Monday, 9 March 2015

Book Review - The History & Topography of Bradford, (in the County of York)

I have been looking into a bit of this history behind the city in which I live recently and by accident through a random Google search for meaning of the street name "Ivegate" in Bradford, came across this book on Google Books...

The History & Topography of Bradford, (in the County of York) with Topographical Notices of It's Parish by John James 1841

I wanted to make some notes about the interesting facts which I read, so although this blog post is primarily for my own reference you may also find it of interest.

  • Gate ie Westgate/Kirkgate/Ivegate is not a reference to a gate in a city wall but means a "street"

  • There was a building at the junction of Ivegate, Kirkgate & Westgate which was the original toll booth, in which John Nelson was imprisoned in the dungeons for preaching

  • lies in a valley which is a branch of Airedale (Aire river valley), otherwise known as Bradford Dale with the beck running from Thornton to Shipley with a considerable bend in the beck in the centre
  • is the seat of four valleys
  • is in a bowl with hill ridges surrounding about a 2 mile radius of the city centre, each side has a quick descent into the town
  • beck or brook has diminished over time, so the once "Broad" ford is now a lesser crossing, the once wooded valley would have had more water running through it due to the woods and the coal mines have probably drained more of the water into the land which once ran through the city in the becks
The 3 main brooks are:
  1. Bowling Beck which rises above Bolling Hall - in the Roughs or Parkside between Bowling & Bierley, which feeds a pond below Bolling Hall - the brook passed through Cuckoo Bridge, a single arched bridge (but now Britannia House stands on it's site - see Bradford Heritage Tour)
  2. Source is at Bradford Moor, taking in a small stream at Laisterdyke and another from above the Bowling Iron Works
  3. the Bradford beck - the chief stream, begins at Bell Dean or Old Allen in Allerton and is joined by Horton Beck at Shearbridge

In it's past there have been numerous floods of the town, two significant floods were:
  1. 1768 when the bridge was swept away
  2. 20th December 1837 which caused significant damage

  • The iron manufactured at Low Moor, Bowling & Bierley is esteemed the best of the kingdom - limestone was transported from Skipton via the Leeds-Liverpool & Bradford canals to the iron works.
  • Thatch was probably rarely used in Bradford due to the source of good quality stone and slate available naturally in the area.
  • Agriculture was poor, all that was grown was to be eaten by the people who grew it & not to be sold, cattle was kept for milk & butter but cheese was not produced.
  • Manufacturing was most common with the use of looms.

Plagues/sickness epidemics rarely hit the town, which was deemed to be due to the good westerly winds which blew over the town.  Some epidemics to note are:
  • 1665/6 the black plague - from a bag of old clothes which arrived from elsewhere in the country. The stricken were sent to Cliffe Barn, near Cliffe Wood & recovered were expected to care for the sick
  • 1675 the Jolly Rant - a severe cold and cough
  • 1832 Asiatic Cholera
  • Jan & Feb 1837 Influenza killed many

Roman Roads:
  • Manchester to Ilkley - after leaving Black Stone Edge, leave Halifax on the right and Ellinworth (Illingworth?) on the left, through Dinham Park (Denholme Park?) to the west of Cullingworth and Hainsworth
  • Bradford to Wakefield - via Dudley Hill, places with Street in the name often refer to places close by to a Roman Road ie Tong Street

It is interesting to note that - Bradford suffered few plagues or sickness epidemics?

Hallyng = a meadow of the manor of Bradford
Further research shows:

  • Ings (OED) = meadow near watercourse, therefore possibly swampy
  • Ing (Old English) = hill
  • Inga = "the people of" or "family & followers" ie Birmingham - homestead (ham) of a family of a man called Beorma
  • Ing = place of ie Hawkinge (Kent) - place frequented by hawks
I wonder where this meadow would have been in relation to the now street name Hall Ings and it sounds as if it was a meadow next to or nearby the hall which was near the becks and possibly slightly swampy.

Bradford had a Fulling Mill where cleansing of the wool from oils & dirts happened, but it was open to every house. There was also a water mill with access for every house.

There was a reference to a Bolleshagh which I wonder if this place has any relation to the current area of Bowling (or Bolling) & the hall their?