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Home comment Mark's History: A Rodley family's past unravelled from a Farsley gravestone

Mark’s History: A Rodley family’s past unravelled from a Farsley gravestone

Tucked away in the corner of St John’s Church Graveyard in Farsley is a gravestone belonging to the Crossley family of Rodley, writes Mark Stevenson.

Why would a Rodley family be buried in Farsley?

With a bit of digging I was able to find out that the H Crossley mentioned on the gravestone was Hainsworth Crossley who, in 1871, was living in the Bay Horse Yard in Farsley with his parents.

Maude Mary’s gravestone. Photo: Mark Stevenson

His father Henry was a shoemaker employing three men. Even though he was only 15 (born 1856) Hainsworth’s occupation was that of a clerk in an ironworks.

The MM on the gravestone is Hainsworth’s wife Maud Mary. In 1891 they were living at 11 Wesley Terrace in Rodley with their three daughters Margaret, seven, Edith, three, and one-year-old Maude.

In 1901 Hainsworth’s 27-year-old daughter (born 1885) Maud was training to be a teacher. She, along with her parents, was now living at 10 Chapel Street in Calverley.

In 1911 Margaret and Edith were now both teachers and still living at 10 Chapel Street with their parents and two brothers. 

When I mentioned the Crossley gravestone earlier I failed to mention that it was four of the Crossley’s children who had all died within a year or so of being born that were buried there.

The gravestone also mentions a Henry, son of the above, whom I am assuming is Hainsworth and also of Mary H Benn of New Shildon.

Henry was conceived in 1885, born in 1886 and died in 1887. His mother was Mary Benn. Hainsworth and Mary Maude were married in 1882 losing Ethel, their first child in the same year. Was Henry the result of an affair between Hainsworth and Mary Benn? Or am I reading it wrong?


  1. Hello Mark
    I love reading your stories.

    Mary Benn was buried in St Johns Farsley 21 April 1870 aged 17 years. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Judith Benn nee Crossley. Maybe Mary and Joseph Hainsworth Crossley were Cousin’s !!


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