It was this same family of Ossett Inghams that had produced another Benjamin Ingham (1712-1762), who went on to work with the Wesley brothers and form the Inghamite Church referenced elsewhere on this website.
Probably, the most notable of all Ossett’s sons, the life of Benjamin Ingham was more remarkable than that of his religious great-uncle and namesake who had died before he was born.
It is said that he was the richest man in Sicily in the 19th century and the leader of the British merchants based there.
What follows is a brief history of Benjamin Ingham's life.
Introduction Benjamin Ingham, the youngest of six children, was born into the family of Ossett cloth merchant William Ingham (1730-1806) on the 24th October 1784.
Ingham’s delightful house in Palermo, Palazzo Ingham, became the city’s Grand Hotel et Des Palmes in 1874, and his hugely successful Marsala wine business was eventually nationalised by Mussolini in 1927 and is now owned by the Cinzano Company.
Above: Benjamin Ingham aged 57 years at the height of his power.
What follows shows that Whitakers were not shy in spending the legacy that had been left to them.
Benjamin Ingham was always determined never to return to Yorkshire until he was rich enough to buy up the whole of his native Ossett.
Ingham built a huge business dynasty in Sicily with massive investments in the USA, all with the help of five of his Ingham and Whitaker nephews, three of whom died whilst working for him, one by committing suicide.
He tamed the Sicilian Mafia, became a Sicilian Baron and moved in the highest circles of Sicilian society, commanding considerable respect by loaning money to some of the nobility.
He learned to speak fluent Italian with a marked Sicilian accent, tinged with a touch of Yorkshire.
His story is one of failed romances, family tragedy, business success by sheer ruthlessness and eventually, a putative marriage to a highly-sexed Italian Duchess, Alessandra Spadafora, Duchess di Santa Rosalia who was nearly six years his senior, but whom he plainly adored.
Not much has been written about this little-known Ingham, who it is said was possibly the greatest tycoon England has ever known.