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Benjamin Law★, (1773-1837)

Circa 1813 Benjamin Law developed a material called shoddy that revolutionized the woolen fabric trade in England and in the world.

Benjamin Law was an ancestor of mine. He married twice. The first time at age 17. Two children survived from that marriage. His second marriage, after the death of his first wife, was to my ancestor Lydia Sheard. Twelve children survived from that marriage.

Benjamin Law (1773-1837) birth

Benjamin Law, the son of George Law and Mary Wilby, was born in Gomersall in Birstall parish and baptized on November 8, 1773 in Birstall Parish Church.

Benjamin Law, Early Years

Benjamin's parents lived in Great Gomersall, Gomersal Hilltop, and Popeley Gate in Birstall Parish.

Benjamin was the 5th of 8 children of the union. Three children are known to have survived long enough to have children of their own. They were Benjamin (1771), Isaiah (1775), and Thomas (1782). Benjamin's father, George, died in 1788 when Benjamin was 15 years old. His mother survived until 1801.

George Law was a clothier and Benjamin most likely learned the trade from his father. However, since his father died when Benjamin was so young he most likely had to apprentice himself to another clothier. This may have happened earlier if indeed George Law had been ill for some time before his death.

In any event, sometime after the death of George Law, Benjamin moved to Batley parish where the first record for him was his marriage at the tender age of 17+ in 1791 . His bride, Rachael Stubley, had a "bastard" baptized in the Batley parish church 7 and a half months before. See below.

Benjamin's brother, Isaiah, married in Birstall parish in 1796. He had several children born in Birstall parish who later settled in Huddersfield. Brother, John, moved to Batley where he died unmarried at age 21. Brother, Thomas, also moved to Batley. However, the records for Thomas Law are very sparse. Benjamin's mother "the widow Lawes" died in Batley in 1801.

Rachael Stubley

Rachael Stubley Birth

Rachael Stubley was the daughter of Abraham Stubley and his wife Noe (or Noah) of Batley parish. Rachael's parents, Abraham Stubley and Noah Eastwood were married on December 19, 1757 and had at least the following children: Sarah (1760), Hannah (1763), Nancy (1765), Elizabeth (1766), Martha (1768), Abraham and Rachael (1769), Joseph (1771), Benjamin (1775), Mary (1777), and Hephzabah (1779). Noe, the wife of Abraham Stubby was buried on July 17, 1792.

For more information on the Stubleys go to, Abraham and Noah Stubley

Rachael Stubley Bastard Child Baptized in 1790

Rachael Stubley had a "bastard" baptized in Batley parish in November 1790. The Batley parish register listed the following:

"November 14, Charles, son of Rachael Stubley of Batley, a bastard, born October 24."

Bastardy was relatively common and more often than not the parents of the bastard went on to marry one another. Having a "bastard" was frequently a way of "arranging" a marriage when the parents of one or both parties did not approve of the union.

In most of the listings for bastards, the "reputed father" was listed. The parish expected that the father of a bastard would support the child, even if he did not marry the mother. No "reputed father" was listed for Rachael's bastard.

Benjamin, born in 1773, was only 17 years old and was several years younger than Rachael when Charles was baptized in 1790. However, Benjamin Law married Rachael Stubley seven and a half months later making it highly likely that Benjamin Law was the father of Charles. His youth was probably the reason that:

  • No "reputed" father was listed at the baptism of Charles Stubley
  • Rachael and Benjamin were not married sooner. The legal age of marriage was 21. To marry before the age of 21 parental consent was required.
Charles went under the surname Stubley.

Charles Stubley (1790-1873) and Hannah Mason

Marriage: Charles Stubley married Hannah Mason of Silkstone on March 30, 1812 in Batley parish, he signed she x'ed, witnesses Geoe Law and Mark Sykes both signed. Note: George Law was the first son born after the marriage of Rachael Stubley and Benjamin Law. The signature is similar to that of his own wedding in 1815.


  1. George Stubley (1813-) and Martha Marsden
    Birth: George of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, April 11, 1813
    See Stubley for more information on George Stubley.
  2. Abraham of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, February 26, 1815
    Death: Another Abraham was baptized in 1831.
  3. Mark Stubley (1816-) and Sarah _______
    Birth: Mark Sykes Stubley of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, September 19, 1816 Note: Mark Sykes was a witness to the marriage of Charles Stubley
    Note: The censuses show two Mark Stublesy born around the same time. Both married with children.
    1. Margaret of Mark and Sarah Stubley Batley clothier, 16 Feb. 1840 born 10 September
    2. Harper (?) of Mark and "Mary" Stubley 11 July 1841 born May 26, 1841, Batley clothier
    3. Joseph of Mark and Sarah Stubley, Batley clothier, 26 May 1844, born 30 April 1844
    4. Baptized same day, Elizabeth of Mark and Sarah Stubley Batley clothier, born 16 April 1843
  4. Matthew of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier January 17, 1819
  5. Rachael of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, September 19, 1820
  6. Mary of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, on May 23, 1824
  7. Ruth Stubley (1826) and Thomas Ineson
    Birth: Ruth, of Charles and Hannah Stubley Morley clothier, on September 17, 1826
    Marriage: Batley, Thomas Ineson, clothier, son of Benjamin Ineson, clothier, to Rachale Stubley "full age" daughter of Charles Stubley clothier 7 Sept 1843, both made thier mark.
  8. Elizabeth, of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, on July 20, 1828
    Death: Another Elizabeth was baptized in 1833.
  9. Abraham, of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, on April 3, 1831
  10. Elizabeth of Charles and Hannah Stubley, Batley clothier, on June 30, 1833
  11. Hannah of George and Martah Stubley, Batley clothier, 23 Feb 1840 born 19 Feb 1840
  12. Charles Stubley listed in the 1851 census born circa 1841

For more information on Charles Stubley see Stubley

Death of Hannah Stubley: 1851, Hannah Stubley Havercroft age 64 Mar 29.

Marriage of Benjamin Law and Rachael Stubley

Benjamin Law of Batley Parish married Rachael Stubley of Batley Parish on June 13, 1791. Benjamin signed his name "Ben Law".

Note: Ben Law was 17+ years old at the time of the marriage. Rachael was about 22 years old.

Children of Benjamin Law and Rachael Stubley

Benjamin Law and Rachael Stubley lived in the village of Batley in Batley parish and had the following children:

