Bygone Marsden (1943) by Lewis B. Whitehead

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Bygone Marsden

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Introduction

In compiling the following chapters of Marsden History, the author has tried to make each section in itself complete, and this has sometimes necessitated the repetition of details common to

two or more sections.

Starting originally as a paper read at a Mutual Improvement Society in the village, the volume of matter accumulated in many directions, not only from reading local books and newspaper articles pertaining to the subject, but from many interesting con- versations with old Marsden worthies who have long been gathered to their fathers.

To give a complete picture of local history is not my aim or intention. The chapters follow no arranged plan or dates, but pick up here and there items of interest which contribute some definite value to the story. ‘Tribute must be paid first to the many old Marsden men whom the author interviewed and from whom in some cases he received much valuable aid and advice. Notable amongst these was Joshua Bamforth, of Gatehead, but others whose reminiscences were of great value and interest were : Dan Pogson, Clough Lee ; Matthew Flint, Great Clough; John Hall, Lane Head, Binn; John Schofield,

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Introduction, con tol

Of the books consulted and quoted from, the principal are : Canon Hulbert’s “ Annals of Almondbury’’; the Rev. Robert Meek’s Diary ; the Rev. Joseph Hughes’s “‘ History of Meltham ”’ : Canon Hulbert’s “‘ Annals of Slaithwaite Church”; Mayhall’s Annals of

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CONTENTS.

Bygone Marsden Seventeenth Century Eighteenth Century Marsden Manor The Lords of the

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

A General View of Present-day Marsden Frontispiece

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BYGONE MARSDEN

T is always a pleasure to peep into the past and to pry here and I there into the times, conditions and accomplishments of a bygone age. Whether our attention be drawn to folk-lore, atchzology, or the study of historical events, we invariably find matters of deep and abiding interest. The charm of retrospect appeals in many ways to the reflective mind. Out of a dim and distant past it delights in discovering the small links that bind generation to genetation in material growth and well-being. It is right that age and antiquity should call for appreciation and consideration, for therein lies the secret of development. This review of old Marsden history must of necessity be more ot less discursive. Dates ate essential, but when incidents can be introduced in association with dates and buildings I intend to use them. In the first place, I may say that Marsden is supposed to have derived its name from two words, “‘

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14 BYGONE MARSDEN

In an old map of South-West Yorkshire, published by Speed and Blow, we find that Marsden Chapel, which was built in 1462, during the reign of Edward IV, is referred to as

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SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 15

yeats 1691 and 1710, to which I will refer later. In the first-

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16 Joseph Campinet

Joseph Aynley John Hague

Richard Waterhouse

Thomas Hague Widdowe Marsden John Senyor

Parson off Marsden

John Marsden

Edmond Mellor Marsden

Thomas Shawe John Shawe Giles Shawe John Marsden James Marsden James Marsden

Samuel Haigh William Aneley

Thomas Haigh

Widdowe Haigh

Luke Firth John Mellor

Thomas Mellor

Widow Berry Edward Firth

John Woodhead

William Firth John Mellor James France

John Shawcross

James Carter John Mellor Jerem Haigh

Robert Mellor...

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18 BYGONE MARSDEN

is lost in the mists of antiquity, but from many

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SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 19

being ultimately demolished. Perhaps it would be of interest to quote a couple of entries from John Wesley’s “‘ to show what manner of people lived in this neighbourhood. In June, 1757, he writes :— rode over the mountains to Huddersfield and a wilder people I never saw in all England. The men, women and children filled the streets as we rode along and appeared just ready to devour us. They were, however, tolerably quiet while I preached ; only a few pieces of dirt were thrown. The bellman came in the middle of the sermon, but was stopped by a gentleman of the town. I had almost done when they began to wring the bells, so that it did us small dis-service.”

Again, in 1759, two years later, we find the following entry :—

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20 BYGONE MARSDEN

as the Manor House, namely, 1616. The house was rebuilt in 1842, and bears the initial letters J.H.F., surmounted with a capital B. The next date we come to is perhaps the most remarkable one to be found anywhere in this locality. It graces the lintel of White Hall, better known as “ Th’ull farm that stands on the fringe of Clowes Moer. Under the inscription, “‘ Rebuilt 1855,’ we find the following straggling line of initial letters roughly worked, with the original date as a prefix, and an intermediate date as a suffix, the whole completed with a Julian date. It reads as follows :— 1670.

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SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 21

walls of an old house have been allowed to stand unmolested for 271 years. There is no doubt that Green Top was at one time a house of considerable importance. It stood a little below the ancient King’s highway.

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SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 23

Marsden, fil Joties Marsden; Josephus Senior; Jacobus Thompson ; Wiltus Aynsley ; Joties Marsden de Bank ; Edmond Mellor de Fforest ; Joseph Eastwood; Maria Shaw vide ; Daniel Shaw de Fforest; Joties Marsden de Pule; Thomas Shaw; Jacobus France ; Joties Hinchliffe ; Thomas Haigh de Nedderley ; Joties Haigh fil Thomas Haigh de Petty Royd; Maria Haigh, vid; Issabel Haigh; Edwus Kaye; Joties Haigh de Chappell End; Edwus Kay de Chappell End; Thomas Haigh Smith ; Robtus Kay; Jacobus Hawkyard; Thomas Mellor de Clowlee ; Joties Haigh, Haighouse ; Lucas Marsden de Clark Lee; Rogerus Firth de Ausley ; Joties Shaw de Clowyate ; Jacobus Whitehead ; Joties Shaw de Greenowlers ; Anne Shaw, vid. ; Maria Whitehead, vid.; Joties Shaw de Park ; Lucas Marsden de Black Lee ; Joties Shaw de Haigh Greene ; Thomas Shaw de

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24

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EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 25

often taught the rudiments of knowledge to eke out their scanty incomes. They were also the penmen who were called upon to

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26 BYGONE MARSDEN

testimonial sealed and signed by ye within mentioned petsons ye day and year within expressed. Jsaac Walton Curt de Marsden.” From an old Land Tax document dated 1717 I gather that the mill then standing at Hey Green was built on the site of Robert France’s first fulling mill. I might explain that a fulling mill was set apart to scour and thicken cloth. It is probable that this , old fulling mill was erected in 1710, and thereby formed the first link in the series of mills which have grown and then been de- molished, and grown again with renewed vigour in the township. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century it became usual to place a plain stone over the door lintels of many cottages and small farmhouses, giving the initials of their owners along with the dates of erection. To this praiseworthy custom I am indebted for much of my material. All the dates now given are to be seen any day by the curious, and, so far as possible, I have made them complete. The first in chronological order is to be found within the dwelling-house of the late Jim Shaw, Towngate. At one time the building was half its present size, and in the gable wall of the older portion—now used as an inner wall—was placed the doorway, bearing in relief above its portals the date 1738. The next date is to be found at Smithy Holme—built a year later than the one in Towngate—1739, with the letters W.H. and L.H. in company, the H standing for Holroyd and the W for William. Lower Green Owlers, in the Dean, comes third with the initial letters R.W.—Robert Whitehead—and the date 1740. As a side- light on these old times I may say that Robert Whitehead was. churchwarden under Parson Bellas of immortal fame, and that he kept a diary of his neighbours’ misdoings, probably with a view to getting them incarcerated in the village stocks. In turning over these faded old leaves we come actoss the following complaints made to the Rev. Lancelot Bellas :—‘‘ 1785, Nov. 27th: Joseph I Houldroyd threw a stone into our house.” “1785, Dec. and: Benj. Midwood and John Houldroyd was sleating

