Boer War PlaqueInside Horbury Town Hall is this wall-mounted plaque, which honours the 29 local Horbury men that served in the South African Anglo-Boer War between 1899-1902.

In 1951, two of the men listed on this Boer War plaque were still alive and living in the UK, whilst a third had moved to live in Maracabo, Venezuala.

What follows are the biographies of these Horbury men with as much information about their lives that was available to us in November 2017. If any of you reading this have any more information about these men, or perhaps pictures, we would be delighted to feature them here.

First, a little bit of information about the Boer War and why these Horbury men were sent to fight and in several cases die, often from disease, in South Africa at the turn of the 20th Century.

The Anglo Boer War, or Second Boer War in South Africa was fought by Britain and her Empire against the Boers. The Boers were comprised of the combined forces of the South African Republic and the Republic of the Orange Free State. The Boer Republics declared war on the 11th October 1899 and the conflict ended on 31st May 1902, a duration of 2 years and 8 months with victory for Britain.

The Boers, also known as Afrikaners, were the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of southern Africa. Britain took possession of the Dutch Cape colony in 1806 during the Napoleonic wars, sparking resistance from the independence-minded Boers, who resented the Anglicization of South Africa and Britain’s anti-slavery policies. In 1833, the Boers began an exodus into African tribal territory, where they founded the republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

The two new republics lived peaceably with their British neighbors until 1867, when the discovery of diamonds and gold in the region made conflict between the Boer states and Britain inevitable. Minor fighting with Britain began in the 1890s, and in October 1899 full-scale war ensued. By mid June 1900, British forces had captured most major Boer cities and formally annexed their territories, but the Boers launched a guerrilla war that frustrated the British occupiers.

Beginning in 1901, the British began a strategy of systematically searching out and destroying these guerrilla units, while herding the families of the Boer soldiers into concentration camps. By 1902, the British had crushed the Boer resistance, and on May 31st of that year the Peace of Vereeniging was signed, ending hostilities.


Augustus Baines Or Augustus Cardwell Baines to give him his full name was born in 1871. He appears to have been baptised at St Mary’s, Whitkirk on 24th November 1872. The only parent named on the baptism register is Mary Jane Baines. Mary Jane was the daughter of Horbury manufacturer Edwin Baines. Mary Jane married draper John Wright in 1874 and the 1881 census shows them living at Clubhouses, off Highfield Road. They have 5 children, including Augustus, who is recorded as Augustus B Wright. He appears next in the 1891 census, as Augustus Baines, living with his widowed grandmother Ellen Baines, at Crossfield House, which stood at the top of Quarry Hill. Also in the household are Ellen’s children, Edwin 22, Julia 33, Florence 19 and domestic servant Mary J. Wharton 19.

In 1894, age 21, Augustus joined the army and served in the 18th Hussars, regimental No. 4352. After the war Augustus returned home and in 1908 he married Edith Mary Talbot on 6th June at Thornhill Lees Parish Church. He gave his profession as engineer and his father as Augustus Cardwell Baines (deceased). Since his mother’s maiden name was Baines and there was no father on the baptism register, this seems a little unlikely.

The 1911 census shows a move to Bradford. Augustus and Edith had a daughter, Jessie Mary, who was 22 months old. Augustus is recorded as being a grocer and bun seller. He held a licence to sell beer at the shop which was situated at 147 Otley Road, Bradford. Sadly, Edith seems to have died soon after this census because on 3rd August 1918 Augustus married for a second time. He married Lilian Eugene Parker at Thornhill Lees. He was 46 years old and an ironmonger. Augustus died in June 1942 and was buried at St Michael and All Angels, Thornhill.

James Barber was born in Woolley in 1877. His parents were David and Elizabeth. After moving to Horbury, James and his brother William were baptised together on 3rd December 1879 at St Peter’s Church. The family, which the 1881 census shows had a total of 5 sons, William 9, Henry and Joseph 6, James 4 and Arthur 1, lived on Queen Street. David was a general labourer. The 1891 census shows the family live at 13 Queen Street and that David is a dyer’s labourer. James is now a labourer at the iron works. Sadly, it appears that eldest son William and youngest son Arthur have died age 11 and 3 in 1883. The family do have 2 further sons, Albert 6 and John 4. James Barber joined the Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1893. He served with the South African Field Force 1899-1902.

Horbury and Ossett StationAndrew Bennett was born in Flanshaw in 1877. His parents were Charles and Hannah, Charles was a coal miner and local Methodist preacher. In the 1881 census the family lived at Brick Street, Flanshaw and Andrew was the youngest of four siblings, Joseph 11, Mary E 9, Emily 6 and Andrew 4.

