The Briggs branch of the family starts with my mother, Alice Thorburn Briggs (2) and can at present be traced back for seven generations. The generations back from my mother's father are all shown in the Currer and Briggs pedigree drawn up by Foster 1879, and many details of the Briggs and connected pedigrees, not all of which are yet included in these pages, have also been provided by Mary Southwell.

Briggs generations

Generation Briggs ancestor Spouse Date and place of marriage
R Alice Thorburn BRIGGS (2) (1909-1999) Bertram STOWELL(1) (1910-2003) 03 Oct 1933 at St. Aidan's Presbyterian Church, Didsbury, in Manchester.
Q Christopher Rawdon BRIGGS (3) (1869-1948) Helen Thorburn RIDDEL(4) (1882-1949) 27 Mar 1902 at St. Aidan's Presbyterian Church, Didsbury.
P Archibald BRIGGS(5) (1833-1886) Alice Sophia STEWARD(6) (1841-1931) 11 Sep 1860 at Llandudno, Caernarvon, Wales.
N/O Henry BRIGGS(7) (1797-1868) Marianne MILNES(8) (1801-1886) 03 Jun 1824 at Thornhill by Dewsbury, W.R. Yorks.
M Rawdon BRIGGS(9) (1758-1835) Ann CURRER(10) (1763-1802) 1st wife 10 Oct 1791 at Clapham, W.R. Yorks.
L John BRIGGS(11) (1727-1782) Mary RAWDON(12) (1734?-1799) 14 Jan 1754 at Bilbrough, Yorks.
K John BRIGGS(13) (1693?-?) Sarah BUTTREY(14) (ca. 1704-?) 22 Jun 1726 at York Minster.

My mother, and her parents, have separate pages of their own (see the links above), and in due course the older generations will also have theirs.

Archibald BRIGGS

According to the IGI, my great-grandfather Archibald Briggs (5) was born in Wakefield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on 16 Jan 1833, the son of Henry Briggs(7) and Marianne Milnes(6). He was christened at the Westgate Presbyterian Church, Wakefield, on 15 May 1833. My reading of the records of the Westgate chapel on the LDS FHL British film 828167 is that his birth and baptism took place in 1834.

He married Alice Sophia Steward(6) at Llandudno, Caernarvon, Wales, on 11 Sep 1860 and I have a (not very good) photocopy of the original entry in the marriage register copied from microfilm. On the marriage certificate Archibald is described as a merchant, of Anfield, Liverpool, and his father, Henry, is described as a coal proprietor. Alice Sophia’s father is just described as "gentleman".

Alice Sophia writes a lot about Archibald in the extracts from her diary, which she had printed in 1917 and which will eventually be transcribed. Archibald died in the early hours of 19 Jul 1886, it is presumed by drowning in Lake Garda, off Salò, where they were living at the time. Much information on Archie's life remains to be extracted from Alice Sophia's diary.

Archibald and Alice Sophia had six children.

Children of Archibald Briggs(5) and Alice Sophia Steward(6)

Name Notes
Alice Louisa Briggs(191) born Jul 1861 in Wakefield. Died, unmarried, of TB on 25 Jul 1883, apparently in Switzerland as her death was registered at the British Consulate in Berne. See her separate page for more details, including extracts from Leaves from the Diary of A.S.B.
Charlotte Mary ("May")Briggs(192) born 22 Jul 1864, I think in Algiers, weighing only 3 lb. Met Camillo Trivero(193) of Turin during the winter of 1890/91, and married him on 4 Sep 1891. Their first baby was stillborn in July 1892. Their second child Louisa Alicio was born in 1894 and died when only 14 days old.
James Archibald Briggs(194) born 23 Feb 1867 at Outwood Hall, Yorkshire. Married Lucia Tracagni in 1890. On 11 Jun 1892 Nora Giulia was born. Their two other children, Archibald Fabio (1893-94) and Sylvia (1895-96) both died in infancy. Nora married Vgo. Visentini in 1901. I don't know whether they had children. James Archibald died 1896.
Christopher Rawdon Briggs(3) born 8 Oct 1869 at Moorhouse, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Married Helen Thorburn Riddel(4) on 27 Mar 1902, with whom he had four daughters (see his entry above). Died 20 Dec 1948.
Dorothy Lacelle Briggs(195) born 1873. Died 1959.
Alice Olga Briggs(196) Born in Germany, Cannstatt, I think, on 25 Jul 1883. Married John Russell Scott(197) in 1908, and they had five children, all of whom married and had issue. She died in 1978. See the Scott page for some more details of her life and family.


