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The Wood family’s connection to Hemsworth, Hickleton and Garrowby originated with the appointment of Henry Wood, the eldest son of Francis Wood of Barnsley, to the rectory of Hemsworth in 1763. Wood purchased Hemsworth manor, settling at Hemsworth Hall and serving as a Justice of the Peace for the West Riding, as well as Vicar of Halifax between 1776 and his death in 1790. He died without issue, leaving his estate to his brother Francis.
Henry’s brother Francis in turn made his fortune as a merchant of the East India Company. He was created 1st Baronet Wood of Barnsley in 1784 and, when he died without issue in 1795, his title and estates passed to the eldest son of Henry and Francis’ third and youngest brother, Charles.
Charles had made his career in the Royal Navy, attaining the rank of Captain. In 1770 he married Caroline Lacon-Barker of Otley; their son Francis Lindley Wood was born in 1771 and inherited his uncle’s baronetcy in 1795, becoming 2nd Baronet Wood.
In 1803 Sir Francis Lindley Wood purchased Garrowby Hall and estate in the East Riding of Yorkshire from Edward Woolley for £23,500. In 1828 he also purchased Hickleton Hall and estate, north of Doncaster, from the Wentworth family.
Sir Francis’ son and heir, Charles, was born in 1800. He was a prominent Liberal political figure in the nineteenth century, serving as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the government of Lord John Russell from 1846 to 1852 and later as Secretary of State for India and Lord Privy Seal. He inherited the Baronetcy in 1846 as 3rd Baronet Wood and in 1866 he was also created 1st Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton in the County of York. In 1829 he married Lady Mary Grey, the daughter of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, a leading Liberal politician and later Prime Minister, and his wife Lady Mary, née Ponsonby, daughter of Baron Ponsonby of Imokilly.
In 1863 Sir Charles and Lady Mary’s daughter, Emily Charlotte Wood, married Hugo Francis Meynell Ingram of Temple Newsam, near Leeds, and at her death without issue in 1904 the Temple Newsam estate passed to her nephew Frederick George Lindley Wood, who subsequently changed his surname to Meynell. In 1876 another daughter, Blanche Edith Wood, married Colonel Henry William Lowry-Corry, son of the 2rd Earl of Belmore.
Charles, Viscount Halifax, died in 1885 and was succeeded by his son Charles Lindley Wood who became 4th Baronet Wood and 2nd Viscount Halifax. The 2nd Viscount served for many years as President of the English Church Union, from 1868 to 1919 and then again from 1927 to 1934, and was keen to being about dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, although without success. In 1869 he married Lady Elizabeth Agnes Courtenay, the only daughter of the 11th earl of Devon.
Their son and heir, Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, married Lady Dorothy Evelyn Augusta Onslow, daughter of the Earl of Onslow, in 1909, succeeding his father as 3rd Viscount Halifax in 1934. He also had a prominent political career, becoming Viceroy of India and Foreign Secretary. In 1944 he was created 1st Earl of Halifax. His sister, Mary Agnes Emily Wood, married the Conservative politician George Richard Lane-Fox, 1st Baron Bingley of Bramham, in 1903.
In 1947 the 1st Earl sold the Hickleton house and estate and the Wood family thereafter made Garrowby Hall their principal residence. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood died in 1959 and was succeeded by his son Charles Ingram Courtenay Wood who served as Conservative Member of Parliament for the city of York between 1937 and 1945.
The 2nd Earl died at Garrowby Hall in 1980 and was succeeded by his son, Charles Edward Peter Neil Wood, as 3rd Earl of Halifax, 5th Viscount Halifax of Monk Bretton, and 7th Baronet Wood of Barnsley. The Earl and Countess of Halifax currently reside at Garrowby Hall.