John Carr was born in Horbury, the first child of nine, to Rose Lascelles and Robert Carr who during John’s childhood lived in a cottage at the end of Northfield Lane. His father was a mason-architect and owned two small quarries. John entered the family business and learned draughtsmanship and practical construction skills while working at Bretton Hall and Chevet Park. These skills came into their own when he began his architectural career in around 1748, following his father into the post of joint county surveyor for the then West Riding of Yorkshire. At 23 years of age, Carr married Sarah Hinchcliffe, some ten years his senior, who worked as a maid at Bretton Hall when he was working there. They had no children, and he adopted his brother’s son William as his heir. About 1790, he obtained permission to demolish the old 12th century Norman church in Horbury. He replaced it, at his own expense, with the present church of St Peter and St Leonard, as he expressed it,”as a memorial to his skill and bounty.” The original cost was £8,000 with a further £2,000 for the bells and organ, which he added later. This would be the equivalent of between about £5 million and £10 million today depending on skilled labour costs.