Events in the 1700s

This Foldout presents some events which took occurred in the 1700s

  • Friday, 26th November 1703 A hurricane-force storm raged across Europe and caused considerable damage in southern England.

    At sea, many ships were damaged in the English Channel and the Thames Estuary and 8,000 sailors died.

    The first Eddystone lighthouse off Plymouth was destroyed.

    Inland, winds of up to 80mph killed 123 people and destroyed more than 400 windmills – many of which caught fire as a result of friction in their wildly-spinning sails

  • 1706 The first private Turnpike Trust was established. This gave local gentry powers to take over certain roads from the parish and to improve and maintain the roads by charging tolls. The public was given the opportunity to invest in these companies, with the money raised in tolls being divided between profits for the share holders and the cost of maintaining the trust's roads

  • 1709 Plague killed 300,000 in Prussia

  • Thursday, 14th March 1717 Hartshead Parish Register records

    about 12 of ye clock at night it began to snow and continued incessantly for above 40 hours together, which made so great a snow that there were several drifts 3 yards high, in so much that they called Common days work to make way

  • Friday, 18th May 1722 The Ryburn flooded – suddenly rising 21 ft above the normal level – and damaged Stirk Bridge, St Bartholomew's Church, Ripponden, and many bridges, houses and mills. - see The flood of 1722

  • 1735 First Blackstone Edge Turnpike Trust Act built the Halifax/Rochdale road over Blackstone Edge.

    See Triangle

  • 1736 Several cases of deaths from smallpox were recorded locally

  • 1740 Proposals for the construction of a navigable waterway were put forward to improve the transport system for the woollen industry

    The Leeds-Elland Turnpike was built in 1740/1741

  • February 1740 Britain had an exceptionally cold and protracted winter in 1739/40 with the mean temperatures of both January and February below 0°C in the Midlands and southern England. Between November 1739 and May 1740, snow fell on 39 days in the London area.

    This winter was used as a yardstick for future cold weather. Only in 1947 and 1963 was such cold weather experienced in Britain

  • 1741 Halifax/Wakefield road through Hipperholme and Bailiff Bridge, Lightcliffe, and Hipperholme and on to Halifax – replacing the much older Wakefield Gate.

    The Horse Shoe, Lightcliffe was the toll-booth for the turnpike

    Highways Act passed to improve roads

  • 1750 There were earth tremors in London [2nd March], Warrington [2nd April], and Spalding [23rd August]

  • Wednesday, 2nd September 1752 The Calendar (New Style) Act 1750 reformed the calendar so that the new year began on 1st January. It adjusted the calendar, losing 11 days. Today, the 2nd September, was followed tomorrow by 14th September

  • 3rd September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 4th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 5th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 6th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 7th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 8th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 9th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 10th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 11th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 12th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • 13th September 1752 This date did not exist in Britain. 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September 1752

  • Thursday, 14th September 1752 Following the reforms of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, today, the 14th September, followed yesterday, the 2nd September. This lost 11 days

  • 1753 Turnpike from Rochdale to Halifax and Elland

    Turnpike from Halifax to Queensbury

    The Broad Wheels Act aimed at reducing the damage to road surfaces by fixing the width of wheels to a minimum of 9 inches

    Halifax / Keighley turnpike

    There were many local and national riots protesting against the introduction of the tolls

    The bridge over Clifton Beck at Bailiff Bridge was washed away in local floods

  • 1757 An Act of Parliament was passed to make the Calder navigable from Wakefield to Salterhebble

    Between 1757-1787, a series of dry winters resulted in poor harvests. In 1757, this affected the gin craze

  • Tuesday, 17th May 1757 John Wesley mentions an earthquake on a visit to Heptonstall

  • 1758 The concept of the Calder & Hebble Navigation was first discussed when its commissioners met at the Talbot Inn in Halifax.

    An Act to extend the Aire & Calder Navigation into the Calder Valley, and make the Calder navigable upstream from Wakefield, was passed in 1758.

    Other relevant acts were passed in 1769 and 1825

  • 1759 Turnpike from Elland to Dewsbury, via Rastrick

    The Halifax & Burnley Turnpike Trust was created, by which the road from Burnley to Todmorden via the Long Causeway was made. The preamble to the Act says that the roads were:

    rough and incommodious, dangerous to travellers, almost impassable for wheeled carriages owing to the height and steepness of the hills, and so narrow that two carriages could not pass each other

    See Manchester-Halifax coach service

    1759-1783, a series of warm summers

  • Thursday, 17th May 1759 John Wesley's journals mention an earthquake at Halifax

    On Tuesday May the 17th, many persons in several parts, within 5 or 6 miles [of Heptonstall], heard a strange noise under the ground, which some compared to thunder, others to the rumbling of carts : quickly after, they felt the earth rock under them and wave to and fro : many who were within doors, heard their pewter and glass clatter; many in the fields felt the ground shake under their feet; and all agreed as to the time, though they knew nothing of each other's account

  • 1760 Turnpike from Halifax to Todmorden and Burnley and Littleborough constructed under

    An Act for diverting, altering, widening, repairing and amending the Roads from the Town of halifax, and from Sowerby Bridge, in the County of York, by Todmorden, to Burnley and Littleborough, in the County of Lancashire

  • 1763 Wet summer

  • 1765 The Calder & Hebble Canal was completed to Salterhebble. This was the nearest that the canal came to Halifax until 1828 – see below – and goods had to be carried between the town and the wharf using horses and carts

    Third Blackstone Edge Turnpike Trust Act. The turnpike ran from the Market Cross, Rochdale, to the Market Cross, Halifax

  • 1766 Plans for the Leeds and Liverpool canal were launched. A group of businessmen met in the Union Flag Inn in Rochdale to propose a shorter route between Manchester and Leeds via Rochdale

