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Help and advice for WAKEFIELD: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

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WAKEFIELD: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

"WAKEFIELD, a parish, post and market town, municipal and parliamentary borough in the lower division of Agbrigg wapentake, West Riding county York, 9 miles S.E. of Leeds, and 28 S.W. of York. It has stations on the Lancashire and Yorkshire, and Bradford, Wakefield, and Leeds railways, and a joint station at Oakenshaw, about 2 miles from the town, for the North Midland and Great Northern railways. It is situated on the navigable river Calder, here crossed by a bridge of nine arches built by Edward III., and on the Aire and Calder navigation, by means of which a considerable trade is carried on in grain, malt, coals, &c. The parish of Wakefield, which is very extensive, comprising 9,311 acres, includes the chapelry of Horbury, the township and borough of Wakefield, the townships of Alverthorpe-with-Thornes and Stanley-cum-Wrenthorpe. Its ancient name was Wachefeld, under which it is mentioned in Domesday book as belonging to the crown, and was subsequently given by Henry I. to the Warrens, whose seat was Sandal Castle. By Edward III. it was conferred on his natural son Edmund de Langley, who fell at the battle of Agincourt, and afterwards belonged to Richard Duke of York, slain in the battle of Wakefield Green. In 1554 this extensive baronial liberty became a portion of the Duchy of Lancaster, and through Henry Earl of Holland, the Cliftons, &c., descended to Thomas Osborne, first Duke of Leeds, in whose family it continues, but the manor belongs to Sackville W. Lane Fox, Esq. On the passing of the Reform Act of 1832, it was created a borough, with the privilege of returning one member to parliament. Under the Municipal Corporations Act it is divided into seven wards, and is governed by a mayor, eight aldermen, and 24 councillors. The population of the municipal and parliamentary boroughs, which are nearly coextensive, in 1851 was 22,065, and in 1861, 23,350; but that of the whole parish in 1851 was 33,122, and in 1861, 35,739. The town of Wakefield, which is situated in the centre of a thriving manufacturing district, may be considered the shire town of the West Riding, from its being the place of election for the knights of the shire for the West Riding, the place of custody for deeds and enrolments. The petty sessions for the lower division of Agbrigg wapentake, as also for the borough, are held weekly on Monday. A county-court sits monthly, and the board of poor-law guardians meet fortnightly on Wednesday. The Poorlaw Union comprises 19 parishes and townships. The manor-court is held annually at the Moot Hall. The town, which is built on a declivity near the river, contains several handsome modern streets, and even the older portion, which is irregularly laid out, has been recently much improved. The principal public buildings are the court-house, with Doric portico, in Wood-street; the corn-exchange, erected in 1837 in Westgate; the moot-hall, or manor court, in Westgate; the house of correction for the West Riding, covering a site of 20 acres, having been enlarged in 1824, at a cost of £120,000, and in Westgate the county lunatic asylum for the West Riding, erected at a cost of above £100,000 at Eastmoor; the union workhouse in Park-lane; the mechanics' institution, with library and baths attached, in Wood-street; the Tammy hall in Wood-street, 210 feet by 30, built for the sale of cloth and woollen stuffs, but now converted into a factory, that branch of trade having disappeared; the theatre, in Westgate; the general dispensary and Clayton hospital in Wood-street; the borough police-station in King-street; also the station of the West Riding constabulary at Cliffe House; the savings-bank in Burton-street; four commercial banks, assembly rooms, and library, three masonic lodges, gas and waterworks, and the new market-house, recently erected near the parish church, at a cost of £20,000, the old market-place in the centre of the town having become too small for the increased business. A considerable trade is done in grain, meal, wool, malt, coal, and stone, which are conveyed to the neighbouring manufacturing towns by means of the river Calder and the Aire and Calder navigation. Many persons are employed as maltsters, dyers, boat-builders, millwrights, blacksmiths, colliers, and some in the spinning of worsted and lambs-wool yarn, though this branch of manufacture has fallen off. There are extensive corn mills belonging to the corporation, several breweries, the Calder soap works, where artificial manures are also manufactured. In the immediate vicinity of the town are extensive market gardens. The soil is clayey but fertile, and the subsoil abounds in coal, stone, and mineral springs. There are two weekly newspapers published in the town, the Express on Saturday, and the Journal and Examiner, on Friday mornings, with a second edition in the afternoon, containing the Mark-lane news of the day. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ripon, value £450, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is a handsome structure of the time of Henry III., but mostly rebuilt since 1724. It has a tower and spire 237 feet high, containing a peal of ten bells, and has been recently restored at an expense of £5,000, under the direction of G. Scott. In addition to the parish church are the district churches of St. John's with All Saints; St. Andrew's, Warrengate; St. Mary's, Primrose Hill; Trinity, George-street; St. Michael's, Westgate Common; and in the rural districts the churches of Alverthorpe, Horbury, Outwood, Stanley, and Thorner Common, the livings of which are all perpetual curacies, varying in value from £225 to £150. The most noteworthy of these churches, which are all modern, is that of St. John, erected in 1791 at a cost of £10,000, and made parochial jointly with All Saints by Act of Parliament; St. Michael's church, on Westgate Common, erected in 1858, with an E. window of five lights; and St. Mary's chantry, situated on the bridge, originally founded by Edward IV., but entirely rebuilt in 1847 at a cost of £3,000. There are three chapels in the town belonging to the Wesleyans, two to the Independents, and one each to the Primitive Methodists, Free Church Methodists Association, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Unitarians, and Society of Friends' meeting-house. The local charities produce nearly £3,000 per annum, besides almshouses and numerous provident and charitable institutions. The free grammar school, founded in 1592 by the Saviles under a charter of Queen Elizabeth, has an income from endowment of £350, with three exhibitions to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and two scholarships at Clare Hall. Archbishop Potter, Dr. Radcliffe, founder of the library which bears his name at Oxford, and the great classic scholar, Dr. Bentley, were educated at this school. There are besides the Green-coat school, with an income of £800, now removed from Westgate to the old grammar-school; the Wesleyan training schools, Lancastrian schools in connection with the mechanics' institution, also National and infant schools belonging to the several ecclesiastical districts. In 1821 a Roman mint was discovered here, with above 100 lbs. of Roman copper coins, many silver coins, and the clay moulds for casting. Market days are Wednesday and Friday, the former for cattle, and the latter for corn, meat, and provisions. Fairs lasting two days are held on the 4th July and 11th November for cattle, sheep, and horses."


