Friends of Middleton Park


Ralph Henry Brandling
1771-1853 ...


    Brief Life History...

    The Death of John Blenkinsop

    Coal Mining

    Marshall Nicholson

    St Mary's Church and School

    Other Events


To view a PDF of the Brandling Family Tree Please Click here.


Brief Life History

Ralph Henry Brandling was born on the 20th November 1771 and christened on the 12th December 1771, the 10th child and 3rd son of Charles Brandling.

Ralph was educated at St John's College, Cambridge and he was ordained Deacon at the Palace at Bishopthorpe by William Lord, Archbishop of York, on the 12th July 1795. The same day he was licensed to the Curacy of Rothwell on the nomination of James Ord, the vicar of Rothwell.

James Ord was not only the vicar of Rothwell but also the curate of Benton, part of the Brandling estates in Northumberland. He was provisionally appointed in 1786 to the church at Rothwell and was the nominal vicar while Ralph Henry came of age. His name does not appear on any Rothwell church documents indicating that he must have delegated his authority to his curates. On the 2nd February 1796 Ord resigned as the vicar of Rothwell.

Sixteen days later (18th February 1796) Ralph Henry was ordained a priest and three days later was admitted and instituted to the vicarage at Rothwell on the presentation of his father, Charles Brandling. Ralph played little part in church affairs or anything relating to his parish, leaving the work to his curates. His name is mentioned only occasionally in the parish records:

1800: Marriage May 15 John Fisher and Martha Jackson married by R.H. Brandling, vicar.

1800: Marriage December 4 Joseph Humble and Katherine Johnson married by R.H. Brandling, vicar.

On Tuesday Nov 11th 1800 four Yew Trees were planted in this Church Yard by the Vicar, R.H. Brandling, viz at the North Gateway Two. South East Gate the easternmost tree. South West do the southernmost. Thomas Flockton & John Thwaite dug the holes. [1]

On the 12th April 1796, Ralph married Emma, the fourth daughter of Oldfield Bowls of North Aston, Oxford. By Emma, Ralph had four children:

  • Charles John Brandling, later Lieutenant Colonel, of Middleton Hall, was born on the 14th November 1797, at Thorpe, and was baptised 26th December 1797: Charles John son of the Revd Ralph Henry Brandling by Emma his wife born the 14 of November last, Thorpe, Vicar of this Parish. [2]
  • Elizabeth Brandling was born on the 27th September 1799 and baptised on the 30th October 1799. She married Colonel Thomas Henry Browne of Flint: MARRIAGE: Yesterday at Gosforth church near this town, Sir Henry Browne, K.C.B., to Miss Brandling, eldest daughter of the Rev. Ralph Henry Brandling, of Gosforth House. [3]
  • Emma Brandling was born on the 3rd May 1801 and baptised on the 18th June 1801.
  • Mary Brandling was born on the 19th June 1802 and baptised on the 30th July 1802. She married Captain Charles Bell of the Royal Navy.

In 1805, Ralph officiated at his wife's sister's wedding:

On Thursday last was married, at North Aston, in this county, by the Reverend Ralph Brandling, William Holbech, the younger, Esq. of Farnborough, Major in the Warwickshire Regiment of Militia, to Miss Lucy Bowles, daughter of Oldfield Bowles, Esq. of North Aston. [4]

With the death of his brother, Charles John, on the 1st February 1826, Ralph inherited the Brandling estates (including Middleton). On the 30th October 1829 Ralph resigned the vicarage of Rothwell.


The Death of John Blenkinsop

On the 22nd January 1831, John Blenkinsop died at the age of 48. He was buried at the Parish Church at Rothwell. His epitaph reads that he was:

upwards of twenty three years steward to the Middleton Estates. His death was regretted by all those who knew him.

Blenkinsop wrote what was his final report on the state of the Gosforth Pit. Since Blenkinsop had died a few days before it can only be assumed that it had been prepared in his dying days:

Middleton Colliery
3rd February 1831

Measurement of Coal in Gosforth Pit, Main Coal Seam, with a view to ascertain the probable duration of that Coal.

There remains of whole coal consisting chiefly of Barriers, which separate the several districts and lying nearby all about the Shafts and to the North and West of them as much as 12 acres, which at 2079 Waggons an Acre, the quantity allowed in the estimate, made in Sept 1829 should afford of merchantable Coals           Waggons
And of Pillars and Posts, 11 acres which should yield 1426 Waggons an Acre, or in all: -       15,686
Yearly vend about 35,000 Waggons of which:- 24,000 Waggons consist of Main Coal, so that 40,634 Waggons as above should serve better that 1½ years, even supposing that the whole supply of Main Coal can be obtained from this Pit.  

Besides the above, there was a Barrier of Coal lying against the rise workings belonging to the Dolphin Pit, respecting the extent of which, some uncertainty exists. The length from East to West is 30 chains [660 yards] , and its breadth varies from 66 to 99 yards. It contains altogether 10½ acres. If the face of the Dolphin Pit workings could be exactly ascertained, and were found not to exceed the limits now affirmed to it, probably mostelly of this Coal might be wrought also.

For Produce of Pillars

Lot of first working   1 end 14 yards x 2 =   28
1 end 8 yards x 2 =   16
  44   =   11   =   1
___       __       __
Whole     14 x 10 140       35         3
Whole contents -     2079
13 taken off at first working -       653
Left 1426

J Blenkinsop



Blenkinsop's Grave in Rothwell Churchyard ...


Text from grave of Belnkinsop at Rothwell Grave of Blenkinsop at Rothwell

to the memory of
Mr. John Blenkinsop,
upwards of twenty three years
Steward to the Middleton Estate
who departed this life, January
22nd 1831, aged 47 years.
Sincerely regretted by all who knew him.

Centenary plaque for Blenkinsop at Rothwell

The centenary observed - 25th Jan. 1931. John Blenkinsop invented the rack railway in 1811 and on a line he built between Leeds and Middleton, 4 Matthew Murray locomotives ran from 1812 to 1835. His system was adopted at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1813 and Wigan in 1814. These railways were the first on which steam locomotion was a commercial success. [6]



Coal Mining

After the Gosforth pit disaster John Blenkinsop suffered poor health, and there was little hope of a full recovery. During this time George Hill seems to have taken over temporary supervision of the colliery, and in 1829 he produced a report on the state of Middleton Colliery:

Middleton Colliery
Tuesday 15 September 1829

Two Pits situated North and South from each other, and distance 25 yards. The South Pit being to the dip is intended for the Engine Pit, this pit has only been sunk to the depth of the Little Coal but the other Pit is 133 yards down and here the water had become troublesome and the sinking was stopped on Wednesday last owing to a broken windmore.

The depth sunk is divided as follows:

From surface to delivery drift     -80yds    
From delivery drift to Little Coal -34
Further to bottom -19

The water is drawn by a winding Engine which has a 30 Inch Cylinder open top and air Pump and condenser and works Six Inch Setts of Pumps; the upper set extends from the Little Coal and the Delivery Drift 34 yards; the lower one the bottom to the Little Coal 19 yards; the whole lift at present is therefore 53 yards or 159 feet. Weight of common 6x6=36x.34=12.2x159=1936lbs. Area of Cylinder 30x30=900x.7354=706 square Inches. The shears are balanced and the Engine lifts on one side only so that the load a square Inch will be 1936÷706=2 ¾lbs. Feeder keeps the Engine going 16 Strokes a minute, and the stroke in the Pit is 3 feet long; therefore 6x6=36÷10=36/10 Gallons discharged a stroke or 571/2 gallons on the amount of the feeder a minute; water proceeds from a threat in the Stone which bears East and West runs obliquely downwards and will probably quit the Pit before the Main Coal is reached which is supposed to be 11 yards or so below the bottom.

