Midgley's of Normanton
  West Yorkshire

Normanton derives its name from "farmstead of the Northmen or Norwegian Vikings".45 It became a  a coal mining town in the 1800's on the exposed coalfield of West Yorkshire, the largest coalfield in the U.K. but is surrounded by agricultural pursuits. On the 2nd. October, 1886 a mining disaster occurred at Altofts, Normanton. Normanton has a large church, All Saints, dating back to the 1300’s. Normanton was likely to have seen an influx of Flemish weavers probably  in the1400’s as Edward II encouraged them to settle in England in the 1300’s. There are monuments to the 1500’s and 1700’s.
Nearby Altoft’s Hall is the birth place of Sir Martin Frobisher. Woodhouse lies about a mile south of Normanton. The eldest daughter was working  as a house maid at Badsworth Hall at the time of the 1851 census. Joseph was father to William Walter Midgley snr.6 married to Susan /Susannah /Susanna Cheesbrough of Kirk Smeaton. Her father is recorded as Abraham Cheesbrough of Kirk Smeaton his origins are a mystery. Joseph and Susannah were married 17th December 1799 at Normanton.
All their children were christened at Normanton. Only the birth place of Elizabeth at Fixby is known at this stage, Fixby Hall is situated N.E. of Huddersfield.42
FIXBY was the smallest township in the Halifax parish with a population of only 400 in 1851. It is situated in the south east of Calderdale but is now part of Huddersfield (Kirklees). Depending on the period involved, research in this area can be a problem requiring visits to both the Halifax and Huddersfield record offices.

Joseph Midgley of Hambleton
The son of William Midgley of Burn. He was born in 1771 at Hambleton near Selby, Yorkshire.42 Baptised 15th October 1771 at the parish Church at Brayton.

In the 1841 census for Woodhouse, Normanton he is recorded as Joseph Midgley, farmer, 65 years old, his wife Susannah 50, daughter Susannah 25, Elizabeth 20, Joseph 20, Susannah 4. Others present in the household were: Mary Righton 10 and Joseph Righton 15 [M.S.] = man servant? It appears that Joseph and Susannah were housing Mary and Joseph after their mother, Sarah Midgley, died prematurely and their father had remarried.

On the 1851 census, Joseph recorded his birth as being at Hambleton. According to his headstone in Normanton parish churchyard, Joseph died in 1851. In the census of April 30th 1851 he was recorded as aged 80 years.1 Joseph may have had older siblings as nine years elapsed between his father's marriage and Joseph's birth, but these siblings have not yet been totally identified.
Later Joseph became a farmer of 106 acres at Woodhouse, Normanton near Wakefield [1851 census], where he was married to Susannah Cheesbrough of Kirk Smeaton on the 17th December 1799 at the age of 28. The 1851 census shows Joseph's son, also Joseph and two labourers were employed.42 According to his headstone in Normanton churchyard, Susannah died about six years before Joseph on the 26th June 1845 aged 68 years. For the origins of Joseph's parents see Midgley's of Selby

                                            Previous- Midgley of  Selby Area


                                                           Joseph Midgley====m : 17th December 1799======Susannah Cheesbrough
                                                           b. 1771 Hambleton                                                     b 1777 Kirk Smeaton
                                                           ch 15 Oct 1771 Brayton          |                                   ch ___
                                                           d   30 or 13  April 1851 Woodhouse, Normanton       d  26 June 1845 or 13 Ap 1851 Woodhouse, Normanton

