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William Murgatroyd

William Murgatroyd – 6th Bradford Mayor 1854-56, JP

William was christened (baptised) on 6 May 1796 at Bradford Cathedral (St Peter), the son of Nathaniel & Martha Murgatroyd.
He married Sarah Croft on 9 March 1825 in St Peter’s Church (Bradford Cathedral), by Licence. They were both ‘of this Parish’ and both living in Bradford, he a Worsted Spinner. She was the daughter of Joseph Croft, Wool Stapler, bap. 25 Dec 1803 at St Margaret, Horsforth, Leeds, and at St Oswald, Guiseley, Leeds.
In April 1835 the partnership of Miles & Daniel Illingworth and William Murgatroyd of the firm Illingworth, Murgatroyd & Co., worsted spinners, of Horton, Bradford, was dissolved by mutual consent.
In 1841 at Birks House, Bradford was William, a Wool Stapler with his wife Sarah and children Martha b. 20 October 1828 at home in Horton, her Aunt Ann Croft was a witness to the birth, and was christened at the Presbyterian Chapel in Horton; George b. 10 September 1831 at Bowling Place, Horton; and Mary Ann b. 27 November 1836 at Bingley and baptised 26 February 1837 at All saints Church, Bingley. They had 2 female House Servants.
[At the time of these births, William was a Worsted Spinner]

In 1848 William built Bankfield House between Cottingley and Bingley in the Tudor style with a 120ft frontage to the road. Later Bankfield became Bank Field. More on this:
Bankfield was envisaged in 1846 when William Murgatroyd made his first purchase of land adjoining the then Bradford and Keighley Turnpike road. This purchase consisted of two parcels of land, known as High Bank and Low Bank. In 1848 he made a second purchase of two closes of land adjoining the earlier purchases and these combined to form the grounds of the house he built. The second purchase comprised land known as Upper Bank and Sowe Bank and from all these ‘Field’ names it is easy to see how the appropriate name of Bankfield was chosen.

The house was erected to plans prepared by the Bradford architects Andrews and Delauney in 1848. Bankfield is to a great extent of Tudor character with Elizabethan features in the form of shaped gables and bay windows. The house was later extended in 1871 when a family called Mason, who bought Bankfield from William Murgatroyd’s trustees in 1867, owned it. In 1946 after a change of two more owners, in effect almost one hundred years after William Murgatroyd’s first purchase of land in 1846, Bankfield began a new role as a hotel. After 7 more changes of ownership the Bankfield Hotel is now the Mercure Bradford North since the 30th September 2011.

Bank Field

In 1851 at Bankfield House, Keighley was William, a Wool Stapler & Alderman of the Borough of Bradford, his wife Sarah and children Martha and George, a Wool Stapler. They had 3 female House Servants. What happened to Mary Ann? Unfortunately, she died in December 1837in Bradford.

In January 1854 at the Bradford Savings Bank annual meeting, a trustee vacancy arose due to the death of Mr. E. C. Lister Kaye, Esq. It was filled by the appointment of William Murgatroyd, Esq.

In February 1854 Birks House (Mansion House) with spacious gardens, stabling, Coachhouse and outbuildings, lately the residence of William Murgatroyd, Esq., was offered for Sale by Auction.

In March 1854 at the Social Meeting of the Delph Temperance Society held in the Methodist School room, William Murgatroyd delivered a very pleasing address to a large and respectable audience.

Examples of William’s Bradford Borough Court sittings on the bench – (April 1854): To judge charges of Gambling, Pocket Picking, Assaulting a Policeman, Neglect of Family, Firing a Chimney, Dangerous Position when drunk, and a serious offence by two boys of cutting holly in Peel Park who were fined 20s with 7s costs each.

Also on 27 April 1854, William was on the bench of the West Riding Magistrates Court held to pass the townships accounts.

In September 1854 Wiliam was a member of the Council of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce.

On the 15 November 1854 William Murgatroyd, Alderman was elected to Mayor of Bradford. It was noted that he had served as Chairman of the Watch Committee of the Town Council and in the past year he had a painful bereavement. He was a gentleman so well known that it was unnecessary to make observations as to his suitability for the role. He was re-elected in November 1855 for a further term.

