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LEEDS:
Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

"LEEDS, a parish and parliamentary and municipal borough, township, parish, and union in the West Riding county York. The origin of the name, variously spelt Loidis, Ledes, &c., is unknown, but dates at least from the Conquest, soon after which a castle was built here by Albert de Lacy, on what is at present known as Mill Hill. The town is situated at the junction of the river Aire with a canal called the Leeds and Liverpool canal, by which is afforded a direct communication by water across the country from the port of Hull on the E. to Liverpool on the W. Leeds is locally in the wapentake of Skyrack, and liberty of the honour of Pontefract, in the archdeaconry of Craven, and diocese of Ripon, and gives name to a rural deanery. It was incorporated as a municipal borough by Charles I. in 1626; a second charter was granted by Charles II. in 1661, and a third by James II. in 1684. It is divided into 12 wards, and the town-council consists of a mayor, 16 aldermen, and 48 councillors. It was not created a parliamentary borough until the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832, though during the Civil War it sent a representative to Cromwell's parliament. It now returns two members, the limits of the borough being identical with those of the parish, and the mayor being the returning-officer. This place is the chief seat of the woollen manufactures of England, and, as it possesses advantageous railway communication with every important town in the kingdom, it is both prosperous and populous, and yearly increasing in extent. The production of woollen goods has been the chief business here for centuries, as appears by a passage in Lord Clarendon's "History of the Great Rebellion." Speaking of Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax, he calls them "three very populous and rich towns, depending wholly upon clothiers." All kinds of cloth are manufactured here-shawls, blankets, Scotch camblets, and every description of cloth, from the coarsest to the most superfine. Every improvement that science and experience could suggest has been eagerly adopted, and no expense has been spared in the laudable desire to attain perfection, the satisfactory result of which is that first-class Yorkshire cloths are now considered equal to those of the West of England, which latter so long carried off the palm of superiority in the markets of the world. Mixed i.e. coloured-cloths are generally sold first in an unfinished state, and have afterwards to be dressed before they pass into the hands of the retail dealers. Iron, leather, and flax are also very important branches of trade in Leeds, but especially iron. Of late years the town has been greatly improved by the erection of handsome structures, built with a due regard to the principles of architecture, on the site of old and dilapidated buildings: and, as it becomes every day more important for the owners of large manufactories to be possessed of central positions with regard to the railways and cloth-halls, for the carrying on of their business, there can be little doubt that the town will annually exhibit a great improvement in this respect. Still the cloth-halls themselves, as might indeed be expected from the dates of their erection, are exceedingly plain in their appearance. The Mixed Cloth Hall was built in 1758. It is of brick, quadrangular, 382 feet long by 198 feet in width, enclosing an open area. The White Cloth Hall was built in 1775, and is on the same plan and of nearly the same extent as the other. The markets are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the forenoon, and last about an hour. On the site of the old castle (which stood a siege by Stephen in 1139, saw Richard II. confined within its walls, and was taken by Fairfax from Charles I.) is a stone edifice, in the Grecian style, called Commercial Buildings. It contains a news-room 70 feet long; the other portions are devoted to business purposes as offices. Among other buildings worthy of notice may be mentioned the stock exchange, the county court, the Leeds and Yorkshire Insurance Company's offices, and the offices of the Leeds .Mercury-all of these are in Albion Street. But the chief ornaments of the town are the new townhall, in Park-lane, and the new corn exchange; the former is everything that can be desired in a building intended for the due administration of justice, while the latter is singularly adapted to meet all the requirements of commerce. The increase in the population of Yorkshire rendering it desirable that assizes should be held in some other place as well as in the county town, Leeds, after a long struggle with Wakefield, obtained the preference of her Majesty's government, and the judges opened their commission here first in the summer of 1864. On that occasion the bench, the bar, suitors, jurors, and gentlemen of the public press were alike, unanimous in praise of the noble building in which they met; and although subsequently on a division in the upper house of parliament, it appeared that the claims of Wakefield were considered by that august assembly to be superior to those of Leeds, it is unlikely, after the large and public-spirited outlay made by the latter town, that the assizes will again be removed from her. Upon the site formerly known as the Vicar's Croft has been erected an iron structure, used as a covered market. It is in the Gothic style, and about 300 feet long by 130 wide; the shops, 81 in number, form a double row round the exterior, one half facing into the surrounding streets, and the others opening inside; the whole is enclosed with 17 pairs of folding-gates, and altogether it is the most unique structure of its kind. In