  1. George Law (1792-1864) Martha Hall and Sarah ____
    Birth: George, "son of Benjamin Law of Batley, clothier, son of George, by Rachael his wife, daughter of Abraham Stubley" was born on April 10, 1792 and baptized on May 6, 1792.
    Residence: Batley
    Occupation: Clothier
    Education: "Mr. George Law was educated partly at Batley Grammar School and partly at Aberford." Letters to Editor Batley Reporter 20th November 1880, Benjamin Law (Benjamin Law was the son of John Law, grandson of George Law and great grandson of Benjamin Law)
    Marriage: George married Martha Hall on August 15, 1815 in Batley parish. He signed. She x'ed. Witnesses Jeremiah Chadwick and Ann Law who signed her own name. Ann Law was most likely George's sister born in 1794.
    1. Lydia Law (1816-1855) and Benjamin Fox
      Birth: Lydia of George and Martha Law, Batley clothier baptized August 25, 1816. I do not know if it is meaningful, but Lydia was the name of George's step mother, Benjamin Law's second wife.
      Marriage: Lydia Law married Benjamin Fox son of James Fox and Jane Castle, 17 September 1835 at Dewsbury (Vivien Thomlinson)
      Children: John (1837), Joseph (1840), James (1842), Edwin (1845) & Martha Jane 16 February 1850, Batley(1850)
      1841: Havercroft, Benjamine Fox 25, woolen weaver, Lydia Fox 20, John Fox 4, Joseph Fox 1
      1851 Census: Havercroft, Batley, Benjamin Fox 36, cloth weaver, Lydia Fox 32, John W Fox 14, piecer in wll fac, Joseph Fox 11, " " " James Fox 9, " " ", Edwin Fox 6, Martha I Fox 1
      Death: Lydia Fox, age 38, 6 July 1855 Batley.
    2. Joseph Law (1818-?) and Ann Bolton
      Birth: Joseph, the son of George and Martha Law Batley clothier, baptized March 22, 1818.
      Occupation: Woolen Manufacturer, 1861 Census. Listed in the 1861 Leed's directory with his brother John as "Shoddy and Rag Grinders" and alone under "Flushing, Paddin, Drugget, Pilot and cloth" Note: He was not listed in the 1863 and 1866 Leed's Directories.
      Marriage: 1838 by banns Tong, September 17, Joseph Law full age bachelor, clothier, Parish of Birstall son of George Law clothier to Ann Bolton full age spinster daughter of, Charles Bolton, labourer. He signed. She made her mark. Witnesses Emanuel Field and Mark Stubley his mark.
      1. Martha circa 1844
      1841 Census: In Batley with his wife Ann
      1851 Census: Joseph Law was listed with his wife, Ann, and his brother, Jeremiah, in the 1851 Census in Dewsbury
      1861 Census: Joseph Law was listed with his wife, Ann, in the 1861 census, see Laws in the Censuses
      1871: Sunderland, Durham County, England, 38 1/2 Flag Lane, Joseph Law, head, mar, age 53, rag merchant born Bartley Yorkshire, Ann Law age 52 rag merchants wife, born Batley Yorkshire
    3. John Law (1820-1885), Susannah Talbot, and Jane Smith Rainforth
      Birth: John, of George and Martha Law, Batley clothier, baptized May 28, 1820.
      Occupation: Architect, 1861 Census. Listed in the 1861 Leed's directory with his brother Joseph as "Shoddy and Rag Grinders" Note: He was the only John Law of an appropriate age in the 1861 census.
      Marriage: 1844 May 12, John Law bachelor of Halifax and Susan Talbot spinster of Halifax, entered by Joseph Law, Halifax Holy Trinity. Note : One of their children was Mary Talbot Law born 1850, another child was George Edward Talbot Law born 1854.
      1. Benjamin Law (1844) married Frances Mary Hornley
        Birth: Benjamin, son of John Law and Susanna, schoolmaster, Batley, born August 26, baptized October 20, 1844 (BT)
        1861: At boarding school in Sedbergh
        Marriage: 1887 February 22, Parish Church Leeds, Benjamin Law age 42 bachelor barrister at law Batley, son of John Law, architect to Francis Mary Harnley age 27 spinster, Warwick Place daughter of William Hornley, tobacco and manufacturer. Both signed.
        1. John circa 1891
        1881 Census: Benjamin age 36 , barrister, brother born Batley was listed with Mary T Law, head age 30 on Taylor Street in Batley
        1891 census at Cliff Road Woodhouse as follows:
        • Benjamin Law age 46 barrister born Batley
        • Frances wife age 31, born Leeds
        • John L age 1 born Heatenley (?)
        • Fanny Heritage age 41 servant
        1901 Census: None of them were listed
      2. Joseph, of John and Susanna Law, bookkeeper, Batley, born May 9, baptized, June 27, 1847 (BT)
        Death: Joseph Law, New Street, age 2, buried January 7, 1850 (LDS film #1542210)
      3. Mary Talbot of John and Susanna Law of Batley, clothier, born October 24, baptized December 1, 1850 (BT)
        1881 Census: Listed with her brother Benjamin see above
      4. Anne Law (1852-) and Henry (Harry) Spedding
        Birth: Anne of John and Susanna Law, Batley bookkeeper, born May 12, baptized June 13, 1852 (BT).
        Marriage: "Henry" Spedding, from 1996 Batley News Article. 1881, October 25, Harry Spedding 27 bachelor designer Batley son of William Spedding, (can't read) Anne Law 28 spinster, Batley, daughter of JOhn Law architect, Batley Parish.
        1891 Census: Harry Spedding, age 38, Ann age 38, William age 7 and John R age 2
        1901 Census: Surrey St Batley, Harry Spedding, 46, woolen mill manager, worker, Ann age 48, wife, William son age 14, John R, son, age 12, all born Batley.
        1996 Batley News: Descendant: Mrs. Clarice Anne Johnson of Batley, Soothill Lane Batley.
      5. George Edward Talbot Law of John and Susanna, Batley bookkeeper, born April 16, baptized May 4, 1854 (BT)
        Death: George Edward Law Havercroft buried May 1855 age 1 year.
      6. John Thomas of John and Susanna Law, Batley bookkeeper, born May 15, baptized July 27, 1856 (BT)
        Later Record: In the 1871 census with his father. Not listed in later censuses.
      7. James Law (1858) married Ann Machill
        James of John and Susanna Law, Batley bookkeeper, born January 22, baptized April 4, 1858 (BT)
        Marriage: Anne Machill, Nov 10, 1885 James Law age 27 bachelor (cannot read) Batley son of John Law, Architect to Anne Elizabeth Machill age 29, spinster Hanging Heaton daughter of Francis Machill (cannot read), He signed. She made her mark. Witnesses John Thomas Law and Francis Richard Machill.
        1. Gertrude circa 1887
        2. Francis R circa 1893
        3. Josephine circa 1894
        4. John M 1898
        1891 Census on Oxford Road in Gomersal as follows:
        • James age 33 solicitor, born Batley
        • Anne E wife age 34 born Batley
        • Gertrude age 4 born Batley
        1901 Census: Listed in Birstall see Laws in the Censuses
      Death of Susannah Law: Susanna Law, King Street, age 34, was buried January 7, 1859.
      Remarriage of John Law: Jane Rainforth nee Smith, Marriages Mar 1862 Law, John, Dewsbury, 9b 628 Rainforth, Jane, Dewsbury (Free BMD)
      Jane had been married to George Rainforth born in Rainton. The were listed in the 1851 census in Rainton. George was listed as a proprietor or houses. They had one servant. Free BMD lists two deaths for George Rainforth Mar quarter 1854 and Sept quarter 1857. Jane Rainforth was listed in the 1861 census in Batley as a widowed head of household teacher at Wesleyan Day School. Her children John, age 16, Mary Jane age 13, Alfred age 8 and Annie L age 7 and Mary Ann Clarton lodger unmarried age 21 teacher in Wesleyan Day school were also listed with her.
      Children of James Law and Jane Smith Rainsforth:
      1. Florence Law (c. 1863) and Benjamin Longfellow
        Birth: Florence Law circa 1863
        Marriage: Benjamin Longfellow, July 31, 1890 Benjamin James Longfellow age 37 bachelor flock Manufacturer, Batley son of William Longfellow flock manufacture to Florence Law age 28 spinster (cannot read) Batley daughter of John Law Architect. Both signed. Witnesses James Law and Alfred Longfellow.
        1891 Census: Florence Longfellow, age 28, wife was listed on Howard Street in Batley with her husband, Benjamin Longfellow, age 36, flock manufacturer, born Horsforth, and her sister Melua Law age 25 no occupation
        1901 Census: Florence Law Longfellow was listed in Uppwe Mount Batley, Benjamin Longfellow, head, age 46, flock manufacturer, employer, born Horsforth, Florence Longfellow, age 38, wife, born Batley, Ann Rainforth, niece, age 22, school teacher, born Roo---thorpe
      2. Malena Law circa 1866
      1851 census in Batley: John Law was listed in the 1851 census as a book keeper in a woolen mill, see Laws in the Censuses.
      1861 census in Batley: John Law was listed in the 1861 census as an architect. Two of his children were no listed with him, Benjamin born in 1844 and James born in 1858. I don't know where Benjamin was but James wias living with his grandfather, George Law
      1871: John Law 51, Jane Law 45, Benjmn Law 26, Mary J Rainforth 22, Mary T Law 20, Annie Law 18, Alfred Rainforth 18, Annie L Rainforth 16, John Thomas Law 14, James Law 13, Florence Law 8, Malena Law 5, George Rainforth, 4.
      1881 Census: Taylor Street Batley, Jno Law 61, architect, Batley, Jane Law 55, Plompton, Mary J. Rainforth 33, stepdaughter, Rainton (?), Annie Law 28, daughter, Batley, Jno. T. Law 24, son, James Law 23, son, Florence Law 18, daughter, Melenia Law 15, daughter, George Rainforth 14, grandson, Next door to Mary T Law 30, and her brother Benjamin 36 barrister in practice.
      See Laws in the Census
      Batley New 1996: According to an article in the Batley News dated Tuesday, May 16, 1996, about the descendants of Benjamin Law:
      • John Law was the architect for the Britannia Building at the bottom of Taylor street (now demolished).
      • John Law's daughter, Anne, married Henry Spelling. Their son, John R Spelling had a son (name not listed). He in turn had a daughter, Clarice Spelling Johnson. Clarice Spelling Johnson provided a picture of her grandmother Ann Law Spelling. Ann Law Spelling, the daughter of John Law and the great-granddaughter of Benjamin Law.
      • Clarice Spelling Johnson said "Her grandfather, John, was carried on Benjamin Law's shoulders to work in his mill in Clerk Green.This story has come down through the family, but he was obviously not impressed with mill work because he became an architect."
      1. John Law, architect, age 65, of Taylor Street, was buried in the Batley Cemetery on March 6, 1885.
      2. Jane Law, age 60, widow of the late John Law of Taylor Street, was buried in Batley cemetery on February 11, 1886.
    4. Jeremiah Law (1822-?) and Emma Sheard
      Birth: Jeremiah, the son of George and Martha Law, Morley clothier, was baptized April 7, 1822.
      Marriage: June 15, 1843, Jeremiah Law, age 21, bachelor, Batley, clothier, the son of George Law, clothier, married Emma Sheard, 18, Carlinghow, daughter of Charles Sheard. Both signed. Witnesses: John Mitchel and J W Jenkins
      Civil Record: LAW, Jeremiah, SHEARD, Emma, Dewsbury, 22, 3, June 1843 (Free BMD)
      1841 Census in Batley: Jeremiah Law was listed in the 1841 census in Batley.
      1. Ann Milnes circa 1847
      Death of Emma Sheard Law: Nothing obvious on Free BMD
      1851 Census: Jeremiah was listed with his brother, Joseph in the 1851 Census
      See Laws in the Censuses
    5. Thomas, the son of George and Martha Law, was baptized April 18, 1824.
      Death: Thomas Law of Batley, age 19, was buried May 18, 1843.
    Death of Martha Law: Martha Law of Batley, age 36, buried August 11, 1829.
    Marriage of George Law: In the 1841, 1851, and 1861 censuses George's wife was listed as "Sarah".
    1841, 1851 and 1861 Censuses in Batley: George Law was listed in the 1841 census as a rag dealer, in the 1851 census as clothweaver, and in the 1861 census as a "hawker of house cloth". See Laws in the English Censuses
    Death of George Law: George Law of Batley, age 72, was buried September 22, 1864 (Batley Parish Record)
    Death of Sarah Law: Unknown
  2. John✟, "son of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Rachael his wife, daughter of Abraham Stubley " was born on November 11, 1793 and baptized January of 1794.
    Death : John "Lawes" buried July 7, 1800. There is no other information, but this is most likely the death record for John, the son of Benjamin and Rachael.
  3. Ann Law (1793-)
    Birth: Ann, "daughter of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Rachael his wife, daughter of Abraham Stubley" was born November 11, 1793 and baptized February 2, 1794.
    Further Records: I am not sure what happened to Ann. However, she was probably the Ann Law that was a witness at her brother, George's wedding in 1815.
  4. Sarah✟, "daughter of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Rachael his wife, daughter of Abraham Stubley" was born on December 22, 1796 and baptized April 2, 1797.
    Death: Sarah died as an infant and was buried with her mother, Rachael. See below.

Death of Rachel Stubley Law

Rachel died in 1797. Her burial was not listed in the parish records. However, her death on October 22, 1797, at age 28, was recorded on the memorial Benjamin's headstone in the Batley Parish churchyard which reads in part,

"In memory of Rachel the wife of Benjamin Law of Haver-croft Who departed this life on the 22 day of October 1797 In the 28th year of her age Also of Sarah their daughter who died in her infancy".
I checked again in August 2014. No listing for Rachel Law's death.

Benjamin was 24 years old - a widow with three children: Charles Stubley age 7, George Law age 5, Ann Law age 4. How did he manage. His mother was alive until 1801. In 1897 Mary Wilby Law probably close to 60. Here a birth date is not known for certain.

He waited three and a half years to remarry. This was quite unusual for the times. Most widowers married quite soon after the death of a wife.

Marriage of Benjamin Law and Lydia Sheard

Three and a half years later Benjamin Law, clothier, of the parish of Leeds married Lydia Sheard, spinster, of the parish of Leeds, by banns on April 20, 1801 in Leeds. (Leeds parish records)

He signed "Benjm Law". Lydia made her mark. Witness Joseph Hirst (his mark).


  • Benjamin Law and Lydia Sheard were both connected to Birstall and Batley Parishes. Marriages in parishes other than one's home parish seem to have been quite common. Lydia Sheard's sister, Elizabeth, also married in Leeds. She and her husband, Benjamin Parr, were also connected to Batley Parish. Benjamin Parr was a business partner of Benjamin Law.
  • Because the widower often needed someone to look after the orphans, there was a high rate of remarriage of widowers with small children. Benjamin, who had at least two small children still living at the time of their mother's death, waited longer than most widows to remarry. George and Ann, were five and three when Rachael died and nine and seven when Benjamin Law married Lydia Sheard, two and a half years later. It is also highly likely that Rachael's child, Charles Stubley, was living with them. Benjamin's mother (Mary Wilby Law) "the widow Lawes" died in Batley in November 1801. Was it possible that she was helping with the children before Benjamin remarried?

Signatures and Literacy of Benjamin Law

Signature from his marriage to Rachel Stubley in 1791

Signature from his marriage to Lydia Sheard in 1801

When and where did Ben Law learn to write his name? Could he read?

