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Pilling Family


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Hartshead St Peters

St Peters Church Hartshead from the front

Hartshead St Peters

St Peters Church Hartshead from the back

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The Pillings Found in the Hartshead Churchyard:

The Oldest and only existing Pilling Gravestone in Hartshead 

According to the Hartshead cum Clifton website, there is a grave with a water wheel that has the following inscription:  “Here lie the bodie of John Pilling of Kerklis millne miller who departed this life 17th day of October in the 74th year of his age A.D 1680.”

There is nothing like the actual transcription to give you a feel for the time and place.  A clue to John’s birth is found in the transcription of grave 67.  His son John died in 1719 at the age of 75. 

“Lancashire gave me life.
Yorkshire closed my eyes
Here must return to dust.
Until the great arise.”

We can safely surmise the Pilling family originated in Lancashire and moved to Hartshead after 1644 when the second John was born.

The Pillings were corn millers and fullers at Kirklees Mill for over a hundred years.  Many of the Pilling family were buried in section 2B, and while the gravestones no longer exist, there are 11 inscriptions that account for 29 members of the Pilling family.

In 1827 James Pilling (the third great grandson of that first John) sent his eldest son Joseph to America.  The following year James moved to America with his wife Sarah Lancaster and 10 more of their 12 surviving children.  James was a currier and saddle maker in Washington DC and later ran a hotel where members of congress would stay when in the capital to do business.  The children engage in various businesses that would cater to the growing American government.

The son who was left behind in Yorkshire back in 1828, would marry and have two sons before his death 1n 1846.  Albert is listed as a fancy woolen manufacture located in Huddersfield.  His son Franklin would move to the Washington DC area in 1878 with his growing family to join the Pillings who had moved to America fifty years before.  He was not exactly welcomed with open arms, but was able to finally settle in Baltimore, Maryland.

Today the descendants of these Pillings who immigrated to America are scattered across the world as I’m sure has happened to all descendants of families that started out in Hartshead.   I like to think they all have a bit of Yorkshire in them.

A special thanks to all who thought to save the transcriptions over the years and to those who share them on the internet for everyone to learn from.  Extensive research on the Pilling family can be found at www.familysearch.org   All that is needed is a free account.

(c) Pat Pilling 2016


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