James Wrigley (1748 – 1809)


  1. His childhood

James, the fifth child of Robert and Mary Wrigley, was born in Netherton and christened on 19 March 1748 in Honley Church at Honley, as recorded in the Almondbury register. Honley is approximately 2.5 km from Netherton, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire), England. James had five siblings; John (*1738), Anna (*1740), Mary (*1742), Sarah (*1745) and Martha (*1750).1-3

   2. His wife

James Wrigley married with Elizabeth Kenworthy. She was the third daughter of Patience Buckley (≈14 May 1721 – ?) and Joseph Kenworthy (≈3 September 1721 – 1748) of Saddleworth. Elizabeth was born on 4 February 1748. Her two older sisters were Mary I (≈10 December 1742 – Ω7 April 1744) and Mary II (≈18 September 1745 – ?).1,2,4-6,7,8

Both James and Elizabeth were still being under aged when they eloped in early 1767. The two young, star-strucked lovers ran off to Rochdale, Lancashire, 25 km northwest of Netherton, where they married in secret on 2 March 1767. The bride-to-be rode on a pillion with James on his horse to the church at Rochdale. The matrimonial ceremony was witnessed by Jonathan Lawton, probably the brother of James’s (future) brother-in-law, Josiah Lawton, who married Anna Wrigley, older sister of James Wrigley.1,2,4-6,7

Why the need and decision to elope? Were their parents against the marriage, and if so, why? Was their love so most ardently that they had to be together at all cost? Or was the strong-willed Elizabeth behind the persuasion of James to elope? Fortunately their love story didn’t end in tragedy. If they followed a similar path as the couple Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet (from the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616), my husband and therefore, my children wouldn’t have been! Thank goodness!

One wonders what the response of their parents were when they heard of the clandestine marriage. It seems, however, as if all was well when James and Elizabeth returned to Netherton a few months later, in 1768 ….. married at a young age with a small baby, ready to take up a prominent position in the community. Maybe the sight of their rosy-cheeked grandson melted his grandparents’ hearts!

In her old age – probably seventies – “Dame Wrigley”, as Elizabeth was known in Netherton, was painted as a short, rather stout lady with a pink healthy-looking face. In 1933, this painting was still hanging in Croft House over the mantel-shelf in the breakfast-room.1

   3. His career

For nearly a year after their marriage, the young couple lived at Saddleworth, approximately 20 km southwest of Netherton, in a house that was made available to them by Elizabeth’s aunt, Martha Kenworthy, wife of John Wrigley (1694 – 1762), the wealthy uncle of James Wrigley. A few months later in 1768, they moved to Netherton, with their eldest child still a young baby. Upon arriving Elizabeth prophesied that before long, they would be riding in their own carriage, which eventually became true.  James inherited Netherton Hall estate from his uncle, John who died in 1762 when James was approximately 16 years old. The house itself, Netherton Hall, also referred to as Old Hall, was on Corn Bank in Netherton and James renovated it extensively before he moved in with his young family in 1768.1,9-12

The estate consisted of many acres because it was later sub-divided between his sons and grandsons. In the same year that they moved to Netherton, James founded James Wrigley & Sons, Ltd. and became the owner of Cocking Steps Mill just outside of Netherton situated next to the stream, Mag Brook.1,9,11-13The mill was built in 1760, and operated as a fulling mill (cleaning dirt and oil from wool) when James bought it. In 1790, James converted it to a scribbling mill (preparing raw fleece for spinning using carding that disentangles, cleans and intermixes fibers into continuous slivers of wool). He became an affluent manufacturer of woolen cloth and the founder of the Wrigley legacy in the woolen industry. He was one of the first mill owners to introduce steam power engines and later also power looms at his factory, from about 1801 onward. His mill, locally known as the Wrigley Mill, eventually manufactured products such as kerseys (course woolen cloth named from Kersey, Suffolk), moleskin (a double-twilled cotton fabric), hunting cloths (the West England type) and livery cloth, which gained high reputation in England until the late 1940s. James Wrigley traded at Almondbury and further a field, even in London.9,11,14,15 Members of the firm would cart their goods by horse-drawn wagons, with stop-overs at Wellingborough and Stamford, and filled up with wool for the return journey.2,12Becoming an owner of a Netherton mill – despite being only 16 years old – seemed to have elevated James Wrigley to a high and prominent level within the community. When the first sod of the Huddersfield-Meltham Railway line was lifted on 4 April 1864 by Mr. Charles Brook in a field near Meltham Mills, the 18-year old James presented the spade. Mr. Brook cut three sods, placed them in a wheelbarrow, wheeled it along a platform, and then tossed them out! Rain fell heavily during the ceremony, but there were many people present. The single track Meltham branch line ran for 5.6 km from Lockwood to Meltham. On 6 February 1869 the rail was finally opened for goods traffic. When the first passenger train consisting of an engine, tender and eleven carriages left Hudderdield station at 07:20 on 5 July 1869, excitement was in the air. Flags and bunting were displayed along the line, at the signal boxes and at every station where fog signals were fired. At every station people boarded and at Netherton station James Wrigley, who had been keenly interested in the construction of the railway, was the first to obtain a railway ticket.16Elizabeth Wrigley contributed much to the success of James’s business. Where James was more of an easy-going phlegmatic, Elizabeth was strong-willed, rather cantankerous and very ambitious. She was the one who persuaded her husband to take his cloth to London to expand his range of clients, and “if he would not take it, then she would do it herself”. Once she even made James ride the risky 200 km trip to London, alone, on horseback, on a road riddled with Highwaymen, taking with him a bale of their cloth to a London client.1 One wonders …. did Elizabeth want her husband dead?!

