Wapentake of Agbrigg

The Wapentake of Agbrigg (later combined into the Wapentake of Agbrigg & Morley) was a historic judicial administrative area within the West Riding which was subdivided into the Upper Agbrigg and Lower Agbrigg areas.

The Danish wapentake ("the taking of weapons") was broadly the equivalent of the Anglo-Saxon hundred which was used elsewhere in England and Wales.[1] Wapentakes remained the unit of subdivision in Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Yorkshire — reflecting the strong Danish influence in those areas — until its use declined in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Wapentake were usually named after their principal meeting-place, with Agbrigg being situated to the southeast of Wakefield. Whilst the etymology of wapentake is understood, it remains uncertain if it denoted that:[2]

  1. weapons would be laid down prior to the meeting and then "taken up" again afterwards
  2. votes during meetings would be decided by waving or brandishing weapons

The descending hierarchy of units of area for the county of Yorkshire can be broadly summarised as:

  • County
    • Riding[3] within the county (e.g. West Riding of Yorkshire)
      • Wapentake or Soke (e.g. Wapentake of Agbrigg)
        • Division of Wapentake (e.g. Upper Division of the Wapentake of Agbrigg)
          • Ecclesiastical Parish (e.g. Huddersfield)[4]
            • Township within an ecclesiastical parish (e.g. Golcar)
              • Hamlet within a township (e.g. East Golcar)

Hamlets and townships could also be constituent parts of other larger units — perhaps indicating a common owner — such as estates, manors (e.g. Manor of Wakefield), graveships (e.g. Graveship of Holme), and honours (e.g. Honour of Pontefract).

The ecclesiastical parishes of Almondbury, Huddersfield, Kirkburton and Kirkheaton were all situated in the Upper Division of the Wapentake of Agbrigg, along with the township of Saddleworth & Quick in the parish of Rochdale.

Upper Agbrigg was also sometimes used in the names of buildings and companies — for example, the Huddersfield & Upper Agbrigg Infirmary and Huddersfield & Upper Agbrigg Savings Bank.

The 1833 Abstract of the Answers and Returns[5] published by the House of Commons included the following list of parishes, townships and chapelries:[6]

Parishes Townships and/or Chapelries
Almondbury Almondbury, Austonley, Farnley Tyas, Holme, Honley, Lingarths (i.e. Lingards), Linthwaite, Lockwood, Marsden-in-Almondbury, Meltham, Netherthong, and South Crosland
Huddersfield Golcar, Huddersfield, Lindley, Longwood, Marsden-in-Huddersfield, Scammonden, and Slaithwaite
Kirkburton Cartworth, Cumberworth Half, Foulston (i.e. Fulstone), Hepworth, Kirkburton, Shelley, Shepley, Thurstonland, and Wooldale
Kirkheaton Dalton, Kirkheaton, and Whitley Upper
(part of) Rochdale Saddleworth with Quick
Parishes Townships and/or Chapelries
Batley Batley and Morley
Dewsbury Dewsbury, Ossett and Soothill
Featherstone Acton and Whitwood
Normanton Altofts, Normanton, and Snydale
Rothwell Carlton with Lofthouse, Middleton, Outton with Woodlesford, Rothwell, and Thorp
Sandall (Great) Crigglestone, Great Sandall, Walton, and West Britton
Thornhill Flockton, Shitlington, Thornhill, and Whitley Lower
Wakefield Alverthorpe with Thornes, Horbury, Stanley with Wrenthorp, and Wakefield
Warmfield Sharlston and Warmfield with Heath

The other entries for the West Riding listed in the 1833 Abstract of the Answers and Returns were as follows († indicates only part of the parish was located in the area):

