History of Widdop

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17th century

The adjacent link shows all tenants at each farm on a copy of 1851 map

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The local context

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  The Upper Calderdale area was principally for Parliament, after all, the weavers especially were part of the aspiring, independent, ''middle class'', yet there's little evidence of them being much affected by the wars. The House of Uttley book [Eileen and John Huckle; Jade Pub. Ltd.] recounts a 'story' in which Michael Uttley of Raistrick Greave, Widdop, gets drawn into the approaching battle of Heptonstall in November 1643 by helping the Roundheads but clearly just wanted to get on with his life. A brother, John, meanwhile, is an ardent Royalist and loses his life at Marston Moor in 1644.
  By the middle of the 17th century widespread starvation was a thing of the past though there had been difficult periods; high food prices 1622-1623 coinciding with depression in the wool industry resulted in high death rates; the woollen districts also suffered in 1643-1645.
  The woollen weaving industry began to steadily thrive manufacturing cheaper cloth for the increasing population of poorer classes. The hardwork and industry of the moorland weavers was to 'erupt' into the textile boom of the 18th century.

The archives

Analysis of archives

I must express thanks to Ann Bennett for sending me images of many Savile rentals for Wadsworth which she had taken at Kirklees Archives Office which had escaped my attention. These I have 'transcribed' onto the spreadsheets included in the adjacent links; THERE ARE GAPS IN THE LISTS COVERING WADSWORTH but I've now completed going through all the available archives.
Of the adjacent 6 links---
1.this link covers 1625 -1626 and was ADDED last!
2.this link covers 1627-1642 but also includes ''an extension to 1699'' in which I've tried to track progression of the tenancies throughout the whole period;
3.the 1650-1657 list of tenants follows a slightly different order of recording to 1627-1642,
4.the 1662-1675 another different order
5.the 1680-1699 a FURTHER different order!
6.this link specifically detailing Widdop is compiled from the previous one which names the different hamlets
Trying to follow progression of tenancies has been difficult due to the clerk/s not always keeping to the previous order and/or their difficulty of listing new tenants. Wadsworth was a large 'township' containing a number of hamlets and scattered farms; only occasionally is a hamlet specifically mentioned though the 1680-1699 list DOES more which helps considerably!

All the lists are separated into two sections;
first, 'At will' tenants; they COULDN'T own their own lands and throughout the whole period there were approximately 25 of them ; the number hardly changed over the period because most 'tenants rights' were passed within the family. The rents were fixed from Medieval years and couldn't be changed, however, they WERE increased from 1680 on?
second, 'Free' tenants; they COULD own their own property but often chose to rent; throughout the period there were approximately 70 of them. Some expanded their holdings by intaking new lands from the common and/or taking new lands from families which had 'died out'.

Archaeological finds


The link above [repeated on 'My Shackletons of Widdop' page]is my attempt to track continuation of ALL Shackleton tenancies within ALL of Wadsworth including Widdop.
I've started from the tenancies of 1572-1610 and then looked at those between 1625- 1680. The 15 years gap between 1610 and 1625 was initially a problem but fortunately----
A/ the rental amounts did not alter,
B/most surnames continued --and thus by the process of elimination the only 'anomaly' was solved.

The period 1572-1675 is accurate but the gap between 1675 and 1680 has caused more problems. I have not been able to prove ALL progressions due to --
a/ changes in rental amounts
b/ lack of information on farm names
c/the number of 'new' tenaments from 1680 onwards
-- HOWEVER, from 1680 ONWARDS the progressions ARE accurate.
All available sources have been used; Savile rental lists, Wadsworth Court Rolls, leases, all available wills.
[Insert boxes show Court Rolls information]

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site of Little Green & Sandy Fields [Lower Houses]

site of Widdop1 & Widdop 2 farms [Higher Houses]

one barn remaining

Fieldwalking in [2013] on the northern shoreline of the reservoir has discovered 'Blackware' potsherds, pictured below,dated anywhere between 17th and 18th cent.


In the rental amounts there are occasional 'anomalies' which have possible explanations; tenants were not able to pay the full amount? the clerk was occasionally making errors? the amount of land occupied changed? Similarly the names of tenants have 'anomalies', occasionally reverting to a previous name, perhaps because the clerk was used to a long-standing tenant and always associated to that name? Sometimes the 'inheritance' of tenants rights was under dispute and/or awaiting probate.
The number of Shackleton names, circa 12, hardly changed throughout the 17th century; overall amongst the 'At will' list there were approximately 10 Shackletons –about half the total. There were only 3/4, a small proportion, in the 'Free list'.
By the 1680's there were 6 Shackleton names amongst the 'At will' list, 2 at Widdop and 4 at Walshaw; there were 6 amongst the 'Free list', 1 at Good Greave, 1 at Alcomden, 1 with a part-share at Widdop-- others uncertain! [There were 18 Shackleton marriages at Heptonstall church between 1620-1662 but none specify whether Wadsworth or Heptonstall township].
Amidst the 1662-1675 list I've attempted to connect the Shackletons in the 1672 Hearth Tax returns to the tenancies but I can't be definite. There were 9 Shackleton entries; the two Edmonds were married in 1657 and 1660; Joseph married 1667; one James was married 1663; amongst the Johns there are too many to consider! [John senior and John junior are of Walshaw]

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