This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (October 2016)

Flag of Yorkshire
Location of Yorkshire on map of the historic counties of England
Location of Yorkshire on map of the historic counties of England

This is a list of people from Yorkshire. Yorkshire is the largest historic county in both England and the United Kingdom. Some of the most notable figures from the county are:

Lawyers and Jurists

Brenda Hale, President of the British Supreme Court, 2017–present

Inventors, explorers, scientists and pioneers

Captain James Cook
Captain James Cook
Sir George Cayley
Sir George Cayley
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Edward Victor Appleton 1892–1965 Nobel Prize in Physics in 1947 [1]
James Henry Atkinson Leeds 1849–1942 inventor of the mousetrap [2][3]
Donald Bailey 1901–1985 inventor of the Bailey Bridge [4]
William Bateson 1861–1926 geneticist; first to use term "genetics" [5][6]
George Birkbeck 1776–1841 doctor, philanthropist, founder of Birkbeck College [7]
Joseph Bramah Barnsley 1748–1814 invented hydraulic press; one of two founders of hydraulic engineering [5][8]
Harry Brearley 1871–1948 Sheffield inventor of stainless steel [9]
Henry Briggs 1561–1630 perfected system of logarithms used today by astronomers, navigators [10]
Phil Burgan 1951– pharmacist; CEO and Chairman of MMCG [citation needed]
Ralph Burton d.1768 British soldier and Canadian settler [11]
Sir George Cayley born in Scarborough 1773–1857 engineer, one of the most important people in the history of aeronautics [5]
Capt. James Cook Marton, Middlesbrough 1728–79 Georgian oceanic explorer [5]
Rick Dickinson 1956(?) industrial designer responsible for the ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum and Sinclair QL keyboards and cases [12]
John Harrison Foulby 1693–1776 horologist and mathematician [5]
Amy Johnson born in Hull 1903–41 aviator [5][13]
Joseph Priestley born in Birstall 1733–1804 physicist and chemist [14]
Augustus Pitt Rivers 1827–1900 British Army officer, ethnologist, anthropologist and archaeologist [5]
Nicholas Saunderson Thurlstone 1682–1739 Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, University of Cambridge [15]
Helen Sharman born in Sheffield 1963– first British astronaut, first Western European woman in space [5]
Percy Shaw born in Halifax 1889–1975 inventor of the cat's eyes reflecting roadstuds [16]
John Smeaton 1724–92 civil engineer responsible for the design of bridges, canals, harbours and lighthouses [5]
Frederick Walton born in Sowerby Bridge 1834–1928 inventor of Linoleum [17]
John Wycliffe 1330–84 theologian, reformist, pioneering translator [5]
Sīlācāra born in Hull 1871–1951 one of the earliest western Buddhist monk in modern times [citation needed]

Politicians and activists

Harold Wilson, Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976
Harold Wilson, Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976
William Wilberforce
William Wilberforce
Name Place Life Comments Reference
H. H. Asquith born in Morley 1852–1928 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1908–16 [18]
William Bradford born in Austerfield 1590–1657 Plymouth governor, pilgrim father [5]
Guy Fawkes York 1570–1606 Yorkshire-born soldier, part of the Gunpowder Plot [5][19]
Roy Hattersley born in Sheffield 1933– British Labour politician, author and journalist
William Wilberforce born in Kingston upon Hull 1759–1833 social campaigner who brought about the abolition of slavery [5][20]
Harold Wilson born in Huddersfield 1916–1995 Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1964–70 and 1974–76 [21]


