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Wakefield was a town, a township and a parish. Wakefield became a city in 1888.

The parish of Wakefield includes the townships of Wakefield, Horbury, Stanley-cum-Wrenthorpe, and Alverthorpe-with-Thornes.

Lands in Wakefield

The first certain ancestor with the surname, Land, was John Land, the father of Charles Land, who was baptized in All Saints Church in Wakefield in 1767.

There are Land records in the parish from the 1730s.

John Land, the father of Law Land lived in Wakefield for a period in the mid 1800s.

Wakefield was a town, a township, a parish, and a district in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The town (now city) is situated on the side of an "eminence" sloping to the river Calder nine miles south/east of Leeds. The river was made navigable in 1698. The parish contained the townships of Horbury, Stanley-with-Wrenthorpe, and Alverthorpe-with-Thornes.

Wakefield dates from Roman times and was listed in the Doomsday Book in 1086. Wakefield was the scene of a "celebrated" battle in December 1459 between the Yorkist and the Lancastians and was the scene of fighting in the civil wars between 1642 and 1649. The woolen trade was extensive in Wakefield by the time of Henry VIII (1485-1509).

All Saints, the principle church, was erected in the time of Henry III (1216-1272). However, from repeated repairs and alterations it underwent, little of the original remaines.

St John's church was built in 1791.

The Wakefield district comprised the sub-districts of Wakefield, Horbury, Stanley, Alverthorpe, Ardsley, Outon, Sandal, and Bretton.

Alverthorpe, a village in the township of Alverthorpe with Thornes, was a woolen manufacturing center. John Land lived in Alverthorpe with Thornes in 1849.

Horbury, a large village in the Chapelry of Wakefield, was also a woolen manufacturing center. Some of the earliest records for the name, Land, come from Horbury.

Ardsley East and Ardsley West (Woodkirk) parishes were formed from what had formerly been part of Wakefield parish. William Law lived in West Ardsley circa 1840.

Wakefield in the Doomsday Book

There was a "Manor" in Wakefield at the time of Doomsday Survey in 1086. Wakefield Manor is mentioned in Doomsday as follows:

"In Wachfeld, with its nine Berewics, namely:-Sandala, Sorbe, Werla, Fesbe, Wadesurde, Crumbetonseton, Miclei, Langfeld, and Stanesfelt, there are sixty carucats and three oxgangs, and the third part of an oxgang to be taxed. Thirty ploughs may till these lands. This Manor was in the demense of King Edward the confessor. There are now in the King's hands four villanes, and three priests, two churches, seven sokemen, and sixteen bordars. They together have sixteen ploughs. Wood pasture, six miles long and four broad. Value in Edward's time 6 (pounds), at present 15 (pounds).
  • A sokeman was a person who had the right to hold a local court of justice and receive fees and fines.

  • Edward the Confessor ruled from 1042 to 1066.

The City of Wakefield Official Handbook

The City of Wakefield Official Handbook 1947.

The information in this section is primarily taken from this pamphlet.

Danish and Saxon Influence

Wakefield may have been the Viking capital of the area in the days of the Norsemen. Numerous place names have Danish origins thorpe being an Old Norse word for village. Saxons were also in the area as indicated by the place name Pledick - Plecga's wick [homestead of Plecga] - called Plegwyk in 1309.

Norman Influence

The town apparently takes it's name from a Norman chieftain named Waca. Wacanfeld was the center of a large manor belonging to King Edward the Confessor (1003-1066).

In 1204 the town was granted a charter to hold a fair on "the eve, the feast and the morrow" of the parish saint's day - that being All Saint's Day.

Note: The right to hold a fair was a significant privilege. Mediaeval fairs were a combination of religious feast and business trading.

Fairs were an important source of income for a town. People arrived from near and far; rich and poor, noble and base born, tinkers, tailors and beggars were among the crowds. Tolls were exacted from the merchants who came to show their wares. Cloth, dairy products, hay, iron, poultry, vegetables and salt were among the items sold. Luxury items and foreign goods were also available.

There was no lack of entertainment during the fair. Jesters, tumblers, jugglers, musicians performed. Ale and bread and other foods were available for refreshments. Trade guilds performed mystery plays. Archers competed for prizes.

Cloth weaving is believed to have arrived in the area during Norman times. Records from 1250 mention cloth dyers. By 1308 there was a wool market in Wakefield. By the late 1300s Wakefield was the largest cloth producing center in the West Riding.

