Joseph Wrigley I (1778 – 1833)


   1. His childhood

Joseph Wrigley was born at Netherton to James Wrigley (1748 – 1809) and Elizabeth Kenworthy (1748 – 1829). He was christened on 12 April 1778 at Almondbury Parish Church, Almondbury, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire). He was the sixth child and had six brothers and four sisters of whom two died in childhood.1-5

   2. His wife

He married the 17 year-old Elizabeth Cockhill at the age of 21 years on 22 September 1799 at St John’s Church of England, also known as Kirkheaton Parish Church in Kirkheaton, a small village 5 km east of Huddersfield.1,2,4-7  Joseph’s wife was the daughter of Sarah Hirst and Thomas Cockhill (1743, Almondbury – 1784, Netherton). Elizabeth was born in 1782 at Huddersfield, where she also died on 12 September 1858. At the time of her death, she was 76 years old.1,4,5

After their marriage, they lived in a house in Netherton Fold where their first four children were born, but in 1809, the 31 year-old Joseph inherited Netherton Hall, also called Old Hall, from his father, as well as 1000 pounds and a third share in the family business James Wrigley & Sons Ltd. The couple lived at Netherton Hall for the rest of their lives.1,6,8

   3. His career

Joseph Wrigley, nicknamed “Old Joe”, spend the first years of his career life with the James Wrigley & Sons Ltd. at Cocking Steps Mill at Netherton, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire). When Joseph’s father passed away in 1809, Joseph’s second oldest brother, John Wrigley (1774 – 1833) inherited a two-third share in the family business.1,2,4,8

Over time Wrigley Mill also adapted its operation processes and mechanisms as the Industrial Revolution swept through England and the rest of the world. Not everyone embraced these changes, though.9 From 1811, the Luddite riots started to spread through England until it was suppressed by military force in 1816. The Luddites were textile workers and weavers who violently opposed industrialisation and automation, since the new technology replaced the skills of their craft and therefore their role in the industry. Hundreds of craftsmen had already been turned out of work. Mill and factory workers working the machinery were often also employed at lower wages. Mills and factories were stormed by outraged mobs and weaving machinery were destroyed in the protests. Mill owners, employers and magistrates were also attacked. By 1812, the protests were at its height in Lancashire and West Riding, Yorkshire.9-11 Wrigley Mill was not left untouched by these riots. Soldiers had to be stationed in- and outside Wrigley Mill to protect the machinery from the rioters. At one time, John Wrigley was riding across Crosland Moor when he was shot at by a band of protestors on their way back from Huddersfield.1

Joseph and two of his sons, Thomas Cockhill and Joseph jr. continued to work at the mill until 1820, when John Wrigley’s selfish advancement of his own agenda and disregard for his brothers interest in the company, finally led to Joseph and his sons’ departure from the company. In 1820, he even changed the name of the family business to John Wrigley & Sons exclusively, thus ignoring the partnership with and interests of his brothers, James II, Joseph and Robert. Where James II and Robert continued to work for John after that, Joseph and his two sons left Wrigley mill to start their own woollen cloth manufacturing company at Dungeon Mill at Lockwood, a very small village just a few kilometers north of Netherton. Dungeon Mill became a very successful business and a worthy competitor of Wrigley Mill. Somewhere in the 1870s, Joseph also built a warehouse, called Longbaulk, in Netherton –  considered by many as a rather ugly building – which was used for weaving for almost a hundred years.1,2,4,6,12,13Joseph and his family lived at Netherton Hall all their lives. It seems, however, as if the family also spend time in Huddersfield for some time as his sixth child, Joseph jr was born there.2,3 Most likely the child was born there while they were visiting relatives or during a business trip. The latter is a strong possibility as nearby Huddersfield by then had already replaced Almondbury as the most important major cloth trading centre in West Riding, Yorkshire. Although Huddersfield had an open-air market established in the 17th century, the building of a very large circular brick arcade, called Cloth Hall, in 1766 by Sir John Ramsden, Lord of the Manor, set Huddersfield up to become the hub of the woollen market. Certainly Joseph Wrigley sr. and his sons, Thomas and Joseph jr. must have traded their products there too.4,14,15

