Book Review

(First published in 1991 in volume 5, p. 90, of the third series of The Bradford Antiquary, the journal of the Bradford Historical and Antiquarian Society.)

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Brooksbank, Yeomen of the Dales (their times, friends and connections)

E.M. Shepherd, 1989, £4.95.

Family history is one of the country's most popular hobbies, yet few family historians put the story of their families into print for others to share and enjoy. It is to Mrs E.M. Shepherd's credit that she has taken the not inconsiderable risk of publishing this book on the Brooksbank family herself.

The Brooksbanks are a local West Riding family originating from Warley near Halifax over 600 years ago and spreading to other parts of the West Riding including Elland, Ovenden, Southowram, Sowerby, Hipperholme, Northowram and Shelf in Calderdale, and to Allerton, Thornton, Denholme, Wilsden, Harden, Bingley, Great Horton, Shipley in Bradford dale and Airedale.

Mrs Shepherd has assembled a fascinating range of personalities from the past. Grace Brooksbank married James Ellis, the founder of Thornton Grammar School in 1672 and installed her nephew Abraham Brooksbank as the first headteacher. Another Abraham Brooksbank studied at Cambridge and later became a vicar of Bradford between 1667 and 1677 and a Governer of Bradford Grammar School. Gilbert Brooksbank built a house in Great Horton, now the Kings Arms Inn, which still bears the initials GB above the door. Edward Brooksbank had to pay a £10 fine to King Charles I for not being knighted! Joseph Brooksbank, a haberdasher and Citizen of London endowed a school for children in Elland in 1712 which later became Elland Grammar School. Stamp Brooksbank was a Governor of the Bank of England in the 18th century. Other Brooksbanks were murdered, killed in a duel and translated Dante's Inferno!

Mrs Shepherd has done a great deal of research in documents and books to uncover this information. The result is a lively account of a fascinating family Perhaps her efforts can persuade more of the large number of genealogists to put pen to paper.

Ian Mason

© 1991, Ian Mason and The Bradford Antiquary