Mytholmroyd Net

Notes for family historians by Roy Stockdill






Mytholmroyd in early 19th century trade directories.

AN invaluable source of information for the local and family historian are old trade and commercial directories, which have been published since the late 17th century. These important books list all the traders in a particular place, plus names of the gentry, clergy, professional classes and other leading citizens. Among the names of leading directories to be found in many reference libraries are Kelly's, Pigot's, White's and The Universal British Directory.

By using the directories, it is possible to build up a detailed picture of a place, noting who were the "posh" people - i.e. the local gentry and landowners - what sort of trades were carried on and who the local clergymen were. If you had an ancestor who was a tradesman (or woman), it is virtually certain that you will find him or her in one of these volumes.

Mytholmroyd features in several trade directories which I have in my possession, as part of my collection of local and family history material, and I thought it would be appropriate to share the information in a couple of them from the first half of the 19th century with visitors to this site. Who knows - perhaps some of you may even recognise an ancestor among the names!

One of the best known publications for Yorkshire is Baines' History, Directory and Gazetteer of the County of York, published in two volumes in 1822. This is a prodigious work, giving the history of every major town in the county, with long lists of commercial people, traders, gentry and leading citizens for each one. A great many villages are also featured.

The directory was published by Edward Baines, who was the proprietor of the Leeds Mercury newspaper. Mytholmroyd appears in Volume I, which was devoted to the West Riding.

The entry is a short one, but still provides a number of names of local trades people. A brief physical description of the village is given thus: "MYTHOLM-ROYD, in the parish of Halifax and wap. of Morley; 6 miles W. of Halifax". (Note: "wap." was the abbreviation for wapentake, a subdivision of a Riding).

Benjamin Walker, Esq.
Joseph Bradley, surgeon.
James Broadbent, vict. (victualler) Dusty Miller.
Edmondson & Co, worsted manfrs (manufacturers).
George Fearnley, heald and reed maker.
G. F. Heywood, heald and slay maker.
James Howarth, tanner.
Isaac Ogden, vict. Shoulder of Mutton.
Henry Patchett, vict. Royal Oak.
Henry Pollard, grocer.
James Turner, vict. White Lion.
Cotton mfrs: Henry Morley, Jonathan Morley.
Woollen card mfrs: James Howarth, Henry Morley, Jonathan Morley.

An entry of special interest to me in the above list is, of course, that of Henry Patchett, who was landlord of the Royal Oak, my former home (see "Memories of Mytholmroyd" elsewhere on this site). The Patchett family, if they were all related, seem to have been publicans in quite a big way, since Patchetts are also found in Baines' Directory as victuallers at Halifax, Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall.

Sidetracking for a moment, I think it highly unlikely that the Royal Oak mentioned in this directory of 1822 can possibly be the same building that has been the subject of so much controversy in recent years, since my recollection of it when living there is that it did not seem so old. Indeed, the line drawing done by a former customer of the pub as it was some time in the 1890s (see the photograph elsewhere on this website) does not appear to resemble the present-day building very much.

My suspicion is that the current structure was perhaps erected around the turn of the 19th/20th century, but if anyone has any further information I would be most grateful to hear it, since I am attempting to put together a history of the pub.

Returning to trade directories, we move on some 14 years to Pigot & Co's National Commercial Directory for Durham, Northumberland and Yorkshire in 1834. Pigot's were major publishers of directories in the 19th century and covered the entire country.

In this book, Mytholmroyd is lumped in with Warley, Midgley and Luddenden, also covering Cragg and District. We are fortunate in being treated to a fuller description of the village than that given by Baines, which I reproduce in full:-

"MYTHOLMROYD is a hamlet, in the parish of Halifax, five miles and a half from that town. The village of itself is unimportant, but in the neighbourhood there are many mills employed in the spinning of cotton and worsted. The canal, which runs through here, opens a communication with all parts; and coaches, to and from Manchester, Rochdale, Halifax, Leeds &c., pass through daily. The only place of worship is a chapel for Wesleyan methodists. About a quarter of a mile distant is the village of HAWKSCLOUGH; and about one mile hence the romantic hamlet of CRAGG, so named from the wild rocks which spring from each side of the valley, which is so narrow in some parts that persons on opposite parts of it may converse with each other. The scenery which encompasses this hamlet is strikingly interesting. There are two places of worship here, viz. a chapel of ease, dedicated to St. John, and one for the Wesleyan methodists. The living of Cragg is a curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Halifax; the present incumbent is the Rev. T. Crowther. Population returned with the parish of Halifax. Post Office, Mytholmroyd, Thomas Baldwin, Post Master. Letters from HALIFAX arrive every morning at half-past eight, and are despatched every afternoon at four."

It is worth noting that in 1834 Mytholmroyd had only one place of worship, the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (I believe it is the present one in Scout Road that is referred to, which was erected in 1825, and not the former Mount Zion Chapel up Midgley Road, which was a later edifice). Mytholmroyd at this time had no Anglican Church, since it was not created as a parish until 1840 and St. Michaels Church was erected in 1848, some 12 years after the Pigot & Co's Directory was published (source: The National Index of Parish Registers, Vol 11, Part 3, Yorkshire West Riding, published by the Society of Genealogist).