One wonders what Joseph Wrigley’s thoughts were on the rulers of his day. Joseph lived during the reign of George III and George IV, who reigned from 1760 to 1820 and from 1820 to 1830 respectively. In 1801, Joseph witnessed the union of Great Britain and Ireland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, often referred to as the “Second British Empire”. The long reign of George III also saw the American Revolution, the defeat of Napoleon and the decline of monarchical power. Military conflicts were limited to the British colonies and France, while financial and administrative reforms were also implemented. From the 1780s, however, George III started to experience mental incapacity on a number of occasions. By 1810, it worsened so significantly that his son George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales became Prince Regent in 1811 until his father’ death in 1820. In the last few years of his life, George III was blind and deaf. Interestingly, the long deemed manic-depressive insanity of George III has recently been diagnosed by medical experts as possibly the result of a rare metabolic disorder called porphyria. His son, who became known as George IV, succeeded his father. He was warm-hearted and generous, and a man of superb, albeit expensive taste for the arts, culture and architectural treasures. The latter made him quite unpopular with the general British population. While George III was a moral and pious man, George IV was the opposite and his extravagant life style, characterised by indulgence and fornication, was detested by many.16-19

Apart from being a prosperous businessman, Joseph Wrigley sr. also served as Constable of South Crosland area from 1824 to 1825 and later Overseer of the Poor in the same area, which included Netherton, just next-door to South Crosland. The latter position of Overseer was also held by his grandfather, Robert Wrigley (1696 – 1773) who served in the Saddleworth area.2,4

    4. His death

Joseph Wrigley sr. died at the age of 55 years on 31 March 1833 at Netherton Hall and was buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church at South Crosland. His widow remained at Netherton Hall until 1842, when thereafter she left for Lower Broughton, Manchester to live with her daughter, Harriet and her husband. In 1858, at the age of 76 years, Elizabeth Wrigley passed away at Lower Broughton. Her body was taken to South Crosland for burial with her husband at Holy Trinity Church.1,3,4

   5. His children

Joseph and Elizabeth Wrigley had 11 children, who were all born at Netherton Hall, except for their sixth child that was born at Huddersfield. All the children were christened at Huddersfield parish church.1-4,8

5.1 Harriet

Their eldest child, Harriet, who was born in 1800 (≈30 October 1800), married Robert Townsend in 1827 at Almondbury Parish Church at the age of 27 years. She inherited 200 pounds in 1833 from her father’s estate.1,8 The Townsends went on to live in Manchester, Cheshire (now Greater Manchester).1,4 Their children were Catherine (1828 – ?), Joseph (1829 – ?), George Henry (1833 – 1872), Edwin (1835 – 1887), Alice Annie (1836 – 1924), Harriette (1839 – ?) and Frederick (1841 – 1910). Harriet Wrigley Townsend died at the age of 67 years in 1867 of apoplexy (stroke or cerebral haemorrhage) while having a bath.1

Harriet and Robert’s granddaughter, Lilly Maria Barton (1852 – 1923), the daughter of Catherine and Millner Barton, married George Henry Wrigley (1837 – 1884), her second cousin once removed, and thus the grandson of John Wrigley (1774 – 1833), in 1878. For the occasion of their marriage, George bought the Wrigley family mansion Netherton Hall on Corn Bank, Netherton from Joseph Wrigley III (1839 – 1926), the son of Harriet’s brother, Joseph Wrigley jr. (II) who passed away in 1877. George and Lilly knocked down the old house and by re-using the bricks of the demolished Netherton Hall built another house called White Gate House, also known as Whitegates, further back on the property.4,5,20

5.2 Catherine

Catherine was born in 1803 and passed away in 1825 at the age of 22 years. She was married at the age of sixteen to Thomas Randall Wiley in 1819. They lived at Norwich, Norfolk, England. The couple had one son, Thomas Wrigley (1819 – 1900).1