Initially James drove the wagons loaded with cloth to St Mary Axe in Houndsditch, London himself. Two of his sons, armed with pistols, would ride on horseback next to the wagons to protect the traveling party against robbers. As the woolen cloth business increasingly flourished, James appointed more, special men who became responsible for the transport and protection of the produce. Four of his sons eventually joined in the family business – James jr., John, Joseph and Robert.1 It was John’s great-grandson, William Garnett ” Gary” Wrigley (1873 – 1930), who would be the last Wrigley to run Cocking Steps Mill. After being owned by the Wrigley family for almost 200 years, the mill was sold to the Netherton Spinning Company Ltd in the 1950s. In the late 1990s, the mill was converted into residential buildings, renamed Wrigley Court.9,11,12

   4. His death

James died in 1809 at Netherton Hall at the age of 61 years.1-4,7,11,12 After her husband died, Elizabeth moved from Netherton Hall where she spent 41 years of her life, to a two-roomed dwelling house in Netherton Fold.1,4 This house was provided to her without rent by her son John, according to the instructions in the last will of James Wrigley sr.1 She lived for another 20 years until her dying day on 10 May 1829, aged 81. According to folklore, her great-grandson, Henry, then a boy of seven, got into her coffin to see what it was like. Elizabeth Wrigley was buried three days later on 13 May 1829 in the cemetery at Almondbury.1,2,4,7,11,12,17

His first will was drawn up on 18 August 1808. As James’s health continued to deteriorate, so much so that by June 1809 he was dying, the two appointed executors in his will, his sons John (35) and Thomas (20), exploited the situation. Claiming that their father would die intestate with no will in place, they rushed the compilation of their father’s ‘last’ will, and in the process ensuring unjustly that they, and in particular John, inherited more than they would have compared to the first will.1,2 James was too ill to realise what was going on and the will was signed on 16 June 1809. Seventeen days later on 3 July 1809 James Wrigley passed away. He was buried on 6 July 1809 in the cemetery of Almondbury Parish Church. The probate date of his estate was on 28 December 1809 in York, Yorkshire (now North Yorkshire), England.1,8

5. His children

James and Elizabeth had 11 children, all christened at Almondbury Parish Church.1-5 Apart from their eldest child being born in Saddleworth, all the others were born at Netherton Hall.1 The children were:

5.1 James jr. (II)

Their eldest child, James II was born on 2 December 1767 at Saddleworth at one o’clock in the morning.1,2 Although the whole entail of the Netherton property and the headship of the Wrigley family was due to him after the death of his father – being the eldest son and according to the law of those days – James jr. was disinherited before he turned 21 years. Reasons are unknown for his father’s decision, but is seems as if James sr. considered his son to be of weak character, with this consideration being strongly influenced by James’s elder brother, John Wrigley (ca 1738 – 1793) who insisted on the disinheritance of his nephew. In spite of this misfortune, James jr. continued to work at his father’s mill until his own death in 1815 at the age of 48 years. When his father died in 1809, James jr. inherited the house that he lived in on a part of his father’s Netherton estate, as well as 100 pounds to built a barn near his house, and part of a close in Netherton, called Broad End. He, however, did not inherit the cloth manufacturing family business James Wrigley & Sons Ltd., including Cocking Steps Mill or the headship of the Wrigley family. This went to his younger brother, John.1

When James jr. was 25 years old, he married 21 year-old Betty Perkin (1771 – 1833) on 27 December 1792 at Huddersfield. According to folklore, Betty had bright red hair. On the occasion of their  marriage, a house, called “Lane Top”, was build for them, alongside his father’s house, on a part of the Netherton Hall estate. Lane Top was later renamed to “The Elms”. Behind the house was also a deep well and a barn with a door that opened into a adjoining field, that his father gave him.1,2,4,12

The couple had five children; Frances (31 December 1793, born at 9:50 am – 1864, London), Mary (16 November 1794 – ?), Robert (17 March 1796, born at 11:10 am – 1833), Catherine (*ca 1798) and Margaret (16 June 1804, born at 8:00 pm – 5 September 1805).1,7,11,12 Betty died on 29 November 1805, aged 34, three months after the death of their youngest child. Two years after the death of his first wife, James jr. married the widow, Ann Kaye of Farnley Tyas near Almondbury on 12 December 1807. She had a daughter, Mary, from her first marriage. James Wrigley sr., however, was vexed by his son’s decision to remarry, for some unknown reason.1 The couple continued to live at The Elms where James jr. died on 27 December 1815 at the age of 48 years. James Wrigley jr. (II) was interred at Holy Trinity Church at South Crosland.1-4,11,12,18 The widowed Ann left The Elms and moved in with her daughter, Mary Kaye, who had married Thomas Dyson of Netherton. There Ann Wrigley remained until she passed away.1James and Betty Wrigley’s daughter, Frances married Joseph Bramley on 16 January 1817 at Almondbury but thereafter went to live in Leeds.1,2,7 Their son, Robert (aged 19) finished his education just before his father’s death in 1815, at Dronfield Academy near Sheffield, which lies in South Yorkshire, ca 40 km southeast of Netherton. He seemed to have soon thereafter joined the family woolen business, James Wrigley & Sons Co. at Netherton and continued to live at The Elms. There his grandmother, Elizabeth Wrigley came to live in and keep house for him until his marriage, since his stepmother had already left soon after his father’s death to reside with Robert’s stepsister, Mary.1 Robert married Harriet Berry (1797 – 1871) on 19 May 1819 and they had nine children. They were Charlotte (8 March 1820 – 21 December 1827), Henry (24 March 1821 – 1883), Maria (30 July 1822 – 1833), Sarah Jane (12 March 1824 – 1911), Edward (≈28 August 1825 – 1886), George Richard (≈18 February 1827 – 1837), John James (≈21 December 1828 – 1904, Australia), Charlotte Ellen (13 March 1830 – 1914) and Margaret (≈20 April 1832 – 1861).1,4,7,12