The church of All Saints was dedicated in 1329. This event was commemorated by a statue of archbishop William Melton who consecrated the church. Much of the original building was later torn down in the mid 1400s and rebuilt.

By 1385 Wakefield had four main streets: Kirkgate, Warrengate, Westgate, and Northgate.

By 1500 Wakefield was the largest city in the area.

Tudor Period

In the 1500s most of the houses were constructed of wood. See the images of Six Chimneys at Images of Old Wakefield

The English Civil War

During the reign of Charles I England suffered civil war between the Parliamentarians and the Royalist. The conflicts lasted from 1642 to 1651. The town of Wakefeild was captured by the Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Fairfax in May 1643. Many prisoners and the city was plundered.

The castle at Sandal was in the hands of the Royalists and fell to the Parliamentarians in September 1645.

See The Parish Records Wakefield below for the death records of some soldiers between 1642 and 1644.

The Aire and Calder Canal

The Calder Canal, completed in 1701, was part of the system of the Aire and Calder canals that connected Leeds and Wakefield to the seaports at York and Humber. Navigation by water was very important in the days before trains and motorized vehicles. At a time when the roads were very bad or nonexistent, these canals systems allowed commerce with the rest of England and the world. The canals were essential to the development of the wool cloth trade in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Wakefield in 1720

Daniel Defoe visited the town in 1720 and wrote in a Tour through the whole island of Great Britain:

"a large handsome, rich, clothing town, full of people and full of trade," and adds, "Wakefield is a clean, large, well-built town, very populous and very rich: here is a very large church, and well filled it is, for here are very few Dissenters; the steeple is a very fine spire, and by far the highest in all this country, except that at Sheffield. They tell us there are more people also than in the city of York, and yet is is no corporate town, and the highest magistrate, as I understand, a constable. A great trade is carried in the woolen cloths of this country, of which large quantities are exported as well as made use of ay home."
See more from Defoe under The Town of Wakefield below.

Wakefield in the 1800s

The town was noted to be "generally clean" and the buildings "good". Cloth manufactures were numerous. The cloth was sold at Huddersfield.

The West Riding Court House was built in 1806 at the top of Wood Street.

Cholera ravaged Wakefield in 1832.

Wakefield faded as a cloth-producing center and developed into a agricultural center by the mid 1800s. The grain market was so large that the Corn Exchange was built at the top of Westgate in 1838.

Before 1847 the general market was held in the Bull Ring, Cross Square, around the Market Cross and in the streets of Northgate. A special Act of June 1847 established the general market between Brook and Teall Streets.

Wakefield became a municipal borough in 1848>

In 1865 the Industrial Exhibition was held in Tammy Hall in Wakefield. In 1866 the Market Cross was pulled down to open up the Cross Square.

In 1867 the Great Northern Railway company built a station at the foot of Westgate. The railroad bridge across Westgate was constructed at the same time.

The town hall was built in 1800.

The Town of Wakefield

Several old histories and gazettes written between 1759 and the early 1900s mention Wakefield.

  1. In 1759, Andrew Brice of Bristol, printer, said that Wakefield was a large well built town famed for its cloth trade. He further said:
    "The town consists principally of three great streets centering near the church"

    "Friday market, for woolen cloth, is like that at Leeds, but not so very considerable."

  2. 1769 Daniel de Foe called Wakefield a large town which:
    "consists chiefly of three great streets which meet in a center near the church, where might be found a spacious market place; but by reason of the great number of inhabitants it is so crowded with buildings that there is only a small area round the Market Cross, which is a very elegant building, being an open colonnade of the Doric order supporting a dome, to which you ascend by an open circular pair of stairs in the center of the building. This brings you to a room which receives light from the turret on the top, and may be called the town hall, for here they transact all their public business. The church is a very large and lofty Gothic building, the body of which was repaired in the year 1724, but the spire (which is one of the highest in the county) remains in the same state it was. From the bridge you have an agreeable view to the south east where by the side of the river, rises a hill covered with wood at about a mile distance. This joins to an open moor or common called Heath Moor, upon which are several gentlemen's seats, very pleasantly situated"
    He further says:
    "A great trade is carried on in the woolen cloths of this country, of which large quantities are exported as well as made use of at home"

  3. In 1802 John Housman said "that the increasing population is distinguished by the numbers of new houses and cottages placed on the side of the road" and that the streets were generally clean with "flagged walks on each side, the buildings in good shape."