The photograph of the old Horbury and Ossett station on the right shows a crowd of people gathered on the 'up' platform awaiting the return from the South African Boer War of a wounded Horbury soldier, Private Andrew Bennett. Although he recovered and was discharged from the army, he was called up again into the 2nd Battalion, KOYLI at the start of the Great War in 1914. Sadly, Andrew Bennett was to lose his life in May 1915 during the 2nd Battle of Ypres, when the Germans first used chlorine gas, killing many British soldiers.

By the 1891 census the Bennett family have moved to Queen Street, Horbury and have two more children, Ada H. 9 and Charles W. 5. Andrew is working as an errand boy in a printer’s shop. He joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1894, aged 18 years.

In 1910, Andrew Bennett seems to have married Edith Sidebottom in Barnsley. Tragically, as mentioned previously, on the 7th May 1915, whilst serving with the KOYLI in France, he was killed in action. Private Andrew Bennett is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.

Luke Blacker was born in 1874. His parents were Luke and Elizabeth Blacker. The 1881 census shows a widowed Elizabeth living at Chapel Fold, Horbury with her four children, Herbert 14, Emily Mary 12, Fred 9 and Luke 7. The same census shows a widower Luke Blacker living at Willow Lane, Horbury with a daughter Edith Janet 12.

In 1881 Luke Blacker and Elizabeth Blacker finally got married. By the 1891 census Luke (junior) is a woollen spinner and his address was given as 72 Burlington Crescent, Goole. He was recorded as being a dock labourer. Luke Blacker (junior), a dock labourer, aged 31 years married 23 years-old spinster Ada Hampshire of Shepstye Rd, Horbury at the Ebenezer Primitive Methodist Chapel, Horbury on the 23rd December 1905.

By 1911, the Blacker family are living at Fourth Avenue, Goole and Luke is working as a Railway Goods Porter. There are two children: Norman Blacker, aged 4 years and Marjery Blacker, aged 2 years.

Luke Blacker served in the Yorkshire Light Infantry as part of the South African Field Force 1899-1902 and went on to serve in the 1st/4th Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry during World War 1. Tragically, Sergeant Luke Blacker, aged 41 years, husband of Ada Blacker, of 39, North Avenue, Horbury was killed in action on the 6th September 1915 as a result of enemy shelling of allied trenches near to the Yser Canal, Ypres. He is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Ypres.

George Edward Blackmore was born in Horbury in summer 1877 to John and Mary Blackmore. The 1881 census shows the family living at Pickard’s Mill Yard, Horbury. John is a carter and they have children Gabella 16, Louisa 7, Edith 6 and George 3. The 1891 census shows a widowed Mary living at the top of Northgate (the next property on the census was the House of Mercy) with her three children, Edith 16, George 13 and Annie 9. George is a farmer’s labourer.

On the 12th October 1896, aged 18 years, George was convicted at Wakefield of stealing from his master and imprisoned for one month. On the 1st April 1909, George was convicted for a second time, this time for two debts. He was discharged on the 20th April. The 1911 census shows 32 year-old George lodging with Robert Clayton and his family of 4, in two rooms at Hallcliffe, Horbury. He is working as a bricklayer’s labourer. George Blackmore married Laura Hanson in Wakefield in 1919 and he died in Horbury in 1966, aged 88 years.

James Herbert BurtonJames Herbert Burton (pictured left) was born in Flockton to John and Mary Ann Burton in 1875. The 1881 census shows his father John, who was a farmer, living at Broad Cut, Horbury with housekeeper Charlotte Austwick and three of his children: Arthur 12, Esther 9 and James Herbert 6. John Burton divorced his wife in 1881, on grounds of her adultery with a man named Charles Wakefield.

In 1891 the family are still at Broad Cut, only daughter Esther is now keeping house for them. In 1896, 21 year old James Burton joined the Royal Engineers.

On 7th April 1895, James and his girlfriend, Hannah Hemingway had a son, Herbert Burton Hemingway. After his service in the Boer War, James married Hannah at the Wesleyan Chapel, Horbury, on the 6th November 1902. The couple went on to have three more children: Arthur born 1903, Maud born 1907 and Thomas born 1913. James died in Barnsley in 1937, aged 62.

Interestingly, Herbert Burton Hemingway married Lillie Spindler on 1st June 1919, at St Andrew's, Wakefield. James gave his occupation as architect/surveyor. Lillie was the younger sister of Nellie Spindler, the Wakefield nurse killed in action in France in WW1. Herbert Burton Hemingway and his wife Lillie ran the Model Boarding House, Piccadilly, Wakefield. The picture above (courtesy of Bridie Hemingway) shows Herbert and Lillie standing outside the Boarding House.

Samuel Cook seems to have been born in about 1879 in Hull, to parents Samuel Thomas and Elizabeth Cook. I say ‘seems to have been’ because I can’t find a definite birth record for him but I was able to find his older brother William.

The 1881 census shows S. T. Cook (Samuel Thomas) lodging with his three children, W. J. Cook (William) 8, Mary A. 7 and S. J. (Samuel ) at the home of David and Ann White, who live at New Row, Horbury. The two brothers, William and Samuel are still lodging with the Whites in the next census of 1891. The address is 25, New Street. I am unable to find any further record of him.

Edgar Charlesworth was the son of Ann Charlesworth, spinster. He was baptised at St. John the Divine, Horbury Bridge on the 27th May 1877. Ann was the daughter of widow Sarah Ann Charlesworth, who was the licensee of The Ship Inn. The 1881 census shows Ann and Edgar living there with Sarah Ann and her other children, Eliza 19, Edwin 18, Harry 16 and Frederick Herbert 15.

By the 1891 census, Edgar is living at the home of coal miner Henry Fisher in Briestfield. He is recorded as being an apprentice hurrier in the coal mine. In 1896, Edgar joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He served in South Africa between 1899 - 1900. On the 28th October 1905, Edgar married Mary Adamson Talbot at St Michael and All Angels, Thornhill.

The 1911 census shows the couple living at 50 Industrial Street, Horbury Junction. Edgar is a labourer at the railway wagon works, I assume Charles Roberts. They have had one child which has died and have a boarder, Pat Dunleavy 25 and a nephew, Harry Haigh, aged 2 years with them.

Edgar died on 5th November 1950, aged 73 years. The probate entry states that his address was 26, The Bungalows, Sunroyd Hill, Horbury and that he died in New Road. He was buried at Horbury Cemetery.

Horbury Bridge

Thomas Charlesworth was born in Batley Carr in 1877. He was the son of George Francis Turner and Sarah Jane Charlesworth. He was baptised on the 2nd October 1881 at St Peter’s Church, Horbury along with two of his siblings, Gertrude and Maggie. The 1891 census shows 14 year-old Thomas living at The Ship Inn, Horbury Bridge, where his father is publican and farmer. Thomas Charlesworth was the cousin of Edgar Charlesworth, who also served in the Boer War.

George and Sarah had 5 children, Thomas, Gertrude, Maggie, HFJ and EY. They also had two domestic servants, E. Gommersal 19 and Rose Stephens 22, along with 3 lodgers, Elizabeth Mathewmann 43 with her daughters Edith 10 and Emily 6. George Francis Turner died the following year in 1892 and must have retired from The Ship Inn since he was described in the probate record as a former inn-keeper. His address when he died was Sunroyd Hill Cottage.

In 1896, Thomas joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Did Thomas and his cousin Edgar join up together? Thomas was 18 years and 10 months old and was working as a grocer’s assistant according to his army pension records. He was transferred to the Military Foot police in 1901. He extended his service and was promoted first to sergeant in 1911, then acting Colour Sergeant in 1915 and acting Warrant Officer 1st Class (Sergeant Major) later the same year.

On the 10th September 1916, Acting Sergeant Major Charlesworth entered a burning van to extinguish a chemical fire which had killed one man and injured several others when ammunition boxes set on fire. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for gallantry, which entitled him to an extra 6d per day on his pension. In 1903 Thomas had married Adelaide Cousins at Portsea, Portsmouth. He was discharged from the army, no longer physically fit on the 22nd July 1919. Thomas died age 46 in Chichester.

Cyrus Septimus Eland was baptised on the 21st May 1877 at St Peter’s Church, Stanley, Wakefield. He was the son of labourer Cyrus Septimus and Ann Eland of Stanley Ferry. The 1881 census shows the family have moved to Wagon Works, Horbury, I assume this was Horbury Junction. There are many families with this same address. Cyrus and Ann have five children, Jane Ann 16, Arthur N 9, John A 6, Cyrus S 3 and Alfred 1. Cyrus (senior) is a corn miller. The 1891 census shows the family’s address as Millhand, Horbury. Cyrus (senior) is now a corn miller and corn dealer. The family has two more sons, Edwin 6 and Wilfred 3.

