• New Publication: Power in the Land

    Posted by Huddersfield Press on 2020-09-22

Power in the Land, the Ramsdens and their Huddersfield Estate, 1542-1920

This new collection of essays focuses on aspects of the relationship between the Ramsdens and Huddersfield town whilst throwing new light on the circumstances surrounding the sale of the Ramsden estate. Edited by Edward Royle, Emeritus Professor of History at the University of York and resulting from an initiative by Huddersfield Local History Society to mark the centenary of the purchase of the Ramsden estate by the Corporation of Huddersfield in 1920.

The Ramsdens’ connection with Huddersfield began in 1531 and over the years they extended their property in the district, acquiring the manors of both Huddersfield (1599) and Almondbury (1627). The first two essays provide some overall context - Brian Haigh looks at their ancestral seat at Longley Hall while David Griffiths analyses the relationship between town and family. Drawing extensively from the Ramsden Estate papers, much of the discussion included in the other essays relates to that relationship during the lifetime of Sir John William Ramsden (1831-1914) when the greatest expansion of the town occurred. John Halstead looks more specifically at the terms that governed the relationship between the Ramsdens and their tenants, Edward Royle explores the role religion and philanthropy played in this relationship while Christopher Webster focuses on the work of two architects who worked for the estate – William Wallen and James Pigott Pritchett. Finally, Stephen Caunce and Edward Royle critically re-examine previous accounts of the sale, particularly Clifford Stephenson’s celebratory 1972 account of ‘The Town that Bought Itself’ while Meriel Buxton provides new insights into why Sir John Frenchville Ramsden may have been prepared to sell the estate in 1920. This volume should be of interest both to urban and economic historians as well as those with a more general interest in Huddersfield’s history.   

-Edward Royle (editor)

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