5.3 Thomas Cockhill

Thomas Cockhill (≈3 June 1805 – 1863) and his younger brother, Joseph jr. worked, with their father Joseph sr. (I), for their uncle John Wrigley (1774 – 1833) at Cocking Steps Mill at Netherton. When John changed the family business’s name in 1820 from James Wrigley & Sons to John Wrigley & Sons, both the young men resigned. Their father, and Thomas and Joseph jr., then aged 25 and 20 years respectively, set out and started out their own woolen cloth firm called J. & T.C. Wrigley, operating at Dungeon Mill in Lockwood near Huddersfield. Their business became very successful.1,4,8,12,13The 24 year-old Thomas married Betsey Ferneley in 1830. She was the sister of William Ferneley, who married Eliza , the younger sister of Thomas.1 Since these two couples married in the same year, perhaps they had a double wedding? In 1833, Thomas inherited a warehouse and a piece of land in Netherton called Shop Croft from his father’s estate.1,8 Together Thomas and Betsey had a daughter Helen Ferneley (≈14 November 1831 – 1909), who married Clement William Cozens-Hardy (27 February 1833 – 27 April 1906) in 1856. He was a Justice of the Peace (local magistrate).1,8,21 In 1852, the widowed Thomas married a second time to Emma Theobold. Four children, namely George (ca 1853, who died young), Evelyn Emma (1854 – ?), Percy Theobold (1855 – 1931) and Beatrice Katherine (1857 – 1875) were born from their marital union.1,2

The Wrigley family lived in the house called Woodfield Lodge near Huddersfield. Thomas Cockhill Wrigley died on 10 May 1863 at the age of 57 years. His younger brother and business partner, Joseph jr. (II) continued as sole owner of J. and T.C. Wrigley and Co. and its operations at Dungeon Mill until his own death in 1877.

5.4 John

He was christened on 15 June 1807, but just 17 years later passed away at Netherton on 21 September 1824.1,7 He was buried in the same grave at Almondbury Parish Church as his younger brother, William who had died in 1817.1

5.5 Eliza

Eliza, the fifth child, born in ca 1809, married in 1830 at the age of 21 years, to William Ferneley, a cotton spinner and the son of George Ferneley of Withington Lodge in Netherton. The couple settled at Stockport, Cheshire (now in Greater Manchester), which lies 11 km south-east of Manchester. Together they had two children, Thomas Wrigley (*1831)  and Joseph John (*ca 1832).1 In 1833, Eliza received 200 pounds from her father’s estate, who had died on 31 March 1833.1,8 Tragically, Eliza (aged 24) passed away at Stockport just a couple of months later in late 1833.1

5.6 Joseph jr.

Joseph and Elizabeth’s son, Joseph jr. (II), who was born in 1811 at Huddersfield,1,2,4 became my husband’s great-great-great grandfather. READ MORE on Joseph Wrigley II.

5.7 William Henry

He was born in 1813, christened on 7 June 1813. William sadly died at the age of four years in 1817.1,8 He was interred at the churchyard of Almondbury Parish Church, Amondbury.1

5.8 Edwin (twin)

Edwin was born as one of fraternal twins in 1815. He and his sister were christened on 3 April 1815. Edwin was 18 years old and still living at Netherton Hall with his parents when his father died in 1833, from whom he inherited 1000 pounds and four cottages at Lane side in Netherton.1,8 The unmarried Edwin left Netherton Hall with his mother in 1842, and went to live at Lower Broughton, Manchester, presumably with Harriet who was married to Robert Townsend, and where they resided. The following year, in 1843, Edwin died at the age of 28 years of consumption1 – “an old and once common term for wasting away of the body, particularly from pulmonary tuberculosis”.22

5.9 Jane (twin)

Jane was born in 1815; Edwin was her twin brother. In 1833, she inherited 600 pounds from her late father.1,8 She later married John Harding, a very wealthy man. Unfortunately their marriage ended in divorce, executed in the Divorce Court. It is uncertain whether this couple had children. Jane died at the age of 76 years in 1891.1

5.10 Alfred

Alfred was born on 13 January 1818 and christened on 2 February 1818.1,8 He was away from home most of the time to pursue further studies. He was very clever man. In 1833 when he was 15 years old, he inherited a cottage in Netherton and 8600 pounds from his late father’s estate. The large sum of money was most likely provisional funds towards his education. After finishing his preparatory schooling, he went to St John’s College, Cambridge. Thereafter he became a Professor in Mathematics from 1841 to 1861 at the East India Company (Royal) Military College, also known as Addiscombe Military Seminary, at Addiscombe, Croydon, London, Surrey. In 1862, he was appointed Headmaster of Clapham Grammar School and remained there for 20 years until 1882. During this time he wrote a book “Collection of Examples and Problems in Pure and Mixed Mathematics” that was used in schools for decades.1,8,23 Quite late in his life, he entered the Church, completed a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D. degree) and continued studies in the discipline of Divinity up to doctoral level. He also completed a Masters of Arts in Astronomy, and later became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.1,6

