The History of Honley and its Hamlets from the Earliest Time to the Present (1914) by Mary A. Jagger

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The History of Honley


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HONLEY, 1914.



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CHAPTER I. . . . 1-17

(Ancient Honley.-Old the Conqueror.-First mention of Honley in Domesday Book.-Saxon Thanes.-Lord of Honley.- Woollen Industry.-Wapentake.-Poll Tax.-Honley in 1379.-Honley Moor.-Ancient Dwelling in Church Mary's Chapel.- Honley Tax-payers in 1524.-Value of Clothing.-The Plague.-Sales of land by Sir Robert Stapylton.-Various Extracts.-The Civil War.- Hearth Tax.-Extracts from Almondbury Registers).

CHAPTER IL. & .. -. 183-39

(Honley at the beginning of 1700.-Extract from Meltham History.- Assessment in 1709.---Threatened Invasion of Scotch Pretender.- Extract from Almondbury Register.-Threatened Invasion of the Young in 1747.-Honley Book Club.- Assessment in 1761.-Particulars of Constables and Overseers who

served in 1700.-John Wesley.-The Enclosure Act,-Local Loyalty during French Revolution).

CHAPTER IIL. . -. ._. 40-59

(Honley in 1800.--Factory Act of 1802.-Local Defence.-Threatened Invasion of the French.-Diary Extract.-An Old-time Election of 1807.-Census in 1811.-Staple Trade of the District. -Lud-riots.-

Suspension of Local Banks.-Folly Hall Fight. -Factory Act of 1833.- Chartism.-Plug Riots).

CHAPTER IV. -. -. -. 60-80

(Honley's first Governing Body.-Closing of Shaw's Factory.-First Railway to Honley.-First Local Newspaper.-Holmfirth Flood.- Crimean War.-Peace Rejoicing.-First Gas Company.-First Lighting of the Strsets with Gas.-Co-operative Local Board.-

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Widening of Honley Gate.-New Road to Railway Station. -School Lane.-Cow-lane and Windy Cap.-Fires.-Water.-Queen Victoria's Jubilee.-The Commercial Inn.-Urban District Council.-Change in the Township's boundaries.-Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. -Gas Works Explosion -Purchase of Gas Works.-Death of Queen Victoria. - Return of Reservists from South African of King Edward VII.-Electricity Works.-South African War.- Rateable Value of Honley.-The death of King Edward VII. -Corona- tion of King George V.-Change in Townships' Boundaries. -Recreation (Ground.-Visit of King George V. and Quzsen Mary to Honley.- Constables in 1800-43).

CHAPTER V. ». . .. 81-117

(Modern Honley.-Its Natural History.-Characteristics and Sayings of Honley Trades.-Old Homestead and Houses.- Honley Clothiers.-The Wives of Honley Old Sign Boards).

CHAPTER VI. . .. . __ 118-138

Feast.-Christmas.-St. Valentines' Day.- April Fool's Day.-Mischief Night.-Collop Monday.-Shrove Tues- day.-Palm Sunday.-Good Friday.-Easter Monday.-May Day.- Guy Fawkes' Day.-Riding the Stang.-Customs observed at birth, marriage, death and burial).

CHAPTER VIL. .. . . _ 139-170

(Music.-Choral - Society.-Brass - - Ringing.- Cricket.-Football Clubs.-Tennis Club.-Flower Bull-baiting.-Hunting.-Foot-racing.-Whippet - racing. -Cock - fight- ing.-Pigeon - _ Landmarks.-Workhouse.-Town Hall. -Stepping-stones.-Stocks.-Pinfold.-Rising Steps.-Banks Corn Mill. -Toll-bars.-Wells).

CHAPTER VIII _ .. .. . _ 171-205

(The History of St. Mary's Church. -Cemetery.-Parish Room).

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CHAPTER IX. -s -. . __ 206-223

(Honley Church. -Wesleyan Chapel. -Primi- tive Methodist Chapel.-Wood Royd Croft Chapel.- Reformer's Chapel).

CHAPTER X. e <. . _- 224-236

(Sunday Schools.-Church Sunday School. -Congregational Sunday School. -Wesleyan Sunday School. -Primitive Methodist Sunday School. -Wood Royd Sunday School).

CHAPTER XL -. s. . - 23 (7-258

(Education.-National Schools.-Private Schools.-

Mechanics' Institute).

CHAPTER - XIL. 6. ». . __ 259-265

(Benefit Clubs.-Working Man's Club.-Conservative Club.-Liberal Club.-Labour Club.-Masonic Home).

CHAPTER XII. .. ». . __ 266-287

(Hamlets of Honley.-Brockholes.-Smithy Place.-St. George's Church.-Clergy House.-National School. -Wesleyan Crowther, Esq., J.P.-Alfred Sykes, Esq., J.P.-James Robinson, John Mitchell, Esq.)

CHAPTER XIV. .. -. s. _- 288-298

(Oldfield. -Oldfield School. -Deanhouse.-Hall Ing).

CHAPTER XV. -. .. . __ 2099-338

(Honley - Families.- Armitage.- Brooke.-Jessop.- Miss Siddon- Crosley.-Leigh.-W addington.-Oldham.-Other Families).

CHAPTER XVI. | .. ». -. 1. - vill.

(Cartimandua.-Reprinted from the "Numismatic Chronicle").

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No greater calamity can happen to nations or persons than to lose all knowledge of their past. Indigenous to Honley soil, love for my native place has prompted me to write its history before old scenes fade into the background, and the old is changed to the new. I shall not treat of wonderful develop- ments, great movements, or striking events which have taken place in the outside world, and at one time or another agitated mankind, only in their relation to Honley or its neighbour- hood. The tragic elements of life can be found in our midst without going further afield. A country would have no history to record if it was not for the type of men and women brought under review in this publication, who held to the place of their birth, dwelling side by side, and bound together by ties of common birth and speech. In the past, man went forth to ""his work and to his labour until the evening ""'-clearing the forest for his dwelling, cultivating the land for food, spinning and weaving to clothe himself. Birth and death, joy and sorrow, romance and tragedy, failure and achievement, made up the sum of human life as at present.

When collecting the raw material for this history, I am indebted to many sources for help. If it had not been for the learned researches of such men as the late Sir Thomas Brooke, and other members of the Yorkshire Society, much valuable knowledge regarding the earlier history of Honley would not have come to light. I have also copied extracts from works, diaries, etc. written by other persons ; and friends have kindly supplied me with information of a more modern character. These aids will be duly acknowledged in the pages of the history. In addition, I can write from personal knowledge of a past generation of men and women as varied

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in character as in position whose lives overlapped my own at an early age, and whose oral traditions, customs, super- stitions, recreations, principles, etc. will be fully described. Many interesting events which have occurred in Honley during the last fifty years might have been overlooked, if it had not been that I have kept diaries since the age of twelve years. These daily records have now proved useful. As far as possible, I have endeavoured to avoid mistakes or quote from mythical authorities. For instance, those oral traditions not found in any book when handed down by word of mouth, generation

after generation, are not always trustworthy ; so that with pre- cautions errors may occur.

I hope, however, that this history will prove interesting even to those people who are accustomed to making fine distinctions. When persons and scenes, long since faded in the background of years, are brought to mind, echoes from a past may find an echo in their hearts ; for often a face or familiar object, is canonised for ever by remembered joys and sorrows of existence. To my older readers who may perhaps prove less critical, a name, homestead, garden, field- path, stile, or tree, may carry memories of the time when life spread out before youthful eyes like a beautiful sunrise. On the other hand, their mention may only be too suggestive of a day when the hopes of a lifetime rung out their last knell.

To my younger readers, whose hands are stretched out to the future (and rightly so), I wish them to realise that in the past (as at present), there were good and true men and women who worked and struggled to bring sunshine, light, and better ways of living to those around them.

Local illustrations have been supplied to me by Mrs. Dearnley, Mr. N. T. Avison, and Mr. C. E. Exley. Photographs of Honley worthies have been kindly lent by their descendants.

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**The world does not require to be informed as to be reminded."-(Hannah More).

** Build not good squire, worthy parishioners a new Church high or low, repair the old with loving care and reverent anxiety, there is a charm, there is a value inexpressibly precious in ancientness and continuity of remembrance. The world is poorer and smaller by the loss of any old thing visibly connecting us poor fleeting mortals with the sacred by-gone years, leaving a door open unto the land of the past. It is deeper than a question of taste, this of blotting out traces of the great past from our visible world, blotting them out for ever with all their softened beauty and mystery, and tender sadness. The worst thing is to erase the venerable relic from the earth. The next worse thing is to restore it. Keep old England, thy old Churches, and old Manor-houses too, and town-halls, and ivied walls, and shady winding roads ; these things, believe it, tend to nourish all that is wholesome and beautiful in conservatism, and to foster a love of the country of our ancestors, which is also our own, and will, we hope, be our childrens."-(Patriceus Walker).

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olololofofo (DIOIOIO


(Ancient Honley.-Old Coins.-William the mention of Honley in Domesday Book.-Saxon Thanes.-Lord of Honley.- Woollen Industry.-Wapentake.-Poll Tax.-Honley in 1379.-Honley Moor.-Ancient Dwelling in Church Street.-St. Mary's Chapel.- Honley Tax-payers in 1524.-Value of Clothing.-The Plague. -Sales of land by Sir Robert Stapylton.-Various Extracts.-The Civil War.- Hearth Tax.-Extracts from Almondbury Registers).


I xust ask my readers to throw back their imaginations if possible beyond the time of Romish Conquests, when this neighbourhood was part of a vast forest perhaps haunted by woad-stained Briton. This is for the purpose of obtaining our first twilight glimpse of Honley, following its advance from the dark ages, and gradually arriving at the Honley of to-day.

Julius Czesar first came to England 55 B.c. and wrote an account of the people he found inhabiting our Island, describ- ing them as fierce and warlike, whose hair was long, and bodies coloured with blue woad. They were known as Brigantes. The discovery of ancient coins, implements of varied character, and excavations at Slack, have proved Romish settlement in our district. The finding of coins and antique remains on Nov. 7th, 1893 in a cavity of a rock upon the property of William Brooke, Esq., J.P., Northgate Mount ; and also the unearthing, at Longwood, of an altar, give proofs that the Brigantes or Ancient Britons occupied the neighbourhood, or when harried by Roman invaders, took shelter in the forest A

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which covered the ground upon which Honley of to-day stands. The silver coins are similar in size to the 4d. piece when in circulation, and the copper ones resemble a penny piece. The coins and remains were presented to the British Museum by Mr. Brooke, and have been named " Honley Find." G. F. Hill, Esq., M.A., has written a description of their various devices, inscriptions, and relation to the history of that period. This " Honley Find " is another valuable link added towards bringing into clearer light the ancient history of this romantic neighbourhood.

The pictures of the coins and remains, together with the learned description written by Mr. Hill, will be found re-printed in detail at the end of this history. About a hundred years previously to this " Honley Find " of 1893, a similar discovery was made in Thirstin.

The word Brigante means noble,-free,-unconquered. (Green in his " History of the English people" names him ** the free-necked man, whose long hair floated over a neck that had never bent to a lord." The natives of Honley still inherit the same characteristics, liberty being as necessary to them as the air they breathe. Before however describing the distinctive traits of Honley people, we must first locate their dwelling place. Imagination must now take a leap from the landing of Julius Czsar to the arrival of William the Con- queror. Over a thousand years had glided away between the two events. During this space of time there had been much internal warfare, learning of arts and manners of civilization, law and order slowly evolved ; and the gradual merging of the tribes of Jutes, Saxons, Angles and Ancient Britons into one race, viz :-English.

History tells us that when William the Conqueror was subduing England to his rule, the inhabitants of the Northern part proved so stubborn in their resistance against him, that before bringing them under subjection, he had finally to burn with fire and destroy with sword all the land and its dwellers (except those who escaped). The first authentic mention of Honley is in the ancient survey of the country named Domes-

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day Book. This great work was undertaken after William the Conqueror had finally brought England under his sway. Written in 1086, the survey was carried out with such exactitude, that according to Saxon Chronicles there was not a yard of land, ox, cow, hog or implement that was not set down, so that every man should be satisfied with his right, and respect the right of others.

In Domesday Book is written :-" In Haneleia (Honley) and Meltham, Cola and Suuen held four carucates of land to be taxed where three ploughs might be employed. Ilbert now has it, but it is waste."

Here then from this brief entry in Domesday Book we obtain our first glimpse of Honley which had been given a name to distinguish it from other places. Hane (Hone) means dwelling, leia (ley) an open space in a wood, thus the word indicates a dwelling or clearing in a wood. Our Saxon fore- fathers had cut down trees and erected their forest homes ; the two short but comprehensive sentences in Domesday Book pointing out a place, ownership, loss and tragedy. Girt by its own border line, Honley was owned or held by two Saxon Thanes or " free-necked men,"" named Cola and Suuen, whose names are typical of the ancient dwellers of the soil previous to the Conquest.

A Saxon Thane varied in position. As a rule, he was the great man of the neighbourhood holding his lands direct from his King, and rerderinmng him service according to his possessions. - With regard to the meaning of carucate, opinions differ according to the period and nature of the ground. One authority writes that it was as much land as could be ploughed in a year and a day, and ancther, that it measured about 100 or 120 acres. In the year 1198, one hundred acres went to a carucate. The word waste used in the condition of Honley, may prove that it was included in the devastation wrought by the Conqueror. The word may also convey a different meaning. The moorlands in our neighbourhood were at this time the most inaccessible and desolate in Britain. A

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few of the dwellers in such a remote place, situated at the extremity of this isolated district, might thus be able to seek shelter until the army of the Conqueror had passed onward on its ravaging course. The deserted appearance might thus convey the idea that the place was not inhabited. - Certainly our sturdy North-bred Spirit has never been subdued, so that its character must have been preserved by some means.

Cola and Suuen supported by kinsmen and followers, would no doubt fight long and fiercely in defence of their liberties and possessions. - No record however has come down to us from that stalwart age describing their resistance, there being no newspapers in those days to report warlike bravery or grievous wounds. We only know that Norman William was merciless in exacting abject submission, depriving those who had been spared in battle of their lands, and giving them to his own knights. Perhaps Cola died fighting, (r sought refuge in the forest and thus became an outlaw, there being nc further record of this Honley landowrer or Thane. It is not my province to erter into a controversy in this history whether Castle Hill became a Norman stronghold after the Conquest, or that previcusly it had been held by Cola and Suuen as a Saxon fortress. Mr. R. Holmes an expert in early Yorkshire history states that Suuen did not dwell in this neighbourhood though holding lands in Honley, Meltham and Almondbury. These were given by Norman to Ilbert-de-Lacy one of his favoured and most powerful Barons.

Suuen was the son of Alric the owner of Pontefract Castle, who was also deprived of his possessions in favour of Ilbert- de-Lacy. According to various authorities Suuen was not altogether reduced to penury. His descendants can be traced to the time of Charles I. as holding estates in different parts of Yorkshire, but not in this neighbourhood. This can be accounted for by the fact that Norman William took lands from those who refused to bend their necks to him, but allowed others to retain a certain part of their possessions if loyal subjects to his rule. This favour however was loaded with unjust restrictions. The Saxon Thanes held their lands only

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as tenants in Capite, that is, they had to pay rents and render certain kinds of service to their king or the more favoured Norman Baron.

Feudalism was in existence in Honley during the time of of Cola and Suuen, but of a different nature from that intro- duced after the Conquest. A native dweller had no inclination to struggle against his Lord bred and born in the same place, and attached to each other by close ties. If " suite and service " had to be rendered, the vassal had the protection and support of his Lord in return. If he could not marry his daughter without consent, this was necessary in a rugged age when the sword had to rule, as a precaution against becoming united with his Lord's enemies. The vassalage therefore accepted by the dwellers previous to the Conquest was voluntary on their part, but the Norman was hated, not only as an oppressor, but as a stranger.

No better idea of a Cola and Suuen, the characteristics of our neighbourhood, and existence of Norman Feudalism at this period can be gained than by reading the opening chapters of Nir Walter Scott's " Ivanhoe," in which he describes Cedric of Rotherwood dwelling near Sheffield.

From the time of the Conquest the track of years now leads us on to the days of Edward II., when Honley is again mentioned in the person of its Lord. During these three hundred years much conflict had again been raging. Crown had struggled against Church-Church against Crown- and powerful Barons had wrested their Magna Charta from a reluctant king ; thus winning English liberty.

In an old deed dated 1315, it appears that Thomas Planta- genet Earl of Lancaster the grandson of Henry III., was Lord of the Manors of Huddersfield, Almondbury, Meltham and Holme ; these estates coming to him on account of his marriage with Alise, the heiress of the great house of De Lacy. Amongst the names who were giving him rents and services was that of Richard Waley, Lord of Honley, the word Lord having been substituted for that of Thane under Norman rule.

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Forced since the Conquest to render service to the Norman Barons in whatever rash expedition they undertook, there was no other alternative for Richard Waley but to support the Earl of Lancaster in his claim to the crown against Edward II. As the defeated side always fared badly in those days, the Earl was beheaded in his own Castle at Pontefract, which had previously been taken from Alric, the father of Suuen and given to llbert-de-Lacy. The life of Richard Waley only was spared by paying a heavy ransom, and giving bond under his own seal, that he would submit himself to the king's will ; and henceforth be a faithful and obedient servant. The Lord of Honley was fined 2,000 marks, and all his lands confiscated. The English mark was worth about 13/4 at this period. This sum represented much mors in value than at present, so that the fine was a large sum of money. There is no further record of Richard Waley, for the Lord of Honley would not only be penniless, but landless ; and the " landless man " was a term which held bitter meaning.

We next find that in 1344, the Wallis family of Burg Wallis were Lords of Honley for a short period. Its value was forty shillings, and size two miles long, and a mile and a-half broad. The Stapyltons followed the Wallis family in possession. and held the Manor until the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

We obtained our earliest glimpse of Honley from Domesday Book, and now comes the first mention of the Woollen industry which would then take root, and has sirce flourished in the neighbourhood. (The history of the staple trade of the district will be found under its own Chapter). At this time there are not only records of a corn-mill, but also a " walk " or fulling- mill, at Honley and Steps. Both places retain their names in memory of the ancient mills which once stood upon the ground, viz : Steps Mill and Honley Mill. At this period, I have no trace of names of tenants of these Mills, or the value of rents paid until 200 years later. The present name of Lord's Mill is suggestive also of those Feudal days, when free-holder and

tenant were forced to grind corn and mill their cloth at the Lord's Mill.

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Wars were costly even in that age, and the dwellers in Honley were not overlooked in the matter of taxes, having to pay their share in helping to fill a Treasury which was generally empty. In the particulars of an ancient tax made in 1379 of the Wapen- take of Aggebrigge (Agbrigg), Honley was taxed at 11/-. At the same time, Huddersfield was taxed at 13/4, which establishes the fact that Honley of that date was not far behind Huddersfield in importance. Before the time of the Conquest, Yorkshire had been mapped out into districts known as Shires, Hundreds, Wapentakes, etc., and Agbrigg is the name of one of the ancient divisions in this neighbourhood in which Honley was included. The mapping out was not only for purposes of strict control and oversight of the dwellers under Feudal law, but also to know the number of fighting men available in the district, this being a necessity in an age when might was the only right. The word Aggebrigge (Agbrigg) owes its derivation to Saxon Mythology and its situation. Wapentake means Wappen (weapon) tac (touch or take)-hence Wapen- take, that is men, dwelling there who are able to touch or take a weapon.

The Yorkshire Archzological Society published a list of names in the Wapentake of Aggebrigge (Agbrigg) mentioned in this Subsidy Roll of 1379. This was an obnoxious exaction known as the Poll Tax, so named on account of one shilling per head being charged upon each person, rich or poor, over fifteen years of age. It may, or may not, be interesting to those ignorant of the fact, to know that our surnames originated from the trade, residence or characteristics of our forefathers. Amongst the twenty-five Honley persons who were forced to pay this hateful tax are to be found the same names still existing in our midst. In the list are such names as Rogerus Couper and Alicia, (Roger the Cooper and Alice), Johannes Dere and Agnes, (John of the dean and Agnes), William de fforest and Alicia, (William of the forest and Alice), Elizabeth de Wellshill, (Elizabeth of Well-hill), Henricus de Raynerd, (Henry of the Reynard), Thomas de Walker and Agnes, etc. Roger would be a Cooper, John of the Dene would

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be named from his dwelling at the head of a valley, likewise Elizabeth living upon Well-hill. The ancient trade of a cloth- fuller was named °" Walker," on account of treading the pieces of cloth by the feet in the act of milling-hence Thomas the Walker was a cloth-fuller. Henry of the Reynard probably dwelt in the forest, acting in the capacity of fox-killer. - Reynard has gradually changed in local vocabulary to the present '* Onyard " which is a small remnant still left of the forest. William of the forest also would no doubt dwell there.


We will try and realise what Honley would be like at the time of this Poll Tax in 1379. It had been given its name, so the low level land which stretches from the river's source down the whole length of the valley had been named Holm or Holme, which indicates a tract of flat land on either side of water. As generations passed, clearings from the forest had been made for open spaces, dwellings, and other buildings. The latter were built near the stream on account of the more favourable formation of the ground, and also of the necessity for water. Elizabeth, of Well-hill, had erected her home near a well, and no doubt many dwellings would also be planted upon higher land near springs of water. The houses constructed of wood, from the plentiful supply of timber near at hand, were without chimneys, holes serving for windows not only in hut, but in hall. The interiors perhaps would only contain an oak bench, table, and a few primitive cooking utensils ; and the dwellers would be in ignorance of the most elementary laws of health. Flocks, herds, river and nature around supplied food and clothing. Dwelling together, side by side, in a small group,

weaving, spinning, and tilling the ground ; they lived secluded

and far apart from such places as York or Leeds-names having but dim meaning for the generality of Honley dwellers of that date. News would travel slowly to their ears, if at all. Myths and superstitions formed the greater part of their religion. Education was unknown amongst them, personal strength and feats of arms being more valued than learning. A rough

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kind of justice was in existence, a local Court being held at Almondbury, which kept up a semblance of law and order. It was named the Court Leet, and exercised full power both in civil and criminal cases. (Leet is Saxon for Little Court). Thus we see that if Norman rule exacted hard service, Feudal tyranny had not deterred Honley dwellers from building homesteads, tilling lands, making clothing, and learning trades. With regard to amusements, no doubt they would indulge in the same sports and pastimes which were common at that period. The youth who twanged his arrow further than that of his rival, or wielded his quarter-staff quicker than his opponent, would be the object of the same kind of hero wor- ship as the present football or cricket champion. As the sun went down, the fighting, running, or wrestling victor would perhaps cool his lips, and the shock-headed waistrel dip his wounded head in the clear Honley well stream, as at present.

Honxnury Moor.

There is reliable evidence that at this period the forest which spread over Honley Moor was tenanted by wolves, deer, and other wild animals ;-place-names, such as Wolf-stones, Stagwood-bottom, etc., keeping their haunts in memory. People are familiar with the ancient tragedy of the Beaumont and Elland feud from the many written accounts of the quarrel between the two families. It is not my intention to dwell upon the feud so typical of the life of the period when blood- bond was still honoured, and kinsmen joined in family quarrels ; only to prove that wild animals of the chase roamed at liberty upon Honley Moor and its vicinity at this time.

Beaumont, of Crosland Hall, and Elland, of Elland, were two powerful Barons in their own domains between whom hatred and contention existed. When a Beaumont, assisted by his kinsmen, Quarmby of Quarmby, and Lockwood of Lockwood, had finally slain the last of the Ellands ; Beaumont and Lockwood escaped to Canon Hall, Cawthorne. For a time, Lockwood was sheltered from justice, but was eventually betrayed and cruelly put to death. It is recorded that Adam

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Beaumont returned to Crosland Hall, and lived for a time unmolested " hunting the red and fallow deer at Honley and Holmfirth." When the seclusion of this once picturesque domain was gradually disturbed by erections of dwellings here and there, many of the wild animals became extinct for reasons of safety. The En:losure Act, the particulars of which follow in order of dates, was the cause of extermination of the rest-the wild or pole-cat locally named " pow-cat " struggling longest for existence amongst us. The saying of " stinking like a pow-cat," is still in common use. In Almondbury Registers are frequent entries relating to payments to Honley of one shilling per head for "foomards " and foxes which continued until the beginning of 1700. (Pole-cats are also locally named foomards.)

There is an oral tradition in Honley connected with this time, but as we do not live in the dark ages when people " held such strange tale devoutly true ;" my readers must accept it with reserve. The present modern shops on the left hand side of Church Street, leading to the Church, replaced a massive old building of timber that was formerly used in the business of tallow-chandling or candlemaking by an old Honley family named Midwood. There may be people yet left in our long- lived neighbourhood, who can recall this ancient dwelling before its destruction. If not, I have often heard in my earlier years, old people describe its overhanging oak-gabled front, general architecture and size ; all giving indications of having been at one time a dwelling of importance. There was a tradition handed down in the family of the late owner of the property, that a petty king had once occupied the house. No doubt a historical dwelling once stood upon the place holding a commanding position, the various entrances to Honley known as " gates," all leading to the site. Perhaps the dwelling of a Saxon Thane, or later that of Richard Waley, Lord of Honley occupied the ground ; but no records are forthcoming.

The Roman Catholic religion prevailed at this time, and we shall find proofs in the history of the Church, that an Oratory

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1503 was in existence in Honley previous to 1503. It was customary, at this period, for the great man in the place to provide and uphold his own private Oratory for himself and dependents. Only a person of importance would thus be able to maintain a religious building and Chaplain, so that this is evidence of such a person living in the village at this period who might have occupied the house in Church Street.

I must here make a digression. The word Chapel will frequently come into use when alluding to the early history of the and many of its ancient offices. This may convey a wrong idea to people who associate the name with a dissent- ing place of worship. Its ancient meaning is different. St. Martin, before conversion, possessed a cloak or capella which he divided with a beggar. The garment became one of the most treasured possessions of the Merovingian kings who carried the cloak with them on their journeys, and when at rest placed it in an Oratory. - On account of sheltering the cloak or capella, the Oratory came to be named capella or chapel. When the dwellers in Honley erected their own place of worship, the building would again be named chapel, meaning relief or ease for the inhabitants from attending the Mother Church at Almondbury. The word remained in use until the re-building of the Church in 1843. The meaning of the word chapel when brought into use in the early history of Honley will, therefore, be understood in its true sense.

With regard to the names of four of our oldest roads, I am unable to say why they were originally designated " gates," the names of which are still retained. In the old Saxon the meaning of gate is a passage, way, or street. The modern meaning, of course, indicates entrance to a walled city. There are no records that Honley was surrounded by walls, or with- stood sieges. The names of Eastgate, Westgate, Nortgate and Southgate, may, therefore hold the same meaning as in Saxon days-the chief entrance leading for all purposes to the centre of the village being distinguished by the name of " the gate " as at present.

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In the reign of King Henry VIII., a Subsidy Roll of the Wapentake of Agbrigg was again made to help to meet the expenses of the French war. In the year 1524, Honley paid 9/- as its share in the persons of Thomas Taylour (Taylor) who paid 4/- for 8/- worth of goods, Roger Armytage (Armitage) 4/- for 8/- worth of goods, and Henry Wilson 12d. for 4/- worth of goods. (When giving extracts from ancient deeds, their old mode of spelling names will be copied). It is interesting to note the names of these early tax-payers in Honley-grand old christian names and surnames redolent of our hillsides. - It is also of value to know the worth of clothing at this date, which was so great, that legacies of garments frequently occur in many old wills in Honley. Giles Ermytage (Armitage), son of Roger, of Hall Ing made a will dated 1568, bequeathing his wedding doublet, coat, pair of hose, etc. (The history of the Armitage family will be found in the Chapter of Honley families).


The unsanitary conditions of the people were favourable to disease, such as the dreadful scourge named the Plague or ** Black Death," which was prevalent at various times, strik- ing panic into the hearts of people who only dared to bury their dead by night. Dr. Whitaker gives records of its fearful havoc in this neighbourhood in 1558, and describes burials at night by a solitary kinsman or kinswoman. Woodsome, Holmfirth and Scammonden were visited by the Plague, but Honley is not mentioned. Small pox, however, was a common visitation in Honley until the vaccination discovery of Dr. Jenner. The inhabitants not being favourable to innovations, stoutly refused to accept this blessing until forced.

