Marsden, West Yorkshire

Marsden is a large village within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees district, in West Yorkshire, England. It is in the southern edge of the South Pennines and is fringed by the Peak District to the south. The village is 7 miles (11 km) west of Huddersfield and located at the confluence of the River Colne and the Wessenden Brook. It was an important centre for the production of woollen cloth, focused at Bank Bottom Mill, which closed in 2003. According to a 2008 mid-year estimate the village has a population of 4,440.[1]

Marsden Mill

Marsden Mill, formerly Bank Bottom Mill, which closed in 2003
Marsden is located in West Yorkshire
Location within West Yorkshire
Population3,499 (2001 Census)
OS grid referenceSE048116
• London160 mi (260 km) SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtHD7
Dialling code01484
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
EU ParliamentYorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament


Marsden grew wealthy in the 19th century from the production of woollen cloth. It is still home to Bank Bottom Mill, later known as Marsden Mill, and home to John Edward Crowther Ltd, formerly one of the largest mills in Yorkshire. The Crowthers moved to Marsden in 1876, beginning a long and profitable association with cloth manufacturing in the town.[2][3]

During the 1930s Bank Bottom Mill covered an area of 14 acres, employed 680 looms, and provided employment for 1,900 workers.[4]

The Church of St Bartholomew was completed in 1899, although the nave and aisle had been in use from 1895, when the previous chapel was demolished. The tower was built in 1911, and the Parochial Hall in 1924 (with an extension in 1978). The church has a peal of ten bells.[5]

Production of woollen cloth at Bank Bottom Mill ceased in 2003, with the loss of 244 jobs.[4]


St Bartholomew, Marsden 1 (3272797404)
St Bartholomew's Church

Marsden is the last significant settlement on the West Yorkshire side of the Standedge Pennine crossing into Greater Manchester. The village is in the southern edge of the South Pennines with the boundary of the Peak District National Park to the south. It is surrounded on three sides by the moorland of Marsden and Meltham Moors with Saddleworth Moor nearby. Marsden has low level access only from the east along the Colne Valley.

The Marsden Moor Estate, which surrounds Marsden to the west and south, includes several reservoirs, and is in the care of the National Trust. The trust is developing techniques to rehabilitate the moor. Butterley Reservoir with its distinctive spillway is near Marsden inside the Peak District National Park.[6]

In chronostratigraphy, the British sub-stage of the Carboniferous period, the Marsdenian derives its name from Marsden.


Standedge Tunnel End, Marsden, West Yorkshire
Tunnel End, the eastern entrance to Standedge Tunnel
Peel Street, Marsden, West Yorkshire
Peel Street with the Mechanics Institute

Several generations of tracks and roads have crossed the moors near Marsden. Mellor Bridge by the church, and Close Gate Bridge at the edge of the moor to the east of the village are both packhorse bridges. The A62 road between Huddersfield and Oldham passes through the village and the Standedge cutting some 2.5 miles (4 km) to the west. The road between Oldham and Huddersfield, in particular the stretch between Marsden and Diggle was named the fourth dangerous road in Britain in 2003-2005.[7]


First West Yorkshire operates bus services between Huddersfield and Marsden. A local service run by JRT, runs around the Marsden area, before continuing to Slaithwaite. A Trans-Pennine service between Huddersfield and Manchester, jointly operated by First Greater Manchester and First West Yorkshire, passes through the village. Until 1963 it was a Huddersfield trolleybus terminus.

Rail and canal

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Huddersfield to Manchester railway enter the parallel rail and canal Standedge Tunnels about half a mile (0.8 km) to the west of the town centre. Marsden railway station on the Huddersfield line is operated by Northern provides services to Huddersfield, Manchester Piccadilly railway station and Leeds.

Mountain rescue

Packhorse bridge in Marsden, West Yorkshire
Mellor Bridge, one of Marsden's two packhorse bridges, with St Bartholomew's Church in the background

The Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team has its headquarters at Marsden Fire Station from where the volunteer team provides rescue cover for surrounding moorland areas and assists West Yorkshire Police with searches for missing people. The team was founded in 1965 and was based in Meltham before relocating in 2005.


