BARNSLEY          BEVERLEY           BRADFORD               SHEFFIELD





  by  James Pigot  (1841)


This maritime county is of far greater extent than any other of the English counties, and is thickly

populated; but it is a striking fact, that Middlesex, which is nearly the smallest, including the Capital, exceeds

1t in numbers. Yorkshire comprises 5,961 square miles, or 3,815,040 statute acres-extending from east to west

more than ninety miles, and eighty from north to south; and is divided into three sections, respectively named

the North, the East and the West Ridings. The boundaries of Yorkshire are, t.Re counties of Durham and

Westmoreland on the north; the German ocean on the east; Lancashire, and lmrt of \Vestmorelaud, ou the

west; and, on the south, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolns 1ire.

NAME and ANCIENT HISTORY.-The name of the county is derived from that of its capital, the city of

York, which Llw.yd, the Welsh antiquary, identifies with tlJC British town Caer E;ffroc, called by the Saxuns

Euorwic, and by .Nennius Carr Ebranc-derived, as he says, from King Ebrancus, its founder; but this ety

mology is controverted by Camden, who considers Yore or York to be a corruption of the Roman Eboracum,

significant of its situation upon the river Ure, now Ouse. Yorkshire was included by the Romans, in their

division of the island, in the pwvincP. of JJ/axima Ca:sm·iensis. After the departure of the Romans, Yorkshire

formed part of the Saxon 'Northumberland/ the territory no1·th of the river Humber or Umber, and continued

so until the extinction of the Heptarchy by Egbert. Subsequent to the Conquest this county was divided

among some of the great Norman Larous, who were sworn to 1·epel the incursions of the Scots. Yorkshire

was the arena of frequent conflicts during the contentions of the rival Houses of York and Lancaster-the

larger portion of the population sometimts ranging itself under the Lancaster standard of the red rose, in

preference to the Yorkist white ooe. In the reign of Henry VII the county was involved in a formidable

rebellion, orig-in<~ting in the resistance to a land-tax, wltich was rigorously enforced after the insurrection was

suppres.-;ed. In the reign of Henry VIII the peace of the county was again disturbed by an outbreak, fomented

hy the clergy, which hastened the dissolution of the monasteries and other religious houses: these cornmotions

were not hushed to peace until the enactment of the poor laws, under Queen Elizabeth. Intimately conu~cted

with the early history of the county is that of the city of York, elevated to consequence by Agricola, about the

year 80. In this city the chief object of admiration to the stranger is its justly celebrated Cathedral, the most

superb gothic edifice in the kingdom. To the historian and the antiquary Yorkshire is peculiarly interesting

-to the former from the richness of its annals, and to the latter from its ancient relics : to the geologist and

the mineralogist it is an ample field for their exploring labours, abounding as it does with hidden treasures.

SOIL, CLiiUATE, and AGRIGULTURAL PRODUCE.-The SOIL of the .NORTH RIDING is a brownish clay and

loam, and the hills along the coast abound with alum shale. The district of Cleveland, on the west side of the

eastern moors, has a very fertile clay, and fine red sandy soil; the Vale of York, both iu soil and fertility, is very

·rariable; Swaledale, ou each side of the river Swale, is extremely fertile. The eastem moorlands is a wild and

extensive tract of mouutain, occupying a space of land about twenty miles in length aud fourteen in breadth;

the surface of some of the higher hills is entirely covered with large free-stones, and extensive morasses aud

peat-bogs, highly dangerous to pass. The western moorlands are a part ofJ;hat long range of mountainsextending

north from Stafford into Scotland. Of about 1,3ll,OOO acres of laud embraced by this Riding, about 443,000

are cultivated, the remainder being open fields and moors, woods and mads. Along the coast next the German

ocean the land is very hilly. The soil of the \VEST RIDING varies from a deep strong clay or loam to the worst

peat earth: the face of tlus portion of the county is also very irregular; the north and west parts are hilly and