It appears Cyrus (junior) Private 5033, joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1900, aged 22 years and 11 months; he later joined the Dragoons of the Line, the 7th Dragoon Guards. Cyrus was posted to Africa on the 5th April 1900, but tragically on the 3rd November 1901, he died of dysentery at Kroonstad. His campaign medal was given to his father in 1904.

Horbury Boer War

William Bower Exley was born in 1865 and baptised on the 8th March 1871 at Thornhill Lees. He was the son of coal miner George and Mary Exley. The 1881 census shows the family living at South Parade, Ossett. The household consists of George 40, Mary 39, Emma 19, William 15, Adela 12, Adelina 10, Walter 8, Sam 3 and Lily 1. William is a coal hurrier.

By 1891 the family have moved to Park Street, Horbury and have a further child, Beatrice 9. On 19th September 1891, William was convicted at Wakefield of being drunk. He was sentenced to 7 days imprisonment or a 10/6 fine. It appears he served the time and was discharged on 25th September. William married Ellen Pickard in 1907. The 1911 census shows them living at 9, Court 4, New Street, Barnsley. They have a son, George 2. They went on to have two more children, Benjamin in 1911 and Gladys in 1914. On the 6th October 1914, when he was almost 44 years old, William was called up to serve in The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

On the 1st September 1916, he was discharged from the army as no longer physically fit for service due to dilation of the heart. William must have moved back to Horbury as that was his address when he died and was buried at Horbury Cemetery on 19th February 1922, aged 56.

Frederick Fletcher was born in Horbury in 1859. He was the son of agricultural labourer William and Lydia Fletcher of Spring End, Horbury. The 1871 census shows they have seven children, Charles 21, Joseph 16, Sarah 14, Frederick 12, William 9, Robert 7 and Edwin 4. The 1881 census shows Frederick is a spinner.

On 7th March 1884, Frederick Fletcher married Sarah Ann Brown at St Andrew’s Church, Wakefield. By the 1891 census the couple have moved to Knaresborough and are living at Cross Keys Yard with their children, Ethel 6, Albert E 3 and Frank 2. It seems that Sarah Ann sadly died in 1895 and was buried at Horbury Cemetery on the 1st May.

The 1901 census shows Frederick married for a second time. He and his new wife Martha live at Spring End, Horbury where Frederick was born. The household has two children with the surname Bradley, Stella Bradley, 16 and Eliza A. Bradley, 10. I assume these are Martha’s children. There are also two sons that didn’t appear on the previous census, William 7 (Sarah Ann’s son) and Wilfred 3 (Martha’s son). The 1911 census shows their address is 15 Elba Terrace, Horbury. They have another son, Stephen 9. Frederick Fletcher is now working as a a coal miner. I can find no further records for Frederick.

John Henry Goldthorpe was born in the June quarter of 1864 in Horbury, and baptised at St. Peter's Church, Horbury on the 4th September 1864. He was the son of labourer Henry Goldthorpe and his wife Sarah (nee Ellis) who had married in Wakefield on the 29th March 1847. The Goldthorpe family lived at Fender Square, Horbury in 1871 and Henry Goldthorpe worked as a mason's labourer

In 1881, 16 year-old John Henry was working as a coal miner and lodging with his sister Martha and her husband, coal miner, John Hanson at Ring O'Bells Yard, Horbury.

There is a record of a John Henry Goldthorpe, aged 26 years passing away in Horbury in 1890. Did this John Henry Goldthorpe die in 1890 or did he survive, fight during the Boer War and then marry Mary Ann Wilby in 1905 and/or Elizabeth Gothard in 1919, both marriages in the Dewsbury Registration District

There was another John Goldthorp(e) of the same age, living in Horbury, but his father was Joseph Goldthorpe and I wonder if there was some confusion. This John Goldthorpe was at home in Horbury in 1901 when he would have been in South Africa had he been in the Boer War.

Alfred Haigh was baptised on Christmas Day 1879 at St Peter’s Church, Horbury. He was the son of collier Joshua and Sarah Elizabeth Haigh. The 1881 census shows them living at Lydget Gate, Horbury. Alfred has six siblings, John 19, Emily Ann 17, Harriet 14, Thomas 12, Peter 10 and George Henry 5.

The 1891 census shows the family have moved to Northgate, Horbury. In 1900 Alfred joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and served in South Africa between 1901 and 1902. On the 15th December 1906 at St Peter’s Church, Alfred married Margaret Johnson of Shepstye Road, Horbury. His profession was recorded as mill-hand and his address Cluntergate, Horbury.

