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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1708. Dec. 3rd, Peter Ambler, of Shelf, aged 108.
1721. Nov. 10th, John Roberts, Hipperholme, aged 114.
And in 1757, John Firth, of Sowerby, supposed age 107, who
left seven sons and daughters living, the eldest of whom was 87
years old, and the youngest 69.

1805. EliasHoyle, Sowerby, 113. j

1830. John Shepherd, Soyland, 100.

1830. John Logan, Halifax, 105. j

Unfortunately, accounts of extraordinary longevity in general rest
upon such unsatisfactory evidence, that there is much ground for
scepticism when we hear of these instances of the marvellous.

To come down to the present time, it appears from the Parish
Register that out of the number of 17,315 persons, buried in the
Parish during eighteen years, viz. from 1813 to 1830 there
Died between the ages of 70 and 80 - - 1613.
80 and 90 - - 837.
90 and 100 - 89.
100 and upwards - 1.
Ecclesiastically, the Parish is a Vicarage, (in the gift of the
crown) within the province and diocese of York, and the arch-dea-
conry of the West-Riding. It is divided into three ecclesiastical
districts ; viz. the Parish of Halifax, in the township of which name
stands the mother Church of the whole Parish, comprising ten
townships : the parochial chapelry of EUand, comprising six town-
ships : and the parochial chapelry of Heptonstall, comprising five
townships. When this arrangement took place we have nothmg to
shew, the sub-divisions of the great Saxon Parishes form one of the
most obscure subjects of English antiquity. This may m a great
measure arise from the equivocal signification of the ^orA parocha,
which anciently meant a bishopric or diocese, as well as a large
Parish. However interesting an enquiry into the time of dividing
Parishes might be to the antiquarian, I shall not weary my reader


with the dry detail of conjectures on the subject, he must in this
instance rest satisfied with the simple fact, that these ecclesiastical
divisions have existed long beyond the time whereof the memory of
man runneth not to the contrary.

Shortly after the erection of the Parish Church, there arose, in
the twelfth century, two ecclesiastical edifices called Parochial
Chapels, viz. EUand and Heptonstall, these in common with the
mother Church, possess the rights of baptism, the nuptial benedic-
tion, and of sepulture, but do not participate in the tithe of the
land around them. Ten ecclesiastical Chapels were erected in the
out-townships, between the twelfth century and the reformation.
Trinity Church in the town, in the year 1798, a Chapel in Erring-
den in 1815 ; St. James's, in the town, and the Chapels of Brighouse
and Mytholm, during the incumbency of the present Vicar, making
a total of eighteen ecclesiastical places of worship throughout
the Parish, to these may be added a Chapel at King Cross, in
Skircoat, licensed by the Arch-bishop for the celebration of divine
service. With the exception of the modern erections, none are
contemporary with the period to which I have assigned them, but
built on the sites of old foundations, or near them, and the majority
have been rebuilt within the present century. Until the late and
present incumbencies, too little attention appears to have been
evinced in providing anything like an adequate church accommodation
for the rapid increase of the population. That new Churches are
much wanted in many of the out-townships is a truth that must be
apparent to the most superficial observer. Many of the present
Chapels are built on the verge of the Townships where located, or
remote from the more populous parts ; the consequence of which is,
that a large portion of the inhabitants are prevented from attending,
with any regularity, the stated services, by reason of the distance.
This is an evil much to be deplored ; and probably has been one
cause of the growth of dissent in this extensive Parish, affording
a plea not only for separation from the Church, but also for the
erection of Meeting-Houses, the force of which it seems impossible
to repel.

" It is a very remarkable circumstance," observes Dr. Whitaker,
"with respect to several of the ancient Townships, within the
Parish, that though swarming with population they have no villages.


There is no single assemblage of houses called Stansfield, Langtielci.
Wadsworth or Warley ; but the name denotes the whole dis-
trict. The consequence of this is bad, the police must be com-
paratively inefficient, where, though the dwellings of the poor
are numerous, they are yet so many solitudes. Objects of depre-
dation are always near at hand, where observation is difficult and

escape easy."

