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Catholics. This branch of the family, however, had a suit with Richard Popplewell, the son of this Katherine: and finally they made a settlement amongst themselves.
“ Robert Popplewell,” says Mr. Stovin, “ was the last person who held the office of solicitor to the Isle Commoners. He was the son of David Popplewell, yeoman, and from a small estate of about fourteen pounds per annum, raised an estate of about four or five hundred a year. He had no education but what he obtained at a common country school.
Indeed he was land steward to her Grace the Countess ot Granville*, and by that most of the tenants of the Manor of Epworth lay under one obligation or other to him ; and I am of opinion this was the true reason of his being chosen solicitor. This gentleman had all the Islonians bound, and which they had reason to repent and their posterity after them: for he taxed them at his pleasure, and besides he enclosed what common ground he pleased, under a pretence to raise money to carry on the cause, but never was that I can hear of ac- . countable for the rents and profits thereof. The Isle cause and his pocket were the two great gulphs that swallowed all that, and many estates of substantial yeomen
in the island, as the Kinmans, Foxes, Halifaxes, Barnards, Nodel, Tankersley, Wakefield, &c. &c. He and his affidavit men attended Westminster-Hall almost every term for a great number of years,
and were as well known as an Irish evidence. He took in lands to support these men near Hirst Priory, called Affidavit Closes to this day. I can remember Belton West Carr taken in by him, containing about one hundred acres, which was the last ground which this worthy solicitor enclosed.” Richard Popplewell † succeeded to the estate which his father had thus in
* The office of steward of the manor court seems to have been a stepping stone for the Rythers in augmenting their fortunes as well as for the Popplewells. I find in an old memorandum among the Tem- .. ple papers, labelled Mr. Ryder's bad behaviour, that he held this office, and is therein stated to have done "
ill terms and offices to the tenants, who complained of him to the Lord Cartaret, at which he was so enraged that he threatened to go over and make common cause with the Participants; and that he had been to meet them at some out-a-way place.” '+ This man was a very strange character, and as hot-headed and perverse in his own way as the
creased; but having no son, his two daughters and co-heiresses Katherine and Elizabeth, shared it between them. Elizabeth married Robert Steer, esquire, of Wakefield; and Katherine married Allan Johnson, esquire, of the same place, who was descended from an antient and honourable family in the County of Lancaster, and allied by marriage with the Bellinghams, of Westmoreland. The grandson of Allan Johnson dying without issue, left the property to Robert Popplewell Steer, the great grandson of Robert Steer, and Elizabeth daughter and co-heiress of Richard Popplewell. This gentleman has taken the name of Johnson, and now possesses the whole property of Popplewell.
The original house of Richard of Belwood was on the site of a farm house, not far from the present mansion. The old Hall, built of red brick in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was most probably erected on the site of the house of Wibald, mentioned in the original grant of Mowbray to the Templars. The present spacious mansion was erected by the son of Allan Johnson. The shields, emblazoned in very antient stained glass, and of which the en. graving is a fac simile, were originally in the house of Richard of Belwood. They contain several quarterings of the arms of that family.
The following pedigrees will show the families which have possessed this property of Temple Belwood since the reign of Edward the Third.
mother who bore him. Indeed this seems to have been the family failing; for I find in a Minute of the Court of Sewers, that Robert, his father“ was fined fifty pounds for his abuse and reproachful words to the Court, and to Mr. Thomas Raven, one of the Commissioners, during the sitting of the Court. It was the custom of this singular character, whenever a pedlar called at his house, to purchase bis whole stock-in-trade, as well as the beast of burden which carried it. The animal was turned loose to spend the remainder of his days on the North Moor; the pedlar was entertained for the night, and after having been crammed as full of meat and drink as ever his panniers had been with goods, he was locked up in his chamber till the morning. The inventory of this gentleman's live and dead stock, taken at the sale which took place after his death, was a very curious document. The late William P. B. Johnson, Esq. of Temple, told the author of this work, that he had seen it; and he sought for it very diligently among the family papers, but was unable to find it.