Hidden Stories, Slavery and Barnsley

The Crossley Family Archive

The Crossley family archive, held by Barnsley Archives and Local Studies Library, contains many documents including bills of sale, deeds of ownership and Benjamin Crossley’s will. From these documents we are able to find out a great deal of information about the family and specifically Benjamin Crossley. Although the Crossley family lived in the Oxspring area of Barnsley, Benjamin Crossley lived in Jamaica where he owned a sugar plantation. It is not known what became of the family except that after Benjamin Crossley’s death they moved out of the area.

There are a number of these original documents that can be used by groups. Please contact Barnsley Archives on 01226 773950 for further details.

In the Hidden Stories project we explored the original documents to discover the family’s story. The language of the documents is shocking, written just the same as they would be for the sale of a house or even a horse!

You could use some of the questions below to explore the documents:

Can you find in the documents the names of the men and women bought as slaves ?

Do you think there is anything unusual about their names?

Who bought the men and women?

What happens to the children of the men and women bought as slaves?

What do you think is unusual about the document for the ‘negro girl Sophy’?

See where the Crossley family lived in Oxspring.»

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