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View of Denshaw
Denshaw is located in Greater Manchester
Location within Greater Manchester
OS grid referenceSD974106
• London165 mi (266 km) SSE
Civil parish
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townOLDHAM
Postcode districtOL3
Dialling code01457
PoliceGreater Manchester
FireGreater Manchester
AmbulanceNorth West
UK Parliament
List of places
Greater Manchester
53°35′31″N 2°02′17″W / 53.592°N 2.038°W / 53.592; -2.038

Denshaw is a village in Saddleworth—a civil parish of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, in Greater Manchester, England.[1] It lies by the source of the River Tame, high amongst the Pennines above the village of Delph, 4.6 miles (7.4 km) northeast of Oldham,3.3 miles (5.3 km) north-northwest of Uppermill and Shaw and Crompton. It has a population of around 500.[citation needed]

Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Denshaw and its surroundings have provided archaeological evidence of Stone and Bronze Age activity in the area. The name Denshaw is of Old Norse derivation, and the oldest part of the village is an ancient hamlet.[2]

Built up around the junction of five major roads, until the 20th century, Denshaw consisted mainly of smallholdings and a few public houses such as the Junction Inn, originally built as a coaching house for travellers.[3] Denshaw is noted for its annual Whit Friday brass band contest.


There is evidence of Stone Age activity around Denshaw; in 2004 Saddleworth Archaeological Trust objected to the construction of a wind farm on a site on Denshaw Moor which had produced more than 200 Mesolithic artefacts.[4] Human activity in Denshaw continued in the Bronze Age, as demonstrated by the discovery of a palstave on Wall Green in 1932, when a trench was being dug for a water pipe,[5] and some tools from Denshaw Moor, on the site of the proposed wind farm, which include a ceremonial flint dagger.[4] A Roman road may also cross the site.[4]

The name Denshaw is derived from Old Norse,[3] suggesting a settlement may have existed there during the period of the Danelaw. Denshaw Fold, the oldest part of the village, is an isolated hamlet of ancient origin.[2][3] Many of the traditional stone dwellings are listed buildings and are descendants of the cluster of houses first built in the locality during the 16th century.[3] Around 1795, the Junction Inn at Denshaw was erected. It served as a posting house on the Ripponden-to-Oldham turnpike road (opened in 1798)[2] for the changing of horses and the provision of refreshments.[6]

Dowry Reservoir, pictured here in 1967, was built in the late 19th century at the height of the Second Industrial Revolution.
Dowry Reservoir, pictured here in 1967, was built in the late 19th century at the height of the Second Industrial Revolution.

Denshaw did not experience the same rate of urbanisation and industrialisation as its surrounding settlements during the Industrial Revolution, and it did not become a mill town or a centre of the local cotton mill boom as did nearby Rochdale, Milnrow and Oldham.[7] However, Denshaw Vale was a calico printing factory which was "an important concern that employed a workforce of 150" during the 19th century.[8] Furthermore, Denshaw was chosen as the site of a reservoir which local mills were to contribute monies and thereby use;[9] In 1828, Rackenden Deign Reservoir was built by Denshaw to provide for 24 watermills.[10] In 1818 an Oddfellows Lodge was erected in the village.[11] In 1887, Denshaw was documented having a population of 1,279.[12]

In 2003, energy company E.ON UK proposed the installation of seven 350-foot (107 m) wind turbines at Denshaw. This was met with opposition from the local and wider communities, culminating in the Saddleworth Moors Action Group, who were joined by environmentalist David Bellamy.[13][14] The council received over 1,000 letters objecting to the proposed wind farm,[4] and although initially accepted by the former Liberal Democrat local authority, the application was rejected by Labour-controlled Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council on 1 March 2006.[14][15]

On 23 May 2007, Denshaw's post office (which doubled-up as the village's only shop)[16][17] was the centre of a robbery.[18] The "tiny premises" had been under threat of closure owing to Post Office's modernisation plans[17] and has since closed.[19]

Crompton Moor, seen from The Rams Head Inn
Crompton Moor, seen from The Rams Head Inn

On 17 April 2008, local, national and international media reported on Denshaw's entry on Wikipedia which had been vandalised with spoof information,[20] although the offending material was removed after initial reports were published.[21][22] The story featured on the BBC's North West Tonight, a regional news programme,[23] and later picked up by news services as far away as Pakistan.[24]


Lying within the ancient county boundaries of Yorkshire since a very early time, during the Middle Ages, Denshaw lay within the Saddleworth chapelry of the ancient parish of Rochdale. Like the other Yorkshire areas of the ancient parish, it was in the wapentake of Agbrigg in Yorkshire, with the Lancashire areas of the ancient parish being in Salfordshire.[1][25]

The Byrons (including Romantic poet George Gordon Byron) were prominent land owners in Denshaw.[26] Denshaw was created an ecclesiastical parish in 1864,[27] out of the former Friarmere parochial chapelry.[28] It was in the deanery of Ashton-under-Lyne from 1864 to 1872. It then became part of Rochdale deanery until 1881 when it again became part of Ashton-under-Lyne. In 1929, it transferred to Oldham deanery.[29] It is currently in Saddleworth Deanery, part of the Archdeanery of Rochdale, in the Anglican Diocese of Manchester.[30]

