Henry James Morehouse (1806-1890)

Henry James Morehouse was a local surgeon, historian and antiquarian who resided at Stoney Bank in Wooldale.


He was born on 9 December 1806, the son of John Morehouse and his wife Elizabeth (née Newton, daughter of William Newton of Stagwood)[1], and baptised on 20 January 1807 at the Lydgate Chapel, Kirkburton.

According to his obituary, the Morehouse family "was one of the oldest in the district, the name appearing as far back as the reign of Richard II., when, in 1398, Roger del Morehouse farmed 'the soke mill of Holme,' and from the time of Elizabeth the Stoney Bank property has descended in unbroken succession from father to son for eight generations."[2]

He married Ann Bradley, daughter of Thomas Bradley, on 19 October 1831 at Richmond, York. The couple had no children.

At the Holmfirth Petty Sessions of 17 December 1853, he made a complaint against his brother, Sydney Morehouse of Moorcroft, that he had allowed a tenant named George Holroyd to "keep a filthy and noisome outbuilding containing night-soil" that was "abutting on the public highway at Lydgate, to the annoyance of the public, and detrimental to the health of her Majesty's lieges." Sydney Morehouse was fined 16s. 6d. and an order was issued "to remove the nuisance within seven days."[3]

His leisure hours were devoted to antiquarian studies and, after around "30 years of close and patient research", he published The History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton and of the Graveship of Holme in 1861. A second edition of this work was under preparation at the time of his death.[2]

In 1863, he was appointed to "the office of certifying surgeon for the Holmfirth district, vacant by the death of Mr. Beeley."[4] During the same year, he co-founded the Huddersfield Archaeological and Topographical Association.

He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1872.[2]

Ann Morehouse died on 14 April 1877, aged 64.[5]

In the spring of 1890 Henry James Morehouse fell ill and was confined to bed for several months. He died on 9 October leaving an estate worth £358 10s. 6d.

In their obituary, the Huddersfield Chronicle stated:[2]

Tall, straight, and of a fine presence, he had the delightfully courteous and polite manners of a real English gentleman. In his tastes he was simple and natural, having a strong passion for landscape gardening, and especially for trees, which he planted freely, and cherished with the utmost care. He did not covet notoriety, but rather shrank from public positions, and in his study and in the circle of his chosen friends he sought to use his powers and opportunities for the good of others. Amid the rush and strife of a self-seeking age, his calm and benevolent spirit and example were re-assuring and purifying, and we trust that for many years to come it may be said of him, "Being dead, he yet speaketh."

Morehouse's notebooks are held by the West Yorkshire Archive Service.[6]



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Notes and References

  1. Annals of the Church and Parish of Almondbury, Yorkshire (1882) by Charles Augustus Hulbert, page 377.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "The Late H. J. Morehouse, F.S.A." in Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Oct/1890).
  3. "Holmfirth Petty Sessions" in Leeds Intelligencer (24/Dec/1853).
  4. "Medical Appointment" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Apr/1863).
  5. "Deaths" in Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Apr/1877).
  6. West Yorkshire Archive Service (reference: KC793).