George Law (1737-1788)

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George Law★, Occupation

George Law was a clothier as indicated on the baptismal record of his youngest child, Thomas, in 1782.

Birth of George Law

George Law, the son of William Law and his wife, Hannah Raynder, of Great Gomersal, was baptized in Birstall parish on February 21, 1736.

"George son of William Law of Great Gomersall"
For more information on William Law and Hannah Raynder, see below.

Marriage of George Law and Mary Wilby★

George Law married Mary Wilby in the Parish Church of Birstall on December 20, 1762. The record reads as follows,

"George Law and Mary Wilby, both of Cleckheaton in this Parish were married in this church by Banns this twentieth day of December in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty two by me, J Harrison, curate. This marriage was solemnized between us "X" George Law "X' Mary Wilby. In the presence of Wm Sugder, George Margerison."

Marriage record of George Law and Mary Wilby


  • Wm Sugder and George Margerison were the parish clerks and were not related to either George or Mary.
  • At the time of the marriage Gomersall and Cleckheaton were two little villages that abutted one another. I cannot find any Wilbys in Cleckheaton. George had been born in Gomersall. After their marriage, George and Mary lived in Gomersall where all their children were born. Why were George and Mary as listed "both of Cleckheaton" on the marriage record? There are several possibilities:
    1. It is possible that George Law was living in Cleckheaton at the time of his marriage.
    2. The record of the marriage is taken from the Bishop's Transcripts, which is not an original record. Once a year, the parishes send a copy of the baptism, marriages, and death for that year to the bishop in York. Transcription errors were not infrequent. It is possible that the listing of "Cleckheaton" is such an error.
    3. However, over and over again I have found marriages in a different village, town, or parish than the one to which all the other records for the individuals concerned are connected.


The records for Birstall parish include listings for George Law at the following "addresses":

  • Great Gomersall in 1763-66
  • Gomersall in 1768-73
  • Great Gomersall 1775
  • Gomersall Hill Top in 1778
  • Gomersall in 1782
  • Popelygate in 1785 (death of Hannah) 1788 (death of George)


  • I do not know if this meant that they moved around or it depended on the whim of the parish clerk how an address was listed.
  • Popeley (no gate listed) is on a current map of the area near the top of Gomersal hill between Oxford Road and Muffit Lane.

In Autobiography of Thomas Wright: of Birkenshaw, in the county of York. 1736-1797 edited by Thomas Wright, 1864 Gomersall Hill Top is described in a footnote as:

"A hamlet a little to the northeast of Gomersall, and not far from Birstall. It lies exactly between Great and Little Gomersall, and about equal distance from each of these places"

In 1774:
"Protesting against the proposed building of a new cloth hall on land given to the white clothiers at Gomersall Hill Top about 7 miles from Leeds, and asking for a subscription for a new hall in Leeds itself."

The Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT, England

Popeley Farms was described in 1463 as being in the township of Gomersal. (West Yorkshire : an Archaeological Survey to A.D. 1500: The administrative and tenurial framework M. L. Faull, S. A. Moorhouse West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council, 1981)

The 1847 map of the area shows Popeley House and Popeley Gate near the junction of Flush Land, Muffit Lane and Garforth Hill Lane, below Gomersall Hill Top.

Mrs. Popeley was buried in St. Peter's Birstall in 1623.

Children of George Law and Mary Wilby

George Law and Mary Wilby had at least eight children. Of the first four (born between 1763 and 1770): Hannah died at age 21 and there are no further records for Ann (1763), George (1768 and Ruth (1770).

Of the younger four born between 1773 and 1782: Benjamin (1773) married twice and had a large family, Isaiah (1775) had at least three male offspring who in turn had children, John (1778) died at age 21, and Thomas (1872) married and had one child who died at age 6.

The death records for the name Law are sparse and the only death for George Law that I found was the 1788 listing for George Law of Poperleygate pauper. Unfortunately no age is given. Was this really George born 1736? Was he a pauper at age 52? Did he leave his wife, Mary with four children ages 15 to 6 years? Is this why Benjamin Law (1773) moved to Batley where he may have fathered a child at the age of 16 and married at the age of 17? See the death record of George Law below for more information.

George Law and Mary Wilby had the following children:

  1. Ann, "daughter of George Law of Great Gomersal", was baptized November 6, 1763 (Birstall Parish Record).

    More: No further record.

