town acres erected church
HALIFAX, a municipal and parliamentary borough and market-town of England, in the northern division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, is situated on a gentle acclivity almost surrounded by hills, on the small river Hebble near its junction with the Calder, 7 miles south-west of Bradford. Originally its streets were narrow and
irregular, but many of the older houses have been pulled down and new streets opened up, while the constant additions made to it through the rapid increase of population have completely changed its appearance. The principal buildings are the parish church of St John, the restoration of which was completed in 1879 at a cost of £16,000, a structure in the Perpendicular style, of
different dates, and having the western tower 117 feet in height ; All Souls Church, begun in 1859 from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott, and erected at the expense of Mr Edward Akroyd, in the Early Decorated style, very richly ornamented with statues and carvings in Italian marble, serpentine, and alabaster, and consisting of nave, aisles, transepts, and chancel, with a very graceful tower and
spire at the north-west angle 236 feet in height, and a sacristy at the north-east ; the Square Church, erected by the Congregationalists in 1857 at a cost of £16,000, an ornate cruciform building with a tower and elaborate crocketed spire rising to a height of 235 feet ; the town-hall, completed in 1863 after the designs of Sir Charles Barry at a cost of £40,000;
the infirmary, a large and elegant building in which medical and surgical aid is afforded to outdoor as well as indoor patients; the Waterhouse charity school, a handsome set of buildings forming three sides of a quadrangle, erected in 1855; the Crossleyalmshouses, erected and endowed by Sir Francis and Mr Joseph Crossley ; the piece-hall, a large quadrangular structure occupying more than 2
acres of ground, erected in 1799 for the lodgment and sale of piece goods, but now used as a market for fish and vegetables; the free grammar school, founded in 1585 under royal charter for instruction in the classical languages ; the Crossley orphan home and school, built by the Crossley brothers at a cost of £46,000 ; the museum, the oddfellows'
hall, the working men's college, the mechanics' institute, the assembly and concert rooms, and the theatre. There are three public parks, viz., Savile Park, 50 acres in extent ; the People's Park, 121 acres, laid out in a highly ornamental style from the designs of Sir Joseph Paxton, and presented to the town in 1858 by Sir Francis Crossley ; and the Shrogg's Park, 25 acres, opened in 1877. The
North Bridge, a fine structure of iron, spans the Hebble valley in two arches. Halifax derives its importance from its manufactures of cloth, which began in the 15th century. It ranks in Yorkshire with Leeds, Bradford, and Huddersfield as a seat of the woollen and worsted manufacture. The principal staples are carpets, cashmeres, orleanses, coburgs, merinoes, lastings, alpacas, damasks, baizes,
broad and narrow cloths, kerseymeres, blankets, muslin-de-laines, shalloons, and figured vestings. A considerable number of persons are employed in iron. works, machine works, and chemical works, and in the neighbouring coal-mines and stone quarries. The borough sends two members to parliament. The parish is the largest in Great Britain, embracing 79,200 acres. The population of the municipal and
parliamentary borough in 1861 was 37,014, and in 1871 (with an extended area of 3704 acres) 65,510.
Two derivations are given for the name Halifax. According to Camden it means "holy hair," and lie accounts for the origin of the name from the fact that the head of a virgin who had been murdered by a wicked clerk was suspended on a tree in the neighbourhood, which came to be much resorted to by pilgrims. According to another
account, the name means "holy face," and is derived from an image of St John once preserved in a neighbouring hermitage. The first mention of the town is in the 12th century, when its church was granted by William, earl of Warren, to the priory of Lewes in Sussex. When its manufactures commenced in the beginning of the 15th century the number of its houses was only 15, but they had increased in
1540 to 520. It is said to have received a considerable accession to its inhabitants and impulse to its prosperity from the merchants who lied from the Netherlands to escape the persecution carried out under the auspices of the duke of Alva. In 1642 it was garrisoned. by the forces of the parliament, and near it at a place still called the Bloody Field an engagement took place between them and
the royalists. In the forest of Hardwick, then coextensive with the parish of Halifax, there at one time existed a custom called the "Gibbet Law," according to which any person suspected to be in the unlawful possession of goods to the value of 13d. was tried by the frith-burghers of the liberty, and if condemned was executed on a market day by a kind of axe resembling the modern guillotine. The
last execution took place in 1650. A number of eminent men have been born in the town or neighbourhood of Halifax, including the mathematician Henry Briggs, Archbishop Tillotson, Sir Henry Savile, and John Foster. Daniel Defoe resided for some time in the town.
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