William Dyson (1807-1881)

William Dyson was a Meltham innkeeper and farmer, and is the person after whom the Wills O' Nats public house is named.


Dyson was born around 1807 in Meltham.[1]

By the time of the 1851 Census, he had married a local woman named Mary and they were running the New Inn at Cop End, Meltham, with six children. The public house was also known as "The Spotted Cow Inn" during his tenancy.

The 1861 Census lists him as having 50 acres of land, and contemporary maps imply that their farm was situated behind the inn on the lower flanks of Meltham Cop. Later on in the decade, he was one of the Guardians of the Huddersfield Union.[2]

In July 1871, William and his son, James William Dyson, were charged with assaulting a local farmer named Jonathan Waterhouse.[3]

At the time of the 1881 Census, 74-year-old William was still named as being the landlord, although newspaper articles imply that William's son Samuel had taken over that role prior to then.

He died aged 74 and was buried at Helme Church on 10 June 1881. Mary died a few years later, aged 79, and was buried with her husband on 13 November 1884.

Their son, James William Dyson, took over the inn's licence on 2 June 1885 and was the landlord until 1898, when he retired. He died on 28 November 1903.

During William's lifetime, both the inn and the immediate locale had become known as "Wills O' Nats" (meaning "William, son of Nathaniel") and the inn was finally given this name in the 1970s.

Notes and References

  1. Given that "Wills O' Nats" implies his father was named Nathaniel, he may be the son of Nathaniel Dyson (c.1782-1845?) who was baptised on 12 January 1783 and, in turn, was likely the son of Nathaniel Dyson (c.1740-1815) of Meltham. William's younger brother may have been the Nathaniel (second son of clothier Nathaniel Dyson of Meltham), who married Ellen Jones of Chester on 39 June 1844 and became an innkeeper in St. Oswald, Chester. There is also another Nathaniel Dyson of Meltham (c.1815-1846), son of miller Timothy and Mary Dyson, who died in Meltham.
  2. "Nominations of Guardians" in Huddersfield Chronicle (02/Apr/1870).
  3. "Assault Over a Water Dispute" in Huddersfield Chronicle (08/Jul/1871).