Eng. (Lancashire). Parish Bury.

The registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) online

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peopled according to his own account by about twelve thousand souls,
there were more human beings than beasts of any kind.

" This is unquestionably true at present, when the human species
has increased nearly six fold, and sheep have greatly diminished in
number, by means of enclosures. But at the close of the sixteenth



6 GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

century, I strongly suspect the number of quadrupeds to have
preponderated. Suppose the Parish of Halifax, (and it will approach
the truth,) to consist of 120 superficial square miles, [124 is the
real size] or 76,800 acres, one half, at least, must have lain m
common ; yet barren as these commons for the most part were two
acres would have depastured a sheep in summer, and we are not to
suppose so thrifty a race would have left their own commons
unstocked, so that there must have been an excess of sheep above
mankind, of at least one third."*

The Parish of Halifax may be considered as the valley of East
Calder with its several auxiliary streams for nearly the first eighteen
miles of its course. The obscurity, and almost inaccessible nature
of the country through which this river passes, until within the last
fifty years, has occasioned great uncertainty among topographers
with respect to its name and source. Various as are the conjectures
as to the origin of the word Calder ; the account given by Watson is
much more probable than that of any other historians, that at the
comino- of our Saxon ancestors this river having only the common
appellation Diir, they added the epithet Ceald or Cold. Perhaps after
aU, observes Dr. Whitaker, the word is simply the Danish adjective
Kaldur, fric/idus. .

"The source of both the East and West Calders is a marsh in
Clavio-er Dean, in the adjoining Parish of Whalley, where anciently
stood'l Cross caUed Cross i'th' Dean, or in the Dean, and from which
the several springs, according to their situation to the East or West
of the ridge, run to the East or West seas." The hills which con-
stitute this ridge form part of the grand ridge, or as it is popularly
termed, the back bone of England, the West Calder taking its course
Westward, joins the Ribble and enters the Irish Sea ; the East Calder
pursuing an Easterly course enters the Parish atTodmorden, running
through a valley rich indeed in the grand and the romantic, where
in some places so narrow are its confines, that the river, the turnpike
road, and the Rochdale canal are within a few yards of each other,
passing the populous hamlets of Mytholm, Hebden-Bridge, Mytholm
Royd, and Sowerby-Bridge, to within two miles of the town of
Halifax, thence by EUand and Kirklees Park, in the vicinity of which
it receives the Colne, proceeding onward by Brighouse. Mirfield.

■ Whitakcr's T.oidis et Elmete, p. 265, ci seq.



GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 7

Dewsbury, and Horbury to Wakefield and from thence to Castleford
it unites with the broad Aire. It is impossible to traverse the vale of
Calder without pleasure ; at its commencement there are two scenes,
one West of Hebden-Bridge and the other of Todmorden, truly mag-
nificent and which maybe compared to the finest highland glens.

So obscure was the greater part of this valley in the earlier part
of Queen Elizabeth's reign, that Harrison, in his description of
Brittaine, a. d. 1577, speaks of it with amusing hesitation and un-
certainty, which to an ear familiar with its local names is heightened
by the mistakes in orthography.

"There is a noble water that falleth into Are, whose head
as I take it, is about Stanforde, (it is in fact within a mile of
the Western extremity of Stansfield,) from whence it goeth to
Croston Chapel, to Lingfield, (Langfield) and thereabout receyving
one ryll near Elfabright Bridge, and alsoe the Hebden, it goeth to
Breareley Hall, and so taketh in the third by North, it proceedeth on
Eastward by Sorsby Bridge Chappel, and there a ryll from South-
West, and so to Coppeley Hall. Beneath this place I finde alsoe
that it receyveth one ryll from Hallyfaxe which ryseth of two heades,
and two other from South- West, of which one cometh by Bareslande
and Stainlande in one channel, as I reade, so that after this con-
fluence, the aforesayde water goeth on toward Cowforde Bridge,
and as it taketh in two rylls above the same, on the North side, so
beneath the Bridge there falleth into it a pretty arme encreased by
sundry waters comyng from by South, as from Marshden Chapel,
from Holmesworth (Holmfirth) Chapel, and Kirkheaton, like one
growing of sundry heads, whereof I would say more if I had more
intelligence of their several gates and passages." He then traces it
" finally into the Aire west of Castle worth as I learn" and concludes,
" what the name of this river should be, as yet I heare not, and
therefore no mervaile if I do not sett it down, yet it is possible such
as dwell thereabout are not ignorant thereof, but what is that to me,
if I be not partaker of their knowledge."

