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Help and advice for HALIFAX: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.

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HALIFAX: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.

"HALIFAX, a parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire, 174 cm. 199 mm. from London, stands near the Calder, on the gentle ascent of a hill; and is a p. the most populous, if not the largest, in England, being 12 m. in diameter, and above 30 in circumference, and having 12 chapels of ease to its Ch. 2 whereof are parochial; besides 16 meeting-houses, which all, except the quakers. are called chapels, and most of them have bells and burial grounds. Though there were not above 30 houses in it, anno 1443, it was so populous in Q. Eliz's. time, that they sent out 12,000 men to join her forces against the rebels; and so industrious were they, that, notwithstanding the barren soil of the adjacent country, they had then enriched themselves by the mf. of cloth. Since that, so great has been the demand of kerseys for cloathing the troops abroad, that it is thereby increased a fourth, within these 60 years, especially as they have lately entered into the mf. of shaloons; so that it has been calculated, that 100,000 pieces are made in a year in this parish alone, at the same time that almost as many kerseys are made here as ever. And it has been affirmed, that one dealer here has traded, by commission, for 60,000 l. a year, to Holland and Hamburgh, in the single article of kersies. Here is a good hos. endowed in 1642, by the then Ld. of the manor, Mr. Nath. Waterhouse, for 12 poor old people, with a workhouse for 20 children, and a fr. sc. called Q. Eliz's. The Hali fax law, so much talked of formerly, was made, in the R. of Hen. VII. to put an end to that then common praftice of stealing cloths in the night time from the tenters. By this byelaw, the magistrates of Halifax were impowered to pass and execute sentence of death on all criminals, if they were either taken in the fact of stealing, or if the cloth stolen was found upon them, or if they owned the fact: The value of the thing stolen, however, was to be above 13 d. halfpenny. If the fact was committed out of the vicarage, but within the liberties of the forest of Hardwic, the offender was first carried before the bailiff of Halifax, who presently summoned the frith-burghers of the several Ts. in the forest, by whom he was either acquitted, or condemned. If the latter, he was carried within a week to the scaffold, and there beheaded in a very remarkable manner, viz. by an ax drawn up by a pulley to the top of a wooden engine, and fastened there by a pin, which, when taken out, the ax fell down in an instant, and did its work. This may partly serve to explain the common litany of the beggars and vagrants of these parts, viz. " From Hell, Hull, and Halifax. " Good Lord deliver us." The engine, which was used till 1620, was then removed; but the basis it stood on still remains. This T. formerly gave title of Marq. to the family of Savile, as it does now those of E. and Baron to the present noble Geo. Montague, son to the late auditor of the exchequer. The Mt. here is on Th. Fair June 24. 'Tis said, the vicar of this parish is always justice of the peace, as vicar. No Mt. is so much thronged as this, in all the N. part of England, except Leeds and Wakefield. As to the aforesaid engine, it is fit to be observed, that the E. of Morton, regent of Scotland, seeing one of these executions, as he passed through Halifax, took a model of it, and carried it into his own country; where, after many years, during which it was called the Maiden, his Lp's. head was the first that was cut off with it; and though it has cut off many a head since, it still retains the name."


"GRETLAND, in the parish of Halifax, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on a hill S. of the Calder, not far from Halifax, where was formerly dug up a votive altar, consecrated to the tutelar god of the city of the Brigantes."


"SOWERBY, in the parish of Halifax, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, has a stately stone-bridge over the Calder, on the S. W. side of Halifax. A great quantity of Roman coins were turned up by the plough here, in 1678, as a votive altar had been before."

[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Stephen Whatley's England's Gazetteer, 1750]