Jonathan Sandford (1806-1852)

Jonathan Sandford was a scribbling miller and engineer of Dyson's Mill, Burnlee, Holmfirth, who perished in the Holmfirth Flood of 1852 with his two surviving daughters and his housekeeper, Ellen Wood.


He was born on 19 March 1806, the son of clothier Samuel Sandford of Hinchliffe Mill and his wife Hannah, and he was baptised on 7 April 1822 at All Hallows, Kirkburton.

He married Nancy Roberts on 11 April 1833 at All Hallows, Almondbury. They had two known children:

The 1841 Census listed woollen slubber Jonathan and Nancy residing at Dyson's Mill,

Nancy Sandford died on 24 June 1843.

He married spinster Elizabeth Kinder[3], daughter of Meltham clothier William Kinder, on 29 August 1844 at St. Bartholomew, Meltham, and they had two daughters:

Elizabeth Sandford died on 9 June 1849, aged 38.


Together with his two surviving daughters and their housekeeper Ellen Wood, he was killed in the early hours of 5 February 1852 during the Holmfirth Flood.

Stone mason Charles Thorpe had been in the process of helping his own family escape when he looked back towards the torrent — "I saw it like a mountain over Mr. Sandford’s house." The Huddersfield Chronicle subsequently described the ruins of Sandford's house:

...the unroofed and dilapidated house, standing in the midst of ruins still more desolate, associated as it is with the memory of one who was highly esteemed by those who knew him, excites in the mind feelings of a deep melancholy and sadness.

Unlike many of the bodies, which were quickly recovered in the days after the flood, Sandford's could not be located and his friends offered a reward — initially £10, but then increased to £100. His body was eventually found on the morning of 20 February, deeply embedded in mud near the tail goit of Messrs. Robinson's mill at Thongsbridge:

Upon removing a portion of the mud surrounding the object, they discovered it to be a human body, and from certain marks on the back, they at once identified it as that of Mr. Jonathan Sandford The body was deeply embedded in the mud, as though it had been puddled in, and occupied fully half-an hour before it could be released from its position. On being taken out of the water, it was found to be dressed in a flannel shirt, linen shirt, with, a stock round the neck, — the shirt being washed over the head.

As a number of men had been involved with the recovery of the body, solicitor C.S. Floyd was asked to rule on the distribution of the reward and the Chronicle reported it as, "William Broadhead, £50 ; John Crosland, £22 ; Hiram Earnshaw, £22 ; Joseph Earnshaw, £5, (the amount to be placed in the Savings' Bank for his benefit) ; and Abel Goldthorp, £1."

Jonathan Sandford's body was intially taken the Royal Oak Inn, Thongsbridge, before being transfered to the Crown Hotel, Holmfirth, where the coroner's jury held an inquest at 2pm. He was buried the following day at the Holmfirth Wesleyan Chapel, where his two daughters had been interned on 9 February.

Notes and References

  1. Died in September 1834 aged 14 days old and buried 14 September at Holmfirth.
  2. Born 26 April 1842. Baptised 17 July 1842 at Holmfirth. Died 5 February 1852.
  3. Born 26 May 1811 and baptised 7 September 1811.
  4. Born 8 August 1845 and baptised 2 November 1845. Died 17 December 1846. Buried at Holmfirth.
  5. Born 21 March 1848 and baptised 9 July 1848 at Holmfirth. Died 5 February 1852.

Jonathan Sandford (1806-1852)


Drowned | Mill owners | People | Victims of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852
This page was last modified on 14 April 2017 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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