UJOuntainous, but intersected with numerous va1es; the rest of the district is flat. The contents of this Riding

are about 1~568,000 square statute acres, having about 700,000 acres pasturage and 350,000 arable. This division

of the county is noted for the extent of its manufactures, for which it is every way admirably adapted, as well

from the abundance of the raw materials, coal, &c., as from the means of conveying its produce and manufac

tures, by canals and railroads, to all parts of the kingdom. In the EAST RIDING, the shore for fifteen miles

round Flamborough is high; and behind that lies the sheep district of the Yorkshire Wolds, containing upwards

of 300,000 acres: the soil is a light loam, having a mixture of gravel. The country extending between the Wokls

and the Ouse and Humber, to Hull, has a good fertile soil; and towards the Spurn Head, it is flat, with a strong

soi-l. The produce and exports of this Riding are vast quantities of wool, grain, bacon, butter and cattle; of the

latter, with horses, great numbers are bought at the York and Howden fairs by the London dealers. The horses

of this part have long been noted for their excellence; the prevailing species are those attached to the coach

and saddle. The horned cattle of this Riding, ~d indeed of the county generally, are not sm·passed in number

or quality by those of any other divh;ion of England: there are also many descliptions of sheep bred, most of

which are famous both for their size and goodness; great quantities of the Scotch breed are fed in the low part

of the country. The contents of this Riding are ahout 819,200 square statute acres, having about 350,000 in

pasturage and 150,000 in arable.-The CLIMATE of Yorkshire is, on the whole, considered salubrious, although

variable. In the North Hiding, along the coast next the Gennan ocean, which is very hilly, it is bleak and cold;

at the same time the air is pure and bracing: upon the moors, also, as may be expected from their height, the

cold is severely felt. In the West Riding the climate is in general moderate and pleasant, except in the easterll

part, where damps and fogs prevail. In the East Riding, in that part adjoining the sea, extending from the

Humber ttJ the North Riding, the air is very bleak, and the spring consequently backward; but from the Spurn

Head to Bridlington, the shore is low, and the effect of the cold winds is not so injuriously experienced.

MANUFACTURES, and MINES and MINERALS.-As a manufacturing district, Yorkshire must be acknow

ledged 'to be the second in the kingdom. The manufacture of woollen cloths, of every description, has been

brought to such a degree of perfection, as to compete with the hitherto unrivalled productions of the West of

England. The iron works, which contribute materially to the opulence of the com1ty, are very extensive. and

furnish employment to numbers of mechanics, miners, &c. SlJeffield is the ancient seat of the cutlery manu•

factme: every kind of article in cutlery at the present day is supplied by this town; besides joiners' tools of all

denominations, plated works, Britanma metal goods, &c. The principal towns in the county in the woollen

trade are Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Wakefield and Huddersfield, with the whole district of Saddleworth: these

places may be said to have almost monopolized the entire woollen manufacture of the kingdom; many towns

vf the \Vest, once important and prosperous, have in consequence dwindled into insignificance. At BarnsJey

the manufacture of linens is extensive; Dewsbury is famous for its blankets and flushings, as Rotherham is for

its glass and iron works; while Hull, Whitby, Goole and Scarborough are celebrated commercial sea-pons,

and have extensive yards for ship-building, &c.,-the latter place being also noted for its medicinal waters.

There are some towns in the county which partake with Lauc.:ashire in the cotton manufacture; others whero

carpets are made; and the city of York rossesses a trade iu glove making, and the manufacture of horn, ivory

and tortoise-shell combs.-The principa MINEII.AL PRODUCTIONS consist of copper, pyrites, copper combined

with imn and sulphur, lead ores io great variety and abundance, ores of zinc, &c. The North and East Ridings

abound with vat'ious sorts of stone for building, slate and lime-stone; and many parts of the county also enjOJ'

vet-y material advantages, and high importance, from the numerous coal-mines, which abundantly supply 'be

vanous manufacto1ies with fuel. The coa~Jt between Bl'idlington-quay and Wbitby is stored with fossil re114aius~  

RIVERS and MINERAL SPRINGS, CANALS and RAILWAYS.-The principal RIVERS ofYorkshire are the0USE1

the DoN, the CALDER1 the WHARFE, the AIRE, the Nmn aud the RIBBLE-these may be said to belong to the

West Riding; the others have connexion for the most part with the North and East R1dings, and are the Huu.,

the TEES, the OERWENT, the SwALE, the OusE, the Fuss and the EsKE. Besides those already named, there

are the Cover, the Greta, the Wisk, the Leven, the Rical, the Dove, the Seven and the Costa, with a multitude

of other insignificant stream~, which merely serve the purpose of turning a few mills. The Ouse (which takes

this name at York, being before its anival there called the Ure,) rises near the borders ofWestmoreland, and,

after collecting many tributary streams in the North Riding, flows ou to the Humber. The Don has its source

near Barnsley, and passing by Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Thorne, loses itself in the Aire at Snaith.

The Calder origiuates iiJ Lancashire, and, mnniug eastward, passes ·wakefield, five miles below which town it

falls into the Aire. The Wharfe springs fmm the foot of the Craven Hills, and, after a course of mo1·e than fifty

milf's across the Riding, discharges itself into the 011se. The Aire is a large 1iver, iss11ing out of the mountain

Penigent, in this county; it visits Leeds, Pontefract and Snaith, and joins the Don near to the last-named town.

The Nidd rises in Madesdale forest, near the source of the Aire, and, passing Ripley and Knaresbotough, be

comes tributary to the Ouse a few miles above York. The Hull descends from the eastern edge of the Wolds,

and falls into the Humber at Hull, contributing to form the port. The Tees has its source between the counties

of Westmoreland and Durham; through its whole course it divides the latter co11nty from the North Riding,

and is navigable for craft of thirty tons from the ocean to Yarm. The Derwent springs from the eastern moor

land~, within about four miles of the sea, and passes the town of Malton, to which it is navigable from the

Humber. The Swale rises in the district called Swaledale, on the borders of Westmoreland, and, flowing east

by Richmond, adds to the waters of the Ure below Aldborough. The Ure originates near the Westmoreland

border, and collecting, during its course thro11gh the beautiful vale of Wensley, numewus tributary streams,

loses its name in that of the 011se, near York (as before mentioned), and which, in its tum, is lost in that of

the H11mber. The Foss is an inconsiderable river that rises near the western end of the Howardian Hills, and

unites with the Ouse at York. The Eske descends from the northern district of the eastern moorlands, and

falls into the North sea at Whitby, after forming the innet· harbour of that port.-There are several MINERAL

SPRINGS in different parts of Yorkshire, the most celebrated of which are at the fashionable towns of Scarbo

rough and Harrogate. The waters of the former are chalybeate and saline, and are a compound of vitriol, iron,

alum, nitre and salt. The springs of Harrogate compnse several of sulphureous and cbalybeate properties;

they are numerously visited, and are highly esteemed by the faculty for curmg scorbutic, cutaneous and chronic

disorders.-The CANALS which intersect this county are n11merous, and of the first importance to its manufac

tm·es and commerce: by their means communications are formed between the Irish sea and the German ocean,

as well as with its great and navigable rivers. The canals of the West Riding are the Leeds and Liverpool, 130

miles in length; the Bamsley canal, which joins the river Calder below Wakefield; the Deame and Dove,

commenciQg at the cut of the Don navigation, between Swinton and Mexbrough, and communicating with the

Barnsley canal; the Stainforth and Keadby, which joins the 1·iver Trent, and is about fifteen miles in length;

and the Huddersfield canal, which unites with the Ashton and Oldham canal on the south side of Ashton, in

length nearly twenty miles. The canals of the North and East Ridings are, the Foss navigation, thirteen miles

in length; the Market Weighton canal; and a canal fmm Great Driffield to Hull, about seven miles in length.

