Benjamin North Rockley Batty (1795-1863)

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Benjamin North Rockley Batty (or Battye[1]) was the Squire of Fenay Hall and served as a Justice of the Peace for the West Riding.


He is believed to have been born in 1795 at Dewsbury, the son of Robert Rockley Batty(e)[2] and his wife Elizabeth (née Atkinson), and was baptised on 15 May 1795 at All Saints, Dewsbury.

His father drowned in 1799 whilst attempting to cross the River Calder.[3]

He was schooled by the Rev. Hammond Robertson and became a lawyer, firstly in Huddersfield and then in Manchester. He married his first wife, Ellen Smith (daughter of John Smith of Rochdale) in 1815 and they had one daughter:

  • Ellen Beckwith Batty (c.1817-1864)[4]

After becoming a widower in July 1824, he returned to Almondbury where he resided at Thorpe Villa until Fenay Hall was vacated by James Crosland. He then married widow Elizabeth Curtis[5] and had two further childen:

  • (Rev.) Benjamin North Rockley Batty (c.1828-1875)[6]
  • Fanny E.M. Louisa Batty (c.1832-1903)

Elizabeth died on 18 February 1856 and Benjamin North Rockley Batty then spent the final years of his life at Cliff House, Redcar, where he died on 7 June 1863, aged 69.


Huddersfield Chronicle (13/Jun/1863):

Demise of Rockley Batty, Esq., J.P. — We have this week to record the demise of Benjamin North Rockley Batty, Esq., formerly of Fenay Hall, near Huddersfield, which occurred on Sunday last, at Redear. Although it is now some years since Mr. Batty retired from the Bench, there are few amongst us who will have forgotten the great and noble ability with which he discharged the duties of a magistrate. It is scarcely too much to say of him, that it will be some time ere Huddersfield, at least, shall "see his like again." Utterly ignoring all considerations except the claims of his Queen and country, he adorned the Bench not only by his personal appearance as a thorough John Bull gentleman, but his quickness of apprehension on all questions which came before him, and his fearlessness in expressing his decisions, rendered the justice which he administered acceptable to every litigant. It was, too, not only as a magistrate that Mr. Batty rendered himself a useful member of society and an ornament to the aristocratic portion of our community Left a minor at the death of his father, he was deprived of those paternal admonitions which might have directed his course of life. No sooner, however, did he enter on his patrimony, than he betook himself to agricultural pursuits ; and long before he quitted Fenay Hall, he was enabled to enjoy the fruits of his industry, by surveying a farm unsurpassed in productive excellence by any in the country. In the amenities of domestic life Mr. Batty was conspicuous. Always courteous and affable, his natural impulsiveness curbed, and his whole demeanour and bearing a pattern and example to every paterfamilias. Among the poor he was an especially favourite. The people of Almondbury will long remember and speak of, with deep-drawn sigh, the old Squire of Fenay Hall. Mr. Batty's last visit to Huddersfield was on the occasion of Mr. Wortley's candidateship for the Riding, at the last general election, when he came expressly to vote for that gentleman. The respect then paid to Mr. Batty by all classes — in fact, the levees which he held at his hotel, testified that the time which in earlier life he had bestowed to the duties of his station were remembered and appreciated by his old neighbours and friends. The last five or six years of Mr. Batty's life have been spent at Redcar, where declining health prompted him to seek repose, and to enjoy what, in the words of one of his favourite songs, he had long aspired to — "The cot that overlooks the wide sea ;" and there the fine old English gentleman, unable to exercise on his "ambling pad-pony," would often amuse himself by reviving, in imagination, the pleasures of the chase, once his hobby and delight although the red coat and buckskins had been laid by for ever. The open phaeton had to suffice for what the prancing charger once could only supply. Mr. Batty leaves a son, the Rev. B. N. R. Batty, of Mirfield. and two daughters, both respectably married. We are glad to learn that in the distribution of his property, Mr. Batty has not forgotten those of his domestics whose faithful services have been continued from his residence at Fenay Hall up to the time of hie death. He was interred at Redcar on Wednesday last.

Notes and References

  1. "Battye" is given on the 1841 Census, whilst "Batty" is given on his probate entry on other Census returns.
  2. Robert Rockley was named as an apothecary of Huddersfield in 1781.
  3. "Fenay Hall and its Owners" in Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Apr/1876).
  4. Married Thomas Lancelot Reed of Crow Hall, Norfolk.
  5. Née Woolnough?
  6. Married 8 April 1858 to Augusta Fanny Besley. Died 30 March 1875 at Guisborough, North Yorkshire.

Benjamin North Rockley Batty (1795-1863)


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This page was last modified on 9 February 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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