The 1911 census shows Alfred and Margaret living with Margaret’s widowed mother Mary Jane 49 with 5 siblings, Richard 26, Walter 22, Annie 18, Herbert 16 and Mary 13 at Shepstye Road. The census shows Alfred and Margaret have had one child who has died. #

On 7th June 1912, Alfred was convicted at Wakefield of ‘Ob. Lang.’ I am guessing this meant obscene language. He was sentenced to 1 month imprisonment or a 30/6 fine. It is recorded he paid the fine. I believe Alfred died in 1952 age 72.

Walter Hanson GraveWalter Hanson was born in Horbury in 1877 to John and Martha Hanson (nee Goldthorpe). The 1881 census shows them living at Ring O' Bells Yard. John is a miner and the couple have another child Harriet 8. Martha’s brother John H. Goldthorpe, aged 16 years is living with them.

The 1891 census shows a move to 20, Church Street, Horbury and there are now four additional children, Herbert 8, Annie 6, Harry 3 and Nellie 5 months. Walter is now aged 14 years and he is working as a hurrier in a coal mine.

On the 18th June 1898, Walter Hanson married Laura Chapman of Barker’s Buildings, at St. John the Divine, Horbury Bridge. The 1901 census shows Walter and Laura living at Golden Square, Horbury with their two children, Alice 2 and Richard 6 months. Walter is working as a colliery labourer (above ground). The family live only a few doors from Walter’s parents.

The 1911 census reveals the couple have had four more children, although one had died. The other three are, Annie 5, Phyllis 3 and Elsie 1. They also have a boarder, Sarah Talbot 17. Walter is a coal miner at Crigglestone. Their address is now 24 Ranter’s Fold, Horbury.

Walter had been a soldier with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and it is likely that his Boer War service was with a KOYLI regiment. Later, Walter had become part of the Royal Defence Corps during WW1. Tragically, Private Walter Hanson drowned in Victoria Dock, Hull on the 1st May 1918. He was buried in Horbury Cemetery age 41.

Above: The CWGC grave of Walter Hanson in Horbury Cemetery (picture by Helen Bickerdike).

Benjamin Harrop was born in Wakefield in 1866. He was the son of William Harrop and his wife Ellen. The 1871 census shows 5 year old Benjamin living at Wentworth Terrace, St Johns, Wakefield. His father is a blacksmith, born in Ossett. Benjamin is the youngest of six children, John Ford 19, William 16, Mary 13, Ellen 9 and Joseph 7. On the 12th May 1889, Benjamin married 29 year-old Florence Mary Dilnot at Wakefield Cathedral and their eldest son Albert Dilnot Harrop was born two months later.

By the 1891 census, Benjamin and Florence are living with Benjamin’s widowed mother Ellen at the home of brother Joseph in York Street, Wakefield. Joseph is a lithographer and Benjamin is a Post Office letter carrier. Benjamin and Florence have a one-year old son, Albert Harrop.

In 1901, when he was 34 years old and living at Park Street, Horbury, Benjamin joined the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment and was posted to South Africa. In 1903 he was discharged from the army ‘medically unfit’. The 1911 census shows Benjamin and Florence living at Lupset Cottage, Horbury Road. He is now a seed and tillage traveller. Florence’s father Albert is living with them, as are their two daughters, Florence Pemberton 17 and Gladys Campbell 14. They have had four children altogether, a second son Harry Ford Harrop was born in 1891. Benjamin died at Lupset Cottage on the 17th November 1937 and was buried at St James with Christ Church at Thornes.

Charles Edward Hartley was born in Dewsbury and baptised on the 8th March 1877 at St Peter’s Church, Horbury. He was the son of farmer Charles Hartley and his wife Eliza (nee Ward) who had married in 1873. The 1881 census shows that Charles farms 100 acres and employs two men. Their address in 1881 and 1891 is Mill Lane, which became Millfield Road, Horbury.

Charles and Eliza have five children, James 7, William 6, Charles 4, Mary Ann 2 and Beatrice 6 months. They also have a domestic servant Hannah Williamson 20. The 1901 census names the farm as Castle Hill Farm, Daw Lane, Horbury.

A man with the name of C. E. Hartley was recorded as serving in 'A' Division of South African Constabulary, which was established in September 1900 as the police force in the Transvaal and Orange River Colony. This could have been Charles Edward Hartley. Charles' brother, James Victor Hartley (1874 - 1943) trained as a surgeon and died in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Did Charles Edward move to live in South Africa?

