Jonathan Akroyd

Jonathan Akroyd was the son of James Akroyd. He was born near Brookhouse, Ovenden [17th November 1782],

He was educated at John Ingham's Cockpit School, Illingworth.

In 1818, he was at Old Lane Mill, Halifax.

With his brother James, he founded Akroyd's, the family worsted textile business.

He married Sarah Wright.

Sally / Sarah was the daughter of David Wright


  1. Elizabeth [1809-1857] who married Rev Thomas Buckley
  2. Edward
  3. Henry
  4. George Bolland [1819-1847] who never married
  5. Samuel Wright [1821-1842] who never married
  6. Mary [b 1813] who married John Edward Ridgway
  7. Martha [1820-1858] who never married
  8. Harriet [b 1826] who married Rev George Kinnear
  9. Jane Anne [b 1828] married Bolton Wall
  10. Emily [b 1829] who died in infancy

The family lived at

He attended Salem Methodist New Connexion Church, North Parade. He gave generously to the second church of 1815. He built a Methodist New Connexion Chapel at Haley Hill which became a day school for children in his factory.

In 1818, the business moved to Bowling Dyke where he introduced the manufacture of bombazines, camlets, and Norwich crepes.

He was one of the subscribers to John Horner's book Buildings in the Town & Parish of Halifax [1835].

In 1835, he was on the List of Electors for the Ovenden Township of the Halifax Polling District in the election for the MP for the West Riding.

In 1837, he bought land and the mill at Copley from Richard Kennett-Dawson, and conceived the idea of a model housing scheme for his workers at Copley.

On 26th July 1847 – a few months before work began on Copley model village – he chaired a meeting of the electors of Halifax concerning the return of Sir Charles Wood and the topic of national education held at Northgate Hotel. There was great excitement in the town on account of the determined opposition of Dissenters to the Government's Education Bill, which it was contended favoured the Established Church, and the meeting was stormy. Akroyd was much interrupted when making his opening remarks, and the excitement proved too much for him, for he fell forward upon the table – dead. The meeting came to an abrupt conclusion.

He left a fortune of £1,750,000 to his son Edward.

He was a Liberal and a Nonconformist.

Jonathan & Sarah were buried at Salem Methodist New Connexion Chapel, North Parade. His funeral was attended by about 3000 people, and the shops and other places of business in Halifax were closed during the day.

He was described as

the Father of the Worsted Trade

A memorial tablet at All Souls' Church records

In memory of Jonathan Akroyd, of Woodside, Halifax.

He was born near Brookhouse, Ovenden, on the 17th of November 1782, and there passed the spring of life in laying the foundation of his future career.

The obstacles which beset his early path aroused in him a dauntless energy and a rare steadiness of purpose.

In 1818, he removed from Brookhouse to Halifax, and in the summer of his years achieved a high position, as a worsted manufacturer, distinguished not less by his strict honour and integrity, than by his uniform kindness and care towards his workpeople.

In the autumn of life, his character matured itself and became ripe for the harvest.

Walking humbly before God, and given to secret meditation and prayer, yet he busied himself in works of usefulness and beneficence; more especially did he devote himself to the work of education.

Besides providing most efficiently for the daily instruction of the factory children employed by him, he personally took an active part in the Woodside Sunday School.

He died suddenly at the Northgate Hotel, on the 25th of July 1847, whilst earnestly pleading before a public assembly the cause of national education.

This monument was erected by his sons Edward and Henry, as an offering of filial reverence and affection


In 1859, Edward Akroyd sought Home Office permission to exhume his parents' remains from Salem graveyard to be reinterred in the Akroyd family vault at All Souls' Church. The interment took place on a bleak night with snow on the ground. Mrs Akroyd's coffin accidentally fell out of the back of the hearse as they drove up Haley Hill. This was only discovered when they arrived at All Souls' to find only one coffin in the back.

Many of the family were buried at All Souls' Church, Halifax

See Buildings In The Town And Parish Of Halifax, Michael Greenwood, Halifax Board of Guardians, Halifax, Bradford & Keighley Fire & Life Insurance Company, Halifax Commercial Banking Company Limited, Halifax General Cemetery Company, West Yorkshire Railway Company and David Tidswell

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 13:21 / 21st May 2021 / 9468

Page Ref: X1944

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