At this period, the Stapyltons were still Lords of the Manor, having held the Lordship of Honley for over 300 years, when the fortunes of war brought changes. Sir Robert Stapylton fighting on a defeated side in battle was fined so heavily for this mischance, that he was forced to sell his lands, estates and royalties in Honley. The deeds bearing dates 1569

Page 23




recording the sales have been transcribed by the late Mr. John Nowell, and it is due to the interest taken by local antiquarians, that the particulars were printed in the journals of the York- shire Archzological Association. Previous to the Norman Conquest, transfer of land was not shackled by legal phrases and expensive conveyances which at present have a tendency to drive people mad.-Buyer and seller adopted a more simple process by delivering a piece of turf cut from the soil. Having had access to many ancient Honley deeds, for purposes of tracing family pedigrees and finding materials for this history, I noted that the old custom of delivering earth from the land that was bought or sold was still in existence in Honley in 1569. Fastened to many of these deeds are small canvas bags, yellow with age, containing earth taken from the land to which the writings relate. Another old custom in existence when the surrender or changing of lands took place was the placing of a straw into the hands of steward or copyholder. The stem of straw is attached to the seal upon many of these old


In the Stapylton deeds mentioned, dated Oct. 24th, 1569, Sir Robert sold lands and premises at Honley to Leonard Berye (Berry), Yeoman, Oldfield, for a certain sum, an annual rental of 11/4 and services to his Lord. Other deeds contain particulars of sales of other lands and dwellings on the same conditions to various Yeomen in Honley-notably John Beaumont, Richard Wilson, Edward Hirst, James Lockwood, Roger Lockwood, John Crosley, James Taylour (Taylor), Edward Lockwood, John Baylie (Bailey) and others. Sir John Kaye, of Woodsome, (the ancestor of the present Dart- mouths), bought the largest share of Honley property from Sir Robert Stapylton. This purchase included woods, a corn-mill, walk-mill (probably. Honley and Steps Mills) and other estates, together with the Royalties. The Dartmouth family have held the Lordship of Honley since that time. In details of the various buildings sold by Sir Robert Stapylton the turf-house is of importance, showing that the moorlands around provided good supplies of turf for warmth.

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In 1574, mention is again made of the staple trade of the district, which proves that not only had Honley retained its woollen industry, but its clothiers exported cloth. _ An extract from °" Gregson's Fragments of Liverpool," is as follows :- * 1574. To register the losse of the small boat, the Swanne of Wynstanleys' owners, Edward Lawrence, of Liv pole, Master under God. The good Marchant, Mr. John Armetage, of Farnley Tyas (High Royd), in the Countie of York, alais Clothier, with rich stocke from Liv'pole to Knockfergus after shipwreck came to hand and fell among the Rebell Kernes, and were then most vilianouslie murthered, slayne, and cut in pieces as if the vilest kind of fleshe, contrarie to the will and pleasure of God."

In a will drawn up by Dame Johanna Hepworth, dated Aug. 11th, 1620, reference is again made to our staple industry. She mentions owing £20 to Michael Bynnes and Sara, his wife, of Brockholes, which sum is to be paid, and proceeds as follows : '* I give to said Michael Bynnes and Sara, his wife, of Brock- holes, my long newe table, a flock bed, and two new blankets, and he to dye all his cloth at my lead till able to get a lead of his own, and I give him the second pair of my best cloth- shears." (For particulars of the family of Bynnes, see Brockholes history).

In 1634, the Rev. Geo. Crosland, Vicar of Almondbury, refers to Honley in the Registers of Almondbury. Written in Latin, he describes one of the protracted and vigorous old-fashioned winters of that date. Mr. Morehouse publishes the trans- lation in his " History of Kirkburton," which reads :-* This year, 1634-5, was remarkable for frost and cold. The snow was in such abundance that it was not possible to go out of door to the corn-mill or to the butchers. Many travellers perished in the storm through hunger and, at which time the inhabitants of Over Thong, bringing for burial the corpse of Marmaduke Pepper, were detained in Honley, and brought it to Church the following day."

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In the same history also, is mention of Charles Nettleton, of Honley, whose family held a high position in the neighbourhood, and whose name is associated with the ancient charities of Almondbury. The family seat was at Thornhill, one Thomas Nettleton dwelling there, marrying Mary, the only daughter of John Baylie (Bailey), previously named, who purchased land from Sir Robert Stapylton. Charles Nettleton probably in- herited the property on the female side, and was either born in Honley or came to reside here, living in the old hall in Church Street, to which reference is previously made. He married Catherine, sister to Captain Horsfall, of Storthes Hall. (The present Asylum now stands in the grounds). During the civil wars between Royalists and Roundheads, Charles Nettleton, along with his brother-in-law, fought on the side of the Royal cause. An extract from the diary of Captain Adam Eyre, of Hazlehead, near Penistone, who supported the opposite party, gives us a picture of merry and neighbourly intercourse between these men before the great civil contest, when kindred was slain by kindred, and friend by friend. Captain Adam Eyre, write as follows :-" Jany. 29th, 1643, spent two shillings with Captain Horsfall and Charles Nettleton of Honley." (Surtees Society). Charles Nettleton died in 1664, and was buried at Almondbury.

In 1570, Hollinshed, who chronicled the events of this period, complained of modern degeneracy on account of chimneys being added to houses ; and lamented the return of the good old days when smoke choked the inmates. The opinion of Hollinshed in 1570 regarding chimneys, is as follows. He writes :-*" Now we have many chimneys, and yet our tender- lings complain of reumes, catarres, and poses ; then had we none but reredoses, and yet our heads did never ake, for as smoke in those days was a hardening for the timber of the house, so it was a better medicine to keep the good man from the quack." The luxury of a fire or a chimney to carry off smoke was productive of another imposition named the Hearth Tax. This tax levied 2/- upon each hearth or fire-place in all houses except cottages.

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Mr. D. F. E. Sykes, in his " History of Huddersfield," gives the names of Honley people taxed in this Subsidy Roll of 1664. There were 71 persons who had hearths which were chargeable, and 45 persons not liable for the tax. The latter had only one hearth each. Out of the 71 persons who were charged, only three people could boast of four hearths each. There were three persons who were taxed for three hearths, seven for two ; and the rest only one each. Mr. Sykes states that at this time there were 117 occupied houses in Honley, affording an estimated population of about six hundred people. The three persons who were so wealthy as to afford four hearths each, were Mrs. Nettleton, William Crosley and Robert Hey.

The widow and daughter of Robert Nettleton, of Thorahill, sold their free rents in Honley property to Joseph Armytage, on April 27th, 1675, which at that time amounted to £9 5s. 4id. From these particulars, it may be surmised that the Honley branch of Nettletons had returned back to the family seat at Thornhill, there being no further records of Nettletons dwell- ing in Honley after payment of the Hearth Tax.

Mr. Hughes in his " History of Meltham," records an In- quisition in 1677, being the Court Baron of the Lords of Meltham Manor, when John Wood, of Honley, was fined 3/4 for unlawfully fishing in the Meltham Stream which flowed down by way of Wood-bottom and Mag-bridge as at present.

T wo extracts from the diary of the Rev: Robert Meeke, who was Incumbent or Curate-in-Charge of Slaithwaite from 1685 to 1724, throws light not only upon the Sunday recreations of Honley dwellers, but also its hospitality at this period. He writes :-" Sept 17th, 1689. Went to Huddersfield and from thence to Honley. There was a race there. I rode with them amongst the crowd, looking for Mr. Philipson but found him not." (Mr. was curate-in-Charge of Honley). '* Afterwards I found him, and he granted my request. There was multitudes. Oh ! how fond is the generality of men to see such vanities more prone to meet on such occasions than for spiritual things."

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* Sept. 27th, 1693. Rode to Honley to see Dame H-- and about half-dozen of our neighbouring wives went with me. Dined there and returned."

I infer that according to dates and other circumstances, Dame H--, is Dame Johanna Hepworth, who, according to her will had close connection with the Clerical family of Bynnes. (See Brockholes history).

An extract from Almondbury Register is interesting, not only on account of local names, but proving that the district was as favourable to long life as at present, if the laws of health are not abused. The Vicar of Almondbury recorded four burials of persons which took place in that Church within the space of 48 hours. Their united ages amounted to 354 years. Their names are Nicholas Grime (Graham), of Brockholes, buried March 9th 1695, aged 96 years. Maria Earnshaw, of Honley, widow, buried March l1th, 1695, aged 90 years. Dina Kaye, of Castle Hill, widow, buried March 10th, 1695, aged 105 years. Alice, widow of Daniel Dyson Crosland, buried March 10th, aged 63 years.

- Many interesting extracts from ancient deeds, wills, etc., bearing dates previous to those already given will be found in the history under headings with which they are more closely connected.

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(Honley at the beginning of 1700.-Extract from Meltham Assessment in 1709.-Threatened Invasion of Scotch Pretender.- Extract from Almondbury Invasion of the Young in 1747.-Honley Book Club.-- - Assessment in 1761.-Particulars of Constables and Overseers who served in 1700.-John Wesley.-The Enclosure Act, -Local Loyalty during French Revolution). -


As years passed, Norman and Saxon had been merged in marriage, serf become tengnt, tenant landowner, Feudal law gradually abolished, and Popish Church become Protestant. The wooden houses of an earlier date had been replaced by erections built of stone to which chimneys were attached, the Hearth Tax being abolished in 1664. According to the returns of the Hearth Tax of that date, there was not a great dividing line in social position between the dwellers in Honley. At the beginning of 1700, they were still a race of small landed pro- prietors, tradesmen and persons in their employment. The climate being bleak, and land unproductive, the small land owner had been forced by necessity to add another industry

to that of farming. The clothing trade had been generally

chosen on account of natural advantages favourable to its production, and the two trades were carried on side by side. Here then had gradually come again into greater prominence the " free-necked " race of men, named yeomen, who, having one gained their freedom never again bent their neck to Priestly or Aristocratic tyranny. Those men of a past day, who, in obscure village or hamlet silently built up the greatness of an Empire, were a distinct class in Honley, gererally engaged in the farming and clothing industries. Master and man, mistress and maid worked side by side under household roofs from early dawn to sunset. Their dwellings were grouped together in lanes, folds and yards ; or spread about upon hill-sides or

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in valleys. As the spinning-wheels whirred on hearths, and looms clacked over heads, long rows of windows ran the whole length of the buildings for purposes of light. If the Hearth Tax had been abolished, a Window-Tax had now to be paid for

this blessing of light.

In a will in my possession, drawn up by Jorathan Sanderson, Clothier, of Honley, one of my forbears, mention is made of the Wirdow-Tax. His daughter Nancy was my great grand- mother, ard in his will, dated November, 1790, he bequeaths to her property upon which the Window-Tax had to be paid, so that at this date the tax had not been repealed in Honley.

At this date civilization had not multiplied wants, so that domestic arrangements in Honley houses were simple. The food was frugal in character, chiefly consisting of oatmeal porridge, tea being 16/- per pound, and flour 8/- per stone. A Clothier in Honley, whose standing at that time was equal to a present-day local manufacturer; drew up his will at this date. He describes in detail his household furnishings, such as buffet, bed-stocks, flock-bed, vallance, seeing-glass, etc. (looking-glass corsidered an unnecessary luxury). These primitive furnishings were looked upon as valuable assets by | his heirs. If carpets were in use, they were too precious for every day wear, scattered sand serving as a covering for stone floors. The orraments, if any, were only of the kind which proved useful in domestic, farming or clothing industries. The smaller houses were generally one storey in height, or " one- _ deckers," and as a rule, sounding with the throb of hand-loom weaving. The furnishings could be taken in at a glance. A loom or spinning-wheel perhaps stood close to a turn-up bed, which served as a resting place at night and ornament for daytime. A few three-legged stools of home manufacture, a table, and baskets filled with materials for weaving or spinning, would occupy the rest of the floor, whilst perhaps a shelf might contain a meagre supply of cooking untensils of a primitive character. The mention of artificial illumination, save that of candles, which were a great luxury, would have conveyed no meaning to Honley people of this date, who awoke at dawn

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and retired at sunset. They would have regarded gas and electricity as akin " to th' owd lad," and best left alone.

With regard to the roads of Honley at the beginning of 1700, they were chiefly bridle-gates, footpaths and lanes leading up steep hill-sides, along cliff tops, or across open moorlands as if having no destination in particular. Picturesque they might be, but very bad, the mud in winter being up to the knees of persons or saddle-girths of horses. The clothier drivirg in his gig, riding upon horseback, or carrying his piece of cloth upon his shoulder to Huddersfield market would not fird fault with bad roads. They had been hewn out ard walked upor by the fourders of his blood, and if quagmires, the mud was native soil. - When riding home late, his emotions would be more stirred by the dread of seeirg footpads " with eyes as large as saucers," or hearing the of chains at the four cross roads, where a parish apprertice had been buried at midnight for ending a miserable life. People who seldom left the sight of their homesteads, had ro use for highways stretching away to un- knowr regiors ard frequented by robbers, cut-throats, body- snatchers, ard other terrible creatures. If a native was forced to travel upor them to reach that distant place, London, there arose the necessity of drawirg up his will ; for he might rever return °" to the rest where he was borr.'" True, a darirg inrovation in the shape of a stagecoach had challenged the old mode of travelling by stage-waggon, pack-horse, or privately owned vehicle. A stage-coach had commenced to run at the cost of much horse-flesh and wanton risk of lives on April 12th, 1706, from York to London. It was timed to reach the latter place in four days ((God permitting). It was seldom, however, that the journey was accomplished in the advertised time unless in summer, so that only persons bent upon self- destruction would venture upon such a foolhardy trip, even if the " Flying Machine," as it was named, passed in tempting distance of Honley, which was not the case.

But new forces were gathering. The century was to brirg forth greater worders than a stage-coach able to travel with relays of horses, fifty miles in one day. The Yorkshire pro-

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phetess, Mother Shipton, of Knaresborough, had predicted wonderful events, the foundations for such achievements being laid in this dramatic century. A great preacher was also to arouse England to her old ideas of piety and religion, like as Savonarolo stirred the Florentines in the 15th century. Many of these events which greatly affected the dwellers in Honley, will be recorded in their due order of dates.

In Mr. Hughes' " History of Meltham," there is reference to James Roberts, of Steps Milne, in Honley, who rents a fulling: Milne in Meltham, at the yearly rental of £11 0s. Od.

An assessment was made in this year for relief of the poor of Honley, by Joseph Swallow, Overseer at that date. The totai amount raised and disbursed by him was £9 3s. 11d. This assessment shows that there were only 91 inhabitants who were worth being assessed. The highest rate of 12/11 was paid by William Crosley, and the lowest was one penny.


There are no records that the inhabitants of a past Honley had much experience of invasions or sieges since the time of Norman William, though threatened hostile entrances of a varied character had produced, in turn, reigns of terror. With the exception of the anticipated visit of the Scotch Pretender, and the expected landing of the French, the invasions have been of local character, such as " Luddism," " Plugging," etc. ; the particulars of which appear in their dated order. When the first Scotch Pretender, James Stuart, made his attempt upon the British Crown, orders were issued in 1715 for each town and village to find men and furnish them with arms and clothing for the purpose of defence ; for we must remember that we had no standing army at this date. The writer, when a child, saw a dilapidated military coat and hat at the house of an aged relative that had been in use at this time. The coat was of red cloth, trimmed with brass buttons and a band of yellow lace adorned the hat.

In Almondbury Registers, is entered the burial in this year of Robertus Scholefield de Honley Equite, Equestic, Honley

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More. (Robert Schofield of Honley, Knight, Honley Moor). The Schofields are an old Honley family whose dwelling was situated upon Horley Moor, ard descendants are still living in the place. The word Knight, or as it is written in Latin, Equite, was a military term in use under Feudal Law, dis- tinguishing between the position of a person who could follow his Lord on horseback, or only on foot. Robert Schofield evidently held a considerable area of land thus to be able to rerder the Knight's service.

Though Feudalism had gradually fallen into disuse, it is difficult to trace the exact date when it became extinct. In an isolated place like Honley evidently a few lingering remains of the old observances existed, for it was not ur.til 1750 that Lord Mansfield pronounced the death-blow of Feudalism from the judicial bench in his famous sentence, that " the air of England has long since been too free for a slave."

ScoTcx InvasIonN.

In December, 1744, it was rumoured that Charles Stuart, the son of the old Pretender, James Stuart, was in this neighbour- hood, and great consternation reigned. " Watch and Ward " was ordered. Before the days of policemen the " Watch and Ward Act " gave authority to Magistrates to order all people, who were rated for relief of the poor, to take up the duty of watching by right' and warding by day. During the Civil War, the greater number of Honley dwellers had fought on the side of Puritanism. - They looked with suspicious eyes upon Popery,

- or those professing that religion ; so that young Charles Stuart,

who was a Roman Catholic, fourd no favour in the eyes of Honley dwellers. Even if their Puritanism had not been of that sturdy growth, which is not soon uprooted, the law- abiding inhabitants had not forgotten the misery of the Civil Wars, and, therefore, had no wish to disturb a settled dynasty. According to old traditions handed down in the neighbourhood, the natives to a man were hostile to the young Pretender and his scotch followers. It is recorded that the dwellers in Honley barricaded the steep hill, known as Green Cliffe, with bags of wool. On the heights around sentries kept watch. The bottom

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portion of Green Cliffe still retains its name as " Sentry ° on account of this once narrow defile being thus guarded by watchers. If the young Pretender sighted Honley, he entered from the opposite direction when on his march over the moor- lands. The place is still pointed out where he is supposed to have reached, and named Scot-Gate Head. Personally, I am inclined to think, that Scot-Gate Head was so named on account of offering the nearest way to and from Scotland ; or that it was the road used by the Moss-troopers.

Previous to the uniting of Scotland to England, and long after the union, bands of Scottish Border Marauders were wont to sweep down upon the Northern Counties, pillaging, driving off cattle, and murdering, if necessary. Parishes (and persons also whose dwellings were isolated) kept in readiness blood- hounds or sleuth-hounds to scent,-mastiff dogs to worry,- boiling water to scald, and large stones to crush the freebooters. During the earlier and middle part of the 19th century, descend- ants of these dogs were common in Honley and the neighbourhood. It is recorded that the son of a farmer living upon Honley Moor, had occasion to go to Meltham upon his father's business. Hearing that Scottish raiders had been sighted, he hastened back home. With the assistance of neigh- bours, the family prepared for resistance, one great help of defence being boiling lead which was poured over the intruders from an upper window. In the erd, the Moss-troopers were repulsed. A galloway foal running by the side of its dam was left behind and retained by the farmer. One of its foals was sold to my great grandfather, James Tilburn, and proved of wonderful stamina. Being " war ror a heighlander " (worse than a highlander) was a common proverb in my early days, if describing the character of a person who was not particular with regard to theft. Though conjectures should not become realities, yet the many old tales to which I listened when a child regarding both the advance of " Bonnie Price Charlie," and previously Moss-troopers' raids, rather inclines me to think that Scot-Gate received its name either from being con- nected with the latter, or that it was the " gate " to and from

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Scotland. There may have been a skirmish of some kind with the Stuart followers, but there are no records only oral tradition. No doubt accounts brought into the village day by day would be vague and contradictory. If any of the followers of Charles Stuart reached Scot-Gate, they would perhaps be stragglers, bent on plunder to sustain themselves upon what would be at that time a terrible march in the depth of winter. I am, how- ever, open to correction on this point.

We have another old legend, handed down in Honley, that the road leading from Magbridge to Netherton Moor was, during the Wars of the Roses, held by the followers of the House of York, whose distinguishing mark was the wearing of a white rose. Hence its present name of White-gate. Previous to the Enclosure Act, this road, though only a narrow defile surrounded by forest and moorland, was in existence, but it had no name. Whether a battle was fought here during the wars of the Roses, (which was probable), or that the defile was only held by the followers of the White Rose of Yorkshire, I am unable to say.

An Assessment, made in February, 1747, of the whole town- ship, comprising Brockholes, Deanhouse, and Oldfield, was of the rateable value of £14 18s. 10d., showing an increase of £3 14s. 11d. since 1709.

Hoxrury Book CLUB, 1750.

By the kindness of William Brooke, Esq., an old book in his possession has been lent to me from the contents of which may be gathered much insight regarding the literary tastes prevailing during the middle of the 18th century, amongst that class of men who have not only built up the commercial prosperity of the country, but kept alive its best traditions, and taken the keerest interest in the welfare of the people. This home-made book of faded leaves ard cardboard backs, contains particulars of the formation, rules, list of members, names of books, etc. of a Society named " The Horley Book Club," established 1750. I believe that this Club was the first of its kind in the neighbourhood, the earliest Subscription Library in Huddersfield not being formed until 1807, when

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many of the Horley Book Club members joined, after the disbanding of their own in 1823. The following are the founders of the Club. Each member signed his name in the book, and the signatures are characteristic of the striking personality of those who wrote them.

The Rev. R. Risbton, Vicar of Almondbury (noted for his methodical care of Almondbury Registers) ; Rev. J. Harrop, Incumbent of Holmfirth ; Mr. Battye, Surveyor, Huddersfield ; Mr. Joseph Armitage (Ancestor of present Armitages) ; Rev. W. Croft, Curate-in-Charge, Honley ; Mr. James Haigh ; Mr. W. Thompson ; Mr. Learoyd ; Mr. Anthony Armytage, Thick- hollins, Meltham ; Mr. D. Crosland, Crosland Hill;, Mr. Whitacre, Whitacre Mill, Huddersfield and Mr. Atkinson, Bradley Mills, Huddersfield.

On May lst, 1762, the membership of the Club had increased considerably. The following are a few representative names of the leading families in the district at that period who belonged to the Honley Book Club :-Mr. Robson, Drysalter ; Mr. Robert and Charlee Walker, Far End (Ancesters of the Waddingtons) ; Mr. Abraham and J oseph Horsfall (the former either father or uncle to Mr. Horsfall who was shot by Luddites) ; Mr. Joseph V‘Vilson, Netherthong ; Mr. - Eli Winpenny, Holmfirth ; Mr. Richard Gill, Thurstonland ; Mr. Joseph Jagger, Hagg ; Rev. E. Hasleham, Curate-in-Charge, Honley (opposed to the rise of Wesleyanism); Rev. E. Armistead, Incumbent of Meltham ; Nathaniel Berry, Dean- house ; M1. Thomas Leigh, Town Head (Grardfather to the late Mr. Wm. Leigh Brook, Meltham); Mr. William Brooke and Mr. John Brooke, Merchants and Manufacturers (Ancestors of the Brooke family); Mr. William Roberts, Farnley Tyas ; Mr. William Leigh, Church Street (father of the late Mrs. Hough, of South Crosland); Rev. J. Alexander, Curate-in- Charge, Honley (he read prayers for John Wesley when preach- ing at Honley); Mr. Benjamin Robinson, Town Head, Merchant ; Mr. Joseph and Thomas Kaye, Roydhouse, Almondbury ; Mr. Cookson Stephenson, Holmfirth ; Mr. Walter Beaumont ; Captain Moorhouse, New Mill ; Dr. Stocks and

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Dr. Wordsworth, Holmfirth ; Rev. John Mattinson, Master of Kirkheaton Grammar School and sometime Curate-in- Charge of Honley ; Mr. Jonas Brook, Meltham Mills and

founder of the firm, etc.

Literary food was so scanty at this period, that these virile men of a past day, whose physical and mental capacities were unimpaired, valued books as rare treasures. They journeyed from surrounding districts to Honley once a month, for the purpose of loaning precious volumes obtained at much trouble and cost-a copy of which can now be bought for a penny, and read by the poorest child.

The members of the Honley Book Club first met at the George and Dragon Inn, now converted into the Working Man's Club. The landlord was Mr. Benjamin Batley, under whose symbolical signboard the fruit of the vine was found in its cob-webbed perfection. From the rules in the book, I infer that the members met once a month, not only to obtain books to read, but also to criticise and assimilate all that was best in the literary output of that period. Smollet's " History of England," which the author was publishing at that time, was in great request by the members. They also appresiated his humorous works, °" Roderick Random," " Expedition of Humphrey Clinker," etc., being favourites. " Gangannell's Letters," Gibbon's " Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," also his " Universal History," and other Histories appeared, according to entries in the book, to be held in great esteem. The 18th century was proving such an age of expansion and discovery, that accounts of tours, travels, and descriptions of then unknown countries were eagerly read. Brave explorers were setting out on voyages of risk and adventure to find places, the names of which are now household words. The scanty accounts of the discoveries of such men as Captain Cook, proved of thrilling interest to men, whose descendants nearly two hundred years afterwards would perhaps have business dealings with the then unknown parts of the earth. The new form of publication, known as a Magazine, had become a feature of general literature of that date. The " Tatler,"

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OLD CoNsSTABLES' STAvVES. (see page 27).

FIELD END. (see page 47).

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** Spectator," " Rambler," " Lounger," " Adventurer," etc.

were placed on the list of books. As time went on, the cir-

culation of Goldsmith's " Vicar of Wakefield," Montesquien's ** Spirit of Laws," "Gil Blas," "Don Quixote," Smith's ** Wealth of Nations," " Burke," " Arabian Nights," " Edge- worth's Tales," etc., all prove that these men, in the middle of the 18th century, could appreciate with fine discrimination what was best in literature.

The members of the Club, after meeting for fifty years at the George and Dragon Inn, resolved upon a change. At a meeting, held July 3lst, 1800, it was agreed to remove to ** Ye Wheat Sheaf Inn," the house of Will Theaker, famed for its Holland's gin, and Jamaica rum. The landlord was an ancestor of the present family of that name. New rules were formed, a dinner provided when the members met, etc., but interest in the Club gradually waned. On April 17th, 1823, only seven members remained of the original number. It was decided to disband the Club after being carried on 73 years short of one month. The books were equally divided amongst the remaining seven, whose names were Mr. James Stocks, Fisher Green ; Mr. Edward Lees, Surgeon ; Mr. J. G. Armitage ; Mr. Thomas Beaumont ; Mr. Joshua Hinchliffe, Holmfirth ; Mr. Robert Wrigley, Netherton ; and Mr. William Leigh, Church Street.

In 1761, an Assessment was again made upon Honley property. It is interesting to know the value placed upon certain properties for purposes of assessment at this date. ** Pound of pepper," in Gynn Lane, was valued at 15/-, so that, perhaps, the old tradition of this ground once being exchanged for a pound of pepper may be true (spices being not only rare but expensive). Park Riding was valued at 13/-, Wood-top brows at 9/-, Marsh Platt at 15/-, Hagg-Lays (leys) at 14/-, etc.


Since the Norman Conquest, we have seen that the Court Leet and Inquistion dispensed a rugged kind of justice until

Page 40




the time of Edward III., when Constables were in existence. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Overseers of the poor were also ordered to be appointed in every parish on account of the dreadful state of the country. Honley, at this date, was still under the Lord of the Manor with regard to its Court Leet, but its feudal obedience was not rigorous. The Court was held once a year, at Almondbury, when a Constable to keep in order unruly spirits, an Overseer to relieve the poor, and a pinder to impound straying cattle, were appointed to Honley. We had a Will-Brooke de Horley (William Brooke, of Honley) serving as Constable in 1685. He signed at this date the terrier or inventory of the lands and tenements left by Godfrey Beaumont, for the mainterarce of Honley and Meltham Church Ministers, the particulars of which are given in Church history. From this time, or probably earlier, until the office became merged in that of Churchwarden, the parochial duties and the affairs of the township were carried on side by side. The Church Vestry was the appointed place of meeting for transacting all business relating to either religious or civil government. The duties of the Overseer were almost identical and the two offices were generally combired, the Constable being able to act as Overseer by virtue of his office.

Policemen not being in existence until the Police Act of 1850 came into force ; the duty of keeping a turbulent neigh- bourhood in order fell to the lot of the Constable, so that he was chosen not only on account of high moral character, but also for bis strength, assaults upon his person being common. So many and varied were the duties that a Constable was called upon to perform, that a list of names of persons eligible for the office had to be yearly furnished on account of dis- inclination to accept the responsibilities. Constables were invested with great powers ard authority according to old Parish Laws. They had to levy, collect and distribute all taxes, take care of churches, see that no sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, fighting, theft, etc., took place in their townships, and in general, look after the moral, spiritual ard physical well-being of the reighbourhood.

Page 41




In an old Honley Parish Book, dating from 1663, is a list of '*' ye names of ye Overseers of ye poor of Horley, and ye places which ye served for," and particulars of their duties. Extracts from this book will show the extent of their powers, the dis- agreeable nature of their tasks, ard the state of the country at this period. There is also an account in the book of the poor of Honley who were " badged " in the year 1767, and their rames. Badging was the wearing by persons in receipt of parish relief of a piece of blue or red cloth with the letter " P " upon it, stitched upon the sleeve of the right shoulder. A penalty was imposed upon all Chapelwardens or Overseers relieving anyone who was rot wearirg the badge. At this period, according to authorities, nearly ore-tenth of the people were paupers, so that badgirg was introduced as an attempt to lessen, if possible, the great evil.

Amongst other duties which had to be undertaken by Constable and Overseer, was the maintenance of illegitimate children. On account of the debased morals of the people, the births of illegitimate children were common. The Constables and Overseers did not ercourage this immorality in Honley. They were vigilant in tracing out fathers of such children, ard also ridding the parish of the keep of the latter as soon as possible. As the maintenance from the father ceased at the child's seventh year, these unfortunate children were bound out as parish apprentices at such tender ages as 4, 6, 7, and 11 years of age, according to entries in the old parish bock. If the great Novelist Dickens had not described so vividly the woes of a parish apprentice, a few people, yet living, have heard parents and grandparents speak of the ill-usage to which many were subjected in Honley, for it was a rugged age for both master and apprentice. There are records, however, that others were treated kindly, and many rose to affluence in after life.

