doomsday Book of 1086 where it states “Manor. Calthorne. Alric (a Norman Lord) had three caracutes [a medieval unit of land area approximating the land a plough team of eight oxen could till, somewhere between 60-120 acres] of land to be taxed and there may be two ploughs there …there is a priest and church.”

It went on: “Wood pasture two miles long and two broad. The whole manor three miles long and two broad. Value in King Edwards time forty shillings; now twenty shillings.”

The first mention of Cannon Hall and the farm comes in a conveyance dated 1650 when William Hewet sold the Manor and Farm along with other farms, land and cottages to Robert Hartley for £2900.

The only daughter of Robert Hartley sold Cannon Hall to John Spencer and the Spencer family owned Cannon Hall until 1775 when the oldest son died unmarried.

His sister Ann had married Walter Stanhope and had a son Walter who became heir to the estate. He prefixed the name Spencer to his own out of regard for the memory of his uncle. Walter Stanhope was a close friend and ally of anti slavery campaigner William Wilberforce and sat with him in Parliament representing Carlisle and Hull and Hazelmere.

In it’s heyday the farm would have been at the forefront of agricultural technology. The estate remained in the Spencer Stanhope family until 1957 when parts of it were broken up and sold.