The Family of William Crossley (1844 – 1926) of Leeds and Tadcaster

Crossley William and Louisa Group.jpg

Family Chart


This picture was taken around 1920.  Seated in the centre is William Crossley and next to him with the older child is his second wife Louisa.  Elsie May Ellerbeck (granddaughter) is seated in front of William.  Around William are probably some of his sons and daughters.  If you recognise any of them please email me at adamantane1 ‘at’

William Crossley was born on 18 May 1844 at 10, Green Street, Leeds (North). His parents were James Crossley, a cloth dresser, and Jane, formerly Walker. Jane was the informant and illiterate.

In the census of 1851, at Pear Street, Leeds, William was living with his parents, aged 6, born in Leeds.


In the census of 1861, at 2 Pease Street, William was at home with his parents, aged 16 a setter press printer and born in Leeds.

William married Sarah Ann Kerton at the Register Office, Leeds, on 5 November 1864. He was a bachelor, aged 20, a clicker for shoe makers, of Alfred Cross Street, Leeds, the son of James Crossley, an inn keeper. Sarah Ann was a spinster aged 19, of 61 Sheepscar Street, Leeds, the daughter of George Kerton, a working chemist. The witnesses were Thomas Kerton (her brother) and Elizabeth Bate (X) (who was to marry Thomas).

In the census of 1871 at 6 Buckley Place, St Marys, Leeds (northeast), William was aged 26, a manager of a shoe manufactory.  His wife, Sarah A., was aged 24 and his children were George W., aged 5, and Rosamond, aged 2 months.  All were born in Leeds.

In 1876 the family was living at 9 Lorraine Terrace, Leeds (West).

In the 1881 census of 42 Leopold Street, Potter Newton (Leeds), William Crossley (in the IGI transcription as Cropley, because of the long and short s) was aged 36, a boot manufacturer employing 16 men, 5 women, 4 boys and 4 girls and born in Leeds. His wife was Sarah A. Crossley, aged 34 and born in Leeds. Their children, all born in Leeds were George W. aged 15 a boot top cutter, James A. aged 14 a boot top cutter, Thomas aged 8, Elizabeth aged 6, Annie aged 5, Arthur aged 3, Walter aged 2 and May aged 10 months. There was also a domestic servant, Eliza Stringer, aged 18, born at Hunslet .

On 3 January 1882 his address was given as 42, Hamilton Terrace, Leopold Street, New Leeds, Leeds, and he was a boot and shoe maker.

In the 1891 census of Crossley's Nursery, Potternewton, Leeds, William was aged 46, a boot manufacturer. His wife, Sarah Ann was aged 44 and their children were Thomas, aged 18, an assistant seedsman, Elizabeth, aged 16, a dressmaker's apprentice, Annie aged 15, Arthur aged 13, Walter aged 12, May aged 10, Amy aged 8, Ethel aged 6, Francis Henry aged 5 and Ernest aged 3. Francis and Ernest were 'infirm, hip disease'. There was also a cousin, Sarah Ann Race, single, aged 60, a domestic servant. All were born in Leeds.  Sarah Ann Race was a daughter of Sarah Ann Crossley’s uncle, John Kerton.

On 2 May 1895 William’s creditors petitioned the Leeds Bankruptcy Court and on 14 May a receiving order was issued against William Crossley, trading as William Crossley and Son, currier and boot and shoe manufacturer of 22-26 Lady Bridge Mills Yard and 23 Lady Lane and residing at Windmill Nurseries, Potternewton.


William applied to the Leeds Bankruptcy Court for discharge from bankruptcy 6 August 1896.  However the discharge was suspended for three years because he had not kept proper records and had continued to trade after he knew that he was insolvent.  William was described as a currier and boot and shoe manufacturer of Lady Bridge Yard, and nurseryman, at Potternewton. Leeds, trading as “William Crossley and Son".  The liabilities were only small, being £100 7s. 3d. and there were no assets.  He put his failure down to bad trade, bad debts, and heavy rents and working expenses.  From the outset he had shown considerable enterprise but more recently misfortune seemed to have dogged his steps.  He started as a boot and shoe manufacturer in 1874, with £100 capital, after having previously been a manager and traveller in the same trade.  For a time he was successful.  In 1882 his wife bought some land at Potternewton with money left to her by her father, George Kerton.  She built a house on part of it, and let the remainder to her husband who started a plant nursery, employing gardeners to manage the place for him.  In 1884 he purchased a small tannery.  This, according to his statement, was the beginning of his problems, and from this time onwards he lost money.  In the following year he bought a seedsman and florist’s business in North-street.  In 1889 he agreed to pay his creditors 12s. in the pound and his liabilities were about £2,000.  Five years afterwards he was again in financial trouble.  His liabilities amounted to £4,000, and he made a deed of assignment.  The assets of the various businesses were sold by the trustee to his son for a sum sufficient to pay the creditors 7s. 6d. in the pound, and William acted as the son’s manager in the boot and shoe business.

