George Wrigley (ca 1600 – 1656)


   1. His childhood

The earliest progenitor of our Wrigley family line is George/Georgi Wrigley, who was born in ca 1600. It is uncertain who his parents were, but it seems plausible that his roots were from a Wrigley family in the ancient hamlet of Diglee, West Riding, Yorkshire (now part of Greater Manchester), just 4.5 km north from Saddleworth, where he was buried.1-5

For centuries Saddleworth was a centre of woollen cloth production in the domestic system. Following the Industrial Revolution, in the 18th and 19th centuries, Saddleworth became a centre for cotton spinning and weaving. Many farmers and manufactures travelled to Almondbury, 24 km northeast of Saddleworth and later Huddersfield, 21 km northeast of Saddleworth, to trade their wool and cloth.5

In the early 17th century there were Wrigley families living around Saddleworth – the four ancient hamlets with Wrigleys being Diglee, Midgreave (later absorbed into Old Delph), Old Tame and Saddleworth Fold, and all within less than 10 km from each other.4,6-8 Whether these Wrigley families were related is not yet known, but the current Y-DNA projects involving Wrigley male descendants seeks to determine possible relationships.9,10Ammon Wrigley (1861-1946), an English poet and local historian from Saddleworth, discovered an original datestone at Old Tame on a garden wall of a demolished house with the inscription “J.W., E.W. 1639”, which were probably John and Esther Wrigley. Their names appeared in a Deed Lease document, relating to the hamlet of Old Tame near Saddleworth, dated 1640. According to Ammon Wrigley this was the earliest datestone around Friarmere.6.11  Could this couple have been related to George Wrigley?

   2. His wife

He married Ann Wilkinson, who was born in 1618 at Bingley, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire) in England.12

   3. His children

The number of children that George Wrigley had fathered is uncertain but four sons have been identified from researched sources thus far. There was George (≈2 January 1634 – Ω9 April 1641), John I (≈1637 – Ω14 November 1716, Saddleworth), Jacob (≈2 February 1640 – Ω20 February 1640) and John II (≈14 December 1648 – 22 September 1727). They were all christened at St Chad Anglican Church, Saddleworth. Two more children were born; Elizabeth (1652, Leymoor near Huddersfield – ?) and Johannes (1655, Leymoor – ?).1-3,12,13

Our family branch continued with the youngest son, John II. He was one of two sons to be named John. READ MORE on the second John Wrigley.

   4. His career

It is possible that George Wrigley was involved in the cloth manufacturing business as Saddleworth was a thriving wool industry town. He may have been a domestic cottage weaver (working from home) or a sheep farmer who provided wool to the mills and weavers. None of this, however, could be confirmed from research documents.

George Wrigley was born three years before the death of Queen Elizabeth I, who was then succeeded by James I who reined from 1603-1625. His convictions on the position of the king regularly brought James I in conflicted with the English Parliament. He was followed by Charles I whose rule lasted from 1625 to 1649. The English Civil War of 1642 to 1651 resulted in the replacement of the monarchy by the parliamentarians, and England and Wales was thereafter ruled as a republic called The Commonwealth with a Lord Protector and the Parliament overseeing the affairs of the country. This lasted until the English Restoration in 1660 when the monarchy was restored to the thrown in the person of Charles II. George died while the republican Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell was ruler over England.14-19 One wonders what George’s political convictions were. Royalist or Parliamentarian? And how much was the family’s normal daily living affected by the political dilemmas and upheaval of the day?

   5. His death

George Wrigley was buried in the church cemetery at St Chad Anglican Church at Saddleworth on 7 March 1656. The current St Chad church building originates from the late Georgian era, and was built in 1831, although the site has been a place of Christian worship since 1215 AD. Available records of the Bishops Transcripts of christenings, marriages and deaths in St Chad’s parish dates from 1612.7,20-22

Ammon Wrigley wrote several books on the history of Saddleworth and some of the odd personalities of some inhabitants. One relates to a vicar serving there at one point in time. The vicar and the church warden sat up late one night drinking the excellent ale in the pub near his church. The next day, however, he preached a fiery sermon on the evils of alcoholic beverages. “But, why?” asked the warden afterwards. “We ourselves sat up till late last night drinking!” “Indeed”, replied the vicar, “And do you want the whole parish to come drinking up that excellent brew? When the ale is as good as that, you don’t even tell your own father!” 6 Cunning vicar, indeed!


  1. Family tree notes by Jean Jamison, made available by Katie Taylor from Germany, October 2017.
  2. Wrigley. FamilyCentral Family History Service.
  3. The Wrigley Family. 1999 Copy of family notes made available in April 2019 by Simon Wrigley of Tel Aviv, Israel
  4. Information received on 2 March 2020 from Neil Burrow in the United Kingdom, coordinator of the Saddleworth Wrigley DNA Project
  5. Saddleworth.
  6. Muir, M. 2002 The Wrigley family of Netherton in Yorkshire. Research notes in possession of Tony Jamison, Randfontein, South Africa
  7. Radliffe, J. 1887 The Parish Registers of St Chad, Saddleworth, in the County of York (1613 – 1751).
  8. Historical maps. A vision of Britain through time.
  9. Wrigley DNA project.
  10. FamilyTreeDNA – Saddleworth, Yorkshire, England Surnames.
  11. Ammon Wrigley.
  12. Jamison family website of Rob Jamison. at
  13. Hurndall, R. 1933 History of the Wrigley family of Netherton, Yorkshire. Copy made available in July 2018 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England.
  14. Kings and Queens of England & Britain.
  15. Elizabeth I of England.
  16. James I of England and Scotland.
  17. Charles I of England.
  18. Charles II of England
  19. Oliver Cromwell.
  20. St Chad Saddleworth – Parish Church.
  21. Saddleworth Church, St Chad’s.–manchester-england-church,jpg
  22. UK Yorkshire Nidderdale Middlesmoor village St Chads churchyard view down Nidd Valley.