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HALIFAX: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.

Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.

"HALIFAX, a market and parish-town, it is large & handsome but irregularly built, in the wapentake of Morley, and in the liberty of the honour of Pontefract, in the west tiding, is 194 miles front London, 43 from York, 27 from Manchester, 18 from Leeds, 16 from Wakefield, and 8 from Huddersfield and Bradford. The houses composing the town are chiefly of stone, situated on a gently rising eminence, enclosed by a chain of hills, which stretch from east to south. It is a manufacturing place of great celebrity, both for the quality and extent of the different articles in the woollen trade, consisting of woollen stuffs, shalloons, tammies, duroys, calimancoes, moreens, shags, serges, baize and carpeting. Bombasines, and other fabrics of silk and worsted, are perfected here; paper making is a branch of importance, and for corn this is a very great mart. The cotton trade bas also made its appearance in the town and neighbourhood, and forms no inconsiderable portion of the manufactures. The piece hall, erected for the convenience of the manufacturers, is an elegant stone edifice, in the form of an oblong, occupying a space of 10,000 square yards, and containing 315 distinct rooms for the lodgement of goods, which are open for sale every Saturday; this building cost £12,000. and for extent, beauty, and general accommodation, is unequalled by any other. It was opened for business on the first of January, 1779, The proprietors of the building have vested the same in a committee of directors who are appointed for life. This parish is admirably adapted by its situation and local advantages for the purpose of manufacture and commerce. The Calder passes within a mile and a half of the town; the nearest point being at Salters-hebble, from whence merchandize is forwarded to Hull and London. To the west there is another wharf, at Sowerby bridge, about two miles from the town, where goods are sent to Rochdale, Manchester, and Liverpool, by the Rochdale and Duke of Bridgewater's canal. The government of the town is vested in two chief constables and a deputy constable. The magistrates attend for the transaction of duties relating to the district every Saturday, at their office, Ward's end; and a court of requests is held for the recovery of debts under 40s. The town is amply supplied with good water, principally from two springs rising near Pellan, about a mile N.W. of the town. The management of the water-works and repairing and lighting the public streets are vested in certain trustees under an act of parliament. A singular criminal jurisdiction appears to have belonged, In ancient times, to that part of the parish called Hardwicke forest, and the right of beheading offenders guilty of theft, to the value of 13½d. which privilege was obtained on account of the clothiers being obliged to leave their goods, during the night on tenters; and as late as in 1632 this right, called 'Halifax law', was exercised on two offenders; the instrument which was employed on the two occasions resembled the French guillotine. The Earl of Morton. regent of Scotland, passing through the town during an execution by this Instrument, took a model of it, and had one constructed, called the 'Maiden'; this formidable machine remained unused until the year 1581, when this nobleman was himself executed by it, and thus became the erector of an instrument for his own destruction.

The places of divine worship are well deserving of notice; there are two churches under the establishment; the parish church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, in the eastern part of the town, is an ancient and beautiful structure; the living is a vicarage, in the gift of the crown. The other is situated in the south western part of the town, and is a beautiful modern erection : it is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and was built, under the sanction of an act of parliament, by Dr. Colthurst. There are besides seven chapels belonging to the various sects of dissenters; some of them are very handsome edifices, and they are all to be admired for their convenience. There are several charitable institutions, conducted upon the most benevolent principles, and add much to the health and comforts of the poorer inhabitants, they consist of a dispensary, which assists with medical and surgical aid all whose situation will not enable them otherwise to procure it. A blue coat hospital, for twenty poor children, and an alms-house for twelve poor women were founded by Nathaniel Waterhouse, A ho also left several donations for charitable purposes. Several schools, on the Lancasterian and Bell system of education, contribute much to the improvement of the younger branches of the poor. The places of amusement are the theatre, at Ward's end, the assembly rooms, a subscription library, and several news-rooms, where the London and provincial papers are taken, affording the inhabitants a relief from commercial pursuits. The baths at Halifax, which are situated at the lower part of the town, in a delightful valley, to the left of the road leading to Huddersfield, afford a very salubrious accommodation both to the inhabitants and to strangers; they are amply supplied with fine spring water rising in the premises, and comprehend cold, warm and and (sic!) swimming baths. The adjacent country is very mountainous, consisting generally of land of inferior quality, a good portion of it being reclaimed moor-land; but notwithstanding a general sterility of aspect prevails, there are many highly picturesque scenes in the neighbourhood. The market-day is Saturday, and the fairs are June 24th and the first Saturday in November. In the year 1574 the parish of Halifax contained about 12,000 souls, and, by the census of 1821, the population consisted of 45,944 males and 47,106 females, making a total of 93,050 inhabitants in the whole parish; being an increase of 19,635 since the returns of 1811. The population of the town of Halifax, by the last census, was 12,628, and, including those parts which lay in the townships of Northowram and Southowram, the number was 14,004."

