Shelley is a village situated 6 miles southeast of Huddersfield and 3 miles north of Holmfirth.
The place name meant a "woodland clearing on level ground" from the Anglian "scelf" (shelf) and the Old English "leah" (forest, wood, glade, clearing, pasture or meadow).
Pigot and Co.'s Royal National and Commercial Directory of August 1841:
Shelley and Shepley are townships, and High Burton is a hamlet, all in the parish of Kirk-Burton, the same manufactures prevail throughout, and at High Burton several of the inhabitants are occupied in the making of edge tools. Population of Shelley about 1,400, and of Shepley nearly 1,000.
A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848) edited by Samuel Lewis:
SHELLEY, a township, in the parish of Kirk-Burton, union of Huddersfield, Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York, 6 miles (S.E.) from Huddersfield; containing 1772 inhabitants, and comprising rather more than 1400 acres. The village is situated on an acclivity, near the source of the river Dearne, and on the road to Penistone; the inhabitants are chiefly employed in the manufacture of woollen-cloths and fancy goods. There are places of worship for Methodists of the New Connexion and Independents; also a school built by subscription in 1806, and endowed with an allotment of common land now producing £12 per annum.
Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1872) edited by John Marius Wilson:
SHELLEY, a scattered village and a chapelry in Kirkburton parish, W. R. Yorkshire. The village stands on an acclivity, near the river Dearne, and near Shepley r. station, 5½ miles SE of Huddersfield; and has a post-office under-Huddersfield. The chapelry contains-also three hamlets, and was constituted in 1868. Acres, 1,420. Real property, £4,035; of which £172 are in mines. Pop., 1,901. Houses, 383. The living is a p. curacy-Value, not reported. There are several woollen manufactories, chapels for Independents, Baptists, and NewMethodists, and an endowed national school.
The extent of the Civil Parish of Shelley (compiled from O.S. maps of the early 1890s) is shown below.