Neither No. 41 nor its neighbours were burgage properties so the Burgage Survey of 1675 does not supply us with information about its seventeenth century owners. The earliest owner whom we know for certain was Stephen Palliser, tanner, who died in 1740. Both Stephen and his father of the same name and occupation were members of Ripon Corporation and held office as Mayor, the elder in 1690-1 and 1704-5, and the younger in 1725-6 and 1735-6. Records at the Borthwick Institute in York show that the elder Stephen bequeathed all his real estate to his son by a will dated 1722, so it is possible -but not certain- that the father as well as the son owned No. 41. The 1740 will provided that Elizabeth, Stephen Palliser’s widow, should hold his Market Place house for life, after which it should be shared by his four daughters: Elizabeth, wife of Edmund Braithwaite, and Jane, Anne and Mary. The Average Award of 1747 confirms the ownership of the property by the heirs of Stephen Palliser.
For the next hundred years the evidence of ownership is limited. An abstract of title written in 1850, when the property was to be sold, lists owners after Elizabeth Palliser as Thomas Trees, Mrs Alice Haddon, Matthew Thomas Trigg and Jane his wife, and Edward Taylor of Kirkham Abbey, Esquire, the would-be vendor at that time. No dates are given and no information as to how the property came to be passed between these people. Records show that there were a number of Thomas Trees living in Ripley in the eighteenth century but nothing has been found to link these with the Palliser heiresses or Mrs Haddon either by inheritance or purchase. Mrs Haddon, whose ownership is confirmed by Humphrey’s Survey of 1800, had been born Alice Askwith and a will registered at Wakefield in 1819 shows her bequeathing a dwelling house in Ripon (site unspecified) to her niece Jane Trigg (nee Askwith). The Askwith family had played a prominent part in public life in Ripon in the eighteenth century: it was one of them, Alice Haddon’s brother, who provided Ripon with its waterworks; they were brewers, so their marriage link with the Haddons, who owned the Unicorn Inn at this time, has a special significance. In 1812 in fact John Haddon Askwith inherited the inn but after a short period sold it to the Studley Estate.
Matthew Thomas Trigg who had married Jane Askwith in 1805 is described on his marriage bond as a merchant of Sculcoates, near Hull, and in Baines’ Direcrory of 1822 M.T. Trigg is listed as a mustard manufacturer at Cockpit Yard, Castle Street, Hull, with his home there at 27, Albion Street. It seems therefore that the Triggs were likely to have had little interest in this Ripon property except as a source of income. Jane Trigg was still alive and living in Hull in 1851 after Edward Taylor sold it, so it would seem certain that the Triggs sold the property, though no record of such a sale has been found and Edward Taylor of Kirkham Abbey seems an unlikely buyer.
Early nineteenth century directories and the 1841 census return suggest that the property was let to private tenants before its 1850 sale, among them Elizabeth Harrison, Mrs H.A.M. Clough and, in 1841, two sisters – Misses Sarah and Harriet Clough – aged 90 and 85 respectively. Both these ladies are stated to have possessed independent means and at that time they had four domestic servants. Architectural evidence suggests that it was during this period that the exterior of the present building was constructed, except for the shop front which was added later.
In 1850 the property was bought from Edward Taylor by James Fairburn of Ripon, stationer and bookseller, who occupied it for the next thirty years. eventually selling it to his neighbour at No. 40, the Knaresborough and Claro Bank, in 1880. In the 1881 census the property was not recorded, even as uninhabited, but in 1891 it was bracketed with the bank at No. 40, the occupants of the combined properties being the bank manager, his family, visitors and servants. Whether No. 41 was used as domestic premises or as an extension for banking business is not known but about 1904 the Company leased the premises to Mr T. K. Smithson who carried on a glass and china business there until 1920.
Mr. Smithson’s daughter has described her home then as “roomy” but also remembers a family friend’s description of its numerous stairs as a death trap. In the basement were the kitchen and store cellars, with a W.C. in a railed-off area outside. On the ground floor there was the shop at the front and a showroom at the rear. A staircase between these led up to the first floor which contained the drawing room at the front and the nursery or study at the rear. Above these were two double bedrooms, a dressing room and a bathroom, and above these again were attics with the large semicircular windows which are still a feature of the property. The garden at the back was reached by steps leading down from a corridor which ran from the front to the back of the building. This garden went down to Water Skellgate and at the bottom was a midden and a china store. The steps into Water Skellgate were rarely used except by men coming to empty the midden.
When the Smithsons left, the National Provincial Bank (which had taken over the Knaresborough and Claro Bank) sold the property to Lloyd’s Bank. This carried on business there until 1936 when they sold the premises to Sydney George Moss, a grocer and provision merchant elsewhere in the City, who had been Mayor in 1929. In 1937 Ripon’s first Milk Bar opened there. Later owners were Mrs N.M. Struthers (1951-5) and Mr E. Kendrew (1955-85). Then it was acquired by the Trustees of Cocked Hat Farm Foods Ltd. (Pension Fund). It is now occupied by the “The Dragon Inn” Chinese Restaurant.
© Jean Denton
© and Reproduced from The Ripon Historian, the Journal of the Ripon Historical Society and Ripon, Harrogate & District Family History Group.