This dry detail of Harrison's is versified by Drayton in his
Polybion, in the following strain :

"And leading thence to Leeds that deUcatest flood
Takes Calder coming in by Wakefield, by whose force
As from a lusty flood, much strengthened in her course



8 GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

But Calder as she comes, and greater still doth wax,
And travelling along by -heading Halifax,
Which Horton once was called, but of a Virgin's hair
(A Martyr that was made, for chastity that there
Was by her lover slain) being fastened to a tree,
The people that would needs it should a relic be,
It Halifax since named, which in the northern tongue
Is holy hair."
The principal rivulets and streams within the Parish tributary to
the Calder are in number, nine.

The first takes its rise on the moorlands of Stansfield, and in its
course divides that ToMTiship from Heptonstall, and falls into the
Calder at Mytholm.

Second. The Hebden or Hepton ; this river rises in the moun-
tainous district of Heptonstall, and dividing that Township from
Wadsworth, falls into the Calder at a place called Black Pit, near
Hebden-Bridge. There is a Charter mentioned in Dodsworth's
MSS., wherein this river is thus referred to "Sup. Stagnum de
Heptonstall ultra aquam qua vocatur "Hepton" (not Hebden,) qua
currit inter Heptonstall et Wadsworth."

Third. A Brook, which rising near Blackstone Edge meanders
through the romantic and beautiful vale of Turvin, partly dividing
the townships of Sowerby and Erringden, falls into the Calder at
Mytholm Royd Bridge.

Fourth. A Brook, from Luddenden, which di\dding the town-
ships of Midgley and Warley, and passing under the Rochdale
canal at Luddenden Foot, enters the Calder there.

Fifth. The Riburn. This is a considerable stream, and is
composed of several heads, the valley through which it passes is
remarkable for the fineness of its scenery ; it unites with the Calder
at Sowerby Bridge.

Sixth. The river Hebble, Halig, or Hahfax Brook. Tliis is
formed by the union of the waters of Skirden and Ogden or Oakden
in Ovenden, where passing through the vale of Wheatley it unites
with another stream (which rises in Illingworth,) about half a mile
from the town of Halifax, at a place called Lee Bridge, where forming
one stream it passes round the North and East sides of the Town,
dividing it from the townships of North and South Owram, and
empties itself into the Calder at Brooksmouth.



GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 9

Seventh. The Blackbume or Black-Brook, above Elland, which
rises in the Parish of Huddersfield and separates the townships of
Stainland and Barkisland.

The Eighth is a stream called the Red Beck, which rises in
North Owram, and dividing that Township from South Owram, falls
into the Calder at Brookfoot.

The Ninth and last stream within the Parish which discharges
itself into the Calder, is Clifton Beck, it rises in the township of
Shelf and divides that Parish from the chapelry of Hartishead.

Nearly the whole of these streams are made subservient to the
purposes of manufactures.

There are also several minor streams ; the country indeed abounds
with springs of water, and the valleys through which they take
their course present some beautiful and matchless changes of
landscape, which if but divested of the inelegance of manufactories,
and their unsightly but necessary appendages, to say nothing of
those threatened nuisances — railways and tram roads, would afford
situations for residence rarely to be met with in more favored districts.

With the exception of the Hebble, the water of which is too
much impregnated with the refuse of the mills, and dyer's works on
its banks ; the majority of these streams, particularly the Hepton,
produce most excellent trout, and other fish, and would aiford de-
lightful sport to the angler, were it not that the breed is gradually
decreasing in consequence of the impunity, with which poaching,
and poisoning the water by an infusion of lime, is carried on in the
vicinage of the manufactories.