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EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

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28 BYGONE MARSDEN

may say that Dr. Johnstone was brother of William Johnstone, founder of the firm of Johnstone’s, Ltd. I now come to the most important event in old Marsden

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/ 30 BYGONE MARSDEN

over a foot passage at the other. Needless to say, I refer to the Planks, built for its whole length over a conduit, with its twin sister, The Street, or Golden Alley, running parallel. The Planks was demolished in 1937-1939. I remember once hearing an Australian gentleman, who had just returned from a visit to the Holy Land, say that of all the places he had seen none reminded him more of the back alleys of Jerusalem than Planks ” in Marsden. Perhaps this comparison is flattering, pethaps not—anyway it is interesting. One of the most curious features about this ancient bit of old Marsden was the number of houses proudly bearing their initial records and various datal

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EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 31

reputable evidence, carried off some 250 victims, or nearly an eighth

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THE LORDS OF THE MANOR 33

Taylor; Joshua Newton; Isabella Hoyle, wid.; Thomas Larkeson; John Haigh Smith; Rodger Haigh, of Great Clough and Glossop ; Samuel Haigh, of Upper Gatehead ; Jacob Haigh, of Lower Gate- head; William Wright in right of Sarah, his wife; John Firth, of Lingards Wood; Jacob Taylor, of Royd; John Lightowler 7 James Walker, of Slaughwaite; John Haigh, of Greengate; James Hinchcliffe, jun., of Bradshaw; John Marsden in right of Sarah his wife, late wife of Joshua Haigh ; John Haigh, of Bradshaw in right of Sarah his wife ; John Robinson, of Cartworth, in right of Annie his wife; John Marsden, of Osset, in right of Sarah his wife ; Adam Mellor; James Dyson

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34 BYGONE MARSDEN

In the year 1610 an official from Pontefract Castle attended on behalf of the Duchy of Lancaster to receive the Fee Fatm Rents

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36 BYGONE MARSDEN

disappears. Fortunately, these obscurities have been dealt with from time to time by a number of skilful students, and their meaning made plain to all who take an interest in the subject.” The registers that I propose to investigate here ate those of the mother church at Almondbury, and several items that I give are copied from them. So far as I know, nothing relative to Marsden, however trivial, has been overlooked. It must be borne in mind that Marsden Chapel was a Chapel of Ease to Almondbury, and had no church registers of its own until the year 1734. What official records we have up to that year were duly entered and preserved there. The items of particular

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LIFE IN THE AND 17th CENTURIES 37

water beyinge up by ye reason off rayne ye nighte and in ye morninge, and was drowned and found agayne about one off ye clock and was buried ye xxiii. off Julye.”

The next is an entry of a baptism

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LIFE IN THE 16th AND 17th CENTURIES 39

To us the interesting things about this old contention are the

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40 BYGONE MARSDEN

who hath been some time at Marsden, but not yet resolved to stay. O Lord, provide for them, for they have been long destitute and many ate backward to provide for

themselves.

The diaries contain many brief entries pertaining to the Rev. Robt. Meeke’s parochial duties at Marsden, where no settled incumbent resided at the time, until the advent of the Rev. Isaac Walton.

I now turn to another interesting record. From “‘ The Life and Original Correspondence of Sir Geo. Radcliffe,” by the Rev. Thomas Whitaker, I cull the following from a letter written by him to his mother—Mrs. Margaret Radcliffe—at Thornhill, Yorkshire, as showing the state of the weather, roads, and, incidentally, place-names in Marsden in the seventeenth century. Sit George was then a youth making the journey from Thornhill to Oldham to receive instruction from a gentleman named Hunt— a well-known schoolmaster. The distance was about 25 miles, yet the journey took two whole days to accomplish. The letter is dated January 13th, 1607, and reads as follows :—

**On Monday the morninge was verie calme; going by the way we called at my uncle’s, but they wete gone. We then lighted at Marsden and sate there ; comminge to Peele (Pule) and Staninge (Standedge) the wind was so boysterous that we could heardly stande, and beinge both colde and some of us half sick we went to Saddleworth on Monday night, and there we stayed all night. The next morning was vetie wyndy till noon. At noon we set forth an so came we at Oldham in the afternoon—God be

Another very curious item I have come across in an old register throws an interesting light on one of the restrictive laws pertaining to woollen cloths at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Although not coming within the period under review, I feel loth to omit it

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LIFE IN THE 16th AND 17th CENTURIES

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THE STOCKS

In an angle sheltered by the decrepit wall of the old graveyard, and faced by the junction of Towngate and

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pue

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THE STOCKS _ 45

However, Marsden long

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44 BYGONE MARSDEN

sentenced to six hours’ confinement in the village stocks. We are

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CURATES AND INCUMBENTS OF THE PARISH CHURCH

1546. Rauf Haygh. 1558. Edmund Norrham. 1575. John Handeleyer. 1635-42. William Walker, M.A.

1651. William Harwood C 1657. William Broadhead

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THE CHURCH DAY SCHOOL

The first Church Day School was started in “ Back Lane ” in 1829. One or two masters officiated, but I have been unable to ascer- tain their names, with the exception of two—Thomas Lawford, who was appointed in 1834, and a Mr. Taylor, who followed in I 1840. The first important head master, however, was Richard Bamford, who Lingards, Slaithwaite. He assumed duties in 1845, and removed with the school to the new building in Manchester I Road in 1856. This was the first National School, and for thirty- five

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THE OLD ROADS

How often do we reflect on the romance and history of our highways, and how rarely do we ever give a thought to the enter- prise, building, and cost of these important avenues of civilisation ?

Living in a matter-of-fact age, we take all for granted, and cease to wonder at or be grateful for the foresight and skill of our

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THE OLD ROADS 49

old directory published in 1825 :— ** Marsden.—Post Office, Ram Inn. A foot-post arrives every day about 12 o’clock, and departs about half-past one. James Horsfall, trom Marsden, every Monday and Tuesday morning, carrier to Huddersfield. To Manchester, James Horsfall, every Friday evening. Returns on Saturday, and John Shaw every Friday (carriers). Goods conveyed by the Huddersfield Canal Co. from the Wharfe at Marsden, daily to all

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THE OLD ROADS 51

and Hounds Inn, Towngate, then kept by a man known to fame as

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THE PACKHORSE ROAD 53

At the far end of the Packhorse Road was a water-trough, near Badger Slack, where it joined the Buckstones Road. In the year 1908 an action at law was fought between the Marsden Urban District Council and the lord of the Manor of Marsden, Sir Joseph P. P. Radcliffe, over the right of way across these moors. For some years, with the advent of the Turnpike Road, canal and railway, the old Packhorse Road fell into neglect. Gradually the public ceased to use it, and it was thus confined to only _ occasional hikers, farmers, and shepherds, or people wishing to make joutneys to the Rochdale district. This indifference to a public right of way played into the hands of those who wished to exclude everyone from travelling this particular moorland, and ultimately produced threats of prosecution of anyone who date brave the trespass boards and the opposition of gamekeepers. Originally the whole length of the road was repaired out of the rates of Marsden-in-Huddersfield, the latter as separate from

