IIALIFAX, is a populous market town of England, in the west riding of Yorkshire. It is situated on the western slope of a gentle eminence, washed by a branch of the river Calder, and is surrounded on all sides with high hills. The town is about three quarters of a mile long from west to east, but it is narrow and irregular in its 1)readth. The houses are in general neat and well built, and the town has a singularly variegated appearance, from the mixture of brick and stone buildings, and from the great number of small inclosures surrounded with stone walls. The church, which is a large Gothic structure, stands near the east end of the town. It is 64 yards long, and 20 broad, and is sup posed to have been built in the reign of Henry I. The tower of the church, which is well proportioned, is said to be 117 feet high. Within the church are two chapels, one on the north, and the other on the south side. This church having been found too small, an elegant and spacious new church has lately been erected. The cloth hall, or piece hall, erected for the convenience of the manufacturers, is a large and elegant edifice of freestone, in the form of an oblong square. It covers an area of 10,000 square yards, and has 315 separate rooms for the reception or goods. It is generally open from 10 to 12 o'clock, and goods to the amount of 50,000/. are often exposed to sale at a time.
The parish of Halifax is one of the largest in England. It covers a space of 150 square miles, and has 13 chapels. It contains no fewer than 26 villages, whose united popu lation, according to the census of 1811, is 73,515. The chief manufactures carried on in the parish are, those of shalloons unpressed, and dyed of a scarlet colour, which are sent to Turkey and the Levant ; tammies, duroys, cala mancoes, everlastings, russets, figured and flowered ar mines, says, moreens,and shags, kerseys, half thicks, scrges, houlies, baize, broad and narrow cloths, coatings, and car pets. Several cotton manufactories have also been erected
here. The trade of this town is greatly facilitated by a na vigation from Sowerby bridge, in the neighbourhood of the town, along the Calder, to Hull, and will receive additional advantages from the Rochdale canal, which will connect the Calder at Sowerby bridge with the Bridgewater canal at Manchester. Excellent wool cards are alsp manufac tured here. Great quantities of the freestone found in the neighbourhood are sent to London.
Gough, in his additions to Camden, informs us, " that the inhabitants within Hardwicke forest claimed a right or cus tom from time immemorial, that if a felon be taken with goods to the amount of 13-id. stolen within their liberty, after being carried before the lords bailiff, and tried by four frith-burghers, from four towns within the said precinct, he was, on condemnation, to be executed on the next market day, after having been set in the stocks first ; and after his execution, a coroner was to take the verdict of a jury, and sometimes of those who condemned him." The instru ment used in these executions was one exactly the same as the modern guillotine, which was freely used against the robber of tenter grounds : (See GUILLOTINE.) The last execution under the " Halifax gibbet law," as it has been called, took place in 1650. The bailiff was afterwards threatened with prosecution, if he should repeat them. According to the census of 1811, the township of Halifax contains.