          |                     |                     |                                             |                                                              |                      |                                  |                                                      |                             |
Caroline              Mary           Sarah===Wm. Righton    William Walter ====Sarah               Joseph             
Susannah*          David* ====Elizabeth*           Elizabeth               Joseph             
b_____              b_______    b_________                     b_____          |        Peace      
            b1813                  b _____                               |    Crowther              b____                   b1820
ch 7 Sep 1800   15 Sep 1805    ch 16 May 1802                ch 3 Nov 1808   
ch 3 Feb 1811    ch 12 Feb 1813    ch 6 Aug 1815                         ch 15 Mar 1818   ch 17 Sep 1820   
                                                            |                                                                                                                |
                                                    ____________________________ |   
               ________________|__________                             _____________All probably born Woodhouse and ch. at Normanton except Thomas________________________
               |                            |                               |                             |                             |                                                 |                                 |                          |                       |                  |                         |
     Midgley                See  Midgley          Susannah                 Ann                  William======Susannah      John                       Jane                 Joseph            Seth         Henry               Thomas*
of Bolton, Lancs.     Of  Cawthorne, Yorks.                             b 1838               b 1840         |      Worsham       b~1843               b 1845                  b___          b ___            b_____    b 1853 Warmfield
ch 25 Dec 1838   ch 29 Mar 1840  -Wyatt        ch 13 Aug 1843    ch 2 Feb 1845  both ch 2 May 1847    ch 4 Nov 1849   ch______
d 1874 Ledston
                                                                    |                                                       |                                       |                                     |                                          |                                                    
Frederick William* =====Elva Anna    Annie                             Emily                              Clara ==Valentine            Walter Edward*
                                                 b 14 Mar 1867 Woodhouse   Sanford     Elizabeth                       Dora                               
Jane                                   b 1873 Ledston Mill
                                                ch 14 Ap 1867 Normanton                         b 1868  Ripley               b 1870 Ripley               b 1871 Spofforth              ch 1 Feb 1874 Ledsham

                                                                Midgley of California U.S.A.


*       = migrated to Nova Scotia in 1882 then California, Susannah [Worsham-Wyatt] joined the family there later.
xxxx  = evidence of twinning

                        Children of Joseph Midgley and Susannah Cheesbrough

1.Caroline Midgley
Joseph's first child. Christened 7th September 1800 at Featherstone.6

"In 1848, the opening of the Wakefield, Pontefract and Goole railway line through Featherstone, provided the basis for large scale coal mining in Featherstone, by opening up new markets in the south of England and Europe. Coal had been mined at Featherstone since the 13th century and remains of bell pits can still be seen to the north of Park Lane at North Featherstone.Ackton Hall and its Featherstone estates, previously the home of the Lords of the Manor, was sold in 1865 and from that time mining developments were rapid, and the population boomed. The completion of the railway encouraged exploratory boreholes to be drilled to discover deeper coal seams.
In 1866, when George Bradley, an entrepeneur from Boston, Lincolnshire, bought the Ackton Hall estates, he leased land to John Shaw who opened a new colliery called Featherstone Main. Seeing the possibilities, George Bradley opened another called Manor Colliery. Shaw was successful at Featherstone Main, once the largest colliery in England, but Bradley, through lack of funds, and misfortune, failed with four collieries in the area.
Lord Masham, a successful mill owner from Bradford, bought the estates and provided money for development. Ackton Hall Colliery (Masham's) was a success and he began to provide social facilities such as housing for the new community.
The new town of Featherstone was developed in the field between Ackton and Purston as a mining town with good quality housing and social services."
"This is Featherstone". -Thanks go to local historian, Tony Lumb and the  Featherstone Local History Society

2.Mary Midgley
Christened 15/9/1805 at Normanton,6 elder sister to William Walter Midgley.

3.Sarah Midgley
Joseph's second child.Christened 16th May 1802 at Featherstone died prematurely at the age of about 29 on the 15th March 1832 at Normanton.6 Sarah (of the parish of Normanton) married by banns William Wrighton [Righton]on the 8th December 1821 also of this parish, they both signed their names48
A later entry in the parish church record shows that William Righton, widower of the parish of Normanton married by banns Mary Pearson of the same parish (made her mark) on the 29th March 1837. From the death register entry, Sarah died at the early age of 29.49 Sarah had five children all baptised at Normanton49.
1. John bap. 8th Sept. 1822
2. Joseph bap. 30th May 1824
3. Caroline Midgley bap. 25th Dec 1826
4. James bap. 26th April 1829
5. Mary bap. 22nd May 1831.
The1841 census1 for Woodhouse, Normanton has Sarah's parents, Joseph farmer, 65 years old and Susannah 50 with  daughter Susannah 25, Elizabeth 20, Joseph 20, Susannah 4. Others in the census household were:  Mary Righton 10, Joseph Righton 15 [M.S.] = man servant? It appears that Joseph and Susannah were housing Mary and Joseph after their mother died prematurely and their father had remarried.

