Mary Hinchliffe (1850-1914) née Earnshaw

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.

Mary Earnshaw was one of the 1852 Flood Orphans.


She was born on 22 August 1850, the daughter of John Earnshaw and his wife Ann (née Cartwright).

Her father died in March 1852 after contracting typhoid fever whilst assisting with the salvage operation after the Holmfirth Flood of 1852. Her maternal grandmother Mary, who "had a very narrow escape from drowning" when the flood waters entered her house, was left weakened by the experience and also succumbed to the fever that killed John.

The United Committee of Huddersfield and Holmfirth — "appointed for the collection and management of the funds for the relief of the sufferers by the bursting of the Bilberry Reservoir" — had appointed a subcommittee to investigate the circumstances of those orphaned by the flood. Although Mary's mother was still alive and pregnant, the committee designated her as one of the eleven orphans and she was awarded 4 shillings per week until she reached the age of 16.

Mary's younger sister Ann was born during the third quarter of 1852. In 1855, Mary's mother married widower coal agent Edward Goldthorp of Shepley on 15 February 1855 at All Hallows, Kirkburton.

She married joiner Tom Battye Hinchliffe of Hinchliffe Mill on 15 June 1876 at St. John, Upperthong. On the same day, her sister Ann married Tom Sykes.

The couple had two known children:

  • Alice Ann Hinchliffe (1877-?)[1]
  • Herbert Hinchliffe (1878-1902)[2]

By 1911, Mary was a widow and working as a grocer shopkeeper at 6 Wellington Avenue, Whalley Range, Manchester.

Mary Hinchliffe died in 1914, aged 63.

  1. Born 20 March 1877 and baptised 5 July 1877 at Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Chapel.
  2. Born 9 October 1878 and baptised 30 January 1879 at Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Chapel. Married 1900 at Chorlton, Lancashire, to Elizabeth Cowpe. Died 1902 aged 23.