The Greenwood Mausoleum 2023 05

The Greenwood Mausoleum 2023 05
The Greenwood Mausoleum 2023 05
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The Greenwood Mausoleum 2023 05

Of the 120 listed buildings in Addingham none is stranger than the Greenwood Mausoleum to be found along Chapel Street within the Methodist cemetery in Wesley Place. Indeed it is probably unique, having a style all its own and impossible to classify by architectural precedent. Probably built sometime in the 1860s, it was clearly designed at a time when interest in antiquities generally was burgeoning. The original mausoleum and one of the seven ‘wonders of the world’, the burial chamber built by Queen Artemis for her husband King Mausolos, had recently been discovered in what was then Halicarnassus, now better known as the Turkish resort of Bodrum. And the building of the current British Museum had begun, coinciding in turn with the first excavations it had authorised in Xanthos. All this must have fascinated and inspired the Greenwoods.
Around the Mausoleum are no fewer than 27 solidly carved stone pillars, which, as the photograph shows, once held wooden fencing and a couple of gates. These slowly rotted and were finally cleared away.
The Mausoleum records in carefully carved stone panels both outside and within the building the fate of successive generations of the Greenwood family. The Mausoleum is associated mainly with George Oates Greenwood of Netherwood House, who died on 26 April 1865, aged only 47. But it must have been the older William Greenwood who built the Swan in 1821, with the embryonic Odd Fellows Hall or ‘chapel’ incongruously stuck on behind it in 1828. Also living in Netherwood House, William died on 29 September 1866 aged 62, whose wife, Ann, had preceded him 16 years earlier on 21 December 1850 aged only 47.
The Mausoleum records the deaths of another 9 Greenwoods over a 34 year period from 1850 to 1884, though these appear to have moved away from Addingham to Halifax and in one case Southport. So in 34 years a total of 12 members of the Greenwood family had died: just over 1 every 3 years. The average age of the women (including children) at death was a mere 24 years; that of the males barely improved at 38 years old, and this within a presumably wealthy and well-fed, mid-Victorian family. What is unknown at this stage, however, are their causes of death, and to what age surviving member of the Greenwood family lived, whose names are unrecorded upon their marvellous Mausoleum. Food for thought, and further research, but meanwhile well worth a visit.

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