4.William Walter Midgley
Christened 3/11/1808 at Normanton.6 The eldest male in the family. A farmer later at Cawthorne (Cawthorne register,Wakefield Archives)  
William Walter Midgley and Sarah Ann, his wife moved from Normanton to Cawthorne about 1844 (from childrens christening records).
See Midgleys of Cawthorne

5.Joseph Midgley
Born at Normanton (42).Christened 3rd February 1811 at Normanton.6 the 5th child of Joseph Midgley and Susannnah, this Joseph appears to have died young as a later Joseph is named in 1820 The following note appears in Baine's Directory of 1822 for "Professions and Trades" in Normanton:
Gentry &c.:
     Evans Rev. Robert, incumbent 
     Hodgson Rev. Robert, curate 
     Atkinson Robert, surgeon 
     Benson James, parish clerk 
     Ellis John, blacksmith 
     Godfrey James, schoolmaster 
     Heptonstall John, bricklayer 
     Middleton Charles, vict. White Swan 
     Midgley Joseph, corn miller 
     Benson James 
     Diggle John 
     Brook James 
     Leake Thomas 
                                    From GENUKI

6. Susannah Midgley
Born 1813 at Normanton.42 Christened 12th February, 1813 at Normanton.6
Described in the 1851 census as 38 year old unmarried daughter, living at Woodhouse, near Normanton. In the 1881 census Susannah describes herself as a 68 year old unmarried annuitant of 10 Fern Street, Holbeck, nr. Leeds.

7. David Midgley
Born 1818.44 Christened 6th August 1815 at Normanton.6  Described in the 1851 census  as a 35 year old farmer managing 54 acres and employing one labourer. In the 1881 census he describes himself as a 68 year old corn miller and farmer of 98 acres at Ledstone employing three men.44
Married Elizabeth Crowther about 1837-8 and had seven children:
1.Ann Christened 25th November 1838 at Woodhouse, 42 Normanton.6
2 William  Christened 29th March 1840 at Woodhouse,42 Normanton.6 Married Susannah Worsham Wyatt of Oxford. They lived in Normanton, moving to Ripley before 1869 then to Spofforth before 1872 and to Ledstone before 1874. Five children:
                Frederick, William Midgley born 1867 Normanton,44 christened 14th  April 1867 at Normanton 23
                Annie E. (?Ethel) Midgley born 1869, Ripley, Yorks.44
               Emily D. (?Dorothy) Midgley born 1870, Ripley.44
               Clara Jane Midgley born 1872 Spofforth, Yorks.44
              Walter, Edward Midgley born 1874 Ledstone, North Yorkshire.44 Christened at Ledsham, 1st February 1874. Susannah Wyatt Worsham was born in 1839 at Steeple Barton, Oxfordshire.44 In the 1881 census she described herself as a 42 year old widow, annuitant and dressmaker. 3. John born at Woodhouse 1843.42 Christened 13th August 1843 at Normanton6 Appaently died before the 1851 census, which would make him a maximum of 7-8 years old when he died. 4. Jane born  1845, Woodhouse, Normanton.42 Christened 2nd February 1845 at Normanton6 At Woodhouse, Normanton in the 1851 census when she was described as a 6 year old scholar. 5. Joseph christened 2nd May 1847 at Normanton.6
6. Henry born 1850 at Woodhouse.42 Christened 4th November 1849, Normanton.
7. Thomas  born Warmfield 1853,44 described as a one year old son living at Woodhouse in the 1851 census. In the 1881 census described as an unmarried agricultural labourer.44

In the 1881 census Annie, Emily and Clara are shown living separately from their two brothers with their mother Susannah W. Midgley at a cottage at Ledsham. Susannah described herself in the 1881 census as an annuitant and dress-maker., her three daughters were 12, 11, and 9 year old scholars. 

