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Farrer, Richard (1722–1780)

Farrer, Richard

York, Yorkshire; upholsterer (app. 1722–d. 1780)

Recorded in Spurriergate (1735–41); Spurriergate and/or Coney Street (1742); and Coney Street (1758). He owned property in Micklegate Bar Without (1763); let his house in Stonegate (1766); and retired to Manchester (1770). He was the son of Richard Farrer and apprenticed to George Reynoldson, upholsterer on 7 November 1722 for seven years and admitted freeman in 1730.

In 1733 he married Margaret Napier who, with two infant children, was presented in 1735 as a papist in Spurriergate. She bore Farrer six sons, most of whom died young: Richard was buried on 7 March 1736; Edward on 1 August 1740; James on 27 March 1746; Richard on 26 March 1756; Luke, who died in 1784 and their eldest son, John, who died in 1756, and whose business, unspecified, was to be ‘continued by his surviving partners Messrs. Tasker & Routh.’

Christopher Gilbert said that Richard Farrer was of the major suppliers for the York Mansion House 1725-32 [Regional Furniture, 1988]. A prominent civic figure, Richard Farrer was Chamberlain, 1736–37; and appointed to the Committee of Leases and to audit the Mayor's accounts, 1741–47. He was elected Sheriff in 1751, trustee of Wilson's Charity in 1752, Alderman in 1754, 1758 and 1763; and Lord Mayor in 1756 and 1769.

His wife, Margaret, died in 1764, and in 1766 he let his house in Stonegate, selling his stock of upholstery and furnishings. He was succeeded by two of his former employees, Jeremiah Smith and Matthew Browne, who opened a shop in High Ousegate. He retired to Manchester in 1770, marrying Mrs Gorton, a wealthy widow from that city, on 6 December 1778. He died at Manchester on 15 July 1780 and was buried at St Michael-le-Belfrey Church, York. His will, made on 1 July 1779 and proved, 6 December 1780, left everything to his only remaining son, Luke.

Farrer appears to have been most active as a tradesman in the 1740s, when he occasionally advertised in the York Courant:

  • 5 January 1740 and 17 February 1741 regarding the let of houses at Acomb and Holdgate
  • 23 February 1742, 22 June 1742, and 29 April 1746, sales of household furniture
  • 24 September 1745 as assignee in Caesar Wood's bankruptcy
  • 3 June 1746 the sale of a sedan chair.

Bound apprentices named:

  • Theophilus (William) Garencieres on 27 July 1744
  • William Cross on 1 November 1753
  • Matthew Brown on 15 November 1756
  • Hewson in 1761
  • Michael Simpson of Leeds (no date)

Subscribed to Chippendale's Director, 1754.

Little is known of his career as an upholder, but some furniture at Burton Constable is attributed to him, including frames for portraits of Alderman James Rowe (1707–72) and his wife, Mary (d. 1783) by Henry Pickering, commissioned for the Mansion House, York.

Sources: DEFM; Gilbert, ‘Furniture by Local Makers at Doncaster Mansion House’, Regional Furniture (1988).

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.