Both Pits 9 feet in diameter. The water appears to have taken off from 80 Gallons a minute to its present quantity and it seems advisable to suspend the sinking for a few weeks as there is no hurry in getting the Pits down, in the hope that it may take off with more; or should it not take off the stroke in the Pit may be lengthened. The stroke in the Cylinder is 5 feet and the beam being equally divided the Crank for the Rope Roll is 30 Inches. The above paragraph formed part of the report to Mr Brandling.

Geo. Hill. [5]

After Blenkinsop's death, Thomas William Embleton became the manager at the Middleton pits. Thomas was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne on the 4th October, 1809, and was educated at Witton-le-Wear Grammar School and later the University of Edinburgh. He was an apprentice to his uncle, Mr. George Hill of Kenton, a leading mining engineer in the North of England and having shown great ability he was appointed, at the age of 21, to the position of manager at Middleton, a position he occupied till 1865.

In 1835 Embleton gave evidence to the House of Commons:

Mr. Thomas William Embleton, called in; and Examined.

I believe you are a mineral surveyor and coal-viewer? - Yes. [Mr.T.W.Embleton.]
At present residing in the neighbourhood of Leeds? - At Middleton.
Have you the inspection of the mines belonging to the Rev. Ralph Henrv Brandling? - Yes.
What is the depth of your present shaft? - We have three seams at work at present. One lies at the depth of about 40 to 70 yards from the surface; another 38 yards lower, and the deepest at work from 28 to 32 yards deeper.
Making in the whole? - The depth of the under seam would be from 110 to 140 yards.
Do those seams vary materially in the thickness of the bed? - No, very little.
What is the middle thickness of the seam? - The upper seam is about two feet eight; the middle seam from two feet ten to three feet four; and the lower one from four feet six to five feet.
Have you good roofs and thills for those seams? - The thill of the lower seam is very soft, the thills of the upper and middle seams are pretty hard. The roof of all in general is tolerably good.
You are aware that the objects of the inquiry before this Committee are to ascertain the extent and cause of those fatal explosions which have taken place in the mines of Great Britain; are you annoyed in your mining operations by the formation or exuding of carburetted hydrogen in your collieries? - Only in the low seam.
Is it to such an extent as to endanger the safety of the men employed? - Not generally.
Have any fatal accidents occurred while you have had the inspection of those works? - No, none.
Have you had any fires? - There have been slight explosions. A man has occasionally got himself burnt, perhaps two or three in the course of four years.
You state that in those mines only two or three men have sustained any material injury in the space of four years? - Yes.
Are you acquainted with the mines of Rothwell Haigh? - Generally, I am.
Would the description you have given of the safety with which the mines at Middleton might be wrought be a fair specimen of the other mines? - Yes.
Are you acquainted with any of the mines in the neighbourhood of Bradford or Halifax? - No.
Are you aware, from authentic information, whether there is more gas in those mines than in yours, or less? - I believe there is less.
Are you in the habit of making large or small winnings in your field? - Formerly they were in the habit of making small winnings, but now we are making larger winnings.
By your last sinking what quantity of coal in acres did you propose to win? - From 70 to 80 acres.
Do you consider that an extensive winning, as compared with those with which you are acquainted in the north of England, further north? - No, I should consider it a small winning as compared with them.
Then, in point of fact, the extent of the working taken into account and the small quantity of gas which you have to encounter, you find no difficulty in keeping up a good ventilation in the mines in that part of Yorkshire in which you now reside? - No, when proper care is taken there is no difficulty at all in keeping up a good ventilation.
Are you acquainted with the mines in the neighbourhood of Sheffield? - No, I am not.
Are you aware that in a Return made to the Honourable House of Commons by the coroner for the West Riding of Yorkshire, several hundreds of cases of deaths in mines, without specifying the immediate cause, within a limited number of years, is in existence? - No, I am not aware of it.
You have no reason to suppose that there are any what would be considered on the banks of the Tyne and Wear very foul mines in the West Riding of Yorkshire? - No, I should consider not.
Is the system of ventilation adopted by yourself or your neighbours in Yorkshire materially different from that in use, under similar circumstances, in Durham and Northumberland? - It is a modification of that system, but much simpler.
Do you think it an improvement upon the system pursued in your country? - The system pursued at Newcastle could not be adopted in Yorkshire, from the method in which the coals are worked.
Is it the nature of the seam that imposes the necessity of altering the mode of working, or is it merely the force of habit and custom? - Chiefly the force of habit.
Do you think the system of getting coal in the neighbourhood of Middleton is superior or inferior to that pursued in Durham and Northumberland? - It is much the same in that respect.
What mines are you acquainted with in Durham and Northumberland? - I am acquainted particularly with Coxlodge and Gosforth collieries, in Northumberland and South Shields, and Heworth collieries, in Durham.
Had the Gosforth winning to the dip of the main dyke been accomplished when you left that part? - Yes it had.
Could you give the Committee any idea of the relative quantities of gas found on the high-side of the dyke and on the dip-side of the bank? - No, I have no means of ascertaining that; the coal on the south side had been worked and abandoned some years previous to the present winning being commenced.
Do you know whether it is anticipated that that dyke would afford the means of conveying off a large portion of the gas to the dip of it? - I suppose it would not have that effect.
You never heard any theory started upon that subject? - No, none at all.
Did you consider Gosforth mine a foul mine when you were in it? - No, I did not consider it a foul mine at that time; it was merely commencing then.
Have there been any accidents in this mine? - At two several times some men were burnt.
Were they severely burnt? - Slightly burnt.
As you have mentioned several foul mines as coming under your notice, had you ever any opportunity of judging of the comparative value of Sir Humphrey Davy's lamp? - I consider it quite safe when it is properly used.
What do you understand by the term "properly used"? - If the lamp be lighted and introduced immediately into an atmosphere of inflammable air, it will explode; but if it be left burning some time before it is introduced, it will not explode.
Do you account for that accident from the agitation of the lamp, or from anything connected with the temperature of the gauze? - It was merely an experiment that I tried; it did not occur in a pit.
How do you account for such a phenomenon? - I suppose that the inflammable atmosphere is attenuated or increased by the heat, and the explosive particles being further removed from each other, are consequently less liable to be ignited; besides, I should imagine that the generation of carbonic acid by the burning of the lamp itself, would impede the transmission of oxygen through the gauze, and also render the chance of an explosion almost impossible.
Would you suppose that it was occasioned by the lamp previously filled with pure atmospheric air becoming suddenly incorporated with such a proportion of hydrogen as to render it peculiarly explosive, and the explosion forcing the flame so ignited,just procured, through the meshes? I am not aware that it would. I should attribute the phenomenon to the deficiency of carbonic acid, and the coldness of the mixed gases in the interior of the gauze cylinder of the lamp.
Could such a circumstance have taken place practically in the working of a pit? - The lamps are generally lighted some time previous to their being introduced into the works. The men get the lamps at the shaft, and have to travel some distance to their work before they are exposed to any dangerous atmosphere.
Then instead of an immediate explosion, the air is gradually adulterated, and no violent sudden explosion takes place? - No, not after the lamps have burnt some time.
Were you ever present when one of Sir Humphrey Davy's lamps 22 July 1835, exploded? - No.
Do you know of any case? - I have heard that 10 or 12 years ago two men at Middleton colliery lost their lives by entering with Davy-lamps into a very strong current of air, highly impregnated with carburetted hydrogen.
Do you apprehend that I could walk safely with one of Sir Humphrey Davy's lamps hanging on my finger, at my ordinary pace, through an inflammable atmosphere? - Yes.
Have you ever tried it? - Yes, I have.
Had you any good grounds to believe that the atmosphere was at that moment, through which you were passing, in a highly explosive state? - Yes, it was burning in the lamp at the time.
And the flame never passed the gauze? - No.
Have you never noticed the wastemen in the north protecting their lamps in travelling, by covering them with their jackets, or carrying them against their breasts? - Sometimes; it is occasionally done as an extra precaution.
Are the wastemen generally supplied with shields for their lamps? - No, not to my knowledge; they are common lamps, such as that on the table.
Have they any shield similar to the one at the back of that lamp? - No, none that I am aware of; merely the gauze.
Have you seen the wastemen often engaged in traversing the wastes? - Yes, frequently.
When those wastes were very foul? - No, not when they were foul; it is considered not proper to go into them when they are very foul.
But supposing a mine is reported foul, is not the first consideration how the air-course is ? - Yes.
Is not that air-course as liable to be stopped by the fall of the superincumbent stratification, as by accident? - Yes, when the roof is unsound, it is liable to be stopped.
Does it not become necessary immediately to clear away that obstruction? - Yes; and introduce fresh air at the same time.
But until the cause of obstruction is ascertained, how will you introduce the air? - The communications are generally short in the pits, so that we can introduce a quantity of fresh air as we proceed, by opening the stoppings.
But there is frequently no communication between the foul-air drift and the free-air course, for a great extent? - It may so happen, sometimes.
What would you consider the ordinary distance that these communications are apart? - The communications with us are generally made from 12 to 15 yards.
Then are there double doors placed at every one of those communications? - No, always a brick stopping, except in the main roads where men pass along; and the doors are used where necessary for ventilation.
Would it not be attended with danger to remove one of those stoppings at the time you knew the air-course was impeded, by admitting the gas into the free-air course where the men were at work? - It would if the gas were admitted in a very considerable quantity, so as to render the mixture of the foul air and fresh inflammable.
Can you ascertain, before you remove the stopping, what the pressure of the gas behind it is? - No.
Will it not exude the moment an orifice is made? - It will, provided there is sufficient pressure.
Do you think a lamp held before a boiler of gas, might be made to explode that gas? - I am not aware of that; I have seen a lamp exposed to a very strong stream of coal-gas experimentally, and it did not explode.
Have you seen the experiment repeated? - Yes.
And it never exploded? - It never exploded.
Then from your own experience, any experiments attended with different results which might be reported to this Committee, would in your opinion be doubtful? - Such cases might occur; I am not aware that they have.
You admit that they may occur? - Yes, they may occur.
Has anything occurred to you in the course of your professional career as a great improvement on the mode of ventilating mines over any you have ever seen adopted? – No.
Can you give the Committee any idea how they might procure any statistical accounts of the accidents which have occurred in the Yorkshire mines? - I think I could procure them partially from 1825 to the present time. When I was with Mr. Hill of Newcastle, I made out an account every year of the accidents that occurred in Northumberland, Durham, and in all the other collieries in Great Britain, as far as they could be ascertained from the newspapers. Mr. Hill has them now.
Do you think that that list will be found to contain an account of all the accidents, as reported in the newspapers, in Yorkshire, Staffordshire, North and South Wales, and other mining districts, as well as Durham and Northumberland? - I believe so.
[The Witness was requested to furnish a copy of that document.]
Does anything occur to you to suggest to this Committee by which the welfare or the personal safety of the mining population of this country, either those immediately under your own inspection, or with whom you have been at any time acquainted, can be served or improved? - No. If any improvement had occurred I should have adopted it immediately.
On reflecting upon what you have known of the care taken in the north of England, are you of opinion that as much attention is paid to the ventilation of the mines as is within the reach of science and mechanical skill? - Yes, quite so. [7]

