Best ...

The entries for people & families with the surname Best are gathered together in this SideTrack.

This Page does not include people with other forms of the surname.

There are many people with this surname, and it is possible that there are duplicate entries for an individual. If you discover any such duplicates, please email me and I shall correct them.

Best, CharlesRef 336-1218
[1675-1700] Son of John Best.

He married Jane Oxley from Bradford.


  1. child
  2. child
  3. child
  4. child

There is a memorial to Charles and his father in Halifax Parish Church

Best, Dr CharlesRef 336-4
[17??-18??] Medical practitioner.

He was in medical partnership with Dr William Belcombe

He married Mary Norcliffe.

Mary was the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Norcliffe

Best, CharlesRef 336-5
[1751-1826] Of Halifax.

He married Grace [1751-1821].

Child: Charles.

Grace died 25th October 1821 (aged 70).

Charles died 26th August 1826 (aged 75).

Members of the family were buried at Square Independent Chapel, Halifax [Grave Ref: 148]

Best, CharlesRef 336-6
[1779-1829] Son of Charles Best.

He married Unknown.


  1. Ann who died 5th September 1806 (aged 2 years & 8 months) 
  2. Edwin Thornton (Best) who died 11th August 1811 (aged 3  years) 

Charles died 2nd July 1829 (aged 50).

Members of the family were buried at Square Independent Chapel, Halifax [Grave Ref: 148]

Best, CharlesRef 336-346
[1818-1867] Of Southowram.

He was a house painter.

He married Mary Standeven [1821-1896].


  1. Mary Emily [1855-1946] who married Hampshaw Horner

Best, Charles AtkinsonRef 336-3155
[1851-1???] Landlord of the Shears, Halifax [1887].

In 1883, he (possibly) married Mary Hemingway [18??-1896] in Halifax.

He was retired [1896].

They are mentioned in the List of Local Wills: 1896

Best, GeorgeRef 336-3514
[1???-1???] He married Ann Armitage.


  1. George

Best, GeorgeRef 336-3205
[1783-18??] On 26th April 1810, he married Mary Kershaw [1784-18??].


  1. James Kershaw

Best, Henry WilsonRef 336-533
[1823-1???] Son of Joseph Best.

Born in Halifax.

He was a bookbinder / a printer [1880].

In [Q1] 1853, he married Elizabeth Taylor in Halifax.

Elizabeth was the daughter of James Taylor


  1. Mary Jane [1854-1890] who married Sam Lister

They lived at Charlestown, Claremount.

Elizabeth died 4th July 1908 (aged 83), and was buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 1443] with her parents

Best, J.Ref 336-10
[1???-18??] From the 1820s, he was gravedigger at the Baptist Burial Ground, Haley Hill.

He reported on the condition of the graveyard for the Ranger Report of 1850

Best, JamesRef 336-7
[1798-18??] He was a machine maker [1841].

He married Ann [1799-1863].


  1. John
  2. Joseph [b 1824] who was a tailor's apprentice [1841]
  3. James [1826-11th December 1850] who was buried with his  mother

They lived at 7 Hanover Street, Halifax [1841].

Ann died 8th May 1863 (aged 64)  and was buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 4440]

Best, James KershawRef 336-2965
[1812-1889] Son of George Best.

Born in Halifax.

He was named for James Kershaw.

He was working in a bank in Halifax [before 1837], a lay preacher for the Wesleyan Missionary Society in India, [shortly  after his marriage in 1837], a missionary for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in  Foreign Parts in Madras, ordained a deacon in Madras [1842], and ordained a priest in Madras [1845]

He built St Mark's Church, Christianagaram, Udangudi, Tamilnadu, India, which opened on 26th January 1849.

In the 1850s, he returned to England on account of ill health, and after recovering, became curate at Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire [around 1858] and a vicar of Holy Trinity, Lane End, Buckinghamshire [1865 until his  death]

On 10th August 1837, he married Mary Ann Turner [1811-1873] from Kirkby, North Yorkshire, at Manchester Cathedral.


  1. Elizabeth (LizzieTurner [1839-1921] who  married Walter Hobbs
  2. James William
  3. Kershaw Thorpe
  4. Mary Ann Louisa [1844-1931]
  5. Sarah Jane [1846-1918]

Best, James WilliamRef 336-2966
[1840-1916] BA.

Son of James Kershaw Best.

Born in Madras.

He was a barrister / a High Court Judge in Madras / Chief Justice for Mysore [1895].

He retired in 1903.

In 1868, he married Daphne Harrison [1846-1911] at Madras Presidency.

