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Dawson Hill
Morley is located in Leeds
Morley is located in West Yorkshire
Location within West Yorkshire
Population44,440 (Including Adwalton. 2011)
OS grid referenceSE265275
Civil parish
  • Morley
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLEEDS
Postcode districtLS27
Dialling code0113
PoliceWest Yorkshire
FireWest Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°44′57″N 1°36′08″W / 53.749166°N 1.602263°W / 53.749166; -1.602263

Morley is a market town and a civil parish within the City of Leeds metropolitan borough, in West Yorkshire, England. Morley is the largest town in the borough after Leeds itself. Morley forms part of the Heavy Woollen District.

It lies approximately 5 miles (8 km) south-west of Leeds city centre. It was built on seven hills: Scatcherd Hill, Dawson Hill, Daisy Hill, Chapel Hill, Hunger Hill, Troy Hill and Banks Hill. In 2011, the town and civil parish had populations of 44,440 and 27,738 respectively.[1]

The town is split between the Morley North and Morley South wards (containing the town centre) of Leeds City Council, both making up the western half of the Morley and Outwood parliamentary constituency.


Morley was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Morelege, Morelei and Moreleia. Morley means "open ground by a moor", from Old English mōr "moor, clearing, pasture" + lēah "open ground, clearing". It gave its name to Morelei Wapentac, a wapentake which probably met at Tingley.[2]

Howley Hall was built during the 1580s by Sir John Savile, a member of the great Yorkshire landowners, the Savile family. The house was besieged during the English Civil War in 1643 before the Battle of Adwalton Moor but appears to have sustained no serious damage. It continued to be occupied during the 17th century but fell into disrepair. The hall was demolished in 1730 but ruins exist including the cellars of its great hall.[3]

The town became famous for its textile industry, notably the cloth, shoddy, which was worn by both sides in the American Civil War.

On 7 October 1872, 34 people were killed in an explosion at the Morley Main Colliery.[4]


Street map of Morley

Historically, Morley was the centre of one of two divisions of the wapentake of Agbrigg and Morley. Morley became a Municipal Borough in 1889 and under the Local Government Act 1972, was incorporated into the City of Leeds Metropolitan District. Morley is represented on Leeds City Council by three wards (namely Morley North, Morley South and Ardsley and Robin Hood) each with three councillors. At the 2010 general election, Morley and Outwood was won by Ed Balls of the Labour Party, who had been MP for Normanton since 2005, and served as Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2011 until 2015. Balls narrowly lost the seat at the 2015 general election to Conservative Andrea Jenkyns.

A town council was established in 2000, though it does not cover Drighlington, Gildersome, Tingley and East and West Ardsley – areas formerly part of the municipal borough.

Following a review of parliamentary representation in West Yorkshire, the Morley and Rothwell parliamentary constituency was abolished at the 2010 election and replaced by the Morley and Outwood constituency.

The town's coat of arms featured the symbolic principal industries of the municipal borough: textile manufacturing, coal mining and quarrying.



Morley Town Hall, completed in 1895
Queen Street
Morley Indoor Market
St Andrew's Church

Morley Town Hall is sometimes used for music recordings. Television programmes, Heartbeat and Emmerdale have used its disused magistrates court and a cobblestoned street to one side. It hosts concerts by local schools and performances by the Morley Amateur Operatic Society, whose pantomimes have taken place at the Alexandra Hall for many years.

St Mary in the Wood Church is located to the north of the town centre on Troy Road and Commercial Street. The church has been closed since the late 20th Century and survived until 2010. When a fire broke out and burnt the whole church interior. The site is now overgrown and abandoned although the impressive spire can be seen from the town centre. The congregation still meet at the chapel on Commercial Street.

Morley annually holds one of the largest St George's Day parades in the country and has been named "the most patriotic town in England".[5]

Morley Market has been a feature since the town was formed. The market building has a large trading hall split up into units housing, butchers, fashion shops and a café.

Supermarkets in Morley include Morrisons, Home Bargains and B & M in the town centre, a 24-hour Asda superstore and an Aldi Supermarket on the outside of the town centre.