In the summer of 1835, we have this description of Leeds by Sir George Head:


There is no manufacturing town in England, I should imagine, wherein more coal is consumed, in proportion to its extent, than Leeds: situated in the heart of a coal-field, and fed by an abundant daily supply, a single glance, whether by night or by day, is sufficient to verify the above conclusion. The sun himself is obscured by smoke, as by a natural mist; and no sooner does he descend below the horizon, than streams of brilliant gas burst forth from thousands of illuminated windows.

The Old Coal-Staiths form one principal point of delivery of the coal brought from the pits, four miles westward, to the town. The entrance to the first of these pits at Middleton is by a level on the side of the hill, wherein it is only necessary to enter a few yards in order to see a perfect vein of coal.

The staiths consist of a platform raised upon a row of brick arches, each having an aperture in the summit, so that the cart being brought underneath, in order to receive its load, the coal is at once shot into it from the waggon above. As, from the lower level, all the arches are accessible at the same time, several waggons may be unladen together, any part of a waggon-load may also be delivered by means of a regulating bar, by which the bottom of the waggon is closed or opened at will.

The rail-road and locomotive steam-engines are curious and worthy of observation, being of the earliest manufacture in the country; the latter especially as different in appearance from the engines in present use, as a state-coach in the days of Queen Anne from Mr. Leader s modern vehicles. A wheel on one side of the engine works upon a line of cogs, with which the rails on the same side are furnished, so that, though her motion is slow, her purchase is that of the rack and pinion. This crazy, rickety, old engine continues to trundle along day after day at the rate of about five miles an hour, and affords an extraordinary instance, by comparison, of the improvements in machinery that have taken place within the last fifteen or sixteen years.

Considerable cargoes of coal are brought from the eastern vicinity of the town by the river Aire; of these there are two points of delivery, "The Crown Point," and "Waterloo Staiths," both adjoining the river. [7a]

In 1842, Emberton referred to the employment of children at the Middleton Colliery:

Mr. Thomas William Embleton, agent and manager of the Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, says, that "children generally enter the mines at about nine years of age. I found the youngest in our employment did not begin work till he was eight and a half years old. As a general rule, we never take them till they are about nine years old, unless it be the child of a widow, or something of that sort. The youngest now in our employment is eight years and ten months old". Charles Wailes, bottomsteward, Middleton Colliery, says, that "they very seldom take children into the pits till they are about nine years old; not unless we are solicited by widows, or something of that sort"

And to children working at night:

Although, in the great majority of the coal mines in the Bradford and Leeds coal field, there is no night-work, excepting when some special circumstances render it absolutely indispensable, yet there are collieries in which it is systematically practised. Mr. Thomas William Embleton, manager of the Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, states that they very frequently work during the night, and that this is occasionally the case with other coal-masters in the district. In answer to the question, What are the circumstances under which you do it? this witness replies:

"One circumstance is this - that in the winter, when the demand for coal is considerable, we cannot work the quantity required during the day-time, owing to the particular state of the works at the time. The number of places at which men can work is so small that it is impossible to get the required quantity of coals within eight hours. We have frequently two and sometimes three sets of men. Another case in which we are obliged to work in the night is in removing the pillars of coal left to support the roof, as if there were an interruption of work for twelve hours the roof would come down, and this coal be buried. Another case is, where there is a constant influx of water, which, if not removed as it comes in during the night as well as the day, would prevent the mine being worked at all. We are also enabled by nightwork to prepare coal in the summer for working in winter, and thus give the men and children more regular employment, for in preparing that coal the men earn the same wages as in winter, but raise less coal. But we had always rather confine ourselves to day-work, if we can" [8]


