Hebden Township Historical Data

Hebden Census 1861 - Age Profiles

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 over a half of the population were now living beyond their teens, with 50% surviving to the age of 22. The average age was 25½.

Hebden Census 1861 - Surnames

A number of family names dominate the census, but less so than in 1851, with five 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
Bains 19
Birch 10
Bowdin 10
Brown 15
Hardacre 13
Hodgson 17
Joy 24
Metcalfe 10
Raw 10
Rodthwell 18
Waddilove 11
Walker 13
Whitaker 16
Wiggan 31
Worsley 19

Hebden Census 1861 - Employment

As with 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

207 people, or 48% 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
Retired 4
No occupation recorded 135
Scholars 69

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.

Industry Number
Farming 51
Lead mining 95
Textiles 28
Others 57


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, 75 of the Hebden township were employed by the mill, about a third of the working population. In 1861 this had reduced to 28, and the mill was to close nine years later. Only four men are recorded in the census as employed in the industry - two in a supervisory capacity

Lead mining industry

95 people, about 42% of the working population, were employed in the lead mining industry, of whom five also indicated they were farmers, and so were probably part time. Since the last census, the Hebden Moor Mine Company had been formed to exploit the veins in the Bolton Gill, so whereas all the miners identified in the 1851 census probably had to commute to the mines on Grassington Moor, it is likely that most of the 1861 miners were employed in the parish. There were 13 boys under 15 employed as miners, one of whom was 9 years old. There was a strong reduction in the number of lead ore dressers and smelters in since 1851 - this is probably because the smelting was carried out at the Cupola Corner smelt mill on Grassington Moor.

Occupation Number Inc. part time Description
Lead ore miners 87 4 Underground workers
Lead ore dressers 3 1 Sorted excavated material into non-ore rocks, ore-bearing rocks, and ore
Lead ore smelters 5 0 Smelted pellets of galena (lead ore) into lead by heating


51 people, about 22% of the working population, were employed in the farming industry, much the same as in 1851. The 29 farm holdings varied between 1½ acres and 900 acres, with a total of 3054 acres, an average of 109 acres, and a median of 42 acres in all three cases more than double of the 1851 census equivalents. Eleven of the 29 farmers had other occupations three 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 unless under 10 years old. Females with occupation of 'Farmer's wife' are not included.

Occupation Number
Farmers 28
Farm labourers 9
Farmer's daughters 4
Farmer's sons 9

The Children

Most, but not all, of the children four years and over went to school, with the occupation of 85 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 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.