A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1911.
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This ancient township, divided from Spotland by the summit of the high land to the west, occupies the upper part of the Roch valley and also takes in the southerly side of the Calder valley above Todmorden; it has a total area of 16,077 acres. On the east it is bounded by Blackstone Edge and other hills dividing Lancashire from Yorkshire.
BLATCHINWORTH and CALDERBROOK, to the east of the last-named township, has an area of 4,781 acres, of which Blatchinworth has 2,221. It occupies the Roch Valley, the hills rising to 1,200 ft. on the west, and 1,550 ft. on the east. It contains the ancient chapelry of Littleborough, a growing town situated in a rich valley.
TODMORDEN and WALSDEN occupies the northern slope of the hills, as the surface descends to the Calder. The scenery is fine. (fn. 1) It has an area of 7,007 acres, the respective hamlets having 2,954½ and 4,052½. Todmorden has long been a chapelry.
The principal road is that from Rochdale northeast and north through Littleborough and Todmorden, and thence north-west to Burnley. Over Blackstone Edge is an ancient road into Yorkshire. (fn. 2) By the side of the Todmorden road almost all the way are the Lancashire and Yorkshire Company's railway, and the Rochdale canal. The railway has a tunnel known as Summit tunnel, over a mile and a half long, under the highest part of the hills; there are stations at Smithy Bridge, Littleborough, Walsden, and Todmorden; also one at Portsmouth on the Burnley branch. The same company's line from Rochdale to Bacup crosses Wardleworth, and has a station so named. A large reservoir in Ramsden valley, Walsden, belongs to the Corporation of Rochdale.
At Wardle an agricultural show was established as early as 1839. (fn. 3)
There are remains of ancient iron works in Walsden. Mines and forges are known to have existed in 1235. (fn. 4)
Among the celebrities of the district are David Crossley, a Baptist minister, born near Todmorden in 1670 (d. 1744); and James Leach, a musical composer, who was born at Wardle in 1762, and died at Salford in 1798. (fn. 5)
The local board district of Wuerdle and Wardle was formed in 1874; (fn. 6) the board had five members. In 1894 the new township of Wardle was constituted; the urban council has nine members. At Littleborough, likewise, a local board of nine members, constituted in 1870, (fn. 7) has been, since 1894, an urban council of twelve members elected by four wards, the district being formed into an independent township. At Littleborough is a Carnegie free library.