The Parish also possesses the advantage of some mineral springs,
which are not unworthy of notice. In the township of Soyland is
a strong chalybeate, called Swift Cross Spaw, the water from this
spring was found, by experiment, to be eighteen grains in a pint,
lighter than at Swift Place, a few hundred yards below. At a place
called the Cragg, in Erringden, there is another with an impregna-
tion slightly sulphureous as well as chalybeate. At Horley Green,
about a mile and a quarter North-West of Halifax, a mineral water
has lately been discovered, on which a pamphlet has been written
by Dr. Garnett, of Harrogate ; it appears from his experiments
to contain a large proportion of vitriolated iron, besides alum,
salenite, and ochre, and it is stated by him to be the strongest water



10 GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

known. In the township of Shelf, there is said to be a petrifying
water. These mineral springs are much resorted to by the laboring
classes, who experience great benefit from the use of them.

The great advantages to be derived from internal commercial navi-
gation have ever induced the legislature to promote, and facilitate,
the views of those who may have been willing to advance their
capital in this description of undertaking.

The Aire and Calder Navigation was the first of the kind in
England; and with the exception of the canal at Languedoc in
France ; the first in Europe.

The o-reat benefit which the trade and commerce of the country
derived from the former, led those who were more immediately
connected with the district, to apply to Parliament for its sanction
to extend that navigation, from its termination to within a short
distance of the town of Halifax. By an Act 31 Geo. II. this was
speedily efi'ected. The line was surveyed by John Smeaton, Esq.,
in 1757, and the works were carried into execution under his
superintendence, untU the year 1765, when he was succeeded by
Mr. James Brindley ; but before the line was completed, such of the
works as were then made, were, by the violence of repeated floods,
destroyed or very greatly damaged, more particularly by a great
flood, which occurred in the night between the 7th and 8th October,
1767. At this juncture the late Sir George Savile rendered many
important sei-\'ices to the undertaking, and was one of its most ardent
promoters. Application was made to Parliament in the following
year, the 9th Geo. III. by the proprietors ; and an Act was obtained
'' for extending the navigation of the river Calder to Salterhebble
Bridge, and Sowerby Bridge, in the county of York, and for
repealing an Act for that purpose." By this Act the Proprietors of
the canal were incorporated by the name of " The Company of
Proprietors of the Calder and Hebble Navigation ;" under its pro-
visions, several alterations and improvements were suggested by
Mr. Smeaton, in the years 1770, and 1779; of whose eminent
talents the company again availed itself. At the first general meet-
ing of the proprietors for carrying the new Act into execution,
held in Halifax on the 18th May, 1769, the foUowing expressive
acknowledgment was made of the services of Sir George Savile ; it
was resolved —



GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 11

" That the unanimous thanks of the Company of Proprietors of
the Calder and Hebble Navigation be paid to Sir George Savile,
Baronet, for his generous patronage and important services to their
navigation, and that the chairman, Colonel Townley, be desired
humbly to present the most respectful acknowledgments of the said
company to Sir George, for the same ; and earnestly entreat his
favorable acceptance of this small pledge of their gratitude for his
great attention to the general good, at the same time that they
cannot but admire his singular moderation and complacency with
regard to such things as concern himself alone."

This navigation from its junction with that of the Aire and Calder
at Fall Ing Locks, near Walvefield, to the basin at Sowerby Wharf,
where it communicates with the Rochdale canal, is 22 miles in
length, with a fall of 192 feet 5 inches, by thirty-eight locks.

A considerable portion of the line occupies the original bed of
the river, and the remainder consists of cuts, to avoid its circuitous
course, and for the purpose of passing the mill weirs.

It was first projected with the sole object of giving facility of
intercourse with the populous and manufacturing districts, westward
of the town of Wakefield ; but it has subsequently by its connection
with the Rochdale and Huddersfield canals become a very important
part of the line of inland navigation between the ports of Liverpool,
Goole, and Hull, thus connecting the German Ocean and the Irish
Sea. This spirited and important undertaking may be looked upon
as one of the greatest improvements that could possibly be effected
in this part of the country ; and at the period of its formation, its
benefits must have been incalculable ; nor is it less so at the present
day. We have only to imagine what were the state of the roads
between the large manufacturing to^A^ls of which Halifax AA^as the
centre, when we are informed that the " carriage of raw wool and
manufactured goods was performed on the backs of single horses,
at a disadvantage of nearly 200 to 1, compared to carriage by water."

