DEWSBURY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.


"DEWSBURY, is a market town and township, in the parish of its name, which is partly in the wapentake of Aggbrigg and partly in that of Morley, West Riding ; 184 miles from London, 33 n.e. from Manchester, 10 e. from Halifax, 8 s. from Leeds, the like distance n.e. from Huddersfield, and 6 w. from Wakefield. It is a place of great antiquity, and has been of some note ever since the conversion of the Saxons to christianity. The remains of Saxon tombs are still to be seen in the Vicarage garden, near the church, and in digging the foundation for a pillar in the body of the church a few years ago, a stone was discovered curiously worked, and the inscription in Saxon characters. Several ancient coins of the reigns of the Henrys and Edwards have been found in the church and burial ground at different periods. It appears from an inscription on 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. For some years this town has been rising into consequence as a place of trade, & it can now boast of many extensive establishments for the manufacturing of blankets, woollen cloths, carpets, &c. It is advantageously situated on the navigable river Calder, and being but a short distance from the coal mines, possesses considerable eligibility for a manufacturing town. 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 ; and a division of the road to Wakefield has been cut through the mountain on the east of the town, to a great depth, within the last two years.

The places of worship are the ancient parish church before noticed, dedicated to All Saints ; St. John's church, at Dewsbury Moor, erected by grant from the parliamentary commissioners ; by whose means similar churches have been built, at Earls Heaton and Hanging Heaton, in this vicinity. In the township are three chapels belonging to the methodists, one for the independents, and a friends meeting house. Here are four excellent free schools, for children of both sexes, two of which are conducted upon the national system. The country around, though hilly, is very fertile, its aspects 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 16,261 inhabitants, and in 1831, 19,854, of which last number 8,272 were returned for the township of Dewsbury."

"OSSETT, is a populous township, in the parish of Dewsbury, situated about midway between that town and Wakefield ; and is perhaps one of the most considerable seats for its size, of the woollen cloth manufacture in this county, there being not fewer than fifty firms and individuals who have establishments in this branch of business, besides others engaged in the manufacture of worsted yarn. The places of worship are a chapel of ease, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and others belonging to the independents and Wesleyan methodists. The township contained in 1821, 4,775 inhabitants, and in 1831, 5,325."

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