    1766-1787, a series of cold winters

  • June 1766 During the summer, a pestilential fever killed several people in the district

  • Saturday, 17th January 1767 £1 0s 7d was paid for clearing the road between Midgley and Luddenden following a great snow

  • 1768 Brighouse Canal Basin opened on the Calder & Hebble Canal

    The Calder & Hebble Canal was extended to Sowerby Bridge where it connected with the Rochdale Canal

    A great flood halted work on the construction of the Calder & Hebble Navigation

  • Saturday, 5th March 1768 An Act of Parliament was passed for the construction of the Calder & Hebble Canal

  • Thursday, 1st September 1768 During a tour of northern England – whilst travelling around Europe under the name Prince George – the 19-year-old King Christian VII of Denmark spent a night at Royds' House, Halifax. This is said to be the reason behind the name of George Street

  • 1769 An Act of Parliament provided for the construction of lengths of canals – the cuts – to bypass sections of the river which were not navigable

    The Calder & Hebble Navigation Company came into existence under an Act of 1769

  • September 1770 The Calder & Hebble Navigation waterway system was completed to link Sowerby Bridge to Salterhebble and to other parts of the West Riding, including Wakefield and Hull. The waterway from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge was 44 miles in length. This provided cheap transport for the coal and textile industries

  • June 1774 Floods at Widdop damaged two bridges and the causeway

  • 1775 The American War of Independence [1775-1783]

    1775-1799, a series of wet summers. Crops failed throughout the country

  • 1776 The route of the Rochdale Canal was surveyed by James Brindley

  • 1777 The Halifax and Huddersfield Turnpike Act provided for the construction of a road from Halifax to Huddersfield over Ainley Top

  • December 1781 Coachman John Davy of the Kendal-London coach fell over the parapet of North Bridge having failed to realise that the horses had jammed the coach against the bridge. He died a few days later

  • 1782 Wet spring

  • 1783 The Calderbrook turnpike. Led from the Rochdale-Halifax turnpike, west of Littleborough, and on to Calderbrook

  • 1785 Keighley Road through Ovenden was turnpiked

  • 1789 The French Revolution [1789-1799] began

  • Tuesday, 2nd June 1789 The Italian artist Signior Petro gave a display of firework at the Piece Hall. He also sold fireworks at his lodgings, the Royal Oak

  • 1790 A meeting was called in a house near Neptune Bridge, Hebden Bridge to discuss extending the Calder & Hebble Navigation westwards

  • Friday, 17th September 1790 The Press-shop of John Mitchell of Ovenden, was broken into and a large quantity of cloth was stolen. Mitchell offered 5 guineas reward

  • 1791 The route of the Rochdale Canal was resurveyed by John Rennie

    A meeting in Rochdale proposed a link to the Bridgewater Canal, but the Duke of Bridgewater refused to allow the proposed canal to join onto the Bridgewater Canal, meaning the canal would terminate at Piccadilly.

    The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Company proposed an extension eastwards which became the proposed Bury and Sladen canal and would run north of Rochdale to Chelburn near the Littleborough summit. The Duke of Bridgewater realised that, if this plan became a reality, trans-Pennine traffic would by-pass his canal with a great loss of revenue, so he changed his mind and agreed for a junction between the Rochdale Canal and the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield

    The Albion Mills, Halifax burned down, nearly ruining Joah Bates who had invested money in the mill

  • 1792 The Rochdale Canal Bill failed

  • Friday, 13th April 1792 Two girls, Grace and Sally, daughters of Robert and Mary Ogden, were killed by lightning at Sour Hall, Todmorden

  • 1793 The Salt warehouse and others were built for the Calder & Hebble Navigation Company at Sowerby Bridge – see Richard Milnes

    The Rochdale Canal Act [1793] instructed the Calder & Hebble Navigation Company to build at Sowerby Bridge whatever wharves and warehouses the Rochdale Canal Company wanted, the latter to pay for the space they used

  • 1794 An Act of Parliament gave the go-ahead to the construction of the Rochdale Canal, connecting the Calder & Hebble Navigation with the Bridgewater Canal, Manchester

  • Friday, 4th April 1794 At the third attempt, a revised Act of Parliament the Rochdale Canal Bill for the construction of the Rochdale Canal was given Royal Assent. The survey was begun by John Rennie, and work began under the supervision of William Jessop and William Crossley.

    The section from Sowerby Bridge to Gauxholme Arches was the first to be constructed.

    The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was also started in the same year, and the race was on to be the first to open a cross-Pennine route. But the Leeds & Liverpool Canal had started over 20 years earlier

  • 1795 Fourth Blackstone Edge Turnpike Trust Act constructed the road which became the A58 from Oldham to Ripponden

  • January 1795 The weather in Britain was colder than January 1740

  • February 1798 John Swire of Halifax perished in the snow whilst attempting to cross Knaresborough forest on horseback. Several other travellers also lost their lives

    by exposing themselves to the severity of the weather

  • Friday, 24th August 1798 The section of the Rochdale Canal between Sowerby Bridge and Gauxholme was opened. The section to Manchester was completed by 21st December 1804

  • Friday, 21st December 1798 Todmorden to Rochdale branch of the Calder & Hebble Canal opened

  • 1799 The weather was so excessively cold that, in many places, the crops of grain never ripened. Oats harvested at the end of November were still green.

    At the end of October 1799, oats were 50/- per 240 lbs, and the price subsequently rose to 100/-

  • September 1799 The Rochdale Canal was open between Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden and from Manchester to Rochdale

    © Malcolm Bull 2021
    Revised 15:13 / 15th May 2021 / 23314

    Page Ref: C813-1700

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