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BIRSTALL:
Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

"BIRSTALL, a parish in the wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5 miles to the S.E. of Bradford, and 7 from Leeds, its post town. It is connected with the London and North-Western railway, by a short branch line from Batley. The Lancashire and Yorkshire railway runs through the parish, with stations at Cleckheaton, Liversedge, and Heckmondwike. Birstall is a very large and populous parish, extending over an area of 13,656 acres, and comprising the chapelries of Cleckheaton, Drighlington, Gomersall, Heckmondwike, Liversedge, Tong, Wyke, Birkenshaw, with Hunsworth, Whitechapel, and Robertown, and some hamlets. The manufacture of woollen cloth is carried on here to a large extent, and many persons are employed in the coal-mines and iron-works. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ripon, of the value of 275, in the patronage of the bishop. The parish church stands in the township of Gomersall, and is dedicated to St. Peter. There are eleven district churches situated in the several chapelries into which the parish is divided. The livings of all are perpetual curacies, varying in value from 300 to 84, with residences. There is a chapel belonging to the Wesleyans, and a National school with a small endowment. The annual value of the parochial charities is 119."


"ADWALTON, a hamlet in the chapelry of Drighlington, and parish of Birstall, in the wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5 miles to the S.W. of Leeds. Adwalton. Moor was the scene of an engagement in 1642, in which Fairfax and the forces of the parliament suffered defeat by the royalist forces under the Earl of Newcastle. This hamlet was formerly a market town. Fairs for the sale of horses, cattle, &c., are held on the 26th January, tile 26th February; Easter Thursday, and fortnightly on Thursday from Easter till Michaelmas, on the 5th November and the 23rd December."


"BIRKENSHAW, a hamlet in the parish of Birstall, wapentake, of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 7 miles to the S.W. of Leeds. It is a station on the Gildersome branch of the Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax Junction railway. Coal and ironstone are obtained in great abundance here, and many hands are employed in the cotton and woollen manufactures. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the Vicar of Birstall."


"BIRKENSHAW BOTTOM, a hamlet in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, close to Birkenshaw."


"CLACKHEATON, a chapelry in the parish of Birstall, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5 miles S. of Bradford. It is situated on a branch of the river Aire, and contains the hamlets of Scholes, Oakenshaw, and Hartshead Moor. The Manchester and Leeds branch railway passes near the village, which is chiefly inhabited by weavers. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the Vicar of Birstall. The church is dedicated to St. John."


"CLECKHEATON, a township and chapelry in the parish of Birstall, in the wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5.1 miles S.E. of Bradford, and 9. S.W. of Leeds. It has a station on the Huddersfield and Bradford branch of the East Lancashire and Yorkshire line. The living is a perpetual car.* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the Vicar of Birstall. The church, dedicated to St. John, is a fine building erected in 1830 by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The Wesleyans and Independents have places of worship, and there are National and British schools. Several coalmines are worked in the neighbourhood, and the chief manufactures consist of blankets and woollen cloths. There is an unconsecrated cemetery. Fairs are held on the first Wednesday in April and the last Thursday in August."


"CUTLER HEIGHT, a hamlet in the chapelry of Tong, parish of Birstall, in the West Riding of the county of York, 4 miles S.E. of Bradford. The inhabitants are engaged in the woollen and rope manufactures."


"DRIGHLINGTON, a township or chapelry in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5 miles S.E. of Bradford, and 6 S.W. of Leeds, its post town. It contains the hamlet of Adwalton. The Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax Junction railway has stations both at Drighlington and Adwalton. The village is pleasantly situated on elevated ground, near the junction of the Leeds and Wakefield roads. There are malting, worsted, spinning, and cloth manufactories. The land is chiefly in pasture, and there are several collieries. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 84, in the patronage of J. Hague, Esq. The charities consist of an endowment of 60 per annum to the free school, founded by Archbishop Margetson, in 1678, who was a native of this place. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and New Connexion Methodists have each a chapel. John Hague, Esq., is lord of the manor. Fairs at Adwalton are held on the 6th February, 9th March, 5th November, 23rd December, and on the Thursday in Easter and Whitsun weeks, mostly for cattle."