Children of Benjamin Law and Lydia Sheard Law

Benjamin Law and Lydia Sheard Law lived in the village of Batley in Batley parish and had:

  1. John, "son of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Lydia his wife, daughter of Michael Sheard" was born on November 1801 and baptized on December 29, 1801 in Batley. (Batley Parish Records)
    Emigration: Around 1820 John Land went to America on business for his father and was never heard from again. does not have any immigration information on John Law. Not listed Castle Gardens which supposedly starts in 1820. See below.
    Death: Unknown
  2. Hannah Law (1805-?) and John Parr
    Birth: Hannah, "daughter of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Lydia his wife, daughter of Michael Sheard" was born on December 31 1805 and baptized on February 16, 1806 in Batley (Batley Parish Records).
    Marriage: Hannah Law married John Parr by license on January 23, 1825 in Batley parish. The witnesses were Thomas Law and Samuel Parr. Thomas Law was the brother of Hannah's father, Benjamin Law. Samuel Parr was John Parr's brother. Hannah Law and John Parr were cousins. Hannah's mother, Lydia, and John's mother, Elizabeth were sisters.
    Occupation of John Parr: Clothier, woolen weaver, weaver
    1. Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Hannah Parr, Batley clothier, March 26, 1826
      Death Elizabeth Parr, infant, August 21 1826
    2. Benjamin Parr (1828-?) and Mary
      Baptism: Benjamin, the son of John and Hannah Parr Morley clothier, April 6, 1828 Marriage: Mary Iverson [Marriages Mar 1850, "Hineson", Mary, Parr, Benjamin, Dewsbury, 22, 37 (Free BMD)]
      1. Joseph Parr (1851-?) and Elizabeth
        Birth: Joseph, circa 1851
        Marriage: Elizabeth
        1. John T circa 1870
        2. Mary E circa 1876
        3. Henry circa 1879
        4. Benjamin born in Germany circa 1890 see 1901 census
        1871 Census: Wellington St Batley, Joseph Parr, age 20, mill hand, Elizabeth, wife, age 20 and John T "daughter" age 1
        1881 Census: Colbeck Road, Batley, Joseph Parr, age 30, overlooker, Elizabeth, wife, age 30 and John T son age 11, Mary E age 5, and Henry age 2
        1901 Census: Taylor Street, Batley, Elizabeth, widow, age 50 Mary E age 25, laundress wash worker home, and Henry age 22, woolen Card cleaner, Sarah J daughter age 19 laundress home born Birstall, Benjamin age 11 born Germany British subject, and Elizabeth age 5, granddaughter, born Batley
      2. John Parr (1855-?) Single
        Birth: John 1855
        1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 censuses: With his father
        1901: John Parr, on Well Lane Batley age 46 head, clogger
      3. Frank Parr (1859-?) and Ann
        Birth: Frank 1859
        Marriage: Ann
        1. John J circa 1879
        2. Emma circa 1881
        3. Frank circa 1883
        4. Benjamin circa 1888
        5. Mary E circa 1891
        1881 census: Spa Street Well Lane Batley, Frank Parr, age 22, card cleaner, Ann wife, age 23, and John Parr son age 2, Emma Parr daughter age 1 month
        1891 census: Spa Street Well Lane Batley, Frank Parr, age 32, goods porter, Ann wife, age 32 born Chesterfield, and John Parr son age 11, Frank age 8, Benjamin age 2 and Mary E age 10 months
        1901 Census: John Joseph and Benjamin Parr were living with their uncle, Thomas Holmes, age 28 in St Peter's Stanley. All weavers
      4. Hannah circa 1864
      5. Sarah J 1866
      6. Mary A circa 1870
      1851 Censues in Upper Batley: Benjamin Parr, age 23, woolen cloth finisher, born Morley, Mary age 22, born Batley Joseph age 8 months, born Batley
      1861 Censues on Commercial Street Batley: Benjamin Parr, age 33, woolen cloth finisher, Mary age 32, Joseph age 10 John age 6 and Frank age 2
      1871 Censues at Ward's Hill, Batley: Benjamin Parr, age 43, cloth dresser, Mary age 42, John age 16 clogger, Frank age 13, mill operative, Sarah I daughter age 5, Hannah E daughter age 7 and Mary A daughter age 1
      1881 Censues at Well Lane, Batley: Benjamin Parr, age 53, cloth finisher, Mary age 42, John age 26 clogger, Hannah E age 17 woolen weaver, Sarah J age 15, woolen weaver, and Mary Iverson mother-in-law age 69
      1891 Censues at Well Lane, Batley: Benjamin Parr, age 63, waste dealer woolen cloth, John age 36 clog maker, Hannah E age 27 woolen weaver, Sarah J age 12, woolen weaver
    3. James, the son of John and Hannah Parr Morley clothier, May 30, 1830
      Death: Another James born in 1848
    4. Rebecca, the daughter of John and Hannah Parr Batley clothier, February 12, 1832.
      Death: Rebekah Parr, Batley 1 year April 7, 1833
    5. Rachel Parr (1834- ) and Samuel Burnley
      Birth: Rachel of John and Hannah, Batley clothier, 26 Jan 1834
      Marriage: Samuel Burnley Dewsbury June 1859 (Free MMF)
      Additional Info: Gary Riley informed me of the marriage of Rachel Parr to Samuel Brunsley, and the existence of their daughter, Hannah E., who was the beneficiary of her great aunt, Catherine Law Barrett's will, July 2009
      1. Hannah Elizabeth Burnley circa 1860
        More on Hannah Burnley: Hannah was a servant of her great aunt, Catherine Law Barrat. Catharine had no children of her own and left all her money, furniture etc to Hannah. Hannah built "Rose Lea" on Branford Road Birstall near Oakwell Hall. (Information provided by Alan and Gary S Riley, July 2009)
        1891 Census: With Catherine Law Barrett in Salford, Lancashire
      2. George, June quarter, 1861 Dewsbury 9b, 438 (Free BMD)
      3. Oscar, June quarter 1865, Dewsbury, 9b, 542 (Free BMD)
      4. Henry June quarter 1867, Dewsbury, 9b, 559 (Free BMD)
      5. Fred circa 1868
      6. Mary Ellen Burnley (1876-) and Godfrey Sykes
        Birth: Mary Ellen December quarter 1876, Dewsbury 9b 634 (Free BMD)
        Marriage: Mary Ellen Burnley and Godfrey Sykes Dewsbury 9b 983, Dec 1897 (Free BMD)
        1. Edwin circa 1899
        2. May Sykes, 1901, married Thomas William Riley (Alan and Gary Riley July 2009)
        1901 Census: Batley, Princess Street, Godfrey Sykes age 30, wollen spinner, worker born Yorkshire, Mary E wife age 25 Edwin son age 2, May 1 mo, Fred Burnley boarder age 31, cloth finisher, all born Yorkshire, Batley.
      1861 Census: Benj Sheard Fold, Batley, Samuel Burnley, age 30, cloth tenterer, born Batley, Rachel wife age 29, born Batley, Hannah Eliz age 1 born Batley, George son age 6 mo born Batley
      1871: Wards Hill, Batley, Samuel "Burnly" age 40, stone sawer, Rachel,wife 37, Hannah E, 12, George, 11, Oscar, 6, Henry, 4 Fred, 1
      1881 Census: Park Road Batley: Samuel Burnely, stone setter quarry, "Rachiel", wife, Hannah, 21 cloth weaver, George, 20, cloth raiser, Oscar, 17, factory worker, Henry,14, Fred, 13, Mary Ann, 5 all born Batley
      1891 Census: 9 Cross Market, Batley, Rachel Burnely, widow age 58, born Batley, George son age 30 stone guarry man born Batley, Henry son age 23, clothe finisher, born Batley, Fred son age 21 cloth finisher, born Barley, Mary E daughter as 15 woolen weaver, born Batley
      1891: Hannah E Burnley, niece age 30 was living with her great aunt Catherine (Law) Barrett, 71 and Ann E Law age 42, teacher in Salford, Lancashire. See Catherine Law Barrett below.
      Death of Rachel Burnley: Mar 1897 Dewsbury (Free BMD)
    6. Esther Parr (1835-?) and John Fozard
      Birth: Esther of John Parr and Hannah Batley clothier 28 June 1835
      1861 Census: Smithies Lane Gomersal, John Fozard, head, age 30, corn miller, born Howley Mill Esther, wife, age 26, born Howley Mill, Mary daughter age 3 born Hartshead, Sam son age 2 born Howley MIll, Arthur son age 6 mo born Birstall
      Death of John Fozard:
      1871 census: Batley Mayman Lane, Esther Fozard, head age 35, widow, woolen warper, born Batley, Sam son age 13 blacksmith, Arthur son age 10 scholar, both born Batley
      1881 Census: See Hannah Parr below
      1891: Providence street Batley, Esther Fozard, head widow age 60, Arthur son age 30 brewery nightman
    7. Hepseba circa 1836
    8. Lydia Parr (1828-) and William Wood
      Birth: Lydia of John and Hannah Parr Batley clothier 12 Aug 1838 born 27 June 1838 (BatPR)
      1841: With her parents
      1851: Lydia Parr, age 12, servent, Clark Green Batley with Grace Smith age 70, and Elizabeth Stubley her grandaughter age 27.
      Marriage: Charles William Wood 1856, September (listed Free BMD)
      1861: Listed with her parents and husband, William Wood.
    9. John Parr (c 1840-) and Martha
      Birth: John circa 1841. After the 1841 census.
      1861: Cross Street Batley John age 21 labourer in dye house, bor Morley, Martha age 24 woolen power loom weaver, born NK (not known?) Alice daughter age 8 mo. born Batley.
      1871 Census: See John and Hannah Parr below
      1881 Census: Batley, Howley Beck, John Parr, head age 41, dyer, born Howley Martha, wife age 43, Alice daughter age 20 cotton weaver, Thomas son age 18 cloth miller rest born Batley
      1891 Census: Back Street Hanging Heaton, Soothill, John Parr, widower age 52 woolen cloth dyer
    10. Thomas Parr (1843-?) and Susannah
      John and Hannah Parr in the 1861 census.
      Birth: Thomas circa 1843
      Marriage: Susannah
      1. Herbert circa 1896
      1851 and 1861 Censuses: Listed in the 1851 and 1861 censuses with his parents.
      1871 Census: Thomas Parr dyer age 28 and his wife Susannah were listed in Morley with William Wood. Susannah was listed as the sister in law of William Wood. William Wood and his wife Lydia were listed as boarders with
      1891 Census on Upton Street in Batley: Thomas Parr, head age 59 wool dyer cloth dyer, Susannah, wife, age 57, Herbert age 5
      1901 Census on Cresent Street in Batley: Thomas Parr, head age 7 wooled dyer, Susannah, wife, age 45, Herbert age 15, (?) Rug maker
    11. James Parr (1848-?) and Mary J
      Birth: James circa 1848
      Marriage: Mary J
      1. Sarah J circa 1877
      2. Henry circa 1879
      3. Edward circa 1882
      1881 Census on Cross Park Street in Batley: James Parr, head age 32, dyer, Mary J, wife, age 31, Sarah J. age 4 scholar and Henry age 2
      1891 Census near Howley Hall Farm Morley : James Parr, head age 42, dyer labourer, Jane, wife, age 41, Sarah J. age 14 woolen weaver and Henry age 12, scholar, and Edward, age 9 scholar
      1901 Census Cross Bank Road Batley : James Parr, head widower, age 52, cloth dyer
    1841 Census in Norris Heaton, Stockport, Manchester, Lancashire County: With Lydia Law, see below.
    1851 Census in Morley at Howley Beck: John Parr, head, age 51, clothier, Hannah, wife, age 45, Rachael daughter age 17 burler, Hepseba daughter age 15, burler, John age 11 scholar, Thomas age 8 scholar and James age 3 scholar.
    1861 Census in Morley at Howley Beck: John Parr, head, age 61, woolen weaver, Hannah, wife, age 54, Thomas age 18 dyer, James age 13 labourer, William Wood, boarder, married age 23, farmer, Lydia, boarder age 2? and Rachel daughter age 2
    1871 Census in Morley at Howley Beck: John Parr, head, age 71, weaver, Hannah, wife, age 65, John Parr, age 31 widower, cloth dyer, James Parr, son unmarried, age 23, overlooker at mill, Alice Parr, granddaughter age 10 scholar, Thomas, grandson age 7 scholar
    Death of John Parr: Between 1871 and 1881.
    1881 Census at Cross Park Street Batley: Esther Fozard, age 46 widow head, Samuel Fozard, son age 22, married, cloth finisher, Arthur Fozard, son unmarried, age 20, tallowchandler, Martha Fozard, daughter-in-law married, age 25 cloth sorter, Mary Fozard, granddaughter age 2, John Fozard, grandson age 7 months, and Hannah Parr, mother
    widow age 75
    Death: Unknown. Before 1887, see Death of Catherine Law Barrett below.
  3. Joseph Law (1807-?) and Sarah ________
    Birth: Joseph, "son of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Lydia his wife, daughter of Michael Sheard" was born on August 20, 1807 and baptized on September 17, 1807 in Batley. (Batley Parish Records)
    Marriage: Sarah
    According to the census Sarah was born in Batley.
    ??? Joseph Law, weaver, and Sarah Law, banns, both of the parish of Tong, 19 May 1833, both signed, witnesses can't read and John Parr.
    Occupation: clothier, bookkeeper, school master, rent and dept collector
    1. Thomas Law (1833-?) and Jane Heppleston
      Birth: Thomas, son of Joseph Law and Sarah, clothier, was baptized November 24, 1833 (Batley Parish Records)
      Occupation: Plumber (Vivien Thompson, November 2004), Apprentice plumber 1851 census. Listed in the 1861 Leeds directory as a plumber. Not listed in later directories.
      Marriage: Jane Heppleston in 1855 in Batley, daughter of John Heppleson and Ellen Preston (Vivien Tomlinson, November 2004)
      1. Mary Blakeley Law, born 1855 in Batley (Vivien Tomlinson, November 2004)
        1861 and 1871 censuses in Batley: Mary Law, age 5, was listed as the granddaughter of John Heppleston, age 56 cloth and fuller at Heppleston building Providence Street Batley in the 1861 census and as Mary B Law, age 15, dressmaker granddaughter of John Hepplestone age 66 cloth fuller (unem) in the 1871 census
        Marriage: Phineas Fox in 1878 in Batley (Vivien Tomlinson, November 2004)
        Occupation of Phineas Fox: Clerk to woolen manufacturer in 1881 and 1891 Censuses
        1881 Census: On Talbot Street Batley
        1. Nellie circa 1881
        2. Cecil circa 1883
        1881 Census: Talbot Street Batley: Phineas Fox, head age 25, clerk to woolen manufacturer, and Mary B Fox age age 25.
        1891 Census: Talbot Street Batley: Phineas, head, age 35 clerk, Mary, age 35 wife, Nelli daughter, age 10, Cecil son age 8
      Death of Thomas Law:
      Death of Jane Heppleston Law:
    2. Samuel Law (1836-?) and Priscilla Pickergill
      Birth: Samuel, the son of Joseph and Sarah Law, Batley clothier, baptized, July 3, 1836 (Batley Parish Records).
      Occupation: Cloth drapper in 1851 listed with his parents and brother. Butcher, in all censuses. Listed at the Whitte Hart Inn, Batley in the 1866 Leeds directory.
      Marriage: Priscilla Pickersgill December 24, 1860 Samuel Law age 24, bachelor butcher Batley son of Joseph Law bookkeeper, to Priscilla Pickersgill age 24 spinster Almondbury daughter of John Pickersgill, slubber, Both signed. By banns. Parish Church Almondsbury.
      1. Henry Wilson Law (1867-) and Susan Hepworth
        Birth: Henry Dec 30 1867 Henry of Samuel and Priscilla Law born Dec 6th, Batley rag merchant.
        Marriage: Susan born Batley
        Marriages Dec 1889 Henry Wilson Law and Susan Hepworth Dewsbury 9b 1159 FreeBMD
        1. James circa 1891. Died in WWI per Linda Russell July 28, 2011
        2. Alfred circa 1893 Harwick, Essex per 1901 census: Alfred went to Singapore in the 20's or 30's and he was the manager of an ice storage company. He was married and had one daughter, Joy (no known details) and got out of Singapore before WW2. I am in possession of a number of brass objects that Alfred would bring home for his mother, Susan, on his leave in England. I believe after being very wealthy, he ended up selling newspapers on the streets!!, per Linda Russell July 28, 2011
        3. Annie Law (1895-) and Clarence Ewart Sparrow
          Birth: Annie circa 1895, per 1901 census
          Marriage: Clarence Ewart Sparrow, per Linda Russell July 28, 2011
          1. Alfred Law Sparrow circa 1925
          2. Ronald
          3. John
          4. per Linda Russell July 28, 2011
        1891 Census: Henry W Law born Batley was listed at 20 West Street Harwick, age 24, butcher, his wife, Susan age 23 and James H son age 6 mo. all born Batley
        1901 Census: Butcher, worker, on Highfield Road in Horbury
      2. Sarah Law (1868- ) and Robert Senior Hargreaves
        Birth: Sarah October 11, 1868 of Samuel And Priscilla Law Batley butcher born Sept 20 1868
        Marriage: 1884 March -- Robert Senior Hargraves age 20 bachelor (cannot read) son of Christopher Hargreaves, manager to Sarah Anne Law age 19 spinster weaver Batley daughter of Samuel Law, butcher, Both signed. Witnesses Samuel Law and Robert Hirst.
        1. Christopher circa 1885. Listed in the 1881 census. Not listed in the 1891 census.
        2. Laura circa 1888
        1891 Census: Listed with Samuel as married in the 1891 census.
        1901 Census: Listed with her parents in the 1901 census in Wortley 1911 Census: Sarah Ann Hargraves daughter age 46, married with her parents Samuel and Pricilla Law. See Samuel Law
      3. Hannah circa 1871
      4. Mary Jane circa 1871
      5. Susan W circa 1874
      6. John Edward, circa 1878
        1901 Census: Listed with his parents in the 1901 census in Wortley
      7. James circa 1881
        Further Records: No listed in the 1891 or 1901 census
      1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 Censuses: Samuel Law was listed in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses. See Laws in the Censuses