By 1820, Robert’s uncle John Wrigley, however, left him high-and-dry, when John took full control of the business and changed its name to John Wrigley & Sons Co.1,2,11,12 Although Robert was offered a partnership at his uncle Joseph’s newly established woolen manufacturing mill after that incident, his Uncle Robert advised him against it. The younger Robert, with the help of his Uncle Robert, then built a warehouse opposite The Elms where he pursued a weaving business. Unfortunately this business endeavor was unsuccessful. The warehouse stood empty for many years. In 1873, a private Billiard Club, consisting of seven Wrigleys, namely Henry, Edward, Layton, James, George Henry, Albert, Joseph and Fred, occupied a room for several years, later the warehouse was taken over by the Conservative Club using one part of the warehouse and the other part being converted into a Mechanics Institute. In 1924, the warehouse was sold and by 1933 the Urban District Council occupied the building.1,2

What Robert Wrigley did after his warehouse venture, is unknown, but he later became an important and very respected man in the South Crosland district. He was elected Constable of South Crosland, was Churchwarden of South Crosland for the Chapelry of Honley from 1822 to 1824 and became the first Churchwarden of the newly established Holy Trinity Church, Almondbury – under Rev George Hough, vicar from 1829 – 1879 – from 1829 until his death on 26 April 1833 at The Elms. Robert was only 37 years old when he passed away. Apparently he was a very handsome man and an excellent horseman.1,4,12,19

5.2 Sarah

She was born in 1769, christened on 24 December 1769, but sadly died of fever at the age of four years. Sarah was buried on 27 March 1773 in Almondbury.1,2,4,7,8,12

5.3 Mary

Mary was christened on 27 December 1772, but also died of fever one year later at Netherton Hall, at the same time as her sister, Sarah. The two sisters were buried together in the same grave at Almondbury.1,2,4,7,8,12 It must have been devastating for the parents to loose two little girls at the same time.

5.4 John

Their fourth child, John was born on 17 May 1774 and christened on 12 June 1774 at Almondbury. He married Hannah Batley on 18 July 1797 in Almondbury’s Anglican Parish Church. Hannah was born on 7 April 1771, was from Crosland Edge near Honley, and was 26 years old on her wedding day.1,4,11,12,18,20-23 The Batley family was from Netherton. Her father was Joseph Batley (? – 1872, Bristol), a dyer by profession and had a strong, solid and sterling character. Every Sunday the family would travel in their large covered cart to Highfield Independent Chapel, a non-conformist church denomination, in Ramsden Street in Huddersfield.1,21 Hannah’s brother, Joseph jr. later became the first Town Clerk of Huddersfield.1 It seems as if John Wrigley converted from Anglicanism to Protestantism by becoming a non-conformist after his marriage to Hannah Batley, as all his children were christened at the Highfield Independent Chapel in Huddersfield.1,8,24-30Hannah was a pious and very gentle person. Even after being widowed in 1833, she continued to live in their house until her own death on 25 January 1857, aged 85. The Congregational Chapel in Netherton – now called “New School” in the village, although being 175 years old –  was built in her honour in 1843, when her son John III donated a piece of land. Her son, William was one of the trustees.1 Netherton Congregational Chapel was also built in 1843 for the benefit of the late Hannah (Batley) Wrigley.7

In that same year as their marriage, the building of their three-storey house, called “Field House” was completed on a part of the Netherton Hall estate where John lived with his own family, and where his widow remained until 1857. This house also had a warehouse at the end of the building were woolen cloth was stored. Like his father, John became a woollen manufacturer and merchant of Netherton at Wrigley Mill.1,4,12,31

In contrast to his father though, John seemed to have had a strong and forceful nature which he put to good use in serving his own ambitious interests. One day his brother James went into the field that his father gave him, only to find John standing there informing his brother that he arranged things in such a way that the field was now his property. A row ensued, and James finally walled up the door of his barn that opened into this field. John seemingly got his way. He also took over ownership of Cocking Steps Mill as well as headship of the Wrigley family in 1809 after his father had died. Field House, where he already resided at, he also inherited together with a barn and cow shed on a part of the Netherton estate of his late father, as well as half of a close in Netherton, called Small End.1 In 1820, John changed the name of his late father’s company from James Wrigley & Sons to John Wrigley & Sons. This seemed to have caused much unhappiness within the Wrigley family as his brother, Joseph and his two sons, Thomas Cockhill Wrigley and Joseph Wrigley Jr., left the family firm to start up their own mill. Rumour has it that John had worked his brother Joseph out of the family business. John Wrigley died on 10 July 1833 at 00:45 am in Scarborough, a coastal town in Yorkshire (now North Yorkshire), England, about 145 km northeast of Netherton. His remains were brought to Netherton and thereafter buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, South Crosland.1,4,12,18,20 His death was announced in the newspaper:1

Together John and Hannah Wrigley had eleven children, all born at Field House in Netherton and christened at Highfield Independent Chapel, Huddersfield. The children were Anne “Annie” (≈25 October 1798 – 1880, Huddersfield), Elizabeth (≈4 July 1800 – 1884, Huddersfield), Mary (1801 – 1880, Huddersfield), Amy (≈February 1802 – ?), William (≈7 October 1804 – 28 February 1873, Huddersfield), Margaret Sarah (*28 July 1806, ≈22 Oktober 1806, †1832, South Crosland), James III (≈8 December 1808 – 12 April 1893), Emma (*5 January 1811, ≈14 August 1811, †1898, Huddersfield), Sarah (1813 – ?), Ruth (16 November 1814 – 29 June 1850, Huddersfield) and John Batley (*10 November 1815, ≈7 November 1816, †1881, London).1,4,7,21,24-30,32,33