From 1894 to 1900, Denshaw lay within Saddleworth Rural District, a local government district in the administrative County of York, West Riding. In 1900, Denshaw was merged into Saddleworth Urban District, where it stayed until 1974. Under the Local Government Act 1972, the Saddleworth Urban District was abolished, and Denshaw has, since 1 April 1974, formed part of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, within Greater Manchester.[1][31] Denshaw lies within the Saddleworth North electoral ward.[32]

Since 1997, Denshaw has formed part of the parliamentary constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth, and is represented in the House of Commons by Debbie Abrahams, a member of the Labour Party. Between 1983 and 1997 it was in the Littleborough and Saddleworth constituency.


At 53°35′32″N 2°2′19″W / 53.59222°N 2.03861°W / 53.59222; -2.03861 (53.5921°, −2.0385°) and 165 miles (266 km) north-northwest of London, Denshaw stands about 990 feet (302 m) above sea level, 11.4 miles (18.3 km) northeast of Manchester city centre, on elevated Pennine ground by the River Tame, which flows southwesterly from its source near the Dowry and New Year's Bridge reservoirs. The land-use of Denshaw, which centres on a road junction, is predominantly residential, the outlying land being a mixture of permanent grassland and heath.[33]

Denshaw lies amongst the South Pennines, and is topographically characterised by hilly, upland terrain. Denshaw is not contiguous with any other settlement and for purposes of the Office for National Statistics, does not form part of the Greater Manchester Urban Area.[34]

Denshaw experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year.

There are a number of small named-localities in and around Denshaw, including Denshaw Fold, Cherry Clough, Junction, Old Tame, Slackcote, Grains Bar and Woodbrow.[2]


Denshaw's war memorial is situated in the village churchyard.
Denshaw's war memorial is situated in the village churchyard.

Christ Church is Denshaw's parish church. It is part of the Church of England and lies within the Anglican Diocese of Manchester.[35] A Grade II listed building since 19 June 1967, Christ Church dates from 1863, the year before Denshaw became an ecclesiastical parish.[36] It was built by Henry Gartside, a resident of Denshaw.

Denshaw War Memorial lies within the churchyard. It was erected by public subscription "in honour of the men who fell and served" in the First and Second World Wars. The monument has Rolls of Honour containing the 32 names of those from Denshaw who fought and died in these wars.[37]


Denshaw lies 2.5 miles (4.0 km) south of the M62 motorway, at a road junction where the A640, A672 and A6052 roads intersect. There are no rail services in Denshaw. Following closure of the Oldham Loop Line, the nearest railway station to Denshaw is located at Greenfield.

Two bus routes serve Denshaw. One is the daily 407 service between Denshaw and Oldham via Pennine Meadows and Moorside run by Stotts and operating hourly during the daytime.[38] The other is the 354, running from Denshaw to Ashton-under-Lyne via Delph, Uppermill, Mossley and Stalybridge. It is operated by First Greater Manchester and runs every two hours Monday–Saturday daytime.[39] There are no evening journeys on either service, they are replaced by a Local Link demand responsive transport service instead. In its guise as the 562 route, it carried on to Halifax in West Yorkshire. This was withdrawn in April 2006. At one point, the first and last journeys of the 354 were extended to Rochdale, when the service was worked by Bu-Val Buses earlier on in the 21st century.[40]

Culture and community

Since 1993, Denshaw has held an annual brass band contest.
Since 1993, Denshaw has held an annual brass band contest.

Denshaw is noted for its annual brass band contest, held on every Whit Friday.[41][42] The Denshaw Whit Friday Band Contest was established in 1993 and in its first year attracted 25 bands.[43]

Denshaw has a primary school named Christ Church Primary.[44] It is a denominational school with the Church of England, linked with Denshaw's parish church.

Denshaw village hall is the home of an amateur dramatic group and hosts various village activities;[45] the hall was awarded a grant of £10,000 by the Awards for All scheme,[45] a small grants scheme run by the National Lottery.[46]

Denshaw is referred to in Barclay James Harvest's 1993 song Ballad of Denshaw Mill.[47]

Public services

Home Office policing in Denshaw is provided by the Greater Manchester Police. The force's "(Q) Division" have their headquarters for policing the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham at central Oldham; Denshaw's nearest police station is at Uppermill.[48] Public transport is co-ordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester. Statutory emergency fire and rescue service is provided by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

There are no hospitals in Denshaw, the nearest being the Royal Oldham Hospital, in neighbouring Oldham. Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is the local NHS Trust. The North West Ambulance Service provides emergency patient transport to and from Denshaw. Other forms of health care are provided for locally by several small clinics and surgeries in and around Saddleworth.

