John Greenwood, MP
Volume 1, page 189, sitting number 965.
Born on 4 February 1821 at Ryshworth Hall near Bradford, John Greenwood was the only son of Frederick Greenwood and his wife Sarah née Staniforth. His mother was the daughter of Samuel Staniforth and the granddaughter of Thomas Staniforth, who were both elected Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
Educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, John Greenwood earned a BA in 1851 and an MA in 1860. He subsequently lived for a short time in London, studying for the bar at Lincoln’s Inn.
On 19 February 1852 he married Louisa Elizabeth Barnardiston, the eldest daughter of Nathaniel Clarke Barnardiston of Sudbury. The marriage produced four sons and a daughter.
The family appear on the 1861 census living at Swarcliffe Hall at Birstwith near Harrogate in Yorkshire The house had been built in 1848 on the site of an earlier large hall, Greenwood having engaged his brother-in-law Major Rohde Hawkins as his architect.
Between 1853 and 1865 Greenwood served as a Member of Parliament in the Liberal interest for the town of Ripon, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Yorkshire and he served as a Major in the Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry.
John Greenwood died at the Grosvenor Hotel in Pimlico, London, on 21 February 1874. He left an estate valued at £60,000.
An obituary the following month in a local newspaper extolled his virtues at some length. ‘Few have shown more strikingly than he what can be done by a country gentleman for the common good. Living in the remote and picturesque valley of the Nidd, surrounded by his own tenantry and friends, his whole life witnessed a concern for their interests, temporal and spiritual, that has seldom been surpassed. No matter what the pleasures he had to forego, duty, or the public weal, was invariably his first consideration.’ Further on this encomium mentions ‘a life devoted unfailingly to the cause of the church, education of the young, prosperity of tenants’ and his 'consideration for the poor.’ The final paragraph calls him ‘a sincere Christian, a staunch Churchman, a true patriot [and] a devoted friend’ (Knaresborough Post, 14 March 1874).