The Pigot's directory has a longer list of people than the earlier Baines, and is more conveniently arranged alphabetically under trades. Note that I have given only those whose residence or business is listed as being in Mytholmroyd, Cragg or Hawksclough, ignoring Warley, Midgley and Luddenden. Where people are listed at Cragg or Hawksclough, this is stated, otherwise all entries refer to Mytholmroyd:-

Gentry and Clergy - Rev. Thomas Crowther, Cragg; Mr. Thomas Foster, Cragg; Mr. William Foster, Cragg; Miss Ann Wright, Mytholmroyd.
Academies and Schools - Samuel Kershaw; Jonas Pilling.
Blacksmiths - George Dugdale; William Dugdale.
Boot and Shoe Makers - George Birch; James Farrar; John Sheard; James Varley, William Varley.
Butchers - William Briggs; William Stansfield; Henry Sunderland.
Clog & Pattern Makers - William Carter.
Coal Dealers - Joseph Crossley; William Thorpe.
Cotton Spinners & Manufacturers - John Greenwood, Cragg; George Hinchcliffe, Cragg; Henry Hinchcliffe, Cragg; Joseph Hinchcliffe, Cragg; William and George Hinchcliffe, Mytholmroyd; Arthur, Richard and Joseph Ingham, Cragg.
Joiners - Joseph Ogden.
Millers - David Oliver & Sons.
Shopkeepers & Dealers of Groceries & Sundries - Robert Barker, Cragg; James Bradley; John Clegg; William Hellawell; Abraham Lumb, Cragg; Thomas Ogden; Henry Pickles, Abraham Pilling; John Pollard, Hawksclough; John Sheard; John Southwell, Hawksclough; George Stansfield; James Turner; David Wilcock.
Stuff Manufacturers - Henry Morley; Robert Pickles; John and Thomas Ridehough; John Riley.
Stone Masons - Joseph Dixon; James Mitchell; James Siddall; William Siddall.
Surgeons: Richard Sutcliffe.
Tailors - John Grave; John Rushworth.
Tanners - John & James Appleyard.
Taverns & Public Houses - Dusty Miller, Ts. Baldwin; Elephant & Castle, Hawksclough, Henry Cunliffe; Robin Hood and Little John, Cragg, Samuel Hinchcliffe; Royal Oak, William Stansfield; Shoulder of Mutton, Kitty Ogden; White Lion, Henry Patchett.
Retailers of Beer - Jonathan Mitchell; John Southwell, Hawksclough.
Timber Merchants - John Clegg.
Wheelwrights - Henry Patchett.
Worsted Spinners - Walker & Edmondson.
Miscellaneous - Hiram Pickles, druggist; Thos. Suthers, reed maker; George Townsend, dyer, Hawksclough.

A section of the directory describing the various coaches passing through the district to Halifax, Leeds, Manchester, Todmorden and Wakefield does not indicate whether any of them actually stopped in Mytholmroyd, though the introduction rather suggests that they did. It is not clear. However, a paragraph headed "Conveyance By Water" reads:-

"Barnby, Faulkner & Co, J & L Marsden, Buckley, Kershaw & Co, George Thornton, John Thompson & Co, William Jackson and Sons, and the Merchants" Co have boats passing Luddenden Foot and Mytholmroyd daily, by which goods are conveyed to all parts of the kingdom."

Several interesting points arise from this directory. Firstly, it would seem that Henry Patchett had left the Royal Oak and moved about 10 yards across the road to the White Lion! The former keeper of the White Lion, James Turner, is now listed as a shopkeeper (assuming it was the same man).

Also note that in 1834 Henry Patchett is shown as a wheelwright as well as an innkeeper. "Doubling up" of trades was very common in those days, and it was especially common for publicans to double as blacksmiths or wheelwrights, since passing travellers would want to partake of some liquid refreshment while having their horse reshod or a new wheel fitted to their cart. It seems very likely that Henry Patchett carried on the wheelwright's side of his business in the former stables attached to the side of the Royal Oak.

William Stansfield, who was landlord of the Royal Oak in 1834, is also shown as a butcher - again, assuming it was the same man. Likewise, John Sheard is listed as both a boot and shoe maker and a shopkeeper, and John Southwell as a shopkeeper and beer retailer at Hawksclough.

There are numerous instances of the same surname cropping up, and these may well indicate family relationships, i.e. brothers or father and son. Clearly, the Hinchcliffes of Cragg and Mytholmroyd, all cotton spinners and manufacturers, must have been the same family. And so, very likely, were George and William Dugdale, blacksmiths, as well as James and William Varley, boot and shoe makers, and James and William Siddall, stone masons.

But were Jonas Pilling, who ran a school, and Abraham Pilling, shopkeeper, related? William Stansfield, butcher and innkeeper, and George Stansfield, shopkeeper? Joseph Ogden, joiner, Thomas Ogden, shopkeeper, and Kitty Ogden, innkeeper? Presumably, Kitty was the widow of Isaac Ogden, who was listed at the Shoulder of Mutton in Baines' Directory of 1822.

Certainly, there are names in that list of Mytholmroyd folks from 1834 that I recall as belonging to friends and acquaintances from my boyhood days in the village in the 1950s. But did YOU spot an ancestor?

ROY STOCKDILL, former Mytholmroyd resident when his parents ran the Royal Oak, is a genealogist and lives in Hertfordshire.

He can be contacted by e-mail here Roy Stockdill