Waste management is co-ordinated by the local authority via the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority.[49] Locally produced inert waste for disposal is sent to landfill at the Beal Valley.[50] Denshaw's Distribution Network Operator for electricity is United Utilities.[51] United Utilities also manages Denshaw's drinking and waste water;[51] water supplies being sourced from several local reservoirs, including Dovestone and Chew.[52]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Greater Manchester Gazetteer". Greater Manchester County Record Office. Places names – D to F. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Fox & Fox 2001, p. 10.
  3. ^ a b c d "Denshaw". Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d "Bronze Age dagger retrieved near proposed windfarm". 14 February 2004. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Monument No. 46028". PastScape. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  6. ^ Daly, J. D. (N.D.). p. 63.
  7. ^ McNeil, R.; Nevell, M (2000). A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Greater Manchester. Association for Industrial Archaeology. ISBN 0-9528930-3-7.
  8. ^ Fox & Fox 2001, p. 11.
  9. ^ Daly, J. D. (N.D.). p. 74.
  10. ^ Daly, J. D. (N.D.). p. 79.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Denshaw Oddfellows Lodge (1163373)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  12. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS Project (2004). "Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for Denshaw". A vision of Britain through time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  13. ^ "Putting wind up E.ON". Oldham Advertiser. M.E.N. Media. 3 October 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Plans for moor wind farm scrapped". BBC News. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Denshaw Moor". Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  16. ^ "Saddleworth and Lees Area Plan" (PDF). January 2004. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  17. ^ a b "Fresh hope for threatened post office". Oldham Evening Chronicle. 7 May 2008. p. 15.
  18. ^ Greater Manchester Police. "Postmistress threatened in armed robbery". Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  19. ^ "Convenience Store with a Difference". Oldham Evening Chronicle. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  20. ^ Keegan, Mike (18 April 2008). "Denshaw and the wicked whispers". Retrieved 18 April 2008.[dead link]
  21. ^ "Village ridiculed by Wikipedia hijackers". 17 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  22. ^ Adams, Stephen (18 April 2008). "Village of Denshaw falls victim to Wikipedia hackers". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  23. ^ "Village web portrayal joke". BBC News. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  24. ^ "Pennine village "devastated by tapeworm"". Daily Times. 19 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  25. ^ Youngs, F. A. (1991). page 600, under the entry for Saddleworth.
  26. ^ Daly, J. D. (N.D.). p. 72.
  27. ^ Great Britain Historical GIS Project (2004). "Denshaw EP through time. Census tables with data for the Ecclesiastical Parish". A vision of Britain through time. University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  28. ^ "Saddleworth – An Overview". Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  29. ^ Youngs, F. A. (1991). p. 535.
  30. ^ "Rochdale Archdeaconry – Saddleworth Deanery". Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  31. ^ HMSO. Local Government Act 1972. 1972 c.70.
  32. ^ Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council. "Councillors for Saddleworth North". Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  33. ^ Fullard, H., ed. (1965). Philip's Modern School Atlas: Lancashire Edition (62 ed.). George Philip and Son. p. I.
  34. ^ Office for National Statistics (2001). "Census 2001:Key Statistics for urban areas in the North; Map 3" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  35. ^ "Denshaw, Christ Church". Archived from the original on 24 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  36. ^ Historic England. "Christ Church, Denshaw (1067438)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  37. ^ "Denshaw, War Memorial transcription". 25 February 2007. Archived from the original on 23 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  38. ^ Transport for Greater Manchester (19 April 2009). "TfGM Bus Times: Bus Number 407" (PDF). TfGM Bus Timetable leaflet (Route 407). Retrieved 10 September 2012.[permanent dead link]
  39. ^ Transport for Greater Manchester (23 July 2012). "TfGM Bus Times: Bus Numbers 353 and 354" (PDF). TfGM Bus Timetable leaflet (Routes 353 and 354). Retrieved 10 September 2012.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (23 February 2006). "Minutes of a meeting of the Transport Network Committee of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority held on 23 February 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 17 April 2008.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "Denshaw Brass 2005". 2005. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  42. ^ "The Whit Friday Brass Band Contests". Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  43. ^ "About The Contest". Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 18 April 2008.
  44. ^ "Schools in Oldham". Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  45. ^ a b "Saddleworth an Lees local matters: Refurbished village hall a focal point" (PDF). March 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  46. ^ "Awards for All in England". Archived from the original on 4 April 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  47. ^ "Caught in the Light: Ballad of Denshaw Mill". Retrieved 17 April 2008.
  48. ^ Greater Manchester Police (25 January 2006). "Profile of Saddleworth and Lees". Archived from the original on 3 November 2007. Retrieved 19 April 2008.
  49. ^ Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (2008). "Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority (GMWDA)". Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  50. ^ Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council (n.d.). "Minerals and Waste development planning". Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  51. ^ a b United Utilities (17 April 2007). "Oldham". Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  52. ^ United Utilities (17 April 2007). "Dove Stone Reservoirs". Retrieved 8 February 2008.


  • Daly, J.D (n.d.). Oldham From the XX Legion to the 20th Century. ISBN 5-00-091284-5.
  • Fox, Michael; Fox, Peter (2001). Images of England: Saddleworth. Stroud, Gloucestershire: Tempus. ISBN 0-7524-2275-8.
  • Youngs, F. A. (1991). Guide to the local administrative units of England. (Volume 1: Northern England). London: Royal Historical Society. ISBN 0-86193-127-0.

External links

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