History of Widdop


myself at 'Worlds End' farm ruins Widdop,Heptonstall

on 17th & 18th Century pages of a map
''All Widdop tenants 1572-1841''

Medieval page
''Archaeological finds''


Widdop Valley lies approximately 5 miles to the north-west of Hebden Bridge and 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 which consisted of four, leasehold, farmsteads;
  WADSWORTH to the north-east, principally tenanted farms leased by the Savile Estate in 2 'clusters'--
  Higher Houses
  Lower Houses
  and 2 individual farms--New Laithe Hey and Pastures House
  THIS SITE is MAINLY concerned with the settlements and community at WIDDOP to the NORTH-EAST i.e. in WADSWORTH ''township''-------------however; I have now added a page related to HEPTONSTALL [2013]

  Most visitors to this site will probably know Widdop having visited on one of the above activities. Widdop is an oval shaped, wide valley [Widdop means 'wide-valley'] enclosed by rocky crags at the top of the Pennines very close to the Lancashire border. 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, which managed to 'finish off' the decline of the community which had existed since at least the 16th century, according to the documentary evidence. Earliest mention of Wydhope was in the 1379 Poll Tax.

calderdale area map
widdop map

Starting point

  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.


  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.


  Each historical section includes paragraphs which explain
  1.The national context
  2.The local context
  3.The archives
  4.Analysis of archives
  I would advise you to refer to the archives BEFORE the 'analysis'!

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 Library
and Huddersfield[Kirklees] Library
  Nottingham County Archive Office,Nottingham

  Savile Estate Office, Dewsbury

Lancashire County Record office, Preston

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