Thus we have seen that the local maintenance of law and order had been slowly transferred from the power of the Court Leet, and invested in the persons of Magistrates and Constables. Representatives of these offices, at time, strangely administered justice in our midst, if old traditions are to be believed. Yet

Page 42


if rude, and often tyrannical, it was better than no justice at all. It is interesting also to know, that Honley is still under the present Lord of the Manor with regard to its Court Leet. This ancient Court of Law, to which customs all modern modes of administering justice owe their origin, was held until recent years, when Constable and Pinder were appointed. The yearly custom of holding the Court Leet has now fallen into disuse, and its officers have no duties to perform. If its ancient jurisdiction, however, has been superseded by modern methods, it has not yet become legally obsolete.

The following extracts are copied from " The Accounts of William Jagger, Chapelwarden (Constable) and Overseer, dated 1773-4 from June 22nd, 1773 to June 5th, 1774." Written in the old parish book before mentioned, these accounts of one year's town business, testify to the various duties performed by Constable and Overseer. At this date, the Ecclesiastical and Secular entries cannot be separated, but their meaning will be better understood when reading the history of the Church. Earlier entries are more interesting. Written in too blunt language, the words in use are too expressive for these pages, so are therefore omitted.

1773. s. d. June 22 To court fees 1/8, Paid Mr. Hasleham for a horse to ride on 1/-, to my journey and horse and

expenses there 8/6 in all 2. -. 2. 8 6 , - 27 Spent 1/- admittance according to custom .. 2. - 1 Paid Sexton for mowing docks in Chapel-yard my i part 2s. . 2. -. 2. 2. 6 July 11 Paid at the dinner at Sacrament day 2 ,, - 11 Paid Sexton for washing surplifefs (surplices) and cleaning plate my 4 .. i. 2 06 Aug. 14 A journey to Wakefield to get some Indentures signed 3 6 Sep. 19 Pd. at a dinner at Sacrament day 2 , - 19 Pd. Clerk his half-year's wage 7-6 Nov. 22 Pd. Sexton his half-year's wage 4 6 Dec. 10 Spent when the Rev. Mr. Harrop preached at Honley Chapel 1 _ , - 26 Pd. at a dinner at Sacramental day .. . 2 , - 27 Spent on the Singers as agreed to by the 1nhab1tant§ 5

Page 43



9 9

9 2



2 9

9 9

J une

9 9

9 9

9 9





30 30 30 30

12 15



Was called on by the Overseer to go and remove Hannah Rowbottom and Mary Chapel into Workhouse, and to see some other poor people. _-_ For my time and charge 1/-, and spent 6d. David Hobson, his wife and 3 children was brought by an order from Netherthong to my house and demanded relief. I charge 1/6, for 1 went with them to Honley, and called a few of the principal inhabitants which deemed me to pay in the shot . . . (I was told that the " shot " was a kmd of «"sending the cap around,"" or collecting from those who would pay, and lived nearest If wrong, I am open to correction).

I was sent for to meet the Overseers of Thong and

Honley to sign and seal a certificate which was wrong done before, our townspeople deemed me 2/- to pay in the shot Pd Sexton for cleaning snow out of chapel yards walks my 4 part ». » . » . ». Went with Overseers of the Poor with a family by an ordar to Farnley, for loss of tims and expenses . Spent at a meeting by order of the inhabitants when the ornaments were letten Pd. Clark his half-year's wages Pd. Sexton his half-ysar's wages Pd. for fires making in vestry my 4 part Pd. at dinner at Sacramental day in Passion week.. Pd. for my assessment bill writing Pd. when we met to read the Visitation articles Pd. when we was at Wakefield to Almondbury Churchwarden To Jonathan Sanderson for book-keeping and giving in my accounts R Disbursed jointly £1 9s. 3%d. Honley share 128 61d

Abel Hobson. George Batley. Joseph Sanderson. John Jagger.

Joseph Armitage. William Crosley. Joseph Jagger. Jonathan Sanderson.

. . 8

D N $& ~] --


18 12

These accounts were examined and found correct, and allowed


O) ®


Page 44

1685- 1798


The names of Constables or Chapelwardens who served the Township from 1685 to 1798 and their dates of service are as follows :-1685, Will-Brooke, de Honley; 1746, William Brooke ; 1747-8, John Cockin ; 1750, John Sykes, Wood- bottom ; 1751-5, William Crosley ; 1756-8, Emmanuel Bot- tomley Gynn ; 1759, Richard Armitage, Hall Ing ; 1760-1, Joseph Moorhouse ; 1762, John Lockwood, Brockholes ; 1763, Matthew Haigh, Ridings ; 1764, Joseph Walker ; 1765-6, Joseph Swallow, Oldfield ; 1767, Godfrey Berry, Deanhouse ; 1768, Richard Woffenden, Stagwood-bottom ; 1769-70, John Littlewood, Banks ; 1771-2, Jonathan Sanderson ; 1773-5, William Jagger ; 1776-7, Joseph Armitage ; 1778-80, Thomas Cockin ; 1781-3, George Armitage ; 1785-6, Benjamin Batley ; 1787, Matthew Kaye ; 1788-95, John Brooke ; 1796, Benjamin Townsend ; 1797, James Armitage ; 1798, Nathaniel Berry, Deanhouse ; 1799-1800, Joseph Woodhead, Thirstin.


In the middle of this century, the dwellers in " Merrie England " were not in very joyful mood. Wonderful inventions were bringing great changes, amongst which was the transfer of the woollen industry from the household to the mill. This transition, from the domestic mode of manufactur- ing to its concentration in large buildings, brought many evils in its train. Religious and educational facilities had not kept pace with the rapid increase in population, and the country was in a state of lawlessness and poverty. There had been such a re-action from the time of Puritanism, that the pendulum had swung to the opposite extreme. If historians are correct, the age was godless, the Church sunk in apathy, the people debased, sports and pastimes brutal in character, and virtue looked upon as vice. But religious faith is never really dead in a nation. A small knot of students at Oxford, noted for their piety, were named Methodists in scorn, on account of their methodical or regular way in which they governed their lives. These young men banded themselves together, not only to protest against the deadness of the Church at this period, but also with a determination to bring religion to the masses who,

Page 45


like their betters, were ignorant and brutal to a degree. Three figures stand out of this small group of religious enthusiasts at Oxford, in the persons of Whitefield and the brothers Wesley, whose trumpet-blasts were to sound throughout the world. If Wycliffe was " the morning star of the Reformation," so John Wesley was not only the star, but the bright sun of the great religious revival of the 18th century. Such earnest intense preaching had not been heard before, and soon the pulpits of the Established Church were closed against these men. They then commenced preaching in the ' highways and hedges ' with what result is known to the student of history.

We, in this present century, can never realise what the preaching of Wesley meant during the time of anguish and suffering prevailing amongst the people at this period. His dramatic form of preaching with its intense fervour and simple pathos, appealed strongly to people of mental limitations and circumscribed lives. Spirits thrilled in response to that easy flowing rhetoric which transformed dark existence to romance, and touched lips hitherto dumb in ignorance with the 'live coal ' of eloquence. - Wesleyanism had its converts in every obscure place in the kingdom, and it was said that only the prevailing religious fervour prevented a revolution in the North. - Wesleyanism took deep root in the hearts of Honley people. It would have been difficult at one time to have found a home which did not contain the picture of John Wesley. Devotional hymn singing was a feature of his services, and as years have passed, the passionate love for his grand old hymns has strengthened rather than waned amongst us.

Before giving particulars of the visit of John Wesley to Deanhouse and Honley, a great religious work was performed in the neighbourhood by disciples of Whitefield and Wesley, whose labours have since faded in the background of years. The work of these men are worthy of recall. They travelled long distances to preach the gospel in the open air, or in any cottage that would shelter them, and, often went in fear of their lives. Wesleyanism had taken firm root in districts around Leeds, and the pioneers who came to this neighbourhood were C

Page 46





chiefly from Birstall and its surrounding villages. It was due to the labours of those early Methodist Missionaries that the first Methodist Chapel was erected in the valley of the Holme. This was built at Deanhouse in the year 1769, a hamlet which was included in Honley township until recently.

John Pawson, a Birstall Methodist, writes in 1765 as follows :- ** Mr. Wesley had withdrawn preaching from Huddersfield at the request of the Reverend Mr. Venn, who thought himself sufficient for that parish ; but now we began preaching there again, and by this means a way was opened out into the mountains above, where the people in general are little better than heathens, ignorant and wicked to a degree. The Lord hath since wrought a great change amongst them. Several Chapels have been built in that part, and many souls savingly converted to God. When I was preaching at Thong (Dean- house), the Minister of Honley sent the Constable to take me up. He happened to come in just when I was taking my text. The man was so surprised to find that I took a text out of the Bible that he resolved he would stay and hear me out, he did so, and was converted to the truth, turned to the Lord, found salvation, lived a few years' happy in the love of God, and died in peace. So far was Satan disappointed of his hope in sending the poor man to the preaching."

The Curate-in-Charge of Honley, at this time, was the Rev. Edward Hasleham, B.A., who was strongly opposed to the preaching of the Methodists, or "enthusiasts," as they were named at this time. He was the author of a famous sermon preached in the Parish Church of Batley in 1753, condemning the Methodists of that place. The Rev. Henry Venn, to whom reference is made by John Pawson, was the Vicar of Hudders- field. The preaching of Wesley had not only aroused the people, but also the lethargy of the Clergy, and many awoke to the new enthusiasm. The Rev. Henry Venn was one who joined in the religious revival, and his life was one long day of Christian zeal and activity. His earnest preaching, like the discourse of John Wesley, was of that striking character which aroused all classes of society in his own neighbourhood ; and

Page 47



people streamed in crowds each Sunday to listen-walking six, eight and even ten miles.

We now come to the visit of John Wesley to Deanhouse Chapel, In his Journals, he records that he visited the Chapel on July 6th, 1772. He writes :-" At ten I preached in the

new house at Thong." (Deanhouse).

At this time the level highway between Huddersfield and Holmfirth was not constructed. The main road led from Honley Bridge by way of old Turnpike, Banks and Hagg. At the latter place John Wesley dismounted from his carriage to walk to Deanhouse, the present road being only a bridle-path. After service, Mrs. Dinah Bates, a well-known Deanhouse Methodist of that date, accompanied or came " agatards " with him on his return to Hagg. - She was a person of religious zeal and practical activities, being a noted " leech-woman," and in great request by her neighbours for the curing of ail- ments. Other worshippers also walked with John Wesley: back to Hagg, for his visit must have been a great event in restricted lives. On arrival at Hagg, prompted by the beautiful scenery of the wooded valley which can still be viewed from this old world road, John Wesley shouted forth, in those impassioned tones which generally aroused his hearers to the same religious fervour as his own :-

** Ye mountains and vales in praises abound, Ye hills and ye dales continue the sound, Break forth into singing ye trees of the wood, For Jesus is bringing lost sinners to God."

The four lines are a verse of one of his hymns. A well- known tune was stuck up by one of the assembled group. The elevating melody was taken up with vigour by strong voices so often exercised in prayer and singing, the harmony being mingled with softer feminine tones. My great grandmother was amongst the small assembly, and my father has often repeated her description of the scene. Mr. Benjamin Jagger Littlewood, of Netherthong, now 86 years of age, a grandson of Mrs. Dinah Bates, also frequently heard his grandmother

Page 48




graphically describe the circumstance. Being thus familiar from hearsay with this scene of a by-gone day, imagination can vividly re-construct the picture of those toil-worn men and women who knew so little of the gay and sunny side of life, gathered around the great preacher on the secluded country road. Repeating the verse of the hymn again and again, hill- side and valley echoing the sound of the strain, Wesley's arms uplifted in religious rapture, and the faces of his hearers luminous with the hope of that heaven where all wounded souls would be healed ; what an inspiring scene for the brush of a great painter! Only great artists are not present at such opportune times.

John Wesley, when preaching again at Deanhouse in 1788, records in his Journal visiting Honley, at eleven o'clock, on April 30th, 1788. The Rev. John Alexander, M.A., who was Curate-in-Charge at this period, was a strong supporter of Wesley. John Wesley writes in his diary as follows :-" After the Curate had read prayers to a large and serious congre- gation, I preached on the text 'It is appointed unto all men once to die." I believe many felt as well as heard the word."

I must again quote from oral tradition. - My father also often repeated his grandmother's account of Wesley's visit to Honley, his preaching in the Churchyard, and that he possessed a beautiful head of hair. Dressed in the black gown and white cravat, so familiar to those who have seen his picture (the orthodox Church of England garment at the time), he stood upon the churchyard wall which was a low structure flagged at the top. With uncovered head and Bible slasped to breast, he preached " as a dying man to dying men " to people, who, twenty years previously, according to the account of John Pawson, were little better than heathens.

The pulpit cushion used by John Wesley when he preached at Deanhouse, in 1788, eventually came into the possession of the Rev. Charles Drawbridge, Incumbent of Honley, in 1823, who highly valued the relic.

Page 49




The Enclosure Act altered the whole face of England. Forests which hitherto had sheltered the outlaw were gradually broken up into small remnants, or came under cultivation, moorlands and open spaces were parcelled out and hedged around. As we have seen Honley Moor was unenclosed. Its aspect also was completely changed when it came under the Enclosure Act in 1788. A copy of the " Award of Honley was published by the late Mr. Joseph Whitworth, who was interested in all ancient belongings of Honley. I am indebted for the following particulars taken from his book. The freeholders had the right of " cutting timber for house- boot, hain-boot, plough-boot, cart-boot and fire-boot " on Honley Moor. Also they could obtain slates and stones for purposes of building. In return for these privileges, they were required to keep the mill-dam and dam-stakes of Honley water-mill in repair (Honley Mill). When Honley Moor came under the Enclosure Act, their rights in respect to the Cutting of timber in the lands of the Lord of the Manor were abolished, but they were exonerated from keeping the mill-dam and dam- stakes in repair. The freeholders however were allowed to obtain stone and slates from the delf-spring wood and the

old wood.

In this Award made by John Sharp, Nathan Jowett and Benjamin Patchett, Commissioners, they order the " setting out and appointing one public carriage road of the breadth of 40 feet, which we name Bradshaw Road, which leads from the antient (ancieni) main carriage road at the bottom of Houley Moor." The same order is to be observed regarding Mag- bridge Road, Delf Road, Miry Lane Road, Thurstonland Road and others. Next follows the order of staking out roads of the breadth of 21 feet, such as Gib Lane, Wood Nook, Cross Road, Thirstin, Ncot-gate, Wood-bottom Roads, etc. There are also strict injuctions regarding the making of occupation roads to the newly allotted lands, the preserving of footpaths, wells, etc.

Page 50



I have been told on trustworthy authority, that the wages of the labourers employed on making these roads were 1/- per day. ‘

The breaking up of the romantic domain of Honley Moor must have been ruthless, when so many new roads were par- celled out over its heather and gorse ; and the present stone walls set with chess-board monotony, substituted for its once free and open spaces. Destructive indeed must have been the cutting down of fir and oak trees when so few, if any, of the rustling denizens of the forest remain, with the exception of scattered belts of woodland still preserved by private owner- ship. During the last century, there were few people in Honley who did not possess a trophy of the destruction of Honley Moor, either in one shape or another about their homes. For over fifty years after the Enclosure Act, glorious bonfires lighted in Honley on November 5th, were composed of the massive roots of ancient oak trees uprooted from this soil.


During the ferment in France, there was panic and distress in England. The French Revolution found a strong echo in the hearts of that class of the community who were also struggling for the principles of Representative Government, and freedom of conscience. Revolutionary enthusiasm and seditious assemblies gathered such force, that local people had to be enrolled for purposes of defence. Constables were called upon to furnish without delay returns of men, horses and arms available in their parishes. Honley supplied 72 volunteers. At a meeting held in 1794, those who volunteered to form a regiment of cavalry for the protection of the neigh- bourhood in addition to 72 volunteers,-were Mr. George Armitage, High Royd, Mr. Leigh and Mr. Brooke. Towards the expenses incurred for purposes of defence, Mr. George Armitage gave £50 0s. 0d., Mr. William and Mr. John Brooke £50 0s. 0d., Mr. Thomas and Mr. William Leigh £50 0s. Od.,

Page 51


Mr. James Armitage £21 0s. 0d., Mr. Joshua Rcbinson £10 10s. 0d., Mr. Benjamin Robinson £5 5s. 0d., Mr. George Jessop £5 5s. 0d., Mr. Abraham Hanson £1 ls. 0d., and others contributed smaller amounts. Mr. George Armitage, of High Royd, who, at that time was the only Magistrate in the neighbourhood dispensing justice at High Royd, not only enrolled Honley Volunteers, but administered the oath of allegiance to King George III. to Volunteers dwelling in 16 adjoining townships. (See Armitage family).


Page 52





(Honley in 1800.-Factory Act of 1802.-Local Invasion of the French.-Diaty Extract.-An Old-time Election of 1807.-Census in 1811.-Staple Trade of the Suspension of Local Banks.-Folly Hall Fight. -Factory Act of 1833.- Chartism.-Plug Riots).


TxIs century was writ large with achievement which must of necessity have only bare mention in these pages. The mar- vellous changes in machinery, wonderful progress in ships, opening of railways, introduction of penny postage, telegraphs, free press, expansion of trade due to these outlets and means of transit, passing of numerous Acts of Parliament for the general welfare of the people, and that striving for the recogni- tion of the brotherhood of man were all features of this century. At the opening of 1800, however, the distress was terrible. About the year 1812 the state of affairs in England was almost beyond description: The pastimes of the people were still brutal, executions took place in public, body snatching was common, roads infested by robbers, and education for the people depending upon voluntary effort. On account of the

wars of Napoleon having stopped European industries, there

was great demand for English productions. Side by side with the spread of the Factory system were great developments in machinery favourable to more rapid output. Yet food was at famine price, due to the duty upon corn, hours of labour long, work scarce, wages low-the most industrious weaver only able to earn 7/- or 8/- per week. Children of tender years worked as long hours as adults, and if exhausted nature gave way, they were cruelly beaten.

There are people yet living who are familiar with the history of this period, by hearing parents and grandparents speak of the time when the great struggle for religious and political

Page 53




freedom was being fought out with such anguish of conflict and fiery ordeal. Being thus brought into intimacy with this century of endeavour and achievement by such oral com- munications and other connecting links, the features of the religious, civil, lawless, and distressed state of the country can be better understood. Flour at the opening of 1800 was 6/- and 7/- per stone, tea 8/- per lb., and sugar 1/- per lb. Oatmeal porridge was still the staple food of the workers, and often of the class above them ; the change from the old to the new in the woollen industry not being accomplished without suffering both for master and man. If the export of cloth at this time amounted to one-half of all other exports sent out of the kingdom, harsh measures and iniquitous restrictions were imposed upon trade and commerce; so that the struggles of the master were often tragic and desperate in character. At this period also, many Banks suspended payment, causing such a feeling of cautious dread that there was no money in circulation.

Honley fared badly during this evolution of her local trade. We shall see however that she also took great leaps in religious, social and political progress during 1800.

Factory Act or 1802.

_ By the influence of Sir Robert Peel a Factory Act was passed in this year regarding the working of pauper children of tender years in mills. This Act could be evaded, and did not cure the evils then existing.


The state of the neighbourhood was so lawless, that the leading inhabitants of Honley met in 1805 and formed them- selves into a Society for purposes of self-protection ; and also to help to bring to justice those who committed illegal acts.


In 1805 the dwellers in Honley were greatly alarmed by rumours of the landing of the French. The lighting of a beacon-fire upon Castle Hill was to be the signal that

Page 54



Buonaparte and his army had actually arrived upon British ground. People kept watch in terror day and night upon elevated grounds for the lighting of the beacon. This anticipated landing was fortunately averted.

An extract copied from a diary, written in 1807 by a local lady, throws light upon the fashion of feminine attire at this date. She gives a list of her " cloathes," amongst which are ** 1 black silk gown (vastly fine); 1 bombazine gown and 1 brown lustre gown." There are also details of nightcaps, pockets, silk hose, square silk-handkerchiefs, and lace caps. In addition, there is mention of Norwich crape and silk shawls, black silk pelices, etc. The description of these materials and fashions which sound strange in our ears, seem to speak in silence of the gracious personalities and modest graces of those women of a by-gone day who laid away such garments in lavender.

Ax OuLp TImEr® or 1807.

At the time when two members of Parliament represented the whole County of Yorkshire, to make use of a local saying, "" elections were elections." Like unto the Hallelujah Chorus sung by Yorkshire voices, there was abundance of " fire and go '" in connection with an election. The coming of the Candidates in a carriage drawn by four spanking grey horses with mounted postilions, and accompanied by a cavalcade of horsemen was an enlivening sight. (Men could ride in those days). I can vividly recall such an arrival, when Messrs. Stanhope and Starkey, the Conservative Candidates for the Southern Division of the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1874, came to Honley. In an old-time election perhaps there was much bribery, treating and undue influence, but the retinues of men, horses and carriages passing to and fro were more animating to look upon than the present prosaic ballot-box into which papers marked with a X are quietly dropped, as if paying a last tribute to a departed relative. I fancy that free-fights, broken heads, cheers, counter cheers, abundant supply of coloured liquids, and the general hurly-burly taking place around the hustings held more attraction for an old-time voter than the present lifeless proceedings.

Page 55




Perhaps the most important Parliamentary Election in Yorkshire took place in 1807 at York, which city was the polling place for the whole County at that time. When people had to travel from all parts of Yorkshire to York to record their votes, an ordinary election, must of necessity, have been costly, especially in the matter of reluctant voters. One election for Yorkshire in 1722 cost one candidate £12,000 Os. Od. This sum, however, was small in comparison to the vast sums expended in the 1807 struggle. This election also was famous for the first breaking down of exclusive County family repre- sentation in Parliament. The three candidates were Lord Milton, of the House of Fitzwilliam, Whig, Mr. Lascelles, of the House of Harewood, Tory, and Mr. William Wilberforce, the advocate for the abolition of slavery. These three great champions were representatives of measures which were then the burning questions of the day. The Poll lasted 15 days at York, Wilberforce being teturned at the head, Lord Milton next, and Mr. Lascelles at the bottom of the Poll. It is recorded that Lord Milton and Mr. Lascelles spent between them £200,000 0s. 0d., and that the expenses of Wilberforce amounted to £28,600 0s. 0d. The cost of Wilberforce's expenses was defrayed by public subscription.

So far reaching were the results of this noted and expensive contest, that the names of the voters, and the persons for whom they voted, were published in a Poll-book under the direction of the Under Sheriff of York. The following are the names of Honley freeholders who voted, and the persons they voted for, copied from this Poll-book. It will be seen that the majority voted for the representative of those principles of religious and political liberty which had formed the bone of contention in the civil wars. W. means Wilberforce, L. Lascelles, and M. Milton.

W. L. M. Mr. George Armitage - .. a a cs ,, Jas. Armitage, Clothier 2. or ,, Tom Armitage, Husbandman e 1

, Jas. Bottomley, Millwright .. e s

Page 56



2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 » 2 9 3 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 ) 2 9 2 9 2 9 i 2 9 2 9 » 9 9 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 2 9 » 9

2 »


Joseph Brook, Cordwainer .. John Brook _.. William Brook, Clothler Benjamin Batley, Gentleman Benjamin Bray, Miller . Abraham Chappell, Clothier Benjamin Donkersley, Clothier James Eastwood, Butcher .. John Firth, Blacksmith William France, Clothier Thomas (Green John Garner .. William Garner Giles Gartside, Dyer Abraham Hanson, Clothier George Hanson, Clothier Richard Haigh, Clothier Thomas Haigh, Clothier Joseph Haigh, Clothier Joseph Heap .

John Hampshlre Dlssentmg Munster

Ely (Eli) Hobson, Clothier .. Joseph Oldfield, Cartman John Kaye, Cartman Joseph Kaye, Clothier Ely (Eli) Kaye, Carpenter .. Benjamin Littlewood, Clothier Richard Littlewood, Clothier Joseph Lockwood, Clothier John Lockwood, Clothier

Joseph Midwood, Tallow-Chandler

Joshua Moorhouse, Yeoman Joshua Robinson, Dyer Francis Sanderson, Clothier John Swift, Clothier Joseph Schofield, Clothier William Schofield, Clothier ..

Page 57


2 9

* 9

In addition to the above voters,


James Taylor, Clothier Thomas Thornton, Miller

James Thornton






M. 1 1

there were residents in

Honley who held property in other parts of the Wapentake of Agbrigg, and their votes are recorded in those voting districts. Their names are as follows :-





William Hirst, Gardener, Freehold recorded in Birkby List

. _ John Haigh, Clothier, Freehold re-

corded in Kirkburton List

'. John Dyson, Clothier, Freehold re-

corded in North Crosland List

. John Sykes, Clothier, Freehold re-

corded in North Crosland List

. John Senior, Woodcutter, Freehold

recorded in Farnley Tyas List

._ John Dyson, Clothier, Freehold re-

corded in South Crosland List

John Houghton, Merchant, Freehold

recorded in Huddersfield List e William Sykes, Glazier, Freehold re- corded in Huddersfield List 2. Joseph Batley, Dyer, Freehold re- corded in Meltham List _ . . Joseph Armitage, Clothier, Freehold recorded in Thurstonland List

. _John Armitage, Clothier, Freehold

recorded in Thurstonland List

. _John Armitage, Clothier, Freehold

recorded in Upperthong List




I have often heard this celebrated Election recalled by old- time worthies in Honley, whose parents or relatives either rode The parish hearse was requisitioned and conveyed to York a few local voters

or walked to York to record their votes.

Page 58



who were unable to find any other kind of vehicle. After the election was over, one noted inhabitant always declared that "'he was carried to his funeral before he was dead." When Lord Milton, during his electioneering tour, was addressing the crowd which greeted his arrival at Honley Bridge, another

enquiring resident when asking questions addressed the can- didate as " Mr. Lord Milton, Esquire."


A local census of the population of Honley was taken in 1811. The males numbered 1298, and the females 1231, total 2529. These were chiefly engaged in the woollen industry.


We have seen that the introduction of new forces into the woollen trade had caused terrible suffering. For the better understanding of the state of affairs, it will be necessary to review the evolution of the staple trade of the district before giving particulars of Lud-riots, Chartism, Plug-riots, etc., these local struggles being due to the changing conditions of the cloth trade of that date. From the aays when " Adam delved and Eve spun," down to the present, the making of clothing can be clearly traced. Amongst the various arts that the more civilized Romans taught us at their invasion was that of clothing ourselves. Since that time, the making of cloth has not only been established in England, but gradually become one of its most important industries. Spin- ning with the distaff and spindle was the employment of Saxon women, and often their only recreation. So accustomed were the maidens of old-time to spinning that they were named spinsters. This ancient title is still applied in legal terms to unmarried women. Whitaker, in his " History of Man- chester," states that the mother of Alfred the Great was skilled in the spinning of wool, and trained her daughters to the same industry. - In the will of Alfred the Great, he named the female part of his family the spindle side. It is recorded that the daughters of King Edward the elder, employed themselves in spinning, weaving and embroidery. When William the

Page 59

REINS FARM. -__ (see page 47),

TYPICAL CLOTHIER's (see page 47).

Page 61



Conqueror invaded England, amongst the followers in his train were many workmen from the Netherlands who were skilled in making cloth. They settled near the place of their landing, notably Norwich, though there is evidence to prove that the industry flourished at Winchester previous to this date. As time went on, the clothing industry formed at Norwich would gradually spread to other parts of the country. Edward III. encouraged the woollen trade by bringing more Flemish weavers, dyers, etc. to England, who were proficient at their various handicrafts, and settled them in different parts of England. Fuller, in his Church History, gives the number that were sent to various districts, and three came to Halifax. " Wooden- shoon *" or clogs were the footwear of these workmen from the low countries. The wooden-soled clogs still worn in Yorkshire and Lancashire date their introduction to these Flemish artisans.

Previous to the Enclosure Act, England possessed so much forest land and open spaces for the pasturing of sheep, that she not only grew her own wool but exported it in large quantities ; and the woollen trade was one of the most im- portant in the country. No other industry however has suffered so much from vexatious Acts of Parliament. I must not dwell upon these Acts of Parliamentary tyranny, nor the many and varied developments in the trade since its intro- duction into England, though I know of no more fascinating subject for our textile workers to study than the romance of their own trade. Suffice to say, that the industry has been held with great tenacity of purpose, and the particular pro- ductions of this part have now world-wide reputation.

Defoe, the author of "Robinson Crusoe," undertook a journey throughout England in 1714, which at that period was a hazardous venture. He afterwards described, in book-form, his impressions of the towns he visited, and the people he met. He writes as follows about a small master-manufacturer of the West Riding of Yorkshire :-" The land was divided into small enclosures from two acres to six or seven each, seldom more. Every three or four pieces of land had a house belonging to them,

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hardly a house standing out of a speaking distance from another. We could see at every house a tenter, and on almost every tenter a piece of cloth, or kersie, or shalloon. At every considerable house was a manufactory. Every clothier keeps one horse at least to carry his manufactures to the market, and everyone generally keeps a cow or two for his family. By this means the small pieces of enclosed land about each house are occupied, for they scarce grow corn enough to feed their poultry. The houses are full of lusty fellows, some at the dye-vat, some at the looms, others dressing the cloth, the women and carding, spinning, being all employed from the youngest to the oldest, not a beggar to be seen, nor an idle person."