  • Elizabeth, the second child, married William Willans (1800 – 1863), son of Benjamin Wrigley (1771 – ?) and Sarah Howarth (1772 – ?), on 25 May 1825.1,2,8,21,34 William ran a successful wool-trading business in Huddersfield. The couple had three daughters of whom only Emily (1828 – 1888) survived infancy.  Emily went on to marry Joseph Dixon Asquith (1825 – 1860). Joseph and Emily’s one son, Herbert Henry Asquith (1852 – 1928), had an illustrious political career and became Prime Minister from 1908 to 1914. He was created Lord Oxford & Asquith in 1925.2,34-36
  • William, the eldest son, inherited a 50 %-share of his father’s family business and the land belonging, at Netheron at the age of 29 in 1833. The other half went to his Uncle Robert Wrigley, but William soon thereafter bought his uncle’s share of the freehold of the mill and became the sole owner of Cocking Steps Mill (Wrigley Mill). He expanded the mill considerably by erecting additional buildings. William was married on 3 April 1839 at Brunswick Chapel, Huddersfield. His bride was Mary Garnett (6 December 1808 – 1862), daughter of James Garnett and Sarah Pullen. The Garnetts were from Bradford where they were also involved in the woollen trade. Since his married brother, James III had already settled at Field House where their mother and youngest brother also still resided, William went to live at Springdale, Huddersfield.1,21 There, in 1841, William was appointed Deacon at Ramsden Street Chapel and retained this office until his death in 1873, aged 70.1,7,20 He identified with all the prominent philanthropic enterprises of his time and his liberality was displayed in promoting the physical comforts, educational advantages and religious life of the people. He helped found Huddersfield College.7 After his wife passed away in 1865, William sr. married again on 9 February 1865 to Sarah Dewhirst (1819 – 1901) of Huddersfield.1,21William and Mary had five children; Frances (≈19 April 1840 – 1888), William jr. (≈24 September 1843 – 1917), Mary jr. (≈19 October 1845 – 4 July 1932), Richard Garnett (≈11 April 1849 – 1929, he moved to Vienna, Austria) and Sarah Esther (*15 April 1853, Lockwood, ≈24 July 1853, †23 October 1926, Isle of Wight; married to George Bennett Harding [1853 – 1933]). One of William and Mary Wrigley’s grandchildren, William Garnett “Gary” Wrigley (1873 – 1930), was the last Wrigley to run Cocking Steps Mill. The mill was sold in the 1950s. There is a plaque in his memory at Holy Trinity Church, South Crosland.1,7,211
  • James Wrigley III, their seventh child and second son, was christened on 8 December 1808 at Highfield Independent Chapel, Huddersfield. He married Sarah Shaw (ca 1813 – 1889) at St. Mary the Virgin Church at Elland, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire) on 24 September 1834.28,37 James III worked at the family firm, initially with his father John and later under his elder brother, William. Where William inherited Cocking Steps Mill, James III inherited Field House in Netherton where he lived until his death in 1893. When William died in 1873, James Wrigley III became head of the family business, John Wrigley & Sons, Ltd.1,22 James III died on 12 April 1893, aged 84, at Field House and was buried on 15 April at Holy Trinity Church at South Crosland.28James and Sarah Wrigley had six children. They were Sarah Ann (≈20 June 1836 – 1914), George Henry (28 September 1837, Huddersfield – 24 August 1884, Netherton), James Albert (≈20 January 1840 – March 1920), Maria Louisa (15 September 1842, Huddersfield – 9 September 1916), Emily (1849, Netherton – 1900, who never married) and Helen Matilda (1851 – 1947).1,3,7,20,21,28,38 The two brothers were both working as woollen merchants at John Wrigley & Sons. In 1878, George Wrigley bought Netherton Hall, that once belonged to his great-grandfather James Wrigley (1748 – 1809), and later to his grand-uncle Joseph Wrigley (1778 – 1833). Soon after his marriage on 19 June 1878 in Manchester to Lilly Maria Barton (1852, Broughton – 1923) – his second cousin once removed, and the great-granddaughter of Joseph Wrigley – the deal for the sale was sealed. George and Lilly knocked down the old original house called Netherton Hall, and built another further back on the property. This new Victorian house was called White Gate House, also known as Whitegates, where they resided from 1878 until 1888.1,4,7,11,12,21,31,38George’s brother, James Albert Wrigley, who wed Mary Carr (ca 1840 – ?) on 10 October 1865 in London, resided at Fieldhead. It was the fifth house to be built on the original Netherton estate of James Wrigley (1748 – 1809), and was a rather large house necessary to accommodate his family of nine sons and one daughter. Albert Wrigley remained attached to Cocking Steps Mill until his death on 6 April 1920. During his life time, Albert Wrigley also served as Justice of the Peace (local magistrate) as he was Chairman of the South Crosland Urban District Council from 1894 to 1919. This Council existed from December 1894 until 1 April 1938. The Wrigley Mill itself stopped operating in August 1925.1,7,12,21,31,39
  • Emma went on to be married at the age of 22 years on 22 October 1833 in the All Hallows Almondbury Anglican Church to Charles Henry Jones (*12 May 1800, Buxton, Derbyshire, †28 August 1884, Ω2 September 1884, Edgerton Cemetery, Hudderfield).1,21,40 Charles worked as a woolen draper in Manchester before moving to Huddersfield in the 1840s. He became a director of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company – a major British railway company founded in 1847 operating until its amalgamation in 1922 – and later a director of the Midland Railway Company – founded in 1844 and in 1922 amalgamated with other companies. Charles Jones, however, was also very active in the local government of Huddersfield. He served as an Improvement Commissioner on Huddersfield’s local urban government board, which was tasked with responsibilities related to street paving, cleansing, lighting, providing watchmen or dealing with various public nuisances. Thereafter Charles served as a councillor for the Huddersfield West Ward on the first Town Council. He was elected as the town’s first mayor in September 1868 and served in the role for three consecutive years. He also became a member of the Huddersfield School Board between 1874 and 1877.40-43Together Emma and Charles Jones had six children; Emma Wrigley (ca 1838 – 1909), Alice (ca 1840 – ?), James (ca 1842 – ?), Ann Elizabeth (ca 1845 – ?), Charles Henry jr. (1846 – 1914) and Herbert Edward (1854 – ca 1926).40
  • The eleventh and youngest child of John and Hannah Wrigley, called John Batley, married Mary Ann Kitson (ca 1815 – 1888) in 1841 at Brunswick Chapel in Huddersfield, when he was 26 years old. They moved into Croft House, for which they took a lease for ten years for 130 pounds a year, to be paid half yearly, signed on 12 January 1841. By then Robert Wrigley sr. had already moved back to Stone Pitt Hill in Netherton, to the house which he and his wife, Anne occupied for the first three years of their marriage. At some point, John Batley deserted his wife and four children and went to London where he died at age 66 in 1881. Two of their children died young and were buried at South Crosland churchyard in the same grave as their grandfather, John Wrigley. When Robert sr. died in 1843, his son-in-law, Thomas Connah bought the house.1 It is uncertain whether Mary Wrigley and her children were allowed to continue living at Croft House.1

