Joseph Wrigley II (1811 – 1877)


   1. His childhood

Joseph Wrigley jr. (II), my husband’s great-great-great-grandfather, was the sixth child of Joseph Wrigley sr. (1778 – 1833) and Elizabeth Cockhill (1782 – 1858). He was born in 1811 (≈9 July 1811) at Huddersfield, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire), although his parents were residents at Netherton Hall in Corn Bank, Netherton, approximately 20 km south of Huddersfield.1-5 It is possible that his uncle Dr Thomas Wrigley from Huddersfield, who was an expert gynaecologist, assisted with his birth. Little is known about his childhood and schooling years and that of his siblings, Harriet (*1800), Catherine (*ca 1803), Thomas (*1806), John (*1809), William (*ca 1813), twins Edwin and Jane (*1815), Alfred (*1818) and Frederick (*1823).2 The children were probably educated by tutors and/or governesses or went to private schools. The Wrigleys were from the upper middle class and very wealthy.

   2. His wife

His wife, Hannah Spurrell (1811, Surrey, London – ca 1872), descended from a family line who had been prominent landowners in the Thurgarton area of North Norfolk since the 1500s. Her grandfather, John Spurrell (1732 – 1803), who was married to Elizabeth Flaxman (1749 – 1826), was a well-off farmer and landowner who built Bessingham Manor in 1766 at Bessingham, Norfolk.2,5-11

Hannah’s father, James Spurrell (1776 – 1840) was born at Bessingham. In ca 1800 at the age of 24 years, he moved to Southwark, London to work at Anchor Brewery, then owned by Barclay & Perkins Co. This job he landed via his family’s friendship with Robert Barclay, a partner at Barclay & Perkins Co., who in 1790 bought Northrepps Hall on the north Norfolk coast as a summer retreat. James’s brother Charles (1783 – 1866), joined him thirteen years later.5,6,12,13 Anchor Brewery was the largest brewery in London …. and in the world at that time! 5,13 James held an important senior position and worked as a brewer and hop merchant. He remained with the brewery for almost 40 years until his death in 1840. Charles Spurrell and his family lived in an apartment in the same street across from his brother James, and also worked at the same brewery.5,6

John Spurrell (1779 – 1837), brother of James and Charles farmed with cereals, particularly barley, which he harvested to modify to malt according to the specifications of his customers, the brewing masters.5,6 “Malting was and still is a simple process. Some barley is soaked in water and spread out on the floor of a long room called the malthouse. For a few days, it is shovelled along the floor while turning it as one go. The barley will start to germinate. The first step in germination is the conversion of starch to sugar within the grains. After a few days, it becomes ready to sprout. Brewers (the main customers for malt) don’t want shoot, they want sugar that the yeast will turn into alcohol. To stop further germination, the grains are roasted to preserve the sugar. The longer it is roasted the darker the malt. A light malt is required for nice pale ale, a dark one for a stout like Guiness.”14 John Spurrell supplied stocks to breweries in and around London, and most likely to Anchor Brewery as well. Beer was drunk by everyone and brewers needed a lot of malt. It was a lucrative business for maltsters and brewers alike and they became key figures in society.5,6

Across the street from Anchor Brewery, was situated the prosperous coppersmith business, James Shears & Sons, who supplied large copper brewing vats (or tanks) to the brewery. Soon, a very close connection between the Spurrell and Shears families was established, through the marriages of three Spurrell siblings with three Shears siblings! In 1808, James Spurrell married Rebecca Shears (1786 – 1861), daughter of James Shears. James’s sister, Frances Spurrell (1788 – 1834) married Daniel Towers Shears (1784 – 1860), also a coppersmith, in 1811 and Charles Spurrell married Hannah Shears (1790 – 1882) in 1814.5,6

James and Rebecca Spurrell lived at Park Street, Southwark until his sudden death on 17 November 1840 at the age of 64 years.5 One source also indicates that they lived at Borough High Street, Lambath, London. The Spurrells became a wealthy and prominent family in the community.15  James Spurrell was buried in the Bishop’s Vault at St Saviour’s Parish Church (now Southwark Cathedral). A year after his death, Rebecca remarried in 1841 to George Cosier Fletcher and relocated to Essex. 5,6,16

