Sowerby, West Riding

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Not to be confused with Sowerby Bridge nor Sowerby, North Riding
West Riding
St Peter's Church - Sowerby.jpg
St Peter's Church, Sowerby
Grid reference: SE042234
Location: 53°42’26"N, 1°56’8"W
Post town: Sowerby Bridge
Postcode: HX6
Dialling code: 01422
Local Government
Council: Calderdale
Calder Valley

Sowerby is a village in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It lies in the Pennines, contiguous with Sowerby Bridge, four miles west-south-west of Halifax and eight miles west-north-west of Huddersfield.


Sowerby appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, and was an important settlement long before Halifax began to dominate. The ancient district of Sowerbyshire, a stretch of forest centred on the town leading down the Ryburn and Calder valleys and almost up to Halifax, was a Royal chase.

The name Sowerby, is made up from the Norse Sor for sour and suffixed with by representing a parochial area.[1] The local pronunciation follows the original Norse. (saw+bi).

A local legend described a castle in Sowerby and its presence was confirmed by excavations on 'Castle Hill' at the high end of the old town. Archaeologists uncovered the foundations of a Norman motte-and-bailey castle.


Once home to many chapels and churches of several Christian denominations, the Anglican St Peter's Church is of architectural interest and the main focus of religious worship in the town.

Notable people

John Tillotson, 'The people's priest', Archbishop of Canterbury between 1691 and 1693, was a native of Sowerby. A statue of Tillotson exists in St Peter's church and an avenue is named after him in the lower end of the town.

The summer home of the MP for Great Grimsby, Austin Mitchell, is situated in the town. The nearby mansion of Fieldhouse was the seat of the Stansfeld family, who contributed much to the local community, including building St Peter's church. Sowerby Hall, close to the church, was built by Josiah Horton in 1650 and the Rawson family, who owned the Brockwell estate at the lower end of St Peter's Avenue, contributed to the construction of several notable buildings in the town during the 18th century.


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Sowerby, West Riding)