On 15 June 1842, Albert married Maria Jane Worgan, the daughter of Thomas and Margaret Worgan. The matrimonial ceremony took place at St John’s Church, Croydon, London. Maria Worgan’s grandfather was the well-known Dr Thomas Worgan, organist to King George III. The original surname was actually “Wogan”. In 1648, Thomas Wogan signed the Death Warrant of King Charles I, and the family in disgust, changed their name to “Worgan”.1

Alfred and Mary Wrigley had one son, who died in infancy and two daughters, Edith Jane (1852 – 1886) and Amelia Harriet (1856 – 1931). Both sisters never married. Amelia joined the Salvation Army. Their father, Alfred Wrigley, died in 1898 at the age of 80 years.1,2

5.11 Frederick

Frederick, also known as Fred, was christened on 22 April 1823. When he was ten years old, he inherited 1000 pounds from his father’s estate, as well as a  house with a garden that previously belonged to his grandmother Johnson (presumably his maternal grandmother).1,8 Sadly, Frederick died aged 18 in 1841 while attending the University of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England which lies 235 km south-east of Netherton.1 It is uncertain where he was buried.

Fred received his schooling, like many of the other young Wrigleys, at the private boarding school of Rev George Hough (1 July 1797, London – 6 June  1879, South Crosland).1,24 He was the first vicar of the newly established Parish at South Crosland next-door to Netherton. The Holy Trinity Church opened its doors on 29 October 1829. Rev Hough was a dynamic person and well-liked in the surrounding community. He served at South Crosland for 50 years until his death at the age of 81 years. He also had many Curates  – Rev George Edwin Wilson, Rev F.G. Deedes, Rev Charles Whitaker and Rev George Coulton.25 Rev George Edwin Wilson married one of the Wrigley woman, Cecilia Wrigley, daughter of Joseph jr. (5.6) and the couple named their third son, George Hough Wilson, after Rev Hough.1,4



REFERENCE 4: The outstanding research work of Margaret Muir of England (great-great-granddaughter of Joseph and Hannah Wrigley) must be acknowledged. Without her hard work over many years, a significant and rich portion of the history of the Wrigley family would have been lost. Much gratitude is due to Margaret Muir for graciously granting permission to use her work as reference material for the purpose of this website.

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  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. The Wrigleys of South Crosland. Wrigleys of South Crosland
  3. James Wrigley.
  4. Muir, M. 2002 The Wrigley family of Netherton in Yorkshire. Research notes in possession of Tony Jamison, Randfontein, South Africa
  5. Family tree notes by Jean Jamison, made available by Katie Taylor, October 2017
  6. Wrigley, M. 1936 History of Netheron and the Wrigleys, 1633 – 1936. Copy made available by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  7. Kirkheaton Church.
  8. The Wrigley Family. 1999 Copy of family notes made available in April 2019 by Simon Wrigley of Tel Aviv, Israel
  9. Industrial Revolution.
  10. Luddites. The growth of political rights in Britain in the 19th century. Power, Politics & Protest.
  11. Luddite.
  12. Dungeon Mill, South Crosland.,_South_Crosland
  13. Lockwood Viaducts, Park Valley, Huddersfield.
  14. Cloth Hall, Huddersfield.,_Huddersfield
  15. Huddersfield Cloth Hall (1766 – 1930).
  16. George III facts.
  17. George III of the United Kingdom.
  18. George IV facts.
  19. George IV of the United Kingdom.
  20. George Henry Wrigley (1837-1884).
  21. Clement Cozens-Hardy.
  22. Medical definition of consumption.
  23. Darwin, C., Burkhardt, F. & Smith, S. 1867 The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Vol 15. Cambridge University Press.
  24. Rev. George Hough (1797-1879).