Most visitors to this site will probably already know Widdop having visited on one of the activities mentioned earlier. Widdop is an oval shaped, wide valley enclosed by rocky crags at the top of the Pennines very close to the Lancashire border. In the 1379 Poll Tax it is recorded as 'Wydhope' literally meaning 'wide-valley'. Though remote, high up, windswept, almost treeless and with poor soil, it's sheltered, bowl shape was always going to attract settlement, particularly on the south facing slopes.
Much of the valley floor is now filled by the Yorkshire Water Board's reservoir, originally completed by 1878. This 'finished off' the decline of the community which according to the documentary evidence, had existed since at least the 16th century.
As an amateur genealogist and historian, inevitably I've worked 'backwards' and have therefore begun with the CENSUS INFORMATION at Widdop, Wadsworth 1841—1901 as a 'point of reference' in the FIRST SECTION on MID-19th CENTURY. [ I have not included every detail but they are readily available to most people at various sources including Halifax Library, West Yorkshire Archive Services and via Ancestry.co, on line, either by private subscription or at any local library, free, for one hour per day].
It's always important to keep in mind that the bulk of the site is concerned with Widdop, WADSWORTH--there is a separate page for Widdop, HEPTONSTALL.
Also, please keep in mind that my original focus was researching my SHACKLETON FAMILY HISTORY which gradually expanded to include whatever documentary evidence was available.
1.The lists of tenants are for ALL Wadsworth township which rarely SPECIFY Widdop.
2. The lists are complete recording all available 'UNFREE' and 'FREE' tenants; where there are gaps there are NO lists.
Widdop Valley, containing it's reservoir, has attracted increasing numbers of visitors in recent years; walkers,hikers,cyclists,bikers,fell-runners,rock climbers, motorists, occasional T.V. documenters, film makers [Peterloo 2019] and even some genealogists like me!! Accordingly there has been an increase in the numbers of people asking questions;------- who lived here?
how many people lived here?
what did they do?
was there a village centre?
how many buildings were there?
This site seeks to answer some of these questions using the large amount of archive evidence which DOES exist and to make as much of this available to any visitor of this site.
[if you want to contact me;----- [email protected]]
Many thanks must be expressed to the staff of the various offices I've visited ; I've quoted the available references on the enclosed 'documents'. The offices were--
Halifax Library; Local Reference Section
West Yorkshire Archive Services[WYAS] at
Halifax [Calderdale] and
Nottingham County Archive Office,Nottingham
Lancashire County Record office, Preston
Each historical section includes paragraphs which explain
1.The national context
2.The local context
4.Analysis of archives
I would advise you to refer to the archives BEFORE the 'analysis'!
NEW IMPROVED LINK on
My Widdop Shackletons page
''Tracking ALL Shackletons ''
FREE and UNFREE tenants
on My Widdop Shackletons page
''List of my Shackleton graves''
Widdop Valley lies approximately 5 miles to the north-west of Hebden Bridge and the village of Heptonstall in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.
The valley was originally divided by the stream, Hebden Water, which marked the boundary line between the two 'townships' of HEPTONSTALL [to the south-west] and WADSWORTH [to the north-east]
Superimposed 1715 map of Widdop, WADSWORTH to north-east [from Savile Survey 1715] on 1851 OS map showing 'superimposed' reservoir and Widdop, HEPTONSTALL to south west