  2. Hannah, "daughter of George Law of Great Gomersal", was baptized on June 2, 1765 (Birstall Parish Record).
    Death: Hannah the daughter of George Law of Popelygate, clothier, was buried July 3, 1785, age 21 (Birstall Parish Record) .

  3. George, "son of George Law of Gomersall", was baptized in August 16, 1767 (Birstall Parish Record).
    Further Records: No further record, 2014. No marriage on IGI

  4. Ruth, "daughter of George Law of Gomersall" baptized on April 8, 1770 (Birstall Parish Record).
    Further Records: No further record, 2014. No marriage on IGI.

  5. Benjamin Law★ (1772-1837), Rachael Stubley and Lydia Sheard★

    Birth: Benjamin, "son of George Law of Gomersall", baptized on November 8, 1772 (Birstall Parish Record).

  6. Further Records: Benjamin Law moved to the town of Batley in Batley Parish where he married twice, had 16 children and developed shoddy (a process for woolen weaving that changed the fortunes of the area). For more information on Benjamin Law go to Benjamin Law now or at the bottom of the page.

  7. Isaiah Law (1775-1834) and Ann (Hannah) Fearnley

    Birth: Isaiah, "son of George Law of Great Gomersall", was baptized on February 28, 1775 (Birstall Parish Record).

    Residence: Birstall - later Hudderfield

    Occupation: Clothier

    Marriage: Isaiah married Ann (Hannah) Fearnley on October 16, 1796, Birstall Parish (index).

    Hannah, baptized in Birstall on December 4, 1774, was the daughter of Joshua Fearnley.

    Isaiah Law and Ann Fearnley both of Birstall by banns. Both made their mark. 16 October 1796, Bristall Parish