Henry Briggs(7) was born in 1797 in Halifax, Yorkshire, and some of the IGI entries say at Birstwith Hall. His parents were Rawdon Briggs(9) and Ann Currer(10). He was christened on 06 Oct 1797 at Northgate End Presbyterian Church, in Halifax (IGI based on church records). On 03 Jun 1824 at Thornhill by Dewsbury he married Marianne Milnes(8), daughter of James Milnes(299) of Flockton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The wedding was by licence, and in the transcript of the entry in the marriage register Henry is described as being of Luddenden Foot, Halifax, and at this time he was still associated, and had been since 1816, with the firm of Currer, Briggs and Co. of Luddenden Foot, near Halifax. One of the witnesses at Henry's marriage was William Briggs, probably Henry’s brother, and the others were all Stansfields, and were probably relations through Thomas Stansfield who married Henry’s sister Ann, and William Stansfield who married Marianne's sister Margaret.

  Henry Briggs thumbnail  
Henry Briggs(7)

Henry Briggs(7) is noted above as being a coal proprietor. The pamphlet A Merchant, A Banker and the Coal Trade written by Donald Henry Currer Briggs in about 1971 has a lot to say on how the family got into the coal trade, and includes the photograph at the left.

The town of Wakefield has its own website which says that Whitwood Colliery, Wakefield, was owned by Henry Briggs, Son & Company. It also says that Briggs was the first mine owner to employ a profit-sharing scheme for his workers, another matter treated in some detail in Donald Briggs's pamphlet. Henry Briggs commissioned Charles F. A. Voysey, who became an internationally recognised architect, to design housing – Whitwood Terrace – and a Miner’s Institute for his workforce. The miner's institute building still stands, but is now a pub.

Whitwood Colliery was sunk in 1874, coal was reached on December 14th 1876, and finally closed about 1970. If those dates are correct, then Henry himself cannot have had all that much to do with this colliery, as he died in 1868.

A paper which I have is part of the Royal Commission Report of 1842, looking into the employment of children in the mines. There are various references to mines owned by the Briggs family, or jointly with the Stansfields. The website of the Coal Mining History Resource Centre lists a number of mines as belonging to H. Briggs & Son or H. Briggs & Son & Co. Ltd. (in 1869 or 1880). These mines are Don Pedro, Goodhope, Haigh Moor, Methley Junction, Saville and Silkstone in Normanton with Streethouse in Pontefract and the Whitford mine in Wakefield already mentioned which was where the firm was based. There are other mines listed as owned by a Briggs, which may or may not be the same firm, as the Briggs name is quite common in Yorkshire.

Marianne Briggs (née Milnes) died in 1886.