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$4 BYGONE MARSDEN

author, who was asked to assist the Committee, had charge of the. witnesses in Leeds. The oldest of these who gave evidence at the two Courts of having used the Packhorse Road in their early days were as follows :—John Hall, Lane Head, Binn, aged 92 years ; Daniel Hall, Binn Villas, 87; George Armitage, Glenside, 84; William Bolton, High Fall, 78; Mrs. Hannah Bolton, High Fall, 82; John Whiteley, Little Fall, 80; James Schofield, Hey Cottages, 73 ; Samuel Shaw, New Hey Farm, 72 ; Samuel Schofield, Stott Hall Farm, Rishworth, 73 ; William Wild, Whiteley Dean, 77; David Wrigley, Badger Hey, 91 ; Mrs. David Wrigley, Badger Hey, 87; Samuel Gartside, Oldham, 76; and James Haigh, Wessenden, 78. After a prolonged enquiry, the verdict was that the plaintiff (Radcliffe) had failed to prove that there was no right of way, but he proved that the defendants (the U.D.C.) had exceeded their rights in regard

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THE PACKHORSE ROAD 55

plaintiffs. He held it was an ancient highway for all purposes except wheeled traffic. The defendants were right in repairing, but not in altering and improving, thereby making the road more com- modious. As to the stone pillars, he did not see that they did any harm, but still they were a trespass. Had they asked for them they might have been granted. Mr. Tindal Atkinson said that permission had been asked for but not granted. The principal Counsel for the plaintiff was Mr. Scott Fox, K.C., and the witnesses for his side, apart from the Deputy Steward of the Manor—Mr. John Sykes—and the Land Surveyor—Mr. Mallinson—were the ex-gamekeeper Kenyon, James Schofield, joiner, and James Carter, gamekeeper, none of whom were called upon to give evidence. “It was a matter of sincere rejoicing,” said the Huddersfield Examiner, on April 4th, 1908, “that the right of way over the Marsden moors had resulted in a verdict in favour of the public. For many years persons venturing upon the footpaths over the moors between Standedge New Road and the road to Rochdale had been subject to challenge by the keepers. In future persons seeking the fresh air of the moors may add the walk over the Easter Gate Bridge by the Packhorse Road as far as the New Hey Road to the regions already open to them.”

After a very considerable amount of preparation the Marsden people, through their representatives on the Urban District Council, notably Councillors Francis Goodall, J. T. Whitehead, Matthew Waterhouse, Alfred Hirst, and Joseph Kershaw, assisted by L. B. Whitehead, won a great victory for the freedom of that particular right of way for alltime. J. W. Piercy, LL.B., Clerk to the Marsden Council, was the solicitor in the case, assisted by W. E. L. Wattam. To prepare the evidence was no easy task. It meant careful seatch for the oldest and most reliable witnesses, far and near. Happily, these were found almost at the last moment, and so

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convincing was

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OLD INNS ASSOCIATIONS AND TRADITIONS.

Perhaps it will not be amiss to take a glance at what some people would call an obscure corner of a negligible past. But to the local historian nothing is too small to glance at or investigate; and in a sense all is grist that comes to the mill. For a short space I propose to look round the old inns of Marsden and, in a way, to make an inventory of those that have passed away. Of those still remaining none comes within our

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whose history and place-name are now almost forgotten stood at Waterside, near to the site of the present railway bridge across the canal at Tunnel End. This was long before the railway was thought of, and when the road followed the course of the river. Four other inns whose names are lost for good were at “ Doll Hoile,” near the narrow river entry off Argyle Street, Highgate, Throstle Nest (kept sometime by James Carter), and Forest. Then we ate told that at one time Buckstones was a famous ale-house. Here many outlaws congregated and planned their deeds of daring. Being so far away from any other habitation, they were practically immune from legal interference and had things very much to their own liking. In the early part of the nineteenth century Buckstones was the headquarters of a gang of thieves who plied their nefarious calling along the lonely stretches of highroad that crossed the Pennines at vatious points. The gang

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OLD INNS 59

with varied punishments. Shaw—the man who gave the gang away—was forced to wear a leather collar round his neck as a reminder of his share in the unsavoury business. These stirring events happened about the year 1818. I now come to the inns with names, but do not pretend to follow any chronological order or

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its licence at the end of 1910, and “‘ The Travellers’ Rest,’’ Chain, which closed its doors in the early part of 1916. Strange to say, this inn, like “‘ The White Hart,”’ also changed its appellation many years ago. It was first named

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THE BRIDGES

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62 BYGONE MARSDEN

in Colne Valley. The Wessenden Brook before uniting with its sister stream, the Colne, is spanned by five bridges, and the latter is crossed by no fewer than eight. First we will take a survey of the River Colne, starting with the single curved span of Easter Gate Bridge. This bridge was erected for the convenience of packhorse traffic plying between the Colne Valley and Rochdale, and did splendid service for a great number of years. Its appearance and position are extremely picturesque, and it forms a beauty spot that not only delights the attist, but proves an ever-attractive centre for all wayfarers who have an eye for rugged moorland beauty and quaint construction. The date of this hump-backed bridge, which is built of good grey stone, is unknown, but its care and preservation ought to be a joy and duty to the village fathers who for the time being are the custodians of the people’s rights and possessions. The next bridge lower down the stream is a private one, but fortunately open to the public, and known as the Hey Green Bridge—built amidst the most delightful river scenery to be seen in the neighbourhood, and completed about the year 1839 by John Dowse. It was over the west side of this bridge that Captain Brook, of “‘ The

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THE BRIDGES

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bridge proved a sound and substantial piece of masonry—a credit to Marsden workmen and materials—and stood the wear and tear of innumerable floods for close on a hundred years. With changed conditions the position of “‘ Snailhorn Bridge

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THE BRIDGES 65

Still following the course of the river, we come within a short distance to the high arched bridge carrying the Manchester New Road, and remarkable for the fact that it is built on the skew, the reason for the apparently unfinished state of the south side being a mistake in the survey of the road. After the foundations had been laid the workmen continued their labours without attempting to finish one side of the structure, and were content to leave things as they were, seeing the road was sufficiently straight-for its purpose. This bridge was built in 1839. Its companion, a little lower down the road, over Fall Lane, was built at the same time. Again following the Wessenden stream, we come to a plain iron bridge connecting Church Lane with Fall Lane. This was erected in 1875, the iron-work of which was made by Messrs. Robt, Taylor and Sons, of The Foundry, Ready Carr. Before this bridge was built the river at this place was crossed by stepping-stones. We now come to the site of another old foot-bridge, known as “Joe Grime Brig,’ then used to connect Towngate by the gable end of the old “ White Hart

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THE STANDEDGE TUNNELS

The successful carving of a waterway through Standedge hills will always remain one of the greatest feats of engineering. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the boom in canal building in England was significant of a great trade revival and a general awakening to the fact that it was possible to carry large quantities of merchandise from one town to another at a much cheaper rate than by road. The waterways of this country became a recognised medium for the transit of every variety of goods. Canals linked up with navigable rivers, and rivers with seaports and the outer world. The making of the canal in Colne Valley was undertaken by an enterprising company known as the Huddersfield and Ashton Canal Company. Up to the year 1811 all boat traffic on the canal ter- minated east and west at the respective wharves of Marsden and Diggle, and as a consequence each place became a depot of con- siderable activity. Warehouse Hill Basin, as its name implies, was the local dockyard in Marsden, and

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THE STANDEDGE TUNNELS 67

and a third appeal was made to Parliament, resulting in the final passing of the Act of 1804, which cleared the way once and for all for the work to be carried through to completion.

