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ROCHDALE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1834.

"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."

"MOSSLEY, is a populous village, locally situate partly in the chapelry of Saddleworth in the parish of Rochdale, and partly in the division of Hartshead, parish of Ashton under Lyne, county of Lancaster, 3 miles n.e. of Ashton, and 2 s. from Upper Mill, in Saddleworth. It is a place of some consequence in the scale of manufacturing villages, partaking both of the cotton and woollen trades, having some extensive establishments in both branches. The new road between Manchester and Huddersfield, through Greenfield and Meltham, passes a little below the village, as does the Huddersfield canal, and there is a good inn (the Bull's Head) in the village. The places of worship are a chapel of ease (subject to Ashton) dedicated to St. George, and two chapels for Wesleyan methodists. The living of Mossley is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the rector of Ashton ; the present curate is the Rev. John Hextal. There are two fairs held here -- one on the 21st June, the other on the last Monday in October. Population returned with Hartshead district, in Ashton parish.
Please note that the 1834 Directory for Upper Mill is included with Saddleworth."

"SADDLEWORTH, is a chapelry, giving name to a wild and romantic district, which, although in the parish of Rochdale, is locally situate at the s.w. extremity of the West Riding, county of York, in the wapentake of Agbrigg. The district is seven miles long and five wide, in the broadest part; and is apportioned into four divisions, or 'Meres,' respectively named, Shaw Mere, Quick Mere, Friar Mere, and Lord's Mere. The principal places are Delph, Dobcross (near the centre of Saddleworth), Upper Mill, and New Delph. The distances, as computed from the Junction Inn (situate about three miles from New Delph) are, from London 184 miles, 53 s.w from York, 28 s.w. from Leeds, 13 s.w. from Huddersfield, 12 s. from Halifax, the like distance n.e. from Manchester, and 5 e. by n. 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 nearly equal to any made in the county. The trade of Saddleworth has increased in a very rapid degree; there are more than one hundred mills, turned by the Tame, the Medlock, and their tributary streams, the united power of the wheels, in which, equals that of seven hundred horses; besides steam power of four hundred and sixty horses. 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. We have ascertained, for the information of the curious in these matters, that there are at least 60 gigs employed for raising the nap on woollen cloth, in each of which (gig) half a pack of teasels are used weekly --- each pack contains 45 staves, and each stave 300 teasels --- so that the amazing number of 21,060,000 teasels are consumed in one year, exclusive of a considerable quantity used by hand. A few coal mines are worked in certain districts bordering upon Lancashire, and the neighbourhood abounds with most excellent free stone, of large dimensions and various textures. The Huddersfield canal passes through Saddleworth, a great convenience to the manufacturing interest around here : the canal is eight miles and a half in length, from its junction with the Ashton canal to its summit level, where a tunnel commences, which extends for upwards of three miles under Standedge. By this canal goods are forwarded to London and other places with the greatest promptitude and expedition ; a communication with the metropolis and the return being frequently effected in eight days. There are thirty lords of the manor for this district. Petty sessions are held every fortnight at the King's Head and Swan Inns, Dobcross, and the Commercial Inn, Upper Mill, alternately. The prisoners are committed from these places to Wakefield, and thence to the different towns where the regular sessions are held. Dobcross is situated near to the centre of Saddleworth; a banking establishment is here, and nearly all the money transactions of this extensive district are effected in this village; it contains also a savings' bank, and the respectable inns before mentioned. The other principal Inns are the 'Commercial,' at Mossley Brow, one of the same name at Upper Mill; and the 'Bell Inn and Saddleworth Hotel,' and the 'Crown Inn,' at New Delph.

There are many places of worship spread over the district. Those under the establishment are St. Chad's or Saddleworth church, rebuilt in 1833, with the exception of the old tower, which still remains : in this church yard is a tomb, which it is said has not been opened for three centuries -- the Rev. Richard Whitelocke is the incumbent ; a chapel at Dobcross, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected in 1786 -- the Rev. Thomas Sturgess Mills incumbent; and a chapel at Lydgate, of which the Rev. J.S.R. Evans is the minister. In addition to the foregoing, the independent calvinists have a chapel at Old Delph, and another at Upper Mill, and at the latter village, as also at Springhead, and Old Delph the methodists have places of worship."

"UPPER MILL, is about half a mile from Dobcross. It is a thriving little hamlet in the parish of Rochdale, and derived 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 and Co. and others. The natural curiosities that belong to 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, on the 2nd of April 1832, William Bradbury, the occupier of a public house known by the name of ' Bills o'Jacks,' and his son William, were inhumanly murdered -- neither cause for the pepetration of this dreadful deed nor trace of the miscreants who effected it have hitherto been discovered. The bodies of the unfortunate victims were interred in Saddleworth church yard. There is no market held in Saddleworth, but it has been for some time in contemplation to establish one at at Dobcross, at which place fairs are held on the second Thursday in March, and the last Thursday in July -- at Delph, April 24th, July 9th, and September 24th -- at Upper Mill, on the Wednesday in Whitsun week and the first Wednesday in October -- and at Bentfield, on the Thursday next before Easter, all for cattle, earthen and wood ware. The district of Saddleworth comprises no fewer than seventy seven distinctly named villages and hamlets; these collectively contained, by the census for 1821, 13,902 inhabitants, and by that taken in and by that taken in 1831, 15,986.
Please note that the 1834 Directory for Upper Mill is included with Saddleworth."

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