"ALVERTHORPE, a township united with Thornes, in the parish of Wakefield, wapentake of Agbrigg, in the West Riding of the county of York, 1 mile to the N.W. of Wakefield. It is situated near the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway, and includes the hamlet of Fanshaw and three others. It lies partly within the limits of the borough of Wakefield. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value £150, in the patronage of the vicar. The church is large, and in the perpendicular style. It was built in 1825, and contains above 1,500 sittings, more than half of them being free. There are three almshouses. This township is an ancient seat of the Maude family."


"BRITTON, a village in the parish of Wakefield, and wapentake of Agbrigg, in the West Riding of the county of York, not far from Wakefield. The living is a curacy in the diocese of Ripon, in the patronage of W. B. Beaumont, Esq."


"FANSHAW, a hamlet in the township of Alverthorpe and parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 1 mile N.W. of Wakefield."


"HORBURY, a chapelry in the parish of Wakefield, lower division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, West Riding county York, 3 miles S.W. of Wakefield, its post town, 4 S.E. of Dewsbury, and 11 N.E. of Huddersfield. It is a station on the Manchester and Leeds railway. The village, which is considerable, is situated on the road from Wakefield to Huddersfield. Worsted, yarns, flannels, and woollen cloth are extensively manufactured. Here are stone-quarries and fulling mills. The land is chiefly arabic. The soil is loamy, and subsoil partly rock and clay. The Calder and Hebble navigation affords facility of water carriage, and has several extensive coal wharves at Horbury Bridge. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value £225, in the patronage of the Vicar of Wakefield. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a stone structure rebuilt in 1794, and has a spired tower containing six bells. The interior of the church has a painted window. The register dates from 1598. Here is a National school for both sexes, in which a Sunday-school is held. There are also infant and day schools, also three Dissenters' schools. The Wesleyans, Independents, Primitive and Reformed Methodists have each a chapel. Here is a female penitentiary, with an infirmary for three aged females, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1858, and supported by voluntary contributions. Sackville Lane Fox, Esq., is lord of the manor."