To face the task of cutting a hole 3 miles 171 yards in length, and large enough to allow boats of fair tonnage to travel through, required great confidence and determination on the part of the promoters. The excavators had to work mainly with the old- fashioned implements of pick and shovel, aided by an unlimited supply of gunpowder. Enormous quantities of rock had to be blasted and carried out load by load to each narrow exit. The vast masses of debris brought out from the bowels of the earth on the _ Marsden side were tipped into a great hollow not far from the ptesent railway station. The heaps eventually settled down, and to all intents and purposes became part and parcel of the surround- ing contour. A row of houses is now built upon the site known in common parlance as “‘ The

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68 BYGONE MARSDEN

The water tunnel was actually commenced in 1794 and com- pleted in 1811, at a cost of £271,000. It was opened for traffic on April 4th, 1811, and has been in continuous use up to a few yeats ago. The entrance to the tunnel at Marsden is 436 feet above the

canal water-level at Huddersfield and 656 feet above the sea-level. This gradient necessitated the building of many locks. The canal is fed from a number of

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THE STANDEDGE TUNNELS 69

all the goods traffic, and, further, secured a much mote rapid and voluminous exchange of

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THE RESERVOIRS THEIR SITUATION AND SURROUNDINGS.

Owing to the many hills around Marsden, springs and streams are numerous, and in themselves constitute a fine watershed, which has proved a most valuable asset to the old Huddersfield and Ashton Canal Company in the first place, and later to the Huddersfield Corporation. The hills and valleys, owing to their peculiar lay, have readily shaped themselves to the formation of a variety of reserves, conduits, and catch-waters. Within an area of 8,645 acres, composed mainly of undulating mootlands, Marsden has in her care and keeping some ten orf eleven reservoirs. Six of these belong to the L.M.S. Railway Company, and the remainder to the Corporation of Huddersfield. I propose dealing with those owned by the latter first, and our inquiry will lead us up the popular Wessenden Valley, with its delightful and picturesque moorland views. After leaving the junction of Binn Road with Wessenden Road we almost immediately strike the largest of the reservoirs— Butterley. This imposing sheet of water fills up the lower part of the valley, and covers, when full, some 43 acres. The work was commenced on August 27th, 1891, and completed on June 16th, 1906, at a total cost of £369,164. When the water was first allowed to accumulate it was found on reaching a depth of 36 feet that a serious leakage developed. It was intended that the full depth should be 94 feet, but this mark could not possibly be attained under the conditions then prevalent. Remedial works were at once instituted, consisting of deep gutters or trenches placed like arms from either end of the bank, and extending for some con- siderable distance. These enormous trenches were filled in with concrete and clay, and on their completion the gigantic undertaking was happily found to be water-tight. All but the remedial works

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THE RESERVOIRS 71

were catried out by the Corporation themselves and their engineers. The road up Wessenden Valley runs for a considerable distance alongside this magnificent reservoir, making it possible for all who travel the valley to appreciate the invigorating air that plays above the dancing waters. I

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sum of £30,477. Later they secured all the land and water rights by buying out the original owners, thereby becoming proprietors of what is now known as the Wessenden undertaking at a cost of £50,000. This complicated business was consummated in 1890. This reservoir, with its lovely expanse of water set in the hollow of the bracken-covered hills, has a strong resemblance to a natural lake. From the Wessenden Reservoir a good footpath of nearly two miles climbs the left side of the reservoir, and from thence onward to the well-known Isle of Skye. The scenery of the second part of the valley is without doubt comparable to some of the finest moor- land stretches to be found in the whole of the Pennines. The footpath winds in and out of the many “ gruffs,” crossing picturesque streams and gullies on its journey. Delightful vistas of moorland hill and dale abound on every hand, and natural beauty attract and fascinate every visitor. This compensation

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MoU

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THE RESERVOIRS 75

the Haigh Reservoir lying in the hollow of the Buckstones and March Hill slopes. This water reserve was constructed in 1832 by the Huddersfield and Ashton Canal Co. to provide a continuous supply of water for the canal. Eventually the whole undertaking was purchased by the old L.N.W. Railway Co. when they took over the ownership of the canal. I

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the mad rush of waters she was cattied away, her dead body being found later in the vicinity of Longroyd Bridge. We also hear of a John Fielding, who lived near, being aroused by the unusual sound,

and who, on investigating, found the water flooding his house.

Fortunately, both he and his wife escaped. An account of this tragedy was published in “‘ The Gentleman’s Magazine ”’ for 1810, as follows :— “November 29th: About one this morning the reservoir at the top of Standedge in Marsden, about nine miles west of Huddersfield, burst, and the water flowing in an easterly direction, inundated the whole of the adjoining valley. This reservoir, formed for the purpose of supplying the Hudders- field Canal, covered about 28 acres of land, and such was the destructive impetuosity of the flood, that it swept away a cottage occupied by James Haigh, standing on the declivity of the hill, and his wife and three children perished in the flood. Rushing forward in its fatal course, the water advanced to the mill of Messrs. Horsfall, and so completely inundated the house of the miller that himself and his wife were floated out of their bed; he seized the stone-work in the window, and for some time he held his wife in his embrace, but she was at length swum from him, and her lifeless body was taken up the next morning at a place called Paddock, two miles from Huddersfield; the husband, however, kept his hold

of the window till the water subsided, and by that means

preserved his life. Besides these fatal accidents, in which six lives were lost, many others of less consequence occurred ; the soil from the top to the bottom of the hill, and extending

a considerable distance along the valley, is completely washed

away, and the surface exhibits all the appearance of the bed

of a river. Some idea may be formed of the rapidity and force of this immense body of water when it is stated that a stone, of an oblong form, weighing 15 tons, was carried

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THE RESERVOIRS. 75

from the summit of the hill and lodged in the mill-race of

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THE MECHANICS’ HALL

With the transfer of the Mechanics’ Hall from the custody of the trustees to the Marsden Urban District Council on behalf of the township, it may not be amiss to give a glance at its past history. Towards the middle of last century a wave of enthusiasm for education swept over many industrial centres of this country, leaving behind a legacy of splendid effort and accomplished fact. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the Colne Valley. Marsden, Slaithwaite, and Longwood were all caught in the new movement, and eagerly concentrated on the accumulation and dispersion of useful knowledge. What we now call secondary education was then taught nightly, often by amateur teachers whose education had been only a little above the ordinary. The self-sacrifice of these young men was truly admirable, and their work prospered exceed- ingly. By organising evening classes for the study of elementary as well as more advanced subjects, they laid the working com- munity under a great debt of gratitude. Those were the palmy days when men drank at the wells of knowledge, with a thirst that knew no abatement. Those were the days when politicians and social reformers had not yet devised a system of education whereby every child should compulsorily attend school. Know- ledge was then an object worth pursuing for its own sake. Men were on the threshold of great changes, machinery was steadily increasing. and supplanting manual labour, knowledge meant power, and to the mentally gifted, or to the hard plodder in the furrows of learning, opportunities and prospects presented them-

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THE MECHANICS’ HALL

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78

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THE MECHANICS’ HALL 79

The trustees gladly accepted the gift, and determined to carry out the donor’s bequest, but on consultation with the architect it was deemed advisable not to build a tower of stone, as the foundation and outer wall were not strong enough to bear the extra weight. This advice was tather disconcerting, especially when it was felt that any other kind of structure might spoil the external beauty of the building. However, something had to be done, or the legacy would lapse. After a thorough investigation the trustees decided to erect a wooden tower, and to the design of John Kirk and Sons a very graceful and artistic turret was erected, which fortunately has not spoilt the facade. The only regret is that stone could not be used in place of timber; otherwise the addition is a distinct acquisition not only to the general architectural effect, but to public utility. Although the Mechanics’ Hall was finished in 1861, it was not opened until the following year, when a gtand procession, headed by a brass band and many decorative flags and banners, made a tour of the village. Much speech-making and tea-drinking, with all the etceteras, celebrated the event. After the building of the Mechanics’ Hall a number of new teachers volunteered for service, the chief of these being the Rev. T. W. Holmes (Congregational minister), John Shaw (The Hill), Richard Beaumont (Ainsley House), and Francis Johnstone (Crow Hill).. These gentlemen, with J. B. Robinson at their head, were mainly responsible for the tuition in the new Institute. To sup- plement the studies of the

