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Fawley Towns

Holmfirth, Yorkshire Holmfirth is a chapelry which comprises part of Upperthong township in Almondbury parish and parts of Cartworth and Wooldale townships in Kirkburton parish.  Records from the two parishes were kept separate within the chapelry, for the most part.

MapAnother map.

Holy Trinity Church.  Worship has taken place on this site since the fifteenth century in three consecutive buildings.  The present building was constructed around 1780 and a peal of six bells hung.  Various alterations have been made over the years and the visitor will now see a Georgian interior with galleries.  A royal coat of arms of the Hanover Dynasty hangs on the front of the west gallery and an interesting window on the south wall depicts Christ's passion. (, no longer on that site)

Holmfirth History Over a 1,000 years ago the first inhabitants began to settle in the are we now know as Holmfirth.  Back in Saxon and medieval times, the lords of Wakefield used the area as a hunting forest, the name Holmfirth means ‘sparse woodland belonging to Holme’.

By the 13th Century more settlers began moving to the area, with early records depicting a corn mill and bridge with a few houses are already appearing around the mill.

By now Holmfirth the village can begun to take shape, with residents opting to build their homes higher up into the valley rather than the valley bottom.  This continued well into the 1700?s with the ever increasing population remaining particularly rural, and continuing to live and work on the farms and cottage industries higher up the valley.

It took until the end of the 18th century for this to begin to change.  In 1784, a woollen clotheir named John Fallas begun acquiring property in the valley bottom and the mills.  Of course the mills needed to be built around the rivers, which in turn would require a workforce that lived nearer the rivers.  This marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution for Holmfirth that would see this small rural village transformed into a thriving mill town.

Genuki - Kirkburton Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868.

Kirkburton, a parish in the upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, West Riding county York, 5 miles N.E. of Huddersfield, its post town. ... The parish, which touches the confines of Cheshire, is considerable and contains the townships of Hepworth, Shepley, and Thurstonland, comprising a total area of 15,990 acres.

It includes the chapelries of Hepworth, Holmfirth, Newmill, Shepley, and Thurstonland, with the townships of Cartworth, Cumberworth-Half, Foulston, Shelley, and Wooldale, in the last of which is the populous village of Holmfirth. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the woollen and fancy goods manufacture, which are extensively carried on. ...

The parish church, which was founded in the reign of Edward III. in the 13th century, is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and has a tower containing six bells.  In addition to the parish church there are four district churches at Holmfirth, Newmill, Shepley, and Thurstonland, ... The Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel.

Genuki - Kirkburton places In 1822, the following places were in the Parish of Kirkburton:

  • "Holmfirth is in the township of Wooldale, and parish of Kirkburton, Agbrigg division of Agbrigg and Morley, liberty of Wakefield, 7 miles S. of Huddersfield, 8 from Penistone.  The Chapel is a perpetual curacy under Kirkburton.

    "This is the only Chapel in the parish of Kirkburton, of the antiquity of which there is nothing known certain, but it was probably erected in the reign of Edward IV. --Whitaker."

  • "Scholes, a hamlet in the township of Wooldale, and parish of Kirkburton, liberty of Wakefield, 6 miles from Huddersfield."

    "Scholes Cave, in the parish of Kirkburton, wapentake of Agbrigg, and manor of Wakefield; 6 miles S. of Huddersfield."

According to Google Maps, Holmfirth is only 27.3 km (less than 20 miles) from Staleybridge.  Today that would be about a 30 minute drive.


Wikipedia Stalybridge is a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 22,568.  Historically a part of Cheshire, it is 9 miles (14.5 km) east of Manchester city centre ... With the construction of a cotton mill in 1776, Stalybridge became one of the first centres of textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution.

As Stayley expanded in the 18th century, it reached the banks of the River Tame.  The construction of a bridge in 1707 meant the settlement was now commonly referred to as Stalybridge, meaning the bridge at Stayley.  By the mid-18th century Stalybridge had a population of just 140.  Farming and woollen spinning were the main means subsistence at this time.