    1. George Law (1797-) Sarah Crossley and Mary Burley
      Birth: George, October 1, 1797, Birstall (index)
      October 1, George son of Isaiah and Hannah Law of Birstall
      Marriage 1823: George Law, and Sarah Crossley 14 September 1823 Elland. He signed. She made her mark. Signature is similar to the marriage in 1841 but note exactly the same.
      1. William ?? circa 1826
      2. Ann circa 1828
      3. Samuel circa 1836
      4. Sarah, circa 1839
      1841 Census: Soyland, Bottom Dyson Lane, George Law 40, waist wool cleaner (?), Ann, age 13, Samuel age 5, Sarah age 2, Hannah Crossley age 70 widow, no female appropriate to be his wife. Next to them Ely Crossley age 70, weaver, and William Law age 15, cotton spinner.
      Marriage 1841: George Law age 44 widower clothier Soyland, father Isaiah Law, clothier, and Mary Burley age 45 spinster, Soyland father, Peter Burley, blacksmith, by banns. He signed. She made her mark. Elland, Parish of Halifax 31 October 1841.
      1851 Census: Croppers Row, Skircoat, George Law, head, 53, woolen cloth picker, born Birstall, Mary Law, wife, 54, head knitter for weaver, born Soyland, Samuel Law son, 14, clogger apprentice, Sarah Hannah Law, daughter, 12, servant in home
    2. Mary, April 14, 1799, Birstall (index)
      Mary of Isaiah and Hannah Law of Birstall 14 April 1799 (Parish Records)
    3. John, March 29, 1801, Birstall (index)
      John of Isaiah and Hannah Law of Birstall 29 March 1801
    4. Joshua Law (1803-) and Sarah Taylor
      Birth: Joshua, March 29, 1803, Birstall (index)
      Joshua of Isaiah and Hannah Law of Birstall 29 May 1803
      Marriage: Joshua Law and Sarah Taylor Huddersfield St Marks 21 July 1828 by banns. Both signed.
      1. Emma
      2. Benjamin circa 1837
        Marriage: Almondbury, April 10 1860 Benjamin Law age 23, bachelor, blacksmith, Crossland Moor father Joshua Law, labourer, to Ann Wilson age 21 spinster, Crossland Moor, father John Wilson, shoemaker, both made their mark. Witnesses William Garner and John Wilson.
      3. Ellen
      1851 Census: Lockwood, Milnbridge Crossland Moor, Joshua Law, head, age 49, hand loom weaver woolen born Birstall, Sarah, age 44, handloom weaver woolern, born Honley, Emma, daughter age 16, factory worker, born Huddersfield, Benjamin, son age 14, blacksmith born Huddersfield, Ellen, daughter age 12, factory worker, born Huddersfield, Elizabeth Hadiman, lodger, age 17, factory worker born Huddersfield.
    5. Nancy, March 23, 1806, Birstall (index)
      Nancy of Isaiah and Hannah Law 23 of Birstall, March 1806
    6. Benjamin Law (1808-1880) and Mary
      Birth: Benjamin, June 5, 1808, of Isaiah Law and Hannah, Birstall clothier (BT)
      Marriage: Mary ____ born Golcar (per censues)
      1. Abigail of Genj and Mary Law June 1, 1836, Paddock, Huddersfield, baptized Sept 19, 1836, Piece 2814: Huddersfield, Palemore (Pole Moor) Chapel (Baptist), 1831-1837
        Marriage: Enoch Hepworth Apr-May-Jun 1860 Huddersfield Yorkshire West Riding
        1861 Census: Huddersfield Paddock Upper Brow, Enoch Hepworth head age 25, bookkeeper in woolen warehouse, born Quarmley, Abigail, age 24, born Paddock, Mary 5 days, born Paddock.
      1841 Census: Huddersfield, Benjamin age 30, hand weaver, Mary age 25, Abigail age 5
      1851 Census: Huddersfield, Paddock Brow, Benjamin age 42, tuner of power looms, born "Birstol", Mary age 38, born Huddersfield, Abigail age 14 Schofield scholar born Huddersfield
      1861 Census: Huddersfield Paddock Upper Brow, Benjamin Law, head age 53, woolen clothier, born Birstall, Mary Law wife age 48, born Golcar,
      1871 census: Brow Road Huddersfield, Benjamin Law, head age 62, woolen tuner (looms), born Birstal Mary wife age 58, born Golcar, Thomas Shaw, boarder, teazle setter, born Dalton Ann Shaw, wife of boarder, age 51, born Huddersfield
      Death: 1880, Benjamin Law, Estimated birth year: abt 1809, Registration Year: 1880, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun, Age at Death: 71, Registration district: Huddersfield, Volume: 9a Page: 352
    7. Samuel Law (1810-1852) and Mary Garner
      Birth: Samuel, August 22, 1810 of Isaiah Law and Hannah Birstall clothier (BT)
      Marriage: Mary Graner
      Samuel Law and Mary Garner by banns 25 Dec 1831. He signed. She x'ed. Huddersfield, St Peter, St Andrew, St Mark, etc., Yorkshire, England
      1. Hannah
        Marriage: Hannah Law age 18 spinster Paddock father Samuel Law, deceased, to John Thompson age 21, bachelor whitesmith, Huddersfield, father William Thompson whitesmith. Both signed. 1 Sept 1851. Huddersfield St. Peter, St Andrew St Mark etc.
      2. Elizabeth
      3. Allan
        1871: Allen Law Age: 30 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1841 Relation: Head Spouse's Name: Eliza A Law Gender: Male Where born: Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England Civil parish: Huddersfield Ecclesiastical parish: All Saints Town: Paddock County/Island: Yorkshire Country: England Registration district: Huddersfield Sub-registration district: Huddersfield ED, institution, or vessel: 14 Household schedule number: 133 Piece: 4367 Folio: 16 Page Number: 26 Household Members: Name Age Allen Law 30 Eliza A Law 30 Mary E Law 7 Thomas Sykes 64
        Death: Allen Lewis Law Estimated Birth Year: abt 1841 Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1901 Age at Death: 60 Registration district: Huddersfield Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding Volume: 9a Page: 246
      1841 Census: Huddersfield Crossland cottages Samuel Law, age 30 cloth dresser, Mary age 28, Hannah age 7, Elizabeth age 3, Allen age 6 mo. Ann Law age 67 ind, Hannah Shaw widow independent age ? Note: Ann Law was Samuel's mother.
      Death of Saumel Law: Samuel Law, Registration Year: 1852, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec, Registration district: Huddersfield, Volume: 9a, Page: 373
      Remarriage of Mary Law: Mary Law age 38 widow, Paddock father Thomas Garner deceased, to John Foster age 27, bachelor miner, Paddock son of Joseph Foster, farmer, Dec 25 1849. Both made their mark. Witness, Benjn Law
      1851 Census: Paddock Brow Huddersfield, John Foster head age 28, watchman woolen mill born Hilsby Northhampton, Mary Foster, wife, age 37, born Huddersfield, Hanna Law,daughter age 16, weaver, Elizabeth Law, daughter age 13, Allen Law, age 10, Joshua Webb, visitor age 24, married coal miner. Children all born Huddersfield.

