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A History and Description.

By Rev. W.H. Jones - 1907.

Sample text :-

' In 1752-3 a slight check must have been given to the prosperity of Bradford by an epidemic of small-pox. It lasted from July till the following May. There died 189; 1267 are said to have recovered, and 127 to have been inoculated. We may conjecture that about one third of the population were attacked; but the ratio of deaths to attacks, 12-98 per cent., was not nearly so high as is usual in unvaccinated persons nowadays.'}

The rest of the history of our town may be shortly told. From the middle of the last century till within some sixteen years ago, it is hardly more than a continued record of successful industry. In the course of years one improvement after another was introduced into the manufacture of cloth. Trade increased, — our manufacturers became wealthy,— employment attracted numbers to our town. So abundant, indeed, was employment, that the wool after having undergone various processes to fit it to be spun into yarn was carried for that purpose to spinners residing not only in all the neighbouring villages, but as far as Salisbury Plain. The names of Tugwell, — Atwood, — [Gam,] — Head [with the unusual prenomen of Jehoshaphat],—Bethel,—Strawbridge,— Stevens,— Phelps,— &c. ;— names not yet forgotten in the town,—bear ample testimony to the success that in the latter portion of the last century attended the spirit and industry of the clothiers of Bradford.

[Other names of interest, or which still occur in the town, may be found in the lists of jurymen at the local courts, or of the manorial officers ; thus in 1747, Daniel Clutterbuck, steward of the manor, Thos. Saunders, bailiff; in 1765, Edward Orpin, coroner of the market (the subject of Gainsborough's famous *picture of " The Parish Clerk"); also Deverell, Timbrell, Dory, Gingell, Moore, Spencer, Gaisford, Eudman, Gerrish, Renison, Sartain, Spender, Pitman. In 1747 the tithingman for Holt was Thomas Tartanweaver: was this a new surname coined for a Scotch immigrant, and was tartan popular here while forbidden in the Highlands ? In the same year we find also the following still extant names on the Roll of the Borough, viz., Batchelor, Batten, Bendal, Blanchard, Baily, Beverstock, Bull, Burgess, Burcombe, Coles, Crook, Edwards, Ellet (Elliot), Ferris, Huntley, Kemp, Kite, Miles, Milsom, Morris, Price, Pearce, Porch, Siiby, Skrine, Sparks, Stillman, Tucker .

Then came the introduction of machinery, and with it the Factory System. Then the weavers and others employed in the manufacture of cloth, instead of plying their craft, as heretofore, in their own cottages were collected into large buildings, many of them erected for the special purpose of receiving them. At the commencement of this century, no less than thirty-two of these were at work in our town, every building, in fact, which could be converted to the purpose being made one of these hives of industry. Even the " Chapel of our Lady " on Tory could not escape such a doom in an age, when utility, so far as money-making was concerned, was the sole standard by which all things were judged. And yet what more striking monitor could there be than the ceaseless ' click ' of the ' weaver's shuttle' that life is far too short, too uncertain, to allow us safely to engross our energies in the pursuit of earthly riches!

It was not, indeed, without a struggle that the employers thus brought in a new order of things. On the introduction of the spinning jennies, and the carding machines, no disturbance had arisen, however much men may secretly have murmured against them. But when a step further was taken, then their murmurs broke out into open resistance. On the evening of May 14, 1791, a tumultuous mob of nearly 500 persons assembled before the house of Mr Phelps an eminent clothier of the town.... '

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