Skelmanthorpe is a clustered village 8 miles (13 km) south-east of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. According to the 2011 census, the village has 4,549 inhabitants.[1]

  • Shat
Skelmanthorpe - - 117386.jpg
Commercial Road
Skelmanthorpe is located in West Yorkshire
Location within West Yorkshire
Population4,549 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceSE233105
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtHD8
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°35′28″N 1°38′56″W / 53.591°N 1.649°W / 53.591; -1.649Coordinates: 53°35′28″N 1°38′56″W / 53.591°N 1.649°W / 53.591; -1.649

The village sits on the south (right) bank of the first river-like flow, from three small headwaters (uniting in the northwest corner of the parish), of the Dearne. It is part of the civil parish of Denby Dale in the Kirklees Borough, the main local authority.


The village was recorded as Scelmertorp in the Domesday Book in the year 1086 AD. The name itself derives from the Norse personal name Skjaldmarr and thorp; thus having the meaning of an "outlying farmstead of a man called Skjaldmarr".[2]


Locals know it as "Shat", which appears to be an abbreviation of "Shatterers", the name by which the locals are known. Local labour was taken on during construction of the railway to break or 'shatter' rocks as well as work on the excavations. These unskilled labourers were referred to as Shatterers.[3] The Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker has explained the origins of the term and referred to herself as a "Shat lass".[4]



The village was likely founded during the Viking invasion in the 9th century, as they moved inland from the North Sea.[5] There is no record of the village in the earlier Roman times.

Domesday BookEdit

The entry for Skelmanthorpe in the Domesday Book of 1086 states:[5]

Manors & Berewick. In Turulsetone and Berceworde and Scelmertorp, Alric and Aldene had nine carcucates of land to be taxed, and there may be five ploughs there. Ilbert now has it, and it is waste. Value in King Edwards time 4 pounds. Wood pasture one mile long and as much broad.

The comment "and it is waste." is a direct result of the Harrying of the North of 1069. William the Conqueror had difficulties subduing his northern subjects, leading to the order to "spare neither man nor beast, but to kill, burn and destroy" being issued.[5] This left Skelmanthorpe and much of Yorkshire a wasteland for about nine years.

Skelmanthorpe FeastEdit

During the 1770s, Skelmanthorpe Feast was a riotous affair with bull and bear-baiting and organised dog fights on the village green.[6] A quote from John Taylor, who compiled a biography of Skelmanthorpe-born preacher Isaac Marsden (1807–1882), records that "Public houses were crowded with drunken revellers, who caroused all day and made night hideous with quarrels and disturbances ... Among these scenes of revelry were mountebanks, showmen, fortune telling Gypsies, vagabonds and thieves from every quarter."[6] Skelmanthorpe Feast now happens every year on the field next to The Chartist and across the road from what was the Three Horse Shoes public house and is now shops.

Native/Navvy WarEdit

In November 1874 a number of skirmishes were fought between the native villagers and Irish navvies. The navvies had been brought in to help construct the railway, and fighting broke out between them and the locals on a number of occasions. This led to the locals being refused work on the line. Causing a small group of locals to throw stones at the navvies, who responded with mattock shafts and spades. The fighting lasted for most of the day eventually ending in the afternoon. Police were called in from Huddersfield but arrived after the disturbances had finished.[7]


The first recorded owners of the village were Alric and Aldena in the 11th century, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Following the Norman invasion of England in 1066 the village was given to Ilbert de Laci by the new king. The de Laci family owned the village for the next 300 years, until through the marriage of Alice de Laci in the 14th century, the village came into the possession of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster. The village remained in this family and after the marriage of Blanche of Lancaster to John of Gaunt, the village became the property of their son Henry (King of England).[5]

Cinema/Bingo/Squash/Youth CentreEdit

In 1934 a building was built to house a local cinema, this was the sole use of the building for almost 30 years. In 1961 wrestling was introduced to increase revenue. A reduction in audiences in 1968 resulted in the cinema closing and the building became a bingo hall until 1970 when the entire building was closed. It lay dormant for five years before being reopened as the Savoy Squash Club.[8] In June 2010, redevelopment of part of the Savoy Club will have been completed into a new Youth and Community Centre. This includes a new car park, outdoor 5-a-side court, sports hall with a stage, meeting room and cafe.[when?]


Similar to many village in the area, agriculture was the primary industry of Skelmanthorpe until the 19th century when weaving took over as the dominant occupation. Many of the older buildings in the village show signs of having been used as weavers cottages in the past.[7] As late as 1890, there were 200 hand looms in cottages in Skelmanthorpe.[citation needed]

Number 6, Queen Street was preserved by Textile Heritage Centre, complete with hand loom and all the associated equipment. The owner became frail and a group called the Friends of Skelmanthorpe Textile Heritage Centre was formed in 2011 to assist with the running of the centre. The Friends successfully applied the Heritage Lottery Fund to purchase the centre. The centre is now owned by a charitable trust.

Survey of English DialectsEdit

Skelmanthorpe was a site in the Survey of English Dialects. The recording taken was notable both because of the rich form of dialect used and because it discussed a local sighting of a ghost. This stood out in the survey, in which most recordings were of villagers discussing local industries.[9]

Buildings and servicesEdit


Two schools are in Skelmanthorpe:

  • St Aidan's Church of England Academy[10]
  • Skelmanthorpe Academy [11]

Both of these are First schools, serving children up to Year 5 (rather than Year 6 like most primary schools).