The Brontë Sisters
The Brontë Sisters
Anne Lister (1791-1840)
Anne Lister (1791-1840)
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Simon Armitage born Huddersfield 1963– Poet, writer [22]
W. H. Auden born York 1907– 1973 Poet, critic, essayist [23]
Alcuin of York born near York 732–804 Early Middle Ages scholar, ecclesiastic, poet and teacher [5][24]
Alan Bennett born in Leeds 1934– playwright and actor [5]
Barbara Taylor Bradford born in Leeds 1933– best-selling British-American novelist, debut novel, A Woman of Substance [25]
Anne Brontë born in Thornton 1820–49 writer, author of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [26]
Branwell Brontë born in Thornton 1817–48 writer and artist [26]
Charlotte Brontë born in Thornton 1816–55 writer, author of Jane Eyre [26]
Emily Brontë born in Thornton 1818–48 writer, author of Wuthering Heights [5][26]
Cædmon born Whitby 657–684 Earliest English poet Bede's Historia ecclesiastica.
Ian Clayton born in Featherstone 1959– Writer and broadcaster [citation needed]
Margaret Drabble born in Sheffield 1939– literary Prize-winning writer [citation needed]
Stanley Ellis born in Bradford 1926–2009 English linguistics scholar, writer and broadcaster, English regional dialects. [27]
Helen Fielding born in Morley, West Yorkshire 1958– novelist and screenwriter, Bridget Jones's Diary (1996), The Edge of Reason (1999) [25]
Roger Hargreaves born in Cleckheaton 1935–1988 writer of the Mr. Men and Little Miss books [citation needed]
Joanne Harris born in Barnsley 1964– English author, award-winning novel Chocolat [citation needed]
Tony Harrison born in Leeds 1964– Poet, translator, critic, dramatist [25]
Susan Hill born Scarborough, North Yorkshire 1942– novels include The Woman in Black and I'm the King of the Castle, Somerset Maugham Award (1971). Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2012 [citation needed]
Barry Hines born Hoyland Common near Barnsley 1939–2016 Novelist, television script-writer. A Kestrel for a Knave (1968), Kes [citation needed]
Richard Hoggart born in Potternewton, Leeds 1918–2014 Writer on English literature, sociology and cultural studies [citation needed]
Winifred Holtby Rudston, East Riding of Yorkshire 1898 - 1935 Novelist of works based on 1920-1930 Yorkshire women's empowerment, her works include South Riding (novel), The Land of Green Ginger, A Crowded Street, Anderby Wold [citation needed]
Ted Hughes born in Mytholmroyd 1930–98 poet laureate of United Kingdom, 1984–1998. [5]
Anne Lister born in Halifax, West Yorkshire 1791-1840 English landowner, diarist, and mountaineer. [28]
Andrew Marvell born in Winestead-in-Holderness, East Riding of Yorkshire 1621–78 poet [5]
Ian McMillan born in Darfield, South Yorkshire 1956– poet
Julie O'Neill 1971– author
J. B. Priestley born in Bradford 1894–1984 writer, novelist and broadcaster [5]
Christopher Riley born in Bridlington 1967– Science and history writer and documentarian
Ray Robinson born in Northallerton 1971– English novelist and screenwriter, award-winning novel Electricity [citation needed]
Sally Wainwright born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire 1963– English television writer, producer, and director: Scott & Bailey (2011–2016), Last Tango in Halifax (2012–2016), Happy Valley (2014–present), and Gentleman Jack (2019–present).
Keith Waterhouse born in Hunslet, Leeds 1929–2009 British novelist, newspaper columnist, many television series, novels: Billy Liar (1959) [25]
Stanley Wells born in Hull 1930– Shakespearean scholar, writer, professor and editor who has been honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, professor emeritus at the University of Birmingham


John Fisher
John Fisher
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Margaret Clitherow born in York 1556–1586 saint, martyr [29]
Edwin of Northumbria Not born in Yorkshire 585–633 saint, King of Northumbria [5]
John of Beverley Harpham and Beverley d. 721 bishop, founder and patron saint of Beverley [30]
John Fisher Beverley 1469–1535 bishop, cardinal, saint, martyr [31]
Hilda of Whitby 614–680 princess, nun, nurse, founding abbess of Whitby Abbey and patron saint of Whitby [32][33]
Blessed Nicholas Postgate Egton 1596–1679 martyr [34]


Actors and actresses

Name Place Life Comments Reference
Mark Addy York actor [35]
Julian Barratt Leeds actor, comedian [citation needed]
Keith Barron Mexborough actor [36]
Sean Bean Sheffield 1959– actor [37]
Brian Blessed Mexborough 1936– actor [38]
Chuckle Brothers Rotherham 1944–2018, 1947– TV actors [citation needed]
Sir Tom Courtenay Hull, East Riding actor [39]
Dame Judi Dench York actress [5]
Peter Firth Bradford actor [5]
James Frain Leeds actor [5]
Brian Glover Sheffield (raised in Barnsley) actor, comedian [40]
Charlie Heaton Bridlington 1994– actor [citation needed]
Elizabeth Henstridge Sheffield 1987- actress, model, fashion designer, YouTuber, podcaster and director [citation needed]
Ralph Ineson Leeds actor [41]
Gorden Kaye Huddersfield 1941–2017 Actor, comedian [42]
Sir Ben Kingsley Scarborough actor [5]
Charles Laughton Scarborough 1899–1962 actor, screenwriter, and director of the film The Night of The Hunter [5]
Matthew Lewis Leeds actor [citation needed]
James Mason Huddersfield 1909–1984 actor [citation needed]
Michael Palin Sheffield 1943– actor, comedian [citation needed]
Andrew-Lee Potts Bradford actor [43]
Dame Diana Rigg Doncaster 1938–2020 actress [44]
Jack Shepherd Leeds actor [45]
Sir Patrick Stewart Mirfield actor [46]
Elizabeth White Rotherham 1979– actress [citation needed]
Jodie Whittaker Skelmanthorpe actress [47]
Tom Wilkinson Leeds actor [48][49]