Call-lane is the new corn-exchange, of dressed stone, cased internally with coloured bricks: the building has the appearance of a Roman amphitheatre, covered in with an iron roof, having an elliptical dome 190 feet in length by 136 in width. It cost upwards of 30,000. Leeds possesses many public schools, some of which are richly endowed from the liberality of former ages, while others are supported by the voluntary subscriptions of living benefactors, who are to be found among all classes of the citizens. The free grammar school, on St. John's Hill, Woodhouse Moor, is an elegant stone building in the early decorated style of architecture, erected in 1859 from designs by E. M. Barry. It consists of two large schoolrooms, with class-rooms, library, and a residence for the head-master, capable of affording accommodation to boarders. St. John's charity school, founded rather more than a century ago, has an endowment of 400 a year. Situate in Beckett-street are the moral and industrial training schools, erected at a cost of 16,000; the building is rather plain, but occupies an elevated and- commanding site, having a bold front 276 feet in length. In addition to these principal places of education there are numerous schools in connection with the churches, chapels, and mechanics' institutions, British, National, and denominational, which afford, even to the poorest classes of the community, the power of educating their children. For the relief of suffering humanity there are various charitable institutions, where the blind and deaf are cared for, the diseased comfortably nursed, and the wants of the honest poor rendered less severe. The general infirmary, supported by annual subscriptions and voluntary donations, is an extensive building, situated close to the Mixed Cloth Hall: it was commenced in 1767. There is also a house of recovery for fever patients, which was founded in 1803, when the building was erected in Vicar-lane, but the situation being found inconvenient, and the accommodation insufficient, about twenty years ago a new structure, better adapted for the charitable purpose contemplated by its founders, was built in a salubrious locality at Burmantofts, at a cost of about 7,000. This also is dependent on the bounty of annual subscribers and occasional donors. In the number of her places of worship, as compared with her population, and in their beauty and aptitude for the great purpose for which they were erected, Leeds is now without a rival in the United Kingdom. The several sects of the Independents, Wesleyans, Baptists, Unitarians, and Presbyterians have each buildings more or less handsome in appearance, and commodious in their internal arrangements. There are meetinghouses belonging to the Society of Friends; and the Roman Catholics are not unprovided with structures in which Divine worship may be performed in "the beauty of holiness." But the grand old buildings of the Established Church deserve a more particular enumeration, and a brief account of the present work of church extension cannot be otherwise than interesting. The old parish church, which was dedicated to St. Peter, and was a massive Gothic structure of great antiquity, situate in Kirkgate, was taken down in 1838, and on the site was erected a large building, cruciform in shape, in the pointed style of the 15th century, capable of containing 3,000. Its cost, 30,000, was raised by voluntary subscription. The living is a vicarage, value 1,100, in the patronage of 25 trustees. The church contains some monuments and brasses. St. John the Evangelist's Church stands in the street to which it has given its name. It was built in the middle of the 17th century, and contains the tomb of its founder, John Harrison, who was a great benefactor to the town. The living is a vicarage, value 600, in the patronage of the vicar, mayor, and three members of the corporation. St. Paul's Church is in Park-square. It was built in 1791, at a cost of 10,000. The living is a perpetual curacy, value 130, in the patronage of the vicar. Trinity Church is in Boar-lane. The living is a perpetual curacy,* value 300. The vicar, the recorder, and the incumbent of St. John's are the patrons. St. Philip's Church, in Wellington-street, and All Saints' Church, in Pontefract-lane, are both perpetual curacies, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately-the former value 150 and the latter 300. Christ Church, in Meadow-lane; St. Mary, Quarry Hill; St. Luke, North-street; St. James, York-street; and St. Thomas, Melbourne-street, are all in the patronage of the incumbent of the parish church. They are but poorly endowed at present, but there are good grounds for expecting that ere long none of the existing livings in Leeds will be of less value than 300 a year. In addition to the above may be mentioned St. George's Church, Mount Pleasant, in the patronage of five trustees; St. Andrew's, in St. Andrew's-road, also in the patronage of five trustees; St. Mark's, in St. Mark's-street, Woodhouse, in the same patronage as the parish church; St. Saviour's, East-street, in the patronage of trustees; and St. Matthew's, Camp-road, to which the crown and the bishop of the diocese alternately present. Steps are being taken to provide increased church accommodation for the rapidly-increasing population. There are three public cemeteries, each containing an area of about 10 acres. One, near Woodhouse Moor, is the property of a company of shareholders, and has been open for interment for about thirty years. The others were formed ten years later at the expense of the corporation of the town-one at Hunslet and the other at Burmanstofts; and the way in which they were originally laid out and are now kept up is very creditable to the gentlemen who compose the committee of management."