The country through which the line passes has also partaken of
the great advantages arising from a well regulated navigation :
agricultural lime, has by its means, been carried to fertilize a sterile
and mountainous district ; stone and flag quarries have been opened,
at CromweU Bottom and Elland Edge. Avhich furnish inexhaustible
supplies for the London market;:^. Ironstone, and coal works have



12 GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

been, and continue to be worked on its banks ; and from the collieries,
at Flockton and Kirklees, railways are laid to this navigation. Many
other collieries and stone quarries have been opened in its vicinity,
in consequence of the facility it gives for exportation.

In 1825, the proprietors applied for and obtained" an Act to
make a navigable cut or canal from Salterhebble Bridge to Bailey
Hall, near to the town of Halifax, in the West Riding of the county
of York ; and to amend the Act relating to the said navigation." By
this Act the company were empowered to raise among themselves or
by the admission of new proprietors, the sum of £40,000, for carrying
into execution (the works proposed being only one mile and three-
eighths of canal) with further power to raise by way of loan or by
creating new shares, an additional sum of £10,000 ; but which sums of
£40,000 and £10,000, might be raised upon promissory notes, or on
mortgage of the tolls and duties authorized to be collected.

The cut authorised to be made by the last Act, is nearly one mile
and three eighths in length, with a rise of one hundred feet and a
half. It commences in the Salterhebble basin and proceeds up the
valley to the East side of the town of Halifax, where there are
capacious warehouses, convenient Avharfs, and basins, for the
accommodation of the trade. The water for supplying it is procured
by means of a drift eleven hundred and seventy yards in length from
the basin of the canal at Salterhebble, to a reservoir beyond the
uppermost lock from which it is raised by a powerful steam engine,
into the head level. This novel and expensive mode of procuring
the lockage water was resorted to by the late Mr. Bradley, the
company's engineer, for the puqDose of avoiding disputes with the
numerous mill owners on the line of the Hebble Brook, below
Halifax. The work was begun on the third day of May, 1826, and
the canal was opened on the twenty-eighth day of March, 1828,
when rejoicings and festivities characterized the day. A short account
of these festivities, &c. will be given in the chronological table.

Again the company have found it necessary to apply to Parliament
and during the present Session, (1834) an Act has been obtained,
entitled " an Act to enable the Company of Proprietors of the Calder
and Hebble Navigation to improve their navigation and to amend the
Acts relating thereto." The improvements contemplated are those
which may bo effected by making new canals and substituting them



GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 13

for the present river in such parts of the line as are at present subject
to interruption from floods and other inconveniences attendant upon
river navigation.

In that part of the Parish lying Eastward of the Hebble, in-
cluding the townships of North Owram, South Owram, and Shelf,
are to be found considerable beds of good Coal. The produce of
these collieries, together with those of the adjoining Parishes ; (for
the transmission of which every facility is afforded by the line of
navigation) always ensures a constant supply of that invaluable
mineral, not only for domestic pur^Doses, but also for the use of the
manufactories.

The heights in the immediate vicinage of the town afford an
inexhaustible supply of valuable stone capable of being adapted for
every purpose. The produce of these quarries is brought down to
the navigation, (on the banks of which the proprietors have wharfs,)
and is from thence shipped in considerable quantities to all parts.
St. James's church in the town is an excellent specimen of the
stone from the quarries in Shibden dale. The produce of the
Ovenden quarries is brought down to the Rochdale canal at
Luddenden Foot, and from thence transmitted to its places of
destination, and finds a ready market in the adjoining county of
Lancaster.

The high ridge above Mytholm, in the township of Heptonstall,
also affords good stone for building, a specimen whereof may be
seen in the new church at Mytholm.

Suffice it to say, that if proof be wanting of the excellent quality
of the stone with which the Parish abounds, " look around it."

On the confines of the Parish, but actually within the adjoining
Parish of Bradford, are the extensive and well known iron works of
the Low Moor Company.

Agriculture, as a scientific pursuit, is little followed in the Parish,
the soil being altogether unfavorable to it. Since the passing of
the Enclosure Acts, much of the land has undergone considerable
improvement, and the facility afforded by the local navigation for
the conveyance of tillage from distant parts, (neither lime, marl,
nor other products of the earth adapted to the purpose being to be
obtained within the district,) has been the means of introducing
cultivation by the plough to a much greater extent than formerlv ;



14 GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

but notwithstanding these improvements, the arable land bears but
a very small proportion to the Avhole, and the grain produced is prin-
cipally oats and wheat, the latter preponderating. The cultivation of
potatoes has also much increased of late ; nor amidst the general
improvement, has the spirit of planting been neglected in those
parts were waste land has recently been enclosed. The greater part
of the land is exclusively kept in grass.

