Abel Earnshaw (1844-1852)

This page is part of the Holmfirth Flood Project which aims to make content available to researchers in advance of the 175th anniversary of the 1852 Flood which will be commemorated in 2027.

Abel Earnshaw was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.


He was born in 1844, the son of Enos Earnshaw of Hinchliffe Mill and his wife Betty (née Mettrick), and was baptised on 25 March 1849 at Holmfirth.[1] Also baptised on the same day was another victim in the flood, Ralph Crosland.

The 1851 Census lists Abel and his mother Betty residing on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill, with Betty's father James Metterick. In total, there were 14 people living in the property, 9 of whom perished in the Holmfirth Flood the following year.

Abel's father travelled to New York aboard the Elizabeth Denison in July 1846 and seemingly never returned. By 1870, he had apparently remarried and was a yarn dresser residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Abel Earnshaw died in the early hours of 5 February 1852, along with his mother, when a devastating flood killed many of the residents of Water Street. Both of Abel's grandfathers were also killed.

His body was found by Thomas Buckley in "Bath Wood, nearly opposite Farrar's Mill" and taken to the King's Head Inn, where it was identified by local gravedigger James Beaumont. He was buried on 8 February 1852 at Hinchliffe Mill Chapel, Holmfirth.[2]

Notes and References

  1. Enos Earnshaw had married his neighbour Betty Metterick on 30 April 1843 at All Hallows, Kirkburton.
  2. Oddly, Abel's age is given as 5 when it should be at least 7.