      1911 Census: 39 Hope Terrace, Batley, Samuel Law 74, retired butcher, Pridcilla Law 71, wife, Sarah Ann Hargreves 46, daughter, Laure Hargreves 23, grandaughter,

    1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 Censuses: Joseph was listed in Batley in the 1841 as a "woolen bookkeeper", in 1851 as a bookkeeper, and in the 1861 census as a School master, and in the 1871 census as a rent and dept collector, see Laws in the Censuses
    Death of Joseph Law: Unknown
    Death of Sarah Law: Sarah Law of Batley, age 67 buried April 16, 1865
  4. William Law★ (1809-1861) and Mary Worth★
    Birth: William, "son of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Lydia his wife, daughter of Michael Sheard" was born on March 12, 1809 and baptized on April 2, 1809 in Batley (Batley Parish Records).
    Marriage: William Law married Mary Worth most likely in Cheshire.
    Occupation: clothier, hand loom weaver
    1. Lydia Law★ (1835) married John Land★
      Birth: Lydia born circa 1835, Stockport
      Marriage: John Land in 1857. Lydia was the second wife of John Land who had 6 children by his first wife, Mary Dyson.
      Children: 8 children including Law the eldest of the marriage born in 1858. Law Land married Elizabeth Sykes in Batley in 1880. They had one child born in Batley and then immigrated to Canada and later to the United States. They had nine children including Percy born in Toronto Canada in 1885. Percy married Meta Petermann in Smithtown Long Island, New York in 1908. They had 4 children including Edgar (Bud) born in 1915. Bud married Agnes Goehle in 1942. They had 8 children including Maggie who married Tom Blanck. See John Land
    2. Emma Law (1838) married Thomas Pickering
      Birth: Emma 1838
      Marriage: Thomas Pickering. See William Law now or at the bottom of the page.
    3. Littice 1840
    4. Isabella Law (1842) married Thomas Wailes
      Birth: Isabelle 1842
    5. Mary Ann Law (1845) married Samuel Land
      Birth: Mary Ann 1845
      Marriage: Samuel Land 1863. Lands in Philadelphia now or at the bottom of the page.
    6. Hannah 1849
    For more information on William Law and Mary Worth and their children, see William Law now or at the bottom of the page.
  5. Benjamin, "son of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Lydia his wife, daughter of Michael Sheard" was born on April 12, 1810 and baptized May 17, 1810 in Batley (Batley Parish Records).
    Further Records: I do not know what happened to Benjamin Law. He was not listed in any of the English Censuses
    Death: Unknown
  6. Sarah Law (1812-?) and Benjamin Horn
    Birth: Sarah, "daughter of Benjamin Law, clothier, son of George, by Lydia his wife, daughter of Michael Sheard" was born on February 11, 1812 in Batley and baptized at the Gildersome Chapel on March 29, 1812 (Gildersome Chapel Records).
    Marriage: Sarah Law, full age, spinster, of St Peter's Gate, daughter of Benjamin Law, manufacturer, married Benjamin Horn, full age, bachelor, spinner, of Chestergate, son of Ralph Horn, band maker, on May 17, 1838 in the Parish Church in Stockport in the County of Chester. They both signed. Witnesses were Ralph Horn and Rebecca Carrington.
    Marriage Civil Record: LAW, Sarah to HORN Benjamin Stockport, St Mary, Stockport ST16/1/221 1838
    Not listed North & East Cheshire Marriage Index 1854-1837
    Occupation of Benjamin Horn: spinner, rope maker
    1. Thomas Horn (1839-) and Caroline _________
      Thomas Law Horn
      Birth: Thomas Law Horn Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1839 Registration district: Stockport Inferred County: Cheshire, Lancashire Volume: 19 Page: 248
      Cheshire Birth indexes for the years: 1837 to 1839 Surname Forename(s) Sub-District Registers At Mother's Maiden Name Reference HORN Thomas Law Heaton Norris Stockport LAW HEA/2/97, Cheshire BMD
      1861: Heaton Noris Distric 1, Thomas Horn head, age 22 rope maker, Caroline wife age 26, Annie, daughter age 1, Sarah Smith, mother in law
      Children: Annie, Sarah, Eliza, Thomas, John B, William per 18671 and 1871 censuses. George and Caroline per 1891 census
      More: 1871, 1891, and 1901
    2. Benjamin
      Cheshire Birth indexes for the years: 1840 to 1845 Surname Forename(s) Sub-District Registers At Mother's Maiden Name Reference HORN Benn Heaton Norris Stockport LAW HEA/5/7
      Death: Cheshire Death indexes for the years: 1848 Surname Forename(s) Age Sub-District Registers At Reference HORN Benjamin 7 Heaton Norris Stockport HEA/10/14
    1841 Census: New Mills Lancashire Heaton Norris, District 2, Sandy Lane??, Benjamin Horn spinner age 39 Sarah age 30, Thomas age 2, Benjamin age 6 months
    1861 Census: 26 Lancashire Hill Heaton Norris Stockport District 1, Benjamin Horn, head age 49, roper employing 1 man and 8 children, provisions dealer, born Derbyshire New Mills, Sarah wife age 39, born Derbyshire New Mills, Ralph, father age 77, Yorkshire Cumberworth??, rope maker, Mary ---shaw, niece, age 8, Derbyshire New MIlls
    Census 1871: Heaton Norris, Wooley Lane, Lancashire, Benjamin Horn, head age 60, twine spinner and provisions dealer, Sarah Horn, wife age 50, both born Castleton, Derbyshire
    Death: Unknown. Before 1887, see Death of Catherine Law Barrett below.
  7. James, "son of Benjamin and Lydia Law" was baptized on June 27, 1813 in Batley (Batley Parish Records).
    Death: James Law "of Ashton" in Batley parish, age 16, was buried April 6, 1829 (Batley parish records)
  8. Samuel Law (1815-?) and ??
    Birth: Samuel, "son of Benjamin and Lydia Law, Batley clothier", was baptized on September 18, 1815 in Batley (Batley Parish Records).
    Marriage: Unknown
    1861 census: Samuel Law was listed in the 1861 census in Manchester as a 45 year old lodger with William Norberty on Barnston Street, unmarried, overlooker, born Batley Yorkshire. Child:
    1. Sarah Law (1835-?) and William Crossland
      Birth: Sarah, born in Stockport circa 1835
      Marriage: William Crossland, (4 February 1856, per Robert Crossland, 2005, see below). Mar 1856, Law, Sarah, Dewsbury, 9b, 452 Free BMD
      February 4, 1856 Batley Parish, William Crosslands age 24 bachelor, clothier Batley son of Robert Crosslands clothier to Sarah Law spinster age 21 Batley daughter of Samuel Law, overlooker. Both signed.
      1. Robert Crossland (c 1857-) and Ann _
        Birth: Robert circa 1856
        1881 Census: Bradford Rd, Robert age 24, rag grinder woolen, Ann age 24, George H D age 5, and Mary J age 3.
        1891 Census: Towngate Rd, Batley, Robert age 34, coal miner, Ann age 34, George H Dearnely age 15, minors assistant, Mary J age 13, Harriet age 9 Albert age 6 Sarah E, age 1.
        1901 Census: Cross Park St, Batley, Robert age 44 coal miner, Ann wife age 44, Harriet A woolen weaver age 19, albert son piecner age 16, Sarah E age 14, Esther age 8 Emma age 8 mo.
        1996 Batley Newspaper: His descendants the granddaughters of Emma: Mrs. Maureen Sellers, Miss Sheila Higgins and Mrs. Kathleen Sugden.
      2. Rebecca circa 1859
      3. John Shaw Crossland (1861-?) and Abby _____
        Birth: John Shaw Crossland circa 1861 Batley
        Marriage: Abby
        1. Lilian
        2. Rebecca circa 1892
        3. James circa 1894
        4. Gilbert circa 1897
        5. Allen circa 1899
        1891 census: In Heatons yard Batley, John S Crossland, head age 30, coal miner, Abby wife age 25 Lilian daughter age 2 and Ada Haley boarder age 20 woolen weaver all born Batley.
        1901 Census: Jno Shaw Crossland 2 yd Wards Hill Batley head age 40, coal miner, Abby wife, age 36, Lillian daughter age 12, Rebecca daughter age 9, James son age 7, Gilbert, son age 4, Allen son age 2
      4. Harriett Crosslands and Arthur John Farrar Farrar
        Birth: Harriett Crossland circa 1865 Batley
        Marriage: Arthur John Farrar 13/3/1891 (David Foster, February 18, 2010).
        1. James E circa 1889
        2. Elsie Emma born 14/6/1891 (David Foster, February 18, 2010)
        Death of Arthur Johan Farrar: 25/1/1891 (David Foster, February 18, 2010)
        1901 Census: With her parents
        Death of Hariett Crossland Farrar: 1950 (David Foster, February 18, 2010)
      5. Samuel Law Crossland (1867-?) and Ada _______
        Samuel Law Crossland circa 1867 Batley
        Marriage: Ada
        1. Doris circa 1896

