Jagger Family 

Jagger: from the Yorkshire dialect for 'pedlar' or 'hawker' [1]


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The name ‘Jagger’ has had an association with the Halifax area since at least the late 1500s. However, it is almost impossible to trace this particular Jagger branch before the 19th century owing to a lack of details in records.

The earliest confirmed member was Joseph Jagger (1804 - 1864) born 22 September 1804 in Northowram. His parents were Benjamin and Mary Jagger. A Benjamin Jagger (c1775 - ?) weaver and Mary Wilkinson were married 24 March 1803 in St John the Baptist Parish Church, Halifax. They were quite possibly Joseph’s parents.

Joseph married Hannah Haggas (c1810 - 1981) 16 April 1827 at St John the Baptist Parish Church. Hannah was most likely born 16 April 1810 in Northowram and her parents were probably delver James Haggas and Grace Horsfall, who had five children altogether.

For most of his life, Joseph worked in the stone quarrying industry, first labouring as a delver then later becoming a stone merchant. At one point he was listed as being a weaver, like his father, but as sandstone quarrying took off in the 19th century in the area, Joseph was able to take advantage and do well, employing 18 men in the 1850s, as well as being a farmer of eight acres. By the turn of the 20th century, there were said to be forty quarries in and around Northowram, Southowram, Hipperholme and Brighouse producing ‘Elland Flag’, for sandstone paving used around the United Kingdom, as well as stone walls and roof slates. [2]

Joseph and Hannah had nine children who all lived to adulthood: Mary (1828 - 1903), Benjamin (1829 - 1898), Grace (1831 - c1885), John (1832 - ?), Joseph (1834 - 1890), James (1836 - ?), William (c1839 - 1895), Haggas (1841 - 1893) and Sarah Hannah (more information about her appears below). All their sons worked in the quarry business at some point and many became stone merchants themselves.

The children who had all been born by 1837 had their births registered 30 June 1837 at the Ambler Thorn Methodist New Connection Chapel in Northowram. This was possibly done because the following day, 01 July, civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began throughout England and Wales (although it was not mandatory for parents to register births until 1875).

Joseph died 10 November 1864, aged 59, and left all his possessions, investments and real estate to his wife, valued at less than £1500 (£68,000 in today’s money). Upon her death it would be divided up between the children. He was a generous man, making separate provision for his youngest son Haggas to live on the interest of £300 (worth about £13,700 today). Haggas was listed as an ‘imbecile’ on the 1871 census (a term which denoted someone with the mental age of an infant). [3] This may have been a condition since birth or perhaps caused by an accident years later.

Neither Joseph not Hannah were able to sign their own names when they married. Their sons appeared to have had some formal education but not their daughters. However, when Joseph died, his will stated that money would be provided for any child or grandchild to receive an education and certainly this happened for his grandchildren.

After Joseph’s death, Hannah did some dressmaking and looked after her grandchildren and was able to live off what Joseph had provided. She died 07 February 1891, aged 76, and was buried in the family plot at Ambler Thorn Chapel.


Sarah Hannah was born 01 July 1842 in Ambler Thorn near Queensbury. In the 1851 census, she was listed as a scholar aged nine but could not sign her name at her marriage so it is doubtful she received much education at all. She worked as a bonnet maker before her marriage, the type of work many women and children could do at home. She married Sidney Smith 27 October 1861 at St John the Baptist Church, Halifax. Her family and Sidney’s parents lived on Beggerington Lane which is most likely how she and Sidney knew each other.  

Sarah died 11 January 1904 and Sidney 03 September 1909. They were both buried in Ambler Thorn Chapelry. Intriguingly, their headstone is said to also mention “…Fred their son who died July 23 1905 aged 1 year and 11 months”. The headstone could have been mis-transcribed as Sarah would have been too old to have this child. So far nothing about Fred Smith has been discovered.




[1] www.surnamedb.com/Surname
[2] ‘Strategic Stone Study: A Building Stone Atlas of West and South Yorkshire’ by English Heritage (2012) (https://www.bgs.ac.uk/downloads/start.cfm?id=2509)
[3] ‘Morons, Imbeciles and Idiots’ by Campbell M Gold (2011), (