No better idea can be conveyed of Honley clothiers and their dwellings than Defoe so picturesquely describes them. Their mode of manufacturing cloth under the household roof was Arcadian in its simplicity in comparison to present-day methods. True, many who were more enterprising than the rest, employed labour outside the family circle or in buildings around the home. With their pack-horses they went the round of farm-houses, or attended the great wool fairs to pur- chase wool for which golden guineas were paid down at once ; Banks being neither developed nor trusted. The pack-horses were sure-footed animals that never found a day's journey too long, nor work too hard. Upon arrival home of the train of pack-horses, the wool was then distributed, going through various processes such as spinning, weaving, etc. in cottages and homesteads around ; women spinning, men sizing the warps, and drying them in the lanes outside their homes. These out-weavers owned one donkey at least for purposes of carrying material to and from " Th' Maisters."" Owners and donkeys jogging along, the latter with warps, wefts or a piece of cloth strapped upon their backs, played an important part in the woollen industry of Honley at that period. It was a saying, that at one time there were more donkeys than people in Thurstonland, the bulk of the inhabitants being engaged in '"out-weaving '"' for the Brooke family. When " out- weavers "' delivered the results of their labour at Honley and

Page 63

TYPICAL OUT-WEAVER's House. (see page 48).

J., Thornton, Pinx. Published by B. Brown, Bookseller, Huddersfield. THE OLD CROPPING SHoP. (see page 48).

Page 65

1768 1780


afterwards at Armitage Bridge Mill, it was the custom to serve to them home-brewed beer and oat-cake at the " livering in " as it was named. This was on account of the long distances many of the weavers had to travel who lived in isolated hamlets, or on distant hill-sides. Whilst the donkey was cropping refreshment by the road side or getting "its bit o' salat " (Salad) as one old weaver always named the animal's ** baiting," the owner also enjoyed his oat-cake and home- brewed beer. At the marriage of a member of the Brooke family in the past, it was said that 42 donkeys, owned by out- weavers in Thurstonland, were gaily decorated with ribbons in honour of the event, and marched in procession around that township. The long windows in the upper rooms of old houses still standing in Honley, testify to the once prevailing occupation of weaving. Other clothiers who were not manufacturers on a large scale, carried on the process of making cloth under their household roofs. Sons of well-to-do parents who intended to adopt the woollen trade were apprenticed, and had to serve seven years. These apprentices were at one time a great feature in the clothing industry at Honley. The Master worked side by side with his eight or ten men, apprentices, and generally assisted by his wife and daughters. When his pieces of all wool cloth were ready for sale, he took them either on horse back, in his gig, or upon his shoulder to the market at Hudders- field. The grandfather of a present Honley resident who was a clothier in a small way of business at this period, often walked with his piece of cloth upon his shoulder by way of Greenfield to Manchester Market, and returned home the same route at the risk of robbery or worse dangers ; there being only a dangerous track beyond Isle of Skye at that time. Previous to the building of the Cloth Hall in Huddersfield, it is said that the Clothiers placed their pieces of cloth for sale upon the old Church-yard wall in Kirkgate. The Cloth Hall was erected in 1768, by Sir John Ramsden, and enlarged by his son in 1780. Each Clothier had his own stall. On market days it was thronged by buyers and sellers when the names of such fabrics as kerseys, doeskins, cassimeres, meltons, friezes,

broads, narrows, etc. were more familiar upon the lips of buyer D

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and seller than at present. A blue broad at that time was 26/- per yard, and a drab kersey 12/- per yard.

Being descended and akin to families of clothiers, I have often heard the old-fashioned methods of manufacturing adopted by a clothier in a modest way of business fully described from buying the bundle of wool to the selling of the piece of cloth. One stage was the sprinkling or " lecking " of the wool laid upon the house floor. The stench arising from the liquid which was then used in the primitive process was considered a most healthy perfume, but the odour would prove rather trying to present day olfactory organs. When the cloth was made and hung on the tenter-frames outside, the whole family vigorously pulled at each end of the piece to make it a little longer.

But the great epoch was approaching when the inventions of such men as Kaye, Crompton, Arkwright, Cartwright, etc., were to revolutionise the woollen industry, and sever old ties once existing between master and man. The primitive process of domestic production by hand was now gradually displaced by steam-power and machinery. The workmen who had once gathered under the household roof of the master, or in out- buildings near, were concentrated in large buildings, and the factory system established. The more enterprising and wealthy clothiers at once grasped the nature of altered con- ditions. It was the day for the man of skill and aptitude who knew that the individual must work independently of Governments, Republics or Leagues. There were others, however, who pitted their domestic mode of industry against the ever-advancing factory system, fighting obstinately for a long time the tragic battle of loss and defeat. Resisting all innovations, they were determined to go on making cloth as it had always been made ; and many hill-side homes in Honley hid silent tragedies due to the introduction of steam-power. We must not dwell upon these mute sorrows of a past day, but describe revolutions of a more noisy and exciting character, which were the outcome of the changing conditions of cloth- manufacturing.

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Previous to the year 1812, the cloth manufactured in this neighbourhood had been finished by hand. This was a slow process with a machine not unlike a large pair of shears, each shear requiring one man to wotk it. The men of to-day employed in the same industry are now known as cloth- finishers. At that time they were named " croppers," the work of the machine answering to the meaning of the word crop. Though inventions were being quickly adopted in all sections relating to cloth-making, the persons employed resented the introduction of any improvement in machinery, concluding that such inventions made work scarce. The ** croppers,""' as a class, were well paid in comparison to other workers, but they rose in revolt against the introduction of a new machine which as they thought would take the bread out cf their mouths. For the purpose of destroying the obnoxious invention, they banded themselves together under an imaginary leader named General Lud, hence they were named Luddites. Each man had to take a terrible oath not only of secrecy, but to perform his allotted crime under a threat of death. The local name given to the oath was " twisting in," and many old Honley " croppers " knew its meaning only too well.

Enoch and James Taylor, of Marsden, ironfounders of local repute, constructed the new " cropping " or finishing-frames for the mill-owners. The Taylors were makers also of the huge sledge-hammers in use in smithies and shoeing-forges. These hammers were locally given the name of " Enoch " in laughing reference to the Christian name of the maker.

** Enoch made them, and Enoch shall break them," said the stubborn men, who had decided upon sledge-hammers as weapons to break frames constructed by the same man.

The spirit of lawlessness quickly spread. Machines and property were destroyed, levies made of food and money, and other outrages of violent character occurred nightly. People were fired upon in their homes at midnight, and the lives of others attempted when opportunity offered. Parliament came to the aid of terrified districts, and military law was proclaimed

Page 68


throughout our neighbourhood. The King's Bays, Scots Greys, and 15th Hussars were alternately billeted in various places for fear that they too should be in sympathy with Luddism. Lights were extinguished in each house in Honley at ten o'clock, else the military patrol would know the reason why ; and persons found outside their homes after that hour were taken prisoners. I have heard an aged relative, who died in 1870, graphically describe his arrest for mistaking the hour. Against his mother's wish he ventured out " courting " or paying his respects to his sweetheart who lived in Ludhill. Returning home, as he thought, before ten o'clock, he was taken prisoner upon Honley Bridge. Fortunately three witnesses of high local standing journeyed to York on his behalf, for the purpose of proving the innocent nature of the transgression of staying too long with his sweetheart, else he would have fared badly during this reign of terror.

The combination of men that were first formed for the pur- pose of destroying machines were now drawn into the crime of committing murder. Mr. William Horsfall, a Marsden manufacturer, who had introduced the new cropping-machines into his mill was shot dead on his way home from Huddersfield Market. Three men were implicated in the murder, and two came to the Coach and Horses Inn, Honley direct from the scene of the murder. A reward of £2,000 Os. Od. was offered for the discovery of the murderers. Such was either the loyalty or fear of other members of Luddism, that this sum remained unclaimed for a year by men who worked side by side with the murderer. One of the rioters when dying had much pressure brought to bear upon him to disclose the name of the man who shot Mr. Horsfall. '* Can you keep a secret ?" he asked of clergyman, doctor and magistrate gathered around his bed. '* Yes ! "' was the eager response of all. ** So can I," were his last gasping words, and he died with the secret unconfessed.

In the end, the strong arm of the law prevailed. The three local men who had shot Mr. Horsfall, and fifteen others who

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had committed outrages of a various character were at York Assizes condemned to death. Others were sentenced to trans- portation for life to New South Wales, which was a dreaded convict settlement. Many of the condemned persons were at one time respectable men who had close connection with Honley both as regards relatives and friends. Local people also were forced to go to York to give evidence including Mrs. Robinson, the landlady of the Coach and Horses Inn. It was the custom at this period to carry out the death-sentence in public. The criminal records of Yorkshire do not furnish another instance when so many persons were executed in one day. The crowds that assembled at York were so vast, that strong forces of cavalry and infantry were required for fear of riots and rescues.


In 1816 two local Banks suspended payment ruining many Honley Clothiers, and seriously crippling the resources of others. These losses caused so much distrust against the Banking business, that there were people in the place who never again placed any faith in Banks. With Yorkshire caution, they kept their golden guineas safe in their own canvas bags, either hiding or sitting upon them. On account of family losses due to the suspension of the two local Banks, my father, until his death in 1882, resolutely eschewed all dealings with Banks. True, he would accept a cheque from a person of local standing, but only with suspicious caution, getting rid of it as quickly as possible.


If Luddism had been crushed for the time being, the country was still in a state of seething discontent. The manufacturer was impeded in his progress by wars and unjust restrictions from Government, whilst trouble and distress prevailed amongst the workers on account of low wages. I will here make a digression. Hand-loom weaving which had been an important branch of the woollen industry was not highly paid even if the weaver was capable and industrious. The change

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in the working of looms from bodily exertion to steam power did not improve matters. The songs of a people are generally a true guide to their feelings at the time. A once familiar ditty proved the low estimation in which the trade of a weaver was then held by local females. This song, which in early life we were wont to sing to a lilting tune that can still be trilled sweetly by many old people, was very popular. The first verse which I quote from memory is as follows :-

'* My heart is as light as a feather, I hope it will never grow sad, I'm going to be married to-morrow, But not to a factory lad. Th' factory lad is a weaver, And all his family too, Before I'll be wed to a weaver, I'll travel old England through."

(The change in the rate of weavers' wages from that period

to the present has been great).

To return to the main subject, there was a second local rising against the existing state of misery in 1817. This was known as the " Folly Hall Fight" on account of the rioters being met and dispersed at that place. Many weavers and cloth-dressers in Honley joined in the ferment. Following the example of the Lud-rioters, the discontented workers broke into houses where they thought firearms could be obtained ; and the dwelling of Mr. Clement Dyson, Honley, was rifled. When the actual rising took place, the result was disaster to the rioters at Folly Hall. Amongst other rioters who were implicated, and had to appear at York Assizes, were John Kinder, Benjamin Taylor and Benjamin Green, weavers and cloth-dressers of Honley. The three latter however were found not guilty..

Mr. William Leigh, one of the Leigh family, whose history will be found under the head of Honley families, lived in Church Street at this disturbed period. The rioters attempted to enter his dwelling which was opposite the Church. He records in his diary his night of terrible experience. By the kindness of

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Mrs. Leigh, of Almondbury, a. representative of the Leigh and Kaye families, I have been allowed to copy the following extract from the diary of Mr. William Leigh.

'* On Sunday evening, the 8th of June, 1817, about 12 o'clock, my house was surroundea and attacked by a large concourse of people many of whom were armed with guns and other offensive weapons. I, and my wife and family, had retired to rest about 10 o'clock, and were awoke by a loud knocking at our front door. She first heard them, got up, and put up the sash of the window, and seeing so many men was greatly alarmed, and came from the window. I directly looked out of the window and asked them what they wanted. The answer I received was 'come down and open the I then put down the sash, and told my wife that they were Luddites. They continued to vociferate for me to come down and open the door which not doing, they assailed the door with very heavy stones, so large that they broke the lock of the door all to pieces, and but for a strong bolt would have entered the house. At the same time, the back part of my house was attacked by another gang of them. My two daughters being greatly afraid came into our lodging room, and cne of them wished me to go down and let them in. I answered ° No, they shall come to me, I will not go to them, nor leave you.' The ruffians finding I would not open the door, they who were at the back part of the house smashed one of the kitchen windows, both the glass and wood-frame to pieces. Now I said to my afflicted family, 'they will be with us, be as easy and as quiet as you can, they will not hurt you, it is I they want.. My daughter Ann then said, 'Father where shall I hide you ?" I replied 'nowhere, I will not leave you, but remain here until they Thus were we situated, assailed by an armed ruffian force without and distressing fears within, surrounded by neighbours who heard the tumult, and not one of them dared to come to our help. One of them looked out of his chamber window to see what was the matter, when one of the mob presented a loaded pistol at him, and said if he did not withdraw, he would shoot him. But we were not forsaken,

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though human help was of no avail. God was our helper and defender, yea, a very present help in the time of trouble. It behoves me to be thankful for His protection at this time, for it appears by the confession of some of them afterwards, that if I had come down, I must have passed close to the window which they had broken, and that a person was stationed at it to shoot me. But what had I done to irritate them against me, I cannot say ? I had never knowingly injured any of them in any respect. Though I cannot suppose that my refusal to their demands proceeded from a confidence in Divine assist- ance my mind being in such a confused state, yet I am assured that it was His over-ruling Providence which prevented me going down to them, and that restrained them from entering my house, which they might easily have done through the window. At the dawn of the morning they went away, and we heard the voices of our neighbours in the street. Never did a condemned criminal at the gallows hear the joyful shout of a messenger bringing him a reprieve with more thankfulness than us when we heard their gladdening voices which was to us a sure indication that our danger was past. Then on my bended knees, though my mind was still confused, I endeavoured to return thanks to Him who is all powerful to save for His mercies are great. And to Him be all praise now and for ever."


At a Town's meeting, held March 25th, 1830, it was con- sidered advisable that there should be a paid official to perform duties hitherto voluntarily undertaken by Constable and Overseer. The first Assistant Overseer in the person of Mr. J. Lancaster was appointed at a salary to act under the supervision of Constable and Overseer.

Factory Act or 1833.

The first really beneficent Factory Act was passed in 1833. Previous to this Act, I have listened in my earlier days to personal narratives describing the long hours and conditions of labour in the Mills in Honley and neighbourhood. They worked from six o'clock in the morning until eight o'clock at night on all days of the week except Sunday. Half-an-hour

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for the mid-day meal was allowed, but no time for breakfast. Children of tender years worked as long as adults, eventually finding a champion in Richard Oastler to protest against their ill-usage. This 1833 Factory Act limited the hours of labour both for adults and children, and also compelled the attendance of the latter at school half-time. According to personal accounts of those old-time toilers, the difference between past and present workers in mills is great. Yet so rapid have been the improved conditions of industry, that the Factory Act of 1833 which was so hardly won, would now be looked upon with scorn by the present day textile worker. I have often heard it stated that this Act was accepted with such thankfulness in Honley, that praise was given to God for the blessing at Prayer-meetings, Love-feasts, etc.


A survey and valuation of Honley township at this date gives its rateable value as £11,080 17s. 0d., and its extent as 2,439 acres, 1 rood, and 21 perches.


Textile workers, whether hand-loom weavers of a past, or present-day operators, have proved an intelligent race. From their midst have generally sprung those men, ideas and demands which eventually change the existing state of things. The hand-loom weavers of a by-gone day, though working from early dawn until late at night, were as a rule great readers, thinkers and talkers. They were typical of the men around them engaged in other branches of cloth-making. Perhaps sport claimed the attention of many, but during this time of stress, religion and politics were the chief topics of the more earnest minded. Even in the middle of this century, with its Arabian Night's wonders spinging up on every hand, the country was still in a state of great discontent. The Reform Bill of 1832 had given the Franchise to the middle classes, but left out large masses of the working people. There was now great agitation for another Reform Bill, and Repeal of the Corn Laws. The converts to Wesleyanism, whose religious

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convictions were as the Alpha and Omega of their lives, were pouring out their souls in earnest supplications for the coming of better times. Others who refused to seek for a solution of their misery in the pages of the Bible, read with avidity such books as Tom Paine's " Rights of Man." Infidelity crept in, and was encouraged amongst the workers. They believed that if granted political rights, the terrible distress would pass away. The age brought forth fiery orators who preached propagandist ideas which had been nourished and helped on by the French Revolution. After the battle for freedom of the Press had been won by Wilkes, new publications typical both in name and contents of the stress of the period, sprung up like mushrooms in the night. "The Commonweal," " The New Age," "The Star in the East," "The Morning Star," ''The New Moral World," "The Pioneer," "The Trumpet Call," " The Northern Star," and other publications were all called into life at this period. Riots took place in various parts of the country, whilst large gatherings and demonstrations were the order of the day in our neighbourhood. Eventually all the enthusiams and struggles took a definite shape. A document named the " People's Charter" was embodied, hence its adherents were named Chartists. The Charter con- tained six demands or " six points " as they were named. The

idea of granting such new and startling requests was beyond

the highest flight of the most imaginative person at that period except the malcontents themselves. At the present time, nearly all these claims have become law. When we realise the state of the working classes during this revolutionary time, we cannot be surprised that Honley supplied many enthusiastic supporters to the cause of Chartism. O

RErpEAL OF THE WinNpow-TaAx.

When the domestic mode of manufacturing had been changed to the factory system, the long rows of windows in houses were no longer a necessity for purposes of light. The Window-Tax was then repealed. This is only one example of the many oppressive Acts of Parliaments from which the woollen industry has suffered.

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Mam CoacnK.

A Buxton Coach named " Peveril of the Peak," commenced running on July 15th, 1839 from Leeds to Buxton. It ran each Thursday and Saturday calling at Honley. The " Royal Hope " also passed through Honley.


The period from the time of the Lud-riots to about 1840 was still a time of terrible distress, being generally named the * hungry forties." Bad harvests succeeded each other, and Corn Laws prohibited importation of food. Wages were so low that pauperism prevailed in the country to an alarming extent. It was said that one-fourth of the population was dying from starvation. The Plug-riots originally commenced in Lancashire. They were so named on account of the rioters' mode of expressing disapproval at the existing state of things. Their methods were to take or draw out the plugs from mill- boilers, thus rendering steam-power useless ; and by these means stop the running of the machinery. When it was announced that the plug-rioters were nearing Honley, the neighbourhood was in a state of great alarm. The reign of terror can yet be recalled to memory by a few of our oldest dwellers, one remembering her mother hiding her along with a little brother in the cellar. When the mob of half-starved men cime to Honley by way of Holme-Moss and Holmfirth, they first drew the plugs from the boilers at Crosley Mill, or Shaw's Factory as it afterwards was named on account of being owned and worked at that time by Messrs. Benjamin Shaw & Co. The rioters next visited Steps Mill, owned by Messrs. Vickerman & Beaumont, and Lord's Mill, owned by Messrs. Heap. - After drawing the plugs from the boilers at these two latter mills, the rioters passed on their way to other places with- out committing further mischief.

As time passed on, the Repeal of the Corn Laws, Reform Bill, the passing of numerous Factory Acts, Trade Unions, Co-operation, etc., have all helped greatly to improve the conditions of the people.

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(Honley's first Governing Body.-Closing of Shaw's Factory.-First Railway to Honley.-First Local Newspaper.-Holmfirth Flood.- Crimean War.-Peace Rejoicing.-First Gas Company.-First Lighting of the with Gas.-Co-operative Society.-First Local Board.- Widening of Honley Gate.-New Road to Railway Station. -School Lane.-Cow-lane and Windy Cap.-Fires.-Water.-Queen Victoria's Jubilee.-The Commercial Inn.-Urban District in the Township's boundaries.-Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.-Gas Works Explosion -Purchase of Gas Works.-Death of Queen Victoria. - Return of Reservists from South African _ of King Edward VII.-Electricity Works.-South African Rateable Value of Honley.-The death of King Edward VII.-Corona- tion of King George V.-Change in Townships' Boundaries. -Recreation Ground.-Visit of King George V. and Queen Mary to Honley.- Constables in 1800-43).

HONLEY IN 1800-1914.

Hoxnury's First GovErninc Bopy.

A public meeting of ratepayers was held on March 17th, 1843 for the purpose of forming a committee to manage the affairs of the village in conjunction with Constable, Chapelwarden, Overseer and Guardians. The latter had now become a part of parochial organization. Amongst the numerous Poor Law Acts was that of 1819, empowering vestries to appoint fit and proper person to act as Guardians of the poor in each parish. This Act was for the purpose of placing a check upon the indiscriminate relief of the poor by Overseers, so that the latter could not give money without the consent and oversight of such duly qualified persons. A public meeting, held on March

24th, 1843, appointed twenty-one of the leading inhabitants of

Honley to act as its first committee in the management of its local affairs. They not only worked in concert with the before- mentioned officers, but afterwards the appointment of these public officers was vested in the Committee. The manage- ment of old-time officers as we shall see in this history was more picturesque than efficient, so that the members of this first

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(see page bl),

(see page 72),

Page 79


formed governing body had no light task in front of them. Sanitary Laws, of which we have at present a surfeit, were then unheeded. Honley at this time adopted an easy and inexpensive mode of drainage by having open sewers on either side of roads, so that people passing to and fro had to have an eye to their avoidance. We were so proud of these uncovered channels, that they were given their proper and significant names ; Sordes (foul matter) hole (cavity), hence Sordes-hole, which in local vocabulary was pronounced " Sor-hoil." Honley boasted of many " Sor-hoils" at this date, and its dwellers being proof against new fangled innovations brought strong resistive force against their " Sor-hoils " being disturbed, looking upon them as adjuncts to health. I have heard many old natives recall the memory of these open sewers with great affection, holding modern drainage responsible for all epidemics. They also clung to the old-fashioned idea that measles were a necessity,-the sooner children caught them by being sent out to play with those who were suffering from the disease-the better. From this time, however, affairs in the village were better looked after and important improvements carried out.

CLOsING OF Sxaw's Factory.

During this time of outcry for Reform and Repeal of the Corn Laws, nearly all the mills in the neighbourhood were idle ; and the firm of Messrs. Benjamin Shaw & Co., Shaw's Factory, ceased manufacturing. It was a familiar saying when I was a child that " three mechanics and one hammer " caused the ruin of this firm. Another reason given was that these generous employers impoverished themselves by helping others too generously at this time of misery and destitution. After the closing of Shaw's Factory, Honley passed through its darkest days. A song, sung to a cheerful inspiring tune, was popular at that time :-

** To the West-to the West, to the land of the free, Where mighty Missouri rolls down like the sea,

Where a man is a man if he's willing to toil, And the humblest may gather the fruits of the soil."

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Many of the sons and daughters of Honley crossed the Atlantic at this time, not so much for freedom as for the bare necessaries of life. Previous to 1838, the journey to America in small sailing ships with no accommodation and less comfort was a long and terrible voyage. It was not until 1838, when the great feat of crossing the Atlantic from Liverpool to New York by steam was accomplished, that future journeys were hopefully prophesied. In reply to such foolish ideas, Dr. Dionyseus Lardner said that " as well might they attempt a voyage to the moon as run regularly between England and

New York."

After the closing of Shaw's Factory, so great was the exit out of Honley to America and other towns to find employment, that over 200 houses were empty, and the rateable value was very low.

First Ramway to Hoxnuuy.

The advent of railways opened a new era in human history. People who hitherto had not left the sight of their hill-sides were now able to travel to distant towns that were being rapidly linked up with each other. We felt the effect of closing our vast system of railways for a few days during the Railway strike ; yet at first there was the most violent opposition against what are now of national importance. Railways were not welcomed even by the most progressive people. The public held all kinds of grievances against them, especially landowners and farmers, who demanded extortionate prices for their land. So strong was the oppcsition to one of the greatest forces of modern progress and usefulness, that not only each place through which a railway passed, but almost each person had to be conciliated. The Stockton and Darlington Railway opened in September 1825 was only made at the cost of much labour, experiment, and strong opposition. The speed was 25 miles per hour. The Liverpool and Manchester Rail- way was opened in 1830, when the unheard of speed of 36 miles per hour was attained. When the Railway between Man- chester and Sheffield was opened in 1845, it was common for

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1718 1767


people in Honley to walk to Dunford Bridge for the purpose of seeing the train emerge from Woodhead tunnel. They returned home convinced that they had seen one of the wonders of the age. The greatest event, however, to Honley people, was when the line to Holmfirth and Penistone was opened in 1850, and the village found itself in possession of a Railway Station.

The introduction of cheap trips next caused a great sensation. Whilst the novelty was new, it was customary for people to rise as early as the travellers who were so rich and courageous as to travel to such distant places as London or Scarborough. After seeing them off, their return at unearthly hours was also eargerly awaited. I have heard old people describe the earliest mode of railway travelling. This was in carriages similar to the present goods' trucks. They were open to wind and weather, and had no seats. There were persons living in Honley twenty years ago who had not ridden in a railway train, and firmly refused to do so until their death. When the line was opened in 1850, a great aunt of mine declared that " people would soon be toc idle to walk to Huddersfield." She lived to hear a younger generation complain of walking to Honley Station. Honley is on the Lancashire and Yorkshire section of railways with connections to all parts.


One of the greatest forces in helping to diffuse knowledge amongst the people has been the newspaper, its advent due to the wonderful improvements in the printing press. The early struggles of newspaper-promoters for freedom of speech met with the usual reward which falls to the lot of pioneers. They were persecuted and imprisoned. The first newspaper which found its way to Honley was the " York Mercury," printed weekly in 1718. The stamp duty upon newspapers was 4d., and the price of the " York Mercury " in 1767 was 6d. I can distinctly recall the appearance of this red stamp upon an old copy preserved by my father. The paper was the most important issued in the North of England, and long retained

Page 82

1836 1855

1850 1859




its popularity. Its weekly arrival at Honley was eagerly awaited by a group of enlightened citizens who joined in its purchase and perusal. The reduction of the stamp duty on newspapers from 4d. to one penny in 1836 paved the way to greater circulation, until in 1855 the tax was abolished. The '* York Mereury " continued to be read in this neighbourhood until 1850, when the first local newspaper was published. This was the °" Huddersfield Chronicle," Conservative in politics, published April 6th, 1850. The issue of the " Huddersfield Weekly Examiner," Liberal in policy, followed closely being published on September 6th, 1851.

At this date, and long afterwards, there were many people in Honley as elsewhere who were unable to read or write ; so that at first the circulation of both newspapers was limited. I can recall evenings when I was called upon to read the contents of both newspapers to aged relatives and friends. How their souls were stirred with indignation at the frivolities of that age! With what sweeping condemnation they would denounce, or heartily agree with the policy of the Government according to their views ! When reading on with youthful disregard of political principles, their bursts of indignant protest or approval sounded rather foolish in my ears, but became more significant as time went on. I can remember that the " Huddersfield Chronicle," in its earlier days, had a stationary reporter at Honley in the person of Mr. James Farrington. The history of the two local newspapers, the accounts of difficulties swept aside, and their influence in the neighbourhood does not come

_ within the scope of Honley history.


In the year 1852 Holmfirth Flood devastated the whole of the Holme valley. The bursting of the Bilberry reservoir, situated in its moorland hollow between Good-bent and Digley, in the early morning of February 5th, 1852, has long been a fireside story in our midst. The flood in which 81 people lost their lives has formed a theme for many writers, and its memory will be handed down to future generations. Even if such had

Page 83




not been the case, its history belongs to the annals of Holm- firth save the mention that one life in our township was lost. When the flood reached Smithy Place and Honley, its force was somewhat checked by having more room for spreading. Even then, the wreck and damage left behind was awful. One child, named Elizabeth Healey, aged 8, of Smithy Place, was drowned. She was washed out of the cottage near the bridge which was in the track of the flood. Other persons in Smithy Place had hair-breadth escapes. Allen Kaye, a child at that time whose parents resided in the mill-yard, was saved by swimming about in a drawer.


England declared war against Russia with a shout and flourish of trumpets in 1854. The song of :-

'* Cheer boys cheer, we're going to fight the Russians, Cheer boys cheer, and kill them every one,"

was upon every lip. At this period, Honley had perhaps more of her sons serving in the army than had been enlisted from any other neighbouring townships, so that a large number of natives were engaged in the Crimean War. Many of these did not return from a campaign that lost England twenty- four thousand men, and cost forty millions of money. Others who came back were burdened with last messages of their comrades, which proved as trying in delivering as facing the enemy's guns. I could record many of these pathetic messages sent by dying sons to Honley mothers, how their last thoughts had winged their way to home, and last words had babbled in delirium of earlier scenes. The returned Crimean Veterans lived long to dissipate their pensions at each quarter-day, recall past hardships, and fight their battles over again by firesides or in village alehouses.

Prace REJgorcime.

