Almondbury (All Saints)

ALMONDBURY (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Huddersfield, Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 1¾ mile (S. E.) from Huddersfield, on the old road to Sheffield; comprising the townships of Almondbury, Austonley, North and South Crossland, Farnley-Tyas, Holme, Honley, Lingards, Linthwaite, Lockwood, Marsden, Meltham, Nether Thong, and Upper Thong; and the hamlets of Berrybrow, Crossland Moor, Deanhouse, Meltham-Mills, Longley, Lowerhouses, Netherton, and Rashcliffe; and containing 37,315 inhabitants, of whom 8828 are in the township of Almondbury. According to Camden, this was the Cambodunum of Antoninus, the site of which he places on the summit of a neighbouring hill, where are vestiges of a rampart and the remains of a fortification; but some later writers are of opinion that these are Saxon remains, as no Roman relics have ever been found, and there are no ancient roads leading to the place. The same author states that in the early Saxon times a royal vill existed here, with a church, built by Paulinus, and dedicated to St. Alban, from which circumstance arose the name Albanbury, since softened into Almondbury. This church is supposed to have been afterwards burnt in the war between Penda, King of Mercia, and Edwin of Northumbria, the latter of whom had a palace here; and it appears that no church from that period was known till after the year 1090, when the manor came into the possession of the Lacy family, of whom Alice de Lacy and her son Henry presented to the rectory in 1187, prior to which time a church had been erected most probably by Gilbert de Lacy, the first lord.

The inhabitants of this populous and extensive district are principally engaged in the manufacture of fancy goods and woollen cloth, for which there are numerous establishments. The parish comprises 26,055a. 3r. 37p.; there are several coal-mines, and some stone-quarries, the produce of which is chiefly applied to building purposes. In the 39th of George III. an act was passed for inclosing the waste lands in the townships of North Crossland and Honley; in the 9th of George IV., one for reclaiming those in Austonley and Upper Thong; and in 1830 similar acts were passed for Meltham and Nether Thong: in 1837 an act was procured for making certain reservoirs in the parish. Fairs are held on Easter and Whit Mondays, and on Nov. 23rd for swine and cattle.

The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £20. 7. 11.; net income, £250; patrons and impropriators, the Governors of Clitheroe school, to whom the rectory, &c., were given by the crown at the Dissolution, previously to which they had belonged to the College of Jesus, at Rotherham. There are 16 acres of glebe, with a good vicarage-house rebuilt about 1774. The church, an ancient and venerable structure, erected on the site of the original church, in 1552, and which had fallen into a state of general dilapidation, was in 1840, through the spirited efforts of a few of the inhabitants, thoroughly restored, with the most scrupulous regard to the preservation of its pristine character, and is now one of the most beautiful churches in the West riding. At the end of the north aisle is a chapel belonging to the Earl of Dartmouth, and at the extremity of the south aisle one belonging to the Beaumont family: there are two oak chests of great antiquity, richly carved; and round the upper part of the walls, close to the ceiling, are some verses in Saxon characters. There are also churches at Holme-Bridge, Crossland, Farnley-Tyas, Linthwaite, Meltham, Meltham-Mills, Lockwood, Marsden, Nether Thong, Upper Thong, Milns-Bridge, Armitage-Bridge, and Honley; and within the township of Almondbury are two places of worship for Wesleyan Methodists, and one for the New Connexion. A free grammar school was founded by letters-patent of James I.; the annual income amounts to £91, arising from lands and rentcharges demised by Robert Nettleton and other benefactors.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.