5.5 Benjamin

Benjamin was born on 3 June 1776 and christened on 16 June 1776 at Almondbury.1,2 He worked with his three brothers, James, John and Joseph at the cloth manufacturing family business. He was acting as the marketing and sales representative of his father’s company and travelled far and wide, including the United States of America (USA). From 1801, he settled in New York City for a short time. There, at the age of 25 years, he married Maria Posnet(t), an American born in New York City, on 24 August 1801 in the Trinity Parish Church, New York City. Their first son, William James was born on 22 July 1802 and christened at the Broadway and 71st Street Episcopal Church in New York. The young family soon thereafter returned to England. Sadly, William died in March 1803 at the age of 8 months (33 weeks) and was buried in the churchyard of the Almondbury Parish Church in the same grave as where his grandparents, James and Elizabeth Wrigley were later buried. Their second son was born in 1805 and was also named William. Maria, however, was unhappy at Netherton and later returned to America with young William, where she married a man called ‘Devil’ (possibly, and hopefully, derived from the surname De Ville).1,2,11,12 The family rumour that this young William became the grandfather of the prestigious American, William Wrigley jr. (1861 – 1932),1,7,11 probably originated around the start of the twentieth century, but genealogical studies have now concluded that they were not related.44-47

At the age of 37 years, Benjamin Wrigley married 23 year-old Salome “Sally” Jagger (≈1790, Almondbury) of Lockwood on 1 August 1813 at Rothwell, Yorkshire.1,2,11,12 Benjamin’s family was against this marriage. Benjamin’s younger brother, Thomas tried to stop the liaison, and went so far as to publicly forbade the union when the Banns of Marriage was read out one Sunday morning at the local Almondbury Church. This didn’t stop Benjamin and Sally, and they went elsewhere to be married.1 What could the Wrigley family’s opposing reasons to their proposed marriage be? Had his first marriage with Maria Posnet(t) not yet been dissolved? But then no civil or religious institution would have conducted an illegal marital ceremony. Perhaps the real reason was that Sally Jagger was considered unsuitable because of her social status. She was an illiterate woman from the working class – she signed documents with a cross48 – and therefore, according to upper-class snobbery, unworthy of the stately and wealthy Wrigley family.

The newly married couple returned to Netherton where they lived in a cottage. In 1817, Benjamin was called up for duty in the military force of Yorkshire, but somehow managed to get out of it as he never served in the Militia. His call-up notice read as follows:1Benjamin and Sally had five children: Benjamin (*16 August 1814, ≈2 September 1814, †1879, Halifax), Elizabeth (1816 – 1885), Sarah (≈29 June 1817 – ?), Mary (≈28 November 1819 – 1876, Honley) and Frances “Fanny” (≈6 May 1821 – ?).1,7,12 What kind of work Benjamin did while in Netherton is unknown. He also didn’t inherit much from his father’s estate in 1809 – just 100 pounds and the incoming rent from two houses in Netherton. The 46 year-old Benjamin died on 4 December 1822 at Netherton and was buried at Almondbury in the Almondbury parish churchyard.1,2,12,21

Sally remarried again to Charles Heaton on 25 April 1825 at Almondbury. Seven children were born from their marriage. They were Harriet (*1826), Henry (*1827), Hannah (*1828), Isabel (*1830), Barbary (*1831), Frederick (*1835) and Sophie (*1837). They lived in Netherton as a worker-class family labouring as cloth and woolen finishers, as warpers of wool, and as factory workers. In 1841 their five eldest children between the ages of 15 and 10 years old were listed as workers (not as scholars). At that stage Mary Wrigley, Sally’s one daughter from her first marriage was also still living with them and worked as a woolen worker.44 Mary’s elder sister, Elizabeth Wrigley went to live her uncle, Robert Wrigley of Netherton after her father had died in 1822.1 Sally Heaton died at the age of 83 years on 13 Mei 1877 and was laid to rest by Reverend George Hough of the Holy Trinity Church.48

5.6 Joseph

Joseph (1778 – 1833) was their sixth child1,2,11,12 and became my husband’s great-great-great-great-grandfather. READ MORE on Joseph Wrigley I.

