Dewsbury is a minster town in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, in West Yorkshire, England. It is to the west of Wakefield, east of Huddersfield and south of Leeds. It lies by the River Calder and an arm of the Calder and Hebble Navigation.
Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, after undergoing a period of major growth in the 19th century as a mill town, Dewsbury went through a period of decline. More recently there has been redevelopment of derelict mills into flats, and regenerating of city areas.
The Domesday Book of 1086 records the name as Deusberie, Deusberia, Deusbereia, or Deubire, literally "dew hill", from Old English dēaw (genitive dēawes), "dew", and beorg, "hill" (because Dewsbury is built on a hill). It has been suggested that dēaw refers to the town's proximity to the water of the River Calder.
Historically other origins were proposed, such as an unattested "Dui's fort" (from Old English burg, "fort", and an unknown first name) or even "God's fort", from Cornish Duw, "God". Dewsbury, for example, could mean 'Dewi's fortification'. (Dewi is the equivalent of David in Welsh, an early form of which was spoken by the people of Elmet.) It is not clear where this fortification lay, but early maps of Dewsbury show two areas of initial focus for development. One is adjacent to the Minster, but what may be the fortified site is in the area now known as Boothroyd where field-name evidence suggests the existence of a fortification here or close by, possibly on the Dewsbury Moor/Daw Green spur. Such a position could command both the ecclesiastical focus in the valley bottom and the ford across the Calder at Thornhill Lees (now the site of Cleggford Bridge).
In Saxon times, Dewsbury was a centre of considerable importance. The ecclesiastical parish of Dewsbury encompassed Huddersfield, Mirfield and Bradford. Ancient legend records that in 627 Paulinus, the first Bishop of York, preached here on the banks of the River Calder. Numerous Saxon graves have been found in Dewsbury and Thornhill.
Dewsbury Minster lies near the River Calder, traditionally on the site where Paulinus preached. Some of the visible stonework in the nave is Saxon, and parts of the church also date to the 13th century. The tower houses "Black Tom", a bell which is rung each Christmas Eve, one toll for each year since Christ's birth, known as the "Devil's Knell", a tradition dating from the 15th century. The bell was given by Sir Thomas de Soothill, in penance for murdering a servant boy in a fit of rage. The tradition was commemorated on a Royal Mail postage stamp in 1986. 
Dewsbury market was established in the 14th century for local clothiers. Occurrences of the plague in 1593 and 1603 closed the market and it reopened in 1741.
Throughout the Middle Ages Dewsbury retained a measure of importance in ecclesiastical terms, collecting tithes from as far away as Halifax in the mid-14th century. John Wesley visited the area five times in the mid-18th century, and the first Methodist Society was established in 1746. Centenary Chapel on Daisy Hill commemorates the centenary of this event, and the Methodist tradition remained strong in the town. 
In 1770, a short branch of the Calder and Hebble Navigation was completed, linking Dewsbury to the canal system giving access to Manchester and Hull. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, Dewsbury was a centre for the shoddy and mungo industries which recycled woollen items by mixing them with new wool and making heavy blankets and uniforms. The town benefited economically from the canal, its location at the heart of the Heavy Woollen District, and its proximity to coal mines. The railway arrived in 1848 when Dewsbury Wellington Road railway station on the London and North Western Railway opened; this is the only station which remains open. Other stations were Dewsbury Central on the Great Northern Railway which closed in 1964 and Dewsbury Market Place on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway which closed in 1930; a fourth goods-only railway station was built in the early 20th century at Savile Town by the Midland Railway. In 1985 a bypass road was built on the site of Central Station and its adjacent viaduct, and nothing remains of Market Place railway station. The 19th century saw a great increase in population, rising from 4,566 in 1801 to around 30,000 by 1890.
After 2005 Dewsbury was labelled a troubled town after negative press reports and became "the town that dare not speak its name" after high profile crimes brought it into the media spotlight. In June, a girl of 12 was charged with grievous bodily harm after attempting to hang a five-year-old boy from Chickenley. Mohammad Sidique Khan, ringleader of the group responsible for the 7 July 2005 London bombings lived in Lees Holm. On 19 February 2008, Shannon Matthews, aged nine, disappeared in Dewsbury Moor. She was found hidden in Batley Carr on 14 March 2008.
Kirklees Council compulsorily purchased Pioneer House, a listed building formerly owned by the Co-operative Society and named for the Rochdale Pioneers. Previously owned by a property developer, it was in a dangerous condition, it is currently under redevelopment. Concerns were raised by residents questioning the legality of the installation of white UPVC windows to the listed building, these concerns however were left unanswered by the council.
In July 2014 Kirklees Council enforced a media ban covering the visit of the Princess Royal who was due to deliver a 1 minute and 15 second speech on the importance of restorative justice. Kirklees Council later responded that the highly unusual media ban had been insisted upon by the Royal Household. Buckingham Palace however was mystified over the ban with a Royal spokesman stating: “This visit has been openly listed in the future engagements section on the Royal website for the last eight weeks. There are no restrictions on reporting on the event from the Royal Household.”