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80 BYGONE MARSDEN

Jarmain, of Huddersfield. The terms of membership were arranged to meet the pockets of all comers, and the prospect of a long and

useful life was outwardly assured. To begin with, the classes were well attended and much good resulted therefrom—especially was _

this the case in the more advanced subjects. The social and musical tastes of the members, as well as those of the general public, were catered for in a variety of ways. Public lectures on popular themes were given from time to time, and altogether the moral, educational, and social tone of the community was elevated. The library, which was housed in a spacious room on the

ground floor, touched the high-water mark for size and usefulness. Totalling some 2,300 volumes, it proved a veritable storehouse of entertainment and wisdom, providing its patrons with fine and impartial service. Perhaps we ought to mention that during these early and

industrious days the Institution was most fortunate in having as its president J. B. Robinson, with James Mellor as librarian and

sectetary. Later Joe Pinder discharged the duties of secretary and

caretaker for many years. With the advent of greater educational facilities in the day

schools and the necessity for children to attend regularly, the purpose of the Mechanics’ Institute began to wane, and, before many years had passed, the educational work of the Institution

gradually but surely passed away. I am informed that after the Institution was transferred to

its new and elaborate home it never caught the public interest with the same enthusiasm. Somehow its virility was left behind in the old home at Inghead, and its ministering spirit could not be coaxed to inhabit fresh quarters. However that

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THE MECHANICS’ HALL 81

The glory and crown of the Institution—the fine old library— soon fell into neglect and decay, until its room was considered to be of more value than its reserves of wisdom, and it, too, silently passed into the shadows. Well does the author remember being invited by the Mechanics’ Hall authorities to superintend the pulling down and packing of these once-famous “‘ King’s Treasures”’ into the lumber boxes of oblivion. These were ignominiously catted away and consigned to the garret of a neighbouring mill. Several years elapsed, then for a second time the authorities approached the author with the request that he should superintend the unpacking of those heavily laden boxes, select what he thought of most value, and hand the remainder over for disposal to the public—a /a Dutch auction. After much labour this important work of sifting was accomplished, with the result that 827 volumes wete retained by the Institution, the remainder going under the

Page 96

THE OLD MILLS

It is well over two hundred years since the first mill was erected in Marsden. When I say mill, it does not follow that it was used exclusively for the manufacture of cloth or other fabrics, for in all probability it was not. It was really used for fulling or scouring cloth so as to thicken the material. In the eatly

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THE OLD MILLS 83

original building was swept away long ago, the site being subse- quently used for a more extensive mill, which commenced with the manufacture of cloth and ended by grinding corn. This mill ultimately fell on evil days, became a ruin, and was demolished, The old fulling mill at Hey Green was on a very humble scale, but for many years it did good service to the small

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84 BYGONE MARSDEN

bour, in the cotton industry, but with the great trade depression —

that swept over this country at that period it had to close down, and soon became a derelict. With the rapid growth of the woollen industry, it was eventually decided by the owners to rebuild this mill, in 1841, and with varying fortunes from fire and water it has served its day and generation up to the present. Such is the Middle Mill. We pass now to the

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THE OLD MILLS 85

Hill. After the death of Joe Dyson, James Holroyd and Son, of Wrigley Mill, Diggle, took over the business, continuing as shawl manufacturers up to the property being

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86 BYGONE MARSDEN

other serious fires took place at Bank Bottom subsequent to the one in ’58. Eventually the last vestige of this once-important mill was cleared away, it having been sold by public auction. Bank Bottom Mill was built in 1801 by Messrs. Whitehead, of Well Lane, Marsden, and was finally demolished in 1913. I

Continuing our journey down the Wessenden Brook, we note the existence at one time of Horsfall’s old mill, which stood at the bottom of Binn Lane. This mill was built at right angles to Ottiwells House, which went the way of all temporal things in 1908. The mill, like the house, originally belonged to William Horsfall, of Luddite fame, and was used for the manufacture of good old-fashioned cloth. It was in this mill that was placed the objectionable machinery that led to such tragic happenings in the year 1812. Most folk have heard of the Luddite riots, which convulsed the West Riding of Yorkshire in the years 1811 and 1812. Many causes led up to the catastrophe, not the least of which was the substitution of machinery for hand labour. The people were starved to death, work was at vanishing point, wages, when they were paid, touched rock bottom, and human suffering was extreme. No wonder people looked with a jealous eye on the encroachment of machinery on their labour, and incidentally on their bread, and determined to destroy all the hated machines they could lay hands on. Enoch and James Taylor, of the Foundry, were the makers of these new machines, and as a result their lives were constantly in danger. Horsfall was determined that he would not be intimidated by the popular outcry, and boasted that he would like to ride up to his saddle girths in Luddite blood. At this mill at Ottiwells a high barricade was built on an elevation about the level of the present

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THE OLD MILLS 87

shelter and fire, if need be, on the mob. The mill windows were barricaded and the doors carefully watched, guards being placed within, and every precaution taken. Such were the preparations made to receive the Luddites should they attempt to wreck the mill. The result of Horsfall’s temerity was a shot through the body on his way home from Huddersfield market on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 28th, 1812, and a lingering death at the Warren House Inn, Blackmoorfoot Road, Crosland Moor. After the passing of Horsfall, Ottiwells Mill became the pro- petty of William Kinder, who hailed from Meltham. He, with his sons, carried on for many years cloth manufacturing, which

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as

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THE OLD MILLS 89

We now cross the valley to Carrs, where stood for generations a little old mill, commonly called ‘‘ Bleacher’s.”’ In its day it served many purposes—dyeing, bleaching, rug-making, etc. Some time ago it was pulled down to make way for other buildings. It is reported by some—disbelieved by others—that a small mill once stood near to Wood Gate,

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known as The Marsden Mill Company and Henry Fisher and Co. respectively ; Messrs. Crowther, Bruce and Co., of New Mills, Brougham Road; Messrs. Fisher, Firth and Co., Cellars Clough Mill, formerly run by Dowse and Collins as a cotton mill; Messrs. S. and C. Firth, Holme Mill, originally owned and worked by John Crowther, of Stanley House, Lingards Wood. The remaining mill at Clough Lee, which was engaged in the manufacture of cloth for many years, and which was owned by Robinson Bros., changed hands in 1923, and for three succeeding years was worked by Messrs. Whitwam in the same industry. The premises were then taken over by a Belgian firm, named Baily-Ancion, Ltd., for the process of wool-scouring and carbonisation. Ready Carr Mill, originally the Marsden Foundry, is owned by Messrs. John Edward Crowther, Ltd., and is now used for the catbonisation of waste material.