"ARMLEY, a chapelry in the parish of Leeds, and liberty of the borough of Leeds, in the West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles to the W. of Leeds. It is pleasantly situated in the valley of the Aire, and is a station on the Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax branch of the Great Northern railway. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes through the chapelry, and is carried through a cutting in the old Danish camp on Giant's hill. The inhabitants are employed in the cloth manufacture, and in the fulling mills. There are also cotton and corn mills. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 204, in the patronage of the Vicar of Leeds. The chapel, which was built in the reign of Charles I., is dedicated to St. Bartholomew. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel here. A lunatic asylum has been established. The principal residence is Armley House, which has an Ionic portico, and stands on a hill overlooking the river. It was designed by Smirke, and the grounds were laid out by Repton."


"BEESTON, a chapelry in the parish of Leeds, in the West Riding of the county of York, 2 miles to the S. of Leeds. It is within the borough of Leeds, and Poorlaw Union of Hunslet. It is a station on the Wakefield and Leeds branch of the Great Northern railway. The inhabitants are principally employed in the cloth manufacture and the large collieries, which were first worked in the reign of Charles II. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 189, in the patronage of the Vicar of Leeds. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a very ancient building. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel here."


"BRAMLEY, a chapelry in the borough and parish of Leeds, locally in the wapentake of Skyrack, in the West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles to the N.W. of Leeds, its post town. It is a station on the Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax Junction railway. The chapelry contains part of Stanningley, Rodley, and other villages. Bramley forms one of the 12 wards of the borough of Leeds, and the inhabitants are principally employed in the cloth trade of the district. The Leeds and Liverpool canal passes near this place, and there are some extensive and valuable quarries of slate and sandstone. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, of the value of 239, in the patronage of the Vicar of Leeds. The Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists have chapels here, and there is an endowment for education, producing about 30 per annum. The value of the other parochial charities is about 70 a year."


"BURLEY, a hamlet and chapelry in the borough and parish of Leeds, wapentake of Skyrack, in the West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles to the N. of Leeds, its post town, and close to the Headingley station of the Leeds and Stockton section of the North-Eastern railway. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the gift of trustees."


"BUSLINGTHORPE, a village in the borough and parish of Leeds, wapentake of Skyrack, in the West Riding of the county of York, not far from Leeds. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 150, in the patronage of five trustees."


"CHAPEL ALLERTON, a chapelry in the parish of Leeds, in the liberty of the town of Leeds, in the West Riding of the county of York, 2 miles N.E. of Leeds. The hamlets of Allerton Gledhow, Moor Allerton, and Meanwood were formerly included in it, but they have now churches of their own. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 361, in the patronage of the vicar of Leeds. It has a hospital for ten poor widows, established and endowed by Robert Parker."


