Nancy Marsden (1798-1852)

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.

Nancy Marsden was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.


She was born on 4 June 1798, the daughter of manufacturer Joseph and Elizabeth Marsden of Cartworth, and was baptised at All Hallows, Kirkburton, on 12 June 1798. It is believed this was the Joseph Marsden recorded by local historian Alan Brooke as being linked to Choppards Mill, Cartworth, in 1815.[1]

Her father died in May 1824, having previously been declared bankrupt.

By 1841, she was living in at Hinchliffe Mill with her spinster sisters Mary and Eliza, along with Joshua Marsden and Joseph Marsden (who are believed to be the illegitimate sons of Eliza).

At the time of the 1851 Census, the Marsdens were living on Water Street, Hinchliffe Mill, where the three spinster sisters worked as dressmakers.

Mary died on 4 August 1851 aged 52.[2]


The occupants of the Marsden household were killed when a flood devastated the properties on Water Street in the early hours of 5 February 1852 after the embankment of the Bilberry Reservoir failed.

In one report[3] of the flood, it was stated that Nancy’s body was recovered from a mill dam "a little below the houses in Water Street", along with those of Charles Crosland and Sarah Hannah Dodd (both also of Water Street). However, the Huddersfield Chronicle[4] reported that "in removing the ruins of Water Street, to-day, the excavators discovered, about two in the afternoon, the body of Nancy Marsden, one of the residents of Water Street." Similarly, the Morning Post[5] reported that Nancy "was discovered beneath a pile of ruins in Water Street" on Saturday 7 February whilst the Halifax Guardian[6] stated "the body of Nancy Marsden was found in the ruins of the destroyed cottages".

Her body was taken by John Mitchell to the New Inn at Hinchliffe Mill where it was identified by Jonathan Roberts.

She was buried on Monday 9 February at Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Methodist Chapel together with her sister Eliza.

Notes and References

  1. Alan Brooke: A Catalogue of the Textile Mills and Factories of the Huddersfield Area C.1790-1914.
  2. No burial record for Mary was found during research.
  3. "More Bodies Found" in Leeds Mercury (14/Feb/1852).
  4. "Discovery of Four More Bodies" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Feb/1852).
  5. "The Holmfirth Catastrophe" in Morning Post (16/Feb/1852)
  6. "Inquests on Thirteen Bodies" in Halifax Guardian (14/Feb/1852).