Matthew William was born in 1820 son of Matthew Thompson who had interests
in brewing and textiles.
He was educated at West House, Yeadon then Giggleswick
moving on to Cambridge where he attained BA and MA.degrees.
He had a career in
law for 10 years before marrying his cousin Mary Ann, she was the only daughter
of his uncle Benjamin Thompson.
In 1815 Benjamin had bought Parkgate , Mary Ann
inherited this property and Matthew William resided there after his marriage.
also became owner of the Bradford Brewery and all the Thompson textile
In succession he became a Bradford Councillor, Alderman and Lord Mayor.
His public generosity was widespread, in Guiseley he provided a new organ for St
Oswalds Church, paid £109 for gas street lighting in 1866 and almost all of the
£3,000 which was the cost of building Guiseley Town Hall.
Also £500 for the
building of a new Church School on the Green, founding and paying for
instruments and uniforms for a local brass band.
Matthew William had a seat on the board of the Midland railway Company,
when the Settle- Carlisle line was completed he was elected chairman, in
addition he was chairman of the Glasgow and South West Railway Company and one
of those who advocated building the Forth Rail Bridge.
In 1889 he walked across
the Bridge then drove the first train across it.
The Bridge was officially
opened by the Prince of Wales, at a celebratory banquet
He informed Matthew
William that Queen Victoria had bestowed a Baronetcy on him in recognition of
his public service.
When Sir Matthew William returned to Parkgate a torchlit procession of
up to 4,000 Guiseley people came to acclaim him.
Aged 70 he had a slight stroke,
some months later on the 1st of December 1891 died very suddenly.
He was buried
in Guiseley Churchyard but his funeral took place in Esholt, some time
previously there had been a dispute with the Rector of Guiseley.
He left his
widow Mary Ann and 3 sons, the Rev. Peile Thompson who succeeded to the
Baronetcy, Reginald Thompson who ran the brewery and Whitaker Thompson who was a
solicitor, also daughters Mrs Atkinson and Miss Thompson.