Kirklees

KIRKLEES, a hamlet, in the chapelry of Hartshead cum Clifton, parish of Dewsbury, wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 5 miles (N. N. E.) from Huddersfield; containing 1779 inhabitants. This place is celebrated as the site of a Cistercian nunnery, founded in the reign of Henry II. by Reynerus Flandrensis, and dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. James, and the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £20. 7. 8. The remains were granted in the reign of Elizabeth, to Robert Pilkington, and subsequently to the Armytages, whose mansion formed part of the conventual buildings, till the time of James I., when the family erected Kirklees Hall, the present seat of Sir George Armytage, Bart. Of the nunnery, which stood on the bank of a rivulet, only small portions now remain; but among the various farm-offices that have been erected, the foundations may be distinctly traced. The tomb of Elizabeth de Stainton, a prioress of the convent, and another thought to be that of a relation, serve to point out the site of the church, which appears to have been at least 150 feet in length. The Hall is a spacious stone mansion, beautifully situated on an eminence, in a well-wooded park tastefully laid out, and embracing extensive prospects, and much variety of scenery. Kirklees was the resort and occasional abode of Robin Hood, who is supposed to have been bled to death by a nun, and was buried here in a secluded spot within the limits of the park; his tomb is surrounded by an iron railing. The walk to the place, through the woods, nearly a mile in length, commands beautiful views of Elland, Brighouse, and the river Calder. At the entrance of the Hall was formerly Robin Hood's statue, rudely sculptured in stone, representing him leaning on an unbent bow, with a quiver of arrows, and a sword at his side; and smaller statues of him and his men are still preserved at Kirklees.

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

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