DEWSBURY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.
"DEWSBURY, a market-town, in the parish of its name, in the wapentakes of Agbrigg and Morley, in the liberty of the manor of Wakefield, and in the west riding, is 184 miles from London, 33 from Manchester, 35 from York, 10 from Halifax, 8 from Leeds and, Huddersfield, and 6 from Wakefield : it is a place of great antiquity, and has been of some note ever since the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity, and it appears from an inscription Non a cross, placed on the top of the church over the east window, that at an early period it was honoured by the preaching of Paulinus, first archbishop of York; and it was formerly considered as the mother church of that part of the country. The endowment deed of the church, dated 1349, mentions the payment of tithes, &c. from Halifax and other towns of that parish, to the incumbent of Dewsbury. A superstitious practice, of considerable antiquity, still exists here, which consists in ringing the large bell. of the church at midnight, on Christmas-eve, end this 'knell is called ' the devil's passing bell. For some years this town has been rising into consequence as a place of trade, and it can now boast many extensive establishments for the manufacturing, blankets, woollen cloths, carpets, &c. It is advantageously situated on the navigable river Calder, and being but a short distance front the coal mines, possesses considerable eligibility for a manufacturing town. The places of worship are, one church, of which the Rev. John Buckworth is the vicar; three chapels belonging to the Methodists, and a friend's meeting house. Here are two excellent free schools, for boys add girls, and one upon the national system. Dewsbury and its vicinage have received many improvements within the last few years, amongst which is the fine spacious road leading to Leeds, cut at a great expense by a number of public spirited inhabitants. The increased population in this parish, of late years, has rendered necessary the erection of other churches; and Dewsbury Moor, Earls Heaton and Hanging Heaton have recently received the acquisition of a church at each place. The country around, though hilly, is very fertile -its aspect generally imposing, and the views pleasing. The market-day is Wednesday; and the fairs are the Wednesday before Old May day the Wednesday before New Michaelmas day, and October 5th. By the census for 1821 the whole parish of Dewsbury contained a population of 16,261, persons, of which number 6,380 belonged to the township."
[Transcribed from Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29 ]
by Colin Hinson ©2007