  4. The 1822 Baine's History etc of Yorkshire said"
    "The streets are for the most part regular, handsome, and spacious, and the houses, which are principally of brick, are well built, large, and lofty."
    They added that the market area was crowded and "incommodious"

  5. In 1832 there was an outbreak of cholera in Wakefield.

  6. The History and Topography of the Parish of Wakefield and its Environs by John Hewitt Vol 1 1862 includes the following information abour Wakefield:

    • The parish registers indicate that the plague raged in Wakefield from August to January 1625. The total number of deaths being 130. The greatest number of deaths in a day was 6. The first death of de peste was August 8, 1625 and the last burial was on January 17 1626.

    • There was a separate register for the births of children of "Dissenters" in and near Wakefield from part of the year 1696 to part of the year 1708.

    • On January 12, 1845 there was such a thick fog in Wakefield that the gas lights were of no use.

      This indicates that there was gas lighting on at least some streets by that date.

    • Being a "scold" was apparently a highly undesirable trait. There are fairly frequent entries in the area court records of women being punished for being a "scold".

      Hewitt says,

      "The ancient Dunking Stool, that most singular contrivance of our forefathers, for the punishment of Female Scolds, consisted of a chair or stool, in or on which the angry lady was tightly strapped: and this chair being securely fastened with an iron or wooden-pin to one end of a long pole. She was in that position (the pole being hoisted perpendicularly) carried aloft at a considerable altitude above the heads of her tormentors, to the nearest shore of the Calder: and, when arrived there, the pole was placed horizontally across a large trestle standing alongside the river, and thus suspended to her great chagrin, she was swinging to and fro in mid-air over the water, and the next moment, by means of the people's moving this pole upwards and downwards, in th manner of what is called in Wakefield, "A ranty-pole," the Dunking Stool was consequently also moved downwards and upwards and the "Scolding woman was repeatedly immersed overheat in the water, in order to cool down her hot temperament: after which, when the operators thought she had had a sufficient number of plunges, they liberated her form the stool, and thus, whilst in a most pitiful plight- dripping wet- ashamed, and undoubtedly, humbled, she became th laughing stock of the spectators, as well as a suitable, but rather unenviable subject of butts, scorns, and sneers of her facetious neighbors, whose merriment on the occasion seemed almost unbounded."

      "Previous to the Scolds being immersed in the river, they were, whilst fastened in the "Stool," paraded on men's shoulders through the principal parts of the town"

      "The Ducking Stool of Wakefield was the property of the town, and regularly kept in repair at the expense of the rate-payers. Long after is disuse it was kept in existence and carefully repaired several times in the reigns of George II and George III."

      • George III reigned 1760-1820
      • There is still a chain attached to the wall of the parish church in Wakefield where "scolds" were punished by being "neck" cuffed to the wall.

    • "The Poor Law Union of Wakefield" included the following townships: Wakefield, Horbury, Alverthorpe-with-Thornes, Stanley-cum-Wrenthorpe, Sharlestone, Sandal-Magna, Flockton, Oulton-with Woodlesford, Emley, Gigglestone, Chevet, Bretton-West, Crofton, Woodchurch, Lofthouse-cum-Carlton, and East Ardsley.

    • In 1723 some statistical data was collected on the population in order to determine if there was a need to build a larger church. "An attempt to count everyone in the township with the exception of the people who lived in Horbury" resulted the the following:

      Westgate and Brookbank-------Families.....324, souls.....1656, communicants.....1004
      Northgate----------------------------Families.....217, souls.....1044, communicants......649
      Kirkgat--------------------------------Families.....343, souls.....1470, communicants......928

  7. The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales by John Marius Wilson, published in 1870 and available on microfiche through LDS, gave the following discription of Wakefield.

    Wakefield, is a town, a township and a parish in Yorkshire. "The town is on the river Calder, nine miles South-south-east of Leeds. Wakefield dates to Roman times and was known in the Doomsday book as Waehefeld. It had both Saxon and Norman settlements. Wakefield was a major woollen manufacturing center in the time of Henry VIII. In the mid 1600s before the civil war (1642-49), the West Riding was flurishing. Trade was steady and the people as a whole were living in relative comfort. The population was very sparse. Clusters of houses situated on the sides of the main roads were surrounded by green fields and woods. Many of the areas inhabitants were involved in the dual occupations of farming and cloth making."