Ernest Hodgson was born in Rotherham in April 1872. His parents were wagon maker James Hodgson and his wife Susannah (nee Brown). In the 1891 census, the family live at Cluntergate and 18 year old Ernest has two siblings, Annie 19 and Harry 12. Ernest is an apprentice loom maker.

The 1901 census shows that both sons are railway wagon builders like their father and both single. The family has moved to Industrial Street, Horbury Junction, which would be handy for working at Charles Roberts.

There is no further record of Ernest Hodgson, apart from his military service in the Royal Artillery, regimental number 2596, and his army service ending in 1900. Ernest Hodgson, aged 30, died in Horbury in the December quarter of 1902, possibly from injuries or disease sustained during his Boer War service.

John (Rothery) Holdroyd was born in Newmillerdam in 1873, the son of Dinah Rothery. He was baptised as John Rothery Holdroyd at Darton All Saints Church, near Barnsley on the 28th December 1873. John also had a sister, Florence Matilda Holdroyd. It seems that both John and his sister Florence were given the surname of their step-grandfather, Thomas Holdroyd and were probably born out of wedlock to Dinah Rothery. In January 1878, Dinah Rothery married Robert Gower Musgreave in Horbury and went to live there with her two children.

In 1881, the Musgreave family were living in Golden Square, Horbury and John (H)Oldroyd Musgrave, aged 7 was the eldest of four children, the two eldest being step-children. The others were Florence Matilda, 4 years, Samuel, 2 years and Robert aged 4 months. In 1891, John, aged 17 years, was now working as a hurrier in a coal mine and living in Golden Square, Horbury with his step-father and mother. His sister Florence Matilda died in 1882.

31 year old labourer John Holdroyd married 32 year-old spinster Hannah Smith at St. Peter's Church, Horbury on the 4th May 1904 and they had a son Herbert Smith Holdroyd, b. 1910. In 1911, John and his wife Hannah were visiting Hannah's mother, Elizabeth Smith, a certified midwife, at Highfield Road, Horbury and at that time, John Holdroyd was working as a coal miner (hewer).

John Holdroyd died in the September quarter of 1931 in Horbury. To date, nothing is known of his Boer War service although it seems likely that he and his half-brother Samuel Musgrave joined up together.

John Hornby was baptised at St Peter’s Church on 3rd July 1881. His parents were blacksmith John William Hornby and his wife Harriet (nee Cordingley) who had married in 1876. Sadly, Harriet Hornby died, aged 34 in 1886. In 1891 John William is a widower, boarding with blacksmith Charles Smith and his family at School Yard, Church Street, Horbury. John has a sister, Margaret 7. In late 1891 John William married a second time to Ann Gomersal. The family are living on Northgate and have two further children, Gertrude 8 and Elsie 6. John Hornby and his father are both ironworkers at the Railway Wagon Works.

On the 13th November 1906, John was convicted at Wakefield for debt. He was sentenced to 70 days imprisonment or pay 17/9. He was discharged from prison on the 22nd January 1907. I am unable to find any further information on John Hornby.

Lister Metcalfe was born in Overton in about 1882. He was the son of coal miner Joseph Metcalfe and his wife Mary Ann (nee Sykes). The 1891 census shows the family living at Charles Street, Horbury Junction. There are eight children, Edward 16, Arthur 14, Annie 13, Ada 11, Lister 9, Sarah 7, Martha 4 and William 3. Joseph is a coal miner.

In 1901, when Lister was 19, he joined the army and served in The Dragoons of the Line. On the 16th December 1905, Lister married Lilly Lamb at St Peter’s Church, Horbury. Lister was described as a drifter on his marriage certificate. The 1911 census shows Lister and Lilly living at 33 Broad Cut, Horbury Junction. They have one child, Ernest Sykes 5. Lister is described as a coal miner deputy (underground).

From 1924 onwards Lister was the licensee of the Victoria Hotel, Westfield Road, Horbury. He died on the 14th February 1951, age 69 and was buried at Horbury Cemetery.

Tom Mountain was born in the Union Workhouse, Stanley in 1869. His mother was single woman Jane Mountain. The 1871 census shows Jane has married miner David Lister. Tom is living with them at Emley. On the 6th April 1896, Tom married widow Martha Glover, at St. Luke’s Church, Middlestown.

