Hamlet Statistics

Each of the settlement groups referred to in these pages has statistics which have been extracted from the relevant censuses. As far as I know, this work has not been done before.

Because of the nature of the landscape and climate, the Marsden area did not have the Midlands-style settlement pattern of a centrally-placed village with a few outlying farms (the first caused by the open field system of arable farming, the second by Enclosure - see Hoskins, The Making of the English Landscape). The pattern in Marsden is one of piecemeal clearances of the forest and 'waste', marked by scattered farmsteads and small, irregularly-shaped fields.

As a result, it is difficult to be precise about the boundaries of the settlement groups around Marsden. They are better described as areas than hamlets. Clough Lee seems to be an exception to this, however. The number of households in Clough Lee changed very little, even though there was a massive in crease in population elsewhere. In 1881, there were 30 households; 10 years later there were 35 . The 3 new houses can still be seen, attached to the ends of the old cottages, and there were no additions in the 20th Century.

The population of Clough Lee was unusual, too, because it declined in number in the 1880's, from 141 in 1881 to 127 in 1891. However, this is unusual. The expansion of Clough Lee, such as it was, took place 1841-1881. In 1841, there were only 11 households, so Clough Lee trebled in size in the 40 years after that date.

Planks was similarly of a piece, mainly due to the geographical barriers of the two rivers. Apart from these two examples, however, the 'hamlets' in these pages consist of the main homesteads, called the name of the hamlet in the censuses, plus nearby farms and houses. With new building, these included dwellings were added to, and where possible I have included a list of such peripheral dwellings.

Dates of buildings in Marsden

pre-1650   Building in Towngate (13) is claimed to be the oldest.
1610   Higher Green Owlers. Verified by datestone. It was once a local brewery on the packhorse road to Rochdale.
1616   The Manor House. John Wesley stayed here when he preached in Marsden in 1746.
1671   Green Top
1674   Clark Hill
1670   White Hall Farm, rebuilt 1855
1685   Berry Greave. This was the original centre of the Baptist movement in Marsden, till it became too small.
1744   Planks
1745   The Two Dutchmen Inn, Towngate
1770   The Traveller's Rest, Chain Road
1772   Stubbins
1773   Steep Farm
1775   Mellors Bridge, at Clough Lee
1782   Clough Lee cottages
1797   Idle Row
1798   Snailhorn Bridge, at the bottom of Peel Street. The present bridge was built in 1891.
1798   Kaye's Bridge at the bottom of Towngate. Replaced in 1876.
1860   Robinson's Mill built in Clough Lee
1861   Marsden Mechanics Institute
1867   Bank Bottom Mills built by John Crowther
1889   1 Clough Lea, by William Holroyd of Smithy Holme