Page 107

OLD FRIENDLY SOCIETIES

It is interesting to recall that Marsden was not far behind some of the neighbouring townships in establishing a friendly society at

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92 BYGONE MARSDEN

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OLD FRIENDLY SOCIETIES 93

Later a second Order was established for male members who chose to increase their liabilities and benefits, called

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THE IRON FOUNDRY AND ITS STORY

Perhaps one of the most interesting of Marsden’s old industries was the manufacture of steam engines, machines,

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THE IRON FOUNDRY 95

terrible scarcity of both work and food, were well-nigh distracted by their sufferings, and to suggest the introduction of new machines that would throw out of employment many men whose earning power was essential not only to themselves, but to their families and dependents, was a dangerous thing to do.

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occupied by North View Cottages. Here stood the first machine shop, with fitting, pattern, and turning rooms aloft. It presented a rematkable appearance, standing four storeys high, and being sutmounted by a quaint old wooden belfry, in which hung a time bell, familiar in clang and tone to every resident. The whole of this section of the foundry was pulled down in 1896 to make room for the above-mentioned dwelling-houses. The brothers Taylor early in their history

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THE IRON FOUNDRY 97

makers, and brass and iron founders, they added to their under- takings the more important work of steam-engine and boiler makers. Throughout the years of their history an ever-increasing number of men,

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98 BYGONE MARSDEN

Before closing this sketch, it is worth while to recall the great days when a boiler was completed, and had to be removed to the Marsden goods station for transhipment. Then was to be witnessed a sight attractive to old and young, especially the latter. This, I may say, was before the advent of steam road engines. The heavy and unwieldy boiler would be placed on its iron wagon, horses put into the double shafts, and two long, stout ropes attached to the shafts. These ropes were then grasped by every man and boy employed on the works, and pulled the whole way to the station. It was indeed a sight to behold, and will ever live in the memory of those who saw it. On other occasions all the draught horses in Marsden were called into service, and harnessed in pairs to the ponderous load; many were the shouts and whip-cracks from a small but original set of local cart drivers. Of course, whether drawn by men or horses, the great test of strength and sinew was when the Station Road had to be negotiated. Feet, sometimes inches, were thankfully registered, and great was the way in which the foremen of the shed directed the straining, panting fellows to heave great chunks of wood to stop the wheels of the leviathan from slipping backwards. Time and patience, however, worked wonders, and right ready were the sweating workmen when, their. task accomplished, they entered the Railway Hotel or

Page 115

lements for doing the world’s work, ‘has fallen on evil days. Its spacious workshops

Page 116

WHY IS MARSDEN CALLED BELLAS TOWN ?

“ We are nearly at Bellas Town now,” said a passenger recently as the train emerged from the tunnel which divides Diggle from Marsden, and stretched himself preparatory to picking up his traps and descending at the latter well-known station. This curious nickname for Marsden caused the author to reflect on the humours of village history and the verbal persistency of an old tradition. Why call Marsden Bellas Town ? The solution of the problem is simple enough. I On turning up some old musty records of Marsden worthies, many names famous in a variety of ways stand out, but none so arrests the attention as that of the Rev. Lancelot Bellas, who for a period of thirty-six years was supposed to take charge of the spiritual welfare of the Marsden inhabitants. The parish at the time of Mr. Bellas’s appointment to the curacy of Marsden Church—1779—was in the throes of violent emotion over the choice of a new incumbent. For several months the health of the Rev. John Marsden—who held the living—had steadily been declining, and much discussion had taken place as to his successor. Opinions were sharply divided, and only waited for Mr. Marsden’s death to break out into a bitter struggle between the contending parties. Needless to say, the delights of turmoil appealed to the small community, whose mental interests were exceedingly limited and centred chiefly in the life of the village church, and on Mr. Marsden’s death the flames burst forth.

One party keenly advocated the claims of the Rev. John

Murgatroyd, of Slaithwaite, while the other, with equal tenacity,

demanded the appointment of the popular minister of Heights

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WHY BELLAS TOWN ? IOI

To form some idea of the bitter contest the following selections from the “ Private

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102

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WHY BELLAS TOWN? 103

mote ale than religion in him. One story states that he was drinking at an inn one Saturday night, and it got five minutes to twelve and would soon be Sunday morning.

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104

Page 123

AN OLD MARSDEN PARSON

One of the most interesting personalities who ever presided

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interests and personal acrimony was a unique tribute to his strong character. Under his wise guidance things took a remarkable turn for the better, and when he came to leave the parish—after years of devoted labour—his departure was mourned by old and young, churchmen and dissenters, alike. To mention but one part of Mr. Maxfield’s activities, it may be stated that during his incumbency the new burial ground was purchased by a general district rate in 1852. ‘This is the present graveyard adjoining the church, and was consecrated by Dr. Longley, Bishop of Ripon. Mr. Maxfield was also instrumental in taising a substantial sum towards building a new church, and it was further stated that he had subscriptions promised amounting to £2,000 for the same purpose. Whatever the amount he and his church officers had in hand, they thought it sufficient to commence building operations. A plot of land was purchased on the north side of the burial ground, and the foundations of a new church were laid. The funds, however, suddenly gave out, the building was discontinued, and for thirty years things came to a stand- still. The laying of the corner stones in 1894 for the new church, on the old foundation, is well within the memory of most Marsden folks. Another aspect of Mr. Maxfield’s work which bore good fruit was his practical interest in poor-law administration. For twelve yeats he sat as chairman of the Board, and during that period accomplished much useful and helpful work. In 1854 Mr. Maxfield severed his connection with Marsden by accepting the vicarate of Norwell-cum-Carlton, Nottinghamshire, where he continued to reside until his death in 1873. Copies of bis farewell sermon preached in Marsden Church on Sunday after- noon, April 9th, 1854, under the title of “‘ A peace offering,” are occasionally to be met with and are greatly prized. In after years Mr. Maxfield paid many visits to Marsden, and, needless to say, invariably received the warmest welcome from a

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AN OLD MARSDEN PARSON 107

host of friends ; but perhaps the most interesting and historic of these visits was on the occasion of delivering a lecture in the Mechanics’ Hall on January sth, 1871, entitled “‘ Six and Forty Years’ Personal Recollections of

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and superstitions now out of date, or remembered by the few, and not by the many. In after years I visited that good old man in his last sickness, as I had frequently done and was gratified to do in the time of health. He died as he had lived, a humble-minded Christian, and I hope to meet him in a better world. He lived to an advanced age, and it was my lot to bury him, followed to his grave and honoured as he was by two if not three generations of his immediate descendants, as well as by numerous mountain neighbours and others who knew and appreciated his sterling worth.” The lecturer then described his first visit and impression of Tom o’ Wessenden and his good wife Betty, followed by an account of the various struggles over churchwarden elections and political matters, full of interest to the student of Marsden history. [ will conclude with another quotation bearing upon Mr. Maxfield’s parochial duties :—

“Then there was the week-day meeting at Luke Whitehead’s—at Old House End, Binn—or rather the fortnightly meeting, for at such intervals were the four held, two in each week, here or there, as the case might be. The Binn Scripture reading was the best attended, and the heartiest of the four. How I used to enjoy the singing and psalmody from those Binn voices, male and female, young men and maidens, old men and children! But once, I remember a somewhat ridiculous circumstance in the matter of singing which occurred on the occasion of one of my visits. The hymn given out was of a peculiar measure, and as I was the leader or precentor, I had to start the tune. After beginning I soon found I could not sing the tune I had chosen, and I had no notes, and nobody else could sing it either. However, good Mary Whitehead and myself con- trived to sing in some way or other to the end of the hymn,

and our little service came to a close. When all were gone,

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AN OLD MARSDEN PARSON 109

Marty quaintly observed that she did not know the tune, and had never heard it before. No, and she never will again, or anyone else either, for after the fashion of one of John Firth’s voluntaties I once heard in Marsden Church, it was just heard for the moment, and then passed away like ‘ the baseless fabric of a dream.’ ”’