In the 1901 census of 2 Hillside (Bootshop), East Tadcaster, William Crossley was aged 56, a boot maker (own account, at home), born in Leeds, with his wife, Sarah, aged 54, a boot and clothes shop keeper (employer), born in Leeds. Their children were May aged 20, a boot and clothes shop assistant (worker), Ethel aged 16, Francis aged 15, a boot and clothes shop assistant (worker) and Ernest aged 13, all born at Leeds. Also with them was Elsie Ellerbeck, aged 2 and born at Tadcaster, William and Sarah's granddaughter.  Elsie was Frederick Ellerbeck's daughter - Annie, her mother had died, and Elsie was brought up by her grandparents.

Sarah Ann Cossley died on 13 February 1911 at Commercial Street, East Tadcaster, of heart disease and syncope, aged 64. She was the wife of William Crossley, a boot and shoe dealer. The informant was her husband, William, of Commercial Street, East Tadcaster.  Administration of her estate was granted 24 April 1911 at Wakefield to William Crossley, her husband, boot and shoe maker.  Her effects were £485.10s.2d, and she was of Hillside, Commercial Street, Tadcaster.

In the census of 1911, at Hill Side, Commercial Street, Tadcaster, living in 5 rooms, William was aged 66, a widower.  He was a boot and shoe dealer and outfitter, who was born in Leeds.  He had been married for 45 years and had had 14 children of whom 5 had died.  With him were two unmarried daughters, born in Leeds; Amy aged 28 who was assisting in the business and Ethel, aged 26, who was his housekeeper.  There was also William’s granddaughter, Elsie May Ellerbeck, aged 12 and born at Tadcaster.

William married secondly Louisa Robinson, 1 June 1912, in Tadcaster Primitive Methodist Chapel.  William was aged 67, a widower and a clothier and outfitter, of Commercial Street, Hillside, East Tadcaster, a son of James Crossley (deceased) of independent means.  Louisa was aged 51, a widow of The Banks, Tadcaster, a daughter of Henry Larder (deceased), a labourer.  The witnesses were J. Kershaw and C.A. Marshall.

William died on 11 August 1926 at Commercial Street, East Tadcaster.  He was aged 82, a draper and general outfitter and died of congestion of the prostate and senile decay.  The informant was his son F.H. Crossley, of St Joseph's Street, West Tadcaster.  Probate of his will was granted at York 6 October 1926 to Frank Froggart brewer’s rent clerk and his effects were £629. 4s. 10d.

Louisa Crossley died 29 October 1937 (registered in the Tadcaster district and the December quarter 1937, aged 76).  Probate was granted 23 November 1937 at London to William Maylott Eccles, solicitors clerk.  Her effects were £225.17s.3d and she was of Wharfe Cottage, Wharfe Banks, Tadcaster.

William and Sarah Ann's children were

  1. George William, born in 1865 in Leeds
  2. James Albert, born in 1866 in Leeds.  He appears to have married Mary Harrison in 1888, in Leeds.
  3. ?Samuel (1869 – 1870), birth registered in the June quarter 1869 and death registered in the December quarter 1870 aged 1 both in the Leeds West sub-district.
  4. Rosamond (1871 – 1879), born about January 1871 in Leeds.  There is a death registered for Rosamund Crossley in the Leeds district in the June quarter 1879.  She was aged 8.
  5. Thomas, born in 1872 in Leeds.
  6. Elizabeth, born in early 1875 in Leeds.
  7. Annie, born 26 March 1876, at 9 Lorraine Terrace, Leeds (West).  She married Frederick Ellerbeck in the parish church, Tadcaster 30 May 1898.
  8. Arthur, born in 1877 in Leeds
  9. Walter, born in early 1879 in Leeds
  10. May, born about May 1880 in Leeds
  11. Amy, born 12 July 1882 in Leeds
  12. Ethel, born about 1884 in Leeds
  13. Francis Henry, born early 1886 in Leeds
  14. Ernest, born in 1887 in Leeds

Home Page

Revised February 2017