Christopher Rawdon, the forgotten Philanthropist, by Dr David Harrison, following the LHS AGM
15 May 2016 @ 2:00 pm

RAWDON, CHRISTOPHER (1780–1858), unitarian benefactor, elder son of Christopher Rawdon (d. February 1822), was born at Halifax on 13 April 1780. His father, sixth in succession of both his names, owned mills at Underbank, near Todmorden, Yorkshire. Rawdon was educated in Switzerland, and at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. In 1793 his father met, at Falmouth, a Portuguese correspondent, and, in view of linguistic advantages, they agreed to exchange sons for a year. The elder Rawdon despatched home the following letter: ‘Dear Wife,—Deliver to the bearer thy first-born. Christopher Rawdon.’ After a year at Lisbon, and further schooling at Mansfield, Rawdon in 1797 became manager at Underbank. In 1807 he removed to Portugal as representative of his father’s firm, and held this position till 1822, when he settled in Liverpool. He was a successful man of business, a member of the Liverpool town council for three years, and a borough and county magistrate. In politics he was an active liberal, in religion a unitarian. The removal of unitarians from the Hewley trust [see Hewley, Sarah] had deprived their congregation in the north of England of pecuniary grants. Rawdon projected a new fund, which he started in June 1853 by a donation of 1,000l., his brother James (d. 1855, aged 73) giving a like sum; both contributions were afterwards doubled. An appeal by circular, of 20 Jan. 1854, raised the fund to 18,820l., which was put in trust in 1856 under the name of ‘ministers’ stipend augmentation fund,’ otherwise known as the Rawdon Fund. It now amounts to 48,000l. besides an annual subscription list of 150l. The application of the fund is limited to congregations north of the Trent. Rawdon died at Elm House, Anfield, Liverpool, on 22 Oct. 1858, and was buried at Toxteth Park Chapel, Liverpool. There is a monument to his memory in Renshaw Street Chapel, Liverpool. He married, on 23 Oct. 1821, Charlotte, daughter of Rawdon Briggs, banker, of Halifax.


Christopher Rawdon memorial, Ullet Road, Unitarian Church

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