On 16 January 1855 at a Special Meeting of the Bradford Town Council, presided over by the mayor William Murgatroyd, a full-length portrait of the first mayor Robert Milligan, Esq., MP & Alderman painted by J Faulkner Bird was received. Subscribers included William Murgatroyd & Titus Salt. It was then to be hung in the Exchange Rooms.

In October 1855 the members of the Bradford Board of Guardians dined at the George & Gragon Inn at Apperley Bridge. The Chairman of the Board was supported by the Mayor William Murgatroyd.

On 6 November 1855 the Inauguration of the Peel Monument at Bradford was held for the late Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850), statesman and patriot, who created the Metropolitan Police Force in 1829. The statue by William Behnes (1795-1864) of London was erected in Peel Place on a drum pedestal of Bramley stone 11’ 6” tall and the statue 13’ in bronze, cast by Messrs. Robinson & Coffon of Pimlico, London, costing 1000 guineas raised by public subscription. The inauguration was attended by a large crowd of some 10,000 to 20,000. The mayor William Murgatroyd Esq. was supported by two local members, heading up the procession, followed by chief citizens e.g. Titus Salt & S C Lister. The statue was uncovered while the band played “Rule Britannia”.

During his second tenure as mayor, at the Borough Court before William Murgatroyd Esq., cases were heard and discussed e.g. theft of a tool, which was dismissed as the defendant only borrowed it, and of theft of a harness in which the defendant was remanded and committed for trial.

On 22 April 1865 at Bank Field, near Bingley, Bradford, William Murgatroyd Esq., a JP for Bradford and for the West Riding of Yorkshire, died age 69. He was a successful pioneer of Bradford trade. His father, Nethaniel Murgatroyd, was one of the firm who, in 1798, erected the first steam engine and mill in the ‘Holme’, Bradford. William’s name will always be associated with the Milligans & the Salts, and others who laid the foundations of the worsted trade throughout the district. He was for many years a director of the Midland Railway Company and Alderman of Bradford Corporation. Probate: The Will with a Codicil of William Murgatroyd Esq., late of Bank Field in the Parish of Bingley, deceased who died on 22 April 1865 at Bank Field was proved at Wakefield, Yorkshire on 18 May 1865 by the oaths of: Henry Ripley Esq. of Lightcliffe, Halifax, the nephew; John Marshall Barwick of Leeds, Solicitor; Joseph Croft of Bradford, Bank Cashier; Edward Croft of Bradford, Banker’s Clerk; & William Croft of Bradford, Merchant; the Executors. Effects: Under £45,000.

In June 1865 an advert was posted for the Sale of Land at Cottingley adjoining Bank Field, the residence of the late William Murgatroyd Esq. with the finest scenery.

No record could be found for William and Sarah’s son George after 1851 through to 1921 in Britain nor in any emigration data, so assume he deliberately went ‘underground’. This theory may be supported from the post made in the Lyttleton Times of 25 July 1865, which asked if George Murgatroyd, native of Birk House near Halifax, saw it, then please write to Mr Walker, Lyttleton; or to his sister Mrs. Harriet Thomas, 2 Spink Buildings, Bowling Back Lane, Bradford. Perhaps they were trying to tell George of his father’s death and perhaps any inheritance that might be due to him? George was at Birks House, Bradford in 1841 with his family, age 9.

On 27 December 1866 an advert was posted for the Sale of the property of Bank Hill Estate, Cottingley, near Bingley, the residence of the late William Murgatroyd Esq.

In 1871 at 22 Carlisle Place, Manningham, Bradford, Sarah Murgatroyd, widow, was living with William Ramsden’s family. He was a Machine model pattern maker. She was his Mother-in-Law. Hannah was his wife.

In 1881 at 207 Bank Top, Horton, Bradford, Sarah Murgatroyd, widow, was living with Jeremiah Rudd’s family. He was a Woolstapler employing 1 man. She was his Mother-in-Law. Martha was his wife. Martha Ann Murgatroyd married Jeremiah Rudd on 19 may 1863 in the Bradford Parish Church (St Peter’s, Bradford Cathedral).

Sarah Murgatroyd died in April-June 1883 in Bradford and buried on 28 May 1883, age 80, as a non-conformist.

Research by David Broomfield – June 2024

With special thanks to Peter Phiri of the Reception Team at Mercure Bradford Bankfield Hotel providing historical data of Bank Field.

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