DEWSBURY: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1835.
"DEWSBURY, a parish comprising the market town of Dewsbury, the chapelry of Ossett, and the townships of Soothill, in the lower division of the wapentake of AGBRIGG, and the chapelry of Clifton, and the township of Hartshead, in the wapentake of MORLEY, West riding of the county of YORK, and containing 16,261 inhabitants, of which number, 6380 are in the town of Dewsbury, 34 miles S.W. from York, and 188 N.N.W. from London. This place is supposed to have derived its name from Dui, the tutelar deity of the Brigantes, to whom a votive altar, dedicated by Aurelianus, is still preserved at Bradley, said to have been called Duis burgh, or Duisborough, from which its present appellation is derived. It was a place of importance during the infancy of the Christian Church in Britain, and was the mother church in this part of the county. Edwine, King of Northumbria, had a royal mansion here, in which his queen Ethelburga, who had subscribed to the Christian faith, was attended by Paulinus, first Archbishop of York, by whom Edwine himself, and subsequently his whole court, were converted to Christianity, in the year 627; in memory of which a cross was erected, with the inscription Paulinus Hie Prasdicavit et celebravit, which was many years since found buried in the ground about a foot from the surface; a fac-simile within the last twenty years was made by order of the Rev. J Buckworth, and placed in the gardens of the vicarage, together with several Saxon and Norman antiquities, which that gentleman had collected. The town is pleasantly situated at the base of a hill rising from the river Calder, and consists of several good streets and well built houses; it is lighted with gas, and well supplied with water. There is a public subscription library; and a mechanics institution has been established within the last five years. For some years Dewsbury has been rising into importance for its manufacture of blankets, carpets, and woollen cloths, for which there are numerous factories (one of which is the largest in the kingdom), giving employment to more than, five thousand persons in the town and neighbourhood; the water of the Calder is peculiarly favourable for the fulling of woollen goods. Abundance of coal of very superior quality is found in the neighbourhood. The river Calder and the canals afford a direct communication between the eastern and western seas, and with Liverpool, Manchester, Rochdale, Halifax, and Wakefield, to the Ilumber. The market is on Wednesday; the fairs are on the Wednesdays before OldMay-day, and New Michaelmas-day, and October 6th. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, rated in the king's books at £22. 13. 9., endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, dedicated to All Saints, a very ancient structure, having given way in 1767, was rebuilt, with a due regard to the preservation of its ancient character; during the progress of the work, part of a Saxon tomb was found and removed to the parsonage-house. The church, at Dewsbury Moor, dedicated to St. John, and containing six hundred sittings, of which two hundred and forty-eight are free, was erected in 1827, at an expense of £5502. 16. 8., by grant from the parliamentary commissioners, who have built similar churches at Earl's- Heaton and Hanging-Heaton. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan and other Methodists. The charity school has an endowment of £108 per annum, arising from an estate purchased with donations of Mrs. Bedford, Mr. Thomas Bedford, and Mr. William Walker: a separate house for the master, with a large school-room, was built in 1810, at an expense of £1300, defrayed from the sale of coal on the estate; there are one hundred boys instructed in this school by a master, whose salary is £ 80 per annum. A school-house has been recently built by a decree of Chancery, relating to the Wheelwright charity, at an expense of £600, in which one hundred boys and one hundred girls are instructed on the National system; and an infant school has recently been established. Among the remains of antiquity discovered here were a spear-head of an unknown metal resembling gold, one hundred yards from the river Calder, on the premises of Mr. Halliley; a Roman urn, and other relics."
"CLIFTON, a chapelry, joint with Hartshead, in that part of the parish of DEWSBURY, which is in the wapentake of MORLEY, West riding of the county of YORK; 5 miles N.N.E. from Huddersfield, containing, with Hartshead, 2007 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, endowed with £460 private benefaction, £400 royal a bounty, and £ 800 parliamentary grant."
"HARTSHEAD, a chapelry, joint with Clifton, in that part of the parish of DEWSBURY, which is in the wapentake of MORLEY, West riding of the county of YORK, 5 miles N.N.E. from Huddersfield, containing 2007 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual culacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, endowed with £460 private-benefaction, £400 royal bounty, and £800 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Dewsbury."
"KIRKLEES, a hamlet in that part of the parish of DEWSBURY, which is in the wapentake of MORLEY, West riding of the county of YORK, 5 miles N.N.E. from Huddersfield. The population is returned with the parish. Here was a Cistercian nunnery, erected in the reign of Henry II., by Reynerus Flandrensis, and dedi cated to the Virgin and St. James, the revenue of which, at the suppression, was valv.ed at £20. 7. 8.: the celebrated Robin Hood was buried here, where his tomb is yet to be seen."
"OSSETT, a chapelry in that part of the parish of DEWSBURY, which is in the lower division of the wapentake of AGBRIGG, West riding of the county of YORK, 4 miles W. from Wakefield, containing 4775 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, endowed with £800 private benefaction, £800 royal bounty, and £600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Dewsbury. The chapel, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, has lately received an addition of three hundred free sittings, the Incorporated Society for the enlargement of churches and chapels having granted £300 towards defraying the expense. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyan Methodists. A school was established by subscription in 1745; part of the money was applied for the erection of a schoolroom and a house for the master, and the remaining portion was invested in the purchase of certain premises, producing about £20 per annum; for several years the income has been allowed to accumulate for the repair of the school-house, and establishing a Sunday school."
"SOOTHILL, a township in that part of the parish of DEWSBURY, which is in the lower division of the wapentake of AGBRIGG, West riding of the county of YORK, 6 miles W.N.W. from Wakefield, containing 3099 inhabitants. An ancient building, now used as a malt-house, is supposed to have been originally a church, or chapel."
[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1835]