    "Although still a manufacturing center in 1870 it had been surpassed by other cities. Population in 1851 was 22, 065."

  8. Sisson (1824)

    • The Church and the Vicarage

      The church of All Saints or All Hallows is located in the old centre of the town of Wakefield near the old Market Place at the juncture of the three principal streets, Kirkgate, Westgate and Northgate. The church was consecrated the Parish Church of Wakefield on "the 4th of the Ides of August in 1329". In 1349 the vicarage of Wakefield was ordained to consist of a mansion, "with houses sufficient" built at the costs of the Dean and College of St Stephens Westminster. In addition "the vicar shall have all kind of oblations offered in the Church on principal festivals and on other days and times of the year." The tithes to the vicarage included:

      "tithes of line, hemp, albi calves, lambs, fowls, pigs, bees, wax, honey, pullain, pigeons, brood-geese and swans, as well in their bodies as in money··.Also, of fruits and herbs: and of hay of gardens and crofts of the whole parish. Likewise of mills then built or to be built afterwards·.And all ablations and small tithes in whatsoever thing consisting and belonging to the said church; together with the tithe of wool, when it ought to be paid in money, but not in fleece. Also, he shall have the whole altarage of the church and peter-pence and the due and customary pennies for the consecrated bread of the parishioners, together with all oblations and obventions in espousals, purifications of women and children, baptisms and the wax candles in the exequies and sepultures of the dead."
      In turn the Dean and College of St Stephens Westminster received from parish of Wakefield and other local parishes.
      "appropriated to their own use, the lands, meadows and rents of their farm, perquisites of their court, and all the tithes of garbs and hay, and of wool of the whole parish. Also, shall have the portions of garbs and hay of the chapel of Horbury, and Heton in the parish of Dewsbury. Likewise the portions of Thithes of garbs and hay of the demesne* lands in the Parish of Sandal, to the Church of Wakefield appertaining. Also the tithe-herbage of the woods and parks and fallen wood; of iron and coal mines within the Parish of Wakefield."

      *Demesne, pronounced di mayn [main], was an estate occupied by the owner rather than being rented out.

      The Vicar of Wakefield's obligation to the Archbishop of York was to

      "pay the procuration due to the Archbishop or Archdeacon, of the place accustomary, synodals and peter-pence: and shall find one Chaplain in the church of Wakefield and another in the chapel of Horbury, and lights and lamps as well in church as chapel. Also shall (as oft as need requires) repair the chancels of the church of Wakefield and chapel of Horbury, and find books and vestments for the same, and washings."
      The Dean and College of St Stephen's had the obligation
      "(if need require) build the said chancels of the church and chapel, and provide anew books and vestments thereof. And as for the papal and regal demands, when they occur, and the procuration of the Cardinal's and Pope's legates and ministers, when they shall be entirely laid upon the church of Wakefield, the said Dean and College shall be obliged to bear."
    • The Parish Registers:

      • "The registers of this church do not go very far back, the early ones having been destroyed or lost. Those which remain are evidently copies, being for a great number of successive years in the same hand and written with the same ink. Besides the unusual entries, they contain several memoranda on different subjects connected with the civil as well as the ecclesiastical affairs of the town, a circumstance not unusual in early documents of this description. They commence in 1613."

      • "The plague which extended its ravages to most parts of the kingdom, prevailed here in this year and the next. From the Register, its devastations seem to have commenced in August 1625, and to have ended in Jan. 1626. During that period there are entries of more than 130 persons, eash of whom is distinguished as having died 'per pestem' or 'de peste'."
      • "1630. In the Register of this year there are two licenses signed by Mr Lister, then vicar, authorizing the persons therein name, to eat meat in Lent and on all other fasting and fish days"
        Sisson includes a copy of one of the licenses which allowed Alice Lister, the wife of Richard Lister "by reason of her olde age and many years and stubborne and long continued sicknesse" to break the fast.

      • "1645. In August the plague again made its appearance and continued in the town for twelve months, during which period above 200 of its victims were buried in this Church; besides others who died in the neighbourhood, and were buried where they died."
  9. History of Wakefield and District Fielding and McInnes (19?), available on LDS microfiche #6342243.

    • The great manor of Wakefield belonged to the king before the Norman Conquest and covered an area about thirty miles long and twelve miles wide along the Calder valley.