Television performers

Jeremy Clarkson
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Jeremy Clarkson Doncaster presenter and former host of BBC TV's Top Gear [50]
Angela Crow Wharfedale 1938– actress [citation needed]
Rodney Bewes Bingley, Bradford 1937–2017 comedian, actor [citation needed]
Roy Castle Scholes 1932–1994 comedian, singer, actor, television presenter [51]
Paul Daniels South Bank, Middlesbrough 1938–2016 illusionist, quiz show host [citation needed]
Adrian Edmondson Bradford 1957– comedian, actor [citation needed]
Leigh Francis (Keith Lemon) Beeston, Leeds 1973– comedian, entertainer [citation needed]
Frankie Howerd York 1917–1992 comedian [citation needed]
Gorden Kaye Huddersfield 1941–2017 actor [citation needed]
Bob Mortimer Acklam, Middlesbrough 1959– comedian, entertainer [citation needed]
Wendy Richard Middlesbrough 1943–2009 actress [citation needed]
Paul Shane Thrybergh, Rotherham 1940–2013 comedian, actor [citation needed]
Mollie Sugden Keighley 1922–2009 actress [citation needed]
Dame Penelope Wilton Scarborough 1946– actress [citation needed]
Ernie Wise Bramley 1925–1999 comedian [citation needed]

Musicians and bands

Mel B
Mel B
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Arctic Monkeys formed in Sheffield indie band [52]
James Arthur born in Middlesbrough 1988– singer [citation needed]
Asking Alexandria formed in York metalcore band [53]
Mel B Leeds member of the Spice Girls [53]
Dame Janet Baker opera singer [53]
John Barry York best known for his soundtracks for James Bond films and Midnight Cowboy [53]
The Beautiful South formed in Hull popular music band [53]
Bring Me the Horizon formed in Sheffield metalcore band [53]
Arthur Brown rock singer [53]
Tony Christie Conisbrough singer [53]
Joe Cocker Sheffield rock singer [53]
David Coverdale born in Saltburn-by-the-Sea lead vocalist for Deep Purple and Whitesnake [54]
The Cribs formed in Wakefield indie band [55]
Kiki Dee Bradford singer-songwriter [53]
Def Leppard formed in Sheffield hard rock group [53]
Frederick Delius composer [53]
Gang of Four formed in Leeds post-punk group [53]
Vin Garbutt born in South Bank, Middlesbrough folk singer [56]
Lesley Garrett Doncaster opera singer [53]
Gareth Gates born in Bradford singer [53]
Heaven 17 80s band [53]
The Human League formed in Sheffield synthpop band [53]
Kaiser Chiefs formed in Leeds indie band [53]
Zayn Malik born in Bradford Singer-songwriter and former member of boy band One Direction [citation needed]
Jane McDonald born in Wakefield singer [citation needed]
John Newman born in Settle 1990– soul singer [citation needed]
Robert Palmer Batley 1949–2003 singer [53]
Pulp formed in Sheffield popular music band [53]
Corinne Bailey Rae born in Leeds singer [53]
Chris Rea born in Middlesbrough singer [53]
Paul Rodgers born in Middlesbrough 1949– rock singer-songwriter, best known for his success in the 1970s as a member of Free and Bad Company [57]
Kate Rusby folk singer [53]
Shed Seven formed in York indie-rock band [53]
Ed Sheeran born in Hebden Bridge singer [citation needed]
Benson Taylor born in Bradford Composer [citation needed]
Kimberley Walsh born in Bradford member of pop group Girls Aloud [citation needed]
Christopher Wolstenholme born in Rotherham bassist of Muse [58]
Louis William Tomlinson born in Doncaster Member of boy group One Direction [citation needed]