This is' true to a certain extent but it is an evil beyond the reach of
poHce regulations ; we can only look to the improved habits and morals
of the people to counteract the evil consequent on a state of society
such as is here represented. The best system of Police must prove
abortive. Since the introduction of what are termed " Beer Shops' '
into districts of this description, (putting out of the question the
more centrical parts of the Parish, where they swarm) there has been
a lamentable increase of crime. It is almost impossible to de-
vise a system more pregnant with mischief. The resort of the
idle and the dissolute in the day, and the haunt of the poacher
and the thief at night, the one is sure to find his fellow. In
the day is planned the succeeding night's spoliation ; the house is
too often made the receptacle of their plunder, and the tap is
kept in a constant state of replenishment arising from the profit
of their iUicit depredations. Here, the incendiary and the unionist
fraternise together ; from hence, under the influence and excitement
of their too often adulterated beverage, they turn out at midnight
to consummate the mischief they have been plotting in the day, the
one to fire the corn stack and the barn, the other to imbrue his
hands in the blood of a feUow workman, or peradventure, the man
to whom he was formerly indebted for his daUy bread. That this
is not an exaggerated statement, the proceedings of our Courts of
Justice bear me witness. While the charges of the judges, the reports
of grand jurors, and the calendars of crime, proclaim aloud the de-
moralizing influence of the national nuisance ; the opinions of the
resident magistracy, and the annals of the local police confirm the
awful truth in every district of the country.

It has been a subject of frequent remark, and indeed it cannot
have escaped the notice of the most superficial observer that in some
of the remote parts of the Parish, particularly on the verge of
Lancashire, (into which county the evil also extends.) that the


standard of manners and morals among a great portion of the
laboring population is disgustingly low. The advantages which
usually result from an extended intercourse with commercial
towns, and more populous places, have not been produced. How-
ever rapid may be the "march of intellect" elscAvhere, it certainly
" ascends but slowly up these mountain valleys." I am free to admit,
tliat under any circumstances we are not to look for a high state of
cultivation in districts of the description here alluded to, far from it,
that can only be expected in large cities and towns ; and even then it
is but partial ; this holds good in every civilized state ; but in the
present day, in whatever part of the country we may chance to locate,
or roam, we have a right to expect that our ears shall not be polluted
by language the obscenity of which, is only surpassed by its blas-
phemy ; nor our eyes be doomed to Avitness scenes and exhibitions of
so revolting a nature, that the pen shrinks from describing them.
It has been urged in extenuation of this evil, that the working
classes have not the means of educating their children ; this may be
true to a certain extent, and it is to be regretted such is the case ;
the evil is not so much to be attributed to the want of schools as to
the system itself. Here, (and it is the same in nearly all the
manufacturing districts where the population is dispersed,) the
Sunday school is the only place for instruction afforded to the
children of the laboring poor ; hither the child is sent, no sooner how-
ever has it arrived at an age capable of being employed in a lucrative
way and before it has sufficient discrimination to choose the good,
and refuse the evil, than it is transplanted into the manufactory.
It requires no labored argument to prove, that neither virtue nor
morality are indigenous to these places ; the temperature is ungenial
to the growth of either. The favorable impressions which have
been made upon the child at school are speedily obliterated ; the
good implanted on the first day of the week, is stultified, by the
influence of evil example, during the remaining six days. The result
is obvious — yet such is the system.

This may, in some measure, account for the state of society
before alluded to : how far the adoption of the new system, under
the provisions of the late Factory Act, may prove beneficial to the
rismg generation, time will shew ; we must not expect immediate
effects, the looked-for improvement must be gradual, to be efficient.
c 2


"The biography of the Parish wiU prove, that it has given birth
or residence to more talent, in various departments, than has fallen
to the lot of some entire Counties. It is no small matter of boast
that one country town has afforded an habitation to two such writers
as Daniel de Foe and Sir Thomas Brown ; and the birth-place of
Tillotson will ever be regarded with veneration, by all who know
how to estimate religion Avithout bigotry, and reason without
scepticism." I have made such selections from Watson's temple of
fame, and such additions to it, as will fully justify the truth of the
foregoing remark ; and to that selection the reader is refeiTed.

With respect to her eleemosynary foundations, scholastic insti-
tutions, and public charities, there are few (if any) provincial parishes
that can compete with her; these she may consider her proudest
boast. On a subject so interesting in a local point of view I have
endeavoured to collate all the infonnation in my power, and must
refer to the chapter in a subsequent part of the work devoted to their
consideration, and embodying the last report of His Majesty's
Commissioners for enquiring into public charities.

