List of people from Yorkshire

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This is a list of people from Yorkshire. Yorkshire is the largest historic county in both England and the United Kingdom. Efforts have been made in the past to compile lists of the most noted people from Yorkshire, such as the Yorkshire Greats book by Sir Bernard Ingham which listed fifty Yorkshiremen and women.[1] Some of the most notable figures from the county are:


John Fisher
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Margaret Clitherow born in York 1556–1586 saint, martyr [2]
Edwin of Northumbria 585–633 saint, King of Northumbria [1]
John of Beverley Harpham and Beverley d. 721 bishop, founder and patron saint of Beverley [3]
John Fisher Beverley 1469–1535 bishop, cardinal, saint, martyr [4]
Hilda of Whitby 614–680 princess, nun, nurse, founding abbess of Whitby Abbey and patron saint of Whitby [5][6]
Blessed Nicholas Postgate Egton 1596–1679 martyr [7]

Inventors, explorers, scientists and pioneers[edit]

Captain James Cook
Amy Johnson
Sir George Cayley
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Edward Victor Appleton 1892–1965 Nobel Prize in Physics in 1947 [8]
James Henry Atkinson Leeds 1849–1942 inventor of the mousetrap [9][10]
Donald Bailey 1901–1985 inventor of the Bailey Bridge [11]
William Bateson 1861–1926 geneticist; first to use term "genetics" [1][12]
George Birkbeck 1776–1841 doctor, philanthropist, founder of Birkbeck College [13]
Joseph Bramah Barnsley 1748–1814 invented hydraulic press; one of two founders of hydraulic engineering [1][14]
Harry Brearley 1871–1948 Sheffield inventor of stainless steel [15]
Henry Briggs 1561–1630 perfected system of logarithms used today by astronomers, navigators [16]
Phil Burgan 1951 – pharmacist; CEO and Chairman of MMCG [citation needed]
Ralph Burton d.1768 British soldier and Canadian settler [17]
Sir George Cayley born in Scarborough 1773–1857 engineer, one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics [1]
Capt. James Cook Marton, Middlesbrough 1728–79 Georgian oceanic explorer [1]
Rick Dickinson 1956(?) industrial designer responsible for the ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum and Sinclair QL keyboards and cases [18]
John Harrison Foulby 1693–1776 horologist and mathematician [1]
Amy Johnson born in Hull 1903–41 aviator [1][19]
Joseph Priestley born in Birstall 1733–1804 physicist and chemist [20]
Augustus Pitt Rivers 1827–1900 British Army officer, ethnologist, anthropologist and archaeologist [1]
Nicholas Saunderson Thurlstone 1682–1739 Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, University of Cambridge [21]
Helen Sharman born in Sheffield 1963 first British astronaut [1]
Percy Shaw born in Halifax 1889–1975 inventor of the cat's eyes reflecting roadstuds [22]
John Smeaton 1724–92 civil engineer responsible for the design of bridges, canals, harbours and lighthouses [1]
John Wycliffe 1330–84 theologian, reformist, pioneering translator [1]

Politicians and activists[edit]

William Wilberforce
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Herbert Henry Asquith born in Morley 1852–1928 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1908–16 [23]
William Bradford born in Austerfield 1590–1657 Plymouth governor, pilgrim father [1]
Guy Fawkes York 1570–1606 Yorkshire-born soldier, part of the Gunpowder Plot [1][24]
William Wilberforce born in Kingston upon Hull 1759–1833 social campaigner who brought about the abolition of slavery [1][25]
Harold Wilson born in Huddersfield 1916–1995 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1964–70 and 1974–76 [26]


Emily Brontë
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Alcuin of York born near York 732–804 Early Middle Ages scholar, ecclesiastic, poet and teacher [1][27]
Alan Bennett born in Leeds 1934– playwright and actor ,[1]
Anne Brontë born in Thornton 1820–49 writer, author of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [28]
Branwell Brontë born in Thornton 1817–48 writer and artist [28]
Charlotte Brontë born in Thornton 1816–55 writer, author of Jane Eyre [28]
Emily Brontë born in Thornton 1818–48 writer, author of Wuthering Heights [1][28]
Ted Hughes born in Mytholmroyd 1930–98 poet laureate of United Kingdom [1]
Andrew Marvell born in Winestead-in-Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire 1621–78 poet [1]
J. B. Priestley born in Bradford 1894–1984 writer, novelist and broadcaster [1]


