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Morley – A Brief History

31st March 2017

The market town of Morley lies approximately 5 miles south-west of Leeds city centre and was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. Its name derives from the phrase “open ground by a moor” and it gave its name to Morelei Wapentac, a wapentake (meeting) equivalent to the famous wapentake which met at the Original Oak in Headingley around the same period. It has another claim to historical fame and that it is built on seven hills like Rome: Scatcherd Hill, Dawson Hill, Daisy Hill, Chapel Hill, Hunger Hill, Troy Hill and Banks Hill.

Morley’s most productive period was through the industrial revolution when it was famous for textile production. A number of mills produced a material known as “shoddy” which is recycled or re-manufactured wool. A significant proportion of this was shipped to America to be worn by both sides during the American Civil War.

Post-war development around the fringe of Morley has seen its population grow to over 44,000.

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