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ROCHDALE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1829.

"ROCHDALE, a parish in the county of Lancashire, and additionally placed in the Genuki Yorkshire pages so as to hold the places within its boundaries which are actually in the old West Riding of Yorkshire."

"SADDLEWORTH, is a village, giving name to a wild and romantic district, which, although in the parish of Rochdale, is situated at the south-western extremity of the west riding, and is in the wapentake of Agbrigg. The district is seven miles long and five wide, in the broadest part. The distances, as computed from the Junction Inn, situated about three miles and a half from Dobcross (which is about the centre of Saddleworth) are as follow :-from London 184 miles, 53 from York, 28 from Leeds, 13 from Huddersfield, 12 from Halifax and Manchester, and 5 from Oldham. It would be difficult to find a portion of Britain in which industry appears more predominant than this; from a barren and almost uninhabited spot it has become well inhabited, highly cultivated, and abounding with woollen and cotton manufacturers, and has gained considerable celebrity from, the excellent quality of the articles produced in the district, as Being equal to any made in the county. The trade of Saddleworth has increased in a very rapid degree : the number of woollen looms in Saddleworth, at this period, is estimated to exceed 3,500; of cotton looms about 400; and there are more than one hundred mills turned by the Tame and its tributary streams. Many of the superfine broad cloths made here vie with the cloths of the west of England, and are but little inferior to those of the first Leeds manufacture. A few coal mines are worked in certain districts bordering upon Lancashire, and the neighbourhood abounds with most excellent freestone, of large dimensions and various textures. The places of worship in Saddleworth are St. Chad's chapel of ease, under Rochdale, of which the Rev. John Sutcliffe is the incumbent; Heights chapel, near Delph, Rev. John Buckley, curate; one at Dobcross, the Rev. Thomas Sturgess Mills; Lydgate chapel, Rev. Joseph Evans; two Methodist chapels at Upper Mill, one at Spring Head, and two in Delph. There are thirty lords of the manor for this district, but no court of requests, or any other are held here, and it is at present under the jurisdiction of the Huddersfield magistrates and a chief constable. Dobcross is situated in the centre of Saddleworth; two banking establishments are here, and nearly all the money transactions of this extensive place are effected in this village, where is also an excellent inn, the King's Head, kept by Mr. James Masters, a house affording superior accommodations to travellers. It is in contemplation to establish a market, for which Dobcross is most conveniently situated, and to revive the fair which was formerly held here. About half a mile from this village is Upper Mill, a thriving little hamlet, deriving its name from a mill, the highest then on the stream of the Tame. Here are very considerable woollen manufactories, and extensive dye works, belonging to Messrs. Buckley & Co. and others; and a good house of accommodation for travellers, called the Commercial Inn, where are held occasionally balls and concerts. The natural curiosities that may be contemplated in this romantic district are very interesting, especially those at Greenfield, where are immense caverns under the various hills, stupendous rocks, and several druidical remains, and the valley of Greenfield presents scenery picturesque and beautiful beyond description. In a sequestered situation, at the extremity of this interesting vale, is a house of entertainment, well known by the name of 'Bills o' Jacks,' to which parties resort in the summer months, when upon an excursion to explore the natural wonders and romantic beauties of Greenfield. Here is also an extensive woollen manufactory, in the occupation of Mr. J. Bottomley. There is no market held in Saddleworth, but at Delph three fairs take place annually, viz. April 24th, July 9th and September 24th. There are also two fairs at Upper Mill, on the Wednesday in Whitsun-week and the first Wednesday in October, all for cattle, earthen and wood ware. The district of Saddleworth contains no fewer than seventy-seven distinctly named villages and hamlets, and the population of these collectively, by the census of 1821, was 13,902, which number, it is estimated, has increased since that period to 15,000."

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