Children of Henry Briggs(7) and Marianne Milnes (8)

Name Notes
Henry Currer Briggs (198) of Glenhow, Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Born at Overton 2 Mar 1829, baptised 26 May 1829, registered at Wesgate Chapel, Wakefield and at Dr Williams's library, London. Married Catherine Shepherd of Wakefield on 20 Apr 1854 and had issue. Died in Oct 1881. There is a separate section on the descendants of Henry Currer Briggs.
William Briggs(200) Born 9 Apr. 1831 at Overton at about 1 o'clock in the morning and was christened 2 Aug 1831 by the Rev. Thomas Johnston, Minister of the Unitarian Chapel at Westgate, Wakefield. William died of croup at half-past nine on Thursday evening 7 Jan 1836 and was interred on Wednesday 13 Jan in the vault adjoining the centre of the south wall of Flockton Chapel aged four years and nine months.
Archibald Briggs(5) of Stanley Hall, Wakefield. Born at Overton 16 Jan 1833 (or 15th, the entre is not very clear) at about nine o'clock at night, baptised 15 Apr (or May?) 1833 by Rev. William Turner (Junior) of Halifax and his certificate of baptism was given to Rev. P. Cannon of Westgate Chapel, Wakefield, for registration. Also registered at Dr. Williams's library, London. Married Alice Sophia Steward at Llandudno on 11 Sep 1860. Died in Lake Garda, Italy, in 1886. See also his separate entry above.


Rawdon Briggs(9) was born on 23 Oct 1758 in Kingston upon Hull,Yorkshire, the son of John Briggs(11) and Mary Rawdon(12). On 10 Oct 1791 he married Ann Currer(10) at Clapham, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The celebrant was the Rev. William Currer, the bride's father. The transcript of the marriage register gives Rawdon Briggs as of the Parish of Halifax, gentleman. From this it would appear that he moved from Hull to Halifax before he married. Witnesses to the marriage were John Rhodes, a business partner of Rawdon Briggs (see below) and Will. Currrer. According to the manuscript by Alice Sophia Briggs (née Steward), Rawdon Briggs was a banker in Halifax.

Ling Roth (1914) first mentions Rawdon Briggs when, in 1807, he was appointed to the Committee of Superintendants in connection with the winding up of the banking firm Bros. Swaine & Co. At that time he is described as being of Wards End, Halifax. He is also mentioned as being, in 1797, a trustee of the Northgate End Chapel, Halifax. Shortly after the failure of Bros. Swaine & Co., a new bank opened, with an advertisment in the Halifax Journal:

HALIFAX NEW BANK, Messrs. JOHN RAWSON, WILLIAM RAWSON, JOHN RHODES AND RAWDON BRIGGS have this day opened a New Banking House in George Street in this town, July 18, 1807.

Ling Roth thought that, given that three of the partners were creditors and assignees of the failed Swaine's bank, the new bank probably took over the business of Swaine's. There is also a note that Rhodes and Briggs were already in partnership as merchants, at Saville Green, but nothing is said about the nature of their business.

Early in 1811, the original partnership of the bank known as RAWSON, RHODES AND BRIGGS was dissolved, and two new banks established. The Rawsons went off and, with Christopher Rawson, formed JOHN, WILLIAM & CHRISTOPHER RAWSON & CO, while John Rhodes and Rawdon Briggs took John Garlick as partner and formed the banking firm RHODES, BRIGGS & GARLICK. In about 1815, John Garlick died and the firm became known as RHODES BRIGGS & CO. Then in January 1818 John Rhodes died, aged only 59, and the firm became RAWDON BRIGGS & SONS. The 1820s were turbultent times for banking generally, but the two Halifax banks survived, perhaps because they concentrated on the banking and did not try to carry on other businesses at the same time as so many others did. Ling Roth says that Rawdon Briggs seems to have relinquished manufacturing and merchanting when he started banking, and was always styled banker after 1807.

Rawdon Briggs and Ann Currer had six children.