The long and terrible Crimean War ended in 1856. The people were so thankful at the cessation of hostilities, that ** Peace Rejoicings " were held in every town, village and hamlet in the land. One of the earliest recollections of my E

Page 84




life was one vivid flash of walking up the Gate in the procession of School children. I was very young at the time, and cannot recall any other detail in connection with the affair all the rest being blank in my childish memory. I have copied a few particulars from an cld subscription list of " Honley Peace Rejoicing " lent to me by Mr. David France. The Celebration took place on June 14th, 1856, and was a red-letter day in the annals of the village. Four large Committees were appointed, viz :-Provisions, Music, Accommodation and Procession Com- mittees. Mr. James Robinson was appointed Chairman and Mr. Joseph Heap, Vice-Chairman. The two Secretaries were Mr. Josiah France and Mr. George Jagger, and Mr. Henry Thackray was Treasurer. The list of subscribers numbered over 500. The highest subscription of £20 was given by the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, of Northgate House ; and the lowest

of 3d. by Mr. Thomas Oldfield.

First Gas COMPANY.

By the kindness of Mr. Frank Oldfield, I have been supplied with a printed copy relating to the formation of the first Gas Company as a Joint Stock Company in 1856. It was printed by Mr. George Green, and headed " A deed of settlement of the Honley Gas Company." The Compauy had been previously Registered in May, 1855, under the Act of Parliament then in force regarding Companies. It was made a Joint Stock Com- pany on February 22nd, 1856. The capital was £1,000 Os. Od., in 1,000 shares of £1 each. The newly-formed Company drew up careful rules, appointed 15 Directors, Treasurer, and two Auditors ; so that its members were cautious individuals. Though so careful to avoid evils, they were so liberal-minded as to allow females to hold shares. This concession however was on account of the difficulty experienced in persuading men to invest money in such a dangerous compound as gas. The first Directors were Mr. George Dodson, Grocer ; Mr. Charles Parker Drawbridge, Attorney's Clerk ; Mr. Thomas Eastwood, Joiner ; Mr. William France, Plumber ; Mr. Benjamin France,

Manufacturer ; Mr. George Green, Stationer; Mr. George Greenwood, Cloth-dresser ; Mr. David Hobson, Cloth-dresser ;

Page 85


Mr. Edwin Hinchliffe, Manufacturer ; Mr. Joseph Kaye, Cloth- dresser ; Mr. Robert Littlewood, Manufacturer ; Mr. John Schofield, Clothier ; Mr. Joshua Midwood, Grocer ; Mr. Richard Mellor, Manufacturer, and Mr. William Taylor, Manufacturer. The Company appointed Mr. Robert Littlewood, Manufacturer, and Mr. George Jagger, Assistant Overseer, as Auditors. The office of Treasurer was filled by the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, of Northgate House, and Mr. Joseph Jagger, Manufacturer, was appointed Secretary.

This first small Gas Company which had to struggle hard, and overcome many prejudices and hinderances was so well managed, that eventually the undertaking became one of the most prosperous concerns in the valley. The bravery of those persons who took its future into their hands, and boldly invested in £1 shares was in the end rewarded. When Honley decided by the vote of its ratepayers to purchase the Gas Works and all its belongings after 45 years of existence, the purchase price paid to the shareholders was £18,500 Os. Od.

The introduction of Gas was looked upon with the same fear and suspicion which marked the beginning of railways. The new illuminating power was considered one of the black arts, and akin to " th' owd lad." It was thought to be so dangerous, that people could not sleep in their beds when they knew of its existence in their midst. In the account of the old Mechanics Institute, mention is made of Mr. Edwin France as being the first person to make gas in Honley. He suffered from the usual penalties assigned to people who are too pro- gressive, and was quickly involved in law-suits regarding fumes from his small private retort. Mr. France, after much persuasion induced my father, who held the office of Postmaster, _ to adopt the new light, the retort being close behind the house. This was for the purpose of advertisement, so that people who came to the Post Office could behold the brightness of the new illuminating power. They came to view, but were content with the sight. So apprehensive were they of its great danger, that the comments made upon such rash daring, were often laughingly recalled in after years. At that time, however, the

Page 86






verbal denunciations-domestic and otherwise-made such a deep impression upor the mind of my father that when the Company was floated, he refused to be enticed into investing in shares.

First LicxtInNncg or tHE STREETS wITH Gas.

At a town's meeting, held in December, 1859, it was decided to light the Streets of Honley with gas. Evidently the " city fathers " had realised its value, for not only had they previously sanctioned the laying of mains in the streets to convey gas to private houses, but also decided to give the public the benefit of light. This illumiration was not spread over outside roads and lanes, but confined to a restricted area within the village ; so that lanthorns were still required by outside dwellers on dark nights. In the days when water had to be

- fetched from Honley well, its neighbourhood was a busy place

from early morning until late at night. I believe that the first public lamp was placed upon the stonework of the well a year previous to gas lamps being set up in the streets. This solitary lamp was first lighted on December 31st, 1858.


The history of Co-operation is well-known, though once imagination would have failed to picture its wonderful developements since the first efforts of the Rochdale Pioneers. Twelve characteristic dwellers in Honley in December, 1839 raised 30/- amongst themselves for the purpose of buying provisions cheaper in a lump than in scattered fragments. Christmas was approaching, and even during the " hungry forties "' the poorest person in Honley honoured its feast and the festival of Christmas. The twelve " Honleyers" walked to Huddersfield, no doubt with happy anticipations of coming Christmas cheer, for they purchased a cheese, returned home and sold the cheese at a profit of 1d. in the lb. These early ploneers next filled the ambitious role of capitalists, and employers of labour. In 1860, they rented a cottage in Old- field Buildings, employed a Salesman and issued yearly balance-sheets to members. The cottage soon proved too

Page 87




small for increasing business, and the Society removed to a larger shop in Church Street, previously occupied by the late Mr.. William Wilkinson, Draper. Here the business made such progress, that in 1867 the members were able to build their own premises, the first building being erected to the front of Westgate. At first the sales in the new store were confined to grocery and drapery. So able was the oversight of the intelligent and industrious class of men who generally formed the Managing Committees of the Society, that the business went forward by leaps and bounds. Investments had now to be found for fast accumulating capital, and a row of houses was erected at the bottom of Honley Moor, which members were able to purchase by paying easy instalments. Other trades in all their branches were gradually added, including the sale of corn, coals, meat, boots, clogs, fish, green-grocery, etc. These necessitated increased accommodation. Spacious and handsome buildings have risen one by one including a large hall around the original erection. Thus from the small beginning of the purchase of one cheese, the Honley Co- operative Society has now the largest trading business in the place ; which proves that the common-place of every day life is really a great marvel. Its assets comprise houses and landed property, large stores, stock property, railway wagons, horses, carts, farm, etc. From the half-yearly report, issued August 25th, 1913, the present number of members is 1,210. The share capital amounts to £21,741 14s.0d. The sales for the half-year ending August, 1913 amounted to £19,663 5s. 11i4d.

First Boarp.

The Local Committee formed in 1843 to manage the affairs of the village continued until 1864. A town's meeting was held on June 29th, 1864, when it was decided to adopt the Local Government Act of 1858, which ordered properly con- stituted bodies of men, sent by votes of ratepayers, to manage local affairs. The new Act came into force in Honley on August 29th, 1864, and on December 7th the same year, the newly-appointed Board held its first meeting. Mr. James Robinson, of Smithy Place, was appointed its first chairman.

Page 88





In 1865, Honley was divided into four wards for the better division of its local government, viz :-Central, East, South and West. Each ward is entitled to send three representatives to the Governing Board.

WipExinc or Horxnury GATE.

A narrow footway aptly named "Spider's Alley," which had its entrance near to the Vicarage Gates and led to the stepping-stones was closed in 1870. This ancient path passed through fields which at this date were being enclosed for a Park. The late Captain Jessop, the owner of the property, gave its equivalent in land to widen the Gate. This was not only a great improvement, but the alterations to private pro- perty also beautified the main entrance to Honley.

RatraBur Vauur or HoxnuEry im 1870.

In March, 1870, the Rateable Value of Honley was £13,072 Os. Od.

NEw Roap to Ramway STATION.

Previous to 1870, the only way to Honley Station was either by the present Gynn Lane, or wading through an old narrow bridle-path, which was left to nature for repair, known as Cow-lane. To the left of this generally impassable road diverged another bridle-gate named Windy-Cap, which led into Northgate lane-the highway to Farnley Tyas, Kirk- burton, Wakefield, etc. When toll-bars were abolished, the land for the present road to the railway station, and for the widening of Windy Cap to its present broad dimensions was given by Mr. William Brooke in exchange for the closing of the bottom part of Northgate lane, which lay between his private grounds. The making of this road which was a great undertaking, and the widening of Windy Cap, which was at that time a deep gully banked by rocks, heather, and gorse bushes, was one of the greatest of modern improvements in Honley considerably shortening the distance to the station. The first sod for the present road was turned by Mr. Lupton Littlewood, on December 24th, 1870, who at that time was

Page 89




Chairman of the Local Board. The road was finished in August, 1871.

Scroor LaxnE.

Formerly the only way to reach the National Schools was by a narrow dirty lane leading from Church Street. This was widened, and the present fine broad road constructed, I believe, at no cost to Honley Ratepayers.

Cow Laxt axnp Winpy-CaAP.

Before old names are forgotten by a new generation, it is of interest to ask why two of Honley's oldest " gates " were thus named. Cow Lane may have received its name from being used as a cow-gate. On the other hand, there are many Norse superstitions linking the names of Cow Lane and Windy-Cap together. It was an old belief, and is still in remote places in Lancashire, that the " milky-way " in the firmament is the road to heaven at death ; and many hill-side dwellers still name the " milky-way" as the "Cow Lane." Another Norse legend is that Ericus, a nephew of Regnerus, King of Denmark, was so deeply versed in witchcraft that whichever way he turned his cap, the wind would blow in that direction. For possessing this magical power, he was named Windy-Cap. His uncle by this supposed supernatural aid was able to con- quer all countries, and extend his piracy into most remote parts. In these old legends, there seems close connection between the name of this old road and our early Danish invaders. On the other hand, " Winde " means swamp, and '* cap " a headland, which also answers to its old-time character and situation.


On the night of Oct. 27th, 1880, Wood Royd Mill was burnt down. The weather was very bad, and fire engines had great difficulty in reaching the scene of the fire on account of the deep snow underfoot.


In the short history of our wells, it will be seen that we have no lack of springs. One would bave thought that the

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1887 1892




sound of running water in every nook and corner of Honley would have satisfied the most thirsty soul. Such however was not the case. The water supplied by Huddersfield Corporation to Honley dwellers was officially turned on by Mr. Lupton Littlewood, who was Chairman of the Local Board at the time. This ceremony took place upon Honley Feast Monday, 1881.

QUEEN VictorIa's First JUBILEE.

The first Jubilee in honour of fifty years' reign of the late Queen Victoria was held on June 20th, 1887. Wonderful enthusiasm, pomp, loyalty and splendour marked the day in London, provincial towns and all parts of Her Majesty's Dominions. Honley honoured the Queen's Jubilee with great enthusiasm, processions, speeches, and loyal cheers. Free teas and medals were provided for both week-day and Sunday scholars of all Denominations. The day's proceedings were closed by the lighting of a huge bonfire in the most elevated part of the estate of Mr. William Brooke, Northgate Mount, and a display of fireworks.

Txr CommErcIat Inx.

This once well-known old Inn was purchased by Mr. William Brooke in 1887, and closed. The work of pulling down com- menced in March, 1892, for the purpose of erecting a Parish Room on the site. (See Church History).

UrBaxn DstrICT CouncIL.

The formation of first Local Government in Honley was named a Local Committee. In 1894, the village governing body was designated a Local Board, when its title was again changed. By virtue of the Local Government Act of that year, our Local Governing Board was to be known in future as the Urban District Council and its members as Councillors. The first election of Councillors under new names took place in December in 1894, and the first meeting on December 3lst in the same year. - Dr. Thomas Smailes was the first appointed Chairman under its new title.

Page 91


_ 1897




The ancient boundaries of Honley which had not been disturbed since the days of the Norman Conquest, (and probably earlier), fell a victim to modern change in 1897. The limits of stream and forest were no longer to form the boundary line of one part of the township. A community had arisen on ground once covered by the forest which demanded its own local government. Meltham Mills was taken from Honley township on March 15th, 1897, and transferred to Meltham Urban District Council. What may seem a trivial event in a place has often more far-reaching effects than other happenings which attract greater attention for the time being. The substantial sum hitherto paid in rates to Honley by Messrs. Jonas Brook & Sons for their large Cotton-thread Works, and also rates from other sources was a loss to our township if a great acquisition to the finances of Meltham.


On June 20th, 1897, the late Queen Victoria had reigned sixty years. This second Jubilee surpassed the first in wonder- ful outbursts of joy, loyalty and gratitude ; money being given for all kinds of charitable objects throughout the country. The Queen passed in State through London. One striking feature of the Celebrations were the simultaneous lightings of bonfires or beacon-fires at ten o'clock on the evening of the Jubilee. The bonfires were placed not only upon sites where the beacon-fires had blazed in olden days, but upon every hill-top and elevated piece of land throughout the cduntry. A June day of " Queen's weather" had been succeeded by an equally perfect June night, so that local fires, especially upon historical Castle Hill could be seen by all. The writer, from a favourable standpoint at the top of Honley Moor, counted seven flaring beacons. This eventful night brought to more vivid realization Lord Macaulay's stirring ballad relating to the anticipated landing of the Spanish Armada upon our shores, with the difference that the lighting of the fires was the signal for one long shout of loyalty in place of a war-flame. Four

Page 92





lines taken from Lord Macaulay's Ballad of the Armada can be applied as descriptive of the Diamond Jubilee night.

** Night sunk upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea, Such night in England ne'er had been, nor ne'er again shall see, , From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford Bay, That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day."

Honley again duly honoured the Diamond Jubilee. A Special Service had been held in Church the previous Sunday. The main streets had been decorated by a willing band of workers ready for the day. The school children joined together in singing at Lane Head Hill, walked in procession through the streets, and were regaled with a good tea at their respective Schools. After the evening's sports and pastimes, a bonfire and fireworks concluded an eventful day. Two days after- wards, the late Captain Jessop gave a dinner at the National Schools to all persons over 60 years of age in the township of Honley, when speeches were made and loyal toasts drunk. To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee in Honley, £500 0s. Od. was given to the Sick Nursing Fund, and £25 0s. 0d. to Brock- holes Recreation Ground.

Gas Works ExrpLOsION.

A gas explosion took place upon the premises, killing four men and injuring another, on Tuesday, July 4th, 1899. The accident caused much excitement at the time, and large crowds of people visited the scene of the explosion.

PurcHKAsE OF GaAs WoORrKs.

On October 22nd, 1900, Honley took the bold leap of becom- ing a capitalist township by purchasing the Gas Works. The original Shareholders and fifteen Directors who in 1856 had floated the Company by risking £1000 Os. 0d. amongst them- selves had been looked upon as wild speculators who turned worlds upside down, and would not allow people to slumber peacefully in their beds. What would be the views of

Page 93






1903 1904


ancient critics now ? The township purchased the Gas Works by agreement on October 22nd, 1900, which was confirmed on July 2nd, 1901 by the Urban District Council. The

- purchase price was £18,500 Os. Od.


A great landmark in the history of the country was the death of Queen Victoria of England on January 22nd, 1901, aged 81 years, after a reign of 63 years. Honley added its loyal tribute of mourning to her memory. Being an eye witness to that notable State funeral in London, when Kings and Princes from all parts of the World personally paid their sorrowing homage to a great Queen, the sight can never be forgotten.


On February lst, 1902, the residents of Honley publicly welcomed and honoured Private Arnold Taylor, and previously Private Auty, who had served in the South African War.


The first Steam-car by road to Honley was run from Hud- dersfield, on a trial trip, on June 4th, 1902. The following day, June 5th, the cars conveyed passengers. The cars are now run by electricity.

CoronatTION or Kmc Enpnwarp VII.

This historical event of a King's crowning after his mother's long reign, took place on August 9th, 1902.


The plant lag down for Electricity in conjunction with the Gas Works, wa’gprepared in 1901, and the Electric-light was first used experimentally on November 11th 1903. It was not, however, until March 21st, 1904, that the plant was officially opened. A large company of local gentlemen were present at the opening ceremony. A gold key, suitably inscribed, was presented to Elon Crowther, Esq., J.P., Chairman of the District Council, with which Mr. Crowther opened the door of the generating room, and set the engine in motion. - William Brooke, Esq., J.P., switched on the light.

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Arricarnr War.

On May 23rd, 1904, Captain Clement Armitage, son of C. I. Armitage, Esq., J.P., High Royd, was also publicly welcomed and honoured in Honley on his return from South Africa from where his military duties prevented his earlier return.

The rateable value of Honley in 1905 was £16,714 Os. Od.

Tur DEatH or Kimnc Enpnwarp VIL

On May 7th, 1910, King Edward, after his short reign of eight years, died the previous midnight, and was buried on May 20th. On the day of the funeral, a public service was held in Honley Church at 12 o'clock. All sections of the com- munity and public bodies attended, when special hymns were sung and special prayers offered. An eloquent and appropriate sermon was preached by the Rev. H. F. T. Barter, Vicar.

CoRrONATION oF Kimo GrErorcr V.

The Coronation of King George V., after the death of his father, took place on June 22nd, 1911. The day was loyally celebrated at Honley. Houses and public streets had been decorated for the occasion, and generous subscriptions given to provide a fitting celebration of the day. A morning service was held in Church which was largely attended. Early after noon, members of all public bodies and societies, children of all the Sunday Schools, and general public again assembled at Lanehead-hill. Headed by Honley Brass Band, all marched around the main streets, massing together in the old historical meeting place in Town-gate, where hymns were sung and cheers given. Afterwards the children adjourned for tea to their respective schools, when every person in Honley under sixteen years of age had Coronation Mugs presented to them. A huge bonfire, fireworks, sports, etc., ended a day which had been joyfully and loyally celebrated in Honley.

CHRaAncE In tuxE® TownsxuIP's BOUNDARIES.

A change in the Township's limits again took place on April Ist, 1912. The order from the West Riding County Council transferring 260 acres at Deanhouse and Mytholm Bridge to

Page 95

oe nip senna ie

RoYyAL VISIT TO HoNLEY, (see page 77).

A TyYPIcaL HonLey FoLDp-BROOKE FOLD. _ (see page 93),

Page 97



Holmfirth Urban District Council came into operation on

_ April Ist, 1912. In the history of Deanhouse, reference is made

to this severing of ancient landmarks.


This large field, situated in the most picturesque and healthy part of Honley, was first secured by Mr. William Brooke as a play ground for the school children. Its area is da. 3r. 55p. It was managed by a small representative Committee for a long number of years, who have quietly watched over its interests, providing seats and keeping walls in repair. Mr. Brooke was able to purchase the property in 1912 at a cost of £740 0s. 0d. On February 18th, 1912, he presented it to the Urban District Council by deed to be used only for purposes of a children's playground, and for the use of the public at all times. Sufficient space and provision must always be made for the games of children of Elementary School age. Bye-laws relating to its management have been adopted by the District Council and approved by the Local Government Board.

VIsIT or Kmmc GrErorcEr QUEEN Mary.

It is related of an American visitor to this country, that when making a tour of England's historical houses, he grew tired of seeing beds in which Queen Elizabeth was supposed to have slept. One day when the guide in a well-known mansion was describing celebrated relics amongst which was the historical bed, the American impatiently exclaimed :-

'* Stop right here, guide. I mean no disrespect, but just you point me out a bed in which that lady did not sleep."

We in Honley have not been sated by the sight of a local bed in which Royalty has slept, so that when the announce- ment went fomhat the King and Queen were coming to our village, all were keenly alive to the honour,-the pleasure being all the greater when it was known who was to be honoured by their visit. His Majesty had expressed a wish that the series of visits undertaken in our industrial district should be of a simple character. The desire was obeyed, only the school

Page 98




children being given tea by Mr. Brooke to commemorate the visit to Honley. When the day arrived there was a general holiday in the place, and great crowds assembled along the route which would be taken by the King and Queen on their way from Huddersfield. The School children and inmates of Deanhouse Workhouse had been provided with platforms in Mr. Brooke's plantations from where a good view was obtained, and private platforms all along the route were numerous. The King and Queen arrived at the appointed time, on July llth, 1912, loyally cheered by the great crowds. After partak- ing of tea with Mr. and Mrs. Brooke, at Northgate Mount, they left, passing through Brockholes on their way, where they were also loyally cheered.


On Wednesday, October 15th, 1913, the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Huddersfield was conferred upon William Brooke, Esq. Universal approval from all sections of the public welcomed the honour for one who had spent a strenuous life for the good of the whole community. The ceremony in Huddersfield was marked by great enthusiasm, and public testimony to Mr. Brooke's worth. Honley people do not carry their hearts upon their sleeves, neither are they inclined to express their approval too rashly. This public honour how- ever to a " Honley lad " to make use of Mr. Brooke's own words gave unbounded satisfaction to its natives and dwellers.


A list of the persons who served the town as Constables during 1700 ended with the name of Joseph Woodhead (Thurston) Thirstin. At the beginning of 1800 the Constables were still responsible for the good order of the place ; but before the end of the century, the once important personage would be a relic of the past. The Police Act was due to Sir Robert Peel, whose name was applied in derison to the new guardians of the peace whom he had called into existence. " Bobby "and '* Peeler" were and are still names commonly given to the

Page 99


police by young outlaws. I have no date when the first police- man was appointed to Honley after the passing of the Act in 1856. I think that it was about two years afterwards. I can remember that his name was James Howe, and that his head covering was a long hat with a shining crown. Neither have I the correct date when the office of Constable officially ceased in Honley. According to old Parish Laws, Constables could still be appointed until 1872. When the present Church was re-built in 1843, the office became gradually merged in that of policeman and churchwarden. Even at the present time, many old people still name the latter person Constable, and the place he occupies in Church as "The Constable pew." It will be seen in the history of Honley Church that it had to suffice for the spiritual needs of Meltham, Crosland, and Netherthong at one time. It had been the Sabbath-Day custom of the Constables to visit the extreme ends of the three parishes for the purpose of detecting Sabbath breakers. Upon Honley Feast Sunday, the Constgbles made a circuit of the whole place carrying their stave’h office which were massive, and rather formidable weapons for defence or attack. It was also the custom along with other Constables from neighbouring parishes to proceed to Almondbury on Easter Sunday, perambulate the streets, and afterwards attend Church. This was an old observance due to the Mother Church of Almond- bury from her daughters in other parts of the parish, dating back to the time previous to granting the Faculty in 1503. The dwellers in Kaye Lane, Almondbury at that time were chiefly bird-fanciers and weavers. They generally lay in wait for the return of Honley Constables, having various feuds of long standing against our township, which were nursed back to fresh life each Honley Feast. It was a well-known fact, that no Honley Constable however powerful and brave, dare venture home alone from Almondbury on Easter Sunday night. The following is the list of the remainder of Constables' names who served in 1800 until superseded by Churchwardens :-

1801, William Brooke ; 1802-3, James Armitage, Reins ; 1804-14, Thomas Leigh, Town-head ; 1815-16, Robert

Page 100


Bradley ; 1816-19, Joseph Armitage, High Royd ; 1820-21, Charles Littlewood ; 1822, Joshua Robinson ; 1823, Robert Robinson ; 1824, Joshua Charlesworth (who died in office) ; 1824-28, Thomas Sanderson ; 1828, George Jessop ; 1829, John Littlewood ; 1830-1, Thomas Brooke ; 1832-3, Thomas Hallas ; 1834-5, John Dyson, Wood Nook ; 1836-7, William Wilkinson ; 1838, George Beaumont ; 1839, Richard Haigh (chosen but refused to serve) ; 1840-4, James Stocks.

The names of the Churchwardens who have served since 1844 will be found under the " History of the Church."

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(Modern Honley.-Its Natural History.-Characteristics and Sayings of Honley People.-Various Trades.-Old Homestead and Houses.- Honley Clothiers.-The Wives of Honley Old Sign Boards).


Wr have now marked the death of the old, and birth of the new in the annals of Honley. We have also seen that it has survived the ups and downs of generations of religious, political, and social struggles in the outside world ; and also weathered its own storms. During its gradual advance from the old to the new, it has had experience of dark and bright days. There have been murders, suicides, accidents, tragedies and romances. The present generation enjoying the blessings due to those upheavals of a past, can form no idea of the conditions pre- vailing a hundred years ago in Honley. If the present advantages which are now within the reach of all had been described to our forefathers at the beginning of last century, they would have declared that such stories of progress were more suitable for the pages of " Arabian Nights " tales, than for sober reality. Our forefathers were left to fight out their own battles, and shoulder their own responsibilities sustained upon oat-meal porridge. If a few of the once hardy dwellers in Honley who never minced their words could return, I know what they would say whatever they might think. With sweeping condemnation, they would probably compare the present generation to infants wrapped in swaddling clothes who were only fit to be waked up to be fed, and then put to bed again without even the trouble of chewing their food. History however is always repeating itself even in recalling the good old days. We have seen that Hollinshed considered modern degeneracy far advanced when chimneys were added to houses F

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in 1570. . I have heard old manufacturers in Honley declare that when the wearing of good black cloth went out of fashion, respectability also died out. People are so accustomed to the state of things in which they live, that they think it must be absolutely necessary to remain so. Probably many old people think now that England has seen her best days on account of the introduction of such evils as Reform Bills, railways, penny post, cheap printing, etc., preferring the blessings of ignorance and restricted travel.

We must now look upon Honley and its surroundings as it stands before our eyes under modern conditions at the beginning of 1914.

In one of the deep valleys which intersect the extensive

range of hills known as The Pennine Chain, Honley stands upon

the identical place, and is situated upon the same Holme watercourse as in the days of Cola and Suuen. On one side Castle Hill mound, surrounded by belts of woodlands can still be seen, and on the other, the open space retaining its old name of Honley Moor. Stretching away to sky-lines like a silent grey sea are the wildest and bleakest spurs of the Pennine Chain, the highest standing 1860 feet above sea level. The valley where fairies, boggarts and other mysteries once haunted stream, field and wood at the approach of gloaming is still enclosed by wooded uplands, though its peacefulness and beauty have been disturbed by modern progress. The grand outlook upon earth and sky that can yet be obtained from any of the hill-sides of Honley may be a little dimmed by smoke, but the same moorlands and watercourses, the same beauty of rising and setting suns can still be viewed.

Honley of the present day, with its hamlets of Brockholes, Oldfield, Hall Ing, and until recently, Deanhouse can no longer be termed a village, but rather named a straggling small town. Situated upon an eminence, which in ancient days would probably be the first clearing in the forest, the houses would gradually increase near this first site of importance. - The older dwellings are described in " Old homesteads and houses."

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Built with careless disregard to building lines, their general style of architecture can be named as " straight up and straight down." We cannot boast of historical mansions where visitors can be shown around at so much per head. In the last century, however, when the cloth-trade was rapidly developing, larger residences were built, whose surroundings of timbered park lands help to retain the rural beauty of Honley. In marked contrast to the progress of the village fifty years ago, when new erections were built in that slow meditative manner typical of its dwellers, a large number of better-class houses for working men have been built. The first erection of 24 new houses by the Co-operative Society was the beginning of a great change in the character of a place once covered by the forest. The building of other houses quickly followed, and now the bottom of Honley Moor may be named a small suburb. Numerous villa erections have also sprung up in various parts of the place. If taking a bird's eye view of Honley from one of her hill-tops, the picture of mansions, villas, old and new buildings crowded together as if in neighbourly attachment, shadowed by the Church tower, and enclosed by woods and uplands gives a picturesque effect. The particulars regarding erection of other buildings, whether for religious, educational or social use, will be found under their own headings. The present large Woollen Mills with their modern machinery that can perform the labour of a hundred men in place of the single worker of old days, are witnesses that the woollen trade in its various branches is still an important industry in the place. Other trades have also been introduced. The three most important of modern origin which have taken root and give employment to a large number of workpeople are Mr. G. W. Oldham's Silk-Dyeing Works, Messrs. J. Shaw &- Sons, Ruling Machine Makers, Messrs. B. Robinson & Sons, Laundry Works, and Messrs. S. Waite & Sons, Ruling Machine Makers. Motor Car Works have also sprung up to supply modern demands for greater speed.