Together James and Rebecca had three children who were born all at Southwark, Surrey, London:

  • Rebecca (1809 – 1889) who married London brewer and landowner, James Watney (18 December 1800 – 16 March 1884) on 15 October 1829 at Southwark Cathedral. They had five daughters who all remained unmarried. Their four sons were James jr. (1832 – 1886), Norman (1834 – 1911), Frederick (1838 – 1846) and Herbert (1843 – 1932).5,6,17
  • Hannah (1811 – ca 1872) who married Joseph Wrigley II.2,5,6,18 They became my husband’s great-great-grandparents.
  • James (1815 – 1892) who married Helen Wigan (1819 – 1891). As a young man, James also entered the brewing trade, but later became a clergyman. In 1885, his wife Helen became the first woman to publish an English translation of the Old Testament. James and Helen Wrigley remained childless.5,6

Hannah Spurrell and Joseph Wrigley wed on 10 April 1838 at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London. Their marriage was announced in the Blackburn Standard on 18 April 1838. The couple first lived at Deadmanstone near Netherton and later at Berry Brow in Huddersfield.  By the end of 1842, four years after their marriage, however, they moved to Netherton Hall in Netherton after his widowed mother, Elizabeth Wrigley, vacated the house to go and live with his sister Harriet and her husband in Manchester. Joseph and Hannah altered Netherton Hall, also known as Old Hall, considerably. There they remained until Joseph’s death in 1877. Hannah died in 1871 or early 1872, five years before Joseph Wrigley. They were both interred in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church at South Crosland.1,2,5,15,18,19   3. His career

Like his grandfather, James Wrigley (1748 – 1809) and his uncle, John Wrigley (1774 – 1833), Joseph II also worked in the weaving industry and became the prosperous owner of a mill and several warehouses.1,2,18

He started out his career by working at the Wrigley family business at Netherton. By then, Cocking Steps Mill, also locally known as Wrigley Mill, was owned by his uncle John Wrigley from 1809 onward. His uncle was a rather difficult man to work with and when his uncle decided in 1820 to change the business name from James Wrigley & Sons to John Wrigley & Sons, the 20 year-old Joseph and his older brother Thomas Cockhill Wrigley (1805 – 1863), along with their father Joseph Wrigley I (1778 – 1833), decided to leave the company and start their own enterprise.1,2,15,18,20-22Joseph II and his brother Thomas, with their father as the head of the company, became co-owners of the woolen manufacturing firm, J. and T.C. Wrigley and Co. at Lockwood, a very small village situated 2 km south of Huddersfield, and 17 km north of Netherton. They leased Dungeon Mill, initially for a period of 21 years at an annual fee of 300 pounds from Joseph Armitage and Joseph Walker, from 1820 onward. The mill itself was established in 1624 as a fulling mill and was situated in the Dungeon Woods in the Holme Valley near the Holme River, between Armitage Bridge and Lockwood Railway Viaduct.5,18,23-26The two Wrigley brothers transformed all the hand-skill processes of cloth manufacturing into power-driven operations during the first ten years of their firm’s existence. They soon gained a reputation for the quality of their cloth. From May to October in 1851, they were one of the exhibitors at the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace at Hyde Park, London. They won an award for “General excellence of manufacture and ingenuity in new application of materials”. One of the materials on display was their double-sided cloth known as Moscows. During the Crimean War of 1854 to 1856, it was exported to Russia. Additional stock was manufactured, believing that they would have a market even after the war, but this did not materialise and had a very bad impact of the finances of the firm from which it never fully recovered. To add to their troubles, the mill suffered considerable damage on 15 August 1857 as a result of a very heavy flood in the Holme Valley.18 When Thomas Wrigley died in 1863, Joseph II became sole owner of their family business. He continued to work at Dungeon Mill until his death in 1877. 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.2

