Hebden Township Historical Data

Hebden Census 1851 - Age Profiles

The ages seem to be more accurately recorded than in the 1841 census. The average age was 25, and the median age was 20.

The following chart shows the percentage of the population over a given age. It gives an indication of mortality rates and life expectancy. The indication from these figure is that only half of the population were living beyond their teens.

Hebden Census 1851 - Surnames

A number of family names dominate the census, with three surnames being shared by a quarter of the population. The following surnames occur ten or more times in the census. This table can be sorted by clicking on a column heading.

Surname Number
Baines 14
Birch 26
Brown 18
Hammond 11
Hardacre 13
Hodgson 15
Joy 32
Metcalfe 13
Newbold 12
Pickles 16
Rodwell 13
Walker 11
Whitacre 29
Wiggan 30
Worsley 16

Hebden Census 1851 - Employment

Unlike the previous census, an attempt has been made to record the occupation for the whole population. Some people record more than one occupation, especially the farmers with small holdings. If a farmer works in the lead mining industry, for example, both his employments will be included in the statistics below, but this will not have a significant effect on the figures.

People with no recorded occupation

212 people, or 46% of the population, are recorded as having no paid occupation. All those without such occupation are children, wives, and a few young daughters.

Occupation Number
Annuitants 5
Paupers 9
No occupation recorded 126
Scholars 72

The main industries

The main occupations recorded relate to the textile industry, the lead mining industry, and farming. The following figures indicate the occupations that can be definitively assigned to an industry - the stonemasons and carpenters, for example, could also have been working at the mines, and the 'Mechanic' probably worked for the mill.

Industry Number
Farming 55
Lead mining 81
Textiles 76
Others 44


The textile mill powered by water was built in 1791, and was a three-storey building built alongside the corn mill at the bottom end of the village. It housed 54 spinning frames and was productive until 1870 when it was driven out of business by the more efficient stream-driven machinery of the industrial revolution. It handled both cotton and worsted. In 1851, 76 of the Hebden township were employed by the mill, about a third of the working population. 55 of the 76 were women.

Occupation Number Description
Carders 1 Operators who prepared wool fibre for spinning using a machine
Cotton blowers 1 Operators of a blowing machine used to clean and separate fibres
Cotton doffers 7 Operators who loads empty bobbins and unloads full bobbins from a spinning machine
Cotton rovers 2 Operators of a machine which prepared the carded fibre into rolls
Cotton spinners 21 Operators who spun fibres into yarns
Cotton warpers 2 Operators who arranged the individual yarns which created the warp of the fabric
Drawers 2 Operator who organises the pattern of threads, taking threads from several beams of thread to form a pattern.
Managers 1 Very big boss man
Overlookers of cotton spinners 1 Big boss man
Power loom weavers 26 Operators of power weaving looms
Scourers 1 Operators who cleansed the wool / cotton
Sliver ligets 1 Highly likely this is a transcription problem of illegible material!
Winders 6 Operators who wound the thread onto weaving looms
Wool combers 4 An operator of a carding machine that teased the wool out into a fine web of intermingled fibres

Lead mining industry

81 people, about 36% of the working population, were employed in the lead mining industry, of whom 9 also indicated they were farmers, and so were probably part time. There were no mines in the Hebden Royalty at the time, so it is likely they were working in the mines on Grassington Moor. The youngest person in the industry was a nine-year old lead ore dresser, and there were nine boys under 15 doing that job. The youngest working underground was 12 years old.

Occupation Number Inc. part time Description
Lead ore miners 47 6 Underground workers
Lead ore dressers 29 2 Sorted excavated material into non-ore rocks, ore-bearing rocks, and ore
Lead ore smelters 5 1 Smelted pellets of galena (lead ore) into lead by heating


55 people, about 25% of the working population, were employed in the farming industry. The 29 farm holdings varied between 5 acres and 300 acres, with an average of 49 acres, and a median of 21 acres. 17 of the 29 farmers had other occupations nine of which was in the lead mining industry. In several cases the occupation of a younger member of a family was 'Farmer's daughter' or 'Farmer's son'. It is assumed that this indicated that they were working on the farm.

Occupation Number
Farmers 29
Farm labourers 12
Farmer's daughters 4
Farmer's sons 10

The Children

Most, but not all, of the children four years and over went to school, with the occupation of 72 of them being given as'Scholars', with 19 children between 4 and 10 years old not being recorded as being 'Scholars'. There are claims that a few children attended school as young as two, but this seems unlikely.There is one 'School mistress' recorded, and one 'School master and Clark'.

Most children had left school by the age of 10 and were in employment, but a few stayed in education with Horatio Bowdin Joy being described as a scholar at the age of 15. The youngest children recorded as being in employment are Joseph Rodell, who is described as an errand boy, and Stephen Birch who worked in the cotton mill, both 8 years old. The youngest child working in the lead mining industry was 9-year old Thomas Wiggan who worked as a lead ore dresser. The youngest lead miner was John Dodgson, aged 12.

Where people were born

The 1851 census and later ones gave a more precise indication of where people were born. The following chart depicts the 'localness' of the population in terms of where they were born. Region 1 is Hebden and the surrounding villages Appletreewick, Burnsall, Cracoe, Grassington, Greenhow Hill, Hartlington, Linton, Thorpe and Threshfield. Region 2 encompasses the area within an easy day's travel and the Skipton hinterland, and includes Pateley Bridge. Region 3 includes the neighbouring large towns such as Leeds, Bradford, and Burnley and Dales villages slightly further afield, and Region 4 covers anything further afield.