James Mettrick was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852, along with several members of his family.
He was born in 1794 in Upperthong, the son of Joseph Metrick and his wife Martha, and was baptised on 31 August 1794 at All Hallows, Almondbury.
The family surname is recorded variously as Metrick and Metterick in the historical records and newspaper articles.
His siblings included:
The details of his first marriage remain uncertain, although his wife's name was Mary and she died in June 1837. As a widower, he married spinster Mary Hirst, daughter of mason Eli Hirst, on 9 April 1843 at All Hallows, Almondbury.
The following are his known children:
The 1841 Census records him as a 45-year-old woollen clothier residing on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill, Holmfirth, next door to Joshua Earnshaw. Also living with him are seven of his children, including his married daughter Sarah and her husband William Exley.
By the time of the 1851 Census, he had married Mary, and they had several children together. In total, 14 people were living in the property, 9 of whom perished in the flood the following year.
James Mettrick, and several members of his immediate family, died when a torrent of water flooded the Holme valley. His son, also named James, made a statement to the Huddersfield Chronicle:
There were twelve of us in the house on Wednesday night when the flood broke in upon us. My father, James Metterick, was a sizing boiler, and that night he had been out collecting money, and it was late when he came home. Some time about midnight he awoke us and told us that the flood was coming. I jumped up, and after looking out of the window, pulled a pair of trousers on, and came down stairs. I met my mother at the bottom of the steps, and we thought to get a child which was sleeping in the kitchen, but we could not, and we called of my father to comp upstairs. The water was rushing in at this time, and before my father could come to us he was smothered. We had intended to escape by the door, but a “roll” of water came down and forced us back, and my mother and I ran up into the chamber, and looked out of the window. At this time the water was the height of the wall in the street, and immediately afterwards the house fell, carrying eight of us who were in the room, and one in another chamber asleep, into the river. My brother Wilson Metterick had made his escape before the flood came down. I do not remember being struck with anything, and when I recovered myself I was in Harpin’s dam, amongst a lot of wood.
His naked and badly decomposed body was eventually found in the River Aire near Castleford on Friday 2 July 1852, five months after the flood. After his son James identified the remains, they were returned to Holmfirth where James Mettrick was laid to rest on 5 July with the other members of his family who died in the flood. Mettrick was a member of the Holmfirth Old Sick Club and a large number of the society's members turned out for the funeral.
A number of newspapers reported that Metterick had £20 or £30 on his person at the time of the flood and speculated that the corpse had been robbed of the money and clothes.