Tribute paid to Leighton Hall owner and Gillow descendant Richard Reynolds

Richard Reynolds passed away on December 13 2018.
Richard Reynolds passed away on December 13 2018.

St Mary’s RC Church, Yealand Conyers, was full on Friday January 4 for the funeral of Richard Reynolds, a direct descendant of Lancaster’s renowned Gillow furniture makers.

Mr Reynolds died at his home, Leighton Hall, near Carnforth, the historic seat of the Gillow family, on December 13, aged 85.

He was the sixth generation of the furniture making family, his great-great-great-grandfather Robert Gillow founding the firm in 1730.

Richard’s great-grandfather, Richard Gillow, bought Leighton Hall in 1822 and built St Mary’s Church in 1852.

Richard Reynolds took over the Leighton Hall estate after his mother, formerly Helen Gillow, died in 1977.

He upgraded the farms, developed the woodland and an excellent shoot and, with his wife Suzie, built up the visitor business.

He was passionate about providing jobs and affordable housing to encourage young people to live and work in the countryside and took a keen interest in many local and national organisations, most notably the Historic Houses Association and the CLA (Country Landowners’ Association).

Richard James Gillow Reynolds was born in London in 1933 to James and Helen Reynolds and brought up at Leighton Hall, a Grade 2-star listed building.

He was educated at Ampleforth College and did his national service as a Lieutenant with the Irish Guards.

He joined his father in the family cotton broking firm in Liverpool before moving to the engineering company of Morgan Crucible in London, for whom he worked in many parts of the world until the early 1970s.

Richard and Suzie married in 1968 and last year marked their golden wedding anniversary.

Mrs Reynolds, a Deputy Lieutenant, was High Sheriff of Lancashire in 2009-10, a post held by Richard’s grandfather, Sir James Reynolds, in 1927.

In a family tribute at the funeral, she described her husband as a countryman.

He was honest, patient, loyal and always ready to guide and encourage if needed, she said.

He also leaves two daughters Katherine and Lucy and a grandson Sebastian.

Donations in Mr Reynolds’ memory were given to Parkinson’s UK and St Mary’s Church, Yealand Conyers.