J. and T.C. Wrigley and Co. was eventually liquidated – fortunately after the death of Joseph Wrigley II – when his son Joseph III sold the struggling Dungeon Mill in 1884 to Thornton, Marsden & Vickerman (later Thornton, Marsden & Co. from 1937 onward). In the late 1950s, they renamed the mill to Park Valley Mill. By 1979, William Oddys & Co. operated at the mill. In 2002, the mill was still in operation under Drummond Parkland of England Ltd., also a textile manufacturer. Parts of the original mill complex have been demolished and the facility has now been converted into a business park that houses several industrial units, where mending of various kinds is being done.18,25,26

    4. His death

Joseph Wrigley II died unexpectedly at the age of 65 years1 on Saturday evening, 10 February 1877 at his residence, Netherton Hall. The funeral service was conducted on 15 February 1877 by Reverend George Hough of Holy Trinity Church of England at South Crosland, where Joseph Wrigley was laid to rest in the churchyard. Several of his brothers and cousins were buried there too. The report on his funeral appeared in the Huddersfield Chronicle Newspaper on 16 February 1877. After his death, his son, Joseph III sold Netherton Hall in 1778 to George Henry Wrigley (1837 – 1884) who demolished the old house and and by re-using the bricks of Netheron Hall built another called White Gate House, also known as Whitegates, further back on the same property. To Joseph III, George was his first cousin once removed (son of James III, who was the uncle of Joseph Wrigley II). Netherton Hall remained in the family for 110 years, from 1767 until 1877.2,4,18,27

The Wrigley family contributed generously to the the construction of the local railway and some roads in the vicinity of South Crosland, as well as to the building of the Holy Trinity Church from 1827 until 1829, when the church building was completed.18

  5. His children

Joseph and Hannah Wrigley had three children, Joseph III (1839 – 1926), Cecilia (1840 – 1920) and Norman (1842 – 1906). The Reverend George Hough, the first vicar of Holy Trinity Church at South Crosland, that was build from 1827 to 1829, also acted as a school teacher and taught many of the young Wrigley children, including the three children of Joseph Wrigley II.2,18,19

Sometime in their lives, each of their three children inherited 20 000 pounds each from a very wealthy Spurrell relative who had made his fortune out of brewing.2

5.1 Joseph III

Joseph III, called “Young Joe” by the Wrigley family, was born in 1839 at Berry Brow, Huddersfield and at the age of 38 years in 1877, inherited his father’s financially-troubled Dungeon Mill, although he was already very much involved in the family business since the late 1850s. He had travelled to St Petersburg in Russia in the late 1850s/early 1860s in an attempt to revive the flagging trade of Moscows fabric, but to no avail. The young Joseph, however, gained a considerable reputation for his business acumen in Huddersfield. He was elected President of the Huddersfield Camber of Commerce in 1874, a position he held for ten years. In 1884, he was offered the position of Chief Commissioner at the London-based Hudson Bay Company (HBC), a lucrative fur trading enterprise. He accepted, since he saw little future in the textile trade at that point. The 45 year-old Joseph started off with HBC at Beaver House, its headquarters in London. By 1885, he left for the HBC British North American (Canadian) Office based at Winnipeg, where he spent seven years as a senior sales and trade manager. As an earnest, conscientious and liberal-minded gentleman, he significantly improved and modernised the accounting, general retail and managerial operations of the company.2,4,18,19 READ MORE on the person of Joseph Wrigley III.

The small, isolated Canadian town Wrigley (previously called Fort Wrigley) on the Mackenzie River near the Arctic Circle, situated 2 250 km north of Winnipeg where Joseph Wrigley III was based, was named after him. He also had a mountain and a steamer on the Mackenzie River named after him.2,18

In 1892, Joseph returned from Canada with stocks of fur coats, the source of his new-found fortune, that allowed him to retire in 1892 at the age of 53 years. He was then residing in London at 25 Kensington Park Gardens, a large, stately, bow-shaped building on a corner. The 87 year-old Joseph III died 20 February 1926 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London. The probate date was 17 April 1926, with an estate value of 39 976 pounds.2,4,18