Page 128

THE WESLEYAN CHAPEL

The first we hear of Methodism in Marsden relates to the yeat 1810. Cottage services were then held in a small house in

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THE WESLEYAN CHAPEL III

and a book of reminiscences entitled ‘‘ Slawit in the

Page 130

AN EARLY BAPTIST COMMUNION

At one time a number of Particular Baptists made a serious effort to found a cause in Marsden. This was in the year 1845, and the prospect of carrying the scheme to a successful issue was most promising. Further, in that year a number of adherents to the sect

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AN EARLY BAPTIST COMMUNION 115

vehemence and determination. To this enthusiasm was united an equal devotion to the principles of Calvinism. For several months

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114 BYGONE MARSDEN

From that day to this the Baptists have made no further attempt to secure a foothold in the village. However, I think it well to remember this almost forgotten episode of their coming to Berry Greave Farm, their brief career, the strange personalities of their

leaders, and their sudden departure.

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116 BYGONE MARSDEN

Page 135

1820. 1820.

1876. 1878.

1879.

1881. 1885. 1885. 1890. 1893. 1897.

1903. 1906.

1907. 1910.

I9IO. 1913. 1913.

1940. 1941.

THE COUNCIL SCHOOL AN HISTORICAL SUMMARY. First Old Town School built in Brougham Road, Marsden, at a cost of £400.

First Master appointed, Joseph Webster, of Sheffield, aged 25 years.

Death of Joseph Webster.

School rebuilt and extended. Cost

Page 136

THE PARK

One of the most useful and beautiful gifts ever presented to Marsden is the park, situated almost in the centre of the village. The generous donots of the ground, which originally was a large field opposite Inghead and Manchester New Road respectively, were Messrs. J. E. Crowther, Arthur Robinson, Samuel Firth, and

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THE PARK 119

of ganisterrock from the nearby moorland, on which were engraved in semi-relief, in bronze, a portrait of the poet, his name, and the dates 1826—1894. At the foot of the stone is a crude piece of grey stonework, roughly hewn, representing a face, leaves, and branches, which appears to mean nothing beyond the fact that it must have

Page 138

SOME NOTABLE PERSONALITIES

Samuel Laycock was born in 1826 at Intake Head, in a small cottage, long since pulled down, on the moor-edge. His father was a hand-loom weaver, and the family suffered from straitened circumstances, for at this period there were great scarcity and distress. Looms

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SOME NOTABLE PERSONALITIES 121

self-education, and the struggle for bread and the fight for know- ledge went on continuously. In 1837 the family removed to Stalybridge, and Laycock at eleven years of age commenced work in a cotton mill. From then to all intents and purposes, his life and work were associated with Lancashire. During his working days in the mill, first as a weaver and then as a power-loom tuner, he made his first attempt at rhyme, writing upon a cop-ticket, it is said, an epistle to a fellow operative. When the great cotton famine of 1862 swept Lancashire, as a result of the American Civil War, Laycock, with thousands of others, was thrown out of employment. This enforced leisure gave him ample opportunity for composition, and soon he was selling broadsheets, and contributing poems and sketches to local papers, all these efforts more or less depicting the poverty and suffering of the people around him. Eventually a collection of his best work was published by subscription, entitled “‘ Warblin’s Fro’ an _Owd Songster,” and proved a great success. After many vicissitudes in several ventures, Samuel Laycock died in Blackpool, where he had resided for many

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122 BYGONE MARSDEN

Another character I shall mention was a man named Peter Carter, who resided at The Green. He had a remarkable gift for hymn-writing, and composed several hundred sacred poems. These wete all written in a clear, round hand in manuscript, and on the fly-leaf of the first hundred was penned this quaint introduction :— The following one hundred hymns were composed in the years 1832 and 1842, being the happiest ten years of my

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URNS FOUND ON PULE HILL.

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SOME NOTABLE PERSONALITIES. 123

temporaty Marsden history seemed to escape his attention. Although he published no volume of

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MARSDEN CHARITIES

First: A Copy of the Fisher Charity. Mr. John Talents Fisher Charity : £200 invested by the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds in new 3 per cents., the income to be distributed on or about St. Thomas’s Day in every year amongst poor deserving persons, especially widows, resident in Marsden-in- Almondbury, May 16th, 1869. (The investment at that period brought in about £6 per annum.)

* * *

Second: Fisher Charity of £200. To the Incumbent and Churchwardens of Marsden. In trust to invest the same and lay out the income in coals, bread, and flour,

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MARSDEN CHARITIES 125 In mote

Page 146

THE MUSICAL LIFE OF MARSDEN

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THE MUSICAL LIFE OF MARSDEN 127

these concerts at the church, by the way, were confined to the great oratorios. According to a report published many years ago, the first concert, composed of secular items, given by the Marsden Musical Society, took place at the Swan Inn, then kept by Christopher Russell, on Monday evening, January 6th, 1840. The tickets for admission wete one shilling each. In the succeeding year the Society gave a concert in the old Town School, and two years later they selected the large chamber of the Old Ram Inn, in Towngate, apparently for more

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128 BYGONE MARSDEN

The Marsden Philharmonic Society was established on January 27th, 1844, with Mr. Joseph Webster, schoolmaster, as secretary. Concerts were held annually, at which all the vocal and instrumental talent of the district were present. Sometimes these feasts of music wete held in the

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THE MUSICAL LIFE OF MARSDEN 129

W. Haigh, a box, 4s. 6d.; W. Haigh, buttons, 6d.; W. Haigh, 2 little jackets, 8s.”

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130 BYGONE MARSDEN

Hall, Westminster, London. He had also been recitalist of the British Empite Exhibition, Royal Albert Hall, Crystal Palace, Queen’s Hall, Glasgow Exhibition, and numerous towns and cities throughout the Kingdom. Two brother vocalists—happily still alive—have also achieved great success in the wider sphere of musical art. The younger, Mr. Sam Dyson, after leaving his native village with many local honours to his credit, received an appointment to the choir of Canterbury Cathedral as a baritone singer. Thence he transferred for a

Page 151

MARSDEN’S MOST FAMOUS SOLDIER MAJOR JAMES GRIME.

Living in a time when militarism is dominating the national life with its all-powerful designs, and when soldiers hail from nearly evety home in the kingdom, to write about one of Marsden’s old

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132 BYGONE MARSDEN

The subject of my sketch was born at Marsden on February 21st, 1804, and, like most boys of that period, he was early set to work on the farm and at other occupations, until the spirit of adventure would no longer be denied, and he decided to venture forth beyond the circle of his native hills and see something of the great world. Perhaps the many journeyings of his parent through the waterways of two or three counties had something to do with developing this love of change and the desire to see the ways and places that men dwell in. Being a tall, strapping young fellow, he, at the age of 22, enlisted as a private in His Majesty’s famous regiment of Grenadier Guards. With such fine enthusiasm did he embrace the profession of a soldier that in less than a year he was promoted lance-corporal, and some months later full corporal. After serving with the Grenadiers for over four years, mainly in London, in 1830 he was transferred to the old 99th Regiment of Foot, with the non- commissioned rank of colour-sergeant. Sixteen years’

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MARSDEN’S MOST FAMOUS SOLDIER 133

After spending a number of years in the Antipodes, in which he saw much rough-and-tumble life during the gold-digging fever, he was gazetted Lieutenant to his old regiment in 1842, and a few yeats later was made Captain. Captain Grime had then faithfully served his King, Queen, and country for ovet 30 years in many parts of the

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DOUBLE MURDER COMMITTED ON THE MOORS, SEPTEMBER

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DOUBLE MURDER ON THE MOORS 135

Much speculation took place in the public mind as to who committed the crime, and many heated. discussions and strong opinions—all equally futile—took place, not only in the immediate neighbourhood, but in the wider field of public controversy. The mystery, like the Bill’s 0’ Jack’s murder in 1832 in Greenfield, will to all intents and purposes remain one of the unsolved problems of all time.