Children of Rawdon Briggs(9) and Ann Currer (10)

Name Notes
Rawdon Briggs(201) of Halifax, born 17 Aug 1792. He married Matilda, dau. of John Greenwood of Knowle, Keighley in 1820 and had three children, of whom one died in infancy. This Rawdon died 29 Jun 1859 at Birstwith Hall, Ripley. For further details of him and his descendants, see his separate page.
William Briggs(203) of Halifax, born 30 May 1794, married Mary Frances Robinson, daughter of John Briggs Robinson of Leicester, in 1836, and had seven children. J.P. for the West Riding. There is a separate page on the descendants of this William.
Ann Briggs(205) According to the IGI, based on church records, she was born on 29 Jan 1796, presumably at Birstwith Hall, and was baptised on 18 Apr 1796 at the North Gate End Presbyterian church, Halifax. Another IGI entry, this time a member submission without source details, indicates that she married Thomas Wolrich Stansfield(206) on 04 Oct 1820, and it is likely that this wedding would have been at Halifax. Stansfield was of Burley Wood, near Leeds. For details of their eleven children, see the separate Stansfield page. Again according to the IGI, unsourced, Anne died on 12 Apr 1862. There is a GRO deaths index entry for the Jun quarter of 1862 for an Anne Stansfield registered at Clifton (vol.6a, p.42) which may be hers.
Henry Briggs(7) of Overton and Outwood, Wakefield, born 10 Oct 1797. Married Marianne Milnes(8) and died 4 Oct 1868 ( see separate entry).
Charlotte Briggs(207) When she died in 1889, her age was given as 89, making her born either in 1799 or 1800. In various census returns her place of birth is given as Halifax. On 23 Oct 1821, at Halifax, she married Christopher Rawdon(208) (IGI based on church records). He was 19 years older than her. I do not at the moment know anything about any children they may have had. Christopher Rawdon died in 1858, whereas Charlotte died in 1889 (GRO deaths index Mar 1889, Newton Abbott, vol.5b, p.116). In between she moved a lot. The 1861 census finds her living in Clifton as head of household, described as a land and house proprietor, with her unmarried niece Sophia Stansfield, age 26, as a visitor. Ten years later she is living in Pembridge Street, Kensington, London, still head of household and now living off income from dividends, and with three unmarried Stansfield neices (Anne aged 49, Matilda aged 37, and Sophia aged 36) apparently living with her as they are not described as visitors. By 1881 she is back in the West country, living at Tormoham, Torquay in Devon, still head of household, still with Anne, Matilda and Sophia Stansfield, and now also with William Hardy and his wife Matilda, described as nephew and neice, and aged respectively 59 and 52. I do not at the moment know where these various relations fit into the family, not yet having followed up the Stansfields.
Ellen Briggs(209) According to the IGI based on church records, baptised on 27 Nov 1801 at the North Gate End Presbyterian church, Halifax, and she was presumably born at Birstwith Hall. She died unmarried.

Rawdon Briggs, sen., died on 15 Apr 1835 in Halifax, and was buried there.

From 1826, following an Act of Parliament, private banks began turning themselves into joint stock banks. Shortly after the Rawsons had issued a circular announcing the formation of a joint stock company, the Briggs issued an advertisment dated 22 Apr 1836. The new bank was established by a Deed of Settlement dated 25 Jun 1836, and the bank opened its doors as the HALIFAX COMMERCIAL BANKING CO. on 1 Jul 1836 with 172 partners. The directors of the bank were Rawdon Briggs, Chairman, and his brother William Briggs, Deputy Chairman, with Geo. Pollard, Jonathan Akroyd, John Holland, Royston Oliver and Geo. Binns.

John BRIGGS (Jun)

John Briggs (11), my four-times great grandfather, was born in Kingston upon Hull on 23 Mar 1727, and was baptised at the Bowlalley Lane Chapel on 12 Apr 1727. He was the son of another John Briggs(13) and Sarah Buttrey(14). In the baptismal records of his children he is described as a merchant of Hull. On 14 Jan 1755 he married Mary Rawdon(12). Mary was the daughter of Christopher Rawdon(297) of Bilborough in the Ainstie of the County of York, and Sarah Harrison(298) his wife. A Mary Rawdon was christened in 1734 at St. Mary Bishophill Senior, in York. The marriage of John and Mary took place at Bilborough, Yorkshire. This John Briggs died on 19 Mar 1782, and his wife Mary died on 25 Dec 1799, aged 67 years. This would suggest that she was born in 1732, not 1734. There are 12 children of a John Briggs, merchant of Hull, who were all baptised in the Bowlalley Lane chapel in Hull. The 1874 pedigree by Joseph Foster (1874) also indicates that there were altogether 12 children, though only Rawdon Briggs is listed by name.