In 1834 Edward Parsons described the coal pits at Middleton:

These pits are three in number. 1. Day Hole a pit, the entrance to which is on the side of a hill, and a subterraneous passage, of a very considerable length is traversed, prior to arriving at the pit itself. There are here three qualities of coal - the first quality is that which is called Deep Coal, which is principally got at this pit, and which is below the surface of the earth, at the depth of one hundred and sixty, or one hundred and seventy yards. The second quality is called Little Coal, which is got about forty yards below the top; these coals are not so bright as the deep coal, but they burn longer, and consequently are much used for engines, dye-houses, etc. The third quality is what is called Sleek, being very small and used principally for furnaces, foundries and the stoves of black and white smiths, etc.
2 and 3. The other two pits are called Venture and West Pits. The coals from these pits are considered durable, but leave a white sediment or ash in burning. [9]

Civil unrest in August 1842 caused work at the Middleton Colleries to stop but were soon reported to have returned to work:

LEEDS. THURSDAY. Since Thursday last, no disturbances have taken place here, nor are there now any symptoms of further outbreak. We are glad to report, that the latest accounts from Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford, and all parts of the West-riding, represent that peace has been restored, and that the mills have nearly all resumed work, with every prospect of their peaceful continuance. In Leeds only a few mills were stopped, and those have all resumed; as also have the collieries at Middleton, Hunslet, and Churwell. In the event of any further outbreak, the authorities are at once prepared to act in the most efficient manner. [10]

At the beginning of September 1842 a number of individuals were prosecuted for bringing Ralph's pits to a standstill in the previous month:

CROWN COURT FRIDAY: Before Mr. Justice Maule

Thomas Lister, 26, John Foster,21, Wm. Halliday, 21, Thomas Jackson, 28, Joseph Mitten, 28, William Benson,30, and William Baxter, 21, were charged with having, on the 18th of August last, at Rothwell, together with divers evil-disposed persons, unlawfully and riotously assembled and gathered together to disturb the peace, and did then and there unlawfully compel the Rev. Ralph Henry Brandling, and Messrs. Bower, Middleton and Wilson, coal-owners, to dismiss and discharge their workmen. [11]

But only Lister was found guilty:

Thomas Lister (26), John Foster (21), Wm. Holliday (21), Thomas Jackson (28), Joseph Mitton (28), Wm. Benson and Thomas Baker (21), were charged with having, on the 18th of August, at Rothwell, near Leeds, unlawfully assembled together and committed a riot, and with endeavouring to prevent the workmen at the collieries of the Rev. Ralph Henry Brandling, from following their employment. The Hon. J. S. Wortley and Mr. Pickering were for the prosecution; Mr. Knowles defended Lister and Foster. This case was very similar to those which had previously been investigated, with this difference, that here the works which were stopped were not mills or factories, but collieries. It appeared that on the day in question, the 11th August, a mob, consisting of several hundreds of persons, went to the Middleton Collieries, belonging to the Rev. Ralph Brandling, and insisted upon the works being stopped, and the hands turned out of the pits. Expressions were at the same time used, which showed that they were doing the same in other places. They said "We have come to stop the works, and we are going to do the same everywhere." Some resistance was at first made by the men employed at the pit, and one of them was knocked down by the mob. It appeared that a little delay occurred in getting the hands up from the pit, and the mob then said they would only allow ten minutes. If at the end of that time the hands were not got up, they would knock the plug out of the boiler. While this was taking place, the military, which had been sent for, arrived, and the mob was dispersed in all directions. As they were running away, Lister upbraided his companions with being guilty of cowardice in not standing and resisting the military; and the whole of the other defendants were more or less active. Mr. Newton, after addressing the jury, called two witnesses, who gave Foster an excellent character. The jury found Lister Guilty; and all the others Not Guilty. They were immediately discharged by proclamation. [12]

In 1845, Ralph was presented with a silver cup by his employees:

Rev. R. H. Brandling, from his workmen, at Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, with a silver cup, as a mark of gratitude for his kindness to them for many years. [13]

In the same year Middleton Colliery was singled out in a report of the House of Lords:

The Middleton Colliery (belonging to R. Brandling, Esq.) has been often noticed as conspicuous for good management, and for the steadiness and good conduct of the men employed there. A full account of these works was given by Mr. Symons in 1841. Care is taken in the selection of colliers; and being therefore, probably, as a body, above the average in point of intelligence, they do not neglect the education of their children. The proprietor uses his endeavours to prevent any from growing up in ignorance, by paying the school fees for orphans or those whose parents require such assistance. Considering the very small amount required for this purpose, even in reference to the number of families employed about the largest works, and considering also (to place the matter on the very lowest ground) the almost inevitable annoyances and pecuniary losses arising to the employer from the perverseness of an ignorant or the self-indulgence of a merely sensual set of workmen, it appears sufficiently unaccountable that any, instead of so many, employers, should omit to take direct and active means, such as are in operation at these works, to surround themselves with men whose intelligence has been awakened, and on whose sense of right and wrong they can depend. [14]

On the 2nd March 1847 it was reported that the wages of the Middleton miners had been stolen:

EXTENSIVE HIGHWAY ROBBERY. Yesterday information was forwarded to the police, from Leeds, of an extensive highway robbery, accompanied with violence, on Friday last. It appears that a man, names James Heald, in the employ of the Rev. R. H. Brandling, the proprietor of the Middleton Collieries was sent to the works with a bag containing £117 10s. in gold; five £10 provincial notes, and £5 1s. 101/2d in silver and copper. On reaching the road near Belleisle, he was suddenly pounced upon by three men, who knocked him down and beat him till he was nearly insensible, and took away the bag with its contents. A reward is offered for their appenhension. [15]

On the 16th March the robbers were brought to court:

MAGISTRATES' ROOM TUESDAY, MARCH 16 (Before Mr Sergeant Murphy)


JOSHUA EXLEY and JOSHUA BROOKE were charged with having at Leeds on the 26th February, violently assaulted and robbed James Heald.

Mr. HALL and Mr. BOOTHBY were for the prosecution; Mr. OVERAND defended the prisoners.

We recently stated the particulars of this case in the Mercury. It will be remembered that the prosecutor in this case is 69 years of age and is a labourer employed at the Brandling colliery, Middleton near Leeds. It was his duty to go to the staith belonging to the colliery to fetch the money required for payment of the wages of the colliers. On Friday, the 25th of February last, he went as usual, when Mr. Wright, the cashier, gave him £117 10s. in gold, ten £ notes, £5 1s. in silver and 21/2d in copper. About three o clock in the afternoon he set off with the money in his pocket, for the purpose of going to Middleton. When he had arrived about half-way, he heard a rustling noise and he turned round and say the prisoner Exley, who struck him on the head with a hedge-stake, and knocked him down. Some parties then got on the prosecutor, rifled his pockets of the money in question, and ran away. The prosecutor called out for assistance, when several parties saw the two prisoners running in company with two other men three going towards Beeston-lodge, and the fourth man taking the direction of Beeston town. Exley ran into a house at Beeston-lodge, where he was taken into custody. Brooke was also apprehended, but the other parties are still at large. The jury found both the prisoners Guilty; to be transported for fifteen years. [16]

After another theft in 1850, a John Westerman, was transported:

TRANSPORTED FOR SEVEN YEARS John Westerman (19) for stealing at Rothwell, 6 stones weight of iron, the property of Ralph Henry Brandling. [17]

By this time, 1850, the Brandling estates both in Newcastle and Middleton were in financial distress. In that year the vice-Chancellor made an order in one of Brandling's Chancery suits. The Brandling era of coalmining was coming to an end. It should be noted at this point that the issue of Brandling debts were not resolved until 1870:

COURT OF CHANCERY, Friday. Before Vice-Chancellor Sir R Malins.