Andrew Wyatt reports that Susannah Wyatt had a sister Mary and brother Thomas. Susannah's grandfather was William Cooper Wyatt, whose father was George Wyatt, d. 1792 in Islip. George's brother was William. The Wyatts were farmers and butchers, this family can be traced back to 1426 in Charlton on Otmoor near Oxford

Elizabeth Crowther, wife of David Midgley was born at Fixby42/Greenstyle in 1818.44. In the 1851 census described as wife to David Midgley, married 33 years old living at Woodhouse near Normanton. In the 1881 census, described as a 63 year old married farmer's wife, to David Midgley.44 In the 1881 census David and Elizabeth had living with them their son Thomas Midgley and their grandsons Frederick and Walter at the farm at Ledstone. The parents (William Midgley and Susannah Worsham) of these last two were not present in the household at Ledstone, William had died and Susannah had migrated with the rest of the family.
William [b.1840] died at a relatively young age in 1874. As a consequence of his early death the girls lived on with their mother whilst the two boys went to live with their grandparents, David and Elizabeth. In 1882 David and his wife Elizabeth, Thomas his son, David's sister, Susannah and David's grandsons Frederick and Walter migrated to Nova Scotia, Canada and later re-migrated to California, USA.Susannah, mother of William and Frederick later followed them to California. Susannah arrived in or before 1895, presumably after her daughters were married, Susannah married  a second time to Michael Hefferen, he died shortly after, Susannah then went to reside with Frederick and his family until her death in 1905.2
See Midgley Gedcom download page

8. Elizabeth Midgley

Christened 15th March 1818 Normanton.6

9. Joseph Midgley
Born at Woodhouse, Normanton,1820.42 Christened 17th September 1820 at Normanton,6 parents were Joseph and Susannah. In the 1851 census described as 30 year old unmarried  farmer's son.44

The headstone for Susannah nee Cheesbrough and Joseph Midgley born Hambleton 1771
"Sacred to the memory of Sussana
Midgley, wife of Joseph Midgley of Woodhouse who
departed this life, June 26th 1845 aged 68 years.
Also to the said Joseph Midgley who died April 30th
1851 aged 80 years


                  .Joseph Midgley died 1851
                                     The headstone is worn and flaking but still legible [1997]
Headstone of Joseph Midgley d. 1873, now laid as part of a path outside the entrance to Normanton Church.
"Joseph Midgley who died May 4th 1873 aged 56* years In the midst of life there is death"

* Thus born ~ 1817, this could be Joseph and Susannah's youngest son.

Joseph Midgley died 1873
Headstone for :
John Henry the beloved son of John Henry and Edith Midgley died __ January 11th 188_ aged 2 years and three months. Also John Henry Midgley, father of the above  died August 31st? 1865? aged  73? years also Edith Midgley the most beloved wife of  John Henry Midgley
died_______       18__ aged 72? years
Also Edith Maud dearly beloved daughter of the above died___     18_ aged __

                   Headstone of John Henry, Edith  and son

                                            . Normanton Parish Church
                                                                                                 Normanton Parish Church and cemetery

Susannah Worsham Wyatt            
William Frederick Midgley
             Susannah Worsham-Wyatt

A copy of a photograph of Sussanah [sic] Worsham Wyatt, wife of William Midgley.
  Born 1838 Steeple Barton, Oxfordshire, died 1905 Sheridan, Placer County, California, USA.
Susannah was a servant at the time of her marriage to William. After William's death, Susannah looked after her girls whilst the two boys stayed with William's parents. Later she followed the other members of  the family  to California.
She also appears in the 1901 census at Ripon, Yorkshire as Susannah Heferen. Susannah travelled back to England and then returned  to the USA.

                 William Midgley

A copy of a painting of William Midgley corn miller and farmer

copies provided by Jane Paskowitz
Born 1840, Woodhouse, Normanton, Yorkshire
, died 1874 Ledston, Yorkshire. William married in Oxford whilst working as a butcher, he returned to Normanton where his eldest child, Frederick William was born. William, like his father David, was a farmer and corn miller. The corn mill was at Ledston Mill, West Yorkshire, William's yougest son, Walter Edward was born at Ledston Mill.