Actors and actresses[edit]

Name Place Life Comments Reference
Mark Addy York actor [29]
Julian Barratt Leeds actor, comedian [citation needed]
Keith Barron Mexborough actor [30]
Sean Bean Sheffield actor [31]
Brian Blessed Mexborough actor [32]
Chuckle Brothers Rotherham 1944 -, 1947 – TV actors [citation needed]
Tom Courtenay Hull, East Riding actor [33]
Dame Judi Dench York actress [1]
Peter Firth Bradford actor [1]
James Frain Leeds actor [1]
Brian Glover Sheffield (raised in Barnsley) actor, comedian [34]
Sir Ben Kingsley Scarborough actor [1]
Charles Laughton Scarborough 1899–1962 actor, screenwriter, and director of the film The Night of The Hunter [1]
Matthew Lewis Leeds actor [35]
James Mason Huddersfield 1909–1984 actor [36]
Michael Palin Sheffield 1943– actor, comedian [37]
Andrew-Lee Potts Bradford actor [38]
Paul Shane Thrybergh 1940–2013 actor [39]
Jack Shepherd Leeds actor [40]
Sir Patrick Stewart Mirfield actor [41]
Elizabeth White Rotherham 1979– actress [42][better source needed]
Tom Wilkinson Leeds actor [43][44]

Television performers[edit]

Name Place Life Comments Reference
Jeremy Clarkson Doncaster presenter and former host of BBC TV's Top Gear [45]
Paul Daniels South Bank, Middlesbrough 1938–present illusionist, quiz show host [46]
Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon) Beeston, Leeds 1973–present comedian, entertainer [citation needed]
Gorden Kaye Huddersfield 1941–present actor [47]
Bob Mortimer Acklam, Middlesbrough 1959–present comedian, entertainer [48]
Vic Reeves Leeds 1959–present comedian, entertainer [49]
Ernie Wise Bramley 1925–1999 comedian [50]

Musicians and bands[edit]

Melanie Brown
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Arctic Monkeys formed in Sheffield indie band [51]
James Arthur born in Middlesbrough 1988–present singer [citation needed]
Asking Alexandria formed in York metalcore band [52]
Dame Janet Baker opera singer [52]
John Barry best known for his soundtracks for James Bond films and Midnight Cowboy [52]
The Beautiful South formed in Hull popular music band [52]
Bring Me The Horizon formed in Sheffield metalcore band [52]
Arthur Brown rock singer [52]
Melanie Brown member of the Spice Girls [52]
Dewey Bunnell folk rock singer/songwriter with band America [52]
Tony Christie singer [52]
Joe Cocker rock singer [52]
David Coverdale born in Saltburn-by-the-Sea lead vocalist for Deep Purple and Whitesnake [53]
The Cribs formed in Wakefield indie band [54]
Kiki Dee singer/songwriter [52]
Def Leppard formed in Sheffield hard rock group [52]
Frederick Delius composer [52]
Gang of Four formed in Leeds post-punk group [52]
Vin Garbutt born in South Bank, Middlesbrough folk singer [55]
Lesley Garrett opera singer [52]
Gareth Gates born in Bradford singer [52]
Heaven 17 80s band [52]
The Human League formed in Sheffield synthpop band [52]
Kaiser Chiefs formed in Leeds indie band [52]
Jane McDonald born in Wakefield singer
John Newman born in Settle 1990–present soul singer
Robert Palmer Batley 1949–2003 singer [52]
Pulp formed in Sheffield popular music band [52]
Corinne Bailey Rae born in Leeds singer [52]
Chris Rea born in Middlesbrough singer [52]
Paul Rodgers born in Middlesbrough 1949–present rock singer-songwriter, best known for his success in the 1970s as a member of Free and Bad Company [56]
Kate Rusby folk singer [52]
Shed Seven formed in York indie-rock band [52]
Ed Sheeran born in Hebden Bridge singer
Kimberley Walsh born in Bradford member of pop group Girls Aloud [citation needed]
Christopher Wolstenholme born in Rotherham bassist of Muse [57]


