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Birstall

Several of my ancestors, including Benjamin Law (1773-1837) and John Sykes (1797-1874) were born in Birstall Parish. Benjamin Law was born in the village of Gomersal. John Sykes was born in the village of Adwalton.

Another Ancestor, Michael Sheard, lived in Gomersal, Birstall Parish from at least 1713 until his death in 1789.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

General View of Birstall

Not posted


The Parish of Birstall

The ancient parish of Birstall comprised the eight townships of Cleckheaton, Drighlington, Gomersal, Heckmondwike, Hunsworth, Liversedge, Tong and Wike. Although Tong was officially part of the parish its records were kept separately. In addition to the townships there were several villages or hamlets including, Adwalton, Birstall, Great and Little Gomersal, Stubley, Littletown, Robertown, Long Liversedge, Heaton, Okenshay, Moore Lawe, Doghouse, Scholes, and Berkonshay. While the village of Birstall gave its name to the parish, it was actually a part of the township of Gomersal.

The main church, St Peter's was situated on the eastern boundary of the parish close to Batley. The parish records started in 1558, the first year of the reign of Elizabeth. However, they are sparse and contain many gaps until the 1700s.

Based on a comparison of the numbers of baptisms, marriages and burials in the parish around 1650 the population of the parish is estimated to have been 2500 people. At the time of the Archbishop's visit to Birstall parish in 1743, there were 9000 people in the parish. It is believed that the increase in the population was partly due to an influx from other parishes.


The Parish Church and Graveyard

A History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall, H.C. Cradock, M.A. (1933)

Birstall church A.D. 1830


A History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall, H.C. Cradock, M.A. (1933)

Birstall church A.D. before 1865


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Birstall church A.D. before 1865

Not posted

Compare this photo with that of the print above and the postcard following. Notice the changes in the center window of the church.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Birstall Church after 1865

Posted 1906


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The old church was repaired in 1851. In 1865 the need arose to enlarge the church.

"But a careful examination proved that the whole structure was too dilapidated for restoration. The fabric was unsafe. The ground had been shaken by the falling in of old coal workings; the pillars has sunk partly owing to the weight of the galleries, partly by the sinking of old burial vaults, with which the floor was honey-combed."

A History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall, H.C. Cradock, M.A. (1933)

The new church was re-consecrated on 29 April 1870 by the Bishop of Ripon.

This postcard was posted in 1908


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Parish Chruch Birstall

Not posted.


Photo by David C. Beaumont, August 2008

The Church in August 2008 as photographed by David C. Beaumont


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

East Window, Birstall Church

Not posted.


The East Side of St Peter's, the Birstall Parish Church, 2002

The entrance is to the right of this photo.

Several of the Land/Sykes ancestors were baptized in the old church in Birstall Parish.

Notice that most of the tombstones visible in the 1928 photo are now missing. They were removed to the graveyard across the street. There were a few still remaining including the one in the foreground.

Photo by Tom Blanck, 2002

The West Side St Peter's, Birstall Parish Church,

The church was closed when we visited in June 2002.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck


Parish Church, Birstall

Postmarked 1905

Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Parish Church, Birstall

1932

A History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall, H.C. Cradock, M.A. (1933)

Parish Church, Birstall

Compare with the next picture taken in 2002. The graves on this side of the church have also been moved.

No date

Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Photo by Tom Blanck, 2002

Photo by David C Beaumont, 2008

Parish Chruch Birstall, April 2008


A History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall, H.C. Cradock, M.A. (1933)

Birstall Parish Church Interior, Looking East, 1865

(From a painting by the late Mr. T. P. Frost)

Birstall Parish Church Interior, Looking West, 1865

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior of the parish church, Birstall. Not posted


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior of the parish church, Birstall. Posted in Gomersal 1909


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior of the parish church, Birstall. Not posted


Photo by David C. Beaumont, August 2008

The Black Bull Inn, August 2008 as photographed by David C. Beaumont.

The Blanck Bull Inn is on Kirkgate across from the church.


Photo David C Beaumont, April 2008

A grave marker from:

"The church yard on the left side of the church looking uphill to the Public House."

David C Beaumont, April 2008


A view of the graveyard from the west lawn of the parish church, 2002.

Photo by Maggie Blanck, 2002

The Birstall Parish Graveyard 2002

The church tower is in the background.

In the foreground are some of the stones that were moved from the east side of the church.

The stone closest to the bottom of the photo is the memorial stone of George Stell Sykes, his wife, Sarah Walker Sykes, and three of their children. To see a close-up of the stone go to The Sykes Memorial Stone

Photo by Maggie Blanck, 2002

Photo by David C. Beaumont, August 2008

The old gate entrance to Birstall Cemetery.


Photo by David C. Beaumont, August 2008

The 1800' Cemetery Yard.

"This photo is was taken in late July 2008 from the old cemetery main path near the old gate enterance oposite the Birstall parish church. The older gate enterance is just below the entrance that is currently used. As one walks the path from the gate enterance you can visualize the old quality of those long forgotton days. Too the right of the path is where the locals say the old churchyard gravestones are buried. (Others say the old stones were sold.)"

David Beaumont


The Village of Birstall
The parish church is just outside the village.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Market Place Birstall. Posted 1907 Birstall.


Postcard collection Maggie Land Blanck

The Market Place, Village of Birstall, circa 1920


Postcard collection Maggie Land Blanck

The Market Place, Village of Birstall, not dated


The Market Place, Village of Birstall

The statue of Joseph Priestley was erected in 1912. Joseph Priestley was a scientist and clergyman who discovered oxygen and invented soda water. Priestley, born in Birstall parish on March 13, 1733, was the eldest of six children of a local cloth dresser.

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Dr. Priestly Statue, Birstall
Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011

Graciously shared by Carol Lodge, October, 2014

'THE DR. PRIESTLY STATUE Erected by Public Subscription and Unveiled by Sir Edward Thorpe on Oct 12, 1912 to "a worthy son of Birstall and one of the most illustrious men that Yorkshire has produced." Died in America Feb 06, 1804 in his 71st year.'

Graciously shared by Carol Lodge, October, 2014

Birstall Multiview Market Place. Interior Oakwell Hall, Oakwell Hall, Oakwell Hall Gardens and John Nelson's Study.Posted September 25, 1959.


The Market Place, Village of Birstall, circa 1920

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Birstall Market Place

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

The Market Place, Village of Birstall, 2002

This photo was taken at the corner of the Market Place in village of Birstall looking in the same direction as the 1920 photo above.

Photo by Tom Blanck, 2002

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Low Lane, Birstall

Posted 1910


Low Lane, Village of Birstall circa 1920

Low Lane goes off to the left and Middlegate (in the center of the photo) heads towards the township of Drighlington and the village of Adwalton.

The Archives Photographs Series AROUND BATLEY compiled by Norman Ellis

Low Lane, Village of Birstall, 2002

Middlegate is to the extreme left of the photo.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Low Lane, Village of Birstall, 2002

Low Lane continues from the village of Birstall across Bradford Road to Kirkgate, where the Birstall Parish church stands.

Photo by Maggie Blanck

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Cambridge Road, Birstall. Not posted

Cambridge Road does not appear on the 1908 Ordnance Survey map of Birstall. It is shown on a contemporary map of Birstall off Bradford Road Just west of Kirkgate.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Temperance Hall, Birstall

A & J Graham in Birstall Where they Ka Quite identifies this image as "looking towards Smithies from Temperance Chapel".

"Smithes" she says was at the the intersection of Bradford Road and Huddersfield Road and is now commonly called "Birstall Crossroads".

"where they ka quite" means where they keep quite according to A & J Graham


Photo by Andy Graham, 2008

To see more photos by Andy Graham go to THEURBANGLOW


Photo by Andy Graham, 2008


Photo courtesy of David Beaumont, August 2008

Bristall Methodist Church


Photo courtesy of David Beaumont, August 2008

"This is the old nation school (not sure on date, will relook next visit. Think it is 1868). It is now used as an industrial store and its end wall is knock out.:

David Beaumont


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Unknown House

Addressed to Mrs J Jubb, 69 Church Street, Birstall, but not posted.


Township of Drighlington and the Villages of Adwalton and Gildersome Street

Land Ancestors in Adwalton

The family of James Law and Susannah Crossley, the great-grandparents of Benjamin Law, lived in the village of Adwalton from 1693 to 1721.

Sykes ancestors were in Adwalton as far back as 1797. The censuses indicate that the Sykes lived on "Wakefield Turnpike Road" in an area "comprising all the Houses and cottages on both sides of the Turnpike leading from Adwalton to Gildersome Street".

The Walkers were in Adwalton by 1841, when their son, Jem, was baptized in the Birstall Parish Church. The census also indicate that they lived very near the Sykes also on the "Wakefield Turnpike Road" in an area "comprising all the Houses and cottages on both sides of the Turnpike leading from Adwalton to Gildersome Street".


Drighlington in the Doomsday Book

Drighlington was mentioned in the Doomsday book (1086) as Drelintone. The villages of Adwalton and Drighlington date to Saxon times.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Adwalton

Not posted


Hodgson Lane, Adwalton

Illustrated History From Hipperholme to Tong, James Parker (1904)

Wakefield Road, Village of Adwalton, 2002

A few miles north of the village of Birstall in the the township of Drighlington is the village of Adwalton.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Wakefield Road, Village of Adwalton, 2002

As with everywhere else in the area, most of the house were new. There were, however, a few older looking places along Wakefield Road.

Photo by Tom Blanck

A mile or less east of the village of Adwalton along the Wakefield Road lies the village of Gildersome Street.

There was a sparse but continuous number of older looking houses along the way.


Wakefield Road from the Village of Adwalton to the Village of Gildersome Street

The next three photos were all taken on a stretch of the Wakefield Road that has become a dead-end. The road used to continue on to Wakefield. This is the point where the old road from Bradford to Wakefield crossed the old road from Huddersfield to Leeds. Today there is a Junction of the M62 Motorway.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Wakefield Road from the Village of Adwalton to the Village of Gildersome Street

This short section of the old Wakefield Road is now labeled "Bradford Road" on the map.

Less than a mile back up the Wakefield Road is the village of Adwalton. On the other side of the junction of M62 is the the village of Gildersome Street.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Wakefield Road from the Village of Adwalton to the Village of Gildersome Street

Since this group of houses are clearly older than most in the area and they lie exactly as described in the censuses, this could be the area of Adwalton where the Sykes and Walkers lived.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Battle of Adwalton Moor 1643

Adwalton Moor was site of a famous battle of the English Civil War on June 30th 1643.

Fairs

Adwalton was granted a charter to hold sheep and cattle fairs in Elizabethan times. The Adwalton cattle fairs were among the most important in Yorkshire until sometime after 1815 when the Wakefield Cattle Fair became more prominent. The fairs were originally held on 26th February, Thursdays in Easter and Whitsun weeks, and every alternate Thursday from then until September 29th. Later they were held on February 6, March 9, November 5, and December 23.

Note: Whitsunday is Pentecost (The seventh Sunday after Easter)

National Gazetteer 1868

"DRIGHLINGTON, a township or chapelry in the parish of Birstall, wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York, 5 miles S.E. of Bradford, and 6 S.W. of Leeds, its post town. It contains the hamlet of Adwalton. The Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax Junction railway has stations both at Drighlington and Adwalton. The village is pleasantly situated on elevated ground, near the junction of the Leeds and Wakefield roads. There are malting, worsted, spinning, and cloth manufactories. The land is chiefly in pasture, and there are several collieries. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, value 84, in the patronage of J. Hague, Esq. The charities consist of an endowment of 60 per annum to the free school, founded by Archbishop Margetson, in 1678, who was a native of this place. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and New Connexion Methodists have each a chapel. John Hague, Esq., is lord of the manor. Fairs at Adwalton are held on the 6th February, 9th March, 5th November, 23rd December, and on the Thursday in Easter and Whitsun weeks, mostly for cattle."

www.genuki.org.uk BIRSTALL: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

Mills

According to James Parker in Illustrated History from Hipperholme to Tong, 1904 there were two mills in Drighlington: Moorland Mill and New Mill both "cloth manufacturers". When did they open?

Julia Vaughn wrote in October 2005 to say that the 1894 Ordnance Survey map listed

  1. Moorland Mill, worsted and corn
  2. New Mill, worsted, located to the north west of Adwalton Moor between the moor and the turnpike road next to a place called Wasps nest.

Adwalton

For information on the village of Adwalton go to Adwalton , now or at the bottom of the page.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

King Street Drighlington. Posted 1907


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Moorside, Drighlington. Posted 1905


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Wakefield Road, Drighlington. Not posted


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Multi view post card Drighlington


From St Paul's Drighlington Centenary 1878-1978 Book collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Bell Chapel

The Bell Chapel or Chapel of Ease was located just south of the present parish church:

"James Sykes, the Lord of the manor, provided the first place of worship in Drighlington. The village, being a district within the Parish of Birstall, St. Peter, was served by the Incumbent of Birstall and his assistant, but there was no chapel of ease. From 1742 the Moravians had had a centre at Adwalton, and in 1783 the aforementioned James Sykes built a chapel for them which was used as a preaching place by the Moravians from Fulneck. It does not seemed to have prospered, as later, it was used by Baptists from Gildersome. Eventually, however, James Sykes became a churchman and he handed the chapel over to the Church of England in 1813 on condition that the advowson was vested in him and his heirs."

St Paul's Drighlington Centenary 1878-1978

Note: Advowson is the right to nominate a person who will hold a church office in a parish.

The chapel had one aisle, a nave and chancel and one bell.

The population was 2,740; acreage 1,130; chief landowner John Hague. The principal trades were shoemaking, worsted spinning, brickmaking, brass-refining, machine card making, matting and coal-mining..... There was no Sunday School.

St Paul's Drighlington Centenary 1878-1978

Drighlington became a separate parish 1875.


From St Paul's Drighlington Centenary 1878-1978 Book collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Drighlington Church from Whitehall Road

Consecrated Friday April 26, 1878.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

St Paul's Church of England, Drighlington Church from the multi view post card Drighlington. St Pauls is located on Back Lane just off Whitehall Road.


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

From the multi view post card Drighlington


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Whitehall Road, Drighlington - from the multi view post card Drighlington


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Whitehall Raod - from the multi view post card Drighlington


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Whitehall Road - from the multi view post card.


Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Adwalton Junction.


Adwalton Junction about 1959.

See Lost Railways of West Yorkshire for more images of trains and for the routes of the various lines in West Yorkshire.

Photo courtesy Melvyn Aveyard, February 2006

The Village of Gomersall

The Laws and Sheards in Gomersall

Gomersall was a township that included several hamlets or villages. The parish records list the following sections for Gomersall: Gomersall, Little Gomersall, Gomersall Hill Top, and Popeley.

Gomersall Hill Top is a village located in the parish of Birstall about a mile west (Up Church Lane) from the parish church in the village of Birstall and about a mile and a half from the town of Batley.

Popeley, a farm, lies on the slope between the Birstall parish church and Gomersall Hill Top.

The village of "Gomersall" is down the hill just north of Gomersall Hill Top.

Gomersall, as listed by the parish clerk, could also have stood for someone living in the "township" of Gomersall versus someone living in the townships of Cleckheaton, Drighlington, Gomersal, Heckmondwike, Hunsworth, Liversedge, and Wike

"Little Gomersall" -

"Little Gomersal, which is only divided from its neighbour by the Leeds and Elland Road, is equally favoured with respect to situation, but is not so richly clothed with vegetation. It overlooks the basin in which Heckmondwike is situated, and commands extensive views of Mirfield, Hanging Heaton, and the "shoddy" country around Batley. Little Gomersal promises, however, to be the most populous portion of the district, owing to land being more available for building purposes. In the old part of the village the houses are of brick, and mean in construction, but those of more modern erection are generally built of stone."

Round about Bradford: a series of sketches (descriptive and semi-historical ... By William Cudworth (of Bradford, Eng.), 1876

The Laws were in the parish of Birstall from at least 1665. James Law and Alice Rawse were listed in "Gomersall" between 1665 and 1707. Their son James and his wife, Susannah Crossley lived in the village of Adwalton between 1693 and 1721. Their son William and his wife, Hannah Raynor, lived in "Great Gomersall" between 1730 and 1746. Their son, George and his wife, Mary Wilby, were listed between 1763 and 1788 in "Great Gomersall", "Gomersall", "Gomersall Hill Top" and "Popeley". George Law of Popeley died in 1788. Shortly after that his son, Benjamin Law, moved to Batley.

The Sheards were in the parish of Birstall from at least 1713. Michael Sheard and his wife, Abigail Healy, lived in "Gomersall" between 1713 and 1725. Their son, Jonas, and his wife, Dinah Kirk, lived in "Great Gomersall" from 1740 to 1748. Their son, Michael, and his wife, Sarah Barber, lived in "Great Gomersall" from 1768 to 1772. Michael and Sarah were in Batley by 1777. Jonas Sheard also moved to Batley where he died in 1789.

Gomersal was an ancient village and was mentioned in the Doomsday Book: In Gomersall, Dunstan and Gamel had four carucates of land to be taxed, where there may be six ploughs. Ilbert (de Lacy) has it, and it is waste. Value in King Edward's time, forty shillings.

Weaving was known in the area from at least 1284:

"As early as the year 1284, it may be presumed, the weaving of cloth constituted one of the arts of life practised in this locality, as in the Hundred Rolls of that period mention is made of one Evam, a weaver of Gomersal, being confined in the prison of Bradford, apparently for debt.

Round about Bradford: a series of sketches (descriptive and semi-historical ... By William Cudworth (of Bradford, Eng.), 1876

In the late 1700s the Knowles family were the leaders of the cloth trade in Gomersal. They had large contracts with the government to supply army cloth. "Many of the small clothermakers were dependent upon them for orders."

By 1876 the cloth trade was waning in Gomersal;

"The old staple trade of Gomersal - the manufacture and merchanting of army cloth - has almost left the village, only one firm being now engaged in it. In the early part of the century the merchants were Joshua Taylor, Lionel Knowles, Joseph and Edward Swaine (the latter manufacturers also), all of Great Gomersal; and Henry Rhodes, of Little Gomersal. The manufacturers, carrying on their business chiefly at their own houses, or on premises adjacent, were Benjamin Fearnley, John, Thomas, and Joseph Crowther, the three brothers Sigston, S. Scott, Samuel Scholefield, Thomas Pearson, W. Hammond, and John Blackburn. These clothiers attended the Leeds White Cloth Market twice a week, selling their cloth in the "balk," or raw state, the merchants dyeing and finishing the same. The trades now carried on are various, consisting of the manufacture of worsted yarns (which is of some standing in Gomersal), army cloth, blankets, cotton, woollen machinery, chemicals, cards, and felting. The coal measures have long been worked in the neighbourhood, but much of this mineral still remains to be got."

Round about Bradford: a series of sketches (descriptive and semi-historical ... By William Cudworth (of Bradford, Eng.), 1876


The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Spen Lane, Gomersal.

Postcard collection Maggie Land Blanck

Situated on the Spen Road between Gomersal Hill Top and Cleckheaton St Mary the Virgin church was erected in 1851. It was a subdivision of Birstal Parish and included Great and Little Gomersal.

"The church is an excellent example of the Flowing Decorated Style, wherein solidity and decoration have been happily blended. Its appearance, however, would have been improved if the tower had terminated in a spire. In 1864 a new transept and vestry were built, and an organ added, the illumination of the latter being executed by a London artist at the expense of Mr. Mann, of Spen Bank. The stained work of the east window, which is in five compartments, is by Ward & Hughes, of London. The west window is also filled with stained glass, the gift of the "artisans, teachers, and scholars of the school." A window in the south aisle was filled in with the same material in 1869, and dedicated by Sir Charles Henry Firth, of Flush, Heckmondwike, "in humble submission to the will of God, and in memory of Ada, Lady Firth," who unfortunately perished in the month of May, in the river Wharfe, near Bolton Abbey, at the early age of twenty-five. The cost of the edifice was about, £4000. The value of the living is, £185, and the presentation is vested alternately in the Crown and the Bishop of Ripori."

Round about Bradford: a series of sketches (descriptive and semi-historical ... By William Cudworth (of Bradford, Eng.), 1876

Almost directly across the road stood "Gomersal Mills":
"Gomersal Mills are situate on the crest of the hill opposite the church. The premises are often called the Cloth Hall, owing to the circumstance that they were built in the anticipation of a cloth market being established at Gomersal many years ago. Tradition has it that a cloth mart did in fact exist at Gomersal before Leeds could boast of possessing one. Gomersal Cloth Hall was built on Sir James Ibbetson's property, by the subscriptions of clothiers and others, it being stipulated that if it ceased to be used as a cloth market, it should revert to the Ibbetsons. This it did, and Mr. Carr, their agent, took a long lease, and converted one wing of it into a cotton mill.

Round about Bradford: a series of sketches (descriptive and semi-historical ... By William Cudworth (of Bradford, Eng.), 1876


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Moravian Church Gomersall Birstall Parish. Posted 1905.

The Moravian Chapel at Little Gomersal was erected in 1751. It was enlarged several times.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

The image is labeled "Vicarage Lane Gomersal" but I cannot find "Vicarage Lane" in Gomersal.

In May 2014 Julia Wood wrote that she thought "Vicarage Lane" is now called "Fusden Lane." It was where the vicarage once stood.


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

Post Office Gomersal


"I believe that this picture is of the post office at the top of Spen Lane (looking down) Gomersal with Hill Top behind the camera."

Sue Newton, January 2008

Photo by Tom Blanck

Oxford Road, Gomersall Hill Top, 2002

Gomersall Hill Top is at the crossroads of Oxford Road (North/South) and Church Lane (East), which turns into Spen Lane (West) on the west side of Oxford Road.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Oxford Road, Gomersall Hill Top, 2002

The oldest looking section of the "hill top" is right at the crossroads. There is a relative short stretch of buildings, (see the above photo), going south on Oxford Road. then the buildings thin out.

Photo by Tom Blanck

Oxford Road and Spen Road, Gomersall Hill Top, 2002

This building is on the northwest corner of the intersection.

Except for the buildings in these photos, all of the buildings on the "hill top" are "new".

Photo by Tom Blanck

Red House Museum, Oxford Road, Gomersall

Down the hill to the north is Red House, the home of Charlotte Bronte's friends, the Taylors. This house appears as "Briarmains" in her novel "Shirley". This overly romantic novel is set during the Luddite uprisings. The house dates to 1830.

From the Kirklees Metropolitan Council Museum Brochure

Oakwell Hall, Birstall

"Fieldhead " in the novel Shirley by Charlotte Bronte

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Oakwell Hall, Birstall

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Oakwell Hall Interior, Birstall

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior Oakwell Hall, Birstall

(Fieldhead of "Shirley" by Charlotte Bronte)

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Oxford Road, Gomersall

Going north from Red House along Oxford Road were a few more buildings that looked older than most. There was no place to park on the narrow road so I just took two quick shots in either direction. Looking north.

Photo by Maggie Blanck

Oxford Road, Gomersall

Looking south.

Photo by Maggie Blanck

Collection of Maggie Blanck

Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

The 1st Car, Gomersal October 2, 1903


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

New Council School, Gomersal, opened May 4, 1912


For additional images of Gomersal shared by Barry Riding go to Barry Riding


The Village of Cleckheaton and the White Chapel

According to a 1379 poll tax list Cleckheatone has an estimated population of 59 persons above the age of 16.


Cleckheaton is a village a mile or so from Gomersall Hill Top taking Spen Lane to the west.

The photo shows the intersection of Spen Land, West Gate, and Bradford Roads. Bradford Road going southeast leads to Batley.

Photo by Maggie Blanck

White Chapel, Cleckheaton

Very few of the church graveyards are intact. Everywhere we went we saw the gravestones used as pavers. The graveyard at the White Chapel shows how the graves with there markers were set up.

Photo by Tom Blanck

White Chapel, Cleckheaton

Most parishes did not record a cause of death with the records. The White Chapel in Cleckheaton recorded causes of deaths from 1793 to 1813. These records give an indication of the fatal illnesses in the area for that time period. For more information on the causes of death in Cleckheaton go to Causes of Death

Photo by Tom Blanck

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Interior of the Cleckheaton Church. Not posted.


Liversedge

Liversedge was historically a township in Birstall Parish.

Liversedge was mentioned in the Doomsday Book (1086) with two manors and "four carucates" (about 500 acres of ploughed land).

According to a 1379 poll tax list Liversedge has an estimated population of 51 persons above the age of 16.


Ancient Window, Liversedge's Hall

A History of the Ancient Parish of Birstall , Cradock, 1933

Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Owlet Hurst, Liversedge.

Posted 1927


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Hare Park Lane, Hightown, Liversedge


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Best of Luck from Liversedge. Not posted.


Heckmondwike

Heckmondwike was historically a township and chapelry in the Birstall Parish.

According to the 1379 poll tax list Heckmondwike has an estimated population of 21 persons above the age of 16.

In 1837 William White wrote of Heckmondwike:

HECKMONDWIKE is one of the many places in the clothing district of Yorkshire, which, under the influence of manufacturing industry, have become populous and wealthy. It is now rather a town than a village, and ranks next Dewsbury as a principal seat of the blanket and carpet manufactures, for the former of which it has a market, held every Monday and Thursday from 1 till 1/4 past 2 o'clock, in the "Blanket Hall" which adjoins the George Inn, and is very conveniently fitted up with stalls for the use of the numerous manufacturers of the town and populous surrounding villages. Heckmondwike is a township in the parish of Birstal, and in the wapentake of Mortey, seated in the vale of a small rivulet, 2 miles N.W. of Dewsbury, 9 miles S.W. by S. of Leeds, 9 miles E. of Halifax, 7 miles N.E. of Huddersfield, and 7 miles S.S.E. of Bradford. Its population amounted in 1801 to only 1,742 souls, but in 1831, the township was found to contain 680 acres of land, 6O0 bouses, and 2,793 inhabitants, exclusive of the adjoining village of Mill Bridge, which is in Liversedge township, and swells the population of Heckmondwike and its suburbs to upwards of 4,000. Though not a handsome town, it presents an interesting scene of activity and industry; for in addition to its numerous blanket and carpet manufactories, it has several lirge mills and factories engaged in the fabrication of woollen cloth. The Church, dedicated to St. James, was erected by Government, at the cost of £2,574 10s., in 1830, - the first stone being laid on March 3rd in that year, ft is a small but neat Gothic edifice with a spire and about 700 sittings, of which nearly 300 are free. The curacy has been endowed with £400 of Queen Anne's bounty. The vicar of Birstal is the partron, and the Rev. Wm. Battersby the incumbent. The other places of worship in the town are, - a Meiliodist Chapel built in 1812, and two Independent Chapels, one at Hill-top built in 1763 near the site of one erected in 1701; and the other in the lower part of the town, built in 1784. The Independent ministers are the Rev. Robert Martin, of the Lower,and the Rev. Henry Beanof the Upper Chapel. The Independent or Calvanistic congrcgationalists had a small soriety here as early as 1621, and on the Wednesday after the second Sunday is June they hold an annual religious festival here, called the lecture, which is attended by a great number of their ministers and people from the surrounding parishes; the objects being the arrangement of certain matters relative to the ministry, and the promotion of vital religion. On April 12th, 1829, a fatal accident happened in the Methodist chapel, where, during the time Mr. Dawson was preaching to a crowded congregation for the benefit of the Sunday School, the noise occasioned by the falling of a stove pipe created such an alarm, that the people fearing the gallery was falling, made a simultaneous rush towards the doors, and in an instant, such a scene of consternation and confusion ensued as no pen can describe. Those who first gained the narrow passages leading from the galleries, were thrown down by those behind, who, in their turn, were overturned by those rushing from the body of the chapel. In vain did the preacher attempt to calm the tumult, for his voice was drowned in the shrieks of the terrified and the groans of the dying. When the alarm had subsided, the most appalling spectacle presented itself; - two heaps of persons unable to rise were piled up at the doors to the height of four or five feet, and five persons were taken out dead; six or seven were removed apparently in a lifeless state, and twenty others were injured. Besides a commodious National School erected in 1833, here is another large school for boys and girls, built by subscription in 1822, and having about 150 scholars, who each pay a small sum per week. In thee latter is deposited a Subscription Library, established in 1820, and now comprising upwards of 370 complete works, and supported by 24 subscribers of 21s. per annum. The Post Office is at Mrs Hannah Seniors, where letters arrive from Leeds, etc. at 1/2 past 7 morning and 1/2 past 6 evening, and are despatched at 5 and j past 11 morning.

History, gazetteer, and directory, of the west-riding of Yorkshire, By William White, 1837


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

Heckmondwike, May 30, 1918

In April 2010 Alan Jackson wrote to tell me about a newsreel of the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Heckmondwike. Go to British Pathe


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

Heckmondwike 1912


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

Heckmondwike


Collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011, reproduction of original photo

Westgate, Heckmondwike


Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck

High Street Heckmondwike, not posted


Birstall Faces

Photo collection of Maggie Land Blanck

"Ye Olde Wedding Nov 22-13 Congregational Church Birstall

Photo courtesy Mike Gammon February 2011

"Ye Olde Wedding Nov 22-13 Congregational Church Birstall

According to Around Batley by Norman Ellis this "imaginary" event was some sort of a fund raiser.


Birstall Information
Adwalton Information
The Laws
The Sheards
The Sykes
The Siddles

Old Photos from the Birstal, Gomersal, Scholes area shared by Barry Riding

Click on the photo of Gomersal Hill Top


Outside Links

Kirklees Image Archive IMAGES OF BATLEY

Fred Marriott Batley Reporter 29th December 1888 Terrific Mill Fire at Birstal


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Maggie


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