Joseph III married Emilie Tillett (September 1841, Norwich, Norfolk – April 1880, Lockwood near Huddersfield, West Riding, Yorkshire) on 10 September 1868 at Trowse, Norfolk, when he was 29 years old. Emilie’s parents were Emily De Caux (1814 – ?) and Jacob Henry Tillett (1818 – 1892), a Member of Parliament.2,4,18,28,29 Four years after his first wife’s death, Joseph married Annie Oxley Ayre, his children’s governess, on 26 July 1884 at Hornsey, Middlesex on the outskirts of London. Annie’s father was Dr. William Ayre of London, a medical doctor and Justice of the Peace. The witnesses of their marriage were John Ayre, Fanny Ayre, Ellen Ayre, Norman Wrigley, Arthur Wiseman, Emma Thorton and the vicar of St John’s Church in Huddersfield, Rev George Edwin Wilson.2,4,18Joseph and Emilie had one son, born at Lockwood, and four daughters, born at Huddersfield. They were Joseph Henry “Harry” (8 August 1869 – 31 August 1938, Chorlton, Manchester), Mabel Emilie “May” (March 1871 – September 1944, Sutton-in-Ashfield) , Helen Cecilia “Aunt Goat” (24 October 1873 – December 1961, Hitchin, Herefordshire), Florence Marian (December 1876 – December 1953, Lambeth, London) and Ethel Margaret “Effie” (10 March 1877 – 13 October 1968). Joseph III and his second wife, Annie had one daughter called Constance Mary “Fuff” (1888, Canada – March 1971, Chelsea, London).1,2,4,15,18,20,30-32 The three eldest daughters of Joseph Wrigley III never married but the youngest one, namely Effie married her first cousin, James Bromley Wilson (1878 – 1968), son of her aunt Cecilia Wilson (née Wrigley), in 1904. Their half-sister, Constance also remained unmarried. Joseph Henry, the only son and heir of Joseph III, was an amateur boxer but later became a church minister and married Alice Hyde Bartlet (17 October 1875, Kensington, London – June 1965, Isle of Wight), the daughter of Edward Phillips Bartlet and Fanny Edith Venn, on 25 July 1900 in London. He became the Canon of Manchester and later Canon of Blackburn. Their marriage produced two sons. The eldest, Arthur Joseph “Joe” (1902 – 1984) became a renowned gynaecologist who in 1976 invented the Wrigley obstetrical forceps, which is still in use today. The second son, Harry Norman (1905 – 1981) was a research chemist but later became a church minister. When he remarried in 1958 after his first wife, Rosalind Edith Frederica de Hoxar had died in 1956, he dropped the ‘Wrigley’ and changed his surname to Tollemache, the maiden name of his second wife, Angela Mariota Tollemache.1,2,4,15,18-20,31-33

5.2 Cecilia

Cecilia married Reverend George Edwin Wilson (1833 – 1915) in 1864,2,4,15,30 and they became my husband’s great-great-grandparents. Their one son, George Hough Wilson had fond memories of the many visits to their grandparents living at Netherton Hall, their residence at Netherton, West Riding, Yorkshire (now West Yorkshire) and the adventures they had in and around the various mills and warehouses in the 1870s and 1880s.20,31 READ MORE on Cecilia Wrigley and her husband George Edwin Wilson.

5.3 Norman

On 13 August 1872, the 30 year-old Norman married his second cousin, 30 year-old Maria Louisa Wrigley (1842 – 1921). She was the daughter of James Wrigley III (1808 – 1893) and Sarah Shaw (ca 1813 – 1889). Maria became the first known compiler of the Wrigley family tree, which she started in 1874. Norman was a bright student and later wrote a much acclaimed mathematics book that became a national textbook in Britain. He held a high position at Pimlico, a Army Clothing Factory. The couple, who had no off-spring, were living in Kensington, London. They later moved to Beer, Devonshire (now Devon), while retaining some property in London. The coupled quickly settled into the the community of the seaside town. Norman became a church warden at St. Michael’s Anglican Church in Beer. He died at the age of 62 years in 1906 in London – his body came by train from London – and Maria at age 78 in 1921. Both were buried in the church yard cemetery at Beer.1,2,15,18,32,34Maria’s sister, Helen Mathilda Wrigley (1852 – 1947), who was married to David Alexander Carr (1848 – 1920), also resided in Beer. David was apparently employed as official architect for the Manor of Beer by Mark George Kerr Rolle (1835 – 1907), the Lord of Beer Manor and the landholder of the largest privately-owned rural estate in Devon. Mark’s surname at birth was Trefusis, but he later changed it to Rolle as prerequisite to a substantial inheritance. He was a philanthropist and builder and restorer of churches, farmhouses and cottages. Many present-day buildings and houses in Beer are known as “Carr houses”. Several of the mansions he designed, he also occupied at different times, such as White Cliff, The Briars (now Briarclyst) and Beerhaven. In spite of their apparent luxurious living, David Carr’s estate amounted to only £71. Both he and his wife were buried in Beer cemetery in modest graves. “And although the name David Carr has so much kudos in modern day Beer, it seems that it was the moneyed Wrigleys who had the higher historical profile in the church and cemetery”, according to a historian of present-day Beer.1,34-36  