Children of John Briggs(11) and Mary Rawdon(12)

Name Notes
Sarah Briggs(308) born 31 Dec 1755, baptised 14 Jan 1755/56.
John Briggs(309) born 14 July 1757, baptised 22 July 1757. A John Briggs son of John was buried 30 Mar 1767, but possibly not this one.
Rawdon Briggs(9) born 23 Oct 1758, baptised 30 Oct 1758. Married Ann Currer(10) in 1758. Died 15 Apr 1835. See also entry above
Mary Briggs(310) born 31 July 1760, baptised 7 Aug 1760
Harrison Briggs(311) born 22 Jan 1762, baptised 1 Feb 1762. Married Elizabeth Brough (370) at Hessle by Hull on 16 Dec 1784 by whom he had 7 children. The youngest child, another Rawdon Briggs(1041), was born in 1793 and was the father, by his second wife Esther Mary Holmes Maiben(1045), of Rawdon Bentley Briggs(1047) who emigrated to Australia and one of whose descendants, Mary Briggs Colquhoun, wrote My Family Chronicle. For further details of him and his descendants see his separate page
Elizabeth Briggs(312) born 29 Apr 1763, baptised 14 May 1763
Christopher Briggs(313) born 13 Jun 1764, baptised 13 Jun 1764. Died 14 Oct 1765 aged 16 months and buried 17 Oct.
Thomas Briggs(314) born 7 Oct 1765, baptised 8 Oct 1765. Died 2 Mar 1767 aged 18 months.
Christopher Briggs(315) born 28 Dec 1766, baptised 28 Dec 1766
Richard Briggs(316) born 7 Dec 1768, baptised 14 Dec 1768. Died 28 May 1773 aged 5 years and 5 months and buried 29 May.
Ann Briggs(317) born 6 Sep 1770, baptised ? (entry illegible)
Charlotte Briggs(318) born 2 May 1772, baptised 3 May 1772. Died 21 Mar 1796 aged 24.

Sarah and John were baptised respectively by a Rev. Mr Cordingley and a Rev. Mr Ellis. All the other children were baptised by a Mr John Beverley. Both Christophers were baptised on the day they were born. The burial records described below show that the first Christopher died in infancy. Thomas's birth and baptism are also only a day apart, suggesting that he may have been a sickly baby. The year of Ann's birth and baptism can be inferred from preceding entries in the register, but the date of her baptism is not legible. Her entry is the last on a page and the bottom of the page has become too dirty for the microfilm to be legible. These names and dates come from the register of the Bowl Alley Lane Chapel, and may reasonably be presumed to be the children of John Briggs(11) and Mary Rawdon(12), though the register makes no reference to the mother's name.

The 1874 pedigree by Foster includes a copy of an inscription upon a tablet in memory of this John Briggs which was in the Bowl Alley Lane Chapel.

To the memory of Mr John Briggs, a zealous and valuable member of this congregation and for many years a Trustee of the Chapel.

And also to the memory of Mary Briggs, his amiable and excellent wife, daughter of Christopher Rawdon, Esqre., of Bilborough, near York.

This tablet was erected by their surviving children, in testimony of their filial respect and veneration for the many virtues of their excellent parents.

Mr. Briggs died March 19th, 1782, aged 55 years, highly esteemed as a man of truly christian priciples and upright conduct.

Mrs. Briggs died Dec 25, 1799, aged 67 years, sincerely respected by all who knew her.