The Dartmouths still remain Lords of the Manor of Honley, which is yet in the upper division of the ancient Wapentake

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of Agbrigg. As the old Feudal observances of the Wapentake are only evolved under new forms and names, Honley is now in the Administration area of the West Riding County Council, the Colne Valley Parliamentary Division of the West Riding, the County Court district of Holmfirth, and Huddersfield Union. Its local government is controlled by the Urban District Council, the members of which are elected by the ratepayers once in three years. Its Poor-law affairs are in the hands of two Guardians, also elected once in three years. The Ecclesiastical Parish is in the Rural Deanery of Hudders- field and Diocese of Wakefield. The area of the present civil Parish and Urban District is 2175 acres, and its rateable value £20,501 Os. 0d. Its dimensions on account of the loss of Meltham Mills and Deanhouse have decreased, but as we have seen, its rateable value has gradually increased since 1344, when its worth was only 40/-. _ The present dividing boundaries of the Parish are part of Mytholm Bridge, Oldfield Ridge, Spinner-gate and Meltham Road tops, Wood-bottom, Wrigley Mill, Lords Mill, part of Mag-bridge, Upper Steps Mill, Wood- top, Scale hill, and Hall Ing. The population of Honley has not varied much in numbers. This is due to any increase being balanced by the loss of other parts of the Township. If, however, people now numbered in other parishes were again added, population has not increased as rapidly as its expendi- ture ; thus testifying to the greater comforts enjoyed by the people in comparison to by-gone times. The population of Honley during the last eighty years is as follows :-

1831 4523 1881 5070 1841 5381 1891 5466 1851 5597 1901 4904 - 1861 4626 1905 5033 1871 4906 1911 5100

At the next Census the dwellers in Deanhouse and part of Mytholm Bridge will be included in Holmfirth, so that the present population of Honley at the beginning of 1914, if estimated, must be smaller than when counted in the Census of 1911.

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Too much space would be occupied to enumerate all the wonderful improvements which have taken place within the last twenty years conducive to cleanliness, health and greater comfort. People if disinclined to walk to Honley Station, can travel to and from Huddersfield in electric cars from early morning until late at night. New streets have been made, old roads widened and flanked by broad pavements. The whole of the roads in the Township are now lighted by its own electricity. - Provision for sewerage has been both extensive and costly. Water is supplied by Huddersfield and Batley Corporations, and the Urban District Council attends to all Sanitary and Scavenging matters. An Isolation Hospital is also provided for infectious diseases. Street-name plates and house numbers have been affixed. Guide-posts point out the right path to travellers, and inviting seats are placed for them to rest upon. The present names of members of Honley Urban District Council, and the chief officers employed in their service, are as follows :-

Elon Crowther, Esq., J.P., Chairman. (George Thompson Oldham, Esq., Vice-Chairman.


Mr. John Ed. Heap, Solicitor. ,, Samuel Jagger, Woollen Merchant. ,, Albert Littlewood, Cloth Merchant. ,, Frank Oldfield, Joiner and Builder. ,, George Pearson, Woollen Weaver. ,, -Thomas Smailes, M.D., Doctor of Medicine.

East Warp.

Mr. George Henry Barraclough, Blacksmith. ,, Elon Crowther (Chairman), Cloth Manufacturer. ,, Tom Edgar Littlewood, Cloth Finisher.


Mr. James Arthur Beaumont, Wool Dyer. Harry Holdroyd, Joiner and Builder.

Lewis Matthewman, Commercial Traveller.

2 9

» 9

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WEst Warp.

Mr. Thomas Chapman, Warehouseman. ,, George Thompson Oldham (Vice-Chairman), Silk Dyer. ,, Thomas Henry Sykes, Woollen Manufacturer.

The past and present Chairmen of the old Local Board and Urban District Council are as follows :-

1865-1868, Mr. James Robinson, Smithy Place. 1868-1869, Mr. William Brooke, Northgate Mount. 1869-1870, Mr. David Bradley, Wood-bottom. 1870-1873, Mr. Lupton Littlewood, Enfield House. 1873-1878, Mr. James Robinson, Smithy Place.

1878-1880, Mr. 1880-1886, Mr. 1886-1889, Mr. 1889-1890, Mr. 1890-1891, Mr. 1891-1892, Mr. 1892-1899, Mr. 1899-1908, Mr. 1908-1910, Mr.

Lupton Littlewood, Enfield House. George Wm. Oldham, The Stubbings. Joshua James Robinson, Smithy Place. Thomas Smailes, M.D., Town-head. Geo. Wm. Oldham, The Stubbings. France Littlewood, Grove House. Thomas Smailes, Town-head. Elon Crowther, Brockholes. Thomas Smailes, Town-head.

1910, Mr. Elon Crowther, Brockholes.

The present Parliamentary Representative for Colne Valley in which division Honley is included is Mr. Charles Leach, Liberal, who resides in London. The Electoral division of Honley, for the West Riding County Council, is represented by Alderman George Wm. Oldham, The Stubbings, Netherton, and County Councillor Samuel Jagger, Lane House, Honley. The two Poor Law Guardians are Mr. France Littlewood and Mr. J. E. Heap, with Miss Siddon as co-opted member. The Overseers of the poor are Mr. John Pennington, Mr. J. R. Sharp, Mr. Samuel Jagger and Mr. Allen Boothroyd.

The Officers of the Urban District Council are as follows :-Mr. Thomas Smailes, Clerk ; Mr. J. R. Thornton, Collector of Rates ; Mr. T. H. Smith, Assistant Overseer ; Mr. Richard Beaumont, Road Surveyor ; Mr. Henry Marsden,

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Gas Manager; Mr. R. H. Trotter, M.D., Medical Officer of Health ; Mr. R. V. Rigby, Treasurer ; Mr. J. Berry, Building Surveyor, and Mr, Joseph Carter, Inspector of Nuisances.

NaTurar History or HoxuEy.

It is not my intention to give a learned disquisition upon the Geological, Botanical and Zoological history of Honley, not being an expert in these various subjects. Our bleak hill- sides, °" the incense arising from modern industry," and the ever increasing population of neighbouring towns as well as our own continually swarming over them, are not favourable to a rich display of floral growth. Honley at present abounds more in spots of romantic beauty than in natural history specimens. I am only capable of describing a few of the birds, flowers, etc., which are common around us, and give to them the old-fashioned names of Shakespere's days, and which are still in use amongst us. I am a devoted lover and keen observer of nature, but I prefer to gaze upon her numerous beauties as a whole rather than analyze one single specimen. There is, however, one distinct characteristic of our neghbour- hood which seems to have escaped the observation of people who pay homage to the height of Castle Hill, and that is, we have a knoll in the Township of higher altitude. Having a great respect for old beliefs, I am sorry to shatter and destroy this accepted faith in the height of Castle Hill. Swinny or Swiney knoll, the most elevated piece of land in Honley, situated at the top of Honley Moor, is 1000 feet above sea level, which exceeds the height of Castle Hill. The knoll has retained its name from the time when acorns in the forest were the food of the Swine that fed there. Rocky headlands, craggy declivities, buildings, walls, roads, etc., proclaim that stone is plentiful in the neighbourhood. Honley is particularly rich in her strata or beds of stone. We have been so accustomed to this natural abundance of building material, that stone will not be valued until scarce. In this history it will be seen that coal was plentiful underneath our soil.

Farminc. I cannot write much regarding the farming industry which

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is neither picturesque nor scientific, due no doubt to climatic conditions. The West and South-West winds which are forerunners of tempest and rain generally prevail. Our near- ness to the hills also accounts for the frequency of rainfalls, and the bracing winds are due to our elevated position. The land has been broken up into small enclosures or holdings. The names of Royd, Ing, Intake, etc., occur frequently, proving the many clearings which have been made in the forest as generations have rolled over. These clearings have been wrested almost yard by yard to cultivation, but the barren and exposed nature of the ground, combined with small holdings, does not seem to contribute to the success of farming. Even in ** Bonnie Honley " nature is often so stern and uncompromis- ing around, that I have known hay-crops gathered with difficulty in September, and wheat and corn carried to barns knee deep in snow to be used as bedding for cattle. At present the production of milk is the chief aim of our small farmers, which finds a ready sale amongst our industrial community, so that grass land is more in favour than corn-growing.


The many varieties of field and wood flowers are of course too numerous to mention here. When I was a girl, primroses and daffodills, or as we named them °" daffy-down-dillys in green petticoats and yellow gowns " grew in West-woods. Wild strawberries also were plentiful. I don't suppose that there is a single root left of a primrose or daffodill. I am afraid that before long the present ferns and blue-bells,-the latter spreading before our eyes in May like a mist of sapphire- will share the same fate. Wild violets 'in secluded dells, and forget-me-nots by the sides of our running springs of water once grew in abundance. I can recall the day when bull- rushes of a fine size covered Mytholm Bridge Mill-dam. The early wood anemone or " cuckoo flower," and the marsh marigold decked those miry grounds which were the supposed resort of " Will o'th Wisp" and " Peggy o'th Lanthorn.'" The wild dog-rose and honeysuckle still spread over our few remaining old hedges, but are quickly plucked. The delicate

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hare-bell bound up with fairy legends loves its barren soil, and is to be found growing by the side of old lanes and bridle-gates until torn up and cast aside. The fox-glove or " poppy " common on our banks and fringing fields is also quickly claimed and its roots taken away by visitors. Hen-roosts and destructive children have nearly exterminated the bushes of yellow gorse that coloured our hill-sides. Heather, cotton- grass and bilberry bushes hold strongly to their native heath upon Honley Moor. Not long ago, the heather was so abundant that it was cut in large for making besoms, ete. Even now it is used for thatching and fuel. We once were able to gather elderberries in a few hours sufficient to make wine to last during the winter months. Blackberries, wild raspberries and bilberries are yet plentiful in woods, hedges and moorlands.

Birp LIFE.

Birds do not fare so badly as plants and flowers in our midst, the woods affording them sanctuary ; but bird-nesting is still a favourite pastime. The Red-breast can fearlessly hop about us on account of many local superstitions attached to the bird. The house-martin also returns to its unmolested old nests in window-corners, or repairs them with feet as if the hands of cunning builders. It would be deemed unlucky to disturb a martin's nest. The voice of the cuckoo is always welcome after our long winters, for " she brings us good tidings and tells us no lies." If we find money in our pockets when hearing her first cry, we are only too delighted to turn it over in secret joy, even if its value is only a single half-penny, and recall to mind the old rhymes. The rooks or " crows," and the magpies or " pinots " are all plentiful, for they too are birds of good or evil omen and are generally left unmolested. I could name many more of our familiar wild-birds, for the blackbird's song after a summer evening's shower, the throstle's jubilant note at early dawn, and the mounting skylark's rippling trill are still with us ; but space is limited.


As we have seen, nearly all our wild animals have been

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exterminated since the time when the forest afforded a day's sport either for pleasure or profit. I can remember when the last wild-cat was caught in a trap by Mr. Charles Carter who at that time was gamekeeper for Mr. Alfred Beaumont, of Parkton Grove. The latter married for his first wife the only child of the late Mr. Joseph Hirst, the founder of Wilshaw (or Wild- shaw). Mr. Beaumont was a keen naturalist and sportsman. The " pow-cat," as he was locally named, had long committed havoc in grounds shot over by Mr. Beaumont at that time, but the animal was too cunning to be caught. Mr. Beaumont understanding wild nature set a trap which at last proved too tempting. I was in the neighbourhood at the time the cat was caught, and not only saw the animal but felt its stench. It was about as large as an undersized fox with striped yellow fur, formidable fangs, and seemed very old. No doubt it was the last of the race of wild-cats once common in the neighbour- hood. I can also remember the great excitement prevailing amongst us children when a snake of considerable length was killed in Spring-wood. Hedgehogs or " urchants," weasles, moles or °" mold-warps," etc., were once very numerous. Efts, or " askers," which gave us the idea of scorpions, toads, which were supposed to spit fire on account of the convulsive action of the throat ; and other inhabitants of marshy grounds and miry lanes were often disturbing elements in childish wander- ings. These, and other kinds of reptile life were more abundant than at present. Hares and rabbits are still plentiful if not poached. We must now leave the natural history of Honley,~, if such it can be named, and content ourselves that we have still with us Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter ; during which cycle the romance and tragedy of nature is still going on if further apart from us than in the days when heather- clad Honley Moor stretched down almost to our doors.


Dr. Whitaker writes in 1816 regarding the people of this neighbourhood, as follows :-" Ignorant and savage, yet cun- ning and attentive to their own interests, under few restraints from law and fewer from conscience, it is a singular phenomenon

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that almost all the people are under one demonination or another religionists."" Thiers the French historian wrote that ** mountainous countries are favourable for the preservation of institutions, habits and manners of a people."

The distinguishing traits of past dwellers in Honley and also its situation, answer to the above description. Combative and rebellious against all innovations our fathers and grandfathers might have been, but they did not play with religion. They also looked askance at atheism. With regard to the preserva- tion of institutions, habits and manners. If the moorlands and forests of our neighbourhood did not find shelter for escape at the time of the Conquest, at least they preserved our in- dividuality. Certainly Norman William did not crush our independent spirit, nor uproot our old customs. Even when Norman and Saxon dwellers have since become one race by intermixture and the flight of years, the Norman element is merged ; not many names, manners, or much of their speech remaining amongst us. If the Church has become Protestant, we still hold tenaciously to religious observances, customs and superstitions of the old race from which we are descended. So firmly bound up with our lives is ancient mythology, that the old beliefs and myths still linger around upland, wood, hollow and stream. _ We are apt to hold aloof from strangers, looking upon such restless mortals who are unable to remain at home in the light of wandering vagabonds. I have known " Comers in " who have lived in the place forty years considered as strangers by an old native. If hailing from Lancashire, they were generally named as coming from a vague region known as "Th' Uvver Country." Many of our old dwellers were never known to move or act with speed. If however a few of us are a little slow of limb as well as speech, we are swift to wrath, and quick to resent an injury. When suffering from real or imaginary wrongs, we often scorn the help of law, pre- ferring to retaliate in the old Norse fashion of having eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. If the contest is not settled, it can be handed down as a legacy to be fought out to a finish at a future day. Family feuds in addition to family names are

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inherited in Honley. We also do not like people to be too inquisitive about our private affairs, nor too ready in offering sympathy when they see that gloom upon our faces which is akin to rock and moor around us. We are neither sorrowfal nor dejected, only silently determined not to be trifled with. If strangers will wait patiently, they will soon learn all about us, without any unwary approaches to our confidences. We may be also rather destitute of compliments, but that is because we are apt to hide our feelings either beneath rude speech or silence. During the last century, we did not seem to have much use for surnames. Perhaps that was due to the fact that they had been so long out of use, that their owners had forgotten them. Certainly at one time many owners of surnames could not have been found by inquiring strangers. That fact, how- ever, was of small moment. We could always have been sorted out by our trades, dwellings, or personal characteristics. Failing these means of identification, we were known by our different breeds, such as drinking, fighting, sober, drunken, idle, industrious, greedy, generous, poaching, honest, thieving, harmless, leet-geen, (sensual) and various other family traits.

Strangers, or those not born in Honley, when thus reading the description of our characteristics might think that we are rather a strange people. Not at all. It is only that we are strong in our own individuality. If at one time the dwellers in Honley might have been rather bleak and grey in character, that was on account of their kinship to the moorlands which were once around them. If in the past many were almost as wild and uncultivated as the moorlands, there was the pathetic beauty and humble grandeur of life in their midst. - When heaven's gleams brightened up the surroundings of hill-side homes, their owners considered the neighbourhood the most beautiful place in all the world. The homes in the village however humble were looked upon with eyes of love, for every- thing about those old folds and yards carried their own memories, and were of value to those who lived there.

At present, however, Honley is in a state of transition. During my life-time it has lost much of its old-world character

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(see page 92).










Page 115




see page 92).

Page 117


(see page 93).


(see page 93),

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with its once unaffected interchange of life and old attach- ments. _ We exchange calls and visiting cards in place of pouring scalding water or boiling lead upon the heads of visitors. Old buildings are now condemned in which people once lived to patriarchal ages. These have either been pulled down or left a blot of desolation. Old landmarks have been removed, individual characters are disappearing, old faces rapidly passing away, and few remain who remember the place and its once distinctive dwellers fifty years ago. Yet there are still left numerous old links connecting the old with the new. In many of our cottage-homes are still to be found flagged stone- floors once carpeted with sand, white-washed walls, bread- reels suspended from oak-beams, funeral cards and samplers framed in rosewood hung upon walls, corner-cupboards and delf-cases filled with heirlooms, long-cased clocks with sun and moon on dials, and other adornments of a by-gone day. House-leek can still be found upon house-roofs, cultivated for its medicinal and supersitious power. The word street has crept into our local vocabulary, but " gates," " fowds," *' yerds " and "loins" are yet familiar in our ears. Honley has also to be approached by the hill known as " the gate," or the equally steep turnpike road. Old buildings in the village and homesteads on the hill-sides, speak in silence of the sturdy race of men who dwelt there, and who helped either to uphold or destroy the power of a king. Standing upon the pinnacle of their yeoman's pride, toiling night and day almost in their isolated homes to retain their little freeholds, they were at least industrious if accused by Dr. Whitaker of being too *' attentive to their own interests." Perhaps there was not much evidence of the courtesies of life amongst many, and a few would be inclined to wreak vengeance in the old Norse fashion. But under those roofs existed faithful service, neigh- bourly friendship, and kindly deed. Savage actions and coarse language however have given place to more moral conduct and intellectual knowledge. Yet the sturdy independent spirit still flows on. It may be a little modified, but Honley natives of the present day call a spade a spade. If forced, they can repeat with wonderful fluency the past and present misdoings

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of any breed with which they may be at variance. If necessity arises, they can also act in their own defence without the help

of law.

Fashion has now introduced a sheaf of new names which are in striking contrast to the Biblical names common in my childhood. Fifty years ago, it would have been difficult to find a person in Honley who did not own a Biblical name, proving that Puritanism had taken deep root, and that the old piety had lived on in the good yeoman families, when the highest and lowest stratas of society were sunk in wickedness and brutality. I can recall a Cain who was not destined by nature for bloodthirsty deeds, so was given the prefix of " Smiling " to atone for the mistake. Such names as Moses, Tobias, Habakkuk, Lot, Laban, Solomon, Philemon, Job, Ammon, Emmanuel, etc., were common, and re-appeared in each generation. Honley being sparing of long words as well as speech, these Biblical Christian names were laid aside after baptism. We shortened Noah to Ni, Abraham to Abe, Isaac to Ike, Hezekiah to Ki, Simeon to Si, Zechariah to Zack, Nathaniel to Nat, Jeremiah to Jere, Hosea to Oozy, and so on. Perhaps the pendulum will swing back to the old fashion, which will again bring into existence the grand rugged names redolent of Honley soil.

With regard to the old place-names of Saxon, Danish, and Norse origin ; these remain unchanged amongst us such as Shaw, Holme, Ing, Royd, Ley, Rein, etc. - Honey-head recalls past days when it was customary for the natives to carry their bee-hives to that part of the forest upland. Local dialect may have died out in towns, with their changing population, but not in Honley. The old Saxon words handed down generation after generation, and of which strangers could form no idea of their meaning are still in daily use amongst us. Space restricts me to enumerate only a few in which we express our meaning. '* Arran" (means Spider), "to brade " (to act like him), " bown " (ready), " cahrin " (bending), " cussen" (down-spirited), "flayed " (frightened), " galcar" (beer in a state of fer- mentation), °" haver-cake " (oat-cake), " hoined " (fatigued),

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'* hug" (carry), " kink-host" (whooping-cough), "lig" (lie down), " Neive " (fist), " pawse " (kick), " poite " (to thrust with the feet), " reek" (smoke), " Sam " (to gather), " sagar " and "sage" (sawyer and saw), " spein '"' (wean a child), " smittle " (infectious), " snod "' (smooth or neat), " thack " (roof), " wark " (ache), '" oss "" (begin), etc. Even the " gee- whoo '" (much better to pronounce than write) used by teamers to their horses has been in use amongst us since the days of Chaucer.


Before the discovery of printing, which provides the present literary wealth of reading matter, the mental faculties of people had to feed upon very bare pastures. Old sayings, whether pathetic, witty, amusing, or scornful, were often the only means of acquiring self-knowledge, or giving effect to every-day speech in restricted lives. These sayings in place of book-learning were remembered, quoted, and handed down year after year until they passed into proverbs. Many expressions uttered by members of Honley families cannot be here recalled for fear of wounding the susceptibilities of families still represented in the place. Personally, I should feel proud of many of these undying sayings so distinctive of Honley soil. Education, like our village, being in a state of tran- sition, we have not yet arrived at that stage to distinguish whether a sentence uttered by our forbears was vigorous and strong in character, or only vulgar and indecent. I have chosen a few sayings often quoted in our midst as representative of the old type of Honley dwellers, though the most racy are omitted for reasons given above.

(1). We will first recall the well-known but short sentence of ""Is it we then ?" uttered by Joseph Broadley, alias " Joe Sprod," celebrated as the first self-appointed strike-leader in Honley. As we shall note, Joe was an inmate of the old Workhouse when it stood upon ground at Lane-head hill, and acted as organ-blower for Mr. John Hirst, once a well-known and clever organist at the Church. In its history, references

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are made to the " great-sings " that formerly took place upon Feast Sundays. A previous rehearsal of the music to be sung proved so successful, that singers and organist congratulated each other upon their abilities. " Joe Sprod " listened in sulky silence to the discourse of self-praise in which the man who supplied the wind to the organ held no share. Joe did not pour out vials of wrath upon the heads of those who thus ignored his importance, but silently determined upon perform- ing a great deed. He resolved to strike a blow that would compel instant recognition. The following Sunday, the Church was filled with a listening congregation, when at a critical part

of a difficult accompaniment, the organ suddenly became silent for lack of breath.

"* Blow ! Blow !" loudly whispered the enraged organist. Joe swelled with pride and importance. '* Is it we then ?" he questioned with stinging brevity. The organist was quick-witted, and instantly replied :- ** Yes ! Yes, Joe! It is we. Blow, lad, blow."

(2). When Chartism had many adherents in Honley, one well-known follower of the cause was rather fond of obtaining necessaries without paying for them. Having relatives in Uvver Country." (Lancashire), he generally reminded them of his relationship a few weeks previous to the Feast. For this purpose he would come to the Post Office, obtain a stamp for his letter, and after gaily informing my father that * Everything i'th world belonged to everybody, and that he meant to have his share," would depart without payment. This went on for many years until at last my father demanded payment, which of course was not forthcoming.

** Thou sees Joah lad, everything i'th world does not belong

to everybody yet '" was the dismissal of my father in his well- known tones of dry humour.

(3). Another inmate of the Workhouse, an innocent, harm- less man who " cowled " the roads, was asked his age by my father to settle a disputed point. " Charlie," as he was familiar

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named by all, pondered long before dubiously supplying the information until a bright idea struck him :

'* But I should ha been owder if I had'nt been poorly " he added in joyful apology.

(4). One of Honley's most respected gentlemen had an old servant whose lapses of duty became too frequent. The former decided to pension the old retainer, and fill his place with a more steady man. The old servant however remained stoically indifferent to the master's dismissal. When brought to task, he exclaimed with pitying contempt :-

'* Why, Maister, if yo don't know you've a good sarvant, I

know I've a good Maister ; and I'm not going to be turned off."

(5). Another well-known resident had a gardener, who was noted for his strong resistive power against being disturbed in his occupation. A young mistress of more modern ideas ventured upon suggesting changes in garden architecture. The old gardener quickly informed her that he should go on '* bedding out as he had always bedded out." When she asserted herself and made him understand that she was not thus to be trifled with, he told her with laconic surliness to go to that region which is supposed to be the place of punishment for the wicked after death. On condition that the old retainer begged pardon for this speech, all would be forgiven. Begging pardon was a terrible degradation to one who refused to bend the neck to " young upstarts.'" After much persuasion, he was induced to seek the presence of the youthful mistress. Suffering acutely from a sense of injury, he said with a snort of scorn :-

** I told yo yesterday to goa to (shall we say Hades ?). I shall noane beg pardon, but I've come to-day to tell you you've no need to goa."

(6). Mention has been made of the duties of the old-time Constable. One noted officer boasting the prefix of " Great," on account of his fine stature, when fetched in haste to part G

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angry combatants always cautiously asked how long they had been fighting. If the conflict had only just begun, he was wont to exclaim with a shrewd smile :-*" Leave em alone a bit- leave em alone. They'll be better for me to part when I come."

(7). As we have seen, the change from the domestic mode of manufacturing to its concentration in Mills brought tragedy in its train to many clothiers in Honley. One, who was not a man to be trifled with had a family that during the distress of the " hungry forties" was out of work with the exception of one son. The latter, with the arrogance of youth, boasted that he was °" the main prop o'th house." The father, brooking no interference either active or passive from his household smiled in grim scorn.

'* Main prop o'th house art thou ? Then th' prop shall fall," he exclaimed, knocking down the youth with one blow. Thou sees th' house is still standing " he added, when the boaster was thus humbled.

(8). The wife of a rugged son of the village died. He was a man who always wondered " where th' nice lasses went to, and where th' ugly wives cam from." The usual funeral custom of relatives and friends taking last looks at the dead was duly observed by all present except the husband. When the undertaker reminded him of his forgetfulness, he exclaimed impatiently : " Shut her up! Shut her up! I've seen her before."

(9). A carter, who drove the horse and cart at a mill in Honley was sternly lectured by his master upon his drunken habits, and advised to practise resolution when passing public- houses which lay in his daily path. <The carter asking for an explanation of the word resolution promised to live up to its meaning in future. The following day he passed the public- houses with averted head. His only reply when questioned about such strange behaviour was invariably " resolution," until the hour arrived for ceasing work. Then in boastful pride at his victory, he shouted to the horse :-

'* Well done resolution ! Maister can't say that I havnt

Page 125

gens ~-







(see page 99),

Page 127


had resolution to-day. Now lad, we'll turn back, and make resolution pay his footing."

With alacrity, horse and man returned to the usual stopping- places, and the champion of resolution went home in a more fuddled condition than usual.

(10). A hand-loom weaver, who did not live one hundred miles from Moorbottom, had the greatest disinclination to leave the domestic hearth. When his wife was cleaning down for Honley Feast, his presence proved a continual hindrance to such operations. - With womanly stratagems she endeavoured to wheedle him forth on various pretences, but he refused to be enticed away even from the scene of disorder. Strife and contention ensued, when the household sultan threatened a dire revenge.

'* Aye I will go out! I will run away, and when I once start, I shall goa to Meltham before I stop," he said with valiant determination. (Meltham was about two miles distant from his home).

(11). Another resident in the neighbourhood lived at a long distance from the mill in which he was employed. He was asked one stormy winter's morning why he did not remove nearer to his work, at which he had been engaged thirty years. His reply was characteristic of the old type of dweller who generally worked for one master a life-time, and was not eager for changes. After due thought he said :-

* I've nobbut worked here thirty years, and I want to see if its' a regular job before I flit." - (Remove).

Old Honley sayings are so numerous that they would fill a large-sized book, but these given must suffice in this history.

Various or Horxnury.

The woollen industry in its different branches did not altogether monopolise the energies of Honley people who had to be supplied with the necessaries of life. In addition to Woollen Mills we had coal-pits, farmsteads, corn-mills, tan- pits, brewery, etc. The trades of tailor and shoemaker

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requiring long apprenticeships were important callings before the days of ready-made clothing and foot-wear. The trades of butcher, grocer, candle-maker, etc., were even of greater consequence. I can recall the day when the thresher with his flail, thatcher carrying his stack-brods, mole catcher, mower with scythe on shoulder, wood-cutter, pinder, bell-man, whisk and besom-maker, pig-ringer, furmitty hawker, yeast hawker, cow-jobber, leech woman, oat-bread baker, etc., were familiar figures in our midst. In addition, we were accustomed to the sight of evenly balanced panniers and milk-cans strapped upon donkey's backs. The panniers contained wares of varying character vended not by ordinary hawkers, but local citizens of repute and respectability, whose goods were above reproach, and whose advent was duly welcomed. The contents of these panniers ranged from coal to fish to " idle- back " and yellow-stone. The two latter commodities were in great request by Honley housewives when hearthstones were made white, and doorsteps yellow. There existed a sacred tradition that all these various trades " ran in families," and that no other person could perform the duties so well as the members of that particular household, and that their abilities were beyond question. The Walker and Eastwood families were butchers, Swifts, tailors, Wood and Brook families, shoe- makers, Lees, size-makers, Smith, cloggers, Woods, tanners, Frances, grocers, Walkers, dry-wallers, Kayes, masons, Booth- royd and Firths, blacksmiths, Midwood and Kayes, tallow- - chandlers, etc.

When doctors pinned their faith upon blood-letting for relief of all human ills, leech-women were represented in the persons of Mrs. Dinah Bates, Deanhouse, Mrs. Phyllis Downing, Honley, and later Mrs. Sarah Oldfield, or Sally Oldfield as she was familiarly named. A cheerful bustling dame was Mrs. Oldfield, ready to answer every call of sick emergency, and learned in knowledge of all bodily ailments. With what dread we watched her fearlessly handle the snake-like horrors known as leeches that were destined to perform such blood-thirsty deeds upon our trembling bodies, whilst she tried to disarm our

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fears by humourous jests or soothing words ! Before the advent of washing-machines or the building of laundries, the mangle played an important part both as a source of income, and in domestic management. These large unwieldy mangles were prominent objects in many cottage-homes of Honley to which the good housewife, after a hard day's work at the wash-tub, repaired with her basket of clothes for the purpose of the garments being smoothed out. Many of us older people may yet recall the misery of the mangling evening, when in place of play-time was the irksome task of turning the mangle-wheel. If a few of the old-time housewives of Honley could return, visit the laundry stocked with the most modern machinery and employing upwards of 60 workpeople, their angry out- bursts ard stinging remarks against their own sex who had dared to erase the washing-day from the woman's calendar, would be worthy of record. No doubt these old dames, who pinned their faith in wash-tiibs, mangles, and March drought, would consider a machine that washes, boils, blues, and starches altogether with only the aid of a few playful turnings of a wheel, as responsible for present feminine unrest ; and a drying- room that is independent of wet-days, as a place to be eschewed.