This petition was brought forward, it being presented by Colonel Brandling, of Middleton, near Leeds, praying for compromise of the suit instituted to determine the relative rights of creditors claiming under the administration of the trust of the late Rev. H.R. Brandling, of Gosport House, near Newcastle, the fund deposited in court being the proceeds of the Yorkshire and Gosforth Colliery.

Mr. Pearson, Q.C., stated that it was probable that it was probable that this protracted suit, which has been before the Court ever since the year 1846, would at last be terminated, inasmuch as the differences still existing between the parties were so slight that with the assistance of the Court, they might be speedily surmounted. The fund in the Court consisted of stock of value of £70,000, of which amount £20,000 had been paid to the North of England Bank, under an order of the Court. The parties had agreed that a portion of the remainder should be divided between the several creditors, and that after the costs of the suit had been met the plaintiff should have the residue. The creditors in the second and third schedules were to be paid 16s. in the pound, and of that stock to the amount of £25,000 would be required. The general costs of the litigated amounted to between £10,000 and £12,000, and the residue would come to the plaintiff. The only difficulty was this whether the plaintiff should be paid at least £5,900 before or after the taxation of costs.

Mr. GLASSE said nobody pretended to say that the sum left in court would be insufficient to cover costs. The value of the remaining stock was £52,498.

Mr. PEARSON, was willing that the plaintiff should be paid £3,000 at once, and receive the residue after the taxation of costs.

Mr. GLASSE positively declined to accept £3,000 before the taxation of costs; but expressed his willingness to receive £4,000, undertaking to return the difference if unexpectedly there were a deficiency after the costs had been met.

The VICE-CHANCELLOR directed that Colonel Brandling should be paid £4,000 immediately, that the creditors should then receive 16s. in the pound, the costs to be then taxed, and the plaintiff to receive what money might thou remain in court. He congratulated himself and the parties concerned upon winding-up of this protracted suit. [18]

In May 1850, Middleton was again put up for sale:

Most important and valuable
In the West Riding of the county of York.
Early in July next, will be offered FOR SALE in Lots, BY AUCTION
THE MIDDLETON ESTATES containing in the whole nearly 1,600 acres of Freehold, Meadow, Pasture, Arable and Wood LAND, the MIDDLETON COLLIERIES.

The estate comprises the LORDSHIP OR MANOR of MIDDLETON with a genteel Residence called Middleton Lodge, commanding extensive views, and situate in an ornamental park of seventy-two acres, with coach-house, stables, gardener's house, keeper's lodge, porters' lodges and other convenient and suitable offices, with walled garden and pleasure grounds.

Also a commodious Residence called MIDDLETON HALL, with out-offices, lawn and walled garden. And also another genteel Villa Residence, called Middleton Grange, with stable, coach-house, and other out-offices and garden, together with sundry farms, containing in the whole 1,331A. 2R. 8P., lying nearly in a ring-fence, and let to respectable tenants.

The estate within the the township of Beeston contains 161A. 3R. 10P., and adjoins the Middleton property. The woods forming part of the above quantities contain 435 acres of fine growing timber.

The freehold estate within the township of Hunslet contains 88A. 2R. 17P., which is occupied in small and convenient farms, one of which is at Thwaite Gate, and includes the Inn or Public-house, well known as the "Crooked Billet"; several of the closes of land from their situation form some of the best building sites within the populous township of Hunslet, and will be offered in suitable lots. Also the Seven-eights Undivided Shares or Portions of the MANOR OF HUNSLET with all the rights and priviledges appertaining thereto. The commons or waste land within the manor contain about eighty acres.

Also the well known MIDDLETON COLLIERY containing 3 beds or seams of coal, which have all been won, and are now in the course of working. The top bed is 2 feet 6 inches thick, and there are about 600 acres of this coal to get. The middle bed is 2 feet 8 inches thick, and about 115 acres to get. And the Middleton main coal, 4 feet 6 inches thick, and about 120 acres to get; besides the above beds there is the Beeston coal bed, about 3 feet thick, which from borings that have been made, and also from its having been got in other estates adjoining, is supposed to extend under all the Middleton and Beeston estates, under about 45 acres of enclosed land in the township of Hunslet, and the commons and waste land of Hunslet.

The above beds and seams of coal are within three miles of the town of Leeds. To supply the large demand there has been a wagon road laid from the several pits to large and commodious loading staithes and coal yard in Leeds, where suitable superintendants' and bookkeepers' offices are erected; and as access to the Leeds and Bradford Railway may be got at a trifling cost, whereby railway communication is secured with all the principle manufacturing towns in the West Riding, this colliery is rendered one of the most important ever offered to the capitalist.

Also the TITHES OF CORN on several estates within the township of Middleton, which have been commuted and fixed at the annual sum of £73. 9s. 6d.

And also the PERPETUAL ADVOWSON and NEXT PRESENTATION TO THE VICARAGE OF ROTHWELL, charges are fixed at the annual sum of £842. 18s., exclusive of the glebe, fees, &c.

Printed particulars and lithographic plans annexed of the several estates as divided into lots for sale, will shortly be ready for delivery, and may be obtained by applying in London to Messrs. BAKER & Co, Solicitors, 52 Lincoln's-inn Fields; Messrs. PRINGLE & Co, Solicitors, John steet, Bedford-row, Messrs. CLAYTON, COOKSON and WAINWRIGHT, Solicitors, 6 New Square, Lincoln's-inn; at Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Messrs. CLAYTON and DUNN, and Mr. PHILIPSON, Solicitors; and at leeds, to Mr. TOITIE, Solicitors; and Messrs. NEWSAM and Son, Land Surveyors. [19]

And again in September:

MESSRS. FAREBROTHER, CLARK and LYE are instructed to OFFER for SALE, at the Royal Hotel, Leeds, on Thursday, 10th day of October next, and following day, at Twelve o clock each day, in numerous Lots, under an Order of the High Court of Chancery, made in the Cause 'BRANDLING v PLUMMER' and with the approbation of the Hon. Sir George Rose, one of the Masters of the said Court, the valuable


With THREE RESIDENCES (known as MIDDLETON HALL, MIDDLETON LODGE and MIDDLETON GRANGE), PARK LANDS, and well arranged FARMS, with suitable Buildings, the whole about 1,600 Acres, in Meadow, Pasture, and Wood Lands, with the TITHES of other Lands in the Parish, commuted at £73 8s. 6d. per annum; the well-known MIDDLETON COLLIERIES, within Three Miles of the important town of Leeds, and near to the Leeds and Bradford Railway; also, the ADVOWSON of the VICARAGE OF ROTHWELL, the Tithes being commuted at upwards of £900 per annum; and FREEHOLD ESTATES and FARMS in the adjoining Townships of BEESTON and HUNSLET, containing about 250 Acres, let in small Farms, and including the CROOKED BILLETT PUBLIC-HOUSE, several Closes of Land, within the populous Township of Hunslet, close to Leeds, offering valuable Building sites; also the SEVEN-EIGHTS' undivided SHARES of the MANOR OF HUNSLET, with all Rights and Priviledges thereunto belonging.