"In 1776 the town's first water-powered mill for carding and spinning cotton was built at Rassbottom.  In 1789 the town's first spinning mill using the principle of Arkwright's Water Frame was built.  By 1793 steam power had been introduced to the Stalybridge cotton industry and by 1803 there were eight cotton mills in the growing town containing 76,000 spindles.  The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was completed in 1811 and still runs through the town.

On 9 May 1828 the Stalybridge Police and Market Act received Royal Assent, establishing Stalybridge as an independent town with a board of 21 Commissioners.  Every male over the age of 21 who was the occupier of a rateable property under the act was entitled to vote at the election of the Commissioners.  On 30 December 1831 the town hall and market were officially opened.  In 1833 the Commissioners set up the 'Stalybridge Police Force', which was the first of its kind in the country.  By this year the population of the town had reached 14,216 with 2,357 inhabited houses.

On the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, the Stalybridge cotton mills rapidly ran short of cotton.  Thousands of operatives were laid off.  In October 1862, a meeting was held in the Stalybridge Town Hall which passed a resolution blaming the Confederate States of America and their actions in the American Civil War for the cotton famine in Lancashire.

By the winter of 1862–1863 there were 7,000 unemployed operatives in the town.  Only five of the town's 39 factories and 24 machine shops were employing people full-time.  Contributions were sent from all over the world for the relief of the cotton operatives in Lancashire; and at one point three-quarters of Stalybridge workers were dependent on relief schemes.  By 1863 there were 750 empty houses in the town. A thousand skilled men and women left the town, in what became known as "The Panic".

The Municipal Borough of Stalybridge received its charter of incorporation on 5 March 1857, having been formed from part of Ashton-under-Lyne parish in Lancashire and parts of Dukinfield and Stayley parishes in Cheshire.

The town includes the localities of Heyheads, Buckton Vale, Carrbrook, Millbrook, Brushes, Copley, Mottram Rise, Woodlands, Matley, Hough Hill, Castle Hall, Hollins[disambiguation needed ], Hydes, Rassbottom, Waterloo, Cocker Hill, the Hague, Springs, Ridge Hill and Heyrod.

Stalybridge is a Chapelry in the parish of Ashton under Lyne.  There is a cluster of places, some in Lancashire and some in Cheshire, that relate to the Fawley family.  Clearly over time, there have been changes in both civil and church boundaries.  Most of Stalybridge is now part of Greater Manchester.

  • Stalybridge New St George is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Lancashire, created in 1847 from Ashton under Lyne [St Michael] Ancient Parish.  In the 1851 census, the family was living in the Civil Parish of Ashton under Lyne, and the Ecclesiastical Parish of New St George, in the town of Stalybridge.
  • Stalybridge Old St George is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Cheshire, created in 1798 from Ashton under Lyne [St Michael] Ancient Parish.  Alice (Hall) Fawley's burial is recorded in the Old St George parish register.
  • Stalybridge St Paul is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Cheshire, created in 1840 from Mottram in Longendale Ancient Parish.  The latter is the parish where John Fawley and Alice Hall were married.
  • Dukinfield [St Mark] is an Ecclesiastical Parish in the county of Cheshire, created in 1846 from a chapelry in Stockport [St Mary] Ancient Parish.  Alice (Hall) Fawley died in Dukinfield.
  • Ashton under Lyne [St Michael] is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Lancashire.  In the 1861 census, the family was living in the Civil parish of Ashton Under Lyne, and the Ecclesiastical parish of St Michael, in the town of Ashton Under Lyne.  In 1841 they were simply in the parish of Ashton Under Lyne.

Openshaw, in the lower left corner of the map, was the residence of both Joseph Fawley and Ellen Stoddard at the time of their marriage (Church of England, Cathedral Church, Manchester, Parish register for 1844 p.193 no.385).