Mark’s History: Hepper House and the Wortley family grave

Hepper House leeds
Stanley Walker / Hepper House, East Parade, Leeds / CC BY-SA 2.0

My default answer when I am asked the question ‘where are we going?’ is ‘town’, writes Mark Stevenson.

Generally it is followed by a groan from the person who asked it but even though I have been there loads of times I can generally find something I have not seen before. 

On this occasion I found myself taking pics of a building I have photographed many times before, but this time I was after close-ups of the carvings on the building.

Some of the carvings at Hepper House. Photo: Mark Stevenson

I always described this building on East Parade as a Victorian Ebay as the plaque says it was built in 1863 for John Hepper and Sons who were the go to auctioneers of Leeds. 

I am not normally one for believing in coincidence but the very same day I found myself in St John the Evangelist Church graveyard in Wortley when I came across the grave of John Hepper. The inscription reads:

The Hepper family grave in Wortley. Photo: Mark Stevenson

“John Hepper, of Wortley, Auctioneer who died April 14th 1851 aged 40 years…

“He brought strength in my journey and shortened my days

“Also Joseph, son of the above who died July 13th 1836 aged 2 years and 7 months.

“Also Mary Ann, widow of the above John Hepper who died January 29th 1885 aged 73 years.

“Her children shall arise up and call her blessed.”

It turns out there were at least three John Heppers, and I’m guessing this is the grave of John Hepper I.

There are a number of graves all grouped together belonging to the Hepper family and I wish I had more time to look at them properly to confirm it now.

As auctioneers they were second to none in Leeds. One of the most famous auctions held by them was for the sale of Roundhay Park. 

Hepper’s Blue Plaque. Photo: Mark Stevenson

The blue plaques you see dotted around Leeds are issued’by the Leeds Civic Trust. 

John Hepper III was the founding Chairman of the Trust.

Read more on West Leeds’ history with Mark’s History here.


  1. If you look on I have added other Hepper graves in the churchyard such as Christopher Hepper (auctioneer) and his widow Mary who died of poisoning by misadventure in 1884 at her daughter house Emma Eliza Grundy wife of Charles Donald Grundy.
    I think maybe the brother of John Hepper whom you highlighted.
    This last year I have been adding all graves possible and inscriptions (to preserve them) from St Johns as I am related to “Carrie” Steel who died in the fire with 11 other children on New years day 1891.
    I am making a Hepper family tree on ancestry as I write this to check the relationships in the graveyard.

  2. Dear Sir
    You may be interested to read of Edward Raymond Hepper 1892-1970 and his war diaries edited by his son Frank Nigel Hepper (Botanist)
    Edward Raymond Hepper was the grandson of John Hepper 1835-1915 Auctioneer. He served in the great war as a Captain in the17th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.


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