Sykes in Thornhill Frockton, Yorkshire

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Sykes in Drighlington
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Note: The following Sykes information was shared by other Sykes researchers. I have NOT verified it myself.

In March 2007 Anne Crosby wrote:

"My father was James Herbert Sykes born Batley 1919 his Father was Robert Smith Sykes born 1900 in Batley and died in Leeds hospital after a road accident."
The bulk of the following Sykes information was provide by Anne Crosby.

Additional information was supplied by Laura Doyle May 2006 and Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009

John Sykes and Phoebe Holmes

Birth: As yet undetermined

Possibly: 22 Apr 1788 in Heckmondwike, chr 14 Sep 1788 in Birstall to Jonathan Sykes and Ruth Kilburn

Marriage: John Sykes and Pheobe Holmes, married October 19, 1806, at Birstall Parish Church, Birstall, York, per BT (bishops transcripts) of the Birstall Parish Church Registers, 1800 to 1806. (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

More on Phoebe Homes: Pheobe was the daughter of Michael Holmes. Baptism note per the Bishops Transcripts of Bristall Parish Registers: baptized May 9th, 1785, daughter of Michael Holmes of Bristall, cooper.

More About JOHN SYKES:

Residence: Heckmondwike

Childen of JOHN SYKES and Phoebe Holmes:

  1. Kester, 1807 (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

  2. Hestor, 1808 (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

  3. Mary 1809 (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

  4. Fanny 1812 (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

  5. Samuel 1814 (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

  6. John Sykes (1818-) and Sarah Ellis

    Birth: JOHN SYKES, b. 1818, Heckmondwyke Yorkshire; d. 1884, Dewsbury Yorkshire.

    John Christened Dec. 28th, 1817, per the bishop's transcripts of Birstall, Yorkshire, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials. (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

    Marriage: SARAH ELLIS 14 Jun 1840 in Dewsbury Yorkshire, daughter of JAMES ELLIS and ISABELLA SMITH. She was born 1822 in Ossett Yorkshire, and died Unknown.

    More About JOHN SYKES:

    • Cause of Death: Volume 9b Page 443 (database on line)
    • Census: 1818, RG11/4563
    • Occupation: 1841, Shoemaker
    • Residence: 1861, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England

    More About SARAH ELLIS:

    • Residence: 1861, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England

    Children of JOHN SYKES and SARAH ELLIS :

    1. ISABELLA SYKES, b. 1841, Ossett Yorkshire; d. Unknown.

      More About ISABELLA SYKES:

      • Census: 1841, Lived in Ossett Yorkshire
      • Occupation: 1851, Bobbin Winnder
      • Residence: 1851, Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England

    2. OLIVER SYKES, b. 1843, Ossett Yorkshire; d. Unknown.

    3. Joshua Sykes (1844-) and Emma Smith

      Birth: Birth: b. 28 Jul 1844, Ossett Yorkshire; d. 1909, Halifax Yorkshire

      Marriage: EMMA SMITH, 18 Sep 1864, Parish Church Dewsbury Yorkshire; b. 1844, Batley Yorkshire England; d. Unknown.


      1. Edith

        "Edith married Thomas Thornton Smith at Batley parish church, nov. 12th, 1892. They had 3 children, Thomas, Emma, and George. I descend from George and my fellow family researcher and cousin, Laura, descends from Thomas."

        "Edith Smith nee Sykes died Nov. 30, 1924 of chronic asthma." (Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009)

      2. John

      3. Joshua

      4. Beatrice

      5. Robert

      6. Franklin

      More About JOSHUA SYKES:
      • Census: 1891, RG 12/3719 Dewsbury
      • Occupation: 1901, Boilermaker
      • Residence: 1891, Batley, Yorkshire, England

      More on Joshua Sykes and his descendants:

      • 1901 Census Ormsley Heath Terrace, Joshua Sykes head age 56, boiler smith, born Osett, Emma wife age 55, born Batley, Franklin son age 20. brid-- yard labourer, born Thornalby Thomas Dyson boarder age 28. born Lipton, Beatrice Dyson age 26, born Thornaby, Beatrice Sykes visitor age 8, born Batley
      • 1901 Census Batley: Rob S Sykes age 10 months born Batley, father Robert Sykes age 24 boiler maker born Thornaby on Tees, Yorkshire wife Sarah age 36, born Dewsbury, other children Clifford age 4 and Sarah age 2 both born Batley.
      • 1891 census Batley: Queen Street Batley Joshua Sykes head, age 46 b boiler maker, born Ossett, Emma wife, age 45 born Batley, Edith daughter, 23 seamstress born born Bramley, Joshua son age 19, born Bramley, Beatrice daughter age 17, Robert son age 14, Franklin son age 10, George son age 7, all born Thonaby, Annie Thortal (?) boarder age 28, (or 23) mill hand born Thonaby
      • 1881 Census in Stockton Thonaby, Joshua Sykes head age 36, boiler smith, born Ossett, Emma wife age 35, born Batley, Edith daughter age 13 born Bramley, John son age 11 born Batley, Joshua born ?? age 9 Beatrice, age 6, Rober t age 4 and Franklin age 5 mo all born Stockton.

      More About EMMA SMITH:

      • Residence: 1891, Batley, Yorkshire, England

    4. Eli Sykes (1846-1866)

      Birth: ELI SYKES, b. 1848, Ossett Yorkshire

      Eli Sykes, in the town of Batley Killed his sweetheart, Hannah Brooke

      First line of the ballad of Eli Sykes

      More on Eli Sykes from Karen Wood Houdek, January 2009:

      Within the last year or so Laura stumbled upon a murder reference that is connected to Joshua Sykes' ( b. 1844 ) brother, Eli, born 1848. We have the Leeds Mercury newpaper articles partaining to his killing his ex girlfriend and her mother, the trial, and gaol suicide, all very interesting reading. Not sure if you've ever heard the ballad of Eli Sykes?... That evolved from this tragedy.

      Eli died of complications from his attempted suicide on January 6, 1866, (listed on the death record as by suicide.) He had been imprisioned in the Borough Gaol, Armely, for murder, had been tried and found guilty and was to be executed on Jan. 15th. However, on jan. 5th his jail cell door had been inadvertently left open, giving him the ability to run up a flight of nearby stairs and throw himself over the bannister to the first floor, about 30 ft. below."

      More on Eli Sykes from Laura Doyle, March 2010:

      Laura sent some news clippings about the murder.

      • Winter Assizes 1865 and Juanary 1866, Leeds, #38 Eli Sykes, murder, sentence, death

      • PAPER ??? DATE????
        The funeral of the two women murdered on Saturday night at Batley took place yesterday, there being, it was estimated, not fewer than 20,000 spectators of the mournful and affecting ceremony. Sarah Brooke, the eldest, was carried to the grave by old women who had known her during her life, and the younger victim, her daughter, was borne to her last resting-place by young women who had been her daily companions and had worked in the same mill"
      • August 23, 1865



        "Yesterday, the funeral of Sarah and Hannah Brooke, of Batley — the women murdered on Saturday night last by Eli Sykes, of Batley Carr — took place at Batley Church-yard, in the presence of many thousands of tearful spectators. The trains calling at Batley in the early part of the afternoon were all loaded with passengers anxious to see the mournful spectacle, and persons form Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Halifax, and Heckmondwike where noticed standing in the line of route taken by the funeral procession. From Dewsbbury and Birstal the people flocked in hundreds, and it is estimated that at least there were 20,000 spectators. The coffins were born by female acquaintances of the deceased — elderly women carrying that containing the remains of Sarah Brooks, and young girls from the mill where the deceased, Hannah had been employed bearing her body. Prior to the mournful ceremony taking place the corpses were laid out in the room where the murder had been committed, and were viewed by many.
        The adornment of the bodies presented a most beautiful appearance. The faces of the deceased women were bare, and their heads were covered with a skull cap. Their countenances were placid, and exhibited a more natural appearance that at any time since they became the victims of their murder's vengeance. The grave in which the bodies of the deceased were place is situated near the entrance gates to the church yard, on the branch path-road, and is about thirty yards from the gates at the south-east side of the church. The funeral cotege entered the church-yard at the eastern gate. The church was crowded with people many of them being attired in their working clothes. The church-yard and its approaches were crowed with people anxious to catch a glimpse of the mournful procession. Jas. Henry Aston, the deceased Hannah's lover, was present among the mourners."
        The article goes on to say that the police were present to keep order and the crowd dispersed as soon as the service was over. Sarah (or Sally) Brooke "though somewhat advanced in years had been a hale and healthy woman, and one gifted with a good constitution". She was stabbed in the heart and suffered nine stab wounds in total. Hannah was stabbed seven times piercing both her heart and lungs. The murder weapon was a bayonet.