There were many other trades also in Honley which are now extinct on account of changing conditions. If a few remain of these old-time occupations, they are but shrunken remnants of once distinctive industries. There are, however, families in the place who have retained the trades chosen by their forefathers who considered their calling not only a noble occupation, but a duty which they had come into the world to perform. In addition to families holding premier positions in the woollen industry for many generations, we had also the trades of doctors, grocers, joiners, blacksmiths, postmasters, etc., in which son followed father generation after generation. It would have been interesting reading if families of the oldest tradesmen still carrying on business in Honley had preserved records of their forefather's primitive mode of conducting business, when almost all food and wares were of home manu- facture, the staple food oat-meal porridge, clogs the foot-wear, and a suit of clothes had to last a life-time.

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The Dyson family have followed the profession of medicine from grandfather to grandson, notably the late Mr. John Dyson, the late Mr. Alexander Dyson, and at present Mr. J. R. H. Dyson, Physican and Surgeon. The Dysons are an old Honley family descended from good yeoman stock of high local standing. Ministering so long to the bodily ailments of the village, they understood the characteristics of their patients, as the latter also comprehended the plain speaking of their doctor. A family of rugged honesty, it was always a well-known fact, that the grandfather and father of the present Mr. Dyson never gave encouragement to pretended ailments of their patients, even to the detriment of their pockets. Their strong protests against dupery or quackery in any form were noted, and their pithy sayings are often quoted. The Drake family have followed the profession of grocery and provision merchants since 1829, being well-known tradesmen of high local repute. Descended also from good yeoman families, the present generation maintain the high personal character of their forbears, whilst keeping abreast in the march of business progress. The Holdroyd family have sustained an unbroken record of over 100 years in the trade of joiners of high local standing. Their forefathers were noted for making good articles of household furniture which were handed down as heirlooms. Honley's old-time manufacturers made cloth with the intention of never wearing out, so the furniture constructed by the Holdroyds of a past day was put together on the same principle. The present members of the family have upheld the reputation for high-class workmanship as of old, whilst also keeping abreast with modern requirements and rapid changes. Son has followed father as blacksmiths in the family of Booth- royds for over 200 years, when a. younger representative recently disposed of the business. A race of silent contem- plative men, minding their own business, and not meddling in the affairs of neighbours, the Boothroyds in their mode of business were typical of the old-time Honley tradesmen. - Each member as they came into the world receiving a Biblical name, they held to the soil like an old tree unheeding the great changes going on around them, their only ambition being to live an honest

Page 131

DR. Jon Dyson. (see page 102),

DR, ALeExanNpER Dyson, (see page 102),

Page 133



life, and perform good work free from trickishness or fraud. The Firths also had an unbroken record in the trade of black- smiths for over 100 years, but the once familiar blacksmith's shop with its flying sparks from the fire has now changed hands, and their place knows them no more. Of robust and almost

giant-like proportions, they were a race of honest craftsmen

who were in no hurry to be rich, often forgetting to send out their bills until a dozen years or so had elapsed. It was a difficult business to pay the Firths what was justly owing to them, and often had to be accomplished by main force. They too were not inclined for much speaking, preferring to grasp the hammer and perform honest and lasting workmanship.


The office of Postmaster has been held by the male side of my family for four generations, dating from 1780 to 1887, during which time I have records of the wonderful advances made from the days when there was on an average five or six letters per week for the people scattered over the whole area between Halifax and Holmfirth. The present generation will accept this fact with a smile of disbelief. So would our fore- fathers think that we now live in a world of miracles and magic if they could return. The coaches did not begin to carry mails until 1784 ; and they were confined to limited distances. Previous to that date, the few letters were carried on horseback by messengers or post boys as they were named. My great grandfather, James Tilburn, had no inclination to follow the family trade of clothier, preferring a free out-door life. This breaking away from family traditions gave offence to his own parent and a father-in-law, who was considered a " warm " man, or one with " plenty of wool upon his back," owning freeholds, and three square pews in Honley Church adorned with his name as owner. These he occupied in turn, not to keep people out, but only for the purpose of keeping them warm. My great grandfather, James Tilburn, ignoring stormy threats from a disappointed father-in-law, who had no son of his own, and unheeding the shedding of a whole lake of tears from

Page 134


a young wife who dreaded the dangers of the highways, under- took the post of messenger. His duties lay between Halifax and Holmfirth, riding upon the grey galloway, whose dam when a foal had been left behind by moss-troopers. According to family traditions, " Laddie," as he was named, was rather a noted animal, sure-footed, full of courage, wonderful stamina ; and could always be relied upon to land his rider punctually or near the expected time,-so punctual, that at the passing of horse and rider, people set their clocks to the correct time even in days of snow-drifts and floods. James Tilburn was a man of spare but sinewy frame, rosy handsome face, and merry twinkle of eye. Clad in close fitting drab kersey garments befitting a good horseman, the material for which was supplied yearly from Penistone district as a present, one of these gar- ments in the shape of a huge overcoat, with brass buttons, was still in use in the family in my early days, and was always named " The drab laddie." Thereby hangs a tale. A chaise in which a Scottish gentleman, not highly favoured by nature, was travelling to Fenay Hall, Almondbury, then occupied by the Fenay family, to sue for the hand of one of the young ladies who was not only wealthy but also a noted beauty. His chaise became stuck fast in snow-drifts at the top of " The Ainleys," which at that time was an exposed and dangerous road. Seeing my great grandfather approaching on his way from Halifax, enveloped in his drab overcoat with the pouch containing the few mails of His Majesty's King George III. strapped upon his back, the gentleman mistook his slight form for that of a boy, and also the nature of his sturdy in- dependent spirit.

* Ah! Here comes a drab laddie riding a good horse," exclaimed the gentleman with relief, as my great grandfather drew rein, not only to ease his blown steed, but to see if help was required.

The gentleman disclosed his destination, expressed impatience to reach Fenay Hall in time for the Christmas festivities, and intimated that it was the duty of the " drab laddie " to descend from the saddle and lend him his horse for that purpose, offering

Page 135


a small sum-a very small sum of money. My great grand- father smiled in pitying scorn at the want of discernment in a man who mistook the carrier of His Majesty's mails for a *laddie " who could thus be tempted to forget his duties, even when eyes were blinded with love. His pride was hurt also that so little value was placed upon the services of his good horse. In addition, he had been given hints of the expected arrival of a persevering ugly lover who was not wanted by the Fenay family. My great grandfather sat bolt upright in his saddle, and with that directness of speech which a true bred son of the soul will address either peer or peasant, he said :

** My horse is not a drab, but a grey laddie. And so you are coming seeking a wife are you ? Not for th' brass, of course not, but seemingly you have scented where it is," he added in biting sarcasm. °" Well, all I can say is-you are better to follow than meet" eyeing the gentleman's countenance with disfavour. " And tell Miss Fenay from me, that she'd better have a known nowt (good-for-nothing) than an unknown one, and that such sweethearts as you are far fetched and dear bought even if hung around with diamonds," riding off with a back- ward glance of anger at the impertinence and meanness of the Scotchman.

He had not proceeded far before being again stopped by a couple of wayfarers inclined to be aggressive. He was, how- ever, generally ready for emergencies.

"*The Scotch gander has sent his feathers flying after me, has he ?" unbuckling his stout leather pouch and swinging it around with such dangerous rapidity, that the two men were still rolling in the snow, when horse and rider were at a safe

distance. Afterwards James Tilburn always named the over- coat his " Drab Laddie."

Being the only bringer of news from an outside world, it is recorded that there was no person or sound so eagerly awaited and listened for as the drab-clad figure on horseback, and the blast of his horn which he blew when nearing each village. People rushed down hill-sides or streamed from yards and

Page 136


folds as if by magic at the musical blast of his horn, greeting his arrival in eager hope. Often one missive comprised the extent of Honley's correspondence with an outside world, for the price of a letter was beyond the means of poor people. The verbal communications of James Tilburn, however, were many and varied. He whispered messages to pretty maidens, imparted more sober information to older women, and brought news of grave or gay import for the benefit of all around. Then with merry quip and jest he would ride away to the next village, where his advent was awaited in joyous expectation.

Mention is made of the important position held by George Armitage Esq., J.P., High Royd, during this century in the Armitage family records. There existed close friendship between my great grandfather and " Justice'" Armitage, until the latter in his capacity of Magistrate punished a relative more severely than was his usual custom with a Honley native. This did not meet with the approval of James Tilburn, who intended to know the reason for such harshness being meted out to his relative when next the " Justice " and himself came across each other. They met upon a narrow elevated cause- way which flanked one side of the road known as Northgate Lane. The road at that time left to nature's repairs was generally knee-deep in mud, whilst the causeway only allowed of one foot-passenger at a time. There was often much play of wit between them when they met. The " Justice," innocent of a grievance told James Tilburn with a merry jest to make way for His Majesty's august representative of the Law.

* If you carry His Majesty's Justice in your pocket, I carry His Majesty's Mails upon my back, so make way for my august person," replied James Tilburn, knocking the dignified Mr. Armitage from the causeway into the mud, and proceeding on his journey satisfied that he had expressed his anger in a manner to be understood.

When the outraged feelings of each had gradually been smoothed and softened, it is recorded that they were no worse friends in after years.

Page 137




James Tilburn was the first person to officially bring the news of the battle of Waterloo to places between Halifax and Holmfirth. He had ridden into the town with the mails, when the news of the famous battle which took place on June 18th, 1815, was brought in post haste on horseback. That was of course the quickest mode of transit at that time. His hat and horse were decorated with ribbons by a rejoicing crowd, and with the authority of the Constable in his hand, he was also sent back post haste to convey the news all along the route to Holmfirth. If no telegraphs in those days, the news reached Honley and Holmfirth before his arrival due to delays of eager questionings and joyful greetings on the road. The crowds however at Holmfirth and Honley awaited his coming with the proper official information. Though his horse was so jaded that it was said only a good horseman could have kept him on his legs, he refused to dismount at Honley, and rode on to Holmfirth. Here the good steed (not the grey galloway, but a horse of equal stamina) had a pint of old port wine poured down his throat, and his rider carried shoulder height. In memory of that great day (for indeed the battle, and Wellington's celebrated sentence were landmarks in people's lives and memories) the Postmaster General made a gift of a new horn to my great grandfather. It was a short copper horn with one twist, and mounted in brass. Figures of a coach, a coach-horse, and a greyhound coursing were embossed on the brass. Inside the horn was engraved " Waterloo Gift." With typical male indifference to household gods, this horn was allowed to be taken away by the female branch of the family, and am afraid is now lost.

James Tilburn died Sept. Ist, 1846, at the age of 88 years. His son-in-law, Mr. James Hawkyard, assisted him in his duties at Lockwood, beginning in 1803, and after his death was appointed Postmaster of that place when increasing correspond- ence warranted a Post Office. Nince that time, the Post Office at Lockwood has remained in the family of Hawkyards, the third generation being represented in the person of the present Postmistress, Miss Hawkyard. A relative named Mrs. Mur-

Page 138






gatroyd was also Postmistress of Huddersfield, and delivered all letters received from my great grandfather when passing through. My grandfather, William Tilburn, born in 1783, followed his father in the postal duties at Honley, modern progress also allowing a Stationary Post Office at Honley. My father, born 1805, followed his father as Postmaster, and was appointed in 1849 on account of my grandfather's illness. Owing to advancing age and failing health, and at the earnest wish of my father, I took up the duties until his death, when I resigned them in 1887. My grandfather and father were also men of noted local character who earned well-deserved respect from all, and whose typical sayings would fill a book.

It is interesting to know the amount of wages received by James Tilburn, whose " family influence " in the Post Office was such that his son could be appointed Postmaster at Honley, his son-in-law at Lockwood, and female cousin at Huddersfield. I note in a letter dated January 4th 1811, that he was con- gratulated upon his good fortune of having his wages raised from 10/- to 14/- per week. In 1843, shortly before his death, he had a salary of £10 per year, and a $d. for delivering each letter. Probably there were other sources of Office in- come not recorded in Honley accounts.

It would take up too much space in this history to give in detail the price of a letter to and from each town in days when the penny post was undreamed about. The price was beyond poor people's pockets unless an absolute necessity. Means however were always found to defraud the Post Office by a kind of arranged code of signals, such as sending an empty envelope which would be refused. This mode of communication was often greatly abused by people able to pay. A family at Brockholes, who practised this custom of saving postage, at last raised the ire of my great grandfather who, if loyal to his neighbours, was also a loyal servant to the Crown. His comments upon such conduct were more forcible than polite, but the custom did not cease. He adopted another method. When carrying the empty envelope, he always shouted out for the benefit of the people who came to their doorways at

Page 139







the sound of his horn ; " Another unpaid letter. However will our soldiers and sailors get clothed and fed, I wonder ?"" This had the desired effect. In 1822, letters to or from London had been reduced to one shilling each, and from Birmingham to London to 9d. each. The particulars regarding each letter, where it had come from, its destination, full address, and price of postage, were duly entered in a book. From these entries, a knowledge of the social standing of the people in the neigh- bourhood at the beginning of last century can be formed. The few newspapers published at that time were all conveyed by post, notably "The York Mercury" previously named. The invention of printing, ard later, the new-found freedom of the press were great forces in diffusing krowledge ; so that newspapers rapidly increased. In 1836, Fergus O'Conner, who at that time was publishing the fiery luminary known as " The Northern Star," sent bundles once per week to agents through the Post Office. The circulation of "The Northern Star" in Honley was extensive when the extreme distress prevailing at this date is caken into account. When railways became general, the bundles of newspapers were then sent by trains. Money Orders were introduced into the Post Office in 1838. At first this process of sending or receiving money was little understood by the bulk of the population, and its business was of a primitive order. When the scheme for one universal rate of penny postage was introduced in 1837 by Mr. Rowland Hill, he was looked upon as a fit inmate for Bedlam ; and his project was strongly opposed in Parliament. When penny postage was adopted in 1840, my great grandfather was aged 82 and still active. According to entries in his books, he con- sidered that Doomsday had arrived, and that it would be impossible for his son to live upon such cheapness. This introduction of penny postage was only accomplished with the greatest difficulty. Obstacles of a varied character, which had been raised against such a mad scheme, had to be sur- mounted ; but in 1849, the system was in good working order. At first there was also much trouble about stamps, franking being previously in use. The first adhesive stamp was in- vented by a printer named Chalmers, who lived in Dundee.

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1853 1865


This was a black stamp, and it was defaced by a red mark. At this time, the knowledge of chemistry was also developing by leaps and bounds. It was soon discovered by chemistry experts, that the obliterating mark of red upon the black stamp could be washed out, and the stamp again used. After many trials, the brick red stamp, so familiar to us older people, was adopted in 1841, and remained in use a long time. Though penny postage had been introduced, there was a small charge made upon each letter ; and it was not until August 12th, 1855, that there were free deliveries of letters in this neighbourhood. The Savings' Bank, with chances of investing in Government Stock came into use in 1861. Next followed the purchase of Public Telegraphs by Government, and their introduction into the Post Office. Telegrams were 1/- each, delivered free within a mile of the receiving Post Office, but beyond that distance charged 6d. per mile for porterage. Post Cards were introduced in 1870. This innovation was looked upon with detestation by old-fashioned people who believed in their correspondence being kept secret from prying eyes. Parcel post followed, commencing on August 1st, 1883. This change caused great discontent, on account of Postmasters and Letter-carriers finding themselves over- weighted with heavy parcels-hampers and larger bags not being readily supplied to country districts at first. On October lst, 1885, 6d. Telegrams came into operation. Since the latter date, the Post Office has undertaken many additional public duties which are too numerous to give in detail.

I have copied a few averages of letters received at various times according to entries in old Post Office books in my possession. Previous to 1800, there appear to be only five or six per week received by people scattered over a wider area than the bounds of Honley Township ; for instance-residents at Dudmanstone, Crosland Hall, Fenay Hall, ete. being named. In 1826, letters received at Honley averaged seven per day, and did not greatly increase during the next ten years. In 1853, about 90 were received and despatched each day. In 1865, the average number was about 150 each day,

Page 141

CHURCH STREET, HonLey. see page 112).

OLD COTTAGE At BANKS. (see page 112).

Page 143


when no further entries are recorded. On account of the blessings of cheap postage, letters increased fast in numbers, and the custom of writing down the particulars of each letter no doubt lapse at this time.

Many more interesting items could be given in connection with the early history of the Post Office. Oral traditions also are numerous relating to noted local people who were of necessity brought into contact with public servants of long standing, but we must pass on.

HomEstEaips anp Hous®s.

Since the days of Richard de Waley, successive Lords of the Manor of Honley have been non-resident, so that as we have seen, we cannot boast of any Mansion or historical Hall, the annals of which are bound up with the history of the country. The present appearance of High Royd House, though belonging to one of the oldest families in the place, does not indicate any distinct period of architecture. It has been so altered during successive generations that I believe only the cellars remain of the original structure. There are, however, dwellings yet standing in a good state of preservation which are characteristics of our neighbourhood, and typical of the sturdy race of men who once occupied them who built up their own history. Erected of stone, taken from the nearest wood or field, they are more solid than pretentious. Our forefathers built their dwellings not for show or shelters for art treasures, but for use in the domestic mode of manufacturing. In addition, there arose the necessity of resistance against the storms of wind and rain which beat down upon them, hence their substantial character. The Chief art treasures valued by our forefathers would be those of the type of warming-pans, tally-irons, pestles, etc. Hams, or rounds of cured beef suspended from household beams would be considered of even greater worth. The houses in the village are grouped together either for warmth or com- pany. Their owners, who in those days were in blissful ignorance of interfering District Councils, placed them in strange nooks and corners according to their fancy. The love of independence and personal freedom, so distinguishing a

Page 144

1603 1616



trait of Honley dwellers, prompted them thus to build their homes. Other houses at scattered distances are larger. Over many of the doorways of these latter, owners built into the wall their family shields in the shape of square stones, upon which is proclaimed ownership and date of erection. A few outbuildings once in use for cloth-making, or shelter for horse or cow snuggle close to the house. There is generally a small orchard behind, a plot of greensward in front, a few sheltering trees bent back by long wrestling with the West wind, and the whole surrounded with a massive wall ; the owners being rather jealous of their little freeholds. The folds and yards, named after those who once occupied them, or the trade which they followed, record the time when the little enclosure was a community to itself,-master and man living and dying on the spot.

Such are the old homes still left in Honley, speaking in silence of the race who once dwelt under their roofs ;-men of culture and worth, and men as uncultivated and rough as the wild moorlands around their homes.

The ancient dwellings in a place are generally to be found near the Church if the latter dates back to old days. Though many of the oldest houses in Honley dated and undated are . situated in S. Mary's Square and Church Street, these houses are not the oldest dwellings according to dates. The oldest date upon a house is at Hall Ing, formerly owned by the Armitage family. (See their family history). Over the lintel is 1603. R. A. lately renovated had carved over the doorway 1616. Previous reference will be found relating to the building once standing in Church Street on the site occupied by present modern

shops. A stone built into the back portion of these shops is J. A.

carved 1680 Below the figures is beautiful scroll work. If the building had been occupied by Richard Waley during the earlier part of the 13th century, the house would be the victim

of varying circumstances after the confiscation of this property.

T' wo old cottages at Banks Mill (now Hope Bank),

Page 145

a *% fa ® 4 eus ('M (s; % .‘A‘.- ‘h 1 + Aad ( ¥ * ts & few» - s J 3 m..---— ' “r—“l. hy “I pe peee ~ 2

we !

Old House /n Sc Mayq £

S un‘ r @

ye NC beara. hal _UJ--E 80 # "LA Alp ' py 4


C - fl ~* has... .d i- .% «--*

g > R [-l ~» 6L ' C. Urn" ** pre “WAF'JJ

{S‘ ’ S‘hfi fil HWI

. "_ “tug-«hf

agg ~> ~~ *** aind Ling «tin <,, w wouge: wur 358 ®

(see page 112).

Page 147

GYNN FARM. (see page 113).

ELIZABETHAN COTTAGE, (see page 114).

Page 149










No doubt alterations, additions, or even re-building might have been made in 1680 by Charles Nettleton who resided in the house at that date. When the ancient building was destroyed for the erection of the present shops, a thoughtful builder or owner preserved one stone for future generations, by building it into the wall of the modern shops. In St. Mary's Square, the initials carved upon the stone door-head S. are I. & N. This house and those adjoining of similar archi- 1685. tecture were at one time a single residence of importance, and occupied by the Crosleys, (see their family history). Many of the oldest traditions in Honley cling around the building and its enclosure. The next house in order of date is at Gynn. Under the pent-house window, still in a good state of pre-

servation is H. A. This house was formerly built and owned

1690. by the Armitage family. A later date of


of ownership to the family of Haighs. To return back to Honley. The row of fine old dwellings on the right hand side of Church Street, leading to the Church, has carved over the H. doorway of one house I. & F. The residence now owned and 1692. occupied by Mr. Thomas Smailes, M.D., formerly the residence E. of Mr. Thomas Leigh has carved upon the wall J. & M. In a 1741. fold at Oldfield, consisting of all old buildings, over the doorway C. of one is carved I. & 8. Next in date is one in Exchange, 1742. B. built by the forefathers of the present Brooke family W. & S. 1751. Upon an old homestead at Reins, now owned by William J. A. 1754.

records change

Brooke, Esq., Northgate Mount is The present dwellings


Page 150


1773 1791




on the left hand side of Church Street facing the Church are very ancient, though an older building was once in existence upon the site. It has now been divided and sub-divided, that only the stone still left in the wall testifies to its once old-time importance. Circled with fine scroll work of the mason order is i] 7 53 Upon the gable end of a building at Oldfield, is to be


seen R. & A. At Lower Thirstin, not far from the scene of

1773. F. the bull-baitings is engraved upon a house C. & M. At Town- ' 1791. - head the initials of the builder are erased, but the date 1799 is clear. At Field End, a typical Clothier's home is in a good state of preservation, whose original dwellers I can distinctly L. recall. Over the doorway is J. & A. A.D. 1799. There are also numerous isolated houses scattered around Honley and its hamlets, the architecture and building being of the Tudor period. The owners did not adopt the excellent plan of placing over the doorways their names and dates of building. Many of these have been so altered or suffered from careless tenants, that little of their original appearance remain. There are specimens of old Elizabethean homesteads still left at Brockholes, Hall Ing, Oldfield, etc., which observing eyes can easily recognise even if they have undergone hard usage.


Dwelling in these old houses were a race of men as varying in character as in position. There are few parish records that do not bear testimony to their good qualities. They lingered long on our hill-sides, standing upon their pinnacle of yeoman's pride, but were gradually exterminated by new forces. I cannot give each of these gentlemen workers of a past day individual mention, so must sum up their fine characters as a whole. Clad in their own " blue plain " or " black doeskin "

Page 151

: #3": £153]

[age! H+


anns XE ther

QLD HomEstTtEaAD AT FAR END. TYPICAL ONE DECKER COTTAGE-shortly to be demolished.

(see page 114).

(sge page 114),

Page 153


on Sundays, and "drab kersey " on week-days, they were grand figures either on foot or horseback. There was not only a sense of rugged strength typical of the moorlands over- shadowing their homes, but also an air of old-world dignity about their persons. Dwelling amongst their own people, they acted almost as parents concerning the religious and moral welfare of their dependants. They were frugal in food, simple in domestic arrangements, and saving in habits. Toiling night and day almost in their isolated homes, or in their folds and yards ; their mode of life was in striking con- trast to present-day luxury. If, perhaps, their great aim in life seemed the gaining of money, they were honest, God- fearing, home-loving men. They were too serious to play at religion, and all their dearest associations clung around their own hill-sides. Left to their own resources in obscure village and hamlet, they have raised the structure of England's commercial prosperity by their morality, industry and intelligence.

The memory also of the mothers, wives and daughters of these yeomen of a past day must be recalled. With a man's grasp, combined with a woman's daintiness, they shared in men's toil, and in addition, walked the harder road, and carried the heavier burden of womanhood ; for perhaps unconsciously men exacted hard service from their womenkind in those days. The mistress of a household, who possessed more tangible advantages than her neighbour, would probably keep one servant, whose diligence was praised, or idleness gently re- proved. Side by side with her excellent handmaiden she performed the thousand and one duties which fell to her lot, all household necessities being then produced in the home. In addition to rearing a family of children, she baked, brewed, churned, washed clothes, spun household linen, and made garments. At this period, women were skilled in preserving fruit, curing bacon, making cowslip, elderberry and other home-manufactured wines. Yet industry did not coarsen their persons, nor prudence narrow their minds. Kindly of heart, and generous of hand to their poorer neighbours, they

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were women of earnest religious faith, gracious personality, and ruled over homes of peaceful order. The designs of such fabrics for feminine wear as calimancoes, camblets, grograms, tammies, bombazines, etc., would no doubt engage their attention, as present fashions interest modern women's thoughts. Richly but plainly dressed, their best gowns for outside wear were composed of Norwich crape or silk, perhaps brought back by the good yeoman on horseback from a distant town when forced to travel there for purposes of trade. With placid beauty of mind and body, and faces of gentle repose, these women were features in homes of past days which were made sweeter and purer by their presence.

The wives of clothiers in a more modest way of business possessed also the same strength of heart and hand. In addition to their household duties and family cares, they spun or wound bobbins for their husband's cloth-trade, often rocking the cradle with one hand, and turning the spinning-wheel with the other. The attire of one old master clothier in Honley was always made by his wife's industrious fingers. Another clothier of sterling character, and who eventually became a wealthy man, was taught to read in his earlier married life by the unwearied efforts of his wife.

The lives of these noble and self-sacrificing women of a past day, whose only path in life was love or duty, are unhonoured, and their praises unsung ; but they shall have their place in Honley history. Here and there they look down upon us from the walls of Honley homes with long ringlets hanging around faces of tranquil sweetness, or surmounted by caps covering neatly folded hair ; and their memory comes down to us like the fragrance of a May morning.


Sundials, telling people to go to bed at sunset and rise with the dawn, were fit emblems to place in old-world gardens, with their scents and flowers. There are not many sundials left of an old date in Honley though formerly common in the place. There is one, however, remaining upon the wall of an

Page 155

sUuN DIAL, THIRSTIN. (see page 116).

A CORNER oF "YE OLD WHEAT SHEAFE." (see page 117).

Page 157




old homestead in Thirstin occupied by Miss Donkersley, a descendant of a once well-known Wesleyan family. Upon the sundial is carved the name of John Sanderson, A.D. 1791, and the Roman numericals are in a good state of preservation. A sundial upon the roof of an old house in Exchange is more interesting. It bears date 1681 with the initials A.H. The inscription " U Hora Sic Vita" (as the hour, so life flies) is now nearly effaced, though the numericals are clear. - Evidently this sundial would be discarded when the re-building of the Church took place, and was preserved by some person and placed in its present lofty position, the height of which has probably saved it from destruction. (See Church history).


The swinging signboards outside our old Inns were once familiar pictures in our streets, and thought to be the finest works of art in the village. The signboard of " Ye Wheat Sheaf Inn," pictured a husbandman binding together sheaves of corn upon a stretching upland. We always considered the painter a genius who could thus produce such a wealth of suggestive beauty in that harvest scene. There was the exact representation of Jacob's Well painted over the Inn whose more modern well was supposed never to run dry. This Scriptural picture was not only valued for its beauty, but also for its help in diffusing Biblical knowledge in youthful minds. The symbolical sign of °" Ye George and Dragon " aroused patriotic feelings. Perhaps also it might have been the innocent means of nourishing the fighting instincts in Honley youths of a past day, so that they generally proved the victor in personal or other encounters. These once picturesque signboards, swinging upon their hinges overhead, are now no longer seen in our midst, any more than the old-time landlord or landlady who awaited the advent of the mail coach or stage- wagon. These latter brewed their own beer in those days. Their bar and best parlour were privileged places where National and important events were nightly discussed, and their friendship was esteemed a great honour.

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(Superstitions.-Honley Feast.-Christmas.-St. Valentines' Day.- April Fool's Day.-Mischief Night.-Collop Monday.-Shrove Tues- day.-Palm Sunday.-Good Friday.-Easter Monday.-May Day.-

Guy Fawkes' Day.-Riding the Stang.-Customs observed at birth, marriage, death and burial).