        1891 Census: #33 Albion Street Batley Samuel law Crossland, head, age 34, woolen ____ ner, Ada wife, age 30, Doris, daughter age 5
      6. James Crossland (1871-?) and Ann _______
        Birth: James Crossland circa 1871 Batley
        Marriage: Ann
        1. Alice, circa 1896
        2. Sarah, 1898
        3. Hilda, 1901
        1901 Census: Back Holland Street Batley, James Crossland, age 29, beamer in woolen mill worker, Ann wife, age 30, Alice d. age 5, Sarah d. age 3, Hildea, d. age 8 mo.
      1861 Census; Spring Garden Batley , William Crosslands, age 29, woolen weaver, born Horbury, Sarah, wife, age 27, born Stockport, Robert son age 5 Rebecca daughter age 2 and John S son age 3 mos. all born Batley.
      1871 Census: William Crosslands at Spring Garden Street Batley: William Crossland, head age 39, clothier, Born Batley, Sarah wife age 36, born lancashire, Stockport, Robert son age 14, clothier, John son age 10 Harriett, daughter age 6 Samuel L son age 4. Children all born Batley.
      1881 Census: Not listed
      1891 censuses: In Batley. See Laws in the Censuses
      1901 Census: On Queen Street Batley, St Thomas, William Crossland, head age 69, retired woolen mill hand, born Holmebottom, Sarah wife age 66, born Stockport, Harriett Farrar widow, age 36, woolen weaver, born Batley, James E Farrar, grandson age 12, born Batley, Elsie Emma Farar grand daughter age 9, born Batley,
      Batley News 1996
      • According to the Batley News, Tuesday May 16, 1996, Samuel Law married and had a daughter, Sarah, born in Stockport in 1835. Samuel was an "overlooker" in one of the mills (It does not say where). Sarah Law married William Crossland in Batley Parish Church in February 1856. Crossland descendants of Benjamin Law still live in the Batley area. The picture of Sarah Law Crossland is from the Batley News, June 6, 1996.

      Death: Unknown
      Further Information: Robert Crossland a descendant of Benjamin Law emailed the following information in January 2005:
      • My father was Harry Crossland (1925-1984)
      • Harry's father was Gilbert Crossland (1896-1956)
      • Gilbert's father was John Shaw Crossland (1861-1935)
      • John Shaw's father was William Crosland (1831-1906)(Crossland's back from this date appear with only one "s")
      • William of course married Sarah Law (4 February 1856)
      • William's father was Robert Crosland (1811-1884)
      • Robert's father is not known but his mother was Alice Crosland (b 1789)
      • Alice's father was John Crosland (m. 1786 South Kirkby)
      • One of Gilbert's sisters was Sally Crossland (1904-1995). Sally married Harry Haigh. Their son is Malcolm H Haigh who wrote the book History of Batley.
  9. Abraham Law 1817-?) and Ann Parr
    Birth: Abraham, "son of Benjamin and Lydia Law, Batley clothier" was baptized on September 17, 1817 (Batley Parish Records).
    Marriage: Ann Parr in 1844. They are on the same page of the Yorkshire Marriage index - only person named Ann listed on that page. Listed as wife by Vivien Thomlinson. Ann Parr was the daughter of Benjamin Parr and Elizabeth Sheard born 1817. Note: Yorkshire BMD lists Benjamin Parr, Sarah Ann Archer, Abraham Law and Ann Par in Vol. 22 page 49 1844 BMD Marriages July, Aug and Sept. Benjamin Parr married Sarah Ann Archer (born 1811 Ossett) on 14 July 1844 at Rehoboth Chapel Morley (Vivien Thomlinson)
    Occupation: Rag merchant, commercial traveler
    1. Edwin (1845-1899) and Elizabeth Parr
      Birth: Edwin, of Abraham and Ann Law, Leith rag merchant, born July 27, 1845 and baptized September 24, 1849 in Batley parish (Batley Parish Records).
      Marriage: Elizabeth Parr, daughter of Sarah and Benjamin Parr born circa 1845. Elizabeth and Edwin were second cousins. Elizabeth's father, Benjamin, was the son of Benjamin Parr and Elizabeth Sheard. See Michael Sheard (1742-1811)
      Child: Alfred✟ listed 1881 census age 2, born Lancaster
      Death: Jan 1882, Barton Upon Irwell age 1.
      1871 Census: Salford, Lancashire, Edwin Law, lodger, unmarried, age 25, corporation clerk born Batley Yorkshire.
      1881 Census: 16 Shakespeare Crescent, Barton Upon Irwell, Lancashire, England:
      • Edwin Law, head, age 35, corporation (can't read), born Batley
      • Elizabeth, wife, age 36,
      • Alfred son age 2 months born Lancashire
      • Sarah Parr, married, mother-in-law, age 69, retired woolen manufacturers wife
      1880 Batley Newspaper: In 1880 Edwin Law wrote an article and several letters to the Barley News defending his grandfather, Benjamin Law, as the inventor of shoddy.
      1891 Census: Edwin Law, age 45, corporative clerk born Batley, wife, Elizabeth, age 46 and Benjamin Parr, father-in-law age, widower, 81, retired woolen manufacturer, all born Batley, were listed in Barton, Lancashire
      Death of Edwin Law 1899: Edwin Law, Estimated birth year: abt 1846, Registration Year: 1899, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Age at Death: 53, Registration district: Barton Upon Irwell Lancashire, Volume: 8c, Page: 443

      1911:29 Hampden Grove Patricroft Lancs, Barton upon Irwell, Elizabeth Law 66, head, widow, private means, children who have died, born Morley, parish of Batley, Ann Elizabeth Law, "cousin" 62, Leith Edenborough
      Death of Elizabeth Law: Elizabeth Law, Birth Date: abt 1845, Date of Registration: Mar 1934, Age at Death: 89, Lancashire, Volume: 8c, Page: 720

    2. Ann of Abraham and Ann Law Leith rag merchant born January 1849 and baptized September 24, 1849 in Batley (Batley Parish Records)
      1891 Census: 1891: Salford, Lancashire, Regent Road, with her aunt Catherine Barrett 71, Hannah E Burnley 30, niece, Elizabeth Smith 20, servant, Ann E Law 42, niece, teacher, school. See Catherine Law below. 1911 See Elizabeth above
      Death of Ann E Law 1925: Ann E Law, Birth Date: abt 1849, Date of Registration: Mar 1925, Age at Death: 76, Lancashire, Volume: 8c, Page: 759

    3. Alfred✟ of Abraham and Ann Law, Batley rag merchant, born May 22, 1855 and baptized August 10, 1856 in Batley (Batley Parish Records)
      Death : Alfred Law, New Road, age 2 yrs, Jan 25, 1858