"EAST BIERLEY, a hamlet in the township of Hunsworth, and parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles from Bradford."


"FIELD HEAD, a hamlet in the township of Gomersal and parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 7 miles E. of Halifax. Field House is the principal residence."


"GOMERSAL, a township and ecclesiastical district in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 4 miles N.W. of Dewsbury, 6 S.E. of Bradford, and 8 S.W. of Leeds, its post town. The township includes the two villages of Great and Little Gomersal, with the hamlets of Birkenshaw, Birkenshaw Bottoms, Birstall Drub, Field Head, Holden Clough, Latham, Moor Lane, Popeley Gate, Nutts, and Spen. The Birstall station on the London and North-Western line of railway is a short distance N.E. of the village. Blankets, woollen cloths, chemicals, and machinery for cotton-spinning, are the principal goods manufactured. Coal is obtained in the neighbourhood. The village, which is very considerable, contains a mechanics' institute and several mills. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately. The church is a modern stone edifice dedicated to St. Mary. There are charities of about 12 yearly value. The Independents, Wesleyans, Reformed Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Moravians, have chapels. There is a National school for both sexes, also Sunday-schools belonging to the various places of worship."


"HECKMONDWIKE, a township, chapelry, and market town, in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 9 miles S.W. of Leeds, its post town, and 2 N.W. of Dewsbury. It is a station on the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, and is situated on the river Aire. There are several collieries in this township, and manufactories of pilots, rugs, carpets, blankets, &c., for which last this place is famed. One of the chief firms supplied both the English and French armies with blankets during the Crimean war. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and copiously supplied with good water. It is governed by a board of health. The principal public buildings are the Blanket Hall and the Freemasons' Hall. The chief part of the land is in pasture, and the soil gravel, on a carboniferous subsoil. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150. The church, dedicated to St. James, is a modern stone structure with a spired tower. The parochial charities produce about 3 per annum. There are two chapels belonging to the Independents, and a chapel at Westgate for the Wesleyans; all three have a Sunday-school attached. There is also a National school for both sexes. The Duke of Leeds is lord of the manor. The blanket market is held at the hall on Mondays and Tuesdays. Two annual cattle fairs are held on the first Monday in May and the first Monday in November."


"HEIGHTS, a hamlet in the chapelry of Liversedge and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 6 miles N.E. of Huddersfield."


"HOLDENCLOUGH, a hamlet in the township of Gomersall and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 4 miles N.E. of Dewsbury, and 8 S.W. of Leeds. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the woollen and worsted manufactures, and in the neighbouring collieries."


"HUNSWORTH, a township in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 1 mile from Cleckheaton and Low-Moor station, and 3 miles S.E. of Bradford. Here are extensive collieries, also several woollen mills. There is a Wesleyan chapel at East Bierley, which is in this township. In the adjoining village of Birkenshaw is St. Paul's Church. The trustees of the Savile estates are lords of the manor."


"LATHAM, a hamlet in the township of Gomersall, parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 7 miles N.E. of Huddersfield, and 4 N.W. of Dewsbury. The inhabitants are engaged in the woollen manufacture, and in the collieries."


"LITTLE TOWN, a hamlet in the township of Liversedge, parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 3 miles N.W. of Dewsbury, and 9 S.W. of Leeds. The inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of blankets, carpets, and woollen cloths."


