Landowner outFoxed by local residents

Leeds Times
Saturday 26 April 1884

FOX LANE AND GEORGE LANE FOX

Our precious footpaths through the fields are in danger in many parts of the country, and it will require strong and vigorous efforts to retain them from the grasp of rapacious landowners. The villagers of Wrenthorpe, near Wakefield, are of this opinion, as their vigorous proceedings have plainly demonstrated. An unsuccessful attempt has been made to close a footpath at Wrenthorpe. It is called Fox Lane, and crosses a field from Bradford Road to Wrenthorpe, being 632 yards in length, and passes through land owned by Mr George Lane Fox, of Bramham Park. On Saturday an adjourned meeting of the ratepayers was held to consider the subject, the proceedings being extraordinary. Before the business began, Mr Bryan Ramsden, who is not a ratepayer, and who persisted in being present, was forcibly ejected. He was seized by a number of sturdy villagers, who literally threw him into the lobby, where for a time he paced up and down, but ultimately disappeared. On behalf of a motion for closing the path it was urged that the ratepayers might soon have to ask Mr Fox to aid them in widening Potovens Lane [now Wrenthorpe Road], and that he would be more ready to do so if the footway was abandoned. Mr B Lees spoke strongly against the proposal, and on a vote being taken the numbers were 57 for closing and 68 for keeping it open. Mr G Lane Fox is one of the best of our Tory magnates, and if the case is put fairly and fully before him, free from what interested persons may say, he is not the man to refuse justice to any individual or any body of men.

The Lane Fox family had previously lived at Red Hall and were big local (absentee) land owners. Much of the Red Hall estate came up for auction in 1896.

Note how the Times can’t resist having a parting political swipe at local residents.