"BRIGHOUSE, a hamlet, in the township of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse, and parish of Halifax. It is situated in a fertile valley, surrounded by hills, and opposite to Rastrick, upon the banks of the Calder, and the like distance from Halifax as that village. The Duke of Leeds, as lord of the manor of Wakefield, holds two courts leet here annually; and there are two fairs in the year, for cows, pigs, &c. The only places of worship at present in Brighouse are a chapel each belonging to the new and old connexion of Methodists, but the increasing population of the place has rendered necessary the foundation of one under the established church, and a petition has recently been presented to the commissioners for building churches to that effect. A census was taken by Mr. Higham, solicitor, to accompany such petition, by which it appears that the number of inhabitants amounted to upwards of 1,800. There are considerable stone quarries at Cromwell Botton, near here, and there are many malting concerns in the village."
Note: The directory entry for Brighouse in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Rastrick, (in this parish).

"ELLAND, an ancient village, in the parish of Halifax, three miles south-east of that town, is situated on the right bank of the river Calder. The chapel here is parochial, and the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Halifax, and incumbency of the Rev. Christopher Atkinson. Here are also four Methodist chapels, two endowed schools, one church and one Presbyterian Sunday school. Coarse woollen cloths are manufactured here, and in the neighbourhood of the village are coal mines and stone quarries. Elland was formerly a market-town, but for ages the market has been discontinued; there is still a small annual fair, for toys, &c. The population (with Greetland) by the parliamentary returns for 1821, was 5,088."
Note: The directory entry for Elland in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Sowerby Bridge, (in this parish).

"HEBDEN BRIDGE, in the parish of Halifax, and wapentake of Morley, is about one mile from Heptonstall, and, like that village, has a large population, engaged in the manufacture of cotton and worsted. The village is partly in the township of Wadsworth, and partly in that of Heptonstall, situated in a fine valley, amidst some of the richest scenery in England; and there are in particular, two views one to the west of the village, and the other of Todmorden, equal to any presented by the very finest of the Highland glens."
Note: The directory entry for Hebden Bridge in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Heptonstall, (in this parish).

"HEPTONSTALL, a chapelry and populous manufacturing village, in the parish of Halifax, in the west riding, is nine miles west of that town. The cotton trade prevails here to a very considerable extent; and there are some respectable establishments for manufacturing worsted, but the first-named branch predominates. By the parliamentary returns for 1821, this chapel contained 4,543 inhabitants."

"HIPPERHOLME, a village, and with Brighouse, forms a township, in the parish of Halifax, is two miles and a half east of that town. Here is a chapel of ease under the establishment, the, curate of which is the Rev. John Watson; a meeting-house belonging to the independents, and a free grammar school; the present head master of which is the Rev. Richard Hudson. This village, although seated in the midst of a great manufacturing district, does not present the characteristics of one in which any business is carried on, but the reverse; it is quiet and clean, and calculated for the retirement of individuals wishing relief from the anxious bustle of trade. Sir George Armitage and Mr. Thornhill are lessees of the manor, and a court baron is held by Mr. Lee, the steward of the former gentleman, once a year, at which a constable is chosen for the township. Coal mines and stone quarries abound in the neighbourhood, which is hilly in the extreme. In 1821 the township of Hipperholme-Cum-Brighouse contained 3,936 persons."
Note: The directory entry for Hipperholme in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Rastrick, (in this parish).

