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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).Notes:
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
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:
The burial records for July 1643 include:
There must have been more fighting in the spring of 1644. as:
Thee more souldiers were buried in the fall of 1644:
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:
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:
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:
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:
The Church Wardens's Accounts
Floods of the river Calder:
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:
|Wakefield||8,131||8,593||10, 764||14, 745||16,990||17,661|
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.
|Photos of Wakefield|
To view photos of Wakefield, click on the photo of the parish church.
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