Name Place Life Comments Reference
David Bairstow born in Bradford, Yorkshire 1951 – January 1998 cricketer [citation needed]
Jonathan Bairstow born in Bradford 1989– Yorkshire CCC and England cricketer and son of David. (Above) [59]
Geoffrey Boycott born in Fitzwilliam 1940– Yorkshire CCC and England cricketer [60]
Alistair Brownlee born in Dewsbury 1988– Olympic gold medalist, world champion in triathlon [61]
Jonathan Brownlee born in Leeds 1990– Olympic silver medalist, world champion in triathlon [61]
Brian Clough born in Middlesbrough 1935–2004 footballer and football manager [5]
Jessica Ennis born in Sheffield 1986– Olympic gold medalist, world champion in heptathlon [62]
Lewis Cook born in York 1997– footballer, midfielder for AFC Bournemouth and England [citation needed]
Ben Godfrey born in York 1997– footballer, defender/midfielder for Norwich City [citation needed]
Darren Gough born in Barnsley 1970– cricketer [5]
Alan Hinkes 1954– mountaineer, first Briton to climb world's highest 14 peaks [5]
Len Hutton born in Pudsey 1916–90 cricketer, Ashes-winning captain [5]
Innes Ireland born in Mytholmroyd Formula One driver [citation needed]
Kevin Keegan born in Doncaster 1951– footballer, 2 x European footballer of the year [5]
Harry Maguire born in Sheffield 1993 – football player for Manchester United and England
Steve McClaren born in York 1961– football manager and former player [citation needed]
Jamie Reeves born in Sheffield 1962– world champion strength athlete, World's Strongest Man of '89 [citation needed]
Joe Root Sheffield 1990 Cricketer for Yorkshire CCC and England [63]
David Seaman born in Rotherham 1963 footballer, goalkeeper for Arsenal and England [64]
John Stones born in Barnsley 1994– footballer, Centre back,for Manchester City and England [citation needed]
Jane Tomlinson 1964–2007 amateur athlete and cancer charity fundraiser [65]
Fred Trueman 1931 – July 2006 cricketer [5]
Jamie Vardy born in Sheffield 1987– footballer, striker for Leicester City and England [66]
Danny Willett born in Sheffield 1987– golfer, second Englishman to win The Masters [67]

Artists and sculptors

Furniture maker Robert Thompson's trademark mouse
Furniture maker Robert Thompson's trademark mouse
Name Place Life Comments Reference
Gertrude Spurr Cutts Scarborough 1858–1941 painter [68]
John Atkinson Grimshaw Leeds 1836–1893 painter [5]
Barbara Hepworth Wakefield 1903–1975 artist [69]
David Hockney Saltaire 1937– artist [5]
Henry Moore Castleford 1898–1986 sculptor [5]
Robert Thompson Kilburn 1876–1955 carpenter, furniture maker recognised for his mouseman furniture, exclusively using Yorkshire Oak [5]
Andy Goldsworthy Cheshire, raised in Leeds 1956– British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist producing site-specificsculpture and land art situated in natural and urban settings [70]
William Etty RA York 1787–1849 English artist best known for his history paintings containing nude figures [71]
Damien Hirst grew up in Leeds 1965– artist [72]
Patrick Heron Leeds 1920–1999 artist [73]
Trevor Bell Leeds 1930–2017 artist [citation needed]
Norman Ackroyd Leeds 1938– artist [74]
Ian Berry Huddersfield 1984– artist [75]
Joash Woodrow Leeds 1927–2006 artist [76]
Jacob Kramer Leeds based 1892–1962 artist [77]
Matthew Krishanu Bradford 1980– artist [78]
Pete McKee Sheffield 1960– artist [79]


Name Place Life Comments Reference
Mary Bateman born in Asenby, worked in Thirsk 1768–1809 "Yorkshire Witch"; convicted of fraud and murder, hanged [80]
John Christie born in Illingworth 1899–1953 (Hanged) serial killer, known as "The Rillington Place Strangler" [81]
Stephen Griffiths born in Dewsbury 1969– serial killer, known as "The Crossbow Cannibal" [82]
Mark Hobson born in Wakefield 1969– 'spree killer' who murdered four people [citation needed]
Donald Neilson born in Dewsbury 1936–2011 armed robber, serial killer, known as "The Black Panther" [83]
Jimmy Savile born in West Riding 1926–2011 Prolific sex abuser of both adults and children, TV presenter, celebrity, charity fund-raiser [84]
Edward Simpson born in Sleights 1815–? infamous forger of prehistoric flint tools, sold to many notable museums [85]
Peter Sutcliffe born in Bingley 1946–2020 serial killer, known as "The Yorkshire Ripper" [86]

People in fiction

See also

Historic names


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