        "The prisoner maintains his former coolness, and still does not appear to realize the magnitude of the crime of which he stands accused..... He sleeps soundly, and eats his meals quite well."
      • Leeds Murcury: January 1, 1866,


        " We understand that Mr. Jospeh Newsome, of Dewsbury, manufacturer, has addressed a letter to the Bishop of Ripon calling his attention to the case of Eli Sykes. Mr. Newsome informed his Lordhsip of the fact that Sykes had been in his employ, and that up to the day he committed the murder was a young man of exemplary character, and that now he was lying under sentence of death for his crime, and he asked the Bishop to visit the unhappy youn man and administer to him religious consolation. To this letter his Lordshp has replied to the effect that he will go over to Leeds and see Sykes before the day appointed for his execution to take place, — Hudderfield Examiner"
        "We understand that the health of Eli Sykes, now laying under sentence of death in Armley Gaol, is consequent upon his recent attempt to commit suicide, in very precarious condition. He progressed favorably until Tuesday last, and strong hopes were entertained of his ultimate recovery, but on the morning of that day secondary hemorrhage of the wounds in his foot took place, and the loss of blood from this cause left him in a very weak condition. In the afternoon, whilst the visiting justices were engaged in the gaol, another attack of secondary hemorrhage ensued. Mr. Nicholson Price, the gaol surgeon, and Mr Wheelhouse were immediately summoned, and everything was done to relieve the unfortunate sufferer. At a consultation which followed, however, the medical gentlemen considered it unadvisable to amputate the foot, the probabilities of his surviving such an operation being very slight. Yesterday, his condition was very low and critical, and should a third attack take place it is feared he will sink under it. The mother of the convict called this week to see him, but on account of his health she was not admitted. The Bishop of Ripon has not yet paid the visit which he promised a short time since. About the some time as Sykes attempted suicide, Mr Keene, the governor, received an intimation from the Under sheriff that the 15th of January had, as we have already stated, been fixed for the execution; but no further communication had since passed on the subject."
      London Times (FROM THE DAILY TIMES CORRESPONDENT.) London, 25th August. Otago Witness , Issue 725, 21 October 1865, Page 7:
      "At Batley, Yorkshire, on the 19th inst. Eli Sykes, a young Rifleman, not 20 years old, in a paltry fit of jealousy, bayoneted to death his sweetheart and her mother."
      The Lancet, Volume 2, MDCCCLXVII, 1867: Elis Sykes age 19 confined to the Leeds jail for the murder of Hannah Brook on the 19th of August 1865 was initially calm and "resigned". On December 23 he managed to get out of his cell and throw himself off a balcony landing on his feet on a stone floor about 20 feet below. He fell forward and hit his head. His ankles were swollen and he suffered from arterial hemorrhage. He also had a fracture of his skull over "the frontal sinus". "On December 26th his pulse was 140" and the wound in his ankle "looked well". On the 30th he "became delirious, and so violent as to require restraint." On January 3rd "secondary hemorrhage commenced from the left ankle". The hemorrhage returned on January 6th "and although not profuse, was sufficient to destroy him. He died five hours later.

      Annals of British Legislation: Digest of blue books, Volume 4 By Leone Levi:

      Yorkshire — Eli Sykes, a cloth finisher, age 19. Murder of his sweetheart and her mother by stabbing them with the bayonet he had posssssion of as a voulnteer; Thought jealousy. He committed suicide, being left for execution"
      THE ENGLISH MAIL. Hawke's Bay Herald, 1865, Page 3: London August 26, 1865

      "At Dewsbury, on Saturday, a Volunteer named Eli Sykes called upon a girl to whom he was paying is addresses, and because she discards him, and desires him not to trouble her any more, he deliberately stabs her to death with his bayonet. The mother interfering for the protection of her daughter shares the same fate, and the villain makes a mock attempt to destroy himself.