Name Place Life Comments Reference
David Bairstow born in Bradford, Yorkshire 1951 – January 1998 cricketer [1]
Geoffrey Boycott born in Fitzwilliam 1940– Yorkshire CCC and England cricketer [58]
Alistair Brownlee born in Dewsbury 1988 – Olympic gold medalist, world champion in triathlon [59]
Jonathan Brownlee born in Leeds 1990 – Olympic bronze medalist, world champion in triathlon [59]
Brian Clough born in Middlesbrough 1935–2004 footballer and football manager [1]
Jessica Ennis born in Sheffield 1986 – Olympic gold medalist, world champion in heptathlon [60]
Darren Gough born in Barnsley 1970 – cricketer [1]
Alan Hinkes 1954– mountaineer, first Briton to climb world's highest 14 peaks [1]
Leonard Hutton born in Pudsey 1916–90 cricketer, Ashes-winning captain [1]
Innes Ireland born in Mytholmroyd Formula One driver
Kevin Keegan born in Doncaster 1951– footballer, 2 x European footballer of the year [1]
Jamie Reeves born in Sheffield 1962– world champion strength athlete, World's Strongest Man of '89 [citation needed]
Jane Tomlinson 1964–2007 amateur athlete and cancer charity fundraiser [61]
Fred Trueman 1931 – July 2006 cricketer [1]

Artists and sculptors[edit]

Furniture Maker Robert Thompsons trademark mouse
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Gertrude Spurr Cutts 1858–1941 painter [62]
John Atkinson Grimshaw 1836–1893 painter [1]
Barbara Hepworth Wakefield 1903–1975 artist [63]
David Hockney Saltaire 1937– artist [1]
Henry Moore Castleford 1898–1986 sculptor [1]
Robert Thompson Kilburn 1876–1955 carpenter, furniture maker recognised for his mouseman furniture, exclusively using Yorkshire Oak [1]


Name Place Life Comments Reference
Mary Bateman born in Asenby, worked in Thirsk 1768–1809 "Yorkshire Witch"; convicted of fraud and murder, hanged [64]
John Christie born in Illingworth 1899 – 1953 (Hanged) serial killer, known as "The Rillington Place Strangler" [65]
Stephen Griffiths born in Dewsbury 1969 – serial killer, known as "The Crossbow Cannibal" [66]
Mark Hobson born in Wakefield 1969 – 'spree killer' who murdered four people
Donald Neilson born in Dewsbury 1936–2011 armed robber, serial killer, known as "The Black Panther" [67]
Jimmy Savile born in West Riding 1926–2011 TV presenter, celebrity, charity fund-raiser, prolific sex abuser of both adults and children [68]
Edward Simpson born in Sleights 1815–? infamous forger of prehistoric flint tools, sold to many notable museums [69]
Peter Sutcliffe born in Bingley 1946 – serial killer, known as "The Yorkshire Ripper" [70]

People in fiction[edit]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ St Wilfrid's Church, York
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  13. ^ Britannica
  14. ^ Robinson Library
  15. ^
  16. ^ Britannica
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  20. ^ "Joseph Priestley: Son of Birstall". Priestley Society. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2009. 
  21. ^ The Royal Society Archives Retrieved: 28 March 2009
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  46. ^ IMDB : Paul Daniels
  47. ^ IMDB : Gorden Kaye
  48. ^ IMDB : Bob Mortimer
  49. ^ IMDB : Vic Reeves
  50. ^ IMDB : Ernie Wise
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  55. ^ Vin Garbutt Website: biography
  56. ^ Middlesbrough Evening Gazette: Paul Rodgers honoured by Teesside University
  57. ^ Muse Wiki: Christopher Wolstenholme
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  65. ^ Simpson, Keith (1978). Forty Years of Murder: An Autobiography. London: Harrap. ISBN 0-245-53198-X.
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  67. ^ Black Panther murderer Donald Neilson dying from Motor Neurone Disease –
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  69. ^ Locker, R. 2011 Flint Jack: Prince of Forgers
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External links[edit]