The Women and Men who made Woodsome

Woodsome Hall. Photo by Tony Hisgett.

Woodsome Hall Golf Club, Almondbury, Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Following his fascinating tour of Woodsome Hall in October 2022 Philip Sands presented a more detailed look at the key personalities who created and developed Woodsome Hall, its estate and its influence beyond.

Marjory and Baldwin Tyas, whose allegiance with the growing hegemony of the Norman conquerors – particularly the de Lacy family who from their castle at Pontefract controlled large swathes of West Yorkshire – allowed them to settle on the land at a strategic location on trading routes into and across the Pennines.

The Tyas’ were followed by the Kay family, originally from Lancashire, who over several generations built the house with some sections dating back to the middle ages. Particularly prominent were Laurence and John Kay 1370-1470 and John and Dorothy Kay 1539-1595 who not only expanded their influence through marriage but by astute innovation in the manufacture of woollen textiles, such as the provision of fulling mills, making Almondbury one of the key centres of production in Yorkshire.

Cautious alignment within the turmoil of the English Civil war, allowed Sir John Kaye, 1st baronet followed by his son, Sir John Kaye 2nd Baronet, to not only strengthen the family ties but, in the case of the 2nd Baronet, become an MP for Yorkshire. Philip’s talk ended with Elizabeth Kaye, 1707-1745, who personified the strong role of women in the history of the Kaye family and whose marriages, first to Viscount Lewisham and then to Francis North, 1st Earl of Guilford, resulted in her son becoming 2nd Earl of Dartmouth and her stepson Frederick (Lord) North becoming the Prime Minister.

Philip intends to write a book based on the history of the hall and its families which we await with interest.