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John William Longley 1847 to 1896

John William Longley 1847 to 1896

John William Longley (1847-1896) m Christiana Hodgson (1848-1922) on 11th July 1871

Polite note: This page is the text from a document that I maintain, in which there are many images. I have published the words of the document, along with other documents, such that it might prove useful to others. If you get in touch, and we can share research, I’ll happily share images.

This post is part of my broader research into the Longleys of Leeds.  

John William Longley is born on the 17th September 1847 at St Peter’s Square. He’s the 6th of the 7 children that John Longley and Elizabeth Longley (nee Demaine) have. His father John is listed as a bricklayer at the time of John William’s birth.

John William Longley b 17th September 1847. Christened on the 28th October 1847. His parents are living at 59 St Peter’s Square.

1851 : At the time of the 1851 census the family are living at 59 St Peter’s Square – though sadly George Demaine Longley has already passed away – aged less than two. John’s mother-in-law Bridget Demaine is living with them – her husband George having passed away many years previously.

 1861 : Living at home on Woodhouse Lane, possibly next to Hopewell House, with his parents. Hopewell House was located at 173 Woodhouse Lane. At the time of writing (December 2022) I have in mind that the worlds of our Longley’s and the “clever mechanic” :

Le Prince had a workshop located at 160 Woodhouse Lane. John Longley had property at 70 and 90 Woodhouse Lane in the early 1870s – a few hundred feet from Le Prince’s workshop – a place that Jim Longley is known to have visited and worked.

173 Woodhouse Lane, Hopewell House, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds.

1861 census

1869 : John William Longley registered as an Apprentice/Student of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in July 1869, residing with a Mr Rogerson in Bradford.

1870 : He passed the Minor Examination in London (the Society’s examinations were held in London and Edinburgh) and registered as a Chemist & Druggist on 19 January 1870, certificate number 1441.

1871 : 77 North Street, living only with Ellen Anderton, a House Keeper. It looks like he has set up house in preparation for his marriage later in the year.

11th July 1871 he marries Christiana Hodgson at St Maurice’s Church in York – her hometown.

Transcript: On Tuesday, at St Maurice’s church, York, by the Rev. J G Wilson, John William Longley, North Street, Leeds, to Christine, only daughter of William Hodgson, Park Place, York.

John William Percy Longley is born on the 5th July 1872
Mary Elizabeth Longley is born on the 24th November 1873.

The births of their children show them living at North Street between 1871 and 1881.

In 1873, John William sells some land:

Transcript: One of the most valuable plots of building ground in the borough of Leeds to be sold, comprising about 2765 yards situate near Reginald Terrace, Chapeltown Road – Apply John William Longley, Chemist, North Street, Leeds.

Nora Christine Longley is born on the 19th December 1875.

In April 1877, John William is elected people’s warden at St Luke’s church:

Transcript: Mr Thomas Bedford, Leopold Street, has been elected Vicar’s warden, and Mr. John William Longley, North Street, people’s warden, at St. Luke’s Church, North Street, Leeds.

23rd February 1930. St. Luke’s Church, situated at the corner of Skinner Lane and North Street, was consecrated on October 4th 1841. Stone built designed by architects William Perkin and Elisha Backhouse. The vicar at this time, Rev. John Buchanan, included the Church of St. Thomas, Melbourne Street as part of his living

Undated. This church was consecrated in 1841, the parish was united with that of St.Thomas, Leylands in 1904. The church was closed in 1937 and was demolished the following year.

Point to note: The reference above to Leylands creates a link between Thomas Longley (d1844) whose wife Sarah Longley (nee Mitchel) was buried in Leylands.

Reginald Walter Longley is born on the 26th June 1877.

A December 1878 advert:

Transcript: Chemist’s Dispensing Screen and 2 show cases for sale. John W. Longley, 73 North Street, Leeds.

Hilda Maria Longley is born on the 2nd September 1879

1881 – 73 North Street, John William is listed as a Chemist and Druggist and living with his wife Christiana (also listed as a Chemist & Druggist). They are living with their children – John William Percy (b1872), Mary Elizabeth (b1873), Nora Christine (b1875) Reginald Walter (b1877) and Hilda Maria (b1879). In addition to their clutch of children, they also have Edward A. Hanson (Chemist Assistant), Agnes Harding (Domestic Nurse) and Agnes I. Jeffcoat (Domestic Cook). So, with 2 parents, 5 children and 3 staff, it must have been a reasonably sizeable property, and potentially quite wealthy with it.