The dwellers in Honley, even to the middle of last century, drank in superstition with their mother's milk, and many of us yet living once accepted for truth the old legends and super- stitions heard in the chimney corners of our homes during long winter evenings or in summer twilights. Often the moral and intellectual training of our youth was re-inforced by stories of the pair of flitting spirits known as " Peggy o'th Lanthorn," and °" Will o'th Wisp," and other supernatural terrors. There are a few people still left who are well versed in the ancient lore of our native hill-sides. They have heard much about superstitions concerning birth, death, children, lucky or un- lucky days, and numbers. In old oral traditions, feathered and other animals, as well as insects, played important parts either as safe weather-glasses, or as signs and omens of coming good or ill. The heavenly bodies were of great consequence, and supposed to have much bearing upon good or bad luck. Ailments had to be cured by strange charms and incantations, whilst the prognostics about every part of the human hody were very numerous. In my childish days, fairies, witches and boggarts were believed to haunt every hedge-bottom and field-corner at the approach of gloaming, a few of our old bridle-gates still retaining their names as " boggart lanes," as being more particularly the favourite resorts of these wander- ing spirits. I suppose that the faith in fairies and boggarts

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is dispelled in present-day youthful minds, but older people will recall their early beliefs in the mysteries which flitted

around wood and stream after dark.

Before the days of trained nurses, there were many women in Honley who took upon themselves these duties without payment. The Victoria Cross has often been conferred for deeds which bear no comparison to the unrecorded self- sacrifices of these women amongst the humble tragedies of life. They were ready for a night's vigil by the side of the sick or dying, helping to bring children into the world, or performing the last requirements of the dead. I knew one old dame who was in great request for these offices of non- payment. She firmly believed in all death signs, especially the " foot-pad " with whom she seemed to be on the most friendly and resigned terms. When on her way to a sick-bed if the " foot-pad wi e'en as big as tea-plates " appeared either padding after her, or running before her ; she concluded that doctors and prayers were of no avail. Memory can bring back to life other old dames-relatives and otherwise-who sat in their rocking-chairs around household hearths pre- dicting misfortune or death all the year round. Sending forth volumes of smoke from long clay-pipes with enjoyable puffs, they would indulge in graphic descriptions and sighing ejaculations regarding death-bed signs and other mysteries ; which proved rather too stimulating for childish imaginations. If the return home from some isolated dwelling had to be taken in the dark, bush, tree or animal were wont to assume strange forms. We glanced with fear at the dark wood we passed, whilst each sound of nature gave brisk shocks of terror ; conjectures soon becoming realities to heated imaginations.

At the present day, superstition of any kind is looked upon as an ill weed which is best exterminated. Yet if we pretend" to despise these ancient superstitions in which former generations were cradled, the belief in signs, omens, forewarn- ings, etc., is not only strong in one class of people, but often the rich and better educated pin their faith in them. The horse-shoe is still to be found nailed to the stable-door as a

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protection for the cattle against witchcraft, and we pick it up from muddy roads in delighted glee as a lucky find. We none of us like to hear the prolonged howling of a dog, strange raps, or the death-tick in the silence of night. If a cinder flies out of the fire, we are in haste to see if it is shaped like a purse or coffin ; and I know people upon whom the first sight of the new moon through glass or otherwise exerts great influence for good or evil. Our visits to friends are supposed to be foretold beforehand by the appearance of " strangers " upon the bars of their fire-grates as they name the flakes of soot ; and they would not watch us out of sight at our departure. We yet consider it unlucky to turn away, without reward, the first person who crosses the threshold on Christmas Day morn- ing. A friend attributed the loss of her money to the fact, that a careless servant allowed a red-haired youth to " let in "

Christmas, in place of one possessing the desired black locks.

I cannot spare the space to detail all the familiar superstitions that were accepted for truth when I was a child, and which are still with us ; but will enumerate a few. It is unlucky if without money in your pocket when hearing the cuckoo,- to burn evergreens which have decorated the home at Christ- mas,-to disturb martin-nests in window-corners, -to see the moon through glass,-to shake hands across a table or person,- for thirteen to sit down at dinner; and not receive a coin back when selling cattle-" God's silver or luck penny," as it is named. The superstitions with regard to children are many and varied. If a child does not cry when baptised it will not thrive,-its nails must not be cut before a year old, else it will turn out a thief ; and it must not gaze into the looking-glass before a year old. A child's first visit to a house is of importance. It must of necessity receive an egg, a pinch of salt, a piece of bread, and a few matches to light it to heaven at the last. With regard to death, the howling of a dog, the crowing of a cock at midnight, hovering of birds or bird against a window, three raps heard from an invisible hand, falling of a picture, a loud report from an unknown source, etc., are all considered sure harbingers of death. It is

Page 161




thought that a person cannot die on a feather-pillow, and that three funerals follow each other. With the mention of these few every-day superstitions still common in Honley, the subject must now close though it would fill a volume, folk-lore being bound up with our lives from birth to death.

HoxnurEry FEAST.

Many of our old customs, like our superstitions, come down to us from Scandinavian and Norse myths, others are remnants of Catholic or religious festivals ; and a few are honoured in memory of National and other events. Formerly the most observed locally was Honley Feast. It will be gathered from the history of the Church, that in 1503, we had " A Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary founded and erected of old." The Feast was first honoured in memory of the dedication of a place of worship, but whether it was the Chapel of 1503, or one previously occupying the site, I am unable to say. The exact date of the origin of Honley Feast is lost in the mists of antiquity. One however can safely infer that its observance dated further back than the Reformation, the Feast always beginning upon the first Sunday following the 19th of Septem- ber. This date corresponds with the festival of the Virgin Mary in the Roman Calendar. Honley dwellers of a past day being proof against innovations did not alter the date of their religious feast at the Reformation, but held to the observance of the older Catholic festival. It will be seen in the history of Honley Church, that it had to suffice for the Spiritual needs of many neighbouring parishes. As time went on Churches were erected in these various places, but their dwellers still made the yearly pilgrimage to the Mother Church, and the custom has continued to this day. As years passed, the once religious festival gradually developed to one of popular merrymaking. During the time of the Commonwealth, these feasts were pro- hibited by Act of Parliament. Honley natives, however, clung tenaciously to the holding of their feast. Thus whether Honley Feast is considered a mere drunken festival by many, or a hearty joy by others ; it has been faithfully honoured generation after generation. In the past, perhaps the ways of

Page 162


celebrating the festival were coarse and brutal, but the customs were only in keeping with the spirit of that rough-hewn age. There were bull-baitings in Thirstin, feuds with neighbouring parishes fought out, personal combats, drinking bouts of long duration, and public-houses filled to overflowing from early morning until night to the accompaniment of fiddle and song. Honley had many civil and religious feuds with neighbouring townships, notably Crosland and Netherthong regarding Ecclesiastical contentions, and Skelmanthorpe on account of bull-baiting and fighting taunts. These quarrels were yearly renewed at the Feast, the representatives of physical strength in the village being sought up for the occasion. An old fighting champion, who in his youth had helped to thrash " Skelman- thorpers" out of the place at the Feast, when recalling its past glories, sorrowfully exclaimed to me :-

'* Aye ! There's no feighting na as there used to be when I wor a lad."

If, however, the sport of bull-baiting was cruel, we must remember that it was a National pastime at that period. If feuds and personal combats sometimes left life-long disable- ment of body to members of attacking or defending parties, we have substituted a modern form of bodily havoc in football fields. If personal combats with only nature's weapons between them were the order of the day, perhaps they proved cheaper in the end than calling in the aid of law. If the stal- wart son of the village indulged in a week's spree, I think in the end that he was not more of a physical wreck than many of our present-day youths.

But we will no longer dwell upon the savage ways of honour- ing Honley Feast in the good old days. We will recall memories of the Feast of our childhood and youth. At that time the field behind the Coach and Horses Inn, and two fields skirting the " Gate " were not then taken into the private grounds of the late Captain Jessop as at present. Here the Feast traffic was located on its arrival, the village children having previously prepared the way by pulling down the walls of these once enchanted fields. This custom of levelling the walls weeks

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prior to the Feast, was not only yearly observed by the children, but encouraged by mine host, Mr. Charles Walker, of the Coach and Horses Inn. He always smiled with good-natured assent to the destruction of the boundaries of his property. During this self-appointed labour, our imaginations were so held captive by thoughts of anticipated wonders, that we were tempted to go meet them half way. Vague reports and deceptive messengers enticed youthful feet day by day to stray as far as Brooke Wood. The more adventurous even travelled as far as the Birks, only to return home neither sadder nor wiser, but fuller of " thick-coming fancies." At least we were in the midst of food-providing that was an important part of the festival. - There were huge pieces of beef ready for roasting, pots of pickled cabbage, currant-puddings, veal and fruit pies baking, and casks of home-brewed beer blowing out their spigots in their impatience to be tapped,-provisions so abundant that would have served for an old-time Christmas. At last was hailed with joyful rapture the arrival of those attractions provided for youthful enjoyment. There came Pablo's Circus, Wombwell's Menagerie, Wild's Theatre, and other celebrated travelling shows. In addition, there were Taylor's Bazaar, Waxworks, Swings, Roundabouts, Flying-boxes, Shooting-tents, Pea Saloons, and numerous other alluring attractions. - These found their resting place in the fields, whilst stalls containing brandy-snap, nuts, fruit and other tempting contents lined the streets of Honley from end to end. Now began the Feast in real earnest. Not only Honley, but the surrounding town- ships became "lands flowing with milk and honey ;" open house being kept for all. There were universal meetings of parted friends and households both amongst rich and poor.

The Feast during the last century was the one bright visita- tion in the lives of Honley people, who were not surfeited with amusements in those days. The village during the festival was the common centre to which vast crowds could be seen coming by road, lane, field-path and hill-side. There are people still living who will vividly recall the congested state of the streets, especially the dangerous "Gate" where most of

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the traffic was located. Also memories of those wandering Thespians who once commanded our childish worship. There was Wallett, the Queen's jester, dazzling youthful eyes by his gallant bearing when stepping into Pablo's Cireus ring. We can yet recall the thrill when watching a sparkling fairy-like Hebe walk upon a tight rope, stretching outside from the top of the Circus to a distant field, and who in addition could have walked upon the heads of the people. Here came as an honoured guest, the notable Sam Wild, the hero who sur- mounted all difficulties and overcame all obstacles on the stage. There was also his brother, Tom Wild. Those Bohemian strollers who, when they had doffed the " sock and buskin," were still veritable Kings and Queens in our imaginations, were the only means of bringing before the eyes of country dwellers of that date stage-plays which once held captive the minds of the people. Many of us will recall the narrow seats, draughts, dim lights and other primitive furnishings that were the only luxuries of the travelling booths of that day. But on the other hand. Think of the romance which surrounded the flapping canvas of the tent when listen- ing to sensational plays of the order of "Jack Shephard," 6¢ Mungo Park," " Every inch a Sailor," " Black-eyed Susan," "The Green Bushes," "The Murder of Maria Martin in the red barn," etc! There were also the wild animals of Jerry Wombwell, more wonderful in childish imaginations than the winged steed of Pegasus, having journeyed from some far-off land-Jerusalem perhaps. Then did we not despise home-fare in those days for the glory of consuming delicious peas in fascinating saloons, and drinking coloured water of the hues of the rainbow, that it was a miracle we were not poisoned. And oh ! the empty ache in our hearts at the departure of these

delirious joys !

In 1869, there was an alteration in the character of the Feast. On account of the fields being enclosed in private grounds, the traffic had to be located elsewhere. Renting the ground to one travelling proprietor of amusements curtailed many sources of enjoyment ; and the attractions became

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limited. There came a change also in the old magic and delight of the Feast, and the halo which once surrounded its clang and clatter gradually faded. Stephenson in one of his poems writes :-

** Give me again all that was there, (Give me the sun that shone, Give me the heart, give me the eyes, (Give me the lad that is gone."

The change was in ourselves, for we had grown older. There was change also in the village. Railways and education

advanced, whilst the glory of the Feast decayed. Gradually

the once romantic strolling-players were left to their rather

sordid surroundings. The robust fare of beef and beer had

not the same taste in the mouth as of old, and crowds that once gathered dispersed themselves over wider areas year by year. No longer was the merry making of a week's duration, nor the once important army of public-house waiters in request. No longer was the bell-man sent around the streets of the village to announce the disbandment of the latter in his famous couplet, that :- ** Those who found em could keep em, For those who had lost em would'nt seek em."

Yet if the Feast had rather a blinking existence, the date still remained a memorial of old days until another change. In 1911, there came the startling proposition from outside dwellers, not only to ignore the festival of the once popular fixture, but to alter the date-a date which had once served as an Almanack to the whole country-side! The Feast, as far as regarded a general holiday had to be moved back to the first week in September, and this modern innovation came into force in 1912. At the time, I wondered what thoughts agitated the minds of thousands scattered over the civilized world when they read in the newspapers that henceforth the old name was to suggest new things ? Whether the time- honoured event will regain its old prestige, or that the once red-letter festival will become a dead-letter festival, time must determine.

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There was a custom observed at Honley Feast when I was a girl of cutting sticks from mountain ash-trees, locally named °" wiggin-trees." These " wiggin " sticks were striped, coloured, and sported during the festival. As mountain-ash was formely carried as a protection against witchcraft, no doubt this custom was the remnant of an old superstition in connection with the dedication of the Church. The intro- duction of more fashionable aids to walking or amusement amongst our " young bloods " have now ousted the gaily coloured " wiggin " sticks.


The local observance of Christmas ranks next in importance to keeping the Feast, though the same new forces are at work which are slowly but surely destroying the once distinctive character of cld-time Christmas customs in Honley. Plum pudding, mince pies, spice cake, cheese, etc., are still prepared by all good housewives, if the custom of brewing " a barrel full of beer" is not so common in homes as formerly. The old sacredness of the misletoe is yet honoured by its importance along with evergreens in the decoration of houses. People who live in towns may only think of the " Waits " as tiresome persons who make night hideous with their discordant noises. We older people in Honley have happier memories of Christ- mas nights, when we listened with bated breath for the first strains of " Christians awake," or " While Shepherds watched their flocks by night." Mellowed and softened by distance, the music was not sung by ordinary mortals, but sounded in childish ears akin to the angel's song of long ago. Then there was the haunting tune of " The Misletoe Bough," the words of which brought vividly to youthful imaginations that old chest in the castle, the fairy bride, and the gallant Sir Lovel who, when old, ** wept for his fairy bride," that we also wept at the repetition of the old-world romance. The young people can still repeat with fluency the old wishing rhyme of " pockets full of money, and barrels full of beer" when "letting in " Christmas.

Sword dancers, mummers, wassailers, peace egg actors, etc., are all relics of long-past pagan customs, catholic worship, or

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ancient Mystery Plays. The white steed Gleipnir belonging to the Norse God Woden, from whose name comes our Wed- nesday, re-appears again in the wooden horse danced around by boys in their Christmas plays. Honley boys still keep up a few observances of these old plays even if only remnants of the past. They yet bedeck themselves with ribbons, tinsels, and imitation swords when attempting to imitate the wonderful achievements of St. George and other gallant knights described in the Peace Egg book, not forgetting the black demon. We have also merrymakings of various degrees ranging from a ball to a "Laking" or "Playing Night," when "Here comes three jolly, jolly sailor boys " is sung as the merrymakers march around in couples on stone flagged cottage-floors. The lilting strain of the old ditty is trilled forth with youthful vigour, the only requirement for enjoyment being a pillow or cushion to be '* kissed on the floor." Other merrymakings also vary in character from the stately dinner-party at "Th' Maisters " to a humble boiling of toffee, when the dwellers in some " yerd " or " fowd " join their finances for the purpose of purchasing treacle and butter. Do we not all remember those " laking nights " and " boiling of toffee nights" of the past ? How we pulled, turned, twisted, thumped and kneaded that toffee until it almost begged to be eaten ! The various games particu- larly associated with Christmas festivities at each of our homes, such as " blindman's buff," " hunt the slipper," " kiss on the floor," " guessing riddles," etc., are also still popular amongst us.

ST. VauExnNTtINE's Day.

February 14th is a festival in the Romish Church, dedicated to St. Valentine. On this date birds begun to pair according to Shakespere, so perhaps they originated the custom of sending confessions of love on this date, and naming the missives valentines. Once St. Valentine's morning was laden with such momentous meaning, that all work was neglected in houses and mills in Honley until the advent or knock of the postman. Then what agitating tremors when breaking the seal of the envelope containing those wonderful missives! Now we no

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longer see those embroidered works of art containing expressions of never dying affection, or effusions on the order of :- ’

""The rose is red, the violets blue, The pink is sweet and so are you, And so are they who sent you this, And when we meet we'll have a kiss."

Modern lovers now despise the go between of St. Valentine, and Cupid's emblems have given place to Christmas Cards and good wishes.

AprrIL-FooL Day.

Formerly the first day of April in Honley was dedicated to foolish habits of sending people upon useless errands, or practising deceptions of various kinds ; and then rewarding them with the mirthful exclamation of " Old April fool !" We are, however, growing less credulous. The art of making dupes, or inducing people to undertake laughable journeys upon that day is more difficult than of old ; and the custom has fallen into neglect except amongst children.


I can find no old tradition giving a clue to the origin of the numerous tricks which were practised upon people on this _- night of All Hallows' E'en. When younger, I have known doors taken off hinges, gates opened in fields so that cattle could stray if wishful and be impounded in the days of the pindar. Also posts, doors, and other property were often whitewashed, and door-latches tied. In cases of long-standing feuds between families, the night served as a pretext for petty revenge either in one shape or another. The advent of policemen, gas and other modern means of detection now act as a deterrent to people with mischievous intentions.


We associate Easter with our Saviour's Resurrection, but it was originally a Pagan festival dedicated to the goddess of Spring. The many old customs prevailing in Honley which are associated with this season beginning a few days before

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Ash-Wednesday and ending at Easter, are relics of older Catholicism ; great licence being allowed upon the days previous to the Lenten fast. We will take them in order as they occur, all forming part of old-time preparations for Easter.


When sides of home-cured bacon and hams hanging from house-beams were considered the best pictures in a dwelling, Collop-Monday was set apart to test their quality. It was general for boys and girls, and often adult people, to go around the village on that day, calling at houses where these ** pictures " were known to be hung with the smiling request of "* Pray dame a collop." A large slice of bacon was generally given to each caller. Often sufficient bacon was collected which served a family in poor circumstances for a considerable length of time.

SHrovE Turspay.

This day was named from the practise of being shriven before keeping the Lenten fast. After the ceremony, the bell was rung, and the people could then partake of food. In various countries the time of ringing the bell varied. In Hon- ley, the ringing of the " pancake bell," as it is named, was at eleven o'clock in the morning. Formerly before the ringing of the bell, " barring out " was a popular custom in our schools. As the hands of school-clocks neared the figures of eleven, the severity of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses relaxed. Descending from their usual dignified attitudes, they allowed themselves to be decoyed outside upon various pretexts. The scholars fearless of future chastisement would then lock the school-house door, and with whoops of delight rush out of school by another entrance, and salute the ringing of the bell. We held to a childish belief that by so doing, pancakes would by some unaccountable means tumble down from the Church steeple into our pinafores which we held out in wistful anticipation. An ancient custom of throwing pancakes down from the steeple in some places may have given rise to this idea. (Perhaps in Honley in far off days). Formerly at the I

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ringing of the " pancake bell," parish and other apprentices were set at liberty for the day. The custom of making and eating pancakes on Shrove-Tuesday is still kept up, and this hastily-prepared fare if properly managed is delicious eating. Other customs, such as tossing the pancake, presenting the first one made in the pan to a poorer neighbour, etc., are fallen into disuse.


The yellow catkins which are generally bursting out upon willow-trees at the time when Palm Sunday falls due, are gathered and worn on this day. The catkins are locally named palms for that reason.

Goop FrRIDAy.

The old custom of preparing and eating Good-Friday cakes can be traced to Pagan times, when bread was an offering to the gods. There are also strong connecting links with the observances of the early Churches when vigorous fasts and greater simplicity of worship prevailed. The old custom of making a cross upon the cakes can also be traced back to Anglo-Saxon times. According to old superstitious belief, the marking of the cross was made as a preventative against all evils. Time has brought new rituals into our Good-Friday religious services, but as yet, there has been no change in Honley regarding the baking and eating of Good-Frid2y cakes.

EastEr Monxnpay.

The custom of members of the various Benefit Clubs meeting, worshipping, and eating together upon this day, was one of the great annual events in the place. Men laid aside work at loom and farm, and journeyed to Honley ; each Club having its own appointed meeting-place at various Inns. Here friends who had not seen each other since the previous Anniversary, talked and recalled memories of youth and early manhood. Then at the order of officers who carried upon their persons the emblems of authority, the members comprising the rank and file lined the streets on either side with the pre- cision of well-trained soldiers. Clad in their best clothes,

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and wearing white cotton gloves were men of all ages, sizes and conditions ; each father, husband, son, brother or sweetheart no doubt being duly admired by his women kind, who stood hovering near. The great event however was the march to and from the service in Church. Each member linked his smallest finger with that of his opposite neighbour, and then began that mysterious process of continually " open- ing out, and opening in * akin to the country dance in character, but of slower movement, which eventually brought the pro- cession to the gates of the Church. With what rapt wonder and admiration did we gaze upon the soldier-like march to and from Church! That long-haired Druid was the Ancient Briton of our History books, and the green-clad forester, the Robin Hood of fire-side romances !

The custom of Benefit Clubs attending Church upon Easter Monday dates far back according to entries in an old Sunday School book. A collection was also the rule, the proceeds being given to the funds of the National School which was a Voluntary Institution at that time. I will not describe the feasting which followed the service in Church, which amongst many members was perhaps rather of the Bacchanalian order. Honley people, whose memories of by-gone Anniversaries of their Benefit Clubs are vivid, prefer to dwell upon old associations connected with these once red-letter days whose glories are now only of the past.

There were also Benefit Clubs for women, many of which were named °" Briefs." We had one in Honley known as " The Ancient Shepherdesses," which boasted a large number of members. They also honoured their Anniversary, naming it *The Yearly Day," on which they met, worshipped and eat, but not in the robust style favoured by their menkind. The members of " The Ancient Shepherdesses " partook of tea in preference to dinner, flavouring the brown liquid with " yellow- cream." In the early history of this feminine Club, it was the custom when walking to and from Church on " The Yearly Day ' for each member to wear a white deep-fringed silk

shawl upon her shoulders, and also white gloves upon her hands.

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Previous to the day, there was much borrowing from reigh- bours of these shawls laid away in lavender by members who did not possess the once valued shoulder coverings. As time passed, this pretty ceremony was not observed by the younger members, and gradually the distinguishing symbols disappeared. The Club however continued to flourish for a lorg time, but was eventually disbanded, and the funds distributed amongst the

remaining members.

The particulars of the festival of the Mechanics' Institute, which was also held upon Easter Monday, appears in the history of that Institution.

May Day.

I can find no trace of the observance of the crowning of the May Queen, or dancing around the May-pole in Honley. Old people always declared that a May-pole once stood in Town- gate, and they invariably named the present open space May- pole hill. The same name is also found in entries in ancient books, valuations, etc., so that no doubt old English games took place here. When I was a girl, an old song of eight verses containing eight lines each, and named " The May-pole " was popular in Honley. I have heard people who have long since gone to their rest sing it often. At the call of my father, who was fond of the song, I once heard three prominent members of the old Choral Society sing it in fine style at Christmas without the aid of words or music. I will copy three verses from the eight which may recall to mind the once well-known song

of " The May-pole."

'* Come lasses and lads, take leave of your dads, And away to the May-pole hie, For every fair has a sweetheart there, And the fiddler is standing by. For Willy shall dance with Jane, And Johnny has got his Joan, To trip it, trip it, trip it, trip it Trip it up and down.

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Strike up, says Wat. Agreed, says Mat, And I prithee fiddler play, Content, says Hodge, and so says Madge, For this is a holiday. Then every lad did doff His hat unto his lass And every girl did curtsey-curtsey Curtsey on the grass.

Begin, says Hal. Aye! Aye! says Moll We'el lead up Packington's Pound, No ! No ! says Moll and so says Doll We'el first have NSellinger's Round. Then every man began To foot it round about, And every girl did jet it, jet it, Jet it in and out."

The rest of the five verses which I can remember run on until in the last verse these young men and maidens of a by- gone time part, and agree to meet again on the next May-day.

If, however, we no longer assemble upon May-pole hill to dance around the pole, we had one good custom which was long observed upon May-day. Before the advent of motor cars, Honley horses attracted attention by their beauty and strength. In those days, owners and those who had charge of them were proud of their beasts. Many of us can recall the grand horses once owned by Messrs. Farrar Brothers, Messrs. John Littlewood & Sons, Messrs. Joshua Beaumont & Sons and other well-known firms. There was also the famous chest- nut °" Bob," owned by Messrs. James Shaw & Co., of Neiley Mills, but I must refrain from describing the breeding, beauty, and strength of many of those once well-known animals. No doubt for many days previous to May-day, they were groomed to misery. But when gaily decorated and led forth by proud teamers on that morning, their coats shining like satin ; they were indeed a sight to gladden the eyes of a horse-lover. Few horses are now decorated in Honley for May-day. Perhaps that is the reason why I noticed a look of settled misery in the

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eyes of many unkempt creatures who were no doubt regretting that they had not experienced the joyousness of a May-day custom.

OAK or " Day.

In local vocabulary, May 29th is named " Rump Day," the leaf of the oak-tree being known as " rump." - This memory of the escape of King Charles when hiding in the branches of an oak-tree after the battle of Worcester is still recalled. Child- ren carrying a twig of the oak-tree in their hands on this morning repeat the old rhyme of :-

'* Rump-a-dump day, T'wenty-ninth of May, Show your rump, Or else I bump."

This threat is put into execution by belabouring any other child who is without a branch or sprig from an oak-tree.

Guy Fawrrs Day.

The celebration of the defeat of the gunpowder plot is not kept up as enthusiastically as formerly, though we still eat our home-made parkin, light bonfires in folds and yards, and discharge fireworks upon November fifth. Woods, hedges, and other wild bits of nature disappear for increasing population, so that the happy hunting-grounds for discovery of fuel for bonfires are curtailed year by year. When the passing away of Honley Feast had left us children sad and sobered, our sorrow was gradually turned to joy in our eager anticipation for the coming bonfire night. We were wont to sally forth after school-hours in October twilights independent of sex. Armed with implements of a primitive character, secretly purloined from household stores, we explored forbidden grounds. When the herculean task of digging up a root of an old tree was accomplished, we dragged our trophy home in triumph, adding root to root, and guarding our treasures with watchful eyes from the pilferings of neighbouring bonfire architects. When the eventful day arrived, we went from door to door in the small

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area over which the light of our anticipated bonfire was supposed to shine with the request :- '* Pray dame a coal For our bonfire hole." Or to make use of local idiom :- '* Pray dame a koil For bunfire hoil."

It was seldom that the request for coal to help to set alight the bonfire was refused.

In the days of home products, it was customary for the young people in Honley to make their own fireworks. This manu- facturing business required much secrecy to escape watchful parental eyes, who were more concerned for our safety than ourselves. One youth would be an adept in the art of rolling cases to hold gunpowder, another in " twitching '"' the ends, a third a specialist in " touch-paper '' preparations, and so on. We were also great authorities in those days regarding gun- powder, " steel-filings," salt-petre, sulphur, and other dangerous compounds. Modern firework miracles were undreamed about, so that whether our home-made squibs were a success or failure, we were happy and content with them. When the fireworks were all exploded, our joys were not ended. There came the excitement of roasting potatoes, which if not lost in the fire, were generally raw inside and burnt to a cinder outside ; but affording exquisite delight when eating in comparison to consuming unromantic potatoes of later life. Alas ! This dissipation came to an end with the dying out of our glorious fire to which we paid a dejected visit on the following morning only to find expired embers.


This drastic remedy for erring husbands, wives, or other people who had acted wrongly, or offended the village ideas of right and justice, was once common in Honley, though now seldom put into practice. It was the custom to model a straw man or woman according to the sex of the culprit, fasten the effigy to a long pole, set it alight, and burn it in front of the

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offender's house. The pole that was generally in request was the long pole or " stang " used by dyers for their vats, hence came the name of " Riding the Stang." It was an old belief which is not yet extinct in Honley that if the effigy was carried into three townships, " Riding the Stang" was not an illegal act. I can recall to mind three rather vivid " Stang-ridings " in my life-time. If a man had a bad wife, the " nonimy " as we named it ran as follows :-

"* With a ran-ran-ran, an old tin-can, A woman has been paying (thrashing) a man."


L do not remember the words of the " nonimy " relating to misdeeds committed by a man. Enjoying the privileges of the male sex, perhaps they escaped punishment.

Customs omBsErvyED at Birtus, MarriacEs, DEATHS, aND FUNERALS.

BirtH.-The birth of children was often made an excuse for a drinking bout, or as it was named °" washing the head " of the newly arrived infant.

Marriagr.-Previous to Honley Church being licensed for marriages, people had to journey to Almondbury to be married, -the men clad in flowered waistcoats, -the women decked in bonnets with abundance of ribbons, and their shoulders covered by silk or Paisley shawls. Upon the arrival back of bride- groom and bride, many rough, and often indecent pranks were practised upon them ; but these tricks have now fallen into disrepute. It was common for bridegroom and bride to stealthily proceed to Almondbury by different routes, return in the same secret manner after the ceremony, and thus escape attention. One respectable man went to