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HomecommentMark's History: David Bowie's family connections in Armley and Bramley

Mark’s History: David Bowie’s family connections in Armley and Bramley

Words & Photos: Mark Stevenson

In the 1840s grocer William Musgrave lived at Town End House with his wife Esther and son Joseph, who was a cloth maker.

Business must have been good as they had three servants, James and Hannah Marshall, aged 15 and 13, along with 15-year-old Sarah Hudson.

Town End House is around 230 years old and was built in the late 1700s. It is thought to have had an industrial purpose originally and it stands on the site of Springfield Woollen Mill.

Town End House in Bramley where the Jones family live.

By 1891 Town End House had become the residence of the Jones family. Joseph Jones was originally from Wykeham, near Scarborough. Thanks to the education his father Charles made sure his children got he had come up in the world from working as a shoe maker.

Moving to Leeds in the 1870s Joseph lived on Moorfield Road in 1881, possibly working and living in the cottages and factory that still stand today.

The Moorfield Road site where Joseph may have worked. Photo: Mark Stevenson

It was here that Joseph met his wife Ann Heywood. They had three daughters and three sons but it is Robert Heywood Jones born in 1883 at Moorfield Road in Armley that is probably the most well known of the six brothers and sisters.

In 1891 Robert Heywood Jones, aged eight, was living at Town End House with his family.

In 1909 he was living in Doncaster where he was proprietor of his own company The Jubilee Boot Company of Doncaster and had married the love of his life Zillah Hannah Blackburn. They had a daughter called Roma and in 1912 their son Stenton Haywood Jones (David Bowie’s father) was born.

Robert (David Bowie’s grandfather) died in the Great War in 1916 and it was said Zillah (David Bowie’s grandmother) died of a broken heart just before Valentine’s Day in 1917. Robert’s name can be found on Bramley War Memorial.

Both David Bowie’s great grandfather, great grandmother and grandfather lived at Moorfield Road in Armley and Town End House in Bramley.

Joseph Jones (David Bowie’s great grandfather) died in 1918 and Ann Heywood Jones (David Bowie’s great grandmother) died in 1933.

Cottages where Joseph and Ann may have lived. Photo: Mark Stevenson
The site where Joseph may have worked. Photo: Mark Stevenson


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