Marsden, West Yorkshire

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Marsden Mill.jpg
Marsden Mill, formerly Bank Bottom Mill, which closed in 2003
Marsden is located in West Yorkshire
Marsden shown within West Yorkshire
Population 3,499 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference SE048116
• London 160 mi (260 km) SE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HD7
Dialling code 01484
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
List of places
53°36′04″N 1°55′36″W / 53.6011°N 1.9267°W / 53.6011; -1.9267Coordinates: 53°36′04″N 1°55′36″W / 53.6011°N 1.9267°W / 53.6011; -1.9267

Marsden is a large village within the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees district, in West Yorkshire, England. It is 7 miles (11 km) west of Huddersfield and located at the confluence of the River Colne and the Wessenden Brook. It was an important centre for the production of woollen cloth, focused at Bank Bottom Mill, which closed in 2003. According to a 2008 mid-year estimate the village has a population of 4,440.[1]


Marsden grew wealthy in the 19th century from the production of woollen cloth. It is still home to Bank Bottom Mill, later known as Marsden Mill, and home to John Edward Crowther Ltd, formerly one of the largest mills in Yorkshire. The Crowthers moved to Marsden in 1876, beginning a long and profitable association with cloth manufacturing in the town.[2][3]

During the 1930s Bank Bottom Mill covered an area of 14 acres, employed 680 looms, and provided employment for 1,900 workers.[4]

The present Church of St Bartholomew was completed in 1899, although the nave and aisle had been in use from 1895, when the previous chapel was demolished. The tower was built in 1911, and the Parochial Hall in 1924 (with an extension in 1978). The church has a peal of ten bells.[5]

Production of woollen cloth at Bank Bottom Mill ceased in 2003, with the loss of 244 jobs.[4]


St Bartholomew's Church

Marsden is the last significant settlement on the West Yorkshire side of Standedge crossing of the Pennines into Greater Manchester. The village is surrounded on three sides by the high moors which are called Marsden Moor and Meltham Moor although Saddleworth Moor is very close. Saddleworth Moor is known for the place of burial for the Moors murders. Marsden has low level access only from the east along the Colne Valley.

Marsden Moor Estate, which surrounds Marsden to the west and south, and includes several reservoirs, is in the care of the National Trust. The Trust is developing new techniques to rehabilitate the moor.[citation needed]

Butterley Reservoir with its distinctive spillway is one of the reservoirs near Marsden.[6] In chronostratigraphy, the British sub-stage of the Carboniferous period, the Marsdenian derives its name from Marsden.


Several generations of tracks and roads have crossed the moors at this point. There are two distinctive packhorse bridges in the town (Mellor Bridge by the church, and Close Gate Bridge at the edge of the moor to the east of the village), whilst the current A62 main road crosses through the Standedge cutting some 2.5 miles (4 km) to the west. Both the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Huddersfield to Manchester railway also pass through Marsden, entering the parallel rail and canal Standedge Tunnels about half a mile (0.8 km) to the west of the town. Marsden railway station is located in the village on the railway line.


Mellor Bridge, one of Marsden's two packhorse bridges, with St Bartholomew's Church in the background

The Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team has its headquarters in Marsden. Operating from two bays of Marsden Fire Station, the volunteer team provides rescue cover for surrounding moorland areas, and also assists West Yorkshire Police with searches for missing people. The team was founded in 1965 and was originally based in Meltham before relocating to Marsden in 2005.

Marsden football club, Marsden AFC, play their home matches at the Fall Lane ground. In its centenary year the 1st team were promoted from the West Riding County Amateur League Division 1, and played in the West Riding County Amateur Premier Division for the 2008–09 season.