Marsden football club, Marsden AFC, play their home matches at the Fall Lane ground. In its centenary year the 1st team were promoted from the West Riding County Amateur League Division 1, and played in the West Riding County Amateur Premier Division for the 2008–09 season.

Above the village at Hemplow, on Mount Road is a sports ground that hosts Marsden's cricket,[8] golf and tennis clubs, as well as Hemplow Bowling Club. The cricket club, formed in 1865, runs two teams in the Drake's Huddersfield Cricket League[9] and teams in five age groups in the Huddersfield Junior Cricket League.[10]

In 2010 Marsden gained Walkers are Welcome status in recognition of its well-maintained footpaths, facilities and information for walkers and ramblers.[11]


Marsden Silver Prize Band is the local silver band.[12] The village hosts festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Marsden Cuckoo Day, a day-long festival held annually in Spring (April), holds clog dancing, a duck race, music, a procession and a "cuckoo walk". The Marsden Jazz Festival[13] is held every October, and the winter Imbolc Festival, in which the 'triumph of the Green Man' (who represents the coming spring), over Jack Frost (the winter) is celebrated with fire juggling and giant puppets.[14] Marsden is the home of Mikron Theatre Company,[15] the world's only professional theatre company to tour by Narrowboat.

Marsden's 'Cuckoo Day festival' is named after a local legend of the Marsden Cuckoo:

"Many years ago the people of Marsden were aware that when the cuckoo arrived, so did the Spring and sunshine. They tried to keep Spring forever, by building a tower around the Cuckoo. Unfortunately, as the last stones were about to be laid, away flew the cuckoo. If only they'd built the tower one layer higher. As the legend says, it 'were nobbut just wun course too low'."[16][17]

Filming location

Marsden is popular as a location for television and film productions. These productions have used the village:

Notable people

Marsden was the birthplace of Henrietta Thompson, the mother of General James Wolfe who took Quebec from the French in 1759.

Marsden is also where Enoch Taylor was buried. Enoch Taylor was the blacksmith who built the first automatic croppers. The name Enoch was used for the hammers that the Luddites used to smash them. The Luddites used the slogan "Enoch made them, and Enoch shall break them."[18]

Further reading

  • Pearson, Irene E., Marsden Through the Ages, (1984), ISBN 978-0950953304


  1. ^ Kirklees Council mid-year estimate 2008 Archived 9 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Archived 12 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved December 2013
  3. ^ Huddersfield Daily Examiner Retrieved December 2013
  4. ^ a b Retrieved December 2013
  5. ^ "Church and Chapel in Marsden". Marsden Local History Group. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  6. ^ "Butterley Spillway, Marsden". Victorian Society.
  7. ^ "Britain's most dangerous roads". BBC News. 25 June 2007.
  8. ^ "Marsden CC, Yorkshire".
  9. ^ Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League Website Archived 7 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "HJCL - Sellers Huddersfield Junior Cricket League". Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  11. ^ "Marsden". Walkers are Welcome. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Marsden Band - General news for Entertainers".
  13. ^ "Marsden Jazz Festival".
  14. ^ "Night of fire and fun as Imbolc festival returns to Marsden". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  15. ^ Mikron Theatre Company Archived 22 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Marsden Cuckoo Festival preview". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Trinity Mirror North West and North Wales Limited. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  17. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Open Country". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  18. ^ "Luddites". Marsden History Group. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2007.

External links

Media related to Marsden, West Yorkshire at Wikimedia Commons

Arthur Armitage

Professor Sir Arthur Llewellyn Armitage (1 August 1916 – 1 February 1984), was a British academic who was the President of Queens' College, Cambridge, from 1958 until 1970, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University between 1965–67 and Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Manchester between 1969 and 1980.

