Information for this line comes from:

  • a collection of BMDs included in Notes on Members of the Family of Kelsall by John Kelsall, presented to the Society of Genealogists, London, Sept. 1916. John Kelsall’s handwritten manuscript is available on FamilySearch and Google Books, although parts are difficult to read. A transcription may be viewed here.
  • Information received from Paul Kettlewell and Paul’s tree on Ancestry
  • Independent research by Peter Kelsall.

Mottram in Longdendale is a village within the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside, in Greater Manchester. Historically part of Cheshire, it lies in the valley of Longdendale, on the border with Derbyshire and close to the Peak District. Mottram in Longdendale Parish was one of the eight ancient parishes of the Macclesfield Hundred of Cheshire.


Mottram was active in the early stages of industrialisation, and there were significant cotton spinning mills but these early mills in Mottram became uneconomic and harder to run. Stalling industrialisation led to social conflict and hunger during 1812 Luddite riots that led to the smashing of labour-reducing machines. By 1860 the population had peaked.

The Kelsall line was involved in cotton spinning in Mottram in the 18th century. Henry Kelsall who died in 1770 is identified in his will as a manufacturer of fustian, a heavy cloth woven from cotton. A company Kelsall and Marsland owned a mill at Broadbottom, built in 1793 according to a list of Longdendale mills. From the Broadbottom Community Association, Best Hill Mill was built by Kelsall and Marsland around 1784. Kelsall and Marsland was dissolved in 1875 as reported in the London Gazette. By that time two descendants had become wealthy mill owners and manufacturers elsewhere, Henry Kelsall in Rochdale and William Kelsall in Leeds.

From John Kelsall’s notes, this line starts with a Henry Kelsall of Mottram who died in 1726.  Henry married Mary Morehouse at Mottram in Longendale 12 May 1706 (indexed on FamilySearch as Kellshaw). Mary died in 1760 age 79.  I have not found an original source for Henry’s birth.  It is noted that his wife was born in about 1680.

From online sources (Ancestry, Family Search, Findmypast) the earliest Kelsall found in Mottram in Longendale is James Kelsall who married Ellyn Worth (aka Woothe) 18 Nov 1619 (from England, Select Marriages, 1538-1973). There is then an Anne Kelsall baptised 11 December 1666 father William (England Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975); William Kelsall married Martha Cooper 17 July 1694. (Cheshire England Select Bishop’s Transects 1576-1933); and Sarah Kelsall baptised 21 February 1691 father John (England Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975).

From this information I have not been able to determine the origins of the Mottram line. Mottram in Longdendale is only about 15 miles from the known Kelsall trees at Etchells and Bradshaw Hall but I do not see connections. Bradshaw is unlikely, because the Kelsalls of Bradshaw Hall were gentry, whereas the Kelsalls of Mottram were initially yeoman farmers; there is also no candidates in the Bradshaw pedigree. Etchells is more likely than Bradshaw based on socioeconomics, but I do not see a connection in the Etchells BMDs. The Mottram line could have originated anywhere in East Cheshire. It is noted

that there are no references to Kelsall in the extensive history of Mottram in East Cheshire: past and present; or, A history of the Hundred of Macclesfield (Earwaker, J. P., 1880).

The following graphic shows the lineage from Henry to David Kelsall and Mary Platt, parents of several prominent sons as well as Hannah, the great great grandmother of Paul Kettlewell.

Henry Kelsall 1670 (died 1726) married Mary Morehouse at Mottram in Longendale 12 May 1706. The will of Henry Kelsall yeoman of Mottram 1726, on line at FMP refers to beloved wife Mary and George Moorhouse, plus “said children” but I don’t see them named.

From John Kelsall, Henry and Mary had two sons:

  1. William Kelsall 1707 – 1796, married Grace Brownhill on October 22, 1727, in Ashton under Lyne. Kettlewell lists six children, Ellen, Henry, George, George (after first died), Elizabeth, William. Henry 1731 – 1807 is discussed below.
  2. Henry Kelsall 1715 – 1770, married Mary. This is likely the Henry who died 1770 with a will preserved at Chester, identified as Henry Kelsall of Mottram, fustian (heavy cloth woven from cotton) maker. Eight children are listed by Kettlewell. Daughter Sarah married John Marsland; their grandson Henry Kelsall Marsland, part owner of Kelsall and Marsland when it was dissolved in 1875.

Online records (Cheshire Diocese of Chester BTs baptisms 1576-1906) also show James baptised 26 Nov 1718 father Henry, and Betty baptised 7 Jun 1726 father Henry.

