Obituary Miss Hilary Green (1918 - 2015)

 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Hilary Green was a very generous benefactor over many years to local groups involved in heritage matters and in 2015 the NCHT and other local organizations were beneficiaries of legacies she had decided upon. She loved Settle. The NCHT would like to express appreciation of her kindness, along with other groups who have contributed to the preservation of the beauty of Settle, its buildings, and its surrounding countryside.

Hilary was one of the first members of the Settle Civic Society in the 1970s (which became the NCHT) and she helped with setting up the North Craven Building Preservation Trust (which now owns The Folly and other local property). Her family lived at Townhead and she was very saddened by its demolition in 1974. The Settle Civic Society and the Building Trust (NCBPT) were originally closely connected; NCHT and NCBPT were well-supported by substantial annual subscriptions and donations made by Hilary. As a result of a legacy she received she set up the J.H.F. Green Trust in 1972 for general charitable purposes at the Trustees’ discretion and administered by the National Council for Voluntary Organizations. She also used her private funds in giving substantial donations to the NCBPT.

Her link with Settle goes back a long way, and in particular with Townhead, a grand house which was bought by William Bolland in 1763 and rebuilt by him. The Bolland family were notable in Settle as landowners, apothecaries (1730s), shopkeepers (1730s) and woolstaplers (mid-1700s). In 1843 Susannah Bolland of Townhead in Settle married William Clayton, Rector of Low Bentham. After William’s death Susannah returned to Townhead. Her eldest daughter Susannah married Dr James Walker Edgar in 1883 - he was one of Settle’s general practitioners - and they lived at Townhead (Hillside, in 1891). Their daughter Mona Jean Edgar married Ralph Green, a schoolmaster, in 1915. Their children spent childhood holidays at Townhead - including (Jean) Hilary Frances - and continued to visit Settle as adults. Hilary was related to and great friends with Dick and Jessie Clayton, who were also founder members of NCHT, and through the Clayton side of the family had links with Langcliffe Mill and Coniston Hall. The link with Coniston Hall arises from a late 18th century elder sister (Francis Catherine) of William Clayton junior, who was a cotton spinner and friend of Richard Arkwright. Francis married J.B.Garforth of Coniston Hall.

In a letter dated 2008 Hilary wrote: ‘there was a tunnel from Townhead that went under the road and led onto Castleberg where we used to find a few ‘white’ raspberries. When we reached Townhead the first thing we did was to go up Stony Lane to watch Burton milking the cows and then were able to have milk for our supper still warm from the cow; it had been ladled out by Burton from his churn into the maid’s jugs. Oh! that taste! Granny used to give us a shining silver 3d piece on Tuesdays to spend in the market and I remember a shop in Upper Settle where the most wonderful brawn was sold, and I seem to remember a shop near Nelsons, the shoe and clog shop, that sold large delicious humbugs’.

Hilary spent most of her life in Sussex but visited Settle every other year or as often as she could. In later years John Miller and Alan Bennett visited her at home to give her news of the activities of the NCBPT and NCHT. Her wonderful garden was the setting of a celebration of her life on 31 May 2015. Hilary was a private person who did not like fuss, but Settle folk all have reason to be very grateful for her generosity.

These notes are based on the information provided by Mrs Anne Read, Hon. Curator of the Museum of North Craven Life, and Mr John Miller, Secretary and Trustee of the NCBPT. Further information came from local deeds placed on the NCHT website and a letter to the editors.