5.7 William

He was born on 26 November 1779 and christened at Almondbury on 25 December 1779. In early 1797 at the age of 17 years, he was already engaged to be married to the 12 year-old Ann Blackett of Brixton, London who was born on 10 April 1785 at Middlesex, London. This marriage, however, was not to be as William suddenly died on 4 January 1797 in Almondbury. His fiancée attended the funeral at Almondbury Parish Church, where she met William’s brother, Robert. While walking with her, he told her that” there were as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it”. Ann eventually married Robert 15 years later; a decision she likely regretted for the rest of her life.1,2,7,12

Ann Blackett was the daughter of John Blackett (≈31 May 1747, Ω15 October 1795) and Abigail Luccock (1749 – 1803), and had eight siblings. John Blackett had a drapery and linen business at 31 West Smithfield, London. He also also an Alderman of London, a title used for an elected member of a city council. The Blacketts met the Wrigleys through their business dealings with Cocking Steps woolen mill at Netherton.1,3

5.8 Sarah

Sarah, also known as Sally, was born on 18 December 1781 and christened on 10 February 1782.1,2,8,12 At the age of 24 years on 22 December 1806, she married John Smith Barlow, a hatter of Leeds, in Saddleworth. Three years later in 1809 Sally inherited 400 pounds from her father’s estate.1

John and Sally Barlow had five children namely Elizabeth (1810 – 1863), Thomas, John James, Sarah Jane and William Henry. Their third child, John James, became Canon of Gloucester Cathedral. After John Barlow retired from business, he and Sarah left Leeds to take up residence with their son in Gloucester. Both John and Sarah died there; John on 17 March 1854 in his 70th year and Sarah on 31 August 1858, aged 77. She survived all her brothers and sisters by nine years.1

5.9 Robert

Robert was born on 15 December 1784 and christened on 16 January 1785.1,7,8,12 He joined the Royal Army and was in the Army of Defence during the Napoleonic Wars. Robert became Ensign in 1803 at the age of 19 years, Lieutenant in 1805 and Captain in 1810. It was in 1809 that he inherited from his father’s estate a close in Netherton, called Shop Close with two cottages at the upper end of the close, 300 pounds towards the building of his own house as well as two allotments on Netherton Moor. Although the Napoleonic Wars only ended in 1815, Robert must have left the Service in ca 1812, and joined his brothers at Wrigley Mill. Robert’s nick name in Netherton was “Old Captain”.1,12

In that same year that Robert left the military service, he married Ann Blackett (10 April 1785 – 29 May 1836) of Brixton, London on 29 May 1812. She was previously engaged to Robert’s late brother, William.1,3,12,21 The newly married couple returned to Netherton and first lived at Stone Pit Hill before moving in 1815 into their newly built house, called Croft House. Robert Wrigley was a drunkard and had a violent temper.1,12,31 During some of his bouts of heavy drinking, he used to turn on his wife and chase her out of Croft House. Ann would then go and live with her sister, Elizabeth in Rochdale, about 30 km away. Elizabeth Blackett was married to William Stephens (? – 1839), who painted the portraits of many members of the Wrigley family. There Ann remained until her husband instructed her to come home. During his wife’s absence, his niece, Frances Wrigley, daughter of dr. Thomas Wrigley, kept house for him. It must have been a most unpleasant job for her. Ann died in 1836, aged 51, and was buried at the South Crosland churchyard.1The Wrigley family didn’t associate much with Robert, most likely because of his drinking problem, bad temper and ill-treatment of his wife. It also couldn’t have been a very easy childhood for their two children – a son called Blackett and a daughter called Emily.1,12 Robert and Ann Wrigley also took in a foster child, their niece Elizabeth, who was the eldest daughter of Robert’s brother, Benjamin. She was six years old when her father, Benjamin Wrigley died in 1822.1

  • Blackett (*20 May 1813, ≈2 September 1813, †1886) married Mary Richmond (1826 – ?).1,7,12 Apparently he was drunk on his wedding day. Like father, like son? Blackett and Mary lived in Birkenhead, approximately 300 km west of Netherton. It is interesting to note that Blackett gave the celebrated baritone, Charles Santley (1834 – 1922), his first singing lesson. Blackett and Mary Wrigley later emigrated to Australia in ca 1847. Their marriage remained childless.1,12,49
  • Robert and Ann’s daughter, Emily (*18 May 1814, ≈12 August 1814, †9 January 1846) married Thomas Connah (? – 1849) of Liverpool on 29 October 1835 at West Street Chapel, Rochdale, Lancashire.1,7,8,21 The ceremony was performed by Rev. William Stephens. The couple settled in Liverpool. Their children were Anne (*1836), Henry (*1838), Thomas William (*1845) and Emily (*1847). Emily (Wrigley) Connah died at the age of 32 and was interred with her parents at South Crosland churchyard. Thomas Connah soon thereafter remarried. Mary Stephens became his second wife. She was the sister of Thomas’s son-in-law, Thomas Blackett Stephens, who was married to his daughter, Anne. Anne Connah also was Thomas Blackett Stephens’s first cousin once removed. Thomas Stephens was once the ardent admirer of Anne’s beautiful mother, Emily Wrigley – who also was his first cousin – but since she was already betrothed to be married to Thomas Connah, he vowed that “if he could not have her, he would wait for her daughter.” This he did indeed, and 21 years later he married the 18-year old Anne. Two years later in 1856 Anne and Thomas Stephens immigrated to Australia. Ten years later in 1866, Anne’s brother, William followed them to Australia.1

When his brother, John Wrigley died in 1833, Robert inherited a 50 %-share in the Mill. Soon thereafter he retired from the Mill and led a rather idle life until his death, leaving the running of the family business to his two nephews, William and James III (John Wrigley’s sons). Robert did, however, become Overseer of the Poor, as well as the first Guardian of South Crosland in the Huddersfield Union from 1837 to 1839, and again from 1841 until his death in 1843.1,12,50 It seems as if Robert Wrigley sobered up later in his life, allowing him to be appointed in these positions, otherwise he wouldn’t have been the most pleasant (or honest) Overseer to deal with!