Daphne born on 5th October 1846 and baptised 15th November 1846, in Madras. She was the daughter of Mary & Robert Bennett


  1. William (Willie
  2. Ethel Maud [b 1873]
  3. Mary Gertrude May (Gertie) [b 1874]
  4. Eric Francis Charles
  5. Eustace Charles
  6. Winifred Hugh Francis
  7. Edward Bertram
  8. Elmer Geoffrey
  9. Cyril George [1879]

Daphne died in Bangalore, India [11th May 1911].

James William died in Sydney, Australia

Best, JeremyRef 336-1554
[1???-18??] He was appointed Surveyor of the Highways for Northowram [1835]

Best, JohnRef 336-1209
[1???-1???] Son of Richard Best by his first marriage.

He married Unknown.


  1. Martha

Best, JohnRef 336-3512
[1???-1???] He married Susannah.


  1. Thomas

Best, JohnRef 336-1215
[16??-1678] Son of Richard Best by his second marriage.

He married (1) Unknown, a daughter of Rev Matthew Whiteley of Wiltshire.


  1. Charles

He married (2) Mrs Lawrence, the other daughter of Rev Matthew Whiteley of Wiltshire.

She died at Pontefract 1677.

The family lived at Landimere, Northowram.

Heywood writes that Best had

degenerated into licentiousness, drinking excessively, living like an Epicure, sending every day for 1s 6d in ale and drinking it himself

Members of the family were buried in Halifax Parish Church where an inscription reads

Here resteth the remains of John Best, of Landimer, who departed this life the 23rd day of November 1678.

Here lyeth the body of Charles Best, son of the above John Best, of Landimer, who departed this life the 3rd day of August 1700

Best, JohnRef 336-6600
[1774-1834] Boot & shoe maker at Gibbet Street,Halifax [1834]

Best, JohnRef 336-3
[1791-1???] Illegitimate son of Hannah Best of Shelf.

Baptised at St John the Baptist, Coley [9th April 1791]

Best, JohnRef 336-9
[1806-1861] He was a carpenter [1841] / a sawyer [1851].

He married Hannah [1803-1875].

Hannah was born in Halifax


  1. Nanny / Ann [b 1833] who was a straw bonnet maker  [1851]
  2. Sarah [1835-1900] who was a bonnet   maker's apprentice [1851], a bonnet maker [1861] and married John Harwood
  3. Joseph [b 1837] who was a brush maker's assistant [1851]
  4. John [b 1840]
  5. Ellen [1844-1927] who was a  pupil-teacher [1861]
  6. Hannah Maria [b 1846] who was a pupil-teacher [1861]

The family lived at

  • Exley Bank, Halifax [1841]
  • 9 Causeway, Halifax [1851]
  • 10 Causeway, Halifax [1861]

Living with them [in 1861] were granddaughter Clara Harwood [b 1860] and lodgers William Flood and family, and Frances Smith [b 1801] (cotton weaver).

John died 20th May 1861 (aged 55).

Hannah died 29th August 1875 (aged 72).

The couple were buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 3893]

Best, JohnRef 336-8
[1822-1879] Son of James Best.

Born in Halifax.

He was a linen draper's apprentice [1841] / a linen draper [1851] / a stay & crinoline manufacturer employing 2 hands [1861].

In [Q4] 1846, he married (1) Asenath Smith [1822-1859] in York.

Asenath was born in Heckmondwike


  1. Ellen Aurelia [1847-1863] who was buried with her mother
  2. Anne [b 1850]

Asenath died 20th April 1859 (aged 37)  and was buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 2004] with her sister Harriet Smith.

In [Q4] 1859, he married (2) Eliza Wrigglesworth [1829-1876] in Halifax.

Eliza was born in Halifax


  1. John H. E. [b 1852]

They lived at

  • 11 Brunswick Street, Halifax [1851]
  • 8 Old Market, Halifax [1861]

Living with them [in 1851] was Asenath's sister Harriet Smith [1814-1855] (milliner).

Eliza died 8th February 1876 (aged 47).

John died 6th January 1879 (aged 57).

The couple were buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 814]

Best, JosephRef 336-1384
[1???-1858] He was a tailor.

In [Q2] 1843, he married Sarah Ann Cragg [1822-1???] in Halifax.

Sarah Ann was born in Halifax


  1. Eliza Emma [b 1845] who married Edwin Fawley

They lived at 178 Hanson Lane, Halifax [1881].

Joseph died Q4 1858.

