THE TWO husbands of Victorian woman Elizabeth Tattersall are both named on the same gravestone in Dockroyd cemetery in Oakworth.

The dressmaker’s first husband Joseph lies in the actual grave, but her second husband James, a local mill owner, lies half a mile away.

The gravestone is one of many researched in detail by Andrew Heaton, owner of the graveyard, for his book Dockroyd Live which accompanies his ongoing restoration of the site.

In this particular grave lies Joseph Greenwood, first husband of Mary, who was living with her in Lidget when he died in February 16, 1871 at the age of 58.

It was in November 1838 that Joseph, a farmer at Habersham Eaves near Burnley, married Elizabeth, whose parents were Jeremiah Lord, landlord of the Bull and Butcher, and Ann Tattersall, a single mother who may have worked in the pub.

Joseph and Elizabeth were still living at Habersham Eaves 23 years later, at a time when Joseph was described as a medical practitioner and Elizabeth a dressmaker.

By 1861 the couple had moved to Lidget Hill, Oakworth, where according to White’s Directory of Leeds and the West Riding, Joseph was probably a herbalist. He was known locally as Dr Joseph.

Andrew Heaton quotes local woman Anne Harley’s research into the couple:

“Herbalists worked with plants (usually dried) and used the whole plant or simple extracts rather than isolating active ingredients.

“They believed that obeying the laws of nature would restore a sick person to health.

“Therapy was designed to aid natural processes, never impede them, so poisonous medicines were not used.

“As industrialisation progressed, herbalists were increasingly consulted by patients who were less well-off.

“Despite the patronising attitude of the medical profession, they were often in demand to treat the members of friendly societies and clubs.

“However, herbalists might be prosecuted for using a title such as doctor or surgeon - so you can see why Joseph Greenwood might have been coy about his occupation in 1861.”

Following Joseph’s death in 1871, Elizabeth married James Dewhirst in July 1872, and they lived at Fisher’s Lodge, on Crossfield Road between Haworth and Oxenhope, a building constructed around 1808 by the Rushworth family and referred to locally as Russia or Rusher Mill.

J Horsfall Turner in his 1879 book Haworth Past and Present referred to the lodge as “more like a barn with a cottage chimney than what we now understand by a mill”.

The tenant was James Dewhirst, a manufacturer of Cotton Band – a consumable item used in the spinning process – and dry soap.

James’s great-great-grandson Rodney Brown, writing on the history page, said Wadsworth-born James acquired the mill and house sometime after 1861.

Rodney wrote: “Here he prospered and raised his family having found what we would now call a niche market for Cotton Band. .

“In 1840 as a young family man James was accepted on the Keighley Primitive Methodist Circuit Plan.

Steady promotion led to him becoming leader of the Mill Hey Missionary Prayer Meeting.

“An unexplained move to Manchester occurred in about 1848 where my great grandmother Grace Dewhirst was born.

“Her birth certificate shows James as a brewer. Perhaps an unusual occupation for a Methodist lay preacher.”

James’s wife Mary Anne Rawlings died in 1871, and the following year he married Elizabeth, whose first husband, Joseph, had also died in 1871.

After James died in 1890 aged 76, his name somehow came to be recorded on Joseph Greenwood’s tombstone in the Dockroyd burial ground.

The eldest of James Dewhirst’s children was also named Joseph, and he expanded his father’s business into Dunkirk Mill on nearby Oxbridge Lane.

Joseph’s daughter Emma married James Sutcliffe Heaton, with the family continuing manufacturing tape and webbing at Dunkirk Mill until the mill was recently sold for housing.

As the family line continued, James Dewhirst eventually ended up with at least 118 descendants – including the late Keighley historian Ian Dewhirst MBE.

* Dockroyd Live contains comprehensive stories about many of those buried in Dockroyd Graveyard. The book helps fund the restoration of the site by Andrew Heaton and a team of local volunteers. Visit to donate to the Dockroyd Graveyard Trust or buy the book.