Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fawkes, Walter Ramsden

FAWKES, WALTER RAMSDEN (1769–1825), miscellaneous writer, born at Hawksworth, Yorkshire, in 1769, was the eldest son of Walter Beaumont Fawkes, the head of an old West Riding family. Early in life Walter Fawkes became an active member of the advanced section of the whig party, being M.P. for the county of York from 1806 to 1807. He took a prominent part in the anti-slave trade movement, and spoke effectively in the debate which preceded the passing of Wilberforce's measure. In 1823 he filled the office of high sheriff of Yorkshire. He was a man of varied intellectual gifts, a cultivated writer, and, above all, a great lover and patron of the fine arts. In 1810 he published ‘The Chronology of the History of Modern Europe,’ in 1812 a ‘Speech on Parliamentary Reform,’ and in 1817 ‘The Englishman's Manual; or, a Dialogue between a Tory and a Reformer;’ in all of which he set forth his political views and leanings with much perspicuity. He will be best remembered, however, as the intimate friend and one of the earliest patrons of Turner, the artist. Turner had a welcome and a home at Farnley Hall, Fawkes's Wharfedale residence, whenever he chose to go, and used to spend months at a time there. Mr. Ruskin has borne eloquent testimony to the influence of Fawkes, Farnley, and Wharfedale on the genius of Turner, and the Turner collection still existing at Farnley Hall contains about two hundred of the artist's choicest works. Fawkes was also a keen agriculturist. He did much towards the improvement of his estates, and was very successful as a breeder of cattle, his shorthorns being known abroad as well as in England. In conjunction with Mr. Jonas Whitaker of Burley-in-Wharfedale and the Rev. J. A. Rhodes of Horsforth he founded the Otley Agricultural Society, one of the first of its kind in England. The park which he formed at Caley Hall was stocked with red and fallow deer, zebras, wild hogs, and a species of deer from India. He greatly enlarged the family mansion at Farnley, which he adorned with many collections. He married Maria, daughter of Robert Grimston of Neswick, and left a large family, dying in London on 24 Oct. 1825, and being buried in the family vault at Otley.

[Foster's Pedigrees of West Riding Families; Gent. Mag. for 1825; Leeds Mercury, 1825; Thornbury's Life of Turner; Hamerton's Life of Turner, &c.]

J. B-y.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.121
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
269 i 12 Fawkes, Walter R.: for 1802 read 1806
7 f.e. for Keswick read Neswick