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History of



The Reason Why

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             NEW LINKS            on 'Widdop Heptonstall' page  including 'Lathmans Farm'             

calderdale area map
widdop map

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]


      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.




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.                                                                





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, on line, either by private subscription or at any local library, free, for one hour per day].

      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;-----]


   Each historical section includes which explain -----

             1. The national context

             2. The local context

             3. The archives                          

             4. An analysis of the archives                            

I would advise 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] and                          

        Huddersfield[Kirklees] Library


         Nottingham County Archive Office,Nottingham


        Lancashire  County Record office, Preston

                                                       NEW IMPROVED LINK on  

My Widdop Shackletons page

 ''Tracking ALL Shackletons ''    

 FREE and UNFREE tenants      



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

 Myself at  'Wood Plumpton' farm ruins in 2021 [now thought to be 'Lathmans']  at Widdop, Heptonstall where my ancestors lived 1658-1777

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