Search records

Francis Southward

Epithet: Amateur photographer (1836-1921)

Record type: Biographies

Biography: Francis Southward was born in 1836 to Thomas Charles Southward (1796-1858) and Ann, nee Cowle (c.1806-1882). With his brother, Thomas John (1829-1906) he was involved in his late father’s woollen business, Messrs Southward Bros, Sulby Glen Woollen Mills. In census returns he is recorded as having various occupations within the business from being a 14-year-old apprentice wool carder in 1851, to woollen manufacturer and dyer in 1871. Francis spent time in the heart of the textile industry in Leeds in the 1860s, likely gaining experience and furthering his training.

Southward was born and brought up in Sulby, later moving to Myndon Ville (later known as Minden House) on Bowring Road, Ramsey. When he moved, members of the Sunday School presented him with a 'handsome black-marble clock' as a token of esteem. He was elected a Member of the Board of the Guardians of the Poor of Ramsey in 1906 and was a prominent member of the Sulby Wesleyan Chapel, appointed as a Representative to Conference. He was a member of the Primrose Lodge of Good Templars - a fraternity committed to abstinence and temperance. According to the 1911 census he spoke Manx as well as English.

In 1863 Francis married Maria Louisa Stephenson of Victoria Cottage, Lonan. She died in 1870 aged 25, leaving two daughters Louisa Jane and Mary Ann Frances. Both daughters died young, Louisa at 21 and Mary Ann at 16 years of age. In the 1881 census it appears that Mary Ann had been born with a learning disability and was looked after at home by her grandmother after her mother's death. Francis remained close to the Stephenson family, marrying his late wife's sister Sarah Jane and being appointed executor to administer his father in law's will in 1893.

More children were born from the second marriage of Francis and Sarah Jane. Son, Francis Stephenson Southward emigrated to Vicksburg, Mississippi, USA in 1904 - sadly he died in 1913 after one trip home to see his family. Other children who survived their parents were Winifred and Edwin.

Francis Senior died in 1921 aged 85 and was buried in Lezayre churchyard. His obituary described his involvement with the woollen mill and read 'By his integrity and ability he helped to develop this successful enterprise along with his brother, Mr J.T. Southward. A refined and cultured gentleman, Mr Southward was a very devoted member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church, of which he was an official, and during his lifetime he held many offices. Some years ago he was a director of the Ramsey Gas Co. A gentleman highly respected and esteemed, he leaves a widow, one son, and one daughter to mourn his loss' (Ramsey Courier, 10 June 1921 page 3).

Gender: Male

Date of birth: 1836


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy