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Ismay Writings 2

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Some Account of the PARISH of Mirfield (By Mr Ismay).
To a Friend in Cumberland.
1755.


Mirfield, ager ad ericetum, a manor lying near a heath or moor, as ager eboracensis, Yorkshire. The parish is situated on the sides of two hills, between which a fine river runsthrough it.
Over the river, which is called Calder, are two bridges, one of them stands on eight wooden piers, and measures above 281 feet in length.

There are three corn mills here, and the same number for pulling of broad cloth, which is manufactured here and, in neighbouring towns. This is a large populous village, and, in general, is well built. It is bounded on the North by the parish of Birstal, to the South by the parishes of Thornhill and Kirkheaton, and to the East by Dewsbury, and to the West by the Parochial Chapelry of Hartshead.

It is about two miles in breadth from W. to E., two and a half miles from N. to S.; and in circumference near eight miles. It is divided into six hamlets, and contains about 8,000 acres of land, viz: 2,000 of arable, 400 of waste or common, and 600 of woodland. Sir George Savile, of Rufford, Notts., Bart., is Lord of the Manor. There is a fair or feast on Ascension Day, held near the Vicarage.

The price of provision is variable. Wheat is sold at present for 19s. 6d. per load, i.e. 24 gallons, which is your Cumberland bushel. It is sold at 4s. 6d. statute measure, three of which makes your Wakefield load. Barley is at 20s. per quarter; Oatmeat is 1 8s. 6d. per load. I.e. 5s. per bushel, or 15s. the Cumberland bushel. The load consists of 9 strokes, containing 86 ga11., which is one bushel and a half of your measure. Beef is from 2d. to 3d. per lb.; mutton and veal about the same price at different seasons of the year; butter from 5d. to 6d., and cheese from 3d. to 4d. per lb.

The number of houses are about 406, and allowing 5 persons to each house, the number of inhabitants will be 2,175. Land is let in general for about 30s. per acre, taxes included.

A roasting pig is sold for 2s.; a turkey and goose at Christmas 2s. 6d. each; a green goose 1s. and 1s. 6d. or 1s. 8d. at the latter end of the harvest; chickens 4d. generally; a hen 7d. and ducks 8d. Agistment or pasture for cows and fat cattle is 35s. or 2. Hay is 2d. or 3d. per stone, or sometimes 6d.

Much Clover is grown in the parish and made into hay. There is no copyhold land, but upwards of 40 freeholders in the parish.

Day labouring men's wages is 12d., carpenters and masons ls. 3d. tailors 6d. and their victuals; men servants for husbandry 7d., clothiers 5d., maids about 50s. per annum. There are about 100 pair of looms for weaving of broad cloth, 200 persons employed in making of cloth, 400 in carding. spinning, and preparing wool for the looms, consequently no less than 600 persons are employed in the woollen manufacture carried on in this place.

The Church is not large, but it has two aisles and two galleries, which in the summer season can but just contain ye number of persons that attend divine worship. It was enlarged,  and the N. side new built in the year 1666. It is now 74 feet long and 89 in width. There is a tower steeple 47 feet high, which contains eight musical bells, which were cast and hung about 30 years ago.

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