The farms throughout the Parish are generally small, and
principally occupied by the inhabitants, as a matter of convenience,
for the use of their families. The manufacturer has his enclosure,
wherein he keeps his milch cow for the use of the family, his
horses for carrying goods to market and bringing back the raw
material.

The tenure by which most of the farms are held is from year to
year ; and leases are unusual.

The moorlands which are very extensive abound with grouse,
and in general are well preserved ; portions of the moors are devoted
to the feeding of sheep and cattle, which are afterwards brought
down to the pastures to fatten.

Much as the present system of turnpike road management is in
general to be deprecated, the principal roads throughout the Parish
with one or two exceptions may be considered in sound repair com-
pared with their state a few years ago ; still it cannot be concealed
that much remains to be done, and untH a system more in unison
with the improved mode pursued in other parts of the country be
adopted, much may be expected. But the line between Manchester
and Leeds certainly aifords a striking contrast to the description
given of it by our amusing friend, Taylor, the Water Poet, who
travelled in these parts in 1639. In his book called "Part of this
summer's travel, or news from Hell, Hull, and Halifax" he says,
" when I left Halifax I rode over such ways, as were past comparison
or amendment, for when I went down the lofty mountain caUed
Blackstone Edge, I thought myself in the land of breaknecke, it was
so steep and tedious ;" and again, in 1649, we find Mr. Ainsworth,
then curate of Lightcliffe, in a sermon preached by him at Halifax,
(and printed) exciting the tender feelings of his congregation in the
following sympathetic strain " the highways did lament and mourn
as he came that day, because they were deprived of Mr. Waterhouse's



GENERAL DESCRIPTION. 15

legacies, and Avhereas their seasonable repair would magnifie the
dead, their deepnesse and unpassableness did shame the living."
The exceptions to the general rule do indeed at certain seasons afford
instances of "deepnesse and unpassableness" which unquestionably
call for censure, more in the shape of indictments than sermons.

The air of the Parish is decidedly salubrious, and epidemical
diseases may be considered as rare. Of the contagious disorders
which have at various periods raged in England, the inhabitants
appear to have suffered most from the sudor anglicanus, or English
Sweat, which appeared in the fifteenth century, it is said of this
disorder that it "mended or ended" its victims in twenty-four
hours. Of that dreadful epidemic the plague it appears from the
Register at Halifax, that there died in the township of Ovenden
of the pestilence, and were buried near their own dwellings, in
1631, sixty persons ; and in the same year, one hundred and seven
persons are said to have died of that disorder at Heptonstall, several
of whom were buried at home, but all entered in the Register there.
In the year 1675 there prevailed an epidemic distemper profanely
called the jolly rant, it was a severe cold and violent cough, Avhich
visited York,HuU, Halifax and other places, and affected all manner
of persons so unusually that it was almost impossible to hear distinctly
an entire sentence of a sermon. In the year 1681 the smallpox is
said to have been very fatal at Halifax, also at a subsequent period.
I should not omit to mention that in the year 1832, when the whole
country was visited by that awful scourge the malignant cholera, the
Parish was happily preserved by a gracious Providence from the
afflictive visitation.

The West and South- West Winds usually prevail in this
district, and are generally attended with rain and tempest, some-
times to a degree most severe in their effects. The incessant rains
which at times fall upon the mountains, may be attributed to the
effect produced by the conflict of the East and West Winds, which
generally takes place in the Western moorlands, arising from their
elevated situation. Blackstone Edge and the mountains of Craven,
are said to be the most foggy, rainy and stormy districts in England.
These Winds have certainly a tendency to purify the atmosphere
and perhaps the best evidence of the salubrity of the climate is the
general healthful appearance of the inhabitants.



16 GENERAL DESCRIPTION.

There are some instances of extraordinary longevity recorded
by Watson.

In the Halifax Register is this entry, "sepult. 1568, 11th Oct.
Roger Brook, of Halifax, aged six score and thirteen years,"

1700. Littleton, of Rishworth, aged 100.

1704. Dec. 25th, Nathan Wood, of Soyland, aged 108.



Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 52)