Above the village at Hemplow, on Mount Road (at the terminus of the Hard End bus service), is a sports ground which hosts Marsden's cricket,[7] golf and tennis clubs, as well as Hemplow Bowling Club. The cricket club, formed in 1865, runs two teams in the Drake's Huddersfield Cricket League[8] and teams in five age groups in the Huddersfield Junior Cricket League.[9]


Marsden Silver Prize Band is the local silver band.[10] The village hosts festivals and cultural events throughout the year. Marsden Cuckoo Day, a day-long festival held annually in Spring (April), holds clog dancing, a duck race, music, a procession and a "cuckoo walk". The Marsden Jazz Festival[11] is held every October, and the winter Imbolc Festival, in which the 'triumph of the Green Man' (who represents the coming spring), over Jack Frost (the winter) is celebrated with fire juggling and giant puppets.[12] Marsden is the home of Mikron Theatre Company,[13] the world's only professional theatre company to tour by Narrowboat.

Marsden's 'Cuckoo Day festival' is named after a local legend of the Marsden Cuckoo:

"Many years ago the people of Marsden were aware that when the cuckoo arrived, so did the Spring and sunshine. They tried to keep Spring forever, by building a tower around the Cuckoo. Unfortunately, as the last stones were about to be laid, away flew the cuckoo. If only they'd built the tower one layer higher. As the legend says, it 'were nobbut just wun course too low'."[14][15]



In 2010 Marsden gained Walkers are Welcome status in recognition of its well-maintained footpaths, facilities and information for walkers and ramblers.[16]


Tunnel End in Marsden, the eastern entrance to Standedge Tunnel.
Peel Street, the main street of Marsden, with the Mechanics Institute.


Bus services run by First West Yorkshire operates the main services between Huddersfield and Marsden. A local service run by JRT, runs around the Marsden area, before continuing to Slaithwaite. A Trans-Pennine service between Huddersfield and Manchester, jointly operated by First Greater Manchester and First West Yorkshire, passes through the village. Until 1963 it was a Huddersfield trolleybus terminus.


Marsden has its own railway station, which is based to the north of the village. operated by Northern services along the Huddersfield Line between Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly railway station with some Sunday journeys running to Leeds.


Marsden is accessed via the A62 between Oldham and Huddersfield, although drivers may need to take care when travelling along the A62, as the road between Oldham and Huddersfield, in particular the stretch of road between Marsden and Diggle was named the 4th dangerous road in Britain in 2003-2005.[17]

Use as filming location

Marsden is popular as a location for television and film productions. These productions have used the village:[citation needed]

Notable people

Marsden was the birthplace of Henrietta Thompson, the mother of General James Wolfe who took Quebec from the French in 1759.

Marsden is also where Enoch Taylor was buried. Enoch Taylor was the blacksmith who built the first automatic croppers. The name Enoch was used for the hammers that the Luddites used to smash them. The Luddites used the slogan "Enoch made them, and Enoch shall break them."[18]

Further reading

  • Pearson, Irene E., Marsden Through the Ages, (1984), ISBN 978-0950953304


  1. ^ Kirklees Council mid-year estimate 2008 Archived 9 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Archived 12 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 2013
  3. ^ Huddersfield Daily Examiner Retrieved December 2013
  4. ^ a b Retrieved December 2013
  5. ^ "Church and Chapel in Marsden". Marsden Local History Group. Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  6. ^ "Butterley Spillway, Marsden". Victorian Society.
  7. ^ "Marsden CC, Yorkshire".
  8. ^ Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League Website Archived 7 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "HJCL - Sellers Huddersfield Junior Cricket League". Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  10. ^ "Marsden Band - General news for Entertainers".
  11. ^ "Marsden Jazz Festival".
  12. ^ "Night of fire and fun as Imbolc festival returns to Marsden". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  13. ^ Mikron Theatre Company Archived 22 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Marsden Cuckoo Festival preview". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Trinity Mirror North West and North Wales Limited. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Open Country". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Marsden". Walkers are Welcome. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Britain's most dangerous roads". BBC News. 25 June 2007.
  18. ^ "Luddites". Marsden History Group. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2007.

External links

Media related to Marsden, West Yorkshire at Wikimedia Commons

  • Marsden Local History Group web site.
  • The website of Mikron Theatre Company
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