Born in Marsden, West Yorkshire, Armitage was educated at Hulme Grammar School and Queens' College, Cambridge. He went up to Cambridge in 1933 where he gained a first class degree in Law. After he spent two years at Yale on a Commonwealth Fund Fellowship and was called to the Bar in Inner Temple 1940. He served for five years in the Army during the Second World War, achieving the rank of Major.

He became a Fellow and tutor of the college in 1947. He was elected President of Queens' in 1958 upon the death of John Archibald Venn. In 1969 he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Manchester, the appointment caused student protests at the time, with over 3000 students occupying the main university building in protest over the lack of consultation on the appointment. He later served as Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors.

In his later years, Armitage chaired a series of government committees under James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher, including the Social Security Advisory Committee; the Armitage Committee, set up to review the rules governing the political activities of civil servants; and an independent inquiry into lorries and their effect on people and the environment.

Armitage was President of Cambridge University Cricket Club between 1965 and 1970.He was knighted in the 1975 New Year Honours List.

Bank Bottom Mill

Bank Bottom Mill, later known as Marsden Mill, was from 1824 an important centre for the production of woollen cloth in Marsden, West Yorkshire, England. Originally a fulling mill, Bank Bottom Mill reached its heyday in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under the ownership of the Crowther family, in particular John Edward Crowther, a businessman and philanthropist. However, the cloth industry declined in the late twentieth century, and production of woollen cloth finally ceased in 2003.

Burntwood Hall

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Earl of Dartmouth

Earl of Dartmouth is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1711 for William Legge, 2nd Baron Dartmouth.

Fred Lunn

Frederick Levi Lunn (8 November 1895 – 1972) was an English professional footballer who played as a striker for Huddersfield Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol Rovers, Southend United & Nuneaton Borough.

Hanson Clarinet Company

Hanson Clarinet Company is a manufacturer of woodwind instruments. The company is noted for their clarinets which are made in their workshops in Marsden, West Yorkshire. The company is the largest manufacturer of clarinets in the United Kingdom.In May 2010, Hanson Clarinet were awarded the world’s first Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody (CoC) certificate for using African Blackwood in its products. Hanson Clarinets launched the world’s first FSC-certified clarinets by late 2010. The FSC-certified wood is harvested in Tanzania.

Hilton Crowther

John Hilton Crowther (born 1879), known as J. Hilton Crowther, or more commonly simply as Hilton Crowther, was the chairman of Huddersfield Town and, subsequently, Leeds United football clubs. He was a wealthy woollen mill owner; along with his four brothers, he owned the Milnsbridge Woollen Mill in Huddersfield. In 1918 he invested a considerable sum in Huddersfield Town but the team did not prosper and Crowther was eventually bought out, focusing his energies thereafter on Leeds United.

James Pounder Whitney

James Pounder Whitney (30 November 1857, Marsden, West Yorkshire – 17 June 1939, Cambridge) was a British ecclesiastical historian.

Educated at King James's Grammar School, Almondbury and Owens College, Manchester, he was a foundation scholar at King's College, Cambridge, gaining firsts in the mathematics and history triposes in 1881. A fellow of King's College, he was ordained an Anglican priest in 1895. After various clerical and teaching appointment, he was professor of ecclesiastical history at King's College London from 1908 to 1918. He was Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Cambridge from 1919 to 1939. He was joint editor of The Cambridge Medieval History from 1907 to 1922.

John Edward Crowther Ltd

John Edward Crowther Ltd is a British textile and real estate company headquartered in Marsden, West Yorkshire, and incorporated in the United Kingdom. It was historically an important producer of woollen cloth in Marsden, West Yorkshire, England. Its premises at Bank Bottom Mill reached its heyday in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under the ownership of the Crowther family, in particular John Edward Crowther, a businessman and philanthropist. However, the cloth industry declined in the late twentieth century, and production of woollen cloth finally ceased in 2003.