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MARSDEN AS HERO-WORSHIPPER 137

of the present police system. Hence the names of Peeler and Bobby,

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138 BYGONE MARSDEN

W. E. Gladstone, 1809-1898, was the fine flower of nineteenth century England, and what more natural than to use his name as an appellation ? Two minor statesmen of considerable ability ate also remembered in the names of Lord Melbourne, 1779—1848, who was Premier at the time of Queen Victoria’s accession; and Lord Sherbrooke, 1811-1892, the famous commoner known as Robert Lowe. These celebrities are kept in mind by the place-names Melbourne Terrace and Sherbrooke Cottages. We next turn our attention to Beaconsfield Place, at the top of Oliver Lane. The title name of Benjamin Disraeli,

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MARSDEN AS HERO-WORSHIPPER 139

Lastly comes Leatham Royd, called after W. H. Leatham, at one time Liberal member of Parliament for the

Page 162

MARSDEN AND THE CUCKOO FABLE

I often wonder what form of humour created the place- nickname and thus established an association of lasting fame. Here I should like to trace the connection and its significance between the legend and ourselves, what truth it conveyed, and how it applied. Marsden was not alone in conspicuousness, but shared with the rest of the valley the curious traditions identified with each township. For instance, we might ask why Golcar—of all places in the world—should be associated with the stately grace of the lily; or Slaithwaite be charged with a perpetual longing to possess the moon, not only in shadow, but in substance; or, again, why Marsden’s mythical history should be wrapt up with the adventures of a cuckoo. Probably it was the appreciation of that famous bird coming in mid-March, after the rigours of winter, and becoming a harbinger of spring, that prompted the birth of the quaint old fable. However, we are pleased to fancy that the cuckoo’s return was synonymous with all that was young, bright, and beautiful, and that if our enthusiastic forefathers could only secure the perpetual residence of this delightful singer, spring and summer would follow alter- nately, and Marsden would become the most charming of dwelling- places. With these pleasing sentiments in view, it was but a step to devise and carry out a simple scheme to secure their ends. What more natural than to select the most favoured spot of the chosen bird—which happened to be the Scout—and there build a circular tower to secure their songster ? How proudly these eager workers would hurry on their labours so as to entrap the harmonies of that delicate throat. Their joys, indeed, would be ecstatic as they neared the final courses of their aim, and their sorrow over- whelming when, as the final course was being raised, the charmer, with its semi-human voice, quickly flapped its wings and flew away.

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MARSDEN AND THE CUCKOO FABLE 141

Although failure attended this hypothetical building enterprise, the cuckoo bore them no ill-will, but continued to pay its annual visit to Scout, sing its joyful name, lay its eggs in other birds’ nests and in due season take its departure to more congenial climes. Whether or not Marsden still delights in the cuckoo story, we ate bound to admit that it has secured for her immottal fame. The tradition has its significance, and teaches a wholesome lesson. The bird is a symbol of the most delightful time of the year, and the. hypothetical attempt to

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4

PEACOCKS AND EAGLES IN MARSDEN

In my investigations I have found that birds of other character wete closely associated with Marsden lore. Some of the stories are amusing, others informing, and all worthy of record. To the first- named belongs the following

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PEACOCKS AND EAGLES IN MARSDEN 143

his early namesake’s into the shade for variety of patch and

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144 BYGONE MARSDEN

Page 167

OUR DIALECT

Mr. Herbert Samuel, when a member of the House of Commons, once mentioned the curious case of a Yorkshire cab-driver indulging in the broadest of dialects whilst addressing a fare, and as a conse- quence being mistaken for an Austrian. This may sound strange to a native of the Broad Actes, but so it stands. We all know how Yorkshiremen love their dialect, and, what is more, very freely indulge in it. The more uncouth a word sounds the more picturesque and attractive it becomes. I sometimes think that if all the dialect words used in daily intercourse in the Colne Valley were collected we should have an ample storehouse for creating what to any other countryman would be an entirely new language. Let it be clearly understood that when I speak of dialect words I do not mean vulgar words. The latter simply belong to the rubbish heap of words, and ate not worth con- sidering. But true dialect words often express without a shadow of doubt the exact feeling and meaning of the speaker. Most of these dialect words are of Saxon or Celtic origin, and their history goes back to a period when books were unknown. Thomas Carlyle once said that the pure dialect of South-East Lancashire came neater to the Saxon ideal than that of any other county. I wish he could have heard the typical dialect of the West Riding, for no doubt he would have been vastly impressed by its remarkable

Page 168

ROYAL VISITS

The first Royal visit to Marsden was made by King George V and Queen Mary on July 11th, 1912. They were received by the Urban District Council in state as they entered the village at Green Bower, and with acclamation from a large portion of the inhabitants, who made the day a general holiday. The Royal party travelled by car up Colne Valley, and left the village en route for Honley by way of Meltham. On their second visit, May 30th, 1918, they spent a considerable time, visiting Bank Bottom Mills as the guests of the late J. E. Crowther, whilst making a tour of the industrial areas of the West Riding. It was indeed a red-letter day in the history of Marsden. Brilliant sunshine and genial warmth combined to make a perfect holiday. Nature wore her gayest robes, and art linked hands with her in multicoloured flags and streamers. The Royal party arrived by train, and on the way down Station Road they halted near the Conservative Club to hear the children of the combined day schools sing the National Anthem. A bouquet was presented to the Queen by one of the girl scholars on behalf of the children, which Her Majesty graciously acknowledged. At Bank Bottom Mills many of the principal inhabitants and a number of workpeople were presented by Mr. Crowther. After a close inspection of cloth manufacturing the Royal party returned to Huddersfield. All the principal roads leading to Huddersfield were thronged by cheering crowds.

Page 169

ITEMS OF INTEREST

The Marsden Urban District Council ceased its duties as the govetning body of the district on March 31st, 1937, after forty- three years of beneficent service, and was superseded by the com- bined authority of the Colne Valley Council on April rst, 1937, which meets at the Town Hall, Slaithwaite. Instead of having twelve representatives Marsden is now allotted six. The Council is composed of the following districts: Marsden, Slaithwaite, Linthwaite, Golcar, and Scammonden, and exercises control over

all local government matters in each of the above townships.

* * *

Marsden is 74 miles from 18 miles from Manchester, 23# miles from Leeds, and 2042 miles from London.

* * *

Marsden Gas Works first constructed by a private company in 1856, and purchased by the old Local Board in 1878.

*

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148 BYGONE MARSDEN

a

Easter Gate was originally known as Simpson’s Spa (1838), and a small fair was held there on Sunday evenings. The principal caterer was a cettain John Carter. * * The toll-bars on the Wakefield and Austerland turnpike road (New Road) were abolished in 1882. One stood at “

Page 172

150

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ITEMS OF INTEREST

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152


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