Henry Leigh Trafford was a Stipendiary Magistrate for the Borough of Salford for 24 years and also Magistrate of Petty Sessions in Manchester.
His family background was of the Cheshire gentry, going back to Richard Leigh of West Hall, High Legh who was known to be living there in 1484. Henry's great grandfather was George Leigh of Oughtrington, Lymm, who died in 1742. George's son John Leigh married Susanna, daughter of Edward Trafford of Liverpool, part of the Staffordshire Trafford family. John and Susanna's second son (i.e. Henry's father) was named Trafford Leigh, born 1st December 1770. However, he assumed the name and the arms of the Trafford family in pursuance of the will of his uncle, Richard Trafford, and was known as Trafford Trafford.
Trafford Trafford married Henrietta, daughter of Sir Thomas Broughton of Broughton, Staffs and they had 8 sons and 6 daughters and the seventh son was Henry Leigh Trafford. Henry was born in 1809 in Oughtrington. He was called to the bar by the Middle Temple in 1834 and took up the post of Stipendiary Magistrate in Salford in 1845.
In 1869, the last year of his life, the Salford Weekly News refers to some interesting cases presided over by Mr H.L.Trafford.
On Thursday 25th March 1869 at the Police Court at Worsley, John Whitfield, Fustian Cutter of Irlam, was charged by Charles R Bowling, Factory Inspector, with allowing a girl, (Elizabeth Hampson) and a boy (Joseph Unsworth) to work after 7 pm on 5th March. The case in reference to the girl was not proved, but the other case was fully substantiated. The Defendant was fined £2 together with expenses making £2-16s-6d.
Also on Thursday 25th March 1869 at Salford Police Court, three men named Robert Shaw, William Mills and James Davies (alias Philpot) were charged with having attempted to pick the pockets of several gentlemen at the funeral of the Rev. Professor Bubier, at Weaste Cemetery, on the previous day. The prisoner Davies denied the charge and stated that he bore good character and appealed to Superintendent Williams to support the statement. Mr Williams said that he had apprehended the prisoner on 21st September last at the races attempting to pick pockets! All three were sentenced to three months imprisonment.
Another case before Mr H.L.Trafford on 10th April 1869 concerned Peter Pollit (alias Collier) who was charged with stealing some shrubs and box trees from Salford Cemetery on the previous afternoon. The Gardener of the cemetery stated that the prisoner came to him and asked to be allowed to take some soil. The prisoner was given permission, but after a few minutes the Gardiner went to check and saw the prisoner pulling up a shrub, then he took out his knife and cut it. The Gardener then noticed several other shrubs. The prisoner was fined 40 shillings plus costs.
It was shortly after these cases that Henry Leigh Trafford became ill, although he continued to attend to his duties as Magistrate as best as he was able. In June 1869 he had a holiday in Buxton for 3 weeks, but this did not improve his condition and he returned to Salford in a very weak state. After resting at home, he attempted to resume his duties at the Police Court on Monday 26th July, but was too ill to continue. His doctor, Sir James Bardsley, recommended he should take a tour through North Wales and Henry intimated to his colleagues that he would be absent until 14th August. He and his wife Jane, stayed the first night with a family friend, Dr Mould, in Cheadle. They arrived at the Owen Glyndwr Hotel in Corwen on Thursday morning and Henry complained of being unwell and especially of the state of his throat. He never rallied at all and on Saturday morning, Jane sent a telegram to Dr. Mould who came immediately, arriving at one o'clock on Sunday morning. Dr Mould found Henry gravely ill and he died just before 6 am. He was 60 years of age.