William Exley (c.1820-1852)
William Exley was a victim of the Holmfirth Flood of 1852, along with several members of his family.
He was born in the Township of Wooldale and is likely the William Exley born on 12 February 1820, the son of Charles and Martha Ezley of Cliff, who was baptised on 29 July 1820 at Holy Trinity, Holmfirth.
At the time of the 1841 Census, he was residing in the household of James Mettrick at Hinchliffe Mill along with Sarah Exley (aged 15). It is unclear if Sarah was his younger sister or perhaps his wife:
- if she was his sister, no baptismal records for were found for her during research
- if she was his wife and the daughter of James Mettrick, no baptismal or marriage records were located
William was still residing in the Mettrick household on Water Street in the 1851 Census, when he was described as being James Mettrick's son-in-law. However, it remains unclear which of James' daughters William had married and it may be that he was instead in a relationship with James' married daughter Betty (whose husband Enos Earnshaw had left for America in 1846, possibly deserting Betty and her young son).
A note in The Flood Came and Took Them All Away (1852) described William as "insane" however no other references to this were found during research and he was employed as a "sizer boiler" in 1851.
Along with nine members of the Mettrick household, Exley was killed by the Holmfirth Flood of 1852.
According to a statement by John Charlesworth, the houses on Water Street were three stories high and six of them were destroyed.
He was buried on Sunday 8 February at Hinchliffe Mill Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.