REFERENCE 4: The information and photos made available to me so generously by Simon Wrigley of Tel Aviv, Israel have been of immense value. Gaps in the stories being told here could be filled, conflicting data could finally be clarified and some of the Wrigley ancestors are no longer faceless names. Simon Wrigley is the grandson of Harry Norman (Wrigley) Tollemache and great-great-grandson of Joseph Wrigley III.

REFERENCE 5: Much gratitude is due to Jonathan Spurrell (great-great-great-grandson of Charles Spurrell) of the United States of America who so kindly established contact with me and supplied additional information and related photos as well as images of official documents. This significantly enriched the story that is being told here on the lives of Joseph Wrigley and Hannah Spurrell.

REFERENCES 15 & 18: 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.


  1. The Wrigleys of South Crosland. Wrigleys of South Crosland
  2. Hurndall, R. 1933 History of the Wrigley family of Netherton, Yorkshire. Copy made available in July 2018 by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  3. Huddersfield.
  4. The Wrigley Family. 1999 Copy of family notes and photos made available in April 2019 by Simon Wrigley of Tel Aviv, Israel
  5. Information and photos received in September 2017 from Jonathan Spurrell of the United States of America. Also see
  6. Jonathan C. Spurrell. 2010. The life of Charles Spurrell and his family’s links with the Watney and Gray brewing families. Brewery History (Number 138, December 2010), Journal of the Brewery History Society.
  7. Spurrel. The Spurrells of Norfolk, England.
  8. Norfolk.
  9. Thurgarton Farm House.
  10. Bessingham.
  11. History of Bessingham Manor (UK).
  12. Southwark.
  13. Anchor Brewer.
  14. What would a maltster actually do?
  15. Muir, M. 1994 The Wilson Family Album. Copy made available to me in March 2018 by Bob Hölstrom of Portland, Oregon, USA with permission granted by Margaret Muir
  16. Southwark Cathedral.
  17. James Watney.
  18. Muir, M. 2002 The Wrigley family of Netherton in Yorkshire. Research notes in possession of Tony Jamison, Randfontein, South Africa
  19. Wrigley, M. 1936 History of Netheron and the Wrigleys, 1633 – 1936. Copy made available by James Wrigley of Totnes, Devon, England
  20. Wilson, G.H. 1947 Gone down the years. Howard B. Timmins Monarch House: Cape Town.
  21. Cocking Steps Mill, Honley.,_Honley
  22. Wrigley Mill.
  23. Teasdale, V. Huddersfield Mills: A textile heritage.
  24. Dungeon Mill and Lockwood Viaduct.
  25. Dungeon Mill, South Crosland.,_South_Crosland
  26. Dungeon Mill.
  27. Holy Trinity Church, South Crosland.,_South_Crosland
  28. Wrigley family tree (Emilie Tillett).
  29. Photo of Emilie Tillett’s wedding.
  30. George Edwin Wilson.
  31. Family tree notes by Jean Jamison, made available by Katie Taylor of Germany, October 2017.
  32. Joseph Wrigley.
  33. Harry Norman John Wrigley.
  34. Information received on 1 December 2023 from Anna Philpott from Beer, Devon, England
  35. Mark Rolle.
  36. Churchill, P. 23 February 2022. A glorious clifftop home in the village of Beer where you’ll just want to drink in the views. Country Life.