Area, 3,390 acres. Agbrigg wapentake, L.D. -Population, 6,496 ; Church-room, 900 *1 ; Net value, £242. -Mirfield appears to have formed part of the great Saxon parish of Dewsbury till the year 1261, when it happened that as the lady of Sir John Heton, of Mirfield, was going to mass very early in the morning of Christmas day to the parish Church of Dewsbury, that she was robbed, and her principal attendants murdered, at a place called Ravensbrook Lane. On the same day, while she was at dinner, at nine o'clock in the morning (at that time the usual hour), two mendicant ecclesiastics came to solicit charity, at the same time informing her that they were going to Rome, where her husband, Sir John, then resided. On this intelligence, she wrote a letter to her husband, and told him of the horrid scene she had just witnessed, and requested him to make interest with the Pope to erect the Chapel of Mirfield into a parochial Church, that the inhabitants might no longer be exposed to the dangers she had experienced on the way to their parish Church. This letter the priests delivered to Sir John, who prevailed on his Holiness to elevate Mirfield into a Rectory, and bestow the patronage on Sir John and his posterity, who immediately conferred the living on his younger brother, who built the Rectory house about the year 1300. The original is given in Latin by Hopkinson among his MSS., a copy of which is inserted in Loidis et Elmete.
This Church was at first a Rectory belonging to the patronage of the family of Burroughs, and came to the Lacies, and was given by Henry de Lacy to the Priory of Kirk Lees, and a Vicarage ordained therein, 4th August, A.D.1403. Patron and impropriator, Sir George Armytage, Bart.
The Church of Mirfield is valued, in Pope Nicholas's taxation, at £13. 6s. 8d., and the Vicarage, in the King's books, at £6. 1s. per annum ; and in the Parliamentary Survey, vol. xviii. page 316, the Vicarage is valued at £10 per annum. The impropriation was then valued at £100 per annum.
Augmented, in 1719, with £200, to meet benefaction of £200 from Sir J. Armytage, Bart., and R. Beaumont, Esq.; and in 1742, with £200, to meet benefaction of £200 from Mrs. J. Nettleton's trustees.
An Inclosure Act was passed 36th Geo. III.
Dr. Whitaker gives a list of the Vicars, and describes the monuments.
6th April 1744, confirmation of a gallery.
8th February 1794, faculty to build a gallery.
The glebe house was returned, in 1818, as unfit for residence, being " too small," and is still unfit.
The Register books commence in 1559. Marriages defective from 1683 to 1685.
Free School, founded by Richard Thorpe, of Hopton, by deed, dated 24th February 1667, for teaching fifteen poor children to read English well. Joseph Langard left £2 per annum to the school. Thomas Holdsworth also left 10s. per annum. -The income, exclusive of the above two mentioned rent-charges, consists of the rent of some cottages and six or seven acres of land. Twenty children are now taught reading, writing, and arithmetic.
Lady Betty Hastings' trustees pay £2 per annum for bread and wine for the communion ; if more than sufficient for that purpose, the residue to be given to the poor.
Beaumont's charity. £10 per annum, for apprenticing one or more poor boys.
Nathaniel Waterhouse left a rent-charge of £1 per annum, to be laid out in cloth for the poor.
Doles. -Joseph Lidyard, £2 ; Mary Hutton, £2; James Shepley, £4 ; Robert Holdsworth, £3. 12s.; Unknown, £1 ; Richard Northop, 10s. Interest of £20, now paid out of poor's rate ; interest of £10, also now paid out of the poor's rate.
Robert Holdsworth gave (date not stated) a rent-charge of 18s. per annum, out of a messuage and land called Brick-house, to the Vicar of Mirfield, for reading prayers the first Wednesday in every month ; and he also left a' rent-charge on the same property of 10s. per annum to the Clerk. -Vide 17th Report, page 733.
Post town: Dewsbury.
Torre's MS., page 745. Mon. Ang., vol. v. page 739. Whitaker's Loidis et Elmete, page 362. Abp. Sharp's MS., vol. i. page 183.
*1 498 additional sittings (of which 280 are free) have been procured. towards which the Society made a grant of £250.