Lancashire, formerly Yorkshire, England

Lancashire RoseYorkshire Rose

1.   Researched Initially by Mrs. Mary Cole in California.  E-mail:

The following family tree is based on one sent to me by Mary Cole to which I have added details from my own database and new information as it has emerged. I have added details from further wills and made new links.  I have included information on the family of John Thornber who married Ann Mount. This information comes from my work on all the John Thornbers born in the 1760s and 1770s.  This John has been identified as the son of Richard and Jane, born about 1769 on the grounds of the age given on his death certificate and the fact that he used the names Richard and Jane for two of his first three children.  It was important to distinguish between him and another John, baptised in Gisburn in 1771, the son of John and Susannah Thornber.  This has been achieved with reasonable certainty as this latter John has been traced as the one who married Mary Holgate and named his first daughter Susan.  The age given at this John's burial, fits with birth about 1770.  (See the second chart below.)   The discovery of pedigree charts drawn up by the conveyancer, Caleb Howarth, of Marsden near Colne, has been useful.

I have added the information on the family of Henry Thornber and his wife Ellen in generation 3.  This was materially aided by Phil Hudson of Settle who pointed out to me the monumental inscriptions at Gisburn relating to James Thornber of Runley Bridge, Settle, and Thomas Thornber of Vivary Bridge, Colne.

In addition I have added information on the family of Henry Thornber in generation 4 from wills.  A collection of pedigrees from the Conveyancer, Caleb Haworth of  Marsden near Colne are preserved in Colne Public Library.  Caleb Haworth drew up the will of Ann Thornber (formerly Mount).  It shows that Ann's brother was James Mount and her two surviving children were John Thornber and Elizabeth. She was the wife of John Stansfield, cordwainer of Colne.  Haworth's chart includes details of Ann's children and grandchildren. In the tree that follows the abbreviation CC refers to Hawort's chart

The information on John and Isabella Thornber (born Blakey), in generation 4, and their children has been added as a result of research on records in Colne and Manchester.

Surnames throughout are Thornber except where otherwise stated.


DC    Death certificate
MC    Marriage Certificate
C41   Census of 1841, C51, C61 etc.
CC    Conveyancer's Chart by Caleb Haworth.

Footnote 1 James Thornber of Runley Bridge from 'The Water Spinners', by Chris Aspin

I am grateful to Bob Hayhurst for pointing out to me a new book 'The Water-Spinners', by Chris Aspin, published by Helmshore Local History Society, priced £24.95. (ISBN 0 906881 13 7). This book shows a brief family tree starting with Henry Thornber and Ellen Bulcock, married at Barnoldswick in 1748 as shown on my tree above where Henry and Ellen are in generation 3. Their children include John (1749-1824) baptised at Gisburn and married to Isabella Blakey at Long Preston in 1774. He became a linen draper in Colne and Manchester. He is said to have been a partner in the Runley Bridge enterprise until 1807. No further details are given of Mary, baptised in 1756 or Henry baptised in 1758. The daughters Margaret, Ellen and Ann are not mentioned. However, the book includes new information on the two remaining sons, James and Thomas. James is described as a cotton manufacturer at Runley Bridge and a partner in Bridge End Mill at Settle. Thomas Thornber is shown, as I have discovered, to be first of all a farmer and grazier then a butcher at Barnoldswick and Colne. He became partner in the Runley Bridge mill and at Bridge End Mill in Settle and founded Vivary Mill in Colne.

Chris Aspin gives an account of the location of the Runley Bridge Mill near Settle and draws on information from fire insurance companies and trade directories. In June of 1786 James Brennan, a merchant of Settle acquired the land at Runley Close and built a twist factory. In December of that year he insured the factory with the Sun fire office. By May of 1791 the mill was in the hands of John, James and Thomas Thornber. In 1795 John Thornber, mentioned in the Universal British Directory as a linen draper, grocer and cotton manufacturer, insured Runley Bridge and Higher Mill. The company traded as John Thornber and Company. James Thornber lived at Runley Bridge and managed the mill. James and Thomas became partners with William Garth and Giles Redmayne in Bridge End Mill in Settle. The partnership of the three brothers at Runley was ended by mutual agreement in 1807. James ran the mill until his death in 1810.

Footnote 2.