    1841 Census in Norris Heaton, Stockport Lancashire: With Lydia Law, see below.
    1861 Census: Abraham Law was listed in Batley in 1861 census as a commercial traveler. See Laws in the Censuses
    1851: 1851 head of household at 13 Baltic Street, Louth, Midlothian, Scotland, rag merchant, Ann wife. (VT)
    1854: Polling Law, Abraham, New Road site, Freehold House, Batley
    1857 - 1858: Same
    1859 - 1860 - 1861 to 1864: Birstal Polling: Law, Abraham New Road Side, Batley.
    1861 Census: Abraham Law was listed in Batley in 1861 census as a commercial traveler. Law Street, Abraham Law 43, Ann Law 43, Edwin Law 15, Ann E Law 12, Scotland, Leith
    Death of Ann Law: Ann Law "Stanford near Manchester" September 10, 1865, age 47.
    Death of Abraham Law: Unknown
  10. Catherine Law (1819-?) and Robert Barrett
    Birth: Catherine, "daughter of Benjamin, Batley clothier, and Lydia Law" was baptized on October 3, 1819 (Batley Parish Records).
    Marriage: Catherine Law, full age, spinster, of Heaton Norris, daughter of Benjamin Law, Labourer married Robert Barrett, full age bachelor, warehouseman, of Heaton Norris, son of Isaac Barrett, bookkeeper on February 17, 1842 in the (can't read) Parish Church, Parish of Manchester, County of Lancaster. Witnesses were Ed Hough and William Alred. Robert signed. Catherine made her mark. Note: Benjamin died in 1837.
    Occupation of Robert Barrett: Yeast merchant
    The Barretts owned a "business importing yeast from Germany and selling it on Manchester Railway Stations" (Alan and Gary Riley July 2009)
    Children: None. She left her estate to her grand niece, Hannah E. Burnley.
    Residence: "They lived at Rose Cottage Broughton Road" (Alan and Gary Riley, July 2009)
    1861 Census: Catherine Law Barett was listed with her husband Robert Barett, age 39, German yeast merchant, born Stockport Cheshire and Catherine wife, age 42 born Batley Yorkshire, at Haworth St Salford Lancashire.
    1871 Census: At Rose Cottage Salford, Lancashire, Robert Barrett, age 48, yeast dealer employing 1 man, and Catherine Barrett, wife, age 51, with one domestic servant
    1881 Census: Catherine Law and her husband, Robert Barrett, were listed in the 1881 Census (LDS film #1341947 Piece 3968, folio, 96, page 1) at 83 High Street, Salford, Lancashire as follows:
    • Robert Barrett, head, married, age 59, yeast dealer, born Cheshire, Stockport
    • Catherine Barrett, wife, married, age 58, born Yorkshire, Batley
    • Ann E Wright, servant, unmarried, age 24, general domestic servant, born Lincolnshire, Althrop
    Death of Robert: Robert Barrett age 68, Little Bolton, Bolton, Lancashire 1888 (Lancashire BMD)
    1891 Census: At Rose Cottage, Salford, Lancashire:
    • Catherine Barrett, head, widow, living on her own means, born Batley, Yorkshire
    • Hannah E Burnley, niece, single, age 30, living on her own means, born, Batley, Yorkshire
    • Elizabeth Smith servant, age 20, domestic servant
    • Ann E Law, niece, age 42 school teacher, born Leith, Edinburgh
    • Notes:
      • Hannah Elizabeth Burnley was the daughter of Samuel Burnely and Rachel Parr Burnley born in Batley in 1860. Rachel Burnley nee Parr born 1834 was the daughter of Hannah Law and John Parr. Hannah Law the wife of John Parr, born 1805 was the daughter of Benjamin Law and Lydia Sheard Law. She was a sister to Catherine Law Barrett. Gary Riley informed me of this connection in July 2009.
      • Ann E Law was the daughter of Catherine Law Barrett's brother Abraham Law, see child number 9 above.
    Later Records: Catherine erected a memorial stone to Benjamin and his wives, Rachael Stubley and Lydia Sheard, in Batley parish in 1887, 50 years after Benjamin's death. At that time she listed herself as the only surviving daughter of Benjamin Law. See below.
    1901 Census: At Rose Cottage, Salford, Lancashire:
    • Catherine Barrett, head, widow, living on own means, born Batley Yorkshire
    • Hannah Burnley, servant, age 40, general serv. domestic born Batley, Yorkshire
    • Note: The difference in Hannah's status from 1891 to 1901.
    Death of Catherine: Catherine was still alive in 1901 when she was listed in the 1901 census. I did not find her death in the Lancashire BMD, Nov. 2005.
  11. Isaac Law (1822-1879) and Ann Milner and Eunice Harrap
    Birth: Isaac, a twin of Rebecca was baptized January 13, 1822.
    Marriage: Isaac Law, full age bachelor, clothier dryer, son of Benjamin Law, manufacturer, married Ann Milner, full age, spinster, Dewsbury, daughter of Robert Milner, clothier on July 28, 1845. He signed his name. Ann signed with her mark. (Batley Parish Records)
    Occupation: cloth dresser, painter
    Death of Ann Milner Law:
    Marriage of Isaac Law 2: 1851 August 28, Isaac Land age 29 widower cloth dresser Batley son of Benjamin Law, manufacturer to Eunice Harrap age 27 spinster Dewsbery daughter of John Harrap farmer. Both signed. Dewsbury Parish.
    1. Joseph Henry of Isaac and Ernice Law, Batley clothier born October 23, and baptized October 28, 1851 in Batley parish.(Batley Parish Records)
      Death: Joseph Henry Law, age 10 months, buried September 3, 1852 (LDS film #1542210)
    Later Records: Isaac Law reported the death of his mother, Lydia, in 1849.
    1851 Census in Batley: Isaac Law was listed in the 1851 census as a 29 year old widower. There was no one else listed with him.
    Death of Eunice Law: Eunice Law Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1851 Registration district: Dewsbury Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding Volume: 22 Page: 28
    1861 Census in Batley: Isaac Law was listed in the 1861 census as a 39 year old widower woolen cloth dresser. There was no one else listed with him.
    1871 Census Batley: Isaac was listed age 49, lodger, painter, born Batley living with Ann Hobson and family on New Street Batley
    Death of Isaac Law: Isaac Law Estimated Birth Year: abt 1822 Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1879 Age at Death: 57 Registration district: Dewsbury Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding Volume: 9b Page: 453
  12. Rebecca of Benjamin and Lydia Law, clothier, Batley baptized on January 13, 1822 in Batley (Batley Parish Records).
    Later Records: I do not know what happened to Rebecca Law. She was listed with her mother in the 1841 census in Heaton Norris.
    Death: Before 1887, see Catherine, above.

Note: It is interesting that none of the children were named, Michael, after Lydia's father.

The Children of Benjamin Law

Benjamin had 17 children if one counts the child born to Rachael Stubley seven months before Benjamin married her. There is, of course, the possibility that this child was not Benjamin's. However, I believe that it is highly likely that it was Benjamin's child.

Charles Stubley married and raised a family in Batley.

Rachael and Benjamin had four children: George (1792), John (1793), Ann (1794) and Sarah (1797). John and Sarah died as infants. George married and had children. Ann's fate is unknown.

Between 1801 and 1822 there were twelve children born to Benjamin and his second wife, Lydia Sheard. The eldest John (1801) went to America and never returned. James (1813) died at age 16. The fates of Benjamin (1810) and Rebecca (1822) are not known. Hannah (1805), Joseph (1807), William (1809), Sarah (1812), Abraham (1818), Catherine (1819), and Isaac (1822) married. Hannah, Joseph, William, Abraham had children in Batley parish. Isaac lived in Batley but does not appear to have had any children who lived. Sarah (1812) married in Cheshire and Catherine (1819) married in Lancashire. It is not know if they had children. Samuel (1815) according to the Batley News of 1996 married and had a daughter, Sarah, born Stockport circa 1835. Unfortunately this is before the civil records start. There is no marriage for Samuel listed on the IGI. There is no baptism for Sarah on the IGI. The only record I have found for Samuel is the 1861 census in Manchester when he is listed as age 45 born Batley overlooker unmarried. Sarah was listed age 5 with her grandmother in the 1841 census in Heaton Noris. I did not find her in the 1851 censuses.

With some children marrying at the same time as others were being born there was about eight children living in the Law household for many years.

Benjamin Law as a witness

Benjamin Law was the witness to the marriage of Joseph Preston and Ann Brook August 2?, 1799 in Batley Parish.

According to the 1851 census Joseph Preston was a woolen cloth weaver born in Batley circa 1776.

Place of Residence

Benjamin Law and/or his family was listed in Havercroft in Batley from 1797 to the 1830s.

Havercroft is listed on the 1742 map of "certain Lands in Batley" surveyed by Ter. Shepley for John Copley, Squire.

In 1829 at the death of his son, James, Benjamin Law was listed in "Ashton" in Batley.

His house was still standing in 1880.

"The house occupied by Mr. Law still stands in what is now a kind of fold or court off Wellington St. It is a stone fronted house and at the time he resided there it was one of the best houses in Batley. It had four rooms on the ground floor and a detached kitchen or wash house at the back. It had a garden in front and at the back was a field some 2 acres in extent used by Mr. Law as a tenter field where he dried and stretched his cloth. There were stalls for 2 cows. A pear tree grew against the house. There was nothing but hay and corn growing in the vicinity. All around was the open country and the house had all the appearance of the residence of a well-to-do family."

The discovery and early history of the shoddy and mungo trades. Article by Edwin Law BR 13/11/1880, Batley Reporter, Transcribed by Wendy Rose, 2006

Map and notations courtesy Richard Sykes, September 2008

1854 map of Batley, Maps National Library of Scotland

This image of from a 1854 map would appear to contain the property once owned by Benjamin Law. The two buildings just above and to the right of the letter "n" in Clark Green with the tenter fields next to them meets the description from the article by Edwin Law in 1880.

Benjamin left Batley circa 1830. He died in Stockport in Cheshire in 1837. Sometime after his death the family returned to Batley where his widow, Lydia, died in New Batley in 1849.

Benjamin Law and the Development of Shoddy

Rags To Cloth

Benjamin Law developed a process of recycling old woolen rags mixed with new wool and turning it into new woolen cloth. Called "shoddy" it was an important advance in the manufacture of woolens. The development of shoddy enabled the poor man to have a cheap suit. It was responsible for most of the economic advances in Batley and the surrounding area and had wide spread and long term economic effects in the industry.

"The shoddy manufacture was commenced at Batley, Yorkshire, in the year 1813, being introduced by Mr. Benjamin Law, of the same place."

On the Shoddy Trade by Samuel Jubb Report of the forty-Third Meeting by British Association fro the Advancement of Science held at Bradford in September 1873

Note: Interestingly, when Samuel Jubb's son, Joseph Jubb (born in 1821) wrote The History of the Shoddy Trade its Rise, Progress and Present Position he did not give credit for the discovery of shoddy to Benjamin Law. The Law family were insulted by this snub and there was some back and forth in the local paper. See Jubb. The Laws never became rich from shoddy. The Jubb family did.

There is some debate about the year that Benjamin made his discovery. The Law family puts the date at the latest in 1813 and possible as early as 1809. Others put the discovery as late as 1820. However, all sources seem to agree that the inspiration came while Benjamin was on business in London. In the words of his grandson Edwin Law writing in 1880:

"He was one day trying to dispose of a quantity of flocks to a saddler in London when he was shown a material which it was said answered equally as well as flocks and was cheaper. Whilst handling this substitute for flocks, which was woollen rags torn into shoddy and twirling it in his fingers to test its textile qualities, he conceived the idea of applying it to the manufacture of cloth. He purchased a quantity to try the experiment. It was successful."

The discovery and early history of the shoddy and mungo trades. Article by Edwin Law BR 13/11/1880, Batley Reporter, Transcribed by Wendy Rose, 2006

In November 1896 the Times Picayune of New Orleans La., stated:
A correspondent of the Leeds (Eng.) Mercury suggests that a memorial be erected to the memory of Benjamin Law who in 1813 invented "Shoddy" or as he terms it, "that new cloth might be made out of old". Law was a small trader of Batley, Yorkshire.
The same article was carried in January 1897 in the Daily Republican, Monongahela, Pa.

A plaque was finally erected in Batley in 1996.

In July 1925 The Woodland Daily Democrat of Woodland California stated:


The shoddy trade was begun in Batley, Yorkshire in 1813 by Benjamin Law. It also was among the earliest products of American Woolen mills. In 1909 there were 88 shoddy establishments in the United States

This tidbit was also carried The Lebanon Daily News, Lebanon Pa, and the Bedford Gazette, Bedford Pa in August 1925, and the Shamokin News Dispatch, Shamokin, Pa in July 1925, .

According to Batley View and Review, 1898 Benjamin Law was in London on business about 1820. He was visiting a saddler's shop hoping to sell his wares when he observed:

"some of the saddler's workmen stuffing saddles with flocks made from torn up carpets and soft rags. With eyes ever on the alert for something new, Mr. Law took some of the flocks in his hand and on examining them the thought struck him that they would mix well with wool."