Robert Wrigley died on 29 April 1843 at his house in Stone Pitt Hill, Netherton at the age of 59 years. He asked to be buried on sloping ground so that he could look down on Netherton Valley when he would rose from the dead, but he was buried in the same family tomb at the Holy Trinity South Crosland churchyard with his wife, Ann, who had died in 1836. Robert left no will. Letters of Administration was granted in May 1843. Blackett sold his father’s property, including Croft House, to his brother-in-law, Thomas Connah, for 1500 pounds on 9 April 1844. After Thomas had died in 1849, the property went to his son, William Connah.1,12 Emily Connah’s unmarried grand-niece, Margaret “Maggie” Wrigley (1862 – 1952) lived at Croft House for some time.4,21 Maggie was a family historian and in 1936 published a booklet called A short history of Netherton and the Wrigleys, 1633 – 1936.2,7 She was one of the last generation of Wrigleys to live in Croft House, Netherton.21 READ HERE a news paper article on Margaret Wrigley.

5.10 Mary

Mary, also called Molly, was born on 10 February 1787 and christened on 25 February 1787 in Saddleworth.1,2,12 Molly inherited 500 pounds from her father’s estate in 1809.1

The 26 year-old Mary married Thomas Johnson on 21 June 1813. The couple lived at Upperhead Row in Huddersfield and had four children, namely Joseph, Elizabeth, Thomas and William James. Mary died on 18 April 1836 at the age of 49 years, and was probably buried at Huddersfield.1,8

5.11 Thomas

Their eleventh and youngest child, Thomas, trained as a medical surgeon. He was born on 9 March 1789 on the mat in the portico of Netherton Hall.1,12 One month later on 12 April 1789 he was christened at Almondbury.7 On 14 June 1810, at the age of 21 years, he married Hannah Hirst of Birkby at St. Peter’s Parish Church in Huddersfield. In that same year, he opened his private surgery practice in Huddersfield where he also prepared and sold medicines and drugs. He also was an expert in gynaecology and childbirth. This he demonstrated by the several successful births he assisted with in his youth, even before his training and qualification as a medical doctor. As Huddersfield had no hospital, he conducted surgical procedures at his house and most likely worked under a cacophony of screams, as chloroform as a means of an anaesthetic was introduced only in 1847. Thomas also owned Cotton Warp Mill in Huddersfield. He himself was not involved in the mill, it was worked for him.1,12,51

Thomas and Hannah Wrigley had only one child, Caroline Sarah (≈14 August 1811 – 1888).1,2,7,12 Hannah died in 1812. Caroline went on to marry Edward Randall Vickers. The Vickers lived in Leeds and had four children. After Caroline’s first husband had died, she married James Henderson. They had no children.1

Dr Thomas Wrigley married again – three years after his first wife Hannah had died – on 19 October 1815 at St Peter’s Parish Church to 25 year-old Christiana Berry (1791 – 1858), daughter of Godfrey Berry (1756 – 1829) and Elizabeth Walker. Godfrey Berry was a wealthy maltster from Huddersfield. His other daughter, Harriet, married Robert Wrigley, nephew of Thomas Wrigley.1,2,8,12 Christiana and Thomas Wrigley had six children, all born at Huddersfield. The children were Charles James (1816 – 1870), Edward (1817 – 1819), Jane Berry (≈26 March 1819 – 1892), Frances (1820 – 1899), Harriet (*1823, who died young) and Thomas jr. (1826 – 1908). Dr Thomas Wrigley lived in Queen Street, Huddersfield where he also died at the age of 60 on 27 May 1849. He was buried in a vault under the tower of St Peter’s Church, the Huddersfield Parish Church. His wife was buried with Thomas in the same vault in 1858.1,11,21,51.52Apparently Thomas had a sweet tooth and was very fond of toffee. On his first maternity-case in 1806 – at the age of seventeen! – he was promised a large amount if he delivered the baby safely into the world.1

Thomas became a much respected surgeon in the community and a stalwart of the parish church. He attended many vestry meetings between 1820 and 1835, was a trustee of a parish charity and Churchwarden from 1825 to 1826. In 1823, he was also recruited as Water Trust Commissioner to serve as a trustee of the Commissioners for Lighting, Watching and Cleansing of the town, the charity project of John Harrison of Leeds. Thomas remained a very active member until 1848. At some point, he was also the Chief Constable of Huddersfield. Thomas Wrigley  became a pioneering figure in Huddersfield’s early urban history. In the early 19th century, “Huddersfield was a miserable village, the houses poor and scattered, the streets narrow, crooked and dirty, some parts of the town was wretched and unsavoury.” Town planning for the growing little town was non-existing. Thomas, however, had a huge concern for the quality of the town’s water and gas supply, street lighting, sanitation and street cleaning, as well as the problems with general obstructions and nuisances such as footpaths and cellar flaps. Huddersfield wasn’t all ugly and squalid. The market village had a flourishing cotton industry. There were the plain but tidy houses of the respectable tradespeople, with more pretentious abodes occasionally seen. In summer, the sweet sense of roses within little railed-off gardens hung about the dusty pavements. The town was surrounded by charming and unspoiled meadows and cornfields.” The dawn of the Industrial Revolution, however, put an end to the picturesque Huddersfield when the establishment of numerous factories quickly turned Huddersfield into a buzzing, grimy, polluted industrial town.1,11,51-53



REFERENCE 8: A big thank you to Richard Lyne for sharing photos and his detailed research data on our Wrigley ancestors with me. It is much appreciated!

REFERENCE 21: Much gratitude is due to James Wrigley (great-great-grandson of William Wrigley [1804 – 1873]) of England who so kindly established contact with me and supplied additional information and rare photos of family portraits, which have not been published before. This significantly enriched the story that is being told here on the lives of James Wrigley and Elizabeth Kenworthy. Thank you for the continuing support of my research by sharing additional photos and substantiated information on an ongoing basis.

REFERENCE 48: A big thank you to Annie Ruget (née Wrigley) of New Zealand for substantiated information and copies of official documents regarding Salome Jagger, second wife of Benjamin Wrigley. A more accurate picture of her life is now depicted and less favourable folklore pertaining to this lady could also be refuted.