    • They list the population of Wakefield as follows:
      • 1723..... in the town, 4,170: in the parish excluding Horbury, 6,300
      • 1801.....8,134
      • 1811.....8,593
      • 1821.....10,764
      • 1831.....12,232
      • 1841.....14,754

    • In the reign of Henry VIII Wakefield was the largest and most populous and most flourishing town in the area. It was double the size of Leeds and Bradford.

    • They quote "Leland" who descibed Wakefield in 1538 Leland as follows,
      "Wakefield upon Calder is a very quick market town and meately large; well served of flesh and fish, both from the sea and by rivers, whereof divers be thereabout at hand; so that all victuals is very good cheap there. A right honest man shall fare well for two-pence a meal. In the town is but one chief church. There is a chapel beside where was wont to be anachoreta in media urbe, unde aliquando inventa foecunda. There is also a chapel of our Landy on Calder bridge wont to be celebrated a pereginis a forow length or more out of the town be seen dikes and bulwarks and monticulus egestae terrae indicium turris specularis, whereby appeareth that there hath been a castle. The Warrens Earls of Surry, as I read, were once lords of this town. It standeth now all by clothing. These things I especially noted in Wakefield---- the fair bridge of stone of nine arches under the which runneth the river of Calder; and on the east side of this bridge is a right goodly chapel of our Lady and two cantuarie priests founded in it, of the foundation of the townsmen as some say; but the Dukes of York were taken as founder for obtaining the mortmain. I heard one say that a servant of King Edward's (the forth) father, or else of the Earl of Rutland, brother to King Edward the forth, was a great doer of it. There was a sore battle fought in the south fields by this bridge; and in the flight of the Duke of York's party, either the Duke himself or his son, the Earl of Rutland, was slain a little above the bars beyond the bridge going up into the town of Wakefield, that standeth full fairly upon a clyving ground. At this place is set up a cross in reimemoriam. The common saying is there that the Earl would have taken there a poor woman's house for succour, and she for fear shut the door and straight the Earl was killed. The Lord Clifford for killing of men at this battle was called the Butcher. The principal church that now is in Wakefield is but of a new work; but it is exceedingly fair and large. Some think that wereas now is a chapel of ease at the other end of the town was once the old parish church. The vicarage at the east end of the church garth is large and fair. It was the parsonage house not very many years since; for he that now liveth is the forth of fifth vicar that hath been there. Afore the impropriation of this benefice to St Stephan's College at Westminster, the parsonage was a great living, in so much that one of the Earls Warrens, Lords of Wakefield and much of the country thereabout, did give the parsonage to a son or near kinsman of his and he made the most part of the house where the vicarage now is. A quarter of a mile without Wakefield appeareth a hill of earth cast up, where some say that one of Earls Warrens began to build, and as fast as he builded violence of wind defaced the work. This is like a fable. Some say that it was nothing but a windmill hill. The place is now called Lo-hill. The town of Wakefield stretcheth out all in length by east and west, and hath a fair area for a market place. The building of the town is meatly fair; most of timber but some of stone. All the whole profit of the town standeth by coarse drapery. There be few towns in the inward parts of Yorkshire that hath a fairer site or soil about it. There be plenty of veins of sea coal in the quarters about Wakefield"

The Dunking Stool

This illustration of a dunking or "ducking" pond is from Yorkshire Illustrated August 1951.

"To this pond brawling wives and dishonest bakers were brought for punishment, and after being fastened to the "ducking stool" were lowered into the water, which either incensed or quietened them.

St Blaize Proseccion

St. Blaize (Blaise) was a bishop in Sebaste, Armenia (now Sivas, Turkey). He is reputed to have invented the art of woolcombing and is the patron saint of woolcombers. He was supposedly martyred in 316 AD by being beaten with carding combs and this iconography may have let to his being adopted by the woolcombers as their patron saint. His feat day in February 3. In many areas it was customary to light bonfires on his feast day.

The woolcombers guild traditionally held processions in the West Riding of Yorkshire on the feast of St. Blaize. Bishop Blaize and Jason of the Golden Fleece were major characters in these processions.

One of the last St. Blaize processions occurred in Wakefield in February 1829. The customary order of the procession was - the guild's master combers on horseback with a long length of combed wool; the master's sons; apprentices; a band of musicians; the "royal family"; guards; churchmen; shepherds and shepherdesses; wool-sorters; combers; various colors and slivers.

See Life in Yorkshire for an image of a St Blaize procession and Weaving in Yorkshire for more information on St. Blaize and Woolcombers.