    Death of Isaiah Law: Huddersfield, Isaiah Law, Paddock, September 28, 1834, age 59

    Death of Hannah Law:

  8. John✟"Son of George and Mary Law of Gomersall Hill Top, clothier" was baptized on July 5, 1778 (Birstall Parish Record).
    Death: John Law of Batley, clothier, age 21, died of decline and was buried September 17, 1800 in Birstall parish (Birstall Parish BT)

  9. Thomas Law (1782-?) and Sarah

    Birth: Thomas, "son of George Law of Gomersall, clothier", was baptized on September 22, 1782 (Birstall Parish Record).
    Marriage: Unknown, Sarah

    1. John✟ of Thomas and Sarah Law, Batley, clothier November 20, 1825 Batley Parish (PR)
      Death: John Law of Batley, age 6, buried November 24, 1831

    Death: Appears to have died before the civil records started in the fall of 1837

    Censuses: No listing for either Thomas or Sarah

    Witness: Thomas was a witness at the marriage of his neice Hannah Law to Benjamin Parr in 1825.

There were no Laws listed in the Land Tax records for the village of Gomersall from 1781 to 1832 on LDS microfilm 1657962.

Death of George Law

George Law of "Popeleygate", pauper, was buried March 9, 1788 (Birstall Parish). No age was given.

The death records for the Laws in Birstall parish are limited. This is the only death for "George Law". How is it possible that he died at such a relatively young age in such poor financial state?

One possible explanation could be TB. His son John died in 1800 at age 21 of "decline". Decline was often used as a euphemism for TB. TB was a major killer of young adults. It was highly contagious and usually when one family member had it they infected other family members. There was a higher than usual number of young adult deaths in this family: Hannah (who died at age 21), John (who died of decline at age 21) and Thomas (who also appears to have died young) plus George who died at the relatively young age of 52 (apparently in poor health for some time if he had arrived at a state to be listed as "pauper" at the time of his death).

Deaths from TB had increase dramatically in the 1700s in England.

In humans, symptoms of active TB often include coughing, fever, nightly sweats and wasting of the body. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect the brain, the kidneys or the skeleton. The symptoms of TB of the lungs include persistent coughing, chest pain and coughing up blood.

It can be a very slow and debilitating wasting away which is why it was called Decline or Consumption.

About one third of the people infected with tuberculosis carry the disease without developing symptoms. This is known as latent TB. The bacteria are not active and the person does not feel sick. However, the disease can become active at any time.

This would explain why some members of the family got TB while others were spared.

Death of Mary Wilby Law

The widow Lawes of Batley was buried November 5, 1801 (Batley Parish).

Death of Other Laws

I checked the Birstall parish death records from the birth of Thomas in 1782 until 1813 (when the records on LDS microfilm 0990526 end). Some of the records are completely illegible.

I did not find the death of any of the other children of George Law and Mary Wilby Law.

  1. 1810, 12 Jul. James Law, age 72, Gomersal poor house od age (DOB c 1738)

    May be the son of William Law and Hannah Raynder. See William Law

  2. 1816, Law, James labourer, Gomersal poor house, Jan. 23, age 66 (DOB c 1742)

  3. 1828, January 17, Law, Martha, widow, Birstal age 86, "daughter of the Rev Colby vicar of this parish" noted under her name (DOB c 1742)

  4. 1845, Betty Law, 31 Jul. age 50 "wife of Titus, clothier (DOB c 1795) Titus Law clothier Brownhill, died June 28 1869 age 69.

    titus was baptized in Hobury 20 Dec. 1801 the son of James Law, spinner, and Martha.

  5. 1846, 2 Sept Law, Sarah, age 58 "wife of William Stone cutter" (DOB c 1788)

    1841 Census: Gomersal, Wm Law, 55, Sarah, 50, delver James, 15

    Marriage: Mary born Germany

    1851: Gomersal, William Law age 66, head quarryman, born Yourshire Batley, Mary wife, age 50 born Germany

    Death 1852, 27 April, 1852, Law, William "delver" Birstal age 66 (DOB c 1786)

    William Law born 1785 was the son of Michael Law, Batley Hatter, son of James, by Suzanna, daughter of John Milner.

  6. 1869, 7 Nov Ann Law, age 73 spinster (DOB c 1796)

Benjamin Law (1773), son of George Law

William Law, the Father of George Law

For information on William Law, the father of George Law, click on photo of the village of Gomersall.

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