Living with the widowed Sarah Ann [in 1881] were daughter Eliza Emma and family

Best, JosephRef 336-311
[1792-1858] Born in Halifax.

He was a bookkeeper in the Halifax Town Clerk's office [1851].

He married Mary [1801-1854].

Mary was born in Hipperholme


  1. Henry Wilson
  2. George [1825-1878] who was a clog & patten maker [1851],  & was buried with his parents
  3. Thomas Edwin
  4. Emma J. [b 1836]

They lived at 1 Cow Green, Halifax [1851].

He married Mary [1801-1854].

Mary died 19th April 1854 (aged 53).

Joseph died 12th October 1858 (aged 66).

The couple were buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 3298]

Best, Rev Kershaw ThorpeRef 336-3206
[1842-1917] BA, MA.

Son of James Kershaw Best.

Born in Madras.

He was educated at Oxford University [1862, 1867].

In 1876, he married Frances Julia (Fanny) Payne [b 1846] in Bromley.

They had no children.

He died in England

Best, MarthaRef 336-1210
[16??-1???] Daughter of John Best.

She married (1) William Ryall.

She married (2) Joshua Dawson

Best, Mrs MaryRef 336-1216
[16??-1675] She married (1) Michael Best.

Question: Does anyone know Mary's maiden name?


She married (2) David Hemingway.

Heywood says that she

had a dog-like appetite which could not be satisfied

and died a widow

in great misery Jan. 30. 1674/5

after her son, Daniel, turned her out of their home at Mountain.

She went to live with Joseph Croft

Best, MaryRef 336-625
[16??-1706] Daughter of Richard Best by his second marriage. She inherited part of Shelf Hall from her father.

In 1681, she married Joseph Priestley.

Heywood says that she had many worthy suitors, and of the marriage, describes her as

a maid ensnared

The Northowram Register records

Mary Priestley of Westercroft, Widow, went out of Bed from her daughter, Mary, 19th May 1706, about one o'clock in the morning being Lord's Day. Was found May 31 in the River Calder, buried June 1, had bin melancholy above a year

Best, MichaelRef 336-1211
[16??-16??] Son of Richard Best by his first marriage.

He married Mary.


  1. Mary who married Nicholas Baylis

Best, MichaelRef 336-1217
[16??-1683] Son of Richard Best by his second marriage.

Heywood writes

since the death of brother John, Michael turned to drinking

He died without issue

Best, Norman CornthwaiteRef 336-983
[1926-1942] Aka Norman A. Cornthwaite.

He lived with his aunt at 23 Abbey Street, New Bank, Halifax.

During World War I, he served as a Steward's Boy with the Merchant Navy aboard the ocean liner SS Ceramic (Southampton) 

He died 7th December 1942 (aged 16)  when his ship was torpedoed by German Submarine U-515, and sank west of the Azores with the loss of 656 of the 657 people aboard.

He is remembered on the Tower Hill Memorial, London [Grave Ref 25], and in the Halifax Town Hall Books of Remembrance

Best, RichardRef 336-2
[1???-1559] Of Mixenden.

He married Alice.

Richard died before 1559.

On 13th November 1558, Alice married (2) John Broadley.

Best, RichardRef 336-614
[15??-16??] Carrier and wealthy wool-dealer.

He lived at Landimere, Shelf.

Rev Oliver Heywood stayed with Best when he arrived at Coley.

In 16??, he married (1) Unknown.


  1. John
  2. Michael
  3. Mary who married David Hemingway

In 16??, he married (2) Martha Wood.

Children: 3 – whom they also named:

He bought the Lower End of Shelf Hall from John Phillip [1639]

Best, ThomasRef 336-3513
[1???-1???] He married Susanna Scott.


  1. George

Best, ThomasRef 336-722
[1841-1???] Born in Skircoat.

He was a carpet weaver [1881].

In [Q3] 1873, he married Sarah Nutton in Halifax.

Sarah was the daughter of
James Nutton

In 1881, they were living with Sarah's parents

Best, Thomas EdwinRef 336-310
[1830-1854] Son of Joseph Best.

He was watchmaker in Halifax.

He died 20th October 1853 and was buried at Lister Lane Cemetery [Plot 3298] with his parents


Best surnameRef 336-1

The Surname is discussed in the book Halifax & District Surnames by George Redmonds.

There are 35 entries on the Calderdale Companion for people with the surname Best, as discussed in this SideTrack. This count does not include other forms of the surname.

Unattached BMDs for Best

Marriage 1925


© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 17:33 / 26th October 2023 / 30224

Page Ref: MMB194

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