In the 1901 census Tom and Martha are living in Northgate, Horbury. They have three daughters, Dora Glover 9, Easter Ann Hawke 4 and Jane Elizabeth Mafeking Hawke, aged 10 months. Tom is a fettler and woolier in a cloth mill. The 1911 census reveals that Dora is actually Tom’s stepdaughter, Easter seems to be now known as Cissie, Jane as Lizzie and the couple have had three sons, Godfrey 8, Joseph Norman 6 and Cyril 2. They have also moved to Netherton.

Tom died in 1941, age 72 and was buried at Horbury Cemetery.

John Murgatroyd The only John Murgatroyd with a connection to Horbury that I can find is John E. Murgatroyd, son of John and Hannah, who was born in Horbury in about 1883. I am only able to find him in the 1901 census living with his parents near the British Oak pub at Calder Grove. John and his father are both iron furnace workers. There was a John Murgatroyd who joined the 1st Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in 1889. Could this have been him instead? Reg No. York/820

Samuel Musgrave was born in Horbury in 1879. His parents were cart driver Robert Musgr(e)ave and his wife Dinah (nee Rothery) who had married in Horbury in January 1878. Dinah already had two children John (Rothery) Holdroyd and Florence Matilda Holdroyd. The 1881 census shows 2 year old Samuel living at Golden Square, Horbury with his parents and siblings, John Oldroyd 7 (half brother), Florence Matilda, 4 (half-sister) and Robert (junior) aged 4 months.

The 1891 census shows the family live at 9 Golden Square, Horbury and have another child, Emma 8. Robert (senior) is now a labourer in the ironworks. On the 22nd April 1899, Samuel married Martha Gawthorpe at St John the Divine, Horbury Bridge. His profession was ironworker. The 1901 census shows the couple living at Victoria Street., Horbury.

The 1911 census shows they have moved to 73 Parker Road, Horbury. Samuel and Martha now have four children, Florence Ivy 8, George Robert 6, Matilda 2 and Zilpha 1. Samuel died in 1945, age 65.

Robert Ernest Payne was born in Brighouse on the 22nd May 1879. He was the son of silk dresser Charles Ernest Payne and his wife Catherine. By the 1901 census the Paynes had moved to Club Houses, Horbury. 21 year old Robert had four siblings, Lily 19, Sophia 16, Walter 10 and Clara 7.

Robert Ernest Payne and family

Above: Robert Ernest Payne with his wife Florrie and their children Walter, Clarice and Marjorie circa 1915. Picture is courtesy of Robert Payne's Great Grand Daughter Moira Thompson.

On the 11th July 1904, Robert married publican’s daughter Florrie Beckett, at St Peter’s Church, Horbury. The 1911 census shows Robert and Florrie living at 7 Dawson Hill Yard, Cluntergate, Horbury. They have 3 children, Walter Beckett 6, Clarice 3 and Marjorie aged 1 month. Robert is a forge man at an iron and steel company, Horbury Junction.

Robert died in 1957, age 78 and was buried on 17th August at Horbury Cemetery. His address was recorded as 11 Shepstye Road, Horbury.

Berry Ripley The wonderfully named Berry Ripley was baptised on the 5th August 1877 at St Peter’s Church, Horbury. His parents were miner John Ripley and his wife Emma. The 1881 census shows the family living at 8 Carlton Street, Horbury. John is now a dye house labourer and Berry has a sister, Lucy 1. The 1891 census shows a move by the Ripley family to Darton, Barnsley. John is back as a coalminer, as is Berry and the family live at Fountain Square, near Darton Station. They have four more children, Mary Elizabeth 8, Jesse 7, Hannah Bella 4 and Alfred Caldus 2.

In 1894, at the age of 18, Berry Ripley, Private 4783, joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and served in South Africa. Berry Ripley was recorded as being a PoW at Nooitgedacht on the 13th December 1900.

In 1904, Berry married Harriet Broome of Macclesfield. The 1911 census shows them living with Berry’s parents. John Ripley is now a beer house keeper at the Shepherd’s Arms, Horbury. Berry and Harriet have two children, both born in Macclesfield, Ellen 4 and Emma 2. Berry is a beer house waiter.

Berry took over the licence of the Shepherd's Arms in July 1924. Sadly, two years later he was dead. He died on 19th May 1926, age 48 and was buried at Horbury Cemetery. His widow Harriet took over the licence of The Shepherd’s Arms until 1932.

