Sir Joseph Radcliffe

Sir Joseph Radcliffe was born Joseph Pickford [8th May 1744], the son of Mary (née Radcliffe) & Joseph Pickford.

He changed his surname to Radcliffe when he inherited from his maternal uncle William

He was a local magistrate and a wealthy landowner – the family estate included land and property in and around Marsden Moor.

In 1724, his mother's brother, William Radcliffe, had bought the Manor of Marsden for £495 and this passed to Joseph on the condition that he change his name to Radcliffe.

He was the chief opponent of the local Luddites. He sent more than 100 suspected Luddites to York Castle. Of 64 people who were charged with Luddite offences, only 3 had not been rounded up by Radcliffe.

He and his property were threatened by the Luddites.

He constantly urged the government to send more troops to protect the mills and mill-owners, and repeated his demands after the attack on Vickerman's cropping shop in Huddersfield.

In 1812, he was involved in the trial of George Mellor, William Thorpe and Thomas Smith for the murder of William Horsfall.

He undertook a shameless campaign in pursuit of a baronetcy, and constantly bombarded the Home Secretary with tales of his exploits and good deeds. On 2nd November 1813, he was created first Baronet Radcliffe of Milnsbridge House for his public services and work against the Luddites.

On 3rd March 1763, he married (1) Katherine Perceval [17??-1765].

Katherine was the only daughter and heiress of Thomas Perceval of Royton Hall, Lancashire. She died 15th March 1765

On 16th November 1765, he married (2) Elizabeth Sunderland [17??-1796].

Elizabeth was the only daughter and heiress of Richard Sunderland of Croydon, Surrey.

She died 26th March 1796


A son by each marriage both pre-deceased Joseph.

On 8th April 1807, he married (3) Elizabeth Creswick [17??-1855].

Elizabeth was the daughter of Richard Creswick of Sheffield. She died 22nd November 1855


  1. Frances
  2. Eliza Matilda Mary who married Sir George  Armytage
  3. Harriet who married William Alexander
  4. Hannah who married William Wilcock

Because of the constant anxiety presented by his judicial duties, he developed a nervous tremor and this made his handwriting spidery and almost illegible. His letters were written by Jonas Allison, his clerk.

He lived at Milnsbridge House, near Huddersfield.

Following the Luddite disturbances, he left the district and moved to Rudding Park, Harrogate.

He died of natural causes [19th February 1819].

After his death, Milnsbridge House was sold to the Armitage family

See Milnsbridge

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 18:29 / 16th October 2023 / 6185

Page Ref: X1

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