After the first school, children move on to Middle School (usually Scissett Middle School) for 3 years before moving on to Shelley College.


Skelmanthorpe has five churches:

Fire stationEdit

The fire station was constructed in 1956. It currently houses one pump and one area support unit along with 21 personnel and is designated as a retained fire station.[15]

Sports teams and facilitiesEdit

The village has had its own cricket team since around 1876; the current cricket pitch dates from 1900.[16]

The village also has its own junior and senior football teams that play in the Huddersfield leagues respectively.

There are two crown green bowls clubs within the village. One club is based at the Windmill Pub on the outskirts of the village and the other club based in the centre of the village. Each club have their own bowling green.

Following a petition from local young people[17] fundraising allowed the construction of a small skatepark which opened early 2006. Residents from the area complained about the noise and the skatepark has since been moved. It is now at the bottom of the football field.[18]

Parkgate Sports and Community Trust have won the right for a new sports complex to be built at Parkgate.[19]



For more than 100 years (from 1879 until 1986), Skelmanthorpe had a railway station on the Clayton West branch line that ran along the northern edge of the village. The line was closed to passengers in 1983 and the track was removed in 1986.

The disused trackbed of the former branch line was later used for the Kirklees Light Railway, a minimum gauge railway designed as a tourist attraction, which opened as far as Skelmanthorpe in 1992.[20]

The nearest railway stations now are Denby Dale (2.2 miles) and Shepley (3.1 miles); both stations are on the Penistone Line with trains in both directions to Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield


Skelmanthorpe is served by bus services to Holmfirth and Wakefield on the X1 service and Huddersfield and Denby Dale on the D1 "Denby Dart" service. Team Pennine is the bus company that runs these services through the village.


The main road through the village is the B6116, Which connects to the A629 and A636.

Notable groups and ResidentsEdit

Male voice choir and brass bandEdit

Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir began in 1934:

  1. To maintain and increase the love of and the interest in music in the village.
  2. To help charitable institutions.
  3. To increase the fame and renown of the village by winning competitions.

Since 2009 its director is Jane Hobson.

Formed in 1843, the Skelmanthorpe Brass Band is among the oldest ten of such bands in Britain.[21] They rank in the First Section of The National Brass Band Championships.[22]

Residents & Ex-residentsEdit




Setting for film or televisionEdit

During the mid-1970s, central parts were a set for Yorkshire Television sitcom, Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt!,[28] starring Bill Maynard.

Nearby placesEdit

Towns and cities: Barnsley, Huddersfield, Wakefield

Villages: Denby Dale, Clayton West, Emley, Lower Cumberworth, Scissett, Shelley, Shepley

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Skelmanthorpe Built-up area (1119884713)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  2. ^ Mills, David (2011). A dictionary of British place-names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 422. ISBN 019960908X.
  3. ^ ""Shat" name explanation". Skelmanthorpe Village Trail – A scenic self-guided walk around the historic village of Skelmanthorpe. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  4. ^ a b Watch Jodie Whittaker explain to Hollywood stars on the Graham Norton Show why she is a 'Shat lass', Yorkshire Live, 29 September 2018
  5. ^ a b c d Lawton, Fred (1895). Historical notes of Skelmanthorpe & district. Paul Dyson.
  6. ^ a b Taylor, John (1882). Reminiscences of Isaac Marsden. T Woolmer.
  7. ^ a b Wilkinson, John (2002). Exploring the Upper Dearne Valley. Bridge Publications.
  8. ^ "Squash club history". Savoy Squash Club – Information. Retrieved 26 April 2006.
  9. ^ "British Library. Survey of English Dialects: Skelmanthorpe".
  10. ^ "St Aidan's C of E Academy - Home".
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ The Church of England - parish finder with map and church details
  13. ^ "Zoom closure". Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2009.
  14. ^ "Home - Saville Road Hall".
  15. ^ "Skelmanthorpe fire station". West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service – Skelmanthorpe. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Skelmanthorpe cricket club history". The Cricket History of Calerdale and Kirklees – Skelmanthorpe CC. Archived from the original on 29 August 2006. Retrieved 26 April 2006.
  17. ^ "Skate-park petition". Annual Report of the Denby Dale Parish Council 2004–2005. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  18. ^ "Skate-park". December minutes of the Denby Dale Parish Council 2008. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  19. ^ Lavigueur, Nick (7 October 2014). "Royal approval for Skelmanthorpe sports complex project". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Station Name:Skelmanthorpe". Disused Stations. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Band history". Innovate Skelmanthorpe Band. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  22. ^ "Band standings". Regional Contest Skelmanthorpe Info. Retrieved 23 June 2009.
  23. ^ "Yorkshire's Doctor". Welcome to Yorkshire. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  24. ^ Campling, Katie (16 January 2008). "Lena gets ready to terminate TV ratings". Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012.
  25. ^ Glover, Chloe (30 August 2014). "Saxon's Biff Byford: He's sold 15 million albums, influenced Metallica and toured the world - but did you know he was from Huddersfield?". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  26. ^ Tuckey, BIll (1 August 2010). "God gave rock'n'roll to you: Will heavy metal be a religion on the next census?". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Forbes 30 Under 30 2021". Forbes. 2021. Retrieved 26 November 2021.
  28. ^ "Filming Location". Yorkshire on Film and TV, Northern England. Retrieved 30 April 2006.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Skelmanthorpe at Wikimedia Commons