Note: My husband family, the Azarians, were from Sivas, Armenia.

Woolcombers parade

The Pageant of Wakefield and West Riding, collection of Maggie Land Blanck, June 2011

The Parish Records Wakefield

The Parish Records started in 1613. However, the earlier books have been lost.

From August 7 to January 16, 1625 130 out of 205 deaths were attributed to "le peste" or plague. Again in the year ending August 2, 1646 245 died of the plague.

1642 to 1649 saw war and pestilence in Wakefield. The burial records for May 1643 include:

  • "30 souldiers" buried on May 21
  • "4 souldiers" buried on May 22
  • one souldier buried on May 23
  • one souldier buried on May 29
  • Thomas Coats, a souldier buried on May 30

The burial records for July 1643 include:

  • "another souldier and a souldier" on July 4
  • "A souldier from Ralph Johnson's" on July 6
  • "a souldier" on July 7
  • "Thomas Cramlenton, a souldier" on July 7

There must have been more fighting in the spring of 1644. as:

  • "John Ledgard, a souldier" was buried in April
  • "A souldier" was buried on May 5
  • "Thomas Turbutt, a souldier" was buried on May 7

Thee more souldiers were buried in the fall of 1644:

  • Thomas Watson on October 6
  • William Walker on November 4
  • Thomas Crabtree on December 16

The only possibly family related death during this period was the burial of Richard "Lunde" on December 13, 1644.

In 1645 there were more burials of souldiers:

  • George ____ on February 4
  • George Garnet on April 3
  • Thomas Aby on April 14
  • Robert Edingnam on May 2
  • Thomas Smith on June 10
  • William Haigh on June 17
  • "souldier" on June 25
  • Henry Browne on June 28
  • George ____ on July 2
  • John Kempe on July 9
  • John Henthorne on July 11
  • Henry Allen on August 8
  • Robert Woddmanson on August 16
  • "a souldier" on August 22
  • John Smith and
  • Robert Crosden on August 23
  • Robert Wity on August 29
  • Stephan Cattsona on September 27

A common companion of was "de peste" had returned in August 1645 and continued until August 1646. The following numbers of deaths were attributed to "de peste": August, seventeen, September, thirty nine (including the widow Lewis and her child On September 14), October forty five, November, fifty one (including Grace Lewis on November 1), December, eight, January, six, February, eight, March, seven, and April, thirty three. There were 12 deaths in May none of them attributed to "de peste" . However, June and July both saw six deaths from "de peste" and there was one (out of 7 total) in August. In September there was a total of five deaths none from "de peste" and in October there was a total of 9 deaths none from "de peste".

There was only one burial for a souldier each year in 1646, 1647, 1648, 1651 and 1659:

  • Thomas Clencha, "a souldier" was buried on January 31, 1646.
  • Thomas Kaffe "a souldier" was buried January 26, 1647
  • James ____ "souldier" was buried in December 1648.
  • John Whittaker, "a souldier", was buried March 10, 1651.

Not all souldiers died on the battle field. The only "souldier" buried in 1659 was listed as "Humphrey Pigeon, a souldier (who died at Herman Taylors house Monday)" and was buried December 12, 1659.

"Souldier" burials were back in 1694, 1695, 1696, and 1702:

  • William Marshall was buried October 24, 1694
  • John Pell was buried February 14, 1695
  • "A souldier" was buried July 9, 1696.
  • John Stinger, "a souldier" was buried April 30, 1702.

There continued to be an occasional burial of a souldier of a member of his family from 1702 to the end of the century, but they appeared to be members of the community. There must have been some sort of military base in Wakefield.

Many parish records included the place of residence and /or occupation. Unfortunately, the major portion of the birth and marriage records for Wakefield all Saints did not contain this information. It is however interesting that the death records for All Saints contain some editorial comments which other parishes generally lack. The following records are not related to the Lands, but I think they are interesting:

  • Two death records related to Ann Glover and her child.
    • "Ann Glover of Woodside died in childbed of a bastard child buried 8th day November 1658."
    • "Ann, daughter of Will Pickering, begotten basely upon the body of Ann Glover 9th November 1658."
  • There are several entries such as the following were a woman is designated as a "virgin". "Alice Smyth, virgin daughter of George Smith deceased was buried April 9, 1660."
  • The records of the burials of disenters were kept in the parish church but were generally not noted. "Andrew Binns a Quaker buried in the old field May 10, 166?"

