Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
Website logo - Click to go to Home page



CHAPTER VI.

Wakefield in Queen Anne's Time.

Wakefield slowly grew, its streets extended as the population increased, and the houses improved with trade and the social condition of the inhabitants. The registers of the Parish are the best indications of the growth of populations.
En passant I may mention the house of Mr. Wild, plumbers Kirkgate, in which there is carved on the oak beam this inscription, "This hous was buyldt Anno. M.D.L.iii, farst yere of queen Marye the farst, by John Bunny," a gentleman of property, whose crest (a rabbit) may be traced on several houses in and near the town. Richard Bunny, of Bunny Hall, near Wakefield, was buried at the Parish Church of Wakefield, 1535.
The Market Cross, in Cross Square (some of the pillars of which stand at the rear of Mr. Fennell's house, the others form the entrance to Mr. Clarkson's, Alverthorpe Hall), was pulled down in 1866. It was the most striking link between the Wakefield of the past and present. lt was built by subscription in the reign of Queen Anne, and was a square erection of sixty yards, standing on eight pillars, and the centre of a weekly market place, with a circular wooden staircase by which the Cross Chamber was reached. There the public business used to be conducted by the head Constables, Overseers, and Surveyors. It was the Town Hall in fact. Three of the Constables I remember were John Brierley (who wore a black dress coat), and Carter and Sunderland, dressed in green coats, with gilt buttons and drab trousers, and with gilt bound round their tall hats. They were very important individuals.

Wakefield cloth trade had made a spurt at this time, and found marts at Huddersfield, Leeds, and more distant places, leading to the erection in 1777, by subscription, of the Tammy Hall (a long brick building on the site of the Police Station), for the sale of Tammies, camlets, white cloths, &c. It was bought by Messrs. Thomas Marriott and Sons, and used as a worsted mill, when the cloth trade flagged in consequence of the introduction of worsted cloths, which, being cheaper, injured the woollen stuffs. Cheapside up to that time was entirely occupied by woolstaplers.

Dating back to Anne's time was also a town's pump, which stood where is now the west gate of the Parish Church. It was a plain square wooden structure on a stone pedestal. There were also stone tanks between the North and South buttresses of the Church to catch the rain water from the roof, and I have often seen men and women taking the water away in pails for washing purposes. A double stocks once stood on the ground at the rear of Mr. Ibbotson's shop. Cottages, with thatched roofs, skirted the Churchyard on the North. They were the dwellings of the priests in former days, while to the left, round by Mr. Chappell's buildings, you turned into Goody-bower - a thoroughfare devoted to play and flirtation, with a wall on the south-east side, and gates leading to gardens held by tradesmen.

In 1800 the three commissioners under the Paving Act bought for £21 a cellar under the dwelling of James Illingworth near the Boy and Barrel, used as a kidcote, in order to improve the street. It was a dungeon four yards square. A building near the Nag's Head in George Street was then used as a lock-up, and I knew it when Mr Hampson occupied it as a whitesmith's shop. The lock-up was removed into King Street (now in the occupation of the Wakefield Waterworks), under the new Act in 1840. The old stocks near by the "cellar" were burnt in a bonfire at a "fifth of November celebration" in-the Bull Ring.


JGC Logo Valid HTML5 Logo HTML5 Logo Valid CSS3 Logo JGC Logo
Copyright logo
This page (wfdchap6.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013