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BRADFORD: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

"BRADFORD, a market and parish-town, in Morley-division of Agbrigg and Morley, liberty of Pontefract, and by the Reform Bill created a parliamentary borough, is in the extensive and populous parish of its name, in the wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding ; 192 miles from London, 35 n.e. from Manchester, the like distance s.w. from the city of York, 14 n. from Huddersfield, 10 w. from Leeds, and 8 n. by e. from Halifax. This town lies in the very heart of the manufacturing country, and is pleasantly situated at the junction of three beautiful and extensive valleys. It is almost entirely built of stone, and the air, though sharp, is salubrious. Coal and iron are found in great abundance in the neighbourhood ; and here is a navigable canal, which branches from the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Shipley, about three miles distant -- with these advantages, and seated in a central part between Leeds, Wakefield, Halifax, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, and Keighley, it is no wonder that the trade of this town should be so extensive and the population so rapidly increasing. Worsted stuffs form the staple manufacture of this town and neighbourhood ; but broad and narrow cloths, wool cards and combs are also made here. The spinning of worsted yarn is a branch of much consequence to the town, & employs a great number of hands ; while the Low moor, & Bowling Iron works, both in the immediate vicinity, are extensive, and enjoy a deserved reputation. The piece-hall in the town is an excellent mart for stuff goods, and is divided into two apartments, the upper and lower chamber : this building serves at present as a court-house ; and the general quarter sessions of the peace are held in it, but a large court-house is now erecting, and expected to be finished in June, 1834: it will be a very handsome building, and one of great utility. The court of requests, for the recovery of debts under 40s. is held in a neat building in Darley street ; besides which, another court, for the honour of Pontefract, is held here the first Wednesday in every month, wherein debts may be sued for under £5.

Benjamin Rawson, Esq. is the present lord of the manor ; and the town is governed by two constables, one for the east and the other for the west end of Bradford ; these are elected annually at a vestry meeting, and put in nomination by the officers going out. By the Reform Bill, Bradford has obtained the privilege of returning two members to the British parliament. At the election in 1832, the candidates who presented themselves to contest the honour of being returned for the new borough, were Ellis Cunliffe Lister, Esq. who polled 634 votes ; John Hardy, Esq. 472 ; and George Banks, Esq. 401. The two first named gentlemen were declared the sitting members. The new Boundary Act defines the limits of the borough to comprise the several townships of Bradford, Manningham, and Bowling, and the township of Horton, including the hamlets of Great and Little Horton. By the same act, Bradford is appointed one of the stations for receiving votes at the election of members to represent the West Riding.

The buildings appropriated for divine worship are the parish church of St. Peter, and a new one, erected in 1814, by the voluntary contributions of the inhabitants -- it is called Christ Church ; and the Rev. William Morgan is the incumbent. St. Peter's is a Gothic structure, of considerable antiquity, and was completed about the thirty sixth year of the reign of Henry VI ; it has lately undergone considerable repairs, and is now made substantially handsome : the benefice is a vicarage, in the gift of the Rev. Charles Simeon, A.M. of Cambridge, and other trustees : the Rev. Hen. Heap A.M. is the present vicar, the curate the Rev. Robert Heap, and the assistant curate, the Rev. John Cheetham, A.B. The Wesleyan & primitive methodists, independents, baptists & unitarians have each a chapel, and the society of friends a meeting house. The free grammar school here was founded by Charles II, and by him liberally endowed ; it is one of those schools having the privilege of sending candidates for Lady Hastings' exhibition at Queen's College, Oxford : the head master is the Rev. S. Slack, A.M., the second master is the Rev. W. Cooper, A.M. the house of the head master is a very superior residence . Here are besides, other day & Sunday schools, and one of industry ; with infant schools, built by the society of friends. There is a beautiful exchange, erected a few years ago, and for which the town is principally indebted to the exertions of Dr. Outhwaite ; it affords great accommodation to the inhabitants, having a news room, a library, and a large public room. There are also in the town an excellent dispensary and a savings' bank. The country about Bradford is extremely pleasant, open and picturesque, adorned with many elegant houses ; amongst which may be enumerated, Manningham hall, the seat of E.C.Lister, Esq. M.P. for the borough ; Manningham lodge, the residence of M. Thompson, Esq.; Scarr hill, the residence of William Pollard, Esq.; Horton house, the residence of John Wood, Esq.; Town hill, the residence of F. Duffield, Esq.; and Undercliff hall, the seat of John Hustler, Esq., with many others. The market day is on Thursday ; and the fairs are March 3rd and 4th, June 17th, 18th & 19th, and December 9th, 10th and 11th, all for cattle, &c. the December fair being also a large one for pigs. The parish of Bradford is very extensive, being fifteen miles in length, and from five to six in breadth, and comprehends thirteen townships and chapelries, which, contained, in 1821, 52,954 inhabitants, and in 1831, 76,996, of which last number 23,233 were returned for the township of Bradford, being an augmentation in the population of the township in twenty years of 16,840 persons. At the last census (1831) those places comprised in the present borough, contained together 43,537 inhabitants.