Fmm Goole a canal passes westward to the river Aire (at Ferrybridge), and thus completes the water eommu

Jiication between that rising port and the manufact11ring districts of theWest Riding, as also with the co11nties

of Lancaster, Chester and Stafford. RAILWAYS :-These no\·el and rapid modes of transit for passenget·s aud

goods are ramifying through the length and breadth of the county. The Mancheste1· and Leeds enters the

county from Lancashire near Hebden Bridge, and, passing near Elland, Brighouse, Dewsbury and Wakefield,

joins the North Midland at Normanton, which proceeds to Leeds. The Leeds and Selby runs from Leeds, by

Whitchurch, Sherburn and Hambleton, to Selby-a line twenty miles in length. The Hull and Selby-, com

tnences at the former town, and terminates at the latter-a distance of thirty miles. The North Midland enters

from Derbyshire, five mils to the east of Sheffield, and, passing Rotherham, proceeds northerly to the east of

Bamsley, and terminates at Leeds. The York and North Midland commences at Yorlt: passing to the south

east of Tadcaster, and under the Leeds and Selby line, it joins the North Midland at Normanton, Pontefract

lying about four miles to the eastward. The Great North of England also commences at York, and terminates,

at present, at Darlington. The Sheffield and Manchester will proceed by Penistone into Lancashire. The

Whitby and Pickering is about twenty miles in length, and passes through a very picturesque country.

EcCLESIASTICAL and CIVIL DIVISIONS, and REPRESENTATION.-Yorkshire lS lll the province of York, one

r.ortion being in the diocess of York and the other in that of Diwm : this latter see was created in 1836, from

the extensive dioceses of York and Chester, and comprises m~ than half of the West Riding-embracing all

the clothing rlistricts about Leed$, Bradford, Halifax, &c., and extending over the liberty of Richmondshire, in

the North Riding. The·county is included in the northem circuit, and divided (as before stated) into three

Ridings. The East Riding is apportioned into five wapentakes, including Howdenshh·e, the liberty of St. Peter

at York and the ainsty of the city of York, York city, and the town and county of the town of Kiugston-upon

Jiull-the whole Riding containing two hundred and thirty-seven parishes. The North Riding is divided into

ten wapentakes, comprising one hundred and eighty-three parishes. The West Riding is subdivided into nine

wapentakes, in which are included the liberties of Ripou and Leeds, and the boro11gh and soke of Doncaster

the entire Ridins containin!$ one hm~tlred and ninety-three parishes. The whole county contains six hundred

and thirteen panshes, one c1ty and county town (York), and sixty other market towns. By the reform bill the

boroughs ofAldborough, Boroughbridge and Hedon were disfranchised, and Northallerton and Thirsk lost one

membet· each. Under the same act the following towns obtained the right of representation, namely, Bradford,

Halifa.x, Leeds and Sheffield-these return two members each; and Huddersfield, Wakefield and Whitby one

each: the Ridings now !!end two members each, n)aldng six county (or Riding) members, instead of four, as

heretofore. The whole shire, bv these alterations, returns thirty-seven representatives to parliament, instead

of thirty-two, as before the passing of the bill. The several towns now represented are distinguished by an

asterisk (~) in the annexed table. Undm· the pmvisions of the boundary act, the return of members for the

East Ridmg is made from Bevel'ley, and the polling takes place, besides, at Hull, Driffield, Pocklington, Brid

lington, Howden, Hedon and Settnngton; the North Riding returns from York, and polls, besides, at Malton,

Scarborough, Whituy, Stokesley, Guisborough, Romaldkirk, Richmond, Askrigg, Thirsk, Northallerton and

Kirkby-Moor-Side; the West Riding returns from Wakefield, and polls also at Sheffield, Doncaster, Snaith, Hud

dersfiel~ Halifax, Bradford, Barnsley, Leeds, Keighley, Settle, Knaresborough, Skipton, Pately Bridge and Dent.

PoPULATION, &c.-By the census for 1831 Yorkshire contained 677,601 male!r, and 693,695 females-total,

1,371,296: being an increase, since the ret11ms made in the year 1821, of 198,109 inhabitants; and, fmm the

census of 1801 to that of 1831. the augmentation amounted to 512,404 persons. According to the returns for

1831, the population of the Ridings was as follows :-EAsT RIDING, 168,646; NoRTH RIDING,190,873; WEst

RIDING, 976,415; and the CITY and AINSTY, 35,362 (total, as above, '1,371,296).-The annual value of Real

Property in the several Ridings, as assessed April, 1815, was as follows: EAST RIDING, £1,120,434; CITY of

YoRK and NNSTY1 £69,892; No~tTH RIDING, £1,166,948; \YEST RIDING, £2,396,222-Total, £5,753,496,