Smithsons Court is down the side and behind what used to be Smithson’s butchers at 76 North Street. It is now a pleasant courtyard of private housing. Smithson’s butchers, which was still trading by that name until the late 1990’s, was established by Thomas Smithson who was mayor of Ripon from 1890 to 1892. The butchers shop now trades as Marley’s.
There was another Smithson’s butchers on Kirkgate which was not related to this business. The Kirkgate business was owned by Ralph Pickersgill Smithson who died at a young age of smallpox. The business was passed on to Thomas Appleton by his widow. Ralph’s son styled himself as Thomas Kirk Smithson so as not to be confused with the other Thomas Smithson above. Interestly, Thomas the mayor’s son Robert Jemison Smithson was a witness at Thomas Kirk Smithson’s wedding to Jane Elizabeth Weatherall in Durham.
A strange looking “bank note” is amongst the papers and photographs in my possession.It seems the note was a “ticket” for entry to the House in the Rock in Knaresborough. This amazing property still exists and can be clearly seen from the riverside walk.
Follow the link to Knaresborough OnLine and read Nancy Buckle’s story of her ancestors who lived in the House in the Rock
I shall be obliged if some of your readers can tell me the meaning of a note I have in my possession, of which I append a copy: “No.___ Fort Montague Bank. I promise to pay Mr John Flag or bearer, on demand, five halfpence value received. Entd C. Cannon, 18__. For the Governor of Fort Montague & Co. E Hill. Five___.” The note is engraved in part imitation of a bank note, and on paper similar thereto, but without any watermark. At the left hand of the note is an engraving within a border of a castle with a flag flying.
I may say that the note was in the possession of my father for very many years, and I shall be glad to know the history of it, if any, and whether it possesses any value, and if so, what, as a curiosity.
FORT MONTAGUE BANK
In reply to “W.R.P.,” Leeds, in your issue of the 20th, the notes were issued by a man who excavated himself a dwelling at the top of the Cliff near Knaresborough and near St. Roberts cave, of Eugene Aram notoriety. The dwelling consisted of one room hewn out of the limestone rock, and which you entered from the top, not exactly down the chimney, but down an aperture something like one. The front room faced the valley of the Nidd, and considerably above it.
I believe the top had some trumpery battlements, very much exaggerated on the note. It is more than fifty years since I visited the place, but I have found one of the notes, No 70,993, August 21st, 1810. They were issued as a fee for the privilege of inspecting the tenement, and are of no value whatever, either antiquarian or otherwise, except you put it as one of the last inhabited cave dwellings.
SAMUEL W. KIRKE, Waltham, Lincolnshire
23 December, 1890