Bowling is a township, belonging to the parliamentary borough and parish of Bradford, about a mile and a half s.w. from that town, containing in 1821, 3,579, and in 1831, 5,958 inhabitants. Clayton is a township in the parish of Bradford, about 3 miles w. by s. from that town, containing in 1821, 3,609 inhabitants, and in 1831, 4,469.

Eccleshill is another populous township in Bradford parish, about three miles n.e. from that town, containing a population in 1821, of 2,176 inhabitants, and in 1831, 2,570.

Manningham is a township in Bradford parish, and included within the limits of the new borough ; about a mile n.w. from Bradford. The population, in 1821 was 2,474, and in 1831, 3,564. Shipley is a township and parochial district, in the parish of Bradford, about three miles from that town. A branch of the Leeds and Liverpool canal passes through the township: and the manufacture of woollen goods is carried on in it to some extent. A church was erected here in 1825, under the authority of the parliamentary commissioners, at an expense of about £7,600 : in 1828 it was constituted a district church. The other places of worship are for baptists and Wesleyan methodists. The township contained in 1821, 1,606, and at the last census, 1,926 inhabitants.

Horton is the most populous chapelry in the parish of Bradford, two miles s.w. from that town. A free grammar school was founded and endowed by Christopher Scott, in the reign of Charles I : about two hundred children are instructed in this establishment, but classical education has been discontinued. There is another school in which about sixty children and young persons, residing in the hamlets of Hanbury and Haworth, are instructed free. This chapelry (including the hamlets of Great, and Little Horton) is comprised within the limits of the parliamentary borough. The population in 1821, was 7,192, and in 1831, 10,782.

North Bierley is a populous chapelry in Bradford parish, two miles s.e. from that town. The iron works, and establishments connected with the woollen manufacture, are extensive here. The population of the chapelry, in the year 1821, was 6,070, and in 1831, 7,254."


"DENHOLME, is a hamlet, in the parish of Bradford, about 5.5 miles from Bingley, 6 from Keighley, and about the like distance from Halifax. The manufacture of woollen goods prevails here; besides which the extensive coal works of Messrs. Horsfalls & Co., a respectable brewery, belonging to Mr. Knowles, and copperas works, are the other principal trades. About half a mile from the village, at Denholme gate, the traveller will find the 'Gate Inn', where every accommodation will be afforded to him that he requires. Population returned with the parish.
Please see Bingley Parish for the 1834 trades directory for this township."


"HAWORTH, is a chapelry, comprising the hamlets of Haworth, Stanbury, and Near and Far Oxenhope, in the parish of Bradford, and wapentake of Morley, West Riding; Haworth being 10 miles from Bradford, about the same distance from Halifax, Colne and Skipton, and 3.5 miles s. from Keighley ; situated on the side of a hill, and consisting of one irregularly built street ; the habitations in that part called Oxenhope being yet more scattered, and Stanbury still farther distant -- the entire chapelry extending over a wide space. This is one of the districts, the inhabitants of which derive their support from the woollen trade; the spinning of worsted, and the manufacture of stuffs, being the branches which here prevail extensively.

The church, or rather chapel, subject to Bradford, which is dedicated to St. Michael, was rebuilt in 1757. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Bradford and certain trustees : the present curate is the Rev. Patrick Bronte. The other places of worship in Haworth are, two chapels for the baptists and one for Wesleyan methodists, with another for the latter sect at Oxenhope. There are three annual fairs, which take place on Easter Monday, the second Monday after St. Peter's day (old style), and the first Monday after Old Michaelmas day. The chapelry of Haworth and its independent hamlets contained, by the parliamentary census taken in 1821, 4,668 inhabitants, and by that in 1831, 5,835."


"THORNTON, is a populous chapelry, in the parish of Bradford, about 4.5 miles w. from that town, containing numerous establishments for the manufacture of woollen stuffs, upon which branch of trade the inhabitants may be said almost entirely to depend. The place of worship, under the establishment, is a chapel dedicated to St. James, which is a neat edifice; the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Bradford. A school, erected by subscription, is endowed with about £50. per annum, produced from sundry benefactions: about eighty children are taught, some of whom are instructed in the classics; there is besides another school, conducted upon the national plan. The chapelry contained, by the parliamentary returns made in 1821, 4,100 inhabitants, and, in 1831, 5,968."

[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]