Sources of Historical Information about Holmfirth

A lot of older material can be found online at and/or Google Books.  The advent of print on demand technology has enabled a number of books to be brought back into print.  The downside of this is that often those books which had previously been accessible online via Google Books have then been taken offline.  Loss of free access is compounded by the fact that electronic editions are easier to search and easier to copy and paste when one wishes to quote them.

The rest of this page lists published material.  We will add our own transcriptions of material on sub-pages.

The classics: published books about Holmfirth 

Morehouse, JH, 1861, The History and Topography of the Parish of Kirkburton and of the Graveship of HolmeThe tome about the area.  Morehouse was a member of an old Holmfirth family and a local doctor.  His connections gave him access to the private archives of a number of local families; material which might not readily be available to modern researchers.  A good starting point for anyone interested in Holmfirth history.

Hulbert, CA, 1882 and 1985. Annals of the Parish of Almondbury. The Parish Church of All Saints’.  Some of the Holmfirth townships lay within the parish so although the bulk of the material is concentrated on and around the parish church some is relevant.  The original volume was published in parts from 1880 but gathered in a single volume in 1882, the 1885 volume is supplementary material.

Williams, E, 1975, Holmfirth: From Forest to Township.  There was a later edition of 1989 but both versions appear to be available on the second hand market only.

Contemporary diaries

Whiting, CE, (Ed) 1952, Two Yorkshire Diaries. The Diary of Arthur Jessop and Ralph Ward’s Journal. The Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Record Series,CXVII.  Jessop’s diary is relevant to Holmfirth and a good read.  He was a local apothecary and recorded events from the 1720s to the 1740s.  It includes an account of the ’45 rebellion from a viewpoint uncomfortably close to the rebels’ line of march.  Jessop was also included in a limited edition volume Three Yorkshire Diaries by the Toll House Bookshop together with Adam Eyre’s diurnal and another; this is a collector’s edition and the download from should suffice for the local historian.  Not online.

Jackson, C; Morehouse, HJ; Margerison, S (Eds), 1875 Yorkshire Diaries and Autobiographies in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, The Surtees Society Vol LXV.  This contains Adam Eyre’s diurnal.  He lived at Hazlehead in the parish of Penistone, outside the immediate area of Holmfirth but his father in law lived at Ellentreehead and he mentions visiting there and Holmfirth.  It provides a brief glimpse of the life of a former Parliamentary captain returned home after the Civil War.

Manorial court rolls

Holmfirth was part of the manor of Wakefield.  The records of the manorial court survive almost intact from the late C13th to the early C20th and are a valuable primary record for several aspects of life in the area from the medieval period onwards.  They were acquired by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, which has a programme of publication, and are currently lodged in the library of Leeds University: See here for details.

Yorkshire Archaeological Record Series Five volumes were published in this series.  They have two sets of numbers, as Record Series volumes (RS) and Court Rolls of the manor of Wakefield (CR). 1274 – 1279,  RS XXIX, CR I, 1901; 1279 – 1309, RS XXXVI, CR II, 1906; 1313 – 1316 and 1286, RS LVII, CR III, 1917; 1315 – 1317, RS LXXVIII, CR IV, 1930 and 1322 – 1312 RS CIX, CR V, 1945.  The first two volumes were edited by William Paley Baildon, the third and fourth by John Lister and the last by JW Walker.

Yorkshire Archaeological Society Wakefield Court Rolls Series. The publication of this series started in 1977 and continues.  At time of writing there are 19 volumes in the series with various editors.  The first 16 are online at  For the entire series see here.

Parish registers

Historically Holmfirth fell within two parishes, Kirkburton and Almondbury with a chapel of ease in Holmfirth itself.  In the C19th separate parishes were split off.  From the late C17th various non-conformist churches were established.  The West Yorkshire Archive Service had microfilmed the registers of these, including the chapel of ease registers, and at the time of writing copies are held at Holmfirth and Huddersfield libraries and in Meltham at Huddersfield and District Family History Society’s Roots Cellar.  In addition commercial genealogical sites also serve images from these microfilms.

There are also published editions of Kirkburton and Almondbury parish registers up until the early C18th incorporating the entries from Bishops Transcripts where these contradict or supplement the parish version.  The Almondbury registers were published by the Yorkshire Archaeological Society Parish Register Section:

Taylor, H, (Ed & transcriber), 1974, The Parish Register of Almondbury Volume I (Part 1) 1557-1598. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Parish Register Section 134

Taylor, H, (Ed & transcriber), 1975, The Parish Register of Almondbury Volume I (Part 2) 1598-1652. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Parish Register Section 140

Taylor, H& Taylor, J, (Eds & transcribers), 1984, The Parish Registers of Almondbury Volume II 1653-1682. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Parish Register Section 148

Taylor, H& Taylor, J, (Eds & transcribers), 1988, The Parish Registers of Almondbury Volume 3 1683-1703 Yorkshire Archaeological Society Parish Register Section 153

At the time of writing lists at least one of these volumes but shows a different parish.

The Kirkburton registers were published by Frances Collins, the rector’s wife:

Collins, FA, (Ed), 1887, The Parish Registers of Kirkburton, Co, York, Vol I, 1541 – 1654

Collins, FA, (Ed), 1901, The Parish Registers of Kirkburton, Co, York, Vol II 1654 – 1711 with Appendix of Family Histories.

Volume 1 is available on  Volume 2 also appeared briefly on Google Books but is now unavailable, at least in the UK.  There are reprints of both volumes and both may be read online at Huddersfield.Exposed.  The appendix of family histories occupies the greater part of volume 2.  Families were written up in alphabetical order but the author stopped on the death of her husband; the appendix finishes part way through the Brooke family.  As with Morehouse, her connections seem to have given her access to a great deal of privately held material.