View and Review 1898 Batley

Whatever the date, Benjamin figured out how to use the shredded rags combined with some new wool and weave it into a serviceable cloth.
"Mr. Law had the whole business to himself until 1812, when others seeing the progress the Laws were making, entered into a business they had hitherto considered somewhat wanting in respectability. In those early days of the shoddy trade people looked askance and with aversion on the heaps of old woollen garments which had been collected with much trouble and care for the purpose of being reconverted into wool and in passing them described an arc of no mean radius, avoiding them as they would a plague spot. But the desire of riches is superior to even John Barleycorn in inspiring us with contempt of dangers and the vision of large profits and glittering gold at last removed the aversion and overcame all squeamishness."

The discovery and early history of the shoddy and mungo trades. Article by Edwin Law BR 13/11/1880, Batley Reporter, Transcribed by Wendy Rose, 2006

The new material was used:
"in the making of druggets, carpets, blue-grey blankets, and other heavy woolen clothes, chiefly for America, the southern slave states at the time taking a large quantity of cloth and blankets of Batley make."

View and Review 1898 Batley

The new material called "shoddy" enabled Batley manufactures to sell their goods much cheaper than if they had used solely new wool.
"The new industry, for it can accurately be described as nothing less than a new industry, gave a wonderful impulse to Batley manufacture and enterprise as well as to manufacturers in the Dewsbury, Spen Valley, and other adjoining districts, who were not slow to imitate each other in the rapid strides then were then making."

View and Review 1898 Batley

Local historian, James Willian, wrote The Rise and Progress of Batley which was published in 1880. On Benjamin Law and the development of shoddy:
"Manufacturers from Batley and other towns were in the habit of traveling about the country to dispose of their goods, and frequently to London. In about the year 1820, Mr. Benjamin Law, of Batley, was there on business, and being in a saddler's shop trying to dispose of his goods, he saw them stuffing saddles with flocks from torn up carpets and soft rags, and on handling it he though it would mix well with wool. On his return home to Batley he got some rags pulled, and used or blended it along with wool and made it into cloth; under the above circumstances it came into use in the manufacture of all kinds of woolen cloth, and the pulling of rags increased rapidly and soon spread to the Continent, where some of the largest pulling factories are in operation, and whence immense cargoes of shoddy and rags have been sent to this country. Batley and Dewsbury gentlemen and other form this country having established factories in Berlin and other large towns on the Continent."

James Willans The Rise and Progress of Batley, 1880

Benjamin's discovery initially was not greeted as a positive development. There were those who considered the adulteration of virgin wool a crime. However, the economic benefits of the process soon became apparent and most local manufactures soon jumped on the bandwagon.

Rags To Riches

On the growth of the town of Batley as a result of shoddy manufacturing:

"Batley is now entirely changed; formerly, and even at the beginning of the present century, it as decidedly an agricultural village, farmhouses being dotted up and down in it and most of them on the road sides, the land belonging to the farms being around them and a few cottages for labourers. The old Parish Church was the only place of worship in the village. Batley has altered by degrees, but more especially within the last 30 or 40 years, first by the manufacturing of coarse clothing. Since the introduction of shoddy and mungo as a material for manufacturing the progress of the town has been marvelous. At that time numbering only four thousand inhabitants, it is now a large town of nearly thirty thousand inhabitants, with Mayor and Corporation, and a ratable value of 70 to 80,000 pounds, or twenty times more than at the beginning of the century. Batley now possesses many beautiful places of worship, spacious and well conducted schools, first-class houses for merchants and tradesmen, comfortable and convenient cottages for artisans and operatives; good roads, railway accommodations to all parts of the kingdom; tramways, water and gas works, such as no other town can surpass, having risen by the genius, industry, indomitable energy and perseverance of its inhabitants, and has to all appearances a brilliant future in prospect."

James Willans The Rise and Progress of Batley, 1880

And further:
"I will now attempt to give a rough history of the progress made in Batley since the time when wool made from rages was first brought into use for manufacture of cloth. It was first applied by Mr. Benjamin Law, and made from soft flannels, stockings, and carpets, and when ground up was called shoddy. It came into general use about the year 1830 in the making of druggets, carpets, blue-grey blankets and other heavy woolen cloth chiefly for America, the Southern or Slave States at that time take a large quantity for garments and blankets. Other foreign countries also were customers. The new material made out of pulled-up soft rags enabled them to sell the goods at a much cheaper rate than they could have done when they had to use all wool; it gave a wonderful impulse to Batley manufactures. The advantage of having sole use of the new material to themselves enabled them to secure very large orders for goods which before were sent to other districts, and the mills and machinery then in Batley was very far short of what the trade soon required. There were the Batley Old Mill, owned by accompany consisting of tradesmen, farmers and maltsters, amongst them whom were J. Scatcherd, W. Ibbetson, T. Hall, T Wilby, and a few manufacturers, Mr. Thos Taylor's mill at Clerk Green, Messrs Nussey & Clapham's Brookroyd Mill, all the mills together at that time not nearly as large as an average one now built, the consequence was, new mills were built. The Hick Lane Mill, owned by a company of nearly all the principal manufacturers then in Batley, the Speddings, Sheards, Jubbs, Foxes, etc. About this time the new staple was first brought into use by the pulling-up of fine cloth, (a finer staple than that from stockings, carpets, etc) and was used in the manufacturer of finer cloth, pilots, tweeds, etc. This material was introduced by Samuel and George Parr, nephews of the above Benjamin Law, and was called mungo."

James Willans The Rise and Progress of Batley, 1880

Note: Samuel and George Parr, were the sons of Benjamin Parr and Elizabeth Sheard. Elizabeth Sheard was a sister of Lydia Sheard, the second wife of Benjamin Law. Benjamin Parr and Benjamin Law were partners in the Howley Mill on Howley Mill Lane near Benny Parr Woods.

"Shoddy, pulled from stockings, flannels, skirting, carpets, etc., is of such a staple in length of fibre and elasticity that when scribbled ii t is almost equal to pure wool, and cannot e very easily distinguished from it, and if required can be made into similar goods again to those from which it has been pulled, entirely by itself, without a particle of wool being mixed with it, and the goods made from it will be sound and serviceable, and will compare favorably with those made entirely from pure wool, and this, notwithstanding all the abuse it has been subject to by a great many people, and in the press by persons who, of course, have been entirely ignorant as to the valuable properties it possessed as an article of manufacture, both as to the process of manufacturing , and its adaptation as to its uses which may now be witnessed by a visit to any of the manufactories at present in operation in the district."

James Willans The Rise and Progress of Batley, 1880

It was necessary to blend in more wool for the manufacture of Mongo because it was a finer cloth with a shorter staple, pulled from fine cloth rags.

The development of the shoddy and mungo trade gave "employment to a large number of men, women, and children in the different stages of preparation, such as sorting, seaming, grinding etc. " James Willans The Rise and Progress of Batley, 1880

By 1880 there were something in the neighborhood of 50 mills of various sizes, totaling about 1,500 horse power, and employing about 5, 000 people, more than 25 times more than at the beginning of the century with more than 100 of times the value of goods manufactured. In addition to the shoddy mills there were mills manufacturing fine cloth from pure wool. Batley manufacturers had a reputation for making good sound serviceable cloth of almost "every description of style and pattern".

Riches to Rags

Many people made a lot of money with his process. Benjamin, however, was not as successful as his competitors. In fact his children and grandchildren as listed in the censuses in Batley had rather mediocre jobs.

Apparently Benjamin was initially very successful as both a clothier and a shoddy manufacturer.

"Mr. Law appears to have found it necessary to open out foreign markets for his manufactured goods and with this purpose in view he sent his eldest son, John, then a youth of some 17 or 18 years, to America with a quantity of goods to dispose of. The venture appears to have been very successful, for the young man, much against his inclination, was ordered by his father to undertake a second expedition. The second consignment was much larger than the previous one. Mr. Law, in the hope of reaping a rich harvest of profits had invested the greater portion of his capital in the venture. John sailed with the cargo but was never heard of again. After he had sailed, it was said to his father that he had said that if compelled to go, he would never return. Whether this was a mere idle threat, uttered in the vehemence of his displeasure and afterwards fulfilled by accident, can never be known. When this utterance of his son came to Mr. Law he followed him to New York and there heard that a youth, answering his description, had sailed for New Orleans where it was said the yellow fever was raging. He did not attempt to follow him farther but returned home, having lost his son and the greater portion of his capital. From this time the prosperity of the family declined and finally, the lucrative business from which others have reaped such a rich harvest and which has found employment for thousands of people and opened out a new era for the West Riding of Yorkshire, was abandoned and at the present time not one of his descendants, so far as the writer is aware, is in any way connected with the trade originated by their ancestor."

The discovery and early history of the shoddy and mungo trades. Article by Edwin Law BR 13/11/1880, Batley Reporter, Transcribed by Wendy Rose, 2006

Wendy Rose transcribed the 1880 article by Edwin Law and the letters related to it. For the complete transcription of the Batley Reporter Articles of 1880 go to Wendy Rose

Benjamin Law in in the 1822 Baines Directory

Benjamin Law was listed in Batley as a flushing manufacturer in the Baines Directory of 1822.

His, partner and brother-in-law, Benjamin Parr, was also listed as a flushing manufacturer.

He was not listed in the directories for 1830 and 1834. There were no Laws listed in Batley in either of the directories, although his sons, John, Joseph, and William were all adults by 1830. However, there were three Sheards, George, Michael, "sen.", and Michl. "Jun." listed under the heading, "Flushing, Padng. and Drugget Mfrs." Michael, senior, was a cousin of Benjamin Law's second wife, Lydia Sheard.

Benjamin Law in Hyde and Stockport

The Laws Move To Stockport

"The family left Batley and went to reside at Hyde, whence they removed to Stockport where the founder of the shoddy trade died 21st February 1837 at the age of 65 and was buried in the burial ground of Batley Parish Church. His tombstone which is broken across may be seen opposite the clock tower, close by the wall separating the church yard from Church Lane. Mr. Law was not a native of Batley. He was born at Great Gomersal 8th November 1772 and was the son of Mr. George Law of the same place. Although the grave is neglected and the tombstone broken his best monument is the prosperity of the town where he resided and which is due to his genius."

The discovery and early history of the shoddy and mungo trades. Article by Edwin Law BR 13/11/1880, Batley Reporter, Transcribed by Wendy Rose, 2006

The tax records for Stockport, which are available only to 1831 did not list Benjamin Law.

According to Lewis's Gazetteer in 1831, Hyde was a chapelry in the parish of Stockport four miles from the town of Stockport. The chapel at Hyde was being build in 1831. The local industry included spinning and weaving (on power looms) in cotton mills that employed up to 5,000 persons. LDS does not have any records for the Church of England in Hyde before 1832. They have no marriages before 1839. It is not clear why Benjamin would have moved to Hyde.

It is not known how long the family stayed in Hyde before moving to Stockport. The banns of marriage for Stockport included two listings for Law:

  1. Joseph Law, widow, to Betty Bradley, widow, born of Disney, December 23, 1832. I do not know who this Joseph Law was.
  2. Sarah Law of Stockport to Benjamin Horn of Stockport, May 17, 1838. This was the daughter of Benjamin Law. Benjamin had died in Stockport in 1837.

While some of Benjamin's children came with them. Others did not make the move to Cheshire.

"Although several members of the Law's family accompanied him into Lancashire yet some remained here and continued to be engaged in shoddy trade though perhaps in more humble ways than the discoverer himself."