  1. Hurndall, R. 1933 History of the Wrigley family of Netherton, Yorkshire. Copy made available in July 2018 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  2. Wrigley, M. 1936 History of Netheron and the Wrigleys, 1633 – 1936. Copy made available in September 2018 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  3. James Wrigley, 1748-1809. https://www.theblacketts.com/
  4. The Wrigleys of South Crosland. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/The Wrigleys of South Crosland
  5. Elizabeth Kenworthy. http://familytrees.genopro.com/gjmurrell/Murrell
  6. Karen Meredith. Manchester Art Gallery. https://za.pinterest.com/pin/171136854563562120/
  7. The Wrigley Family. 1999 Copy of family notes made available in April 2019 by Simon Wrigley of Tel Aviv, Israel
  8. Information and photos received on 8 November 2020 from Richard Lyne of Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England, descendant of James Wrigley (1748 – 1809)
  9. Cocking Steps Mill, Honley. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Cocking_Steps_Mill,_Honley
  10. Old map Netherton. http://www.dudley.gov.uk/resident/planning/historic-environment/historic-maps-of-dudley/
  11. Family tree notes by Jean Jamison, made available in October 2017 by Katie Taylor of Germany
  12. Muir, M. 2002 The Wrigley family of Netherton in Yorkshire. Research notes in possession of Tony Jamison, Randfontein, South Africa
  13. Netherton. Google Maps. https://www.google.co.za/maps/place/Netherton
  14. Livery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Livery
  15. Examples of livery clothing. https://za.pinterest.com/michaelamuller7/liveries
  16. Meltham branch line. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meltham_branch_line
  17. Almondbury Parish Church. https://www.yorkshirenostalgia.co.uk/other-gallerys/a-to-z-of-old-yorkshire-images/a/
  18. Holy Trinity, South Crosland. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Holy_Trinity,_South_Crosland
  19. Ahier, P. 1938 The history and topography of South Crosland and Netherton. Part 1. Eli Collins & Co. Ltd., Printers: Holmfirth, England. Copy made available by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  20. John Wrigley (1774 – 1833). https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wrigley-99
  21. Information and photos supplied on 16 March 2019 and 27 October 2020 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  22. Highfield Independent Chapel, Huddersfield. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Highfield_Independent_Chapel,_Huddersfield
  23. Record of marriage of John Wrigley and Hannah Batley. England Marriages, 1538–1973, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NXZR-89N : 12 March 2020), John Wrigley, 1797
  24. Record of christening of Elizabeth Wrigley. England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FQBW-7M7 : 11 December 2014), John Wrigley in entry for Elizabeth Wrigley, 04 Jul 1800
  25. Record of christening of Amy Wrigley. England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FWJJ-54L : 11 December 2014), John Wrigley in entry for Amy Wrigley, 02 1802, Baptism; citing p. 111, Huddersfield
  26. Record of christening of William Wrigley. England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FQMV-5LQ : 11 December 2014), John Wrigley in entry for William Wrighley, 07 Oct 1804
  27. Record of christening of Margaret Sarah Wrigley. England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FQTF-VX2 : 11 December 2014), John Wrighly in entry for Margaret Sarah Wrighly, 22 October 1806
  28. James Wrigley (1808 – 1893). https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/James_Wrigley_(1808-1893)
  29. Record of christening of John Batley Wrigley. England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FQTN-8QM : 11 December 2014), John Wrigley in entry for John Batley Wrigley, 07 Nov 1816
  30. Record of christening of Emma Wrigley. England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JQ1C-F35 : 20 March 2020), John Wrigley in entry for Wrigley, 1811
  31. Field House, Netherton Fold, Netherton, South Crosland. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Field_House,_Netherton_Fold,_Netherton,_South_Crosland
  32. Emma Wrigley (1811 – 1898). https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/MVD8-ZZ4/emma-wrigley-1811-1898
  33. Christening of William Atkinson. Baptisms at St Mary the Virgin in the Town of Bury. https://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Bury/Bury/stmary/baptisms_1807-1808.html
  34. Herbert Henry Asquith. https://gw.geneanet.org/tdowling?lang=en&n=asquith&oc=0&p=herbert+henry
  35. H. H. Asquith. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._H._Asquith
  36. Prince Antoine Bibesco. National Portrait Gallery. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw169767/Prince-Antoine-Bibesco-with-his-daughter-Princess-Priscilla-Bibesco-and-Mother-in-Law-Margot-Asquith
  37. Elland. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elland
  38. George Henry Wrigley (1837-1884). https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/George_Henry_Wrigley_( (1837-1884)
  39. South Crosland Urban District. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/South_Crosland_Urban_District
  40. Charles Henry Jones (1800 – 1884). https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Charles_Henry_Jones_(1800-1884)
  41. Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Lancashire_and_Yorkshire_Railway_Company
  42. Midland Railway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midland_Railway
  43. Improvement commissioners. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improvement_commissioners
  44. Edward Wrigley. https://gw.geneanet.org/tdowling?lang=en&p=edward&n=wrigley
  45. Edward Wrigley (1808 – 1842). https://www.ancestry.com/genealogy/records/edward-wrigley_31060662
  46. Barrow, N. 2020 In search of the early Wrigleys. Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletin, Vol 50 (1)
  47. Parry, A. 1979 The Saddleworth-America Connection. Copy made available on 12 June 2020 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  48. Marriage – and death record, as well as 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 census records of Salome Heaton (previously Wrigley, née Jagger) made available on 30 March 2020 by Annie Ruget (née Wrigley) of New Zealand, descendant of Benjamin and Salome Wrigley
  49. Charles Santley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Santley
  50. Huddersfield. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huddersfield
  51. David Griffiths. Godfrey Berry and Thomas Wrigley – two pioneers of early urban Huddersfield. http://ndchicago.net/geneo/godfreyberry.pdf
  52. St Peter’s Church, Huddersfield. http://www.wikiwand.com/en/St_Peter%27s_Church,_Huddersfield
  53. Industrial Revolution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution