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EXTRACT FROM WHITE'S HISTORY, GAZETTEER AND DIRECTORY OF THE WEST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE 1837

Todmorden

 

Todmorden is a small but thriving market town, situated on the eastern confines of the county, mostly in the parish of Rochdale, and hundred of Salford, Lancashire, and partly in the parish of Halifax, and wapentake of Morley, in the West Riding of the county of York; 9 miles N. N. E. of Rochdale, 12 miles W. S. W. of Halifax and 20 miles N. N. E. of Manchester, in one of the most picturesque valleys in the north of England, which, taking its name from this place, is called the Vale of Todmorden.

The ancient orthography of the place was Todmaredene - the valley of the Fox mere or lake. The chapelry of Todmorden includes the township of Walsden, and they contain together 6,054 inhabitants. The townships of Stansfield and Langfield, in Halifax parish, into which the town extends, contain 10,776 inhabitants. Of this population, 16,830, only about 6,000 are in close proximity with the town; the others being in detached hamlets, &c., extending to the distance of from four to six miles on each side of the boundary of the two counties.

A branch of the family of Radcliffe, of Radcliffe Tower, was established here as early as the time of Edward III., and continued to reside at Todmorden and Merlay, alternately, for nearly four centuries, till Elizabeth, the only child of Joshua Radcliffe, of Todmorden Esq., married Roger Mainwaring, of Kerringham, in the county of Chester, who dissipated the possessions, and about the year 1700 sold the Todmorden estates.

The old Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is pleasantly situated on an eminence, about the centre of the town. The date of the erection is not ascertained, but it is presumed to be as early, at least, as the Reformation. The land for the erection of the church , as well as for the cemetery and old parsonage house, was given by the Radcliff's, of Todmorden Hall. At the end of two centuries, the parsonage having fallen into decay, it was rebuilt by subscription, in 1770, under the superintendence of Anthony Crossley, of Scaitcliffe, at a cost of £606. In 1826, a new parsonage house and sacristry were erected.

An inquisition taken during the Commonwealth, returns the tithes of the chapelry of Todmorden as of the yearly value of twenty pound, eight pence. The commissioners recommended that the chapel should be made a parish church, and that the boundaries of the parish to be created, should be from Salter Rake to the Rokeing Stone, to Dovehaw Stones, to Hallowe Pen, to Annenden Sike, to Sheble Crosse, to Goodhill, to the Old ditch, on the east side of Uggshute, to Sharneyford, to Healden, to Willowing coats, thence following the water to Todmorden, and thence by Lower Swine's Head to Salter Rake again. Nearly two centuries have wrought such changes, that many of these names are now forgotten, but sufficient remains to show that the boundaries of this intended parish to a south-eastern direction along the division line of Lancashire to the first reservoir on Blackstone Edge; that then, turning westward, it skirted Whitworth, and passed up the east side of Cowpe Moor to the neighbourhood of Bacup Booth, when taking an easterly direction to Scaitcliffe, and descending southward by Swine's Head, it came to Salter Rake, the point at which the line commenced. The Chapelry of Todmorden includes the greater part of this district, and is all in Lancashire. The benefice is a perpetual curacy, now worth £134 per annum. The vicar of Rochdale is patron, and the Rev. Joseph Cowell, incumbent.

Christ Church is a handsome fabric, built by Government, in the new burial ground. It was opened at Easter, 1832, and is now the parochial chapel, the old church being used only for sepulchral purposes. The Yorkshire part of the town is in the Chapelry of Cross-Stone, as will be seen in Vol. 2nd. With the history of Stansfield and Langfield townships, in Halifax parish.

The Free School, which adjoins the churchyard, was endowed by the Rev. Richard Clegg , vicar of Kirkham , a native of Todmorden, in 1713, at a cost of £100, contributed by himself, and £50 which he collected from others; the interest to repair the school, and the remainder to the master, who has the gratuitous use of the school house. The appointment of the schoolmaster is with the majority of the freeholders of the chapelry, with a power to make the trust perpetual by the existing trustees appointing others.

There are no fewer than seven moderate sized places of worship in this town and its immediate neighbourhood, belonging to dissenters, namely, the Friends Meeting-house, built originally in the year 1750, in Langfield, and rebuilt in 1807, at Shrewbroad Bank; the Methodist chapel, at Zion hill; Rehoboth Baptist chapel, at Millwood, in Stansfield; Bethel Baptist chapel, at Lineholme, in Stansfield; the Inghamite chapel, at New Chapel, in Stansfield; the Independent chapel, at Myrtle grove; the chapel of the Methodist New Connexion, on the Burnley road; and the Unitarian Meeting-house, at Cockpit hill, in Langfield. To each of these places of worship, Sunday schools are attached, except to the Quakers; and it is to the honour of that community, that all their children, however humble may be the circumstances of their parents, receive such a degree of instruction in day schools as to render Sunday school instruction to them unnecessary.

The market is held every Thursday, for corn and provision, and for cattle on the fist Thursday of every month. Two annual fairs for three days each, commence on the Thursday before, Easter, and on September 27th.

The three great requisites of manufactures are found in the vale of Todmorden, in perfection - building materials, coal, and water. The river Calder winds its way through the valley, and the Rochdale canal skirts the south side of the town, and opens a direct communication with the navigations of Yorkshire and Lancashire. The four townships, at the junction of which the town is situated, increased their population from 8,453 in 1901, to 16,830 in the year 1832. Cotton spinning, and the manufacture of calico, fustian, dimity, sateen, and velveteen, form the principal trade of the valley, and give employment to the greater part of the inhabitants, some of whom are, however, employed in the manufacture of worsted. The mills are numerous, many worked by water, and others by steam; and the vale is studded with cheerful habitations, "equally distant from splendour on the one hand, and from penury on the other."

The Post Office is at the Golden Lion Inn, King-street. The Mail form Halifax arrives at half past 9 morning, and departs at 3 in the afternoon, daily.

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