Descriptive particulars, with Plans, may be had, one month prior to the Sale, at the said Master's Chambers, in Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane; at the Place of Sale; the Sun Inn, Bradford; White Hart, Huddersfield; Stafford Arms, Wakefield; of Messrs. Baker and Co, Solicitors, 52 Lincoln s Inn Fields; Messrs. Pringle and Co, 3 Kings Road, Bedford Row; Messrs. Clayton, Cookson and Wainright, Solicitors, 6 new Square, Lincoln's Inn; Messrs. Clayton and Dunn, and Mr. Philipson, Solicitor, Newcastle-upon-Tyne; in London at Garraway's Coffee House, Change Alley, Cornhill, and of Messrs. Farebrother, Clark and Lye, 6 Lancaster Place, Strand. [20]

In August 1851 Middleton Colliery was sold to Joshua Bowers, glass manufacturer and colliery owner, of Hunslet. Bower then raised objections to the legal title to the colliery. The estate and colliery was again put up for sale in the following month, though no bids were received. Apparently some of Middleton's land was sold by private contract.

While in Newcastle:

On the 6th and 7th October 1852, the whole of the Brandling estates were brought to the hammer at the Queens Head Inn, Newcastle, by order of the Court of Chancery. Mr. Alderman Fairbrother, of London, acting as auctioneer:-

(i) The manor of North and South Gosforth, 790 acres in extent, comprising the Mansion of Gosforth House and its extensive grounds, and High and Low Weetslade, Wideopen Farm and quarry, and East Brunton Farm, 2,101 acres were bought by Mr. Thomas Smith, one of an eminent firm of Tyneside shipbuilders for £71,260.

(ii) Low Gosforth Hall and estate, 287 acres and Three Mile Bridge Farm, 404 acres, by Mr. John Laycock for £28,600.

(iii) Seaton Burn House, Six Mile Bridge Farm, Coxledge North Farm, cottages and closes, 5081/4 acres, by Mr Riddell Robson for £324,800.

(iv) The Church Farm, cottages and closes, 315 acres by Mr. William Dunn for £22,020

(v) And ten or eleven separate lots, consisting of freehold houses, cottages and closes, covering between seventy and eighty acres in all, were acquired by other gentlemen for the aggregate sum of £8,440.

(vi) Gosforth and Coxlodge collieries and royalties and a few small other lots, were withdrawn; but the total proceeds of the sale reached £155,080, exclusive of timber. The biddings for the property reserved amounted to £106,920. The collieries were afterwards purchased by Charles Mark Palmer, M.P. for North Durham, on behalf of the firm of Messrs. John Bowes and Co. of which he was a leading partner. [21]

In August 1853 Ralph Brandling died:

Aug 26: Died in Newcastle, aged 81, the Rev. Ralph Henry Brandling, formerly of Gosforth Hall, Northumberland and the last of a long roll of Brandlings of Gosforth. The deceased was one of the chief founders of the Natural History Society of Newcastle. His kindness and generosity to the poor, and his considerate attention to his numerous workmen, so long as he had an opportunity of manifesting it, commanded universal respect and esteem. [22]

The year 1857 sees the reappearance of the name Charles John Brandling as a colliery owner, clearly a reference to Lieut-Col Charles John Brandling, along with Bower Joshua & Sons and George Needham. [23]

A Directory of 1857 58 refers for the first time to trustees being in control of the Brandling estates:

Brandling, Trustees of the late Rev. R. H.; Bower, Joshua and Sons (& Hunslet) and George Needham continue to mine. [24]

About 1860 the Colliery was advertised for sale and was purchased by Mr Andrew of Newcastle, though the directories of 1861 [25] record Charles John Brandling along with his trustees - Chas. John Brandling (exors. of) colliery owner. Bower Joshua & Sons, Charles Grovenor at New Hall colliery and George Needham are still recorded as colliery owners.

In 1862, Middleton was again put up for sale:

Valuable Freehold Estates and Collieries near Leeds.

TO BE SOLD pursuant to a Decree of the High Court of Chancery made in certain causes entitled respectively "Brandling v. Plummer," "Brandling v. Plummer," "Brandling v. Liddell," and "Brandling v. Plummer," with the approbation of the ViceChancellor, Sir Richard Torin Kindersley, the Judge to whose Court the said causes are attached, by MR. CHARLES BROUGH, who has been appointed for that purpose, at the SCARBOROUGH HOTEL at LEEDS, in the county of York, on TUESDAY the SEVENTH day of OCTOBER. 1862; in Nineteen Lots, valuable FREEHOLD ESTATES, consisting of the Manor of Middleton, with the dwelling-houses and the gardens and pleasure-grounds attached, known as Middleton Lodge, Middleton Hall, and Middleton Grange, together with various inclosures of land, woodlands, and plantations, occupied therewith; 94 cottages, a house, garden, Malt Kiln, and Cottage, let to Mr. James Dobson, a house, garden, several closes of land, smith's shop and mistal, in the occupation of Mr. George Bennett, and the several compact and well arranged farms in the township of Middleton, known by the names of the Manor Farm, Lockwood Farm, the Sprutts Farm, Middleton Colliery Farm, West Farm, Copley Farm, Windy Hill Farm, Windmill Farm, Grange Farm, and East Grange Farm, and also various closes of arable, meadow, and grass land in the township of Middleton, in the occupation of highly respectable tenants. And also several Inclosures of arable and gross land, cottages and gardens in the adjoining township of Hunslet, and several plots of ground in Hunslet, adapted and arranged for building sites, the whole containing upwards of 1,200 acres of land, and also the great tithes of other land in the township of Middleton which have been commuted In a rent charge of £73 8s. 6d. per annum, apportioned amongst the owners of such lands. And the well known collieries called Middleton Collieries, situate within three miles of the town of Leeds, and near the Leeds and Bradford Railway, with the valuable and efficient working stock and machinery thereto belonging.

Also the advowson donation, or right of presentation of and to the vicarage and parish church of Rothwell, near Leeds, the tithes of which are commuted at upwards of £900 per annum. And also seven eighth undivided shares of the Manor of Hunslet, with all the rights and privileges thereunto belonging.

The estates may be viewed on application to the said tenants, and printed particulars and conditions of sale, with plan annexed, may be had (gratis) in London of Messrs. CLAYTON, COOKSON, & WAINWRIGHT, Solicitors, 6, New-square. Lincoln's-inn; Messrs. BAKER & Co., Solicitors, 52, Lincoln's-inn-flclds; Messrs. SHUM & GROSSMAN, Solicitors, 3, King's-rond, Bedford-row; Messrs. BLAKE. TYLEE, & TYLEE, Solicitors, 14, Essex-street, Strand ; Messrs. TATHAM & PROCTER, Solicitors. 36, Lincoln-inn-fields; and in Ncwcastle-upon-Tyne, of Mr. ROBERT RICHARDSON DEES, Solicitor; Messrs. J. & M. CLAYTON, Solicitors; Messrs. R. P. & H. PHII.IPSON, Solicitors; of Mr. TANNER, Solicitor, Bristol; of Messrs. NEWSAM fc SON, Land Surveyors, Leeds; of Mr. CHARLES BROUGII, Auctioneer, Ncwcastle-upon-Tyne; at the place of Sale, and at the Sun Inn, Bradford, the White Hart in Huddersfield, the Stafford Arms Inn, Wakefield, the Station Hotel, York, the Station Hotel, Hull, the Queen's Hotel, Manchester, the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, and the principal Inns in the West Biding of York.
Dated this 25th day of July, 1862.
F.E EDWARDS, Chief Clerk. [26]

Between 1864 and 1867, parts of the Middleton estate were sold to Francis William Tetley, of the Leeds brewing family (purchased for £100,000) who then formed the Middleton Estate and Colliery Co.