"LIVERSEDGE, a township in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 5 miles N.W. of Dewsbury, and 11 W. of Leeds, its post town. It is a station on the Huddersfield and Bradford branch of the East Lancashire and Yorkshire line of railway. The place was anciently the property of the Neville family, lords of the manor, of whose ancient mansion, Liversedge Hall, there are some slight remains. In 1812 it was the scene of serious disturbances on account of the introduction of machinery, when the mill of William Cartwright was attacked by the mob, but was successfully defended by its spirited proprietor, and several persons lost their lives in the attempt. The township, which is not extensive, is studded with numerous villages and hamlets, built on the declivities of a valley watered by a stream flowing towards the S.E. through Heckmond Wike. It includes the hamlets of High Town, Little Town, Robert Town, the Heights, and Millbridge. The last named village is situated on the road from Leeds to Huddersfield, with Little Town to the N.W., and both, like the other villages of this township, are inhabited by persons employed in the manufacture of carpets, cloths, machine cards, blankets, chemical and mechanical works, and other branches of industry. In the vicinity are extensive collieries. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the gift of the vicar of the parish. The church, styled Christ Church, was erected in 1816, at a cost of 7,000. There is also a district church at Robert Town. The Independents, Wesleyans, Primitive and Reformed Methodists, and New Connexion Wesleyans, have places of worship in the several hamlets. There are schools in each on the National system, and Sunday-schools in connection with the several denominations.'"


"MILLBRIDGE, a hamlet in the chapelry of Liversedge and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 6 miles N.W. of Huddersfield. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the Vicar of Almondbury."


"MOOR LANE, a hamlet in the township of Gomersall, parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 7 miles N.E. of Huddersfield. The inhabitants are engaged in the woollen manufactures and in the collieries."


"OAKENSHAW, a hamlet in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 3 miles S. by E. of Bradford. It is a station on the Midland railway."


"POPELEY GATE, a hamlet in the township of Gomersall, parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 3 miles N.W. of Dewsbury."


"ROBERT TOWN, a hamlet in the chapelry of Liversedge and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 2 miles from Birstall, and 6 S.E. of Bradford. It is situated in a manufacturing district, near the line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway. Many of the inhabitants are employed in the woollen mills and iron mines. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the Vicar of Birstall. The church is a modern structure."


"RYCROFT, a hamlet in the chapelry of Tong and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.E. of Bradford."


"SCHOLES, a hamlet in the chapelry of Clackheaton, parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 6 miles N.E. of Huddersfield, and the same S.E. of Bradford. It is situated near a branch of the river Aire."


"SMITH, a hamlet in the township of Gomersal and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 5 miles S. of Bradford."


"SPEN, a hamlet in the township of Gomersal and parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 4 miles N.W. of Dewsbury."


"TONG, a township and chapelry in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 6 miles S.W. of Leeds, its post town, and 5 S.E. of Bradford. It is a joint station with Birkenshaw on the Batley branch of the Great Northern railway. The village is situated in a hilly country abounding in coal and ironstone. Some of the inhabitants are employed in the woollen and worsted manufactories, and in the making of rope and twine. The township includes the hamlets of Cutler Height, Tong Street, Ryecroft, Topshaw Moor, and Westgate Hill. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 300. The church is dedicated to St. James. There is also a district church at Tong Street, the living of which is a perpetual curacy* The parochial charities produce about 21 per annum, of which 3 go to Tempest's school. There is a National school for both sexes. The Wesleyans, New Connexion, and the Primitive Methodists have chapels. Tong Hall, the principal residence, was rebuilt by Sir G. Tempest in 1702. Colonel Tempest is lord of the manor and principal landowner."


"TOPSHAW MOOR, a hamlet in the chapelry of Tong, in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.E. of Bradford."


"WESTGATE HILL, a hamlet in the chapelry of Tong, parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.E. of Bradford."


"WHITECHAPEL, a hamlet in the parish of Birstall, West Riding county York, 3 miles N.W. of Dewsbury."


"WIKE, a township in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 3 miles S.W. of Bradford, of which it may be considered a suburb."


"WYKE, a township and ecclesiastical district in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 4 miles S. of Bradford, and half a mile from Picklebridge railway station. Agriculture, cloth-weaving, and coal-mining are the chief occupations of the inhabitants. The substratum abounds in coal and iron-stone, which are worked by the Low Moor Iron Company under lease from Miss Curren, and the representatives of the late T. Carwick, Esq. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately. The church was erected in 1847 at a cost of 3,000. The Independents and Moravians have chapels, and the latter a small settlement. There are National, Independent, and Friends' schools."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson 2003


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