It appears that John Briggs and Mary his wife were both buried at the Air Street cemetery in Hull, formerly the burial ground of St. Mary's Sculcoates. The East Yorkshire FHS noted the following MI on a flat stone at Air St.

In memory of
CHRISTOPHER the son of
who died the 14th of Octr 1765 aged 16 months
Also THOMAS who died March the 27th 1767 aged 18 months
And RICHARD who died May the 28th
1773 aged 5 years & 5 months
Here also lie the remains of JOHN BRIGGS
the father of the [ ] children above mentioned
who died March the 19th 1762 in the 55th
year of his age, leaving issue 4 sons & 5 daughters.
This stone likewise covers the remains of
CHARLOTTE daughter of JOHN & Mary BRIGGS
who died 21st March 1796 aged 24 years
Also is interred here MARY BRIGGS who
after having sustained in a most exemplary
manner during 44 years the important
duties of a wife and parent departed this
life 25th December 1799 aged 65 years.

The same East Yorkshire FHS publication also gives what appear to be extracts from the burial register of St. Mary's, Sculcoates, indicating burial dates for the children Christopher, John and Richard, as well as of John and Mary Briggs. John Briggs was buried on 22 Mar 1782 and is described as a Ship Insurance Broker. His wife Mary was buried on 30 Dec 1799. The burial dates for the children are included in the table above.

John BRIGGS (Sen.)

John Briggs (13), my five-times great grandfather was thought to have been born about 1701, also in Kingston upon Hull. The family tree drawn up by Mary Southwell (1986) has the year of his birth as 1673 (possibly a transcription error), whereas the pamphlet by Donald Henry Currer Briggs (1972) gives 1693, which seems more likely, though he does not say where the date comes from. On 22 Jun 1726 John married Sarah Buttrey(14), also of Kingston upon Hull, who is thought to have been born about 1705. This marriage took place at York Minster, and according to Donald H. C. Briggs (1972) the register describes them both as citizens of Hull. I do not know when this John Briggs died, nor do I know who his parents were. Mary Southwell indicates that he and Sarah had three children. Foster (1874) mentions only John junior.

Children of John Briggs(13) and Sarah Buttrey (14)

Name Notes
John Briggs(11) Born at Hull on 23 Mar 1727 and baptised at Bowlalley Lane Chapel 12 Apr 1727. Married Mary Rawdon(12) (1732-1799) on 14 Jan 1754/55 at Bilborough, Yorks. Died 19 Mar 1782. See entry above for their children.
William Briggs(392) Born 1729. Baptised at Bowlalley Lane Chapel, Hull on 07(?) Nov 1729.
Anne Briggs(393) Born 1734. Baptised at Bowlalley Lane Chapel, Hull on 16 Dec 1734.

The early entries in the register of the Bowlalley Lane Chapel mostly do not give the father's name. The entry for Anne Briggs does however say that she was the daughter of John Briggs. There is a fourth Briggs baptism in the register, that of a Thomas Briggs baptised on 3 Jul 1732, and in view of the date and of there being few Briggs entries, this may also be a child of John and Sarah.

The pamphlet by Donald H. C. Briggs(1972) says:

John Briggs was a merchant in the export trade of Hull, he was particularly connected with woollens and textiles produced in the active industrial areas centred around Wakefield, Halifax and Leeds, all places connected to the port by water transport, either river or canal. At that time protestant dissenting groups in the Hull district met frequently in private houses and John Briggs was one of their number who eventually joined together to build Bowlalley Lane Unitatian Chapel, (circa 1725) with a seating capacity of 450; the members of the congregation reached about 120.

At the moment I have no earlier information on this Briggs family, though it is written in the Introduction of Davidson (1986) that Noel Currer-Briggs had found that this John Briggs was the son of yet another John Briggs, a barber-surgeon and peruke-maker.

Home   |     Top of page    |    Surnames

© John Stowell 2004/2006