Wapentake, Liberties, Borough, Soke & Town Parishes
Barkstone Ash Wapentake (Lower) Barkin, Brayton, Brotherton, Cawood, Drax, Monk-Fryston, Ryther with Oxendike†, Selby, Snaith†, and Wistow
Barkstone Ash Wapentake (Upper) Bramham, Kirkby-Wharf, Kirkfenton, Ledsham, Micklewaite-Grange, Newton-Kyme & Toulston, Ryther†, Saxton, Sherburn†, and Tadcaster†
Claro Wapentake (Lower) Aldborough†, Burton-Leonard, Copgrove, Farnham, Fewston, Great Ouseburn, Hampsthwaite, Haverah-Park, Kirkby-Malzeard, Knaresborough, Lindrick, Little Ouseburn†, Otley†, Pannall, Ripley†, Ripon†, South Stainley with Clayton, Staveley, and Whixley†
Claro Wapentake (Upper) Addingham†, Aldborough†, Allerton-Mauleverer, Cowthorp, Goldsborough, Harewood†, Hunnsingore, Ilkley†, Kirk-Deighton, Kirkby-Overblows, Kirk-Hammerton†, Leathley, Little Ouseburn†, Marton with Grafton, Nun-Monkton, Otley†, Ripley†, Skipton†, Spofforth, Walkingham Hill with Occaney, Weston, and Whixley†
Morley Wapentake Batley†, Birstall, Bradford, Calverley, Dewsbury†, and Halifax
Osgoldcross Wapentake (Lower) Adlingfleet, Kellington, Snaith†, Whitgift, and Womersley
Osgoldcross Wapentake (Upper) Ackworth, Badsworth, Burgh-Wallis, Campsall, Castleford, Darrington, Featherstone†, Kirk-Bramwith, Kirk-Smeeton, Owston, Pontefract, Pontefract-Park, South Kirkby, and Wragby†
Skyrack Wapentake (Lower) Aberford, Bardsey, Barwick-in-Elmett, Collingham, Harewood†, Kippax, Swillington, Throner, West Garforth, and Whitkirk
Skyrack Wapentake (Upper) Addle, Bingley, Guisley, Harewood†, Ilkley†, and Otley†
Staincliff & Ewcross Wapentake (East) Addingham†, Arncliffe†, Barnoldwick, Bracewell, Broughton-in-Aredale, Burnsall, Carleton, Gargrave, Keighley, Kettlewell with Starbottom, Kildwick, Kirkby-in-Mallam-Dale†, Linton, Martin, Skipton†, and Thorton-in-Craven
Staincliff & Ewcross Wapentake (West) Arncliffe†, Bentham, Bolton by Bowland, Clapham, Giggleswick, Gisburn, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Kirkby-in-Mallam-Dale†, Long-Preston, Mitton†, Sawley with Tosside, Sedbergh, Slaidburn, and Thornton-in-Lonsdale
Staincross Wapentake Cawthrone, Darfield†, Darton, Felkirk, Hemsworth, High Hoyland, Penistone, Royston, Silkstone, Tankersley, and Wragby†
Strafforth & Tickhill Wapentake (North) Adwick-le-Street, Aldwick-upon-Dearne, Barnbrough, Bentley with Arksey, Blyth†, Bolton-upon-Dearne, Brodswoth, Clayton with Frickley, Darfield†, Doncaster†, Ecclesfield, Hickleton, High Melton, Hooton-Pagnell†, Marr, Rawmarsh, Rotherham†, Sheffield†, Sprotbrough, Thurnscoe, and Wath-upon-Dearn
Strafforth & Tickhill Wapentake (South) Armthorpe, Aston with Aughton, Barnby-upon-Don, Blyth†, Braithwell, Cantley, Conisbrough, Dinnington, Edlington, Firbeck, Fishlake, Handsworth, Harthill with Woodall, Hatfield, Hooton-Pagnell†, Hooton-Roberts, Kirk-Sandall, Laughton-en-le-Morthern, Maltby, Mexborough, North Anston, Ravenfield, Rotherham, Sheffield†, South Anston, Stainton with Hellaby, Thorne, Thorpe-Salvin, Thirbergh, Tickhill, Todwick, Treeton, Wadworth, Wales, Warmsworth, Whiston, and Wickersley
Ripon (Liberty) Feliskirk†, Kilburn†, Marton-cum-Moxby, Nidd with Killinghall, and Ripon†
Doncaster (Borough)
Doncaster (Soke) Doncaster†, Finningley†, Loversall, and Rossington
Leeds (Town & Liberty) St. Peters

Notes and References

  1. Wikipedia: List of hundreds of England and Wales
  2. Definition of "wapentake" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
  3. The three Ridings were North, East and West, with the word deriving from the Danish "thridding", meaning "a third". Parts of what is now South Yorkshire were within the West Riding.
  4. The ecclesiastical parishes were a later addition after Christianity became the dominant religion.
  5. Google Books.
  6. A chapelry typically being a township which contained a chapel of ease.