William Horsfall

William Horsfall was the youngest of the nine children of John Horsfall whose births were recorded at the Brighouse Monthly Meetings of the Society of Friends. He and his wife Mary Pollard were surely childhood sweethearts: the births of the Horsfall and Pollard families were recorded in the same book, and often on adjacent lines!

The Monthly Meeting of Brighouse covered much of the West Riding of Yorkshire, so although the two families lived about 20 km away from each other, they would have known each other and worshipped together in the Quaker style.

William’s father was a “clothier”, which meant a maker of cloth, at this time a handloom weaver. The whole family would be employed in the various stages of cloth-making, and possibly he would also have hired labourers to help. William was a “husbandman”, a worker with animals; very likely his job was taking care of the sheep and maybe the shearing. In later years the different aspects of the textile trade would become more differentiated.

When William and Mary married, they moved to Gildersome, somewhat nearer to Mary’s home in Bierley. They had five children: Thomas, Sarah, John, Mary (our ancestor) and Joseph.

At Gildersome, William took up his father’s trade and became a clothier. He would remain so for the rest of his life and at least one of his sons, Joseph, would follow him in this line. His daughter Mary would marry the village schoolmaster, but William didn’t live to see it. He died at the age of 55 and his wife survived him by only nine years.

I don’t know where William is buried but I would imagine he will be at the Friends Burial Ground at Gildersome, which is still in operation today (2022). I have found the order for his wife’s burial which is interesting as it was paid for, as you might expect, by their son-in-law John Ellis.

Father of Mary Horsfall and son of John and Mary Horsfall

Born 4th of the 2nd month (April) 1713 at Greenhouse, Huddersfield, and recorded at the monthly meeting of Friends in Yorkshire

Married Mary Pollard on the 30th day of the 11th month called January 1739 (1740 NS)

Died 10th and buried the 12th of the 8th month (August), 1768

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