Crossley family gravestones are relaid at Square Chapel

Members of the Crossley family, Mary, second right, and Nick, third from the right

Members of the Crossley family, Mary, second right, and Nick, third from the right

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A MYSTERY dating back through the decades has finally been closed.

The gravestones of John and Martha Crossley, and son Robert, his wife Sarah and some of the couples’ children have finally been returned to their original resting place at Square Chapel Centre for the Arts.

John and Martha Crossley, who were generous supporters of the Chapel, were both buried at the chapel.

Their work was continued by sons John, Joseph and Francis.

When the chapel became derelict in the 1970s the family decided to move the gravestones to Dean Clough.

In 1982 the stones were found to be missing when a yard was being cleared for the closure of the mill.

Almost three decades later council workers clearing ground at Exley Cemetery came across them hidden in undergrowth.

They have now been relaid in the courtyard.

Nick Crossley, the great, great, great, great grandson of John and Martha Crossley, was thrilled to hear they had been found.

Along with his aunt Mary Crossley and other supporters he arranged for the return.

A plaque to mark the gravestones has also been made, along with a panel explaining the Crossley family history and their legacy to Halifax.

Nick, who owns Avena Carpets of Boothtown, Halifax, thanked everyone at the launch.

John Crossley, who founded Crossley Carpets at Dean Clough Mills in the 1800s, found himself as head of the largest carpet manufacturer in the world. In its heyday it employed more than 4,000 people.

The family’s legacy on Halifax and its landscape is immense. As well as the mill complex at Dean Clough, nearly all of the important civic buildings in the town centre were commissioned by them. They were also responsible for numerous benevolent schemes to benefit working people, such as alms houses, the orphanage and People’s Park.