There is a peculiarity in the dialect of the Parish, which has not
escaped the notice of our earlier historians ; and it will be found that
Thoresby's observation is applicable to a certain extent at the pre-
sent day.

"The ancient British way of using the father's and grand-father's
christian names, instead of the nomina Gentilitia is not yet wholly
laid aside in these parts of England. In the Vicarage of Halifax 'tis
yet pretty common among the ordinary sort, A friend of mine asking
the name of a pretty boy that begged relief, was answered, it was
William o' Bill's o' Toms o' Luke's. In which spacious Vicarage,
they have the remains of many ancient customs and names, evidently
deduced from the British and Saxon times, as might have induced
some of the learned men (for whom it has been deservedly famous)
to give a particular description thereof : I shall only instance in what
relates to the present argument, persons who dwell in the country
villages are almost universally denominated from the place of their
habitation. The ingenious gentleman before mentioned inquiring
for Henry Cockroft, could hear of no such person, though he was
within two bow-shots of the house, till at long run he found him
under the notion of the chaumer mo?i, as he did William Thomas,


though not without like difficulty, under that of the hoo-hoil man,
which manner of pronunciation of mon for man is the result of the
Danish dialect, when Lords paramount or Lord-Danes in these parts ;
of which conversion of a into o there are many instances, in the
learned Dr. Hicke's most elaborate Thesaurus. By the bye, chaumer
mon is not to be taken for camerarius, but the inhabiter of the cham-
bered house, which probably was a rare matter, of old, amongst the
sylvicolce of the forest of Hardwick."

"A tincture of early puritanism" says Dr. Whitaker "continues
to appear in the manners, and in the christian names of the people ;
and perhaps there is not a Parish in the kingdom where old Testament
names have so nearly superseded those of the new."

The peculiar dialect of that part of the Parish bordering on the
confines of Lancashire has maintained its ground, from the earliest
period of our language . ' 'Besides a curious and singular nomenclature
which has been collected with great industry and exactness by
Watson, (and which has a place in the appendix,) this dialect is
most strongly marked by a peculiar corruption of the vowels and
diphthongs, better learned, if it were worth while, by the ear than
the eye. Long patronymical names (not indeed peculiar to this
Parish, for they prevail in the adjoining ones of Whalley and Roch-
dale) are so generally in use, that a man is almost completely unknown
among his neighbours by his legal surname."

As education and civilization advance, these modes of recognition
fall into disuse : in the more central parts of the Parish, constant
communication witli persons of education has completely done away
with it : but the practice referred to by Thoresby of using the fathers'
and grandfathers' christian names, instead of the surname, is still
maintained on the Avhole line of the County bordering upon Lan-
cashire ; and the observations of Dr. Whitaker apply with equal
force at the present day, except that the custom of using old
Testament names is not so generally followed.

The two following letters appeared in the "Halifax Union
Journal" at the period they bear date, and have been instanced in
the present day as a fair specimen of gooid Halifeighs. They are here
inserted for the amusement of my readers, to whom (however
uncourteo;is it may appear) I leave their translation, claiming an
exemption from the task on the plea that I am not a native.


Halifeigh.s, Maartch Mth. 17.i9.
Maister Dorbee,

Ya^vl vorre mitch ableege me, an eal print this letter e yawr neuspaper neist
Wik, thoa sen yawr a gooid mon e dooin sitch a thing for a poor hodde, an i sware i'm
reight poor ; i'm but a poor jurneeman croppar man, an its a trade noght gooid too,
yawn work twelve aares for ten pinse; thmorchens al ha wage enogh, but its tCuntre
Meisters mon at runs awei wit. But what i want yaw to doo for me is, om in a deed
o truble abaet a Pointer, yaw nawn what e mean, som fok calls em Spaniards, at aaer
Meister broght me to keep for on oth Morchens at e works for, an yusturday whoel i wor
at mi wurk, mo woef, a gaumless fooil, laate im run awei. Meister wold not loize him
for twenty ginniz ; for mon thei setten more store o ther dogs than o ther men, an one
on em ligse more keepin then one o mo childer, or where the dulemaught one get it aaeto

laaeze ten pinse oth dey ? besaed aaer Meister sez at Meister laekt this dog better

than onne e haz, an o dor sei heez ommost thurte o one mak on other, haaends, an
beigles, an pointers ; but heez lent this dog at o had monne a taem toth Porson, an e
laeks im reight weel, thei sen heez a vorre gooid Shoiter, but i think sur e mught foend
summet else to do, but sum on om ez nobbed loek like other fok at i see; bui this dog
sur, heez a braaen on whoet on, he corries a gooid teil, an heez a brass collar abaaet iz

neck, wi Meister z name on, for tha takken a praed man a keepin a deal o dogs;

heez not a vorre grut dog, nor a vorre little on, but ov a middle soez : An if yaw con hear
ov onne bodde at haz im, yaw needen not be feared but yawl get peid, an weel too, prei
a na sur put it in, for om ommost fleid aaet me wit abaaet it ; tho o think we sail hear

on im agean too, for if Meister get to hear heez lost, heel get awther Porson orth

Clark to cro im ith Chappil or else daub up a paper at Chappil doore abaaet it. So sur 1
think o neod to sei no more, yawl doit for me, o dor sei, an ost be vorre mitch ableeged

" FRANK FORFEX, tho croppar."

For Maister Dorbee at prinstt Halifaghs Jurnal with aul Haste.
Maister Dorbee, Surr.

What om bewn to rite iz abewt dog at yaur news teld on. For mon a Tusday
at neet we wor gone a drinking too ith Ale hews, an we heard Joss o maister sam's reed
tnews abewt a dog at wor lost, an at taim at faint moot ha sommot for tackint up. So
we sed tone toth tother at weeld watch tLoin oth Wednesday Cans we Mor gravin at
toms oth dobhill ith faur de wark an it Liggs meet att Loin side, So Me gate up meeterly
soyn oth Wednesday at morn on went to or wark an I Darsay weed not dun aboon five
or seighs foors afore joss Chonst to be starin abewt im, ast most part o poolers dou an
saghim com trotting up at Cruckt turn ith lower Loyn. So ee ran and fot him, but we
cud not tell att f urst whether it wor a rang on for it ad more marks nor yawr news teld
on an it did not hold up it teil abit an beside ad gret ribs in it side ant Bally wor meet at
it for Leggs ant CoUer wor far to wide fort ant Letters wor Speld wit rang side up for we
cud not make om ewt, hewiver I tookt home an put it ith coyt imangth flaghths an teld
Matty to git som draff but t plagy bitch gat aul toth ould hen and so thpoor dogwor ther
while fride at Neet afore any body thought ont or saghit but hur when owent to fot
flaghths to lay oth Are an oo took no notice ont athewt twur to git a nock wi or Clogg
so o fride at Neet oo sed tew gret slane wat wait to doo we this rotten nasty thing so joss


an me went an cauld ont but it coom none Ewt cause we new not wat to caulit but wee
caultl Pointer an Spanierd an Dol an Jet an Nance an Tobe an aulth dog names at we
cud think on but th sluberon son ov a ***** aid not stir an ten Joss went tot an pausd it
an paild it but ee wor no better for itld moove noan nor hasnt dun Eat. So any mon at
naws wat to Caulit av a mind to come an give oz a groat ee may hat for its nobbut ith
gate hear.

New Maister Dorbee an yawl print tis yawl ma poor Frank fain or an yaw Cud tellim
bewt printin it may happen doo oz weel But yawm be sure to dooth tone.


The trade and manufactures of the Parish, or in other words her
commercial historJ^ is a subject not less interesting than important,
and entitled to a prominent place in her local history. The chapter
devoted to this inquiry will at once shew the extent and value of
her manufactures, and the importance of her commercial relations.

In whatever point of view we glance at the modern history of
this extensive Parish there is matter for congratulation, as the sub-
sequent pages will shew. I am afraid that this Chapter exceeds
the limits usually assigned to the subject on which it professes more
immediately to treat, but embodying as it does a considerable
portion of Dr. Whitaker's valuable remarks, these, I hope, will be
accepted as an atonement for its length.


The Parish possesses some interesting remains of antiquity
which may be safely assigned to the Brigantian ^ra. Of these the
Druidical remains form the prominent feature. On this subject Dr.
Whitaker has forborne to enlarge "because he thought them all
equivocal, excepting those which were clearly natural" but in ad-
verting again to the subject he says that "to such purposes it is
certainly possible they may have been adapted : those wonderful
architects did not waste their unknown and astonishing powers where
nature had prepared the way, and where a little excavation or the
removal of a slight preponderance would suffice to produce a moveable
fulcrum, and a perceptible balance. The powers which erected
Stonehenge would in such instances be suspended, and the effect
would be the same. Still, where the hand of man is not distinctly
visible ; where it is possible that nature, or time, or accident may
have produced the same appearances, positive evidence is required
to prove that they have been employed by the first ministers of
superstition, to astonish and overawe the first rude inhabitants of
the country."

With all deference to the opinion of the learned Doctor I cannot
subscribe to the position, that positive evidence is required to prove
cases of this description ; and, notwithstanding he has rejected the
reasoning of Watson as vague and unsatisfactory, I certainly think
that gentleman's sentiments on this subject are entitled to respect,
although unsupported by that description of evidence which the
learned Doctor considers essentially necessary to establish the fact ;
Watson's many opportunities of examining these supposed remains,
and his abilities in searching into antiquity, render his authority
very respectable, to say the least of it ; and as his conjectures on the
present inquiry are plausible, so it is not likely we shall ever see


any hypothesis better grounded than that with which he has favored
us. Grose, in his Antiquities classes some of these remains among
the curiosities of Yorkshire. I have availed myself of Watson's
description where it applies, but abridged some of his remarks.

In the township of Barkisland is a ring of stones, supposed to be
druidical, called the Wolf- fold, which from the name, says Watson,
I at first imagined to be the ruins of either a decoy for taking wild
beasts, or a place to keep them in ; but on a more particular view,
was rather of opinion that it had belonged to the Druids. The stones
of this circle are not erect, but lie in a confused heap like the ruins
of a building, and the largest may have been taken away. It is but
a few yards in diameter, and gives the name of Ringstone-edge to
the adjacent moor.

Not far from Ringstone-edge is a parcel of rocks, on a common,
called Whole Stone-moor, a supposed corruption of Holy Stone, or
Hole Stone ; devoted in all probability to druidical pur]D0ses. These
stones which were in general about five or six feet in height above
ground, and about six feet in circumference, were perforated at
about three feet from the ground by a round hole, sufficient to admit
a common-sized hand. In some parts of Ireland stones of this des-
cription are common, partic\ilarly in the burial grounds attached to
very ancient churches. We are informed that perforated stones are
not uncommon in India : and devout people pass through them when
the opening will admit, in order to be regenerated. If the hole be
too small they put the hand or foot through it, and with a sufficient
degree of faith, it answers nearly the same purpose !

At the edge of Norland-moor, among a large ridge of rocks, is
a very ponderous stone, which projects over the side of the hiU, and
has a very uncommon ajjpearance. It is called the Lad-stone, but
for what reason no inhabitant of the place can tell. Watson con-
jectures the name is British, and it may come from Lladd, to kill, or
slay, denoting persons were put to death here by a regular court of
justice. If it be Anglo-Saxon, it may come from laSe, a purgation
by trial, and therefore points out this place, as one where justice
was administered. The Druids had undoubtedly this power, and they
exercised it amongst rocks. The name also of the district lying below
these rocks, is Butterworth, which might be so called from the bods,
or bodes, the common appellatives of the abodes of people in the


druidical times. A Ladstone in Sowerby is mentioned in a copy of
a court-roll at Field-house in Sowerby, dated 6 Henry VIII. near the
borders of Erringden, it is now destroyed.

In Rishworth is a group of stones laid seemingly one above
another to the height of several yards, called the Rocking Stone.*
Tradition says, that it once would rock, but that quality is lost.
The form of it is not very unlike the Wring-cheese in Cornwall,
described by Borlase, p. 165, and perhaps might serve for the same

The neighbourhood of this rocking stone, notwithstanding it is
now a wild, uncultivated waste, Watson conjectures to have been
inhabited in the times preceding Christianity. The first reason for
this opinion, is taken from its name. Rowland's, in his Mona
Antiqua, p. 28, edit. 1766, has shevm us, that fixed dwellings were
in this island originally called bods, a word yet used where the pri-
mitive language of tho country is kept entire from that of the Anglo-
Saxons. Where those people settled, bod would be wrote, and pro-
nounced bode or bothe, in modern spelling, booth, the very name by

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 3 of 52)