On the 13th September 1882 Hilda Maria passes away – aged just 3.

In 1891, John William is living with his children (John William Percy, Mary Elizabeth, Nora Christine and Reginald Walter) at 43 Grafton Street. They have 3 staff – Sophie Thompson (Housekeeper), Edward A. Hanson and Alice M. Evans. Christiana is visiting her widowed mother at 46 Monkgate Street, St Maurice, York. Hilda Maria appears to have passed away in 1882.

While sorting out my Dad’s house in March 2019, I happened on this photo – sat on the headboard of Muma and Dad’s bed. Seeing it, I suddenly recalled that in the dim and distant past Mum had mentioned such a photo. She had mentioned that it was an ancestor of mine – stood outside his chemist shop.

John William Longley standing outside his premises on the corner of North Street and Grafton Street. Next to him appears to be one of his daughters. My money is on the fact that it is Nora Christine. He’s an impressive looking chap – with groomed moustache, pressed trousers, and top-hat.

John William Longley. Practical and Dispensing Chemist. North Street. Bottom of Grafton Street. Leeds.

John William leaves us on the 11th of April 1896 (aged only 48) at 42 Grafton Street, where his son John William Percy Longley, also of 42 (?43?) Grafton Street, is present. The cause of death is recorded as Spastic paraplegia (cystitis 2 months).

Spastic paraplegia is a general term for a group of rare disorders that cause weakness and stiffness in the leg muscles. Symptoms gradually get worse over time.

He’s buried in Lawnswood cemetery, Leeds, Section D, Grave 443:

Transcript: John William Longley, born August 1847, died April 11 1896. Also Christiana wife of the above born April 25th 1848, died December 19th1922. Also of Nora Christine second daughter of the above born December 19th 1876, died October 17th 1944 – interred at Banham, Norfolk.

His will tells us very little about his life, his family, or the intentions for his estate. He references no property, no family by name, and no specific bequeaths or requests.

Transcript: This is the last will and testament of me, John William Longley of Leeds in the County of York chemist. I direct that all my debts, funeral and testimony expenses, and the expenses of proving and registering this my will shall be paid by my executor out of my personal estate as soon as convenient may be after my decease. I authorise my executors to expend such a sum for the purpose of providing mourning for my children and for other purposes connected with my funeral, as they may think necessary, having due regard to my position and the amount of my estate. I give and bequeath all the provisions and consumable household stores which may be in and about my dwelling house at the time of my decease unto my executor’s for their use and benefit of my children. I give, devise, and bequeath unto my brother-in-law Alfred Whitehead of Leeds, aforesaid cloth merchant and my friend John William Curtis of Leeds aforesaid cabinet maker (hereinafter called my trustees) their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns all my said real estate and all my personal estate not hereby otherwise disposed of.
Upon trust that my trustees shall sell, call in, and convert into money, the same or such part thereof as shall not consist of money and after making thereof the payments here in fore directed and authorised shall invest the residue of the monies produced by such sale, calling in and conversion or forming part of my personal estate in the names of my trustees in or upon any of the securities hereinafter authorised as investments. And shall stand possessed of the ???? trust monies and the investments for the time being representing the same upon trust to apply the interest, dividends and income thereof when and as received in or towards the maintenance, clothing and education of such of my children as shall for the time being be under the age of 21 years. And where any youngest or youngest surviving child shall attain the age of 21 years then upon trust for all my children then having and the issue, then living of such of my children as shall be then dead in equal shares per ???? and not per ????. And I empower my trustees in their absolute discretion to raise any part or parts not exceeding together one ???? of the expectant share of any child of mine under this my will and apply the same in the case of a son or grandson in order towards apprenticing or paying a premium for such son or grandson in any business or profession or otherwise for his advancement in life and to apply the same in case of a daughter or granddaughter either as a portion on her marriage or otherwise for her benefit or advancement in the world.
I empower my trustees to permit such part of my personal estate as shall at my decease be invested in or upon and stocks, funds, shares, or securities whatsoever to continue in the same state of investment so long as they shall think fit. And subject to such discretionary powers I direct that all trust money in their hands under the trusts or provisions of this my will shall be invested by my trustees in their names in or upon the public stocks or funds or government securities of the United Kingdom or upon mortgage of any freehold estate ???? in England or Wales or in or upon the ordinary preference or guaranteed stocks or shares, debentures, mortgages, or securities of any railway company in the United Kingdom or upon the bonds debentures, debentures, stock, or other securities of any municipal corporation or local Board of Health in England. And with regard to my business as a chemist and druggist, I empower my trustees to give a ???? thereof mine for the payment of the purchase money and to accept the same by instalments or to take any security seal or personal for the same and either to sell the stock debts owing to me ???? to the purchaser of the business or to compound for the same with the several debtors or allow them mine for the payment thereof and to settle all demands against my estate and all the accounts between me and any person or persons upon such terms and they shall think fit. And I declare that all trusts and powers hereinfore exposed and vested in my trustees may be exercised by the survivors of them or his heirs, executors, or administrators or other ???? trustees or trustees for the time being of this my will. And I appoint these, said Alfred Whitehouse and John William Curtis to be the executors of this my will. In witness whereof I the said John William Longley have to this my last will and testament. Set my hand this 25th day of July 1887.
Signed and acknowledged by the said John William Longley. Something and for his last will and testament in the presence of us both being present at the same time, who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto ???? our names as witnesses.
William Postlethwaite. Solicitor Leeds
Edward Albert Hansom Assistant 73 North Street, Leeds.
On the 18th day of August 1896, probate of this will was granted and Wakefield to Alfred Whitehead and John William Curtis the Executors.