Henry Kelsall 1731 – 1807 married Ann Jackson on December 19, 1757, in Mottram and had four children, David, Sarah, David (after first died), Mary (Kettlewell tree). Copy Probate of will of Henry Kelsall of Brown Road in parish of Mottram-in-Longdendale, yeo. Will: 21 Nov. 1800, Pr. 26 Sep. 1807

Description: Devises freehold prem. in Saddleworth parish, co. York, to various trustees, in trust for his son David, and daughter Sarah, wife of Jesse Ainsworth. Devises leasehold prem. in Wednesough in Hollingworth to same trustees, on trust to use rents for education of grandsons Henry, Robert and David Kelsall. Exors: Trustees, son David, grandson David Ainsworth.

David Kelsall 1765 – 1842 married Mary Platt on 8 May 1792 at Stockport and had ten children, Henry, Robert, David, Charles, Samuel, William, Mary Ann, Hannah, Jackson, Sarah (Kettlewell tree). David was listed as a farmer in the 1841 census, age 70 with daughters Mary and Sarah.

Sons of David Kelsall and Mary Platt are discussed below.

Henry Kelsall 1793 – 1869

Henry became one the largest mill owner in Rochdale. He married his cousin Lydia Ainsworth 15 April 1819. Their children were:

  • Henry married Hannah Grissell Birkett in Norfolk in 1854 died 15 August 1871 at Kincardine Castle, Perth reportedly as a result of a shooting accident. Hannah and Henry had three children, Henry 1856, Mabel 1860 and Lydia Grissell 1863. The son Henry married Mary Eudoxia Dallas in 1889. One of their Sons, John Lindsay Kelsall was killed in action 28th August 1917 at Ypres, age 26.
  • Sarah Ainsworth (1821 – 1892) became the second wife of Sir Samuel Morton Peto, an M.P and civil engineer whose firm built Nelson’s Column and the Houses of Parliament. They had 10 children, including Basil Edward Peto, a Conservative M.P. who became 1st Baronet Peto of Barnstable in 1927.
  • Emily Lydia (1827/8 – 1904) married George Tawk Kemp 2 August 1848. Their son George served in the Boer and First World War, was Liberal M.P., and was knighted in 1909 and created 1st Baron Rochdale of Rochdale.
  • Ellen (1831 – 1868) married Christopher Wolston
  • Ann (1832 -1904) married Robert Slack

From the History of the parish of Rochdale (available on Google books), “in the Parliamentary Archives there is a silver trowel that bears the inscription The First Stone of the Clock Tower of the New Houses of Parliament was laid by Emily second daughter of Henry Kelsall, Esquire of Rochdale, 28 September 1845. (This is tower that houses Big Ben).

Robert Kelsall 1796 – 1849

Robert married Elizabeth Heap 1822 in Rochdale and they had 6 children (Kettlewell):

  1. Anne Heap (1823 – 1860) married Frederick Melland, a Manchester physician, in 1852. Their daughter Helen Kelsall Melland married Herbert Henry Asquith in 1877. Asquith became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from April 1908 to December 1916. Herbert and Helen had five children from 1878 to 1890. Their first son Raymond was killed in action in the First World War. Helen died of typhoid fever in September 1891 following a few days’ illness while the family were on holiday in Scotland.
  2. Mary (1924 – 1848) – did not marry
  3. Elizabeth (1826 – 1827)
  4. Robert (1829 – 1869) married Mary Elizabeth Forbes, 7 children
  5. Joseph (1831 – 1864)
  6. Charles (1833 – 1835)


William Kelsall 1805 – 1885.

William married Mary Lees in Oldham in 1834 and they had 4 children (Kettlewell):

  1. Sarah (1836 – ) married Joseph Cash
  2. William Lees (1838 – 1893)
  3. Mary Jane (1840 – 1883) married John Seymour and later Joseph Ekens
  4. Julia (1843 – 1844)

William married Margaret Hitching and they had a son Nicholas Hitching Kelsall.

William Kelsall served more than 40 years as a member of the Leeds Town Council and was Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1859. He was head of the firm, William Kelsall and Son, of Kelsall Street, woolen manufacturers and merchants – working with his son, William Lees Kelsall. He is found in the 1861 census in Kelsall Street, Leeds, alderman and woolen merchant, born Mottram Cheshire – and at Burley Lodge Headingley age 65 in 1871. He died 14 January 1885 leaving ₤3,382.

Samuel Kelsall (b1803) unfortunately appears to have been less successful and was found drowned in a canal in 1857, and as relayed by Paul Kettlewell was only identified because a man recognised him from the night before in an inn, and he had said he had a brother in Rochdale called Kelsall.

History of Kelsall and Kemp of Rochdale

From Manchester Evening News 2006:

Kelsall and Kemp

Henry Kelsall first set up business in Rochdale in 1815 – the year of the Battle of Waterloo – buying wool, putting it out for spinning and weaving then selling the cloth. Around 1825 he moved into Butts House in the centre of town and three years later was joined by his brother-in-law William Bartlemore. The pair saw the potential of the factory system and bought various plots of land before opening their first mill in 1835. The second followed in 1848, giving them a large town centre presence.

