John Wrigley (1648 – 1727)


   1. His childhood

John Wrigley, son of Robert Wrigley (1619 – >1666), was born on 14 December 1648 at Midgreave and christened on 18 January 1649 at St Chad’s (Anglican) Church, Saddleworth, West Riding, Yorkshire (now within Greater Manchester). Nothing much is known of his childhood, his family’s social status or his level of education, but he remained his whole life in the ancient hamlet of Midgreave (later absorbed into the village of Delph), approximately 4 km northwest of Saddleworth.1-7    2. His wife

In ca 1690, John married the 32 year-old Anna NN, who was born in 1658. She died at the age of 97 years and was buried on 10 May 1755 in the churchyard of St Chad’s at Saddleworth. John and Anna Wrigley had two sons that could be found in records. These sons seemed to have done well for themselves and became prominent individuals in their communities.1-4,6-10

   3. His career

John and Anna Wrigley lived at Midgreave. The inscription “J.W., A.W., 1725” was above the door of their house. The year 1725 possibly signified when they moved into the house.1 John Wrigley sr. “held Midgreave by lease for three lives”.6 “Throughout the eighteenth century leases for three lives were in fairly widespread use. These leases were often for a term of years [usually 31 or 41 years] or for three lives, whichever was the longer. A three-lives lease expired when all the three persons named in the lease had died. This explains why some eighteenth-century leases lasted well into the nineteenth century. Tenants often named young relatives in the hope that at least one of them would survive for many years.”11

Letters of Administration prepared in 1728, possibly related to his estate, indicated his profession as that of a yeoman and thatcher.1,3,6,7Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, heather, or palm fronds, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. Since the bulk of the vegetation stays dry, and is densely packed—trapping air—thatching also functions as a quite significant insulation material.” 12 It seems as if John was a respectable man and as a yeoman had held and cultivated a small landed estate.1,3,6,7

   4. His death

He died at the age of approximately 78 years on 20 September 1727 at Midgreave and was buried in plot 145 in the church graveyard of St Chad’s on 22 September 1727. His wife, daughter-in-law and grandson were also interred in the same grave at later stages.1-4,6,8,10   5. His children

5.1 John jr. (II)

He was born in October 1694 at Midgreave and christened on 27 October 1695 at Saddleworth.1-3 He married Martha Kenworthy (1698 – 1745) of Banks on 3 November 1737.1,2,6 They had two sons, John III (≈25 November 1739 – Ω22 June 1740) and Robert (≈27 February 1741 – Ω6 April 1761, St Chad’s). Two years after his first wife had died – she was buried on 12 March 1745 at St Chad’s – John remarried on 3 December 1747 to Martha Lees of Roebucklow. No children were born from his second marriage.1,6,8-10

John Wrigley jr. held Midgreave by lease for three lives,6 which was probably transfered to him after his father had died. He became a wealthy clothier who moved to Netherton some time after 1750. Having had no surviving children, John Wrigley left all his properties to his nephews and nieces, listed by name in his will that was drafted on 31 July 1762, just a week before his death on 6 August 1762 at the age of 68 years at Netherton Hall, Netherton which lies 18 km northeast of Saddleworth. He was laid to rest on 9 August 1762 in the churchyard of St Chad’s.1-3,6,7,9,13The properties in his will included an estate at Cliffe in Barkisland bought from Francis Bently, a tenement – a house divided into and let as separate residences – at Midgreave and several houses and leases at Saddleworth. His own residence, Netherton Hall with many acres of land around it, at Corn Bank in Netherton, which he had bought from Lady Wentworth, he left to his nephew James Wrigley (1748 – 1829), the second son of his brother Robert.1-3,7 In spite of this will being contested in 1763 6 – presumably by his disgruntled widow or unhappy brother – it was eventually executed as was stipulated. Below is transcribed the complete will of John Wrigley:1NOTE: By 1922, John Wrigley’s original will and the Family Bible dating from Saddleworth days, were in possession of his great-great-great-great-grandson William Wrigley III (1873 – 1930). He was a cousin of George Hough Wilson (1875 – 1950) who viewed the artifacts during his research into the Wrigley family’s history. William Wrigley I (1804 – 1873), referred to at the bottom of the transcribed will, was William Wrigley III’s late grandfather.3

5.2 Robert

Robert was born in 1697 at Midgreave.1,3 He was my husband’s grandfather six generations removed. READ MORE on Robert Wrigley.



REFERENCE 10: Much thanks is due to James Wrigley of England who regularly contributes reputable information and photos to the Wrigley website. It is much appreciated! He is indeed a great research co-worker to have!


  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 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  3. Family tree notes by Jean Jamison, made available in October 2017 by Katie Taylor from Germany
  4. Wrigley. FamilyCentral Family History Service.
  5. Yorkshire. The Association of British Counties.
  6. Barrow, N. 2020 In search of the early Wrigleys. Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletin, Vol 50 (1)
  7. The Wrigley Family. 1999 Copy of family notes made available in April 2019 by Simon Wrigley of Tel Aviv, Israel
  8. St Chad’s Church, Saddleworth. Monumental Inscriptions in the Old Churchyard. 2015 Saddleworth Historical Society. 1st Ed. Edited by Mike Buckley
  9. Muir, M. 2002 The Wrigley family of Netherton in Yorkshire. Research notes in possession of Tony Jamison, Randfontein, South Africa
  10. Information supplied on 23 October 2020 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  11. Macafee, W. 2011 Landed Estate Records.
  12. Thatching.
  13. Burial record of John Wrigley (1694 – 1762). Baptisms, marriages and burials; 1612-1619, 1632- 1635, 1659, 1673-1700, 1722-1799. Includes Friarmere from 1769-1787 and Dobcross from 1787-1788. Bishop’s transcripts for Saddleworth.