Alderman Manoah Rhodes JP (1810-1881)
18th Mayor of Bradford 1873-74
This is a life-like portrait of this “village worthy”, whose life contains no adventures or events of an exciting nature, but serves to show how high and worthy a position may be attained by steady perseverance, plodding industry, and honourable dealings.
Manoah Rhodes was born at Morley, Wakefield on the 7th of March, 1810 and baptised on 21 March in Morley Wesleyan Methodist Church. His father, Joseph Rhodes, was a farmer and manufacturer of items (healds & slays) used in the woollen trade. At an early age Manoah attended the Endowed Grammar School at Batley, 3 miles from Morley.
On 9 November 1822, he entered into an apprenticeship with Mr. John Allott, silversmith, at Ivegate, Bradford; he remained there for fourteen years. In 1836, he started up his own business which, after a prosperous career of forty years, became the head of the well-known firm of Manoah Rhodes and Sons, one of the largest gold and silversmiths’ businesses in the North of England.
Manoah never took any very prominent part in political matters. In early life he belonged to the old Whig party, but later his leanings were towards the Conservatives. In religion he identified himself with the Wesleyan Methodists, and contributed liberally to its various organisations, and at the same time, according to his ability, materially assisted any good movement in the Church, or amongst other denominations, as well as the various charities in Bradford.
In 1832 he occupied a seat on the Town Council for a term of four years.
Manoah married Ann, daughter of Joseph Watson, cloth maker of Morley, and niece of Isaac Crowther, Esq., of Croft House, Morley, on 20 January 1836 at Batley, Yorkshire. Ann was born in 1816, bap. on 24 January 1817 at Cawood, Selby, North Yorkshire. They had a family of six sons and two daughters.
He established his business of Silversmiths in 1836. The partners were (of course!) Manoah Rhodes, who retired in 1881, and his sons Manoah Sharpley Rhodes, who retired in 1885 and Joseph Rhodes, who retired in 1888 when the firm was then registered as a limited company under the style Manoah Rhodes & Sons Ltd. It became a Watchmaker, Jeweller, Goldsmiths & Silver makers with premises at 45 Kirkgate, Bank Street and Queensgate, Bradford, and in London at 31 St Bridge Street, Ludgate Circus, and 64 Hatton Garden. An advertisement of 1839 offered Spring Clocks, suitable for Inns, Counting Houses, Shops, etc. (including repairs) by Manoah Rhodes, Watchmaker, etc. at 138 Westgate, Bradford.
In 1841 living at West Gate, Bradford was Manoah (30), a Silversmith, with his wife Ann (25) and children Samuel Crowther (4), b. 18 October 1836, bap. 25 December at St. Peter, Morley, Leeds; Thomas Watson (3) b. 28 February 1838, bap. 20 May at St. Peter, Morley, Leeds; and Manoah (1) b. 1 December 1839 and baptised on 16 March 1840 at the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Kirkgate. With them was Grace Rhodes (20) b. 1821, an Assistant Silversmith, Hannah Ellis (20) a Trainee Silversmith, and Joseph Fairbank (18) an Apprentice, plus Sarah Dickinson (25) a Visitor. As an example of his silversmith’s work, a prize ring valued at 60 guineas could be viewed at Manoah Rhodes’s premises.
In May 1843 Manoah made an annual subscription to the Bradford Infirmary and Dispensary of a guinea; most made such a contribution and the top one was of 5 guineas by a single subscriber.
In 1845 he had taken on another occupation, that of Optician! He added in an advertisement that he had acquired the Agency from Mr John Bramham of Bristol, the Patentee for the Sale of his improved pantoscopic spectacles and eye preservers. The advantage of these spectacles is in their being the perfect shape of the eye and constructed so that the rays of light from every object in vision passes in a direct line to the organ of sight, making them preferable than all others for needle-work, reading by day or by candlelight, and in walking. To the Clergy and Professional Gentlemen, they are highly advantageous, as they do not require to be removed from the head when the eye is directed to distant objects. They are held in high esteem, as authenticated by numerous testimonials.
Manoah Rhodes took a very active and prominent part in furthering the subject of incorporating the borough of Bradford, and bringing about the incorporation, which was established in 1847.
In January 1847 Manoah presided over the annual dinner of the Loyal Benevolence Lodge where 70 to 80 attended at the Bull’s Head Inn at Westgate.
In October 1847 Manoah attended the Mayor’s Dinner which took place in the Large Room at the Exchange Buildings, extensively decorated, with an orchestra and splendid Banquet for the 200+ guests. He also attended the Soiree of the Mechanics Institute in the Atheneum in Leeds Road for 60 gentlemen. The plate was lent by him to express his support to this institution.
At the end of December 1849 Manoah attended the celebrations by 300 of the anniversary of the Kirkgate Branch of the Bradford Wesleyan Missionary Society.
In 1851 living at 4 West Gate, Bradford was Manoah, a Silversmith employing 5 men, Ann his wife, Samuel (14) and a Scholar, Frederick William (6) b. Jan-Mar 1845 also a Scholar, Ann Watson (4) b. Oct-Dec 1846, Isaac Watson (2) b. Apr-Jun 1848 and Susannah Crowther (1) b. 21 March 1850, bap. 10 June 1854 at the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Kirkgate, all born in Bradford. They had two female General Domestic Servants. Their son Joseph age 7 (b. Jul-Sep 1843 in Bradford) was a live-in pupil at Micklefield House, Rawdon, Guiseley, Otley, Leeds, a school where, under the Head Teacher, were 8 Teachers and 44 Scholars.
On 10 November 1851, Manoah Rhodes was initiated into the Order of Freemasonry; the Lodge of Hope, Bradford (Lodge No.379) of the United Grand Lodge of England Freemasons, ‘Passing’ on 21 March 1859 and ‘Raising’ on the 18 April. He was awarded Certificates on the 12 February 1860. On joining he was 42 and recorded as residing in Bradford with an occupation of Silversmith. In 1863 he transferred to Pentalpha Lodge, Bradford (Lodge No. 974) until 1880. He filled nearly all the offices in the craft below that of Deputy Provincial Grand Master. Whilst Master of his own lodge, he was honoured by the visit of the Grand Master Earl de Grey.
On 12 October 1854 Mrs. Watson of Morley, age 79, widow of Joseph Watson and mother of Manoah’s wife of Bradford passed away.
In April 1855 Manoah Rhodes and Joseph Farrar were elected to be Bradford Town Councillors for the North Ward & East Ward respectively.
On 18 march 1858 at Morley, age 51, Isaac Watson Esq., brother of Manoah’s wife of Bradford, died.
On 1 September 1859 at the laying of the corner-stone for the New Wesleyan Schools at Great Horton, Manoah supplied the inscribed silver trowel used for this action.
In 1861 living at 1 Howard Street (just off the City Park end of Little Horton Lane), Bradford was Manoah, a Silversmith & Jeweller, Ann his wife, Samuel, also a Silversmith & Jeweller, Joseph, now 17 and back home and another Silversmith & Jeweller, Ann Watson, Susannah and Robert Newton (6) b. 30 April 1854 in Bradford, bap. 10 June at the Wesleyan Methodist Church at Kirkgate, all Scholars, plus Mary Lester (38) a Visitor & Maltster’s daughter from Mirfield. They had two female Servants, a Cook & Housemaid.
Also, in 1861 at 5 Manor Row, Bradford was Manoah Sharpley Rhodes, a Lodger and a Jeweller’s Assistant.
In March 1864 Manoah presented a beautiful trowel to Mr Titus Salt when performing a Stone laying ceremony and advertised himself as a Masonic Jeweller.
On 1 July 1864 Manoah took his son Manoah Sharpley into partnership and the firm became Manoah Rhodes & Son.
In 1865 Manoah Sharpley’s residence was at 6 Westgate, Bradford and his brother Joseph married Hannah Maria Hill (b. 1845 in North Bierley, Bradford) between April and June.
Manoah Sharpley married Emily Farrar on 22 August 1865 in Knaresborough Christ Church, Harrogate, Yorkshire. She was born on 19 August 1846 and bap. on 28 January 1847 at Bradford Cathedral (St Peter), the daughter of Henry Farrar, a Woollen Draper and Mary Spawforth who married Apr-Jun 1840 in Wakefield.
On 20 December 1869 Manoah Sharpley was initiated into the United Grand Lodge of England Freemasons, ‘Passing’ on 17 January 1870 and ‘Raising’ on the 14 March. He was awarded Certificates on the 23 March 1870. On joining he was 30 and recorded as residing in Bradford with an occupation of Silversmith. This continued at least past 1875.
In 1871 at 54 Little Horton Lane (just round the corner from Howard Street at the City Park end of the lane), Little Horton, Bradford was Manoah, a Silversmith, Ann his wife, Joseph, a Silversmith, Ann, Isaac, a Silversmith’s Assistant, Susannah and Thomas, a Worsted Manufacturer. They had two female Servants, a Cook & Housemaid.
Also, in 1871 at Victoria Park, Park Road, Shipley, Bradford was Manoah Sharpley, a Silversmith & Jeweller, his wife Emily, with their 3 daughters and son: Mary Emily Farrar b. 1866, bap. 25 September 1866 at Shipley St Paul, Florence Annie Watson b. Oct-Dec 1867, bap. 2 December 1867 at Shipley St Paul, Frederick Crowther M S b. Jul-Sep 1869 and Henrietta b. Oct-Dec 1870 at 155 North Parade, Manningham, all born in Bradford. They had a female Servant, a Nurse.
Similarly, in 1871, at New Road Side, Wyke (near Bradford) was Joseph an Iron Forgeman, his wife Hannah and daughter Mary Elizabeth b. 12 December 1866, bap. 7 April 1877 at St Mark, Low Moor and a Scholar and son Joshua b. 1868, bap. 10 June 1868 at Wyke, St Mary.
Manoah re-entered the council chamber in 1871 as one of the members for the North Ward. Manoah Rhodes was placed on the list of borough magistrates in 1873, since which time he has regularly fulfilled the duties of the bench in a very able and efficient manner.
In 1871 he was elected to the office of President of the Charity Committee of West Yorkshire, and had been one of its most earnest promoters since its formation on 13 April 1859. He had held the Vice-patron of the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, a Vice-President of the Royal Masonic Institute for Girls, and was a large contributor to the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution for Aged Freemasons and widows of Freemasons.
In August 1873 examples of Manoah Rhodes & Son bronze statuary and goldsmiths work were on display at the Bradford Art Treasures and Industrial Exhibition.
In September 1873 at a special meeting of the members of the Lodge of Hope Freemasons, Brother Manoah Rhodes, Worshipful Master, was presiding. Also, Manoah made his first appearance as presiding magistrate at the Borough Court.
On 6 November 1873 at a private meeting of the Bradford Town Council to consider who shall be Mayor of the Borough of Bradford for the next year, the names of Alderman Scott and Mr Manoah Rhodes were proposed by Mr Law & Alderman Mark Dawson respectively. On a division, 26 voted for Mr Rhodes and 23 for Alderman Scott. There was so much deliberation on this that it required a whole column in the newspaper! Formally elected on 11 November 1873.
In December 1873 while Manoah was presiding over the opening od a new organ of first-class construction at Saltaire Wesleyan Chapel to a large attendance, an inquest was being held at Elland on the bodies of three workers who lost their lives by the explosion of a boiler on the site of Alfred Crowther, a rag puller.
In August 1874 Manoah had his portrait displayed which illustrated the novel new process used in its production by Mr Passingham of Hustlergate, Bradford, better than the improved carte-de-visite method recently introduced in Bradford. Also, Manoah as Mayor in his official robes accompanied by the mace-bearer carrying his insignia of office in his carriage arrived at the Midland Station to attend the ceremony of unveiling the Sir Titus Salt Statue by the Salt Statue Committee, attended by his Grace the Duke of Devonshire and Saltaire Band. The statue, carved from a 14-ton block of marble, was made by John Adams-Acton of Marylebone Road, London, and cost 1000 guineas.
In November 1874 Manoah’s term of office as Mayor came to an end and the chief magistrate yields his office to another. [Sir Henry Mitchell succeeded him]
On 10 February 1875 the Bazaar at Hightown (open for a week) was opened by Manoah in aid of an intended new Sunday School related to the United Methodist Free church. He left behind him a £5 note as a token of his support to the promoters of this cause.
In 1880 on the List of Magistrates sitting on the Bradford Borough Bench, qualifying on the 21st April, was Manoah (second on the list) with 77 times. The highest was 81 and lowest 2. [There were 6 attending 10 times or lower]
On 8 January 1881 at Bradford Borough Quarter Sessions at the Town Hall, the Recorder Mr Gainsford Bruce was accompanied on the Bench by Alderman Brayshaw and Mr Manoah Rhodes. Since the last session only 73 prisoners had been convicted, a small number for such a borough. On 11 January the Police Court was held and on the Bench was Manoah Rhodes.
The sudden illness of Manoah Rhodes JP on 12 March 1881: he suffered a paralytic stroke affecting the left side of his body, but retained consciousness although unable to speak.
On 20 March 1881 Manoah died at Bradford age 71. Probate on 28 April 1881 was at Wakefield. His will was proved by Ann Rhodes of Foggathorpe House, Bradford, widow, the relict and one of the Executors. Personal Estate: under £16,000. Re-sworn in August 1881: under £14,000. Re-sworn in August 1888: £35,000. His funeral was held on 24 March and his remains then interred at Undercliffe Cemetery. The funeral was one of the largest seen in Bradford for some years. Present were representatives of various public bodies and great numbers of inhabitants of the town. Shops were closed down all over the town and along the route of the procession, densely crowded with spectators, starting at Horton Lane. Members of the Corporation and magistrates assembled at the Town Hall with its bells chiming, joining it in Market Street. It was headed by 100 men of the Police Force, followed by a large body of Freemasons with button-holes of acacia representing the Lodges of Hope, Pentalpha, Shakespeare, Harmony, Eccleshill & Airdale among others, headed by Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Provincial Past Grand Master and Provincial Principal Sojourner of Work. There were representatives of the Wesleyan body and the Jews. Following the plain hearse was six private carriages including gentlemen employed by Rhodes & Sons and Manoah’s relatives and further relatives in carriages belonging to Manoah (the Mayor).
In December 1881 the Bradford Rifle Volunteers held their annual competition at which the prize was the Manoah Rhodes Challenge cup.
In 1881 at Rose Villa, Manston, Wharfedale was residing Manoah Sharpley a Jeweller & Silversmith employing 10 men & 5 women with his wife Emily and children Mary, Florence, Henrietta and Maud Beatrice, all Scholars, and Kate Rosalind b. Jul-Sep 1876, bap. 20 September 1876 at St Pauls, Shipley, Birstall. They had three female Domestic Servants.
Also in 1881, still at New Road Side, Wyke, North Bierley, Bradford was Joseph a Forgeman/Blacksmith, his wife Hannah and children Mary a Worsted spinner, Joshua a Forge labourer/Blacksmith at age 12, Ezra b. 28 September 1871, bap. 5 November at Low Moor, St Mark and a Scholar, Willie b. 27 November 1876, bap. 11 January 1877 also at Low Moor, St Mark and Israel b. 22 October 1880, so just 5 months old and bap. on 24 November at Wyke St Mary.
In June 1882 Manoah Rhodes residence, Foggathorpe House, was put on the market. It had stabling, coach house, billiard room, conservatory and every modern convenience.
Foggathorpe House is a stunning Grade II listed family home dating back to c 1740 with approx. 5000 sq ft of internal accommodation. Today worth just over £1M.
Manoah Sharpley of Kirkgate, Bradford was living in a freehold house Cross Banks 1882-84.
On 21 May 1885 the partnership between Manoah Sharpley Rhodes and Joseph Rhodes was dissolved. The notice of this was issued by Emily Rhodes, Executrix of the will of Manoah Sharpley Rhodes, deceased. The company continued as Manoah Rhodes and Sons under Joseph Rhodes.
Manoah Sharpley Rhodes, Silversmith & Jeweller of Bradford, died on 15 June 1885 in Shipley, Bradford. His will was proved at Probate at the Principal Registry on 30 June by Emily Rhodes of Cross Banks Villa, Shipley, widow, the Relict one of the Executors.
Hannah Maria Rhodes (Joseph Rhodes wife) died Jul-Sep 1886 in Bradford.
Joseph remarried Apr-Jun 1887 in Bradford Ellen Parkinson b. 21 January 1852, bap. 5 May at St Peter (Bradford Cathedral) to Joshua Parkinson, a Labourer, and his wife Henrietta of Bierley. In 1861 Ellen was recorded as a Nurse age 9 living with her Mum & Dad at Woodlands, North Bierley, Bradford with her elder sister Mary Ann, a Cotton Spinner and 5 brothers.