Probate is granted on the 18th of August 1896 to Alfred Whitehead (cloth merchant) and John William Curtis (cabinet maker).  His effects are valued at £1405 17s 1d. It is interesting that probate is granted to Alfred Whitehead (his brother-in-law) to whom probate was also granted for his father. Applying the same calculator and year as used for his father shows an estate valued at £132K in 2011 terms – a significant reduction in wealth.

Transcript: John William Longley of North Street Leeds, chemist, died 11 April 1896. Probate Wakefield 18 August to Alfred Whitehead, cloth merchant, and John William Curtis cabinet maker. Effects £1405 17s 1d.

In 1901, Christiana is now living at 46 Monkgate Street, St Maurice, York.
In 1911, Christiana is now living at 46 Monkgate Street, St Maurice, York.
In 1922, Christiana passes away in York at the age of 74.

The children of John William and Christiana

John William Percy (1872) trains as a Chemist and Druggist before marrying Eliza Ann Russell in 1898.
At some time, presumably between 1891 (when he is listed as an Apprentice chemist and druggist) and 1901 (when he is a Commercial Whiskey Traveller), he starts bottling water. He is based at 8 Speedwell Place – located slightly to the East of St Luke’s church, and not far from North Street, where his father was based.

8 Speedwell Place, dated 1965 (

The blue bottle carries the following inscription:
Perfectly pure. Mineral waters. John W. P. Longley. Aerated water manufacturers. Leeds. Important. This syphon is thoroughly cleaned at the time it is refilled. All natural treatment?????.

In 1901 he is listed as a Commercial Whiskey Traveller – so it seems that there was no money in bottling water. They have two children. After 1911, I have no firm information, and he dies in 1941 in Southport – where other Longley’s have ended up.

Mary Elizabeth (1873) marries a solicitor Frederick John Butler-Fleming in 1906. They have three children and she dies at Fern Cottage, Houghley Lane, Bramley near Leeds in October 1956. My dad, David Michael Longley, was the sole executor of her will.

Nora Christine (b1875) doesn’t marry, and pursues a career as a trained staff nurse, spending some of her career at District Halifax Royal Infirmary. She seemingly moves to Banham with her brother (Reginald Walter), where she passes away in 1944, being buried at the Banham cemetery extension at Banham Rectory.

Reginald Walter (1877) is a man of the cloth (see later).

Hilda Maria (1879) has a very short innings, passing away aged only three in 1882.