Scatcherd Park in the centre of Morley, by the Morley Leisure Centre, has a large playing field, a skate park, children's park, bowling green and memorial gardens, including the town's war memorial. Events are held on the adjoining field in the summer months.

On 21 February 2010, a statue of Ernie Wise was erected outside Morley Post Office to divided opinion[6] and unveiled by his widow, Doreen.[7][8] Wise had performed in the old nearby cinema, just around from the Post Office, which is now a Wetherspoons.

On 25 June 2012, the Olympic Torch paused at the Morley Academy on its tour of Britain ahead of the London Olympic Games 2012.


Morley railway station is half a mile (800 m) from the town centre on the Huddersfield Line. There is a service seven days a week to and from Leeds, but on Sundays, the service is less frequent.

Buses go to Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and other West Yorkshire towns from bus stops near the Town Hall.

The M621 motorway runs to the west of the town and the M62 motorway to the south. Junctions 27 and 28 of the M62 are closest to Morley.


There are numerous primary schools in Morley including Morley Newlands Academy, Churwell Primary, Seven Hills Primary School, Morley Victoria Primary School, Asquith Primary, Fountain Primary and St Francis Catholic Primary School. It also has an independent preparatory school; Queenswood School.

Three secondary schools serve pupils from Morley: The Morley Academy (formerly Morley High and Morley Grammar), Bruntcliffe Academy and Woodkirk Academy (formerly Woodkirk High and technically in West Ardsley, but has a large proportion of students from Morley due to its catchment area).


Morley R.F.C. was founded in 1878. When the Northern Union clubs broke away from the RFU to form the rugby league, the Morley representatives missed the train to Huddersfield due to being in the pub. The club's heyday was in the 1970s when it won the Yorkshire Cup on five occasions. In April 2005 the club won the Powergen Intermediate Cup at Twickenham.

Morley CC cricket club plays in the Bradford League, Morley Town AFC (currently of Yorkshire FA Premier Division) and Morley Amateur FC are the towns football club and Morley Borough play rugby league.

Morley Leisure Centre[9][10] is newly built after undergoing a £33 million joint project with Armley Leisure Centre completed 22 June 2010 boasting a main 25-metre swimming pool, 10-metre learner pool, 150-station Bodyline gym, numerous sports halls, a dance studio and a cafe.

Independent Wrestling company Dynamic Pro Wrestling (DPW) is based in Morley and put on shows at Ackroyd Street Working Mens Club and around West Yorkshire until its closure in 2011.

Morley was the home of seven times World Cycling Champion Beryl Burton.

Scatcherd Park Bowling club compete in 9 leagues


Morley is a setting for David Peace's Red Riding Quartet novel and 2009 television series which explore West Yorkshire police corruption during the 1970s, and 1980s. Emmerdale often use Morley for filming court and wedding scenes in the town hall.

Twin towns

Notable people

Natives of the town refer to themselves as Morleians. Notable Morleians include:

See also


  1. ^ "- UK Census Data 2011". Good Stuff IT Services. Retrieved 28 February 2017.[dead link]
  2. ^ Victor Watts (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Based on the Collections of the English Place-Name Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), s.v. MORLEY WYorks.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Howley Hall; a 16th century country house and gardens (1016323)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  4. ^ "Morley Main Colleriey Explosion – Leeds – 1872".
  5. ^ "England's most patriotic town?". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Ernie Wise statue divides opinion in Morley". BBC News. 4 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Ernie Wise statue to be put in place this weekend". Morley Observer. 19 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Heart to heart with Ernie Wise's widow, Doreen". Morley Observer. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Morley Leisure Centre". Archived from the original on 27 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Pictures show new leisure centre in Morley". BBC News. 28 March 2010. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Coronation Street's Beverley Callard 'taking time off'". BBC News. BBC. 31 March 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  12. ^ Barraclough, R.; Reekie, D. (2003). Morley Entertainers. Zodiac Publishing, London, UK.
  13. ^ "Mausoleum – Scatcherd Family, St. Marys, Leeds – July 09". 7 October 2011. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011.
  14. ^ Crawford, Elizabeth (1 January 2001). The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866–1928. Routledge. ISBN 9780415239264. Retrieved 28 February 2017 – via Google Books.