      Hannah Brooke and her mother, Sally Brooke:

      Birth of Sarah (Sally) Brooke:


      Birth of Hannah Brooke: Hannah Brooke June 1847, Dwesbury 22, 9

      1851: Havercroft, Batley, Mark Brooke, age 50, woolen clother weaver, York Ossett, Sally Brooke age 47, Gomersall, George Fearnley son in law, age 22, woolen coth weaver, Batley, Elizabeth Fearnley daughter, age 24, milliner, born Batley, Joseph Fearnley, son age 19, woolen cloth weaver, Batley, Mary Ann Fearnley, age 17, woolen burler, Batley, Hannah Brook, age 3, Batley, Robert Moorhouse, lodger, age 24, woolen cloth weaver, Soothill, Sarah Jane Fearnley daughter age 15, bobbin winder, Batley

      1861 Census Batley: Hume ?? Street: Mark Brook, age 68, woolen weaver hand loom, Gunthorpe ?? Sally, age 56, Gomersal, Hannah, age 13, woolen weaver hand loom, Batley

      Death of Sarah and Hannah Brook: Deaths September 1865 Dewsbury, 9b, 376

    5. ELLEN L SYKES, b. 1850, Ossett Yorkshire; d. Unknown.

    6. MARTHA SYKES, b. 1850, Ossett Yorkshire; d. Unknown.

    1841 Census Dewsbury: John age 20 shoemaker, Sarah, Isabella age 4 months. Dewsbury.

    1851 Census Dewsbury: John Sykes head age 33 cordwainer, born Heckmondwike, Sarah wife age 28, born Ossett, Isabelle, daughter age 10, bobbin winder, Oliver son age 8 Joshua son age 6 Eli son age 4 Martha daughter age 1 infant, children all born Ossett.

    1861 Census: Dewsbury, John Sykes, 42, cordwainer, born Heckmondwike, Sarah Sykes, 38, Ossett Oliver Sykes, 18 wool weaver, Ossett, Joshua Sykes, 16 wool weaver, Ossett, Eli, 14, woollen cloth finisher,Ossett, Martha, age 11, Ossett, Franklin, age 7, Dewsbury, Wallace, age 6, Dewsbury, Isabelle, 11 months, Dewsbury

    1871: Upper Road Dewsbury, John Sykes, 53 shoemaker, Heckmondwike, Sarah, 48 burler, Ossett, Franklin, 17, joiner, Dewsbury, Wallace,16 mason's labourer, Dewsbury, Isabelle, 10 scholar, Dewsbury

    1881 Census: Upper Road Dewsbury, John Sykes head age 62 cordwainer born Heckmondwike, Sarah wife age 59 born Ossett , Ellen daughter age 20 woolen weaver born Batley carr

    Death of John Sykes: 1884 in Dewsbury Yorkshire.

Christopher Sykes and Mary Preston

Birth: CHRISTOPHER SYKES was born 1734 in Thornhill Flockton, and died Unknown.

Marriage: MARY PRESTON, 01 Aug 1759 in Birstall Yorkshire, daughter of JOHN PRESTON. She was born 01 Jun 1735 in Birstall Yorkshire, and died 20 May 1803.


  1. Birth: JOSEPH SYKES, b. 23 Dec 1764, Thornhill Flockton; d. Unknown.


  2. JOHN SYKES, b. 08 Jun 1760, Thornhill Flockton.

  3. ANN SYKES, b. 25 Oct 1761, Thornhill Flockton.

  4. MARY SYKES, b. 13 Mar 1762, Thornhill Flockton.

  5. Joseph Sykes and Elizabeth Lockwood

  6. WILLIAM SYKES, b. 28 Sep 1766, Thornhill Flockton.

  7. JAMES SYKES, b. 25 Jul 1768, Thornhill Flockton.

  8. CHRISTOPHER SYKES, b. 1770, Thornhill Flockton; d. 18 Sep 1773, Thornhill Flockton.

  9. THOMAS SYKES, b. 23 Jul 1770, Thornhill Flockton.

  10. GEORGE SYKES, b. 12 Apr 1772, Thornhill Flockton.

  11. MARTHA SYKES, b. 02 Oct 1774.

  12. EDWARD SYKES, b. Nov 1780.

Image courtesy of Laura Doyle, April, 2010

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This page was created July 2007 and updated April 2010