    William Midgley died 1874  Ledston
The headstone of William Midgley at Ledsham Parish Church:
"Sacred to the memory of William Midgley of Ledstone Mill, born March 1st 1840 died May 23rd 1874."

   William died of the water borne disease,              typhoid, which often infected well water

Headstone of William Midgley died Ledston 1874

Clara Jane Midgley
Clara Midgley
                                                                                Clara Jane Midgley
 Born 1871, Spofforth, West Yorkshire.

             Clara Jane Midgley

  1. E-mail from Mrs Ann Heany of Bispham, Lancashire (x3 grand-daughter to Sarah Midgley/Righton)
  2. Information supplied by Jane Paskowitz of California, U.S.A
  3. Field Work

  6. I.G.I. DO769 or DO768 Yorkshire.
  7. Cawthorne Centenary Booklet (1980) Barry Jackson churchwarden.
  8. pers. comm. Gillian McDougall  nee Midgley of Springwood, N.S.W.
  9. Letter to Sarah Wemyss from brother James C. Wemyss 28/6/1916
10. Letter from Anthony Hindley of Cawthorne containing pedigrees drawn up by Henry Milnes Walker(1989)
11. Letter from Charles Brian Midgley.
12. “History of Cawthorne” C.T. Pratt (1880)
13. Letters from Lt. Col. Charles Crossland (1983,1984)
14. Letter from the late Ronald T. Midgley (1982)
15. Letter from the late Roy Wemyss Milnes of Cawthorne.
16. Copy of Mildred Holroyd’s letter to Charles Crossland.
17. I.G.I. CO668 Northumberland (batch M109171, serial sheet 0594)
18. “Cawthorne 1790-1990, a South Yorkshire Village Remembers Its past”, Barry Jackson June 1990
19. Letter from Anthony Hindley March 1992
20.Letter from Audrey Town, 33, New Lane, Skelmanthorpe, July 1992
21. Census returns for 1881 (RG11/4611 Ed. 2, folio 30, p.20) and 1891 (RG12/) held at the Wakefield Local Studies Library and Barnsley Local Studies Library.
22. Taken from videotape made by Peter Arnold in Cawthorne late 1980’s
23 I.G.I. DO583 Yorkshire
24. English Parish Records, State Archives, Kingswood, Sydney, N.S.W.
25. Church of Latter Day saints (Mormons) I.G.I. Centre, Ryde, Sydney, N.S.W.
26. The Letterbag of Lady Spencer-Stanhope ed. by Anna Stirling pub. 1913 compiled from The Cannon Hall Papers 1806-1873 2 volumes, published by John Lane, London, Bell & Cockburn, printers, Toronto 1913.
27. I.G.I. Ayrshire
28. Letter from Dyone Dodson (nee Midgley) 11th May 1993.
29. Organic Chemistry p.109 Morrison and Boyd.
30. Huddersfield Examiner article 1993.
31.”Country Eye” Geoffrey Young p.99
32. Biographical Encyclopaedia of Science  Asimov pp930-1
33. Thomas Moules maps of Old England  printed 1930
34. Pedigree drawn up by solicitors for Ina Hepworth Estate in 1950’s
35. Letter from C.B. Midgley June 1995
36. Dictionary of English Place Names”  A.D. Mills  O.U.P. 1997
37. Internet resource: Cities & Towns of the West Riding
38. According to Jens Raunkjaer Graungaard, Parkvej 63, DK 4140  Borup, +45 57 52 2181      jensg@centrum.dk, https://www.danbbs.dk/~jensg/
39. Survey & Depth A. Barcan Griffin Press 1972.
40. The First World War, John Keegan, Hutchinson 1998.
41. E-mail communication with David Midgley of Tasmania.
42. Census 1851 for Wakefield district.
43. Census 1881 for Cawthorne, South Yorkshire.
44. Census 31st March 1881 for England.
45. Dictionary of English Place-Names, A.D. Mills, O.U.P.
46. L.D.S. on-line I.G.I.

Also see 1851 census for Midgleys of Wakefield district

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 ©  Tim Midgley, 6th April 2007.Links revised July 2023.