"COLTON, (or Coulton), a village in the township of Templenewsam, in the parishes of Whitkirk and Leeds, West Riding of the county of York, 3 miles S.E. of Leeds."


"FARNLEY, a chapelry in the borough and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.W. of Leeds, and 6 E. of Bradford. The Wortley station on the Great Northern railway is about 1 mile to the N.E. Iron ore, coal, and stone are found here in large quantities, and the quarries of Parks Spring produce stone of excellent quality. The village is extensive, and many of the inhabitants are employed in the woollen cloth manufacture. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ripon, value 204, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is a neat structure erected about the middle of the last century. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel, and there are two schools for the instruction of children. Farnley Hall is the principal residence."


"FINKLE STREET, a hamlet in the township of Wortley, parish of Leeds, and wapentake of Morley, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.W. of Barnsley."


"GIPTON, a hamlet in the township of Potter-Newton and parish of Leeds, wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 2 miles N. of Leeds. In this neighbourhood there are traces of a Saxon encampment."


"HARE HILL, a hamlet in the township of Potter-Newton and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, 1 mile N. of Leeds."


"HEADINGLEY WITH BURLEY, a chapelry and township in the parish of Leeds, within the liberty of the borough of Leeds, but locally in the wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 3 miles N.W. of Leeds. It is a station on the Leeds and Stockton section of the North-Eastern railway. The village, which is very considerable, is situated on the road from Otley to Leeds, and is bounded on the S. by the river Aire. Here are the Leeds Botanical and Zoological gardens. There is an extensive bleaching establishment and a tannery, also paper-mills on the river Aire. In the vicinity are extensive quarries of freestone, known as millstone grit, which is largely used for building. The greater portion of the moorland was enclosed in the middle of the last century, and is now in profitable cultivation. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value 250. The church, dedicated to St. Michael, is a stone edifice with a spire and clock. The church was rebuilt in 1837 at an expense of 3,000. Near to the church is a very ancient oak tree called "Scyre-ack." which gives name to Skyrack wapentake. There are National and other schools."


"HOLBECK, a chapelry in the borough and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York. [See Leeds.] It gives name to the Holbeck Junction station, where the Great Northern, the Midland, the North-Eastern, and the Lancashire and Yorkshire railways join."


"HUNSLET, (or Hunfleet), a chapelry in the parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, 1 mile S. of Leeds, within which borough it is situated. It is a station on the Midland railway. The chapelry, which is very extensive, is situated on the river Aire and Liverpool canal. Here are Wilson's locomotive factory, employing above a thousand persons, also chemical works, glass works, potteries, flax and woollen mills. The village, which forma a populous suburb of Leeds, has during the present century rapidly increased in extent and manufacturing importance. Hunslet Lane, to the E. of the village, now forms a continuous range of buildings. The substratum abounds with coal of good quality. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ripon, value 300, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is an ancient stone structure with a square tower containing one bell. There is also a church in the Hunslet-road, dedicated to St. Jude, the living of which is a vicarage,* value 130, in the patronage of the crown and bishop alternately. There are a literary institution, subscription library, and several schools; also a National school. There are places of worship for the Wesleyans and New Connexion Methodists. The parochial charities produce about 4 per annum. Hunslet was formerly the seat of the Gascoignes, and belonged at the time of the Domesday Survey to the Lacys."