Joseph and his first wife Hannah’s daughter Mary Elizabeth married Irvine Woodhead Jan-Mar 1888 in Bradford; he was born 16 August 1866 and bap. 28 October 1866 in Holy Trinity Church, Low Moor, Bradford, to John Woodhead a Forgeman and his wife Hannah of Low Moor. In 1891 they were living at Green Market, Wyke, North Bierley, Bradford, Irvine a Furnace firer, Mary his wife and their daughter Hannah Maria b. Jul-Sep 1889 at Wyke. Sadly, Hannah died 28 April 1892, age 2, at Low Moor, St Mark.
In 1891 at Cross Banks, Shipley were residing Emily, widow, Living on own means, Mary, Florence, Frederick a Jewellers Assistant, Henrietta (‘At home’), with Maud & Kate, both Scholars. [They had no servants!]
Also in 1891, at Green Market, Wyke, North Bierley, was Joseph a Furnace Man and second wife Ellen with Joseph’s son Willie age 14, a Mohair Spinner.
Ellen Rhodes (the second wife of Joseph Rhodes) died Oct-Dec 1893 in North Bierley, Bradford, age 41.
Irvine Woodhead died in March 1896 in North Bierley, age 29, and was buried on the 4th of March at Low Moor, St Mark.
Joseph and Ellen’s son Willie married Henrietta Christie Apr-Jun 1898 in North Bierley; she was born Jul-Sep 1878 in Bradford. In 1901 they were living at 9 Butcher Street, Wyke, North Bierley, giving his occupation as a Bricklayers labourer.
In 1901 at Farr Royd, Otley Road, Shipley, North Bierley were residing Emily, widow, now 54 Living on own means, Florence, Frederick a Jewellers Assistant, Henrietta, Maud & Kate. They now had a female Servant, a Domestic Cook.
Also in 1901, at 8 Holdsworth Street, Wyke, North Bierley was Joseph, a widower for the second time, and an Iron Forgeman with his widowed daughter Mary Elizabeth Woodhead and 2 grand-daughters Ada 8 b. 29 March 1893, bap. 3 May 1893 at Green Market, Wyke, St Mark’s, Low Moor & Mary Ellen 5 b. 1895, bap. 28 October 1895 at Wyke, St Mary.
Kate Rosalind Rhodes of Farr Royd, Shipley married Thomas Henry Cockshott at Shipley Parish Church on 24 February 1906.
Emily Rhodes, the wife of Manoah Sharpley, died in June 1910 in North Bierley. In 1911 the children had dispersed, mainly across Shipley:
Florence Annie was residing at 91 Victoria Road, Eccleshill, Yorkshire, married for 2 years, age 26 (!!!), born in Pontefract, Yorkshire (!!!), with her husband William Hustler, age 27 born in 1884 in Eccleshill, a Machinery Merchant. They had married Jul-Sep 1908 in North Bierley. William was born on 26 December 1883 to James Hustler, a Millwright and his wife Elizabeth and baptised on 3 February 1884 in St Luke Church, Eccleshill. [William was a Millwright when 17] So presumably, Florence falsified her age and place of birth to hide her origins and fit in closer to her new husband’s details, maybe?
Frederick was a Visitor at 4 Staveley Road, Shipley and a Working Jeweller, residing at the home of William Williamson a retired Provision Merchant and his wife Nancy and two Servants.
Henrietta was on her own, living on private means at her private house of 5 rooms, 51 Earl Street, Shipley, North Bierley, now 40.
Maud is a Governess to the Oldham family at 4 Fernhill Road, Shipley (husband and wife and two sons and a daughter) who had a female Servant.
Kate and her husband Thomas Henry Cockshott were living at 4 Victoria Park, Shipley; he was b. 1872 in Shipley and his occupation was a Buyer for a Dress Stuffs Merchant. They had two sons, Charles Frederick b. 1908 and Henry Farrar b. 1910, both in Shipley. They had two female servants, a General Domestic Servant and a Domestic Nurse.
In 1911 Joseph Rhodes 68 and recorded as a Blast furnaceman, was living at his son Willie’s house at 9 Butcher Street, New Road Side, Wyke. There was Willie, a Bricklayers Labourer, his wife Henrietta, their son Harold 9 b. 1902 and daughter Mabel 7 b. 1904, all at Wyke.
And there we regret the trail went cold for Joseph!
Today one may purchase (for example) a Sterling Silver Gilt Fruit Dish by Manoah & Sons of 1926 for £1.865M.
Editorial Note: This write-up has concentrated on the main players that are central to the story.
Research by: David Broomfield – February 2022