"RASTRICK, is a populous and flourishing village, in the parish of Halifax, wapentake of Morley, and manor of Wakefield, four miles south east of Halifax. There is a neat chapel of ease here, under the establishment; the living is in the gift of the vicar of Halifax, and the curacy, which is perpetual, is enjoyed by the Rev. Thomas Burton. Here is also a chapel belonging to time independents, and to each place of worship is attached a Sunday school; and there is besides a free school for twenty poor children, with an endowment of about £50. per annum. Four poor widows of the township are benefited from the proceeds of a small farm, letting for £18. a year, The manufacture of fancy goods is here extensive, and the establishments in this line are of the highest respectability : malt is also made in considerable quantities. The houses are scattered over a wide acreage of ground, in the midst of which stands the chapel. The prospects around here are pleasing, and the seat of John Clay, esq. contiguous to the town, is an object of attraction. The population of the village amounted, in 1821, to 2,796 persons."

"RIPPONDEN, a village, in the parish of Halifax, about five miles from that town, is beautifully situated in a fertile valley, partly in the township of Barkisland, and partly in that of Soyland. The place of worship here, under the establishment, is a chapel of east to Eland, of which the Rev. Robert Webster is the present incumbent. In the church-yard are several tomb-stones, cut with great taste and neatness, by the celebrated John Collier, known under the fictitious name of Tim Bobbin. At Rishworth, about 1½ mile from the town, a handsome and commodious building is erecting, the expense of which, when completed, is estimated at £5,000. It is for the purpose of accommodating fifty-five boys and fifteen girls, who will be boarded, clothed and educated gratuitously, from the product of an endowment left by John Wheelwright, Esq. of North Shields. Provision is also intended to be made for three masters and one matron, who will all reside in the establishment, but there is only one master at present, the Rev. Ralph Younger. An important circumstance attendant on the advantages of being educated at this free grammar school is the chance of being sent to one of the English universities, provision being made for sending young men, with an exhibitions £150. each, for four years. The product of the endowment amounts to £2,000. per annum. Cotton-spinning is the prevailing employment of the working class here. The population returns for this place are included with the townships of Barkisland and Soyland, these together contained, in 1821, 5,466 inhabitants."
Note: The directory entry for Ripponden in Pigot's 1829 Directory is included with Sowerby Bridge, (in this parish).

"SOWERBY BRIDGE, is a populous village, in the township of Warley and parish of Halifax, rather more than two miles distant from that town. Nearly the whole of this place may be said to have been created within the last thirty years, for previous to that period there were only a few scattered houses, souse of which were called 'sowerby Bridge Houses, and others the 'Old Causey,' or causeway. It now boasts a good trade; the manufacture of woollen cloth is extensive, and the cotton trade has been introduced with success; there are also three iron foundries, and it is remarkable for the number of corn mills, at which corn is ground in great quantities, and conveyed into different parts of Lancashire. Stone is obtained in the neighbourhood to an important extent, and the advantages enjoyed by this place for the transmission of its several articles of trade are very great. The river Calder passes under Sowerby Bridge, and the Rochdale canal affords a communication with Manchester, and thence to other great manufacturing towns. Here is one place of worship under the establishment, of which the Rev. James Franks is the minister, and a Wesleyan Methodist chapel. The township of Warley (with which the returns for Sowerby Bridge are included) contained, by the census of 1821, 4,982 inhabitants."

[Transcribed from Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29 ]
by Colin Hinson ©2007