Marshall Nicholson

About 1863, Marshall Nicholson was appointed the General Manager of Middleton Collieries. He was born 13th November 1839 at Leeds and christened on the 8th December 1839 at Meadow Lane Weslayan Chapel, Leeds. His birth was registered between October and December 1839. [33] His father was William Nicholson, of Burley Grange, Leeds and his mother was Sophia, daughter of John Marshall, of Cawhorn, near Barnsley.

Marshall was educated at Mr. Jefferson's School, Pontefract and later attended the Royal School of Mines & Royal College of Chemistry, London. He was appointed at Middleton after serving his apprenticeship as a Mining Engineer. He was also the Chairman of Directors, New Moss Colliery Co., Ltd., Andersham, near Manchester, Nomanby Coal Syndicate Ltd.; Managing Director of Middleton Estate and Colliery Co., Ltd., Leeds; Director of Old Silkstone Collieries, Ltd. and a director of the Yorkshire Post. He was a Member of the Midland Institute of Mining Engineers and Chairman of Middleton Parish Council.

His interests included geology and he was instrumental in proving the extension of the Yorkshire Coalfield by Borings at Thorne and Scunthorpe. He was joint owner of 5,000 acres at Middlesmoor in Nidderdale in the West Riding and at Middleton. He travelled in France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Marshall resided at Middleton Hall and his hobbies were shooting, fishing, golf and motoring and he was a member of the Leeds Club.

He married Jane, the daughter of Thomas Radcliffe Atkinson, of Aspley House, Huddersfield, on the 6th April, 1861.

In the 1861 Census, Marshall and Jane are at: Publick House, Rowsley Village, Rowsley:

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
John Cooper Head Married Male 55 Chesterfield Inn Keeper
Mary Ann Cooper Wife Married Female 43 Whatton Inn Keeper
Eliza Dawson Servant Unmarried Female 27 Derby Bar Maid
Ann Deakin Servant Unmarried Female 56 Armthorpe Cook
Jane Cantril Servant Unmarried Female 21 Duckmanton Waitress
Hannah Allen Servant Unmarried Female 36 Cockington Chamber Maid
Mary A Thompson Servant Unmarried Female 21 Birmingham Kitchen Maid
Sarah Andrews Servant Unmarried Female 22 Upper Haddon Kitchen Maid
George Halksworth Servant Unmarried Male 14 Bexley Waiter
William Lockwood Boarder Unmarried Male 54 Sheffield Merchant & Manufacturer
Marshall Nicholson Visitor Married Male 23 Leeds Mining Engineer
Jane Nicholson Visitor Married Female 28 Huddersfield           [34]

Marshall and Jane had two daughters:

Clara Louisa was born on the 15th December, 1865 at Kirkstall and her birth was registered between January and March 1866. [35]

Ethel Blanche was born on the 9th February 1869 at Kirkstall and her birth was registered between January and March 1869. [36]. Between April and June 1898 she married Thomas Harding Churton, of Leeds, Electrical Engineer. [37]

In 1868, Marshall was elected to the North of England Institute of Mining Engineers:

386     Nicholson, Marshall, Middleton Hall, Leeds 7th Nov 1868.

From the 1881 Census: Middleton Hall, Rothwell, Leeds...

Name Relation Marital Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
Marshal Nicholson Head Married Male 41 Leeds Colliery Partner & Manager (Mine Serv)
Jane Nicholson Wife Married Female 45 Huddersfield
Rachel Gill Servant Unmarried Female 28 Rothwell Domestic Servant
Mary Outram Servant Unmarried Female 21 Dinnington Waiting Maid (Dom)
Mary Ellis Servant Unmarried Female 21 Whiston House Maid (Dom)
Thomas Walsh Servant Married Male 50 Ireland Labourer
George Trotter Head Widow Male 66 Middleton, Leeds Gardener (Dom)
George Trotter Son Unmarried Male 39 Middleton, Leeds Labourer
Ruth Trotter Daughter Unmarried Female 27 Middleton, Leeds Dressmaker
Spencley Atkinson Head Married Male 36 Spennithorne, Yorks Coachmen (Dom)
Elizabeth Atkinson Wife Married Female 27 Bishopthorpe, Yorks
Ricd. Fredk. Atkinson Son Male 7 Armley, Leeds Scholar
Emma. J. Atkinson Daughter Female 5 Armley, Leeds Scholar       [38]

From the 1891 Census: Town Street, Middleton, Rothwell, Leeds...

Name Relation Marital Status Age Birthplace Occupation
Marshal Nicholson Head Married 51 Leeds, Yorks Colliery Owner & mining Engineer
Jane Nicholson Wife Married 55 Huddersfield, Yorks
Clara L Nicholson Daughter Single 25 Middleton, Yorks
Ethel B Nicholson Daughter Single 22 Middleton, Yorks
Martha Wheatley Servant Married 43 Malton, Yorks Domestic Servant
Eliza Heck Servant Single 27 Littleport, Cambridgeshire Domestic Servant
Mary E Heck Servant Single 25 Littleport, Cambridgeshire Domestic Servant       [39]

In 1892 Marshall stood for the County Council:

County Council Elections West Riding


Mr. G W Young, surgeon of Woodhouse Hall, East Ardsley, who has represented the Altherthorpe Ward for three years, was opposed by Mr. Marshall Nicholson, colliery proprietor, Middleton Hall, near Leeds. Mr. W. Vibart Dixon, the returning officer for the Altherthorpe Division, announced the results as follows:

    Young G W     820      
    Micholson M         658
    Majority 162 [40]

From the 1901 Census: Middleton Hall, Rothwell, Leeds...

Name Relation Marital Status Age Birthplace Occupation
Marshal Nicholson Head Married 61 Leeds, Yorks Proprietor/employer
Jane Nicholson Wife Married 65 Huddersfield, Yorks
Clara Louisa Nicholson Daughter Single 35 Middleton, Yorks
Stevens Hancies Servant Single 46 Oxford Servant (Domestic)
Jane Elizabeth Gatenby Servant Single 23 Sand Hutton, Yorks Boots (Domestic)
Louisa Gordon Servant Single 16 Barnsley, Yorks Housemaid (Domestic)     [39]

Marshall died between October and December 1915 aged 76 years. [40] and is buried in St. Mary's Churchyard, Middleton.


St Mary's Church and School

Middleton had for centuries been part of the Parish of Rothwell. A Sunday School building, erected in 1833, was in 1837 licensed as a place of worship, indicating the need for a church to accommodate Middleton's growing population. On the 1st March 1845, the Rev Ralph Henry Brandling presented to the Church's Ecclesiastical Commissioners sufficient land on which to build a church and parsonage and work commenced on the following Good Friday.