John Tiffany

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The Luddites were a secret oath-based organization of English textile workers in the 19th century, a radical faction which destroyed textile machinery as a form of protest. The group was protesting against the use of machinery in a "fraudulent and deceitful manner" to get around standard labour practices. Luddites feared that the time spent learning the skills of their craft would go to waste, as machines would replace their role in the industry. Over time, however, the term has come to mean one opposed to industrialisation, automation, computerisation, or new technologies in general. The Luddite movement began in Nottingham in England and culminated in a region-wide rebellion that lasted from 1811 to 1816. Mill and factory owners took to shooting protesters and eventually the movement was suppressed with legal and military force.

Marsden, Saskatchewan

Marsden is a village in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It gained notoriety shortly after the impact of the Buzzard Coulee meteorite near the village in November 2008.

The village was named after Marsden, West Yorkshire in England. That was the birthplace of the wife of Alex F. Wright, the first postmaster.


Milnsbridge is a district of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England, situated 2 miles (3 km) west of the town centre, and in the Colne Valley. The name is said to have derived from the water-powered mill and the bridge that stood alongside it in the 13th century.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal runs through Milnsbridge close to the River Colne. A viaduct carries the trans-Pennine Huddersfield Line railway that runs through Milnsbridge, and links Leeds and Manchester via Huddersfield. The Huddersfield to Manchester road route A62 passes Milnsbridge along the south side of the valley.

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Roy Booth

Roy Booth (1 October 1926 – 24 September 2018) was an English first-class cricketer, who played for both Yorkshire and Worcestershire. He was born at Marsden, West Yorkshire.A product of Golcar Cricket Club, where he lived most of his early life, he was professional with Lightcliffe from 1948–53 and 1955. A specialist wicket-keeper, he took 948 catches and completed 178 stumpings in a career that spanned two decades from 1951 to 1970, and 468 first-class games. He took another 28 catches and made two stumpings in his List A one-day matches.

Samuel Laycock

Samuel Laycock (1826–1893) was a dialect poet who recorded in verse the vernacular of the Lancashire cotton workers.

He was born on 17 January 1826 at Intake Head, Pule Hill, Marsden, West Yorkshire, the son of John Laycock, a hand-loom weaver. His formal education consisted of attending Sunday school and a few months at a local school. Laycock began work in a woollen mill at the age of nine. In 1837, when the family moved to Stalybridge, Cheshire, he worked as a cotton weaver and later cloth looker. The American Civil War (1861–1864) badly affected the Lancashire cotton towns as supplies of raw cotton dried up. Laycock was one of the thousands unemployed and tried to earn a meagre living by writing verses which the unemployed could set to music and sing in the streets for pennies. In 1864, he published Lancashire Rhymes and in 1866, Lancashire Songs, poems which documented the everyday life of cotton workers.

In 1865, Laycock became the librarian at Stalybridge Mechanics' Institute, and in 1867, took up a similar post at The Whitworth Institute, Fleetwood. He moved to Blackpool in 1868 because his health was poor. He continued writing while working as a photographer, while his wife ran a lodging-house. Just before his death in 1893, he published a collection of poems, Warblin's fro' an Owd Songster.

In 1850, Laycock married Martha Broadbent, a cotton weaver, but she died two years later. He remarried in 1858 to Hannah Woolley, who died in 1863. His third marriage was to Eliza Pontefract in 1864 and she survived him. He had several children by Hannah and at least two by Eliza, including Arthur, who became a novelist.

Laycock died of influenza which developed into acute bronchitis on 15 December 1893, at his home, 48 Foxhall Road, Blackpool. He was buried in Layton Cemetery, Blackpool.


Standedge () is a moorland escarpment in the Pennine Hills of northern England between Marsden, West Yorkshire and Diggle, Greater Manchester. Standedge has been a major moorland crossing point since Roman times and possibly earlier.

From east to west, Standedge is crossed by five generations of road crossing, the earliest a Roman road from York to Chester and the latest the A62 road. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the railway line from Leeds to Manchester pass underground in the Standedge Tunnels. The Pennine Way long distance footpath passes through Standedge in a north–south direction along the Pennines.

Much of Standedge is in the National Trust's Marsden Moor Estate. Administratively, Standedge is split between Kirklees and Oldham.


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