Ackworth (St. Cuthbert)

ACKWORTH (St. Cuthbert), a parish, in the Upper division of the wapentake of Osgoldcross, W. riding of York, 3¼ miles (S. S. W.) from Pontefract; containing 1828 inhabitants. This parish, which occupies an elevated situation, comprises 2537a. 3r. 27p. of profitable land, and 36 acres of roads and waste; the soil is fertile; the surface is boldly undulated, and richly embellished with wood. Freestone of excellent quality is abundant, and there are some extensive quarries of it at Moor Top, in the parish. The village, which is divided into High and Low Ackworth, is situated on rising ground near the source of the river Went, and contains numerous neat and well-built houses, with several pleasant villas in the immediate neighbourhood. Ackworth Park is a beautiful seat. Handloom weaving is carried on to a limited extent. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £22. 1. 0½., and in the patronage of the Crown, in right of the duchy of Lancaster; net income, £403. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment, under an act of inclosure, in 1774; the glebe comprises 152 acres. The church, an ancient structure situated in Upper Ackworth, has at various times undergone much alteration and repair. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

The school here belonging to the Society of Friends was originally and for some years an appendage to the Foundling Hospital of London, for which purpose it was originally built, at an expense of £13,000, defrayed by subscription, aided by a grant from parliament. Upon its separation from that institution, the house, with 84 acres of land attached to it, was purchased in 1777 by Dr. Fothergill and two or three other gentlemen of the Society of Friends for £7000; and it was afterwards appropriated as a school for the education of the children of the less wealthy members of that community. The buildings are situated between High and Low Ackworth, and now comprise arrangements for the reception of 180 boys and 120 girls; the land has been extended to 274 acres. The hospital and school at High Ackworth were built by Mrs. Mary Lowther, who in 1741 endowed them with 17 acres of land, now producing £30 per annum, and with £700 invested at 5 per cent interest.

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

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