"KIRKHAM GATE, a hamlet in the township of Alverthorpe, parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 3 miles from Wakefield, and 26 S.W. of York. It is situated near the river Calder."


"LAKE LOCK, a hamlet in the township of Stomley, and parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.E. of Wakefield. It is situated near the river Aire."


"LINGWELL GATE, a hamlet in the township of Stanley, parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 1 mile N.W. of Wakefield."


"LOFTHOUSE GATE, a hamlet in the township of Stanley and parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 2 miles N. of Wakefield."


"MOORHOUSE, a hamlet in the township of Stanley and parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.E. of Wakefield. Besides the above there are numerous small places and private seats of this name in various parts of England."


"NEWTON, a hamlet in the parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 2 miles from Wakefield."


"SILCOATES, a hamlet in the township of Alverthorpe and parish of Wakefield, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.W. of Wakefield."


"STANLEY WITH WRENTHORPE, a township in the parish of Wakefield, lower division of Agbrigg wapentake, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.E. of Wakefield, its post town, and 2½ from Normanton railway station. It is situated on the river Calder, and includes the hamlets of Stanley, Lake Lock, Bottom Boat, Stanley Lane End, Lee Moor, Lofthouse Gate, Lingwell Gate, Wrenthorpe Eastmoor, and Newton Lane End. At Lingwell Gate a number of crucibles, moulds, and above 40 lb. weight of silver and copper coins were discovered in 1812, some of which are now in the British Museum. Near this place was a Roman station, as well as at Lake Lock. The battle between Robin Hood and the Pindar of Wakefield was fought in this township. On its southern extremity were the hunting-grounds of the earls of Warren, now converted into farms, which retain the names of Park Lodge, Old Park, and New Park. The extensive collieries in this township are worked by Messrs. Robert Hudson & Co. and Messrs. J. & J. Charlesworth, who employ upwards of 500 persons. In Ferry Lane and at Field Head are the reservoirs and engines of the Wakefield waterworks, erected in 1839, but largely extended in 1866. The West Riding pauper lunatic asylum is also in this township. Its first buildings were erected in 1818, at a cost of £100,000, and additions have been since made, so as to enable it to receive 1,200 patients. It is one of the largest and best conducted asylums in the country. The Aire and Calder Navigation Company have constructed a commodious canal, which is carried over the Calder by an aqueduct which cost £40,000. The Lancashire and Yorkshire railway also crosses the Calder near Broad Reach by a viaduct. At Wrenthorpe an extensive pottery once existed. The new line of railway from Outwood to Methley crosses this township, and has a station for passengers at Lake Lock. The population in 1851 was 7,257. There are three ecclesiastical districts, St. Andrew's, Wakefield, St. Peter's, Stanley, and St. Mary Magdalene, Outwood. The charities are two almshouses for widows, and Taylor's gift for putting out apprentices, and for the aged and decrepit. There are National schools at Eastmoor, Lake Lock, Bottom Boat, and Outwood. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Wesleyan Reformers have chapels. The principal residences are Hatfield Hall, Stanley Hall, Stanley Lodge, Clark Hall, Steke House, Field Head, Moor House, Outwood Hall, Springfield. S. W. L. Fox, Esq., is lord of the manor.,"


"THORNES, a hamlet and ecclesiastical district in the parish of Wakefield, lower division of Agbrigg wapentake, West Riding county York. It is situated near Wakefield, and is joined with Alverthorpe. The inhabitants are chiefly engaged in agriculture, but a considerable number in the woollen and worsted manufactures, and in the extensive dye-works; there are also numerous market-gardens. Law Hill was once fortified, protecting the pass of the river Calder, which bounds the chapelry on the W. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ripon, value £160, in the patronage of the Vicar of Wakefield. The church, dedicated to St. James, was erected in 1830. There are National and infant schools."


"WRENTHORPE, a township in the parish of Wakefield, lower division of Agbrigg wapentake, West Riding county York, 2 miles N.E. of Wakefield. It is joined with Stanley to form a township. The Lancashire and Yorkshire railway has here a joint station for Lofthouse and Wrenthorpe."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013