The will of Henry Thornber, the Elder, of Greengates, township of Gisburn, yeoman. Dated 6 October 1761, granted 17 December 1761. Names his son James, rents from lands called Edge and Calvay-heads in the townships of Brogden and Barnoldswick. Also mentions son John Thornber and daughter Elizabeth Wellock and land called Wood-end in Salterforth and son Henry Thornber with a wife who is not named who is an executrix. Witnesses were J. Barcroft, Mattw. Willson and John Isherwood.

Two Monumental Inscriptions at Gisburn

William Thornber of Hill Top, Barnoldswick, died 2 September 1871, aged 63, also Abigail his wife, died 13 November 1885 aged 65, also infant, Mary, died 25 May 1838, also infant, Elizabeth, died 27 January 1843, also John William their son, died 2 June 1895 aged 55, also Ellen Heaton of Barnoldswick.

In Memory of James Thornber of Runley Bridge near Settle, who died 9 August 1810 aged 52 years, also Henry son of the above who died 1 May 1820 aged 19, also James son of the above who died 16 October 1822 aged 20 years, also John son of the above who died 9 May 1845 aged 40 years also Alice wife of the above James Thornber who died April 19th 1847 aged 70 years.

William and Abigail Thornber

Census of 1841 at Barnoldswick, Yorkshire. Source Citation: Class: HO107; Piece: 1315; Book: 3

William Thornber 30 grocer, born Yorkshire
Abigail Thornber, 20, born Yorkshire
John Thornber, 1 born Yorkshire
Mary Thornber aged 20 cotton weaver, not born Yorkshire

Census of 1851 at Barnoldswick, Yorkshire. Source Citation: Class: HO107; Piece: 2278; Folio: 225; Page: 26; GSU roll: 87463.

William Thornber, 41, proprietor of houses and lands, born Barnoldswick, Yorkshire
Abigail Thornber, 31 wife, born Newsham, (Newsholm?) Yorkshire
John W. Thornber, 11, son, scholar, born Barnoldswick
Ellen Thornber, 9, daughter, scholar, born Barnoldswick

Census of 1871 at Hill Top Farm House, Barnoldswick. Source Citation: Class: RG10; Piece: 4261; Folio: 55; Page: 4; GSU roll: 848084.

William Thornber, 62, farmer of 7 acres, born Barnoldswick
Abigail Thornber, 52, wife, farmer's wife, born Gisburn, Yorkshire
John Wm. Thornber, 30, Cotton Warp Dresser, born Gisburn
Ellen Thornber, 28, Cotton Winder, born Barnoldswick.

Census in 1881 at Hilltop Farm Cottage, Barnoldswick, Yorkshire

Abigail THORNBER head, widow, 62, born Gisburn
Ellen THORNBER dau, unmarried, cotton winder, 40, born Barnoldswick

By this time John Wm has married and is found with his wife Eliza. A. and five children.

Census in 1881, Barnoldswick, Yorkshire

John W. THORNBER M 41, head, cotton warp dresser,  all family born in Barnoldswick
Eliza A. THORNBER M 35, wife
William THORNBER 9, son, scholar
Edwin THORNBER  8, son, scholar
Thomas THORNBER, 5, son, scholar
Frances THORNBER 4, dau.
Mary THORNBER 1  dau.

Footnote 3. The Will of John Thornber Tea Dealer

A copy of the will of John Thornber shown above in Generation 5. was made from which these details were abstracted. It is written in a very difficult and spidery hand and signed in a very shaky manner by the testator. After the usual instructions to pay all debts, funeral and testatory expenses he leave what remains to his nephew William Thornber of Barnoldswick, subject nevertheless to an annuity of £8 to his sister, Betty Thornber of Damhead near Barnoldswick, to be paid to her in half yearly instalments by his nephew for the duration of her natural life. Made 5 Jan 1846. He died on 11 May 1846 and the will was proved 1 June 1846 under £300.

Footnote 4. The Dewhursts and Sylko Thread

Alice Barrigan has written about the Ellen Thornber, daughter of Henry & Ellen, who married Thomas Dewhurst at Gisburn in 1782. She is writing up some history for her family who are descended from Ellen and Thomas.  Thomas diversified from farming into textiles and founded the business which became J Dewhurst & Sons.  His son John was a major millowner in Skipton, and Dewhursts was a household name for years with its Sylko thread.


Return to Thornber Families page

Index button

©  Craig Thornber, England, United Kingdom    Main Site Address:

W3C XHTML 1.0 1.0 Strict W3C CSS