The Courtship
John Crossley & Martha Turner

In 1788, at the age of 13, Martha Turner, went into service, working as milk-maid, kitchen-maid, house-maid, and cook for a Miss Oldfield of Stock Lane, Warley.

In 1800, she married John Crossley.

She told of meeting her husband-to-be:

When I went to the gate one evening, there was a young man standing there, who asked me if I wanted a sweetheart. I answered

Not I, marry! I want no sweethearts

I then went into the house, and left him. I saw the same young man frequently about, but did not speak to him for years after. His name was John Crossley. When my mistress ascertained his object, she did all she could to set me against him. She told me that when she was a girl, she had gone to a boarding-school kept by a Mrs Crossley – that her husband's name was Tom Crossley, the grandfather of this very man that was courting me – and that a wilder, idler scapegrace she never knew. She always said, when she saw him coming

There's young Crossley come again

One day I received a love-letter from him, which I could now repeat word for word. I had several other suitors, but none were so persevering as John Crossley. He pressed me very much to have him. At last he sent me a letter to say that a house was vacant in Lower George Yard, close to the works he was managing, and that it was a great chance to meet with one so convenient. I told him that I was going home to spend the 5th of November, and would pass that way and look at the house, which I did. When I got home I asked my parents for their consent. They did not object much to it at the time; but I had not been at Miss Oldfield's more than a day or two, before they sent over my sister Grace to say that her father

would never allow his daughter to marry a weaver or a foreman of weavers, and that one thing was certain: if ever she married John Crossley, she should never see [her father's] face again

So soon as my sister was gone, I retired in a most distressed state of feeling to my bedroom, and opened my book that was the preparation for the sacrament, and the first place at which I opened I read these words from the 27th psalm which said

When thy father and thy mother forsake thee, then the Lord will take thee up

This comforted me very much. I felt that the Lord was with me in this matter, and I could no longer doubt which was the path of duty ...

I decided to accept John Crossley's offer, and we were married on the 28th day of January, 1800

The wedding actually took place at Halifax Parish Church on 28th January 1801

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 13:03 / 24th May 2021 / 4780

Page Ref: T15_1

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