Foster Crosland (1843-1852)

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.

Foster Crosland was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.


He was born on 15 December 1843, the son of hand loom weaver Jonathan Crosland and his wife Sarah (née Earnshaw), and was baptised on 17 March 1844 at St. David's, Holmbridge.

At the time of the 1851 Census, Foster was residing with his parents on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill.

His mother Sarah died three weeks after giving birth to Ruth in November 1851. Without her mother to nurse her, Ruth was placed in the care of Ruth Nichols[1] of Longwalls, and so was not in the Crosland household on the night of the flood.


Foster Crosland was killed by the flood which devastated the Holme valley in the early hours of 5 February 1852, along with his father and six of his siblings.

His body was found on the morning of Monday 9 February in mill dam of Whitacre Mill, Deighton, and was taken to the Black Horse, Dalton.

Having been in the water for several days, the body was "so swollen and altered a state that it appeared to be the body of a person at least sixteen years of age".[2] Foster's grandfather travelled to the coroner's inquest to identify the corpse, after which members of the jury gathered a monetary collection.

Due to the decaying state of Foster’s body, it was decided that it should be buried as quickly as possible after the inquest, but "the burial ground was far distant, and there were none to bear it to its last resting place". When this became known at the close of the inquest, the jury members immediately "formed themselves into a funeral cortege, and, relieving each other at intervals, bore the corpse along".[3]

He was buried at St. John the Baptist, Kirkheaton, on Tuesday 10 February.[4]

Notes and References

  1. Born Ruth Crosland, she is believed to be a distant relative.
  2. "The Holmfirth Catastrophe" in Morning Post (16/Feb/1852). Several newspaper reports commented on the fact that the boy appeared to be blind in one eye.
  3. "The Holmfirth Calamity" in Leeds Intelligencer (14/Feb/1852).
  4. The church’s burial register appears to read "found drowned near Dalton Mill washed down with whole family by the flood". The location is incorrect, although Dalton Mills is near to the Black Horse Inn where the inquest was held.