A market town and chapelry in that part of the parish of ROCHDALE which is in the hundred of SALFORD, county palatine of LANCASTER, 20 miles (N.E.) from Manchester, and 207 (N.W.by N.) from London, containing, with the township of Walsden, 4,985 inhabitants, according to the return of 1821, which number has increased to upwards of 6,000.
This town, anciently called Todmaredene, is situated in a picturesque and fertile district, denominated the vale of Todmorden, or “the valley of the fox mere, or lake,” through which flows the river Calder, here separating the counties of Lancaster and York: a considerable portion of it is included within the township of Langfield, parish of Hallifax, county of York, the town being situated at the junction of the township of Todmorden and Walsden, in the county of York, the aggregate population of which, in 1821, amounted to upwards of 14,000, and is now considerably increased.
The manufactories, for calico, fustian, dimities, satteen, and velveteen, are numerous and extensive, worked by water-mills on the river, and by steam-engines, combining, in the aggregate, a power equal to that of two hundred and twenty horses, and that in the three townships amounting to nearly five hundred.
Great facility of conveyance is afforded by the Rochdale canal, which skirts the town on the south, and other navigations, which connect this place with the eastern and western ocean.
The intended railway from Manchester to Leeds, for the construction of which an act of parliament is expected to be obtained in this present session (1831), will pass through Todmorden; and it is thought that a branch from Burnley will subsequently be formed, joining the former at this town.
The great prosperity of the local manufactures has essentially contributed to the extension and improvement of the town. The market is on Thursday, the first Thursday before Easter and September 27th, the latter continuing three days.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Chester, endowed with £600 private benefaction, £800 royal bounty, and £2000 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Vicar of Rochdale.
The chapel, rebuilt about 1770, on the site of a more ancient one, is dedicated to St. Mary, and is situated on an eminence near the centre of the town. A new chapel is being erected, at an estimated expense of between £4000 and £5000, towards defraying which His Majesty’s commissioners for building new churches have granted about £3600, the remainder to be raised by subscription among the inhabitants: it is to contain one thousand two hundred and fifty-five sittings, four hundred and fifty-five of them free, and, on its completion, will supersede the old chapel, which will be abandoned.
There are places of worship of Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyan Methodists, and those of the NewConnexion, and Unitarians, to all of which Sunday schools are attached, except that of the Society of Friends, who support day schools for the poor of their own communion.
A school, adjoining the chapelyard, was endowed in 1713, with the sum of £100, contributed by the Rev. Richard Clegg, and £50 voluntary subscriptions: the majority of the freeholders appoint the master, who has the gratuitous use of the school-house: four children, two of them elected by the holders of two particular farms, and two by the inhabitants, are taught free.
From: A Topographical Dictionary of England,by Samuel Lewis, Vol.IV,London,1831.Pages 316-317.
Entered here 3 September 2004 by Lynn Ransom Burton.