"KIRKSTALL, a village and ecclesiastical district in the township of Headingley-cum-Burley, and parish of Leeds, wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 3 miles N.W. of Leeds, and 10 from Bradford. It is a station on the North Midland railway. The village, which is largo, is situated in the vale of the river Aire. Many of the inhabitants are employed at the Forge Iron Works, said to be the most ancient in the kingdom, and in the woollen mills. There is a good hotel, called the Star and Garter, adjoining the ruins of the ancient abbey, founded in 1152 by Henry de Lacy for Cistercian monks, and given at the Dissolution to Archbishop Cranmer. The ruins, which belong to the Earl of Cardigan, include the fine Norman church with its ivy-mantled tower, the chapter-house, refectory, and cloisters, covering a space of 445 feet by 340. The principal residence is the Grange. The living is a perpetual curacy, value 180, in the patronage of the trustees of Leeds vicarage. The church, dedicated to St. Stephen, is a stone structure, with a spire. It was erected in 1828 by a parliamentary grant, on land given by the Earl of Cardigan, who is lord of the manor. The Baptists and Wesleyans have places of worship. There are National and Sunday schools for boys and on the river girls."


"KNOSTROP, a village in the township, borough and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, 1 mile S.E. of Leeds. It is situated on the river Aire."


"MEANWOOD, a hamlet in the parish of Leeds, wapentake of Skyrack, West Riding county York, 4 miles N.W. of Leeds. It is situated on the E. side of a thickly wooded dell, and contains several villa residences. The scenery is diversified, including a view of the town of Leeds. Divine worship is performed in the school-house, erected by Mr. Beckett. Meanwood House is a modern seat."


"NEWTON POTTER, a township in the parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, 2 miles from Leeds. It comprises the hamlets of Gipton and Harehills. The adjunct to its name is supposed to have been derived from extensive potteries here during the time of the Romans. The manor was successively held by the Mauleverers, Scots, and Hardwicks, of whose ancient mansion there are still some remains. The surface is boldly undulating and richly wooded, and the neighbourhood abounds with ancient seats and villa residences. The village, which is very considerable, and known as the New Town, is situated on a gentle acclivity near the road to Harrogate."


"OSMONDTHORPE, a hamlet in the township of Templenewsam, parishes of Whitkirk and Leeds, West Riding county York, 4 miles S.E. of Leeds."


"POTTER NEWTON, a township in the borough, town, and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.W. of Leeds. The township which is extensive, contains the suburbs of New Leeds, and part of Buslingthorpe, and the hamlets of Gipton, Harehills, and Squire Pastures."


"SHEEPSCAR, an ecclesiastical district in the borough and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Leeds."


"STANNINGLEY, a hamlet partly in the parish of Leeds, and partly in the townships of Calverley and Pudsey, West Riding county York, 5 miles N.W. of Leeds, its post town. The Great Northern and Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax Junction railways have each a station here. It is a populous district, situated on the road from Bradford to Leeds, of which last it may be considered a suburb. The village consists chiefly of one long street, overlooking the vale of Airedale. The houses and fences are generally built of stone from the neighbouring quarries. The inhabitants are employed in the worsted and woollen mills, and in the iron works and stone quarries. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon. The church, dedicated to St. Thomas, was erected in 1841, at a cost of 2,000."


"WOODHOUSE SAINT MARK, an ecclesiastical district in the borough and parish of Leeds, West Riding county York, adjoining Leeds, containing, in 1861, 6,072 inhabitants."


"WORTLEY, a township and ecclesiastical district in the parish of Leeds, ward of Holbeck, West Riding county York, 2 miles S.W. of Leeds, within which borough it is comprised, and 6 from Bradford. The Leeds and Bradford and the Leeds and Dewsbury railways have both stations here. The township contains the modern suburb of New Wortley, adjoining Wellington Bridge, the villages of Lower and Upper Wortley, Greenside, and Silver Royd Hill, with some scattered hamlets The population has rapidly increased of late years, and in 1861 contained 12,058 inhabitants, but the ecclesiastical district of New Wortley contains 7,334. The working classes are chiefly employed in the woollen manufacture, the potteries, and coalpits, and in the making of sanitary tubes and fire-bricks. The soil is fertile, and the commons have been recently enclosed. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 130. The church, dedicated to St. John, was built in 1787, but not consecrated till 1813. The Wesleyans, Independents, Primitive and Association Methodists, have chapels. There are a free school and National schools."

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


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