EXTENT, FEATURES AND POPULATION
Pudsey township comprehends within its limits, or boundaries, the
hamlet of Tyersal, part of Stanningley, and the Moravian settlement
of Fulneck, and its superficial area is 2,545 acres. The township is
situated in the midst of an interesting field of geological research,
surrounded by strata of the most valuable and varied kind. On the north
and east range, is the carboniferous or mountain limestone, extending
through the northern counties, and supporting the coal measures, containing
also abundance of metalliferous ore and organic remains of shells and
The south and west are bounded by the great Yorkshire coal field and
the extensive millstone grit formation-the latter of which extends from
Derbyshire to Northumberland. This complex deposit is the principal
geological feature of the strata underlying the township of Pudsey.
This formation is a kind of coarse-grained gritty sandstone, containing
numerous beds of shale, limestone, and, in some places, coal. The beds
in some instances contain innumerable impressions of coal plants. The
thin layers of coal found in the immediate neighbourhood are not of
much value, but the layers of shale have an important effect upon the
character of the soil. The excellent quality and durability of building
stone quarried in the township and neighbourhood are justly celebrated
throughout England. Iron pyrites have occasionally been found in well-sinking,
and small specimens of mica and quartz in the various stone quarries.
Layers of plastic clay are found on the south side of the township,
and in some parts excellent beds of yellow clay; but most of these beds
are so thin and inconsiderable, that they would almost lead to the conjecture
that they are only the croppings of the extensive foundations by which
they are surrounded, having become dislocated by some of the mighty
geological disturbances that have affected the whole island.
Being at a considerable elevation, Pudsey commands most extensive views
of the surrounding country, and from the heights above Greentop it is
said that Pontefract Castle can be seen with the aid of a glass.
On the south of the township is the deep gill which bounds Tong and
Tyersall-a beautiful roman sylvan, but beginning to suffer at the hands
of the manufacturers. As I wandered through the glen by the side of
that murmuring stream, how often was my mind thrown back to the days
when the careless hunter roved with his hawk and hound, and the scream
of the fluttered wood-bird arose, instead of the clash of the shuttle;
when Tong was baronial, and rustic Pudsey mostly in the hands of the
monks of Kirkstall. Let us now restore one of the panoramas of the past.
When the Angle chieftain, Stanning, looked from his hall towards the
noonday sun his vision was bounded by the slope which the Celt called
the "hwpp," where the footpath now runs. He called it the
"hrice,: as we call it a rig, or as people of culture and superior
education tone it down, the ridge. It was then wood-grown, shady, verdant,
and sacred to the foot of the hunter. The leafy garment that shaded
it, the Angle called a "Scua," which custom and superior education
has so softened that we know the word as a shaw. And so "the wood
on the ridge"-the rig-wood-became in Angle speech the "hrice
scua," and as the feet of after generations trod a path to that
wood the path became the "hrice-scua" lane, which the changes
of time twisted so slightly that for twenty generations the path was
known as Rikershaw Lane. But alas I by the advancement of learning,
the truth-telling designation had to be clothed in new garments, and
from the awkward hands of its blundering tailor it came forth as that
monstrous abortion Richardshaw Lane.
The descent from the rig along the northern slope is down Lidget Hill
to Waver Green. Abutting upon the Waver Green is the Manor House of
Pudsey, a quaint, gabled mansion, now reckoning some two hundred and
fifty or seventy years of age, but the child of a predecessor, which
doubtless carried its own existence back into the Norman days. Of a
suggestive meaning is that word "Waver," which remains to
mark its conjunct green. It bears within it all the wild traditions
of the superstitious Norse days. The Icelandic verb vafra means to hover
about; and the expression vafrlogi, meant a "waver-lowe,"
every enchanted princess or enchanted land was surrounded by a "waver-lowe."
We need not go far to find the enchanted princess who was surrounded
by this "waver-lowe" when the Celt was hovering about and
there were race difficulties and doubts of mine and thine-she dwelt
in the Manor House hard by, as the poor Celts of the "hupp"
and the "trowch-dale" would find out if any cattle had been
lifted from the ager, or midnight depredations elsewhere indulged in.
Thor's hammer was kept in the recesses of that Manor house, and the
"waver-lowe" was the electric light which found it when required.
Thor's hammer, in the shape of the less romantic baton of the policeman
is yet kept in the neighbourhood of this Waver Green, and it is said
that in Lowtown, hard by, its exercise is more frequently required than
in all the other parts of the town. Of a truth these Celtic people are
apt, both by work and by deed, to make themselves a very vital factor
in the world's history. Had they been as stolid and law-abiding as the
Goths of Chapeltown and Greenside, Lowtown might not have enjoyed the
many distinctions which have favoured it since the mythical days of
Separating Waver Green from Chapeltown there remains a distinctive feature
of the past in Toft House. Toft, a corrupted form of the Danish tompt
(empty), would signify an open, unclaimed piece of land, or an unoccupied
and wrecked dwelling; and in this light the Toft we have here would
be an excellent fence between the steady respectability of Gothic Pudsey
and the nondescript gathering which had to be illuminated by the "Waver-lowe,"
and found its termination in the Crimbles, where solid rule and no poetical
nonsense had to prevail. The word Crimbles, we may perhaps resolve into
the Norse expression kraum bol-the farm house in the nook, say at the
fringe of the "ager," where the essarts were in progress,
the woods not yet chopped down, and a shady nook presented itself as
it does yet in the case of scores of farmsteads which are to-day nestling
beneath a background of trees. *
*=Mr. Wheater, in Pudsey News, March 5th, 1887.
No record is preserved of the number of the population previous to the
year 1800, but the following tabulated statement of the several censuses
taken by Government shows the modern progressive increase of population
In JAME'S History of Bradford, there appears the following notice:--
At Leeds Sessions the 13th day of April, in the 44th of Queen Elizabeth,
before Sir John Savile (of Howley), Thomas Fairfax, and other justices,
it was agreed that the justices should meet at Wakefield upon Wednesday
in Whitsuntide week the next, touching soldiers' pensions, assessments,
and other matters; and then agree upon a particular estreat and perfect
assessment of the towns within the wapentakes, to be and remain a precedent
to direct other justices to make equal assessments for these parts when
occasion should require.
It may, therefore, be supposed that the greatest care would be taken
in making the assessments, and it will give the most correct view, in
the absence of actual computation, which can now be obtained of the
relative size, population, and wealth of the towns comprised in such
assessment. I give a copy of such part of it as relates to all the towns
about here (Bradford).
Bradford 20 Huddersfield 17
Bingley 9 Idle
Calverley and Farsley 11 Leeds39
Dewsbury 12 1 Manningham
7 1 Pudsey
Heaton-cum-Clayton 11 1 Shipley
Haworth 12 Wakefield 39
From this table a pretty near approximation may be drawn of the population
of the township at the time (A.D. 1602).