John Crossley


John Crossley was the founder of the carpet manufacturing business John Crossley & Sons.

He was the son of John Crossley of Warley and Bethiah Webster.

John wrote

My father's name was John Crossley, he was brought up to carpet manufacturing and worked for Mr Webster of Clay Pits, and married Mr Webster's daughter, who was a very good woman but of delicate health, she had many children and died when my brother Isaac was born.

When my mother died I was only 16 years old and was put apprentice to my uncle, Mr John Webster of the Clay Pits, to learn carpet weaving. He was a very good man and did me a great deal of good and always said that he had cured me because he had had me under his care whilst I was in my veal bones


In 1788, after the death of his mother, he became an apprentice carpet-weaver with his uncle John Webster.

On termination of his apprenticeship, he went to work for William Currer at Luddendenfoot Mill.

It is said that, whilst he was weaving for Currer, he was drinking at the loom, and trying to catch a bottle which had fallen, he cut his hand badly, leaving him unable to weave. Currer, asked him

John, do you think you could tie up a loom, as you cannot now weave?

John replied that he

should only be too happy to try

He became so good at his new tasks, that Currer would not allow him to go back to weaving. Crossley regarded the accident as the turning-point in his life.

He moved to become manager of Job Lee's carpet works, Lower George Yard.

When Lee died, he formed Abbott, Crossley, & Company with Robert Abbott and Francis Ellerton.

In 180?, the partnership was dissolved, and Crossley took over the spinning and dyeing for the firm at paper mill under the North Bridge.

In 1802, he went into partnership with his brother Thomas Crossley and James Travis, and they leased a mill at Dean Clough. See Waterhouse's Mill.

About 1830, Crossley bought Abbott's carpet business.

In 1801, he married Martha Turner.


  1. Martha
  2. John [1804-1809]
  3. Charles [1805] who died aged 1 month
  4. Thomas
  5. Elizabeth
  6. Robert
  7. John
  8. Joseph
  9. Francis

In 1802, the couple moved to a mill at Dean Clough on which they had taken out a 20-year lease.

When the Dean Clough lease expired, the Crossley-Travis partnership was dissolved, and Crossley set up his own business and moved the family into a cottage near the mill.

He was the founder of the carpet manufacturing business at Dean Clough which was to become John Crossley & Sons after his death, and he was subsequently joined by his sons, John, Joseph, and Francis.

He was head of the Crossley family in Halifax, and gave his name to Crossley Street where the firm had a warehouse and offices.

They were a very religious family, and gave one tenth of their income to philanthropic purposes such as public parks, almshouses, and model villages.

John died 17th January 1837 (aged 64).

John, Martha and other members of the family, were buried at Square Chapel, Halifax. When the Chapel became derelict, the gravestones were taken to a yard at Dean Clough. They disappeared in 1982, and in 2010 they were found by Council workers in undergrowth in Exley Cemetery. It is proposed to return the gravestones to the Square Chapel. Photographs of the gravestones can be seen on a separate page.

A Blue Plaque has been erected in his memory

See The Courtship of John Crossley & Martha Turner and James Wild

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:24 / 24th May 2021 / 8071

Page Ref: QQ_147

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