Arthur Smith was baptised at St John’s Church, Great Horton on 1st December 1878. His mother was single woman Eliza A. Smith. The 1881 census shows Eliza and Arthur living with her parents, Jonathan and Eliza Smith at Four Lane Ends, Horbury. (This was where Tithe Barn Street, Manor Road, Jenkin Road and Westfield Road meet.) Eliza also has another son, Alfred 5 and lists herself as married, but I don’t believe she was. Her older sister Hannah 36 years completes the household. The 1891 census shows Eliza A (having reverted to single) and her two sons still living with Eliza, who is now widowed. Their address is Ossett Lane. In 1899, Arthur joined the army.

On 18th April 1912, Arthur was convicted at Pontefract of ‘lodging out’ (sleeping rough?). It looks like he was sentenced to 14 days and discharged on 1st May. On 23rd July 1912, he was convicted of the same offence and given another 14 days imprisonment, discharged on 5th August. On 18th October 1912, one month for the same offence, discharged 18th November. On 11th December 1912, he received a fourth conviction, this time one month for begging. He was discharged on 10th January 1913. On 29th July 1913, when he was 34, Arthur was convicted of lodging out again and was sentenced to another 14 days. He was discharged on 11th August. I am unable to find any further records for Arthur Smith.

John William Tordoff was born in Farnley, Yorkshire on the 1st April 1876, the eldest son of James Hardaker Tordoff and his wife Elizabeth (nee Sugden), who had married in 1874. John Tordoff, service number 2427, joined the Royal Field Artillery in 1899 and served in South Africa. He was discharged in April 1901 on expiry of his period of service with the RFA.

He appears in Horbury in the 1901 census, boarding with others at the home of Jonathon and Ellen Howe. John and the other boarders work in the railway wagon works (Charles Roberts) as does the head of house Jonathon Howe. Their address is Charles Street, Horbury Junction.

John William Tordoff had been working in Mexico for the Mexican Eagle Oil Company prior to the outbreak of WW1. At Strensall, York, on the 10th September 1914, he rejoined the 1st West Riding Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery at the age of 38 years and 7 months. He was unmarried and gave his profession as an engineer. Presumably because of his previous service, he was immediately promoted to Sergeant on rejoining the Army. He left for France with the British Expeditionary Force on the 15th April 1915 and fought in France and Belgium for three years. On the 29th April 1916, he was promoted to Battery Quartermaster Sergeant, 775362, and served with the 64th Battery, Royal Field Artillery.

After spending some time back in England, he had three long spells in military hospital: 28 days from March 1918 with contusions of the left knee and an old colles fracture of the forearm, perhaps from his Boer War service. Then again for 100 days from April to July 1918 with an injury to his left knee, and finally from December 1918 to January 1919 with pains in his chest, sleeplessness and general weakness.

In fact, his old employer, the Mexican Eagle Oil Company had written to the Royal Artillery in November 1918 asking for his release from the Army:

"Reference 775362, B.Q.M.S, . J.W. Tordoff - We are anxious to obtain the release of the above man as quickly as possible in order that he may return to our employment at Tampico. Mexico to take in hand considerable new construction work in connection with our Petrol Refinery at that place."

Battery Quarter Master Sergeant John William Tordoff was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal on his discharged from the Royal Artillery at the age of 42 years on the 21st January 1919. Quite remarkably, it seems he survived both the Anglo-Boer War and WW1 without any significant injury.

John William Tordoff was shown on passenger list dated 1925 when he left Mexico for the USA. A John William Tordoff died, aged 68 years, in the Wakefield area in 1944 making him the same age as the above. It is not known if John Tordoff ever married.

Lewis Yates was born in Horbury in about 1869. He was the son of one of the Yates family’s daughters. The 1871 census shows him living with his grandparents, prison officer Thomas Yates and his wife Sarah. They live on Cluntergate, Horbury with their children, Esther 29, Mary 24, Jane 20, Willie 11 and grandson Lewis aged 2.

The 1881 census shows Thomas is now widowed and a pensioned prison officer. His daughter Emily Jane 23 (not mentioned on the previous census), son Willie 21 and Lewis 12 live with him (was Emily Jane mother of Lewis?)

On the 8th October 1888, when he was 19, Lewis married 22 year old Emily Saville Wheatley, at St John the Divine, Horbury Bridge. His profession was chemists’ assistant. By 1891, Lewis and Emily have two daughters, Mary E.M. aged 1 and Minnie Saville aged 7 months. Their address is Victoria Street and Lewis is now a foreman in a glass bottle warehouse. In 1901 their address has changed to Westfield Road, Horbury and Lewis is now working as a mason’s labourer.


1. Ancestry.com

Helen Bickerdike, June 2018