Joseph Horsfall

Rev Joseph Horsfall was born in Heptonstall.

He carried on the family tradition and became a handloom weaver. When he realised that power looms were going to destroy his livelihood, he gave this up.

Because he had little money, he decided to train for the Baptist Ministry at Heptonstall Slack Church.

He was taught by the Rev William Butler and by coincidence, the two families were joined by marriage two generations later.

Joseph then became the Minister at Shore Chapel, Todmorden [1852]. He remained until 1861 when he started up on his own in the textile industry with power looms, financed by an unknown benefactor, thought to be a Mr Roberts. Joseph then moved to Halifax, renting several properties in succession.

Clarence Mill was bought in 1894.

Ironically, up to this time, the firm had only concerned itself with weaving and Clarence Mill had been designed and built for manufacturing, yet shortly after Joseph moved in, production was changed to worsted spinning, due, it is thought, to increased weaving competition from Western Europe.

There have been five generations of the family involved in Joseph Horsfall & Sons Limited to the present day.

On 26th September 1839, he married (1) Betty Judson [1823-1865] at Heptonstall Church.


  1. Hannah [b 1840]
  2. Grace [1844-1909]
  3. Sarah Ann [1848-1908] who married [1874] James  Eastwood [1852-1923]
  4. James
  5. Thomas 1854-1931]
  6. Mary Elizabeth [1858-1941]
  7. Fred [1859-1934]
  8. William / Willie

Betty died in Cornholme [22nd May 1865].

In 1871, Sarah Ann, Thomas, Mary Elizabeth and William were living in Cornholme.

By 1871, he had married (2) Elizabeth [1823-1896]. In 1881, his three youngest children Mary Elizabeth, Fred and William were living at 26 Cromwell Street, Halifax.

Joseph died in Southport [23rd June 1889] (aged 71).

He & Betty were buried at Vale Baptist Church, Todmorden

Elizabeth died in Southport in 1896.

Elizabeth's burial place is not yet known

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 15:24 / 24th May 2021 / 4326

Page Ref: ZZ_28

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