George Thompson Jnr was the son of a clothier, which would probably mean something more than a weaver. Though George Thompson Snr may well have had a loom himself, he would probably also have co-ordinated the production of other workers.
George Jnr was described as a “worsted weaver” in marriage and birth registrations, as distinct from the “clothiers”. Probably his elder brother John would be the “clothier” after their father. George’s wife Mary was the daughter of a weaver and his daughter Mary would marry a woolcomber. They were a typical family of the time in Baildon, and indeed the West Riding of Yorkshire generally.
The woollen industry was the main source of income and the Thompson family made their living in the various branches of manufacture. In George’s day the whole process from tending the sheep to finishing the cloth would take place in and around the village. Spinning and weaving would be done at home with the younger children quickly picking up skills.
George and Mary’s five children would have had a hard childhood by modern standards but the writer Daniel Defoe represented the view then current, approving of the hardy self-sufficiency of Yorkshire families:
In 1724 , in his Tour of Great Britain, he described the Yorkshire wool trade: “no hands being unemployed all can gain their bread, even the youngest to the most ancient. Hardly anything above four years old but its hands are sufficient to itself.”
All this would change with the Industrial Revolution and later generations would be exploited in the Bradford wool mills until as late as 1969. But that’s another story!
Father of Mary Thompson and son of George and Mary Thompson
Baptised on 16 October 1743 at Baildon, Yorkshire
Married Mary Longcaster on 23 March 1767
No record of death found