St Mary the Virgin Church cost about £3000 and was raised by public subscription, the Rev. RH Brandling being the principal contributor. Local tradition also says that local miners gave a week's wages or a week's work towards the erection of the church. Construction was completed in 1846.

The architect for the building was R.D. Chatrell (who also designed Leeds Parish Church) and was constructed in the Early English Style; a tower and spire on the south side, a north transept, nave, aisles and chancel complete with organ and several painted windows.

In 1853 the church was serving about 1400 parishioners. The perpetual curacy, valued at £50, was in the gift of the Vicar of Rothwell and the incumbent was the Rev. Joseph H. Thompson.

In 1883 a clock, the gift of Miss Helen Bulmer of Middleton Lodge, was placed in the tower in memory of John Bulmer esq. who had died the previous year.

Mining subsidence has caused many structural problems. In 1939 it caused damage to the church spire and it was taken down leaving the tower as it is today. And more recently, in 2016, £15,000 from the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust helped fund urgent repair to the west wall.


Other Events

In 1826, the Leeds Mercury carried the following injunction:

GAME.- Whereas, the Game on the Middleton Estate, has of late been much destroyed. Gentlemen are particularly requested to reform from Hunting, Shooting, or Coursing thereon; and unqualified Persons and Poachers, will be prosecuted as the Law directs.
Middleton Lodge, Near Leeds 12th Sept. 1826 [27]

In 1837, The York Herald and General Advertiser reported:

FELONIES. Michel Welch was indicted for stealing a lamb, at Middleton near Leeds, the property of Wm. Wilson and others. - Guilty. To be transported for life. [28]

At the poll for the Two Knights of the Shire in 1841, there were 10 individuals eligible to vote in Middleton:

Wakefield Polling District: Middleton                
The Hon. John Stuart Wortley
Edmund Beckett Denison, Esquire
The Right Hon. Lord Viscount Morpeth
The Right Hon. Lord Viscount Milton
Wort. Denis. Morp. Milt.
Bedford William l l
Dixon John
Lunn John l l
Leuty Henry l l
Morton John l l
Parkin Joseph l l
Spence Samuel l l
Tolson James l l
Wilson William
Wrigglesworth Thos. l l [29]

At the poll for the Knights of the Shire in 1848, there were 11 individuals eligible to vote in Middleton:

Wakefield Polling District: Middleton                
The Hon. Edmund Denison
Sir Culling Eardley Eardley Baronet
Denis. Eard.
Bedford William, Middleton l
Brandling, Charles John, London
Dixon John, Windy hill farm l
Leuty Henry, Middleton l
Lunn Henry, Pockit pit farm l
Parkin Joseph, Middleton l
Parnaby John, Ebor house
Scholey George, Middleton l
Spence Samuel, Sissons farm l
Thompson Samuel, Copley farm l
Whitaker George, Middleton l [30]

In 1858, a farmer was charged with 'firing' Brandling's stackyard:

A FARMER CHARGED WITH FIRING STACKS. - A few days ago, we noticed the apprehension of an elderly farmer, named John Lunn, at Middleton, near Wakefield, on suspicion of firing stacks. On the afternoon of Friday, the 26th ult., the stackyard of Messrs. R.H. Brandling & Co. colliery owners, was discovered to be on fire. In the yard were two whole of hay, half another, one of clover, and another of straw, in all nearly 300 tons, and worth about £1000. The fire was discovered about three o clock in the afternoon, but could not be extinguished until damage to extent of £300 or £400 had been done. None of the stacks were insured. Mr Lunn was then admitted to bail, and the case was fully gone into yesterday afternoon. The evidence was that the prisoner was seen with a lighte tar-rope in his hand, about an hour before the fire was discovered, about 200 yards from the stacks. After the fire was discovered, the neighbours, except the prisoner, assisted to extinguish it. He, however, stood a short distance off with his hands in his pockets, and rendered no assistance whatsoever. When taken into custody he denied having the tar-rope in his possession on that day. Mr. Fearns, of Leeds, who appeared for the defence, admitted that Mr. Lunn was burning wicks on that day, and stated that he obtained the light at the engine-house of Messr. Brandling s colliery, in the presence of the engine-man, Samuel Longbottom. After a short consultation, the chairman (W.H. Leatham, Esq.) said that the bench were of the opinion that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant them in sending the case to a higher tribunal. It appeared to have been the result of an accident. The prisoner, who is upwards of 80 years, was then discharged. Manchester Guardian. [31]

The poll of 1866 showed an electorate of ten in Middleton:

Wakefield Polling District: Middleton                
The Right Hon. Lord Viscount Milton
Henry F Beaumont, Esq.
Christopher Beckett Denison, Esq.
Walter Spencer Stanhope, Esq.
Milt. Beau. Deni. Sta.
Bedford William l l
Grosvenor Charles - Hunslet l l
Mellor Benjamin - Middleton Grange l l
Parkin Joseph l l
Pickup William l l
Place George l l
Scholey George l
Spence John l l
Thompson Samuel - Copley Farm l l
Whitaker George l l



[1] Rothwell Parish Register.

[2] Rothwell Parish Register.

[3] The Newcastle Courant etc, Saturday, 15th March 1828.

[4] Jackson's Oxford Journal, Saturday, 20th April, 1805;

[5] Northumberland Record Office


[7] Selection of reports and papers of the House of Commons: Literary and Scientific Volume 34 1835

[7a] Manufacturing Districts of England, in the Summer of 1835. - Sir George Head

[8] Reports from Commissioners: Children's Employment (Mines) 1842

[9] Edward Parsons. The History of Leeds, Halifax, etc. (1834)

[10] The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, Saturday, August 27, 1842

[11] The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser, Saturday, 3rd September, 1842.

[12] The Bradford Observer; and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter, Thursday, September 08, 1842

[13] Event's of the month. Testimonial's of Respect. The British Magazine 1845

[14] The Sessional Papers of the House of Lords: Session 1845, vol xxxiv

[15] The Morning Chronicle (London, England), Tuesday, March 2, 1847

[16] The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, 20th March 20, 1847.

[17] The Bradford Observer, Thursday, 23rd May 1850

[18] The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, 19th November 1870.

[19] The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, 11th May 1850.

[20] The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, 14th September 1850.

[21] Our Old Families, Newcastle Weekly Chronicle, 1884

[22] Local Records of Northumberland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne;

[23] Post Office Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1857

[24] Leeds and District Trades Directory 1857-58

[25] Post Office Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire 1861

[26] The Solicitors Journal and Reporter 1862

[27] The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, 30th September, 1826

[28] The York Herald, and General Advertiser, Saturday, 8th July 1837.

[29] The Poll for the Two Knights of the Shire 1841

[30] The Poll for the Two Knights of the Shire 1848

[31] The Essex Standard and General Advertiser for the Eastern Counties. Wednesday 21st April 1858.

[32] The poll for the Southern Division of the West Riding of the County of York 1866.

[33] Oct-Dec 1839. Leeds. Vol:23 Page 307

[34] England & Wales, 1861 census returns.

[35] Jan-Mar 1866. Kirkstall. Vol:9b Page 295

[36] Jan-Mar 1869. Kirkstall. Vol:9b Page 309

[37] Apr-Jun 1898. Hunslet. Vol:9b Page 516

[38] England & Wales, 1881 census returns.

[39] England & Wales, 1891 census returns.

[40] The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, Friday, 4th March 1892

[41] England & Wales, 1901 census returns.

[42] Oct-Dec 1915. Hunslet. Vol: 9b Page 583

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