James Shackleton (1851-1852)

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.

James Shackleton was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.


He was born on 7 January 1851, the son of joiner Richard Shackleton and his wife Tamar (née Green), and was baptised on 16 February 1851 at Holy Trinity, Holmfirth. He was named after his paternal grandfather, innkeeper James Shackleton.


With the exception of his eldest sister (who resided with Tamar's parents), the Shackleton family was killed in the early hours of 5 February 1852 when the Bilberry Reservoir burst its embankment.

The Huddersfield Chronicle reported on the destruction at Holmfirth Mill (Mill Hill):[1]

Immediately adjoining four cottages are swept down, and twelve lives lost. In the first house, occupied by Mr. Firth Thewlis, the family are all saved, as also the family in the second house, tenanted by Mr. John Tate ; but in the third house, occupied by Mr. Sidney Hartley, his wife, and family of nine persons, the whole of the inmates are lost, excepting four sons, who escaped on a portion of the roof left standing. The fourth house, occupied by Mr. Richard Shackleton, has suffered serious damage, and Mr. Shackleton, his wife, and three children are all drowned.

James's body was found near Thongsbridge by John Hinchliffe and taken to the Royal Oak Inn where it was identified by John Brook.

Together with his mother and his sister Hannah, he was buried on Monday 9 February at St. John's Church, Upperthong. The Loyal "Yorkshireman" Lodge No. 204 of the Independent Order of Oddfellows (Manchester Unity) who met at the White Hart Inn in Holmfirth provided £5 towards the burial costs.

Notes and References

  1. "Awful Catastrophe and Fearful Loss of Life at Holmfirth" in Huddersfield Chronicle (07/Feb/1852).