Son of James Akroyd who successfully made the transition from rural yeoman clothier to textile manufacturer. Associated initially with WM, his family became founder members of the MNC cause at Salem, Halifax in 1797. Jonathan opened a large Sunday School near his mills, employed a home missionary and contributed £2,330 to the new chapel built in 1845. An opponent of factory legislation, he successfully repelled an attack on his mills by plug rioters in 1842 and was a prominent supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League. He dominated the Whig-Liberal leadership in Halifax until his sudden death during the 1847 election campaign. In 1854 his body was reinterred in a sumptuous mortuary chapel built by his son at Haley Hill.