Mellor's Bridge, packhorse bridge over the Colne at Clough Lea, Marsden

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The Romans

A Roman road crossed the Pennines at Standedge, connecting the garrisons of Slack and Castleshaw, on the way from York to Chester.

The road seems to have approached Marsden along the northern slopes of the valley, along Towngate, and out onto the southern slope of Pule Hill.

The road was built in AD80.

Click here for more about the Romans in Britain.


The Railway

The Huddersfield and Manchester Railway Company bought the canal in 1846 for 150,885, which spelt the end of the canal as a commercial concern. The railway to Stalybridge was opened in 1849, and trade on the canal declined, till it was abandoned in 1944.

The station at Marsden, which is still in operation, had extensive goods sidings, which were used to supply the mills with coal.

There are 3 railway tunnels at Standedge. The first was a single track tunnel, finished in 1848. The second, begun at the same time, wasn't completed till 1871. The third tunnel was for a double track, and was finished in 1894. It is 3miles 64 yards long, and is the tunnel which is used today by the Manchester-Leeds line

Metalled Roads

The Huddersfield to Manchester road was built in 1760. It entered the village down the road from Chain, through Gatehead, along Brougham Road, went along Towngate to Throstle Nest, then to the south of Pule Hill, along Old Mount Road.

The Coach road was built by Blind Jack of Knaresborough in 1791. It passed along Carrs Road and Mount Road, to cross the Pennine ridge south of the present Standedge cutting.

The Toll Road followed the same route as the present A62 Manchester Road, passing north of Pule Hill. It was called the Wakefield and Austerlands Toll Road, and was built in 1839. Trenches were cut in the Coach road, to prevent it being used as a free alternative. Tolls were paid at Gilbert's house, near the Great Western pub.

Standedge Tunnel

Click here for an
article about the canal and tunnel


In 1894, an Act of Parliament was passed to allow the building of the Standedge Tunnel.It took 17 years to build. The engineer was Benjamin Outram, who died before it was completed. The new engineer was John Booth, who reported in 1806 that the average rate of tunnelling was 11 yards per week. The first boat went through in December 1810, and the last one in 1948. The tunnel is not wide enough for a towpath, so boats were "legged" through the 3 miles. Expert leggers could do the trip with an empty boat in 1 hour 20 minutes, and 3 hours with a full load. They were paid 1s 6d, and the horses were led over the hills to join the boat at the other end.

Packhorse Roads

The Packhorse road (more of a track) went from Clough Lea to Hey Green and Easter Gate. Then it went over Clowes Moor to Rochdale. There are packhorse bridges at Clough Lea and Close Gate Bridge, from where it went up Willykay Clough to Denshaw and Ogden.


Packhorse bridge at Clough Lea

The Canal

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was built to join Huddersfield to Ashton-under-Lyne and the network in the west of the country. It rose through 42 locks and ended at what is now Tunnel End at Marsden. Goods were then unloaded, and taken by horse across the moors to Uppermill.

The Standedge Tunnel was built to link the two canals.

The canal to Marsden was opened in 1796, and the tunnel in 1811.

Click here for More notes on the Canal



The canal at Marsden

Emergency services

In the 20th Century, the village had its own ambulance and fire service, based on Manchester Road.

Nountaineer motorcycles

From 1902 to 1926, Mountaineer motorcycles were made in Mardsen. Early machines hadMinerva Fatnir and MMC engines. After the War, only one model, a 269cc 2-stroke with a three part engine, was built, in small numbers. It had an Albion 2-speed gearbox and was belt-driven, housed in a Diamond frame.