Marsden is a village and former chapelry in the Colne Valley.


Historically, Marsden was separated by the River Colne into the townships of Marsden-in-Almondbury and Marsden-in-Huddersfield which were in the ecclesiastical parishes of Almondbury and Huddersfield respectively. Both townships were part of the Honour of Pontefract.

According to West Yorkshire: An Archaeological Survey to A.D. 1500 (1981), Marsden "does not appear to have achieved township status until the post-medieval period" prior to which it "probably originally formed part of one of the adjacent vills, the most likely being the demesne manor of Meltham".

A chapel was first built in the village in the 15th century. A second chapel as built in 1758 at a cost of £1,145. The Church of St. Bartholomew was built 1895-99, with a bell tower added in 1911.[1]

The first turnpike road to pass through Huddersfield was the Wakefield & Austerlands Turnpike, which ran westwards through Marsden. Subsequent alterations to the route in 1777 and 1820 improved the road gradients around Marsden.


Pigot and Co.'s Royal National and Commercial Directory of August 1841:

Marsden is an extensive and populous chapelry, partly in the parish of Huddersfield, but chiefly in that of Almondbury, in the wapentake of Agbrigg, West Riding; 5 miles north from Delph (in Saddleworth), 7 south-west from Huddersfield, and 17 north-east from Manchester; situated on the banks of the Wessenden and the Colne — the latter stream, after receiving the former, separating the two parishes of Huddersfield and Almondbury. The manufacture of woollen cloth is carried on to a considerable extent in the chapelry and neighbourhood; and there is likewise a mill for spinning silk, which employs a number of hands: formerly cotton was the staple of the place, but it is now nearly extinct. There is an iron foundry of some note, of which Messrs. Taylor and Co. are the proprietors; it is conducted with superior skill, particularly in the manufacture of water wheels, steam engines and steam engine boilers, which branch has been the means of carrying the names of the proprietors into the principal manufacturing districts. The Huddersfield and Manchester canal passes through this chapelry, in a direction from east to west. At the distance of half a mile from the village is the famous tunnel under the hill of Standedge, — an achievement of skill and industry scarcely exceeded by the Thames tunnel in London. It was commenced under the superintendence of the celebrated James Brindley, and occupied twenty years in constructing: its length, from one side of the mountain to the other, is rather more than three miles and a quarter, and its line is at an elevation of six hundred and fifty-five feet above the level of the sea. The places of worship are the chapel of ease, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, and a meeting-house each for independents and Wesleyan methodists: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the vicar of Almondbury; the Rev. James Morris Maxfield is the present incumbent. Edward IV granted three marks annually to this church, payable by the lord of the manor; the grant was subsequently confirmed by Queen Elizabeth, and still constitutes part of the emoluments of the incumbency. The lord of the manor is Sir Joseph Radclifle, Bart., grandson of the first baronet of that name, who so highly distinguished himself for firmness and loyalty, in this part of the county, during the alarming times of 1811-12 and 13. In the village are a national school (under the immediate superintendence of the curate), the town's school, and a day school conducted by the independent minister. Three fairs are held annually — on the 25th April, 10th July, and 25th September — the last a great cattle fair. The chapelry contained, in 1831, 2,360 inhabitants, and at the last census (June, 1841) 2,401.

A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848) edited by Samuel Lewis:

MARSDEN, a chapelry, partly in the parish of Huddersfield, but chiefly in that of Aldmondbury, union of Huddersfield, Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 7 miles (S.W. by W.) from Huddersfield; containing 2403 inhabitants. This chapelry is situated on the river Colne, and comprises about 8670 acres, of which 4050 are in the parish of Huddersfield; the surface is diversified with hill and dale, and the scenery generally characterised by a boldness of aspect, to which the lofty hills of Saddleworth, immediately adjoining, materially contribute. The village, which is extensive, is on the road from Huddersfield to Manchester, at the confluence of the rivers Colne and Wessenden, and near the base of Pule and Standedge. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the manufacture of woollen-cloth, which is carried on to a considerable extent in mills, the machinery of which is put in motion by numerous copious and rapid streams; there are also factories for spinning cotton and one for twisting silk, an iron-foundry, and a steam-engine manufactory. The Manchester and Huddersfield canal at this place enters a tunnel under the Standedge mountain, more than three miles in length, opening into the hilly district of Saddleworth; and near the mouth of the tunnel is a reservoir for the canal, which, from its beauty, has obtained the appellation of the Windermere of Marsden. The present chapel, dedicated to St. Bartholomew, was erected at the expense of the inhabitants, in 1758, on the site of a building which had become dilapidated; it is a neat structure in the Norman style, and contains about 650 sittings. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Vicar of Almondbury, endowed by Edward IV., in 1462, with four marks payable out of the manor, which grant was confirmed by Queen Elizabeth, and is still received by the minister; net income, £150. Here are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. At Highgate are some remains of the ancient manor-house.

Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1872) edited by John Marius Wilson:

MARSDEN, a village and a township-chapelry in Almondbury and Huddersfield parishes, W. R. Yorkshire. The village stands on the river Colne, adjacent to the Manchester and Huddersfield canal and to the Manchester and Leeds railway, under the backbone of England, 4¾ miles E of the boundary with Lancashire, and 7¼ SW by S of Huddersfield; is a large place; and has a station on the railway, a post office under Huddersfield, and fairs on 25 April, 10 July, and 25 Sept. The chapelry comprises 5,016 acres in [Almondbury] parish, and 2,050 in [Huddersfield] parish. Real property, £6,226; of which £319 are in quarries, and £150 in gas-works. Pop. of the A. portion in 1851,2,153; in 1861,2,027. Houses, 428. Pop. of the H. portion in 1851,512; in 1861,662. Houses, 138. The increase of pop. in this portion arose from the enlargement of a cotton mill, and from employment on the railway and in the woollen mills. The property is much subdivided. The manor belongs to Sir Joseph Radcliffe, Bart. Great part of the land is uncultivated moor and mountain. A tunnel of the railway, no less than 3 miles 61 yards long, begins a little W of the village; and a tunnel of the canal adjoins the railway one. A cotton factory, a silk factory, several woollen mills, an extensive iron foundry, and a large corn mill are in operation. The township adopted the local government act in 1860, and is now governed by a local board. A mechanics' hall, connected with a mechanics' institution dating from 1841, was erected in 1861, at a cost of £2,500; is in the Italian style; and has an apartment with capacity for 1,000 persons. Mr. W. Horsfall of Marsden, in consequence of having introduced improved machinery, was shot in 1812 by the Luddites. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £174. Patron, the Vicar of Almondbury. The old church is a plain, ancient, stone building; comprises aisles and chancel, with a belfry; and was reported in 1859 as bad. The new church was built in 1867, at a cost of £7,235; and is in the geometric middle pointed style. There are chapels for Independents and Wesleyans, a national school, and a town school. The Independent chapel was rebuilt about 1860, and is in the pointed style. The national school was built in 1856, at a cost of £2,000.

Kelly's Directory of the West Riding of Yorkshire (1881):

MARSDEN is a large village and chapelry, comprising the townships of Marsden-in-Almondbury and Marsden-in-Huddersfield, in the parishes of Huddersfield and Almondbury, and was formed into an ecclesiastical parish in 1868, and is situated in the deep vale of the river Colne, 7¼ miles south-south-west from Huddersfield, 23¾ from Leeds, 204¾ from London, in the Southern division of the Riding, Huddersfield union, county court district and petty sessional division, upper division of Agbrigg wapentake, rural deanery of Huddersfield, archdeaconry of Craven and diocese of Ripon. The north-eastern branch of the London and North Western railway, from Manchester to Huddersfield, after passing through a tunnel 3 miles 66 yards long, from Diggle, runs through this township, and has a station here; the canal belonging to the same company also passes through an adjoining tunnel 3 miles and 171 yards long. In 1860 that portion of the township of Marsden situated in Almondbury adopted the Local Government Act, and is now governed by a local board, and Marsden-in-Huddersfield adopting it in 1862, each board consists of twelve members. Gasworks were constructed in 1856. The church of St. Bartholomew, rebuilt in 1758, is an ancient plain stone building of simple character, consisting of chancel, nave and aisles, and a belfry. The register dates from the year 1734. The living in a perpetual curacy, yearly value £170, with good residence, in the gift of the vicar of Almondbury and held by the Rev. Thomas Whitney, of St. Aidans. A Liberal club has been erected at a cost of £1,200. There are chapels for Congregationalists and Wesleyan Methodists, with schools erected in 1871. The Mechanics’ Institution was established in 1841; and a hall erected in 1861, at a cost of £2,500, to seat 1,000 persons. Fairs for general merchandise are held on April 25th. July 10th. and September 25th. Here is the extensive iron-foundry of Messrs. Taylor and sons, with several woollen mills and cotton factories, J. T. Fisher’s charity of £6 9s. yearly, for the poor, was founded in 1868. In 1812 Mr. William Horsfall, of Marsden, was shot, by rioters railed Luddites, in consequence of his having introduced improved Machinery. Sir Joseph Perceval P. Radclife bart. of Rudding Park, is lord of the manor. The land is principally copyhold. The soil is clayey; subsoil, clay and stone. The land is chiefly in pasture. The area is 5,133 acres in Almondbury parish, rateable value, £10,113; and 3,512 acres in Huddersfield parish, rateable value, £5,881; with a population in 1871 of 2,119 in the former, and 692 in the latter.


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The extent of the Marsden (compiled from early O.S. maps) is shown below, with the township of Marsden-in-Almondbury shaded red and Marsden-in-Huddersfield shaded blue.


Notes and References