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The Ancient Parish of BIRSTALL

[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"BIRSTALL, a parish-town, in the township of Gomersal, Morley-division of Agbrigg and Morley, liberty of Pontefract; 7 miles SW. of Leeds and Bradford, 7½ from Halifax, 8½ from Huddersfield, 31 from York. The Church is a vicarage, dedicated, to St. Peter, in the deanry of Pontefract, value, ~23. 19s. 2d. Patron, the Archbishop of York.

This place is not mentioned in Domesday, but Gomersall is described as containing two manors: it seems therefore probable that Birstall was one of them, and being then an inconsiderable place, was passed over without further notice. --Whitaker's Loidis and Elmete. This parish, though extensive, does not furnish a township of Birstall, the village being in that of Gomersall. Here was born, 1579, Henry Burton, a puritan divine, who was educated at St. Johns College, Cambridge, but took his degree of B.D. at Oxford. He was afterwards clerk of the closet to Prince Henry, and next to Prince Charles; but was turned out for a libel against the Bishops. In 1636, he was persecuted in the high commission court for two seditious sermons, sentenced to the pillory, fined 5,000. and ordered to he imprisoned for life. In 1640, he was set at liberty, and was restored to his living. He died in 1648. He wrote many pamphlets, chiefly controversial and abusive. --Biog. Dict."

Information on the following places in this Parish is contained on a supplementary page.

  • Adwalton
  • Birkenshaw
  • Brecks
  • Cleckheaton
  • Drighlington
  • East Bierley
  • Eddercliffe
  • Field Head
  • Gomersal
  • Heckmondwike
  • High Fearnley
  • Hightown
  • Hunsworth
  • Little Town
  • Liversedge
  • Lower Wyke
  • Mill Bridge
  • Oakenshaw
  • Oakwell Hall
  • Roberttown
  • Scholes
  • Spen
  • Tong
  • Tong Lane End
  • Weskett Hill
  • Wyke

[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson 2007]

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