Letters to Editor Batley Reporter 20th November 1880, Benjamin Law (Benjamin Law was the son of John Law, grandson of George Law and great grandson of Benjamin Law)

Children who appear to have stayed in Batley

  • Son George, (from Benjamin's marriage to Rachael Stubley) and George's children remained in Batley.

  • Daughter Hannah, born in 1805, married in Batley in 1825 and had children in Batley between 1826, 1832 & 1838. However, she and her husband John Parr were listed in the 1841 census in Heaton Norris with Lydia Law, see below. The were back in Batley by 1851.

  • Son Joseph, born in 1807, had children in Batley between 1833 and 1836.

Children who moved to Stockport

  • Son William, born 1809, married in Stockport between 1832 and 1835 and returned to Batley by 1838.

  • Daughter Sarah, born in 1812, married Benjamin Horn in Stockport in 1838. She stayed in the Stockport/Manchester area

  • Son Samuel, born in 1815, married in Stockport and had a daughter, Sarah, born there circa 1835. Note: I believe that Sarah was listed with Lydia Law in the 1841 census in Heaton Norris - Samuel was not listed with them, see below.

  • Son Abraham, born in 1817, was only a teenager when the family moved to Stockport. Listed in Heaton Norris in the 1841 census. He had children born in Batley between 1845 and 1856

  • Daughter Catherine, born in 1819, was only 18 when Benjamin died in 1837. Listed with Lydia in Heaton Norris in 1841. She married Robert Barrett in Stockport in 1842.

  • Son Isaac, born in 1822, married in Batley in 1845. Listed with Lydia in Heaton Norris in 1841.

  • Daughter Rebecca, born in 1822. Listed with Lydia in Heaton Norris in 1841.

Lydia Law and her Children in Heaton Norris, Stockport in the 1841 Census

At Watt Street, Heaton Norris, Stockport, Lydia Law, age 60, Catherine Law age 20, weaver, Rebecca Law age 20 weaver, Sarah Law age 5,* Abraham Law age 20, spinner, Isaac Law age 20 weaver, John Parr age 40 woolen, Benjamin Parr age 13 weaver, Hannah Parr age 40, Rachael Parr age 9 Esther Parr age 8, Lydia Parr age 4

* Daughter of Samuel??

This enumeration district was described as:

All that part of Heaton Norris ward in the township of Heaton Norris in the Borough of Stockport and county of Lancaster a- - comprised in the following boundary commencing at the Duke of Wellington Puplic House, New Road, Lancashire Bridge Hill through Radley's Yard -- - straight thru to the river Tame thence along the boundry of the township to the road leading to Manchester near the Ash Inn and thence by such road to the point first described.
Other streets named in this district were: Radley Yard, Penny Lane, Bentley St., Chadwick Yard, Manchester Rd and Bankfield.

Heaton Norris was described in 1840 as follows:

HEATON-NORRIS, a chapelry in Manchester parish, county of Lancaster; 5 miles south of Manchester, south of the river Mersey, intersected by the Manchester and Birmingham railway, which is here carried over the Mersey by a viaduct or bridge. See Stockport. The Ashton, Manchester, and Oldham canal terminates here at Lancashire-hill, a steep acclivity ahove the Mersey; and the new road to Manchester crosses the chapelry. Besides the suburhan village of Heaton-Norris, it contains Heaton-Mersey, a village 2 miles west-north-west of Stockport. Acres 5,180. Houses 2,127. A. P. 12,155. Pop., in 1801, 3,768; in 1831, 11,238. Living, a perpetual curacy in the archd- and dio. of Chester; returned at £108; gross income £145. Patrons, the wardens and fellows of the collegiate church, Manchester. The Dissenters' chapels are the Wesleyan Methodists at Tiviot-Dale, an elegant structure opened in 1825, the Baptist at Heaton-lane, and the Independent at Lancashire-hill. Here are 9 daily schools, two of which are endowed: income of one, in 1826, £11 5s., and of the other, £9, per annum. At Heaton-Mersey is a very large Sunday school, founded, in 1805, by R. Parker, Esq. Poor rales, in 1838, £2,392 18s. This chapelry is now assessed for the county-rates at the valuation of £33,581. Heaton-Norris forms a large and handsome suburb to the thriving town of Stockport, from which it is divided by the Mersey. The inhahitants are chiefly employed in the Manchester manufactures. The cotton trade is very extensively carried on here in large mills. There are also extensive bleaching-works. In July, 1840, a large cotton mill, at Heaton Mersey, 7 stories in height, was totally destroyed by fire. The loss sustained has been estimated at £20.000.

The parliamentary gazetteer of England and Wales. 4 vols. [bound in 12 pt ... By England, 1840

Other Laws in Heaton Norris, Stockport

There are indications in the Cheshire/Lancashire BMD that the Laws who stayed in the Stockport were in Heaton Norris. There are listings for all of the appropriate names: Law, Barrett, Horn. Heaton Norris in the parish in the township of Manchester, and partly in the town and parliamentary borough of Stockport.

Possible children for Sarah Law and Benjamin Horn

  • HORN, Thomas Law, Heaton Norris, Stockport, HEA/2/97 1839
    Marriage: Caroline, not listed by Cheshire BMD
    1861 Census: Heaton Norris, Nicholson St. Stockport, Thomas Horn, head, age 22, rope maker, Caroline wife, age 26, heald knitter, Annie daughter, age 1, Sarah Smith, mother in law, widow age 63, cotton weaver. Sarah Smith born Glouchestershire, Bristel, the rest born Heaton Norris.
    1871 Census: Heaton Norris, Nicholson St. Stockport, Thomas Horn, head, age 32, rope maker, Caroline wife, age 36, heald knitter, Sarah age 9, Eliza age 8, Thomas age 4, John B age 2, Allison son age 9 mo. All born Heaton Norris.
    1891 Census: Cheadle, Stockport Road, Stockport, Chetser, Thomas Horn, head, age 51, rope maker, Caroline wife, age 55, heald knitter, Sarah age 29, spooler in cotton mill, Thomas age 24, railway loco fireman, John B age, 22, print compositor, William, 21, railway loco fireman, George H, 16, compositor apprentice, Caroline, age 18, reeler in cotton mill. All born Heaton Norris.
    1901 Census: Creadle, Stockport, Thomas L Horn, head age 62 coal heaver on railway, Caroline, wife age 66, Thomas son age 33, railway engine driver, Caroline Peakome daughter married age 28, pork shop keeper butcher, Caroline Peakome granddaughter age 3 Eliza Deakin visitor widow, age 70 living on own means. All born Stockport.
    Note: Thomas Horn has the right occupation and the right middle name to be a son of Sarah Law and Benjamin Horn
  • HORN, Benn, Heaton Norris, Stockport, HEA/5/7 1840
    Death: Age 7 Heaton Norris Stockport 1848
  • From Cheshire BMD web site at Cheshire BMD

Note: There were other Horns having children in Heaton Norris.

Death of Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law died in Stockport in Cheshire in 1837. His death was listed in the Batley Parish records. "Benjamin Law Stockport age 63 buried February 26, 1837".

The civil records index does not start until the June quarter 1837.

The death of Benjamin Law was not listed in St Mary's Church, Stockport.

Death of Lydia Law

Church Record: Lydia Law, Batley, age 68, November 22, 1849. (Batley Parish Records)

Civil Record: Lydia Law, age 68, widow of Benjamin Law, clothier, died on November 20, 1849 in New Batley of Phthisis (pulmonary tuberculoses) not certified. The death was reported by Isaac Law present at the death.(Civil Record)

Note: Isaac Law was Lydia's son.

Other Laws in Batley Parish

There are several records for Laws in Batley Parish that I have not been able to reconcile with the known Law families in the parish. To see these records go to Other Laws in the Batley Records

1996 Plaque to Benjamin Law

In 1996 the Yorkshire Society commemorated Benjamin Law, the inventor of shoddy, by placing this plaque on the front of the Batley Library.

The manufacture of shoddy was an important aspect in the development of Batley into a major manufacturing center in England.

Batley Historian Malcolm Haigh on Benjamin Law

Regarding Benjamin Law and the development of shoddy, Malcolm Haigh in the History of Batley says:

"His quick inventive mind had international repercussions. He laid the foundation stone of the industrial revolution in Batley and Dewsbury. Opportunities opened up for those daring enough to follow and for some, at least, there were ample rewards.

Yet not only the locality benefited. His discovery meant warm clothing for thousands of poor who could never afford a proper wool suit; it meant the creation of new and stable economies for South Africa, Southern Asia and Australia where herds of sheep were dramatically expanded to meet the growing demand for virgin wool; it caused thousands of jobs to be created for the caring and shearing of sheep, the packing and shipping of wool and rags. England's exports of shoddy cloth brought much needed revenue to successive governments.

To obtain a copy of The History of Batley please write to Malcolm Haigh at:

64 Solway Road
West Yorkshire, England, WF17 6HH.

Malcolm also has two other books about Baltey. Historical Snapshots of Batley and Birstall is a lovely book of old postcards and photos with comments by Malcolm. His most recent book, Batley Pride, contains more stories of Batley folks.

  • The History of Batley is available at 12.95p (about $23.00)
  • Historical Snapshots of Batley and Birstall is 10 (about $17.50)
  • Malcolm's latest book, Batley Pride is 13.95p (about $24.00)
Postage in each case is an extra 4.20 inside the UK but 5.20 overseas (about $9.10) - that's second class, surface mail. Air mail is 11.

Orders, with sterling cheques can be made out either to Malcolm Haigh or The History of Batley Fund.

More on Shoddy

Benjamin Law was the developer in 1813 of a very important process for turning old wool into new cloth called shoddy. For more information on shoddy, click on the photo of the mill on Mayman Lane and Blakeridge Lane, Batley

Benjamin Law in the Tax Records for Batley

For listings of Benjamin Law in the Batley tax records in the late 1700s and early 1800s, click on the photo of Commerce Street, Batley

The Laws in the Censuses

The first census of genealogical interest was taken in England in 1841. For Law listings in the 1841 through 1881 censuses in Batley, click on the photo of the houses on Blakeridge Lane, Batley

George Law, the Father of Benjamin Law

For information on George Law, the father of Benjamin Law, click on the photo of the village of Gomersall

The Sheards

Lydia Sheard, the second wife of Benjamin Law and the mother of William Law, was the daughter of Michael Sheard. For more information on the Sheards, click on the photo of the village of Gomersal.

The Memorial Stone of Benjamin Law, Rachael Stubley and Lydia Sheard

Fifty years after his death in Stockport, his daughter, Catherine, had a memorial stone erected in the Batley Church yard to Benjamin Law and his wives, Rachael Stubley Law and Lydia Sheard Law . To see the inscription, click on photo of the gravestone.

Photographs of Batley

Benjamin Law moved to Batley circa 1791. He married for the first time in Batley. All of his children were baptized at the Batley Parish Church. His invention of shoddy was the main cause of the growth of the town of Batley. To view photographs of Batley, click on the photo of the Batley Parish Church

Photographs of Birstall

The families of Benjamin Law and his second wife, Lydia Sheard, were from the village of Gomersall in Birstall parish. To view photos of Birstall parish, click on the photo of the Birstall Parish Church

1880 Article about Benjamin Law written by his grandson, Edwin Law

Wendy Rose transcribed the 1880 article by Edwin Law and the letters related to it. For the complete transcription of the Batley Reporter Articles of 1880 go to Wendy Rose

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©Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2004 - Latest update, July 2014