Philip Dawson

Philip DawsonPhilip Dawson, © W.R. Mitchell

Philip Dawson's family were Lords of the Manor of Hartlington, and owned many properties in Craven including High Hall at Appletreewick, Hartlington Hall, the Folly in Settle, Hornby Castle, Langcliffe Hall, and Calgarth. Christopher Philip Dawson was born in Dawlish, Devon, in 1925, the son of Christopher Dawson, a famous catholic historian, and Valery Mills.

The Dawson family were descended from, amongst others, Sir William Craven, known as the ‘Dick Whittington of Appletreewick’. He was born a peasant boy but managed to earn a fortune after walking to London and becoming a mercer's apprentice. He eventually inherited the business and became Lord Mayor of London before returning to Yorkshire a success. Upon his return he built Burnsall Bridge, restored the local church and founded Burnsall School. 

Philip lived for many years in the Folly, a 17th century house in Settle, which now houses the Museum of North Craven Life. He was interviewed by W.R. Mitchell in 1994, only a year before he died in Devon in 1995. His interview contains a wealth of material about life in the early 20th century from the perspective of an armorial family, including detailed stories about his ancestors.

In his interview with W.R. Mitchell, Philip Dawson describes some of the stories from his family history. The Dawsons were a very influential family, with an impressive pedigree stretching back to the 1400s. The family have their own crest portraying a cat with a rat in its mouth; a coat of arms consisting of three jackdaws and finally a family motto in Latin, ‘Amor Meus Crucifixus’, which translates as  ‘My Love is Crucified.’ These display the heritage from which Philip Dawson descends, although Philip himself is not sure of their significance!