Charles Battye (c.1810-1880)

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.

Charles Battye[1] was the fulling miller at Bottoms Mill (also known as Harpin's Mill) in Austonley.


He was married to Elizabeth and the couple had several children:

  • George Battye (c.1830-1906)
  • Mary Ann Battye (c.1832-1855)[2]
  • Isaac Battye (c.1834-1887)
  • Emma Battye (c.1835-1853)
  • Grace Battye (c.1839-?)
  • Hannah Maria Battye (c.1841-1902)[3]
  • Isabella Battye (c.1844-?)
  • Charles Battye (c.1845-1925)[4]
  • Elizabeth Battye (1845-?)[5]

By 1871, he had moved from Bottoms Mill to Oldfield, Honley, where he was listed as a "farmer of 5 acres" in the census.

Charles Battye died on 19 May 1880 and was buried on 22 May at All Saints, Netherthong.

Holmfirth Flood of 1852

Battye appeared at the inquest and made a number of statements, which included his warnings to Joseph Dodd which unfortunately went unheeded:[6]

I was on the embankment of the reservoir about four o’clock in the afternoon of the 4th. I returned between five and six, and called in Water Street when I returned. I went to the house of Joseph Dodd, who lived next door to Eliza Marsden, one of the persons drowned. I had promised him to let him know what I thought about it. I had been told before I went that they had something in the shuttle. I told Dodd that the water was 50 feet deep, only 2 feet from running over, and if it continued raining he was to take care of himself. He said, “Nevermind, Charles.”

It was six o’clock when I called at Dodd’s. He said, “Tell old Shaw to keep a good fire, and I’ll be down in the morning.” Old Shaw keeps the fires up, and sleeps in the pan hole.

I live close to the mill, and sleep at home. I thought it would do no harm to us ; but I pre-pared the mill as well as I could. I removed the goods in the mill to where I thought they would stop. I went to bed at twelve, and was up again at half-past. I did not remove my own furniture. It was a yard high in my house, but 7 or 8 feet in the mill.

I did not think it would burst and come town all at once. I did not think about that.

Notes and References

  1. His surname is sometimes given as "Batty" in newspaper articles.
  2. Died 24 December 1855.
  3. Married Enoch Proctor.
  4. Married Mary Jane Moodycliffe.
  5. Married Firth Hinchliffe.
  6. "The Holmfirth Catastrophe: Official Enquiry" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Feb/1852).