The Church Wardens's Accounts

  • From June 24 1696 to 1719 83 children were listed as not baptized in the Church of England. The names include, Milnes, Holdsworth, Scott, Naylor, Heard, Willis, Glover, Wood, Ingram, Ellis, Benton, Nicholson Clarkson and others the great majority form Alverthorpe.

  • Several entries for fees paid for "whipping dogs" or to the "dog wiper", 1620-1703. A note says that the dog whipper was the "verger".

  • 1671 a collection was made under the King's Letters for redemption of poor captives under Turkish Domination, 8 pounds 17 shilling.

  • The records indicate that there were soldiers in the area in 1746-7. Why?

  • In 1815 "Collection in the whole for Waterloo 619 pounds".

  • From 1670 until 1819 Wakefield employed three night watchmen called "waits" who chanted the weather and time on the hour and half hours "half past two o'clock and a fine and frosty morning". In addition to the waits the only other officer of the peace was the constable. Additional personal of a "vagrant master" was introduced in 1810 or 1811. In 1812 a "regular watch" was established. In 1848 there was a borough police and and two subordinates in addition to the night watchmen.

  • A "bellman" was also paid to "cry" in the streets. Some of the things "cried":
    • In February 1754-5 __"No throwing at cocks"
    • March 1758 "No throwing at cocks"
    • November 5, 1774 "No bonefires"
    • September 29, 1787 "No flying kites in the streets"
    • June 27 1794 "Mad dog"

  • In June 1801 expenses were paid after killing and looking after unmussled dogs

  • In 1814 expenses were paid to the sum of 75 pounds for damage done by Luddites.

Notations on the Weather

Floods of the river Calder:

  • August and early September 1673

  • February 1680

  • August 1680

  • April 26, 1682

  • February 18, 1686

  • November 8, 1729

  • October 7, 1767

  • September 21, 1821

  • February 3, 1822

  • February 5, 1852

  • November 1861

February 9, 1795 rain and melting ice in the River Calder caused floods

Very cold weather with lots of snow, started November 1, 1683 and lasted until February 5, 1684.

Very cold weather started on December 24, 1813 and continued for thirteen weeks. The rivers froze and inland waterways were completely ice bound. Many people skated from Wakefield to Leeds and back and even horses and cards went on the frozen river.


In his book in 1862, John Hewitt gave the population of the parish of Wakefield as follows:

 1801181118211831 1841 1851
Wakefield 8,1318,59310, 76414, 745 16,99017,661
Alverthorpe3,1053,7564,418 5,9306,0736,644
Horbury 2,101 2,356 2,475 2,480 2,683 2,803
Stanley 3,260 3,769 4,620 5,017 6,625 7,257

Commercial Wakefield in 1379

In 1933 W. T. Oliver writing INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL WEST RIDING for the booklet Paegent of Wakefield and the West Riding says in that in 1379 Wakefield "had four wool merchants, five cloth weavers, four cloth fullers, two cattle dealers, two mercers, one skinner, eight tailors, four smiths, three drapers, one glover, three tanners, two wrights, one mason, one goldsmith, and two butchers!"


On the 17th day of October 1670 three "waits", Wm. Shaw, Tho. Shaw and Thomas Watson, became the town's first night watchmen. They were provided with a uniform and a badge and patrolled the town announcing the time and weather every half hour. The waits continued to be three in number until at least 1810.


I am particularly interested in the cloth mills in the area as the majority of my English ancestors were occupied in some way with the woolen industry and many appear to have worked in the mills.

  1. Thomas Ambeler and Sons, Ardsley Mills Near Wakefield, weaving and hosiery, established 1858 (Pageant of Wakefield and West Riding, 1933)

  2. George Lee and Sons Lt, spinners and Kyers of Knitted Wools, established 1830 (Pageant of Wakefield and West Riding, 1933)

  3. M. P. Stonehouse, combers and Spinners of Worsted Yarns, established 1853 (Pageant of Wakefield and West Riding, 1933)

Photos of Wakefield

To view photos of Wakefield, click on the photo of the parish church.

If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com


If you wish to use any of the images or information on this page please feel free to do so provided that you give proper acknowledgement to this web site and include the same acknowledgments that I have made to the provenience of the image or information. Thanks, Maggie

© Maggie Land Blanck - page created 2004 - latest update, March 2012