George Tawke Kemp joined father-in-law Henry Kelsall in succession to William Bartlemore in 1856 and Joshua Heap moved in as managing partner in 1864. Working fast, he soon scrapped all the old machinery and brought in new to keep the firm progressing. Always keen to take on the newest of technology he later had a telephone installed, reputedly the first in Rochdale. But the woollen trade was depressed from 1860 to 1870 with the price of wool falling steadily and the company also suffered the death of Henry Kelsall.

Despite this the firm built a fourth town centre mill and – in 1875 – bought Woodhouse Mill, a former cotton bleaching mill in Norden and used it as finishing mill and, later, a dyehouse as well. George Tawke Kemp passed away in 1877 and in 1886 Joshua Heap died suddenly of a heart attack. This left Robert Slack, a grandson of Henry Kelsall, in charge of the business with his aunt, Mrs Emily Lydia Kemp.

In 1890 the private company Kelsall and Kemp Ltd was formed with share capital of £100,000 and Robert Slack and George Kemp, son of George Tawke Kemp, as directors. Between 1896 and 1899 the firm was embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with a neighbouring company over water rights and disposal of effluent at Woodhouse. It was a fight which went all the way to the House of Lords and defeat could have proved disastrous, but they came out on top. A period of consolidation followed, ending in 1904 with the resignation of Robert Slack. He had made a large contribution to the firm’s progress but was dogged by ill-health, especially deafness.

It was during the decade leading up to the First World War that Kelsall and Kemp made the most rapid expansion in its history, eagerly snapping up every opportunity to improve itself. Not only was it selling its products all over Britain, but it was also exporting flannel to various parts of the world under the Doctor trademark. During the war the firm worked at full capacity manufacturing cloth for both the British and French governments. The company also formed a subsidiary called Shell’s (Rochdale) Ltd which manufactured six-inch shell cases. In 1919 the firm took another big step forward when it was floated as a public limited company under the chairmanship of George Kemp – now Lord Rochdale.

Two years later it realised a big ambition by establishing a mill down under, forming Kelsall and Kemp (Tasmania) Ltd and building a mill in Launceston.

In the 1920s man-made fibres began to challenge the wool monopoly and fashion moved away from flannel underwear.

The general depression in 1929, brought on by the Wall Street Crash.

But, showing its great survival instincts, the company began to produce dress cloth and mantlings and steadily established itself as one of the leaders in this field of ladies’ outerwear. It was helped by the protective tariff against imported Italian woollens. In contrast to the previous decade, the 1930s saw a period of great expansion and reorganisation for the company. Woollen mills J. Radcliffe and Co at Greenmill and William Clegg at Milnrow were bought, the former becoming the weaving centre, while Crawford Mills was purchased and carding and spinning concentrated there. The company’s administration and warehouse was based on the Butts.

During the Second World War Kelsall and Kemp’s again rallied to the cause, producing more than 28 million yards of shirting cloth for the armed forces. After the war there was a severe labour shortage and the firm took advantage of a Government Development Area, acquiring a factory in West Wales on lease and forming Pembroke Woollen Co Ltd. It became operational in 1949 and was soon thriving.

During the 1950s the firm faced the double threat of increasing international competition and the remorseless march of synthetic fibres. But it responded by embracing the latest techniques, buying the latest machinery, acquiring more subsidiaries and undergoing a major reorganisation.

In 1959 the company moved off the Butts after more than a century in residence. It moved into a new administration block and warehouse built adjacent to its Greenmill site off Queensway. The premises on the Butts were demolished and today the site houses the Black Box and bus station.

During the early 1960s the firm developed further. In addition to exporting to customers throughout the world the company was also expanding further into Europe. A worsted weaving section was started, a firm of worsted spinners – Rouse Brothers of Oakworth – joined the group and the parent company bought up all majority shareholding in the Tasmanian mill. The Launceston operation had become one of the leading woollen manufacturers in Australia.

In 1968 the group, valued at £2.8M, merged with West Riding worsted and woollen mills, an operation four times its size. That meant a new name – Peate Kelsall and Kemp Ltd – and control of the company moved out of the town. For a while the merger was a boost for the firm, but eventually proved its death knell. First the name disappeared for good, the company becoming West Riding Fabrics Ltd at the beginning of 1975. Then the Rochdale premises were steadily closed down with the operations being moved over the Pennines.

The final blow was delivered in October 1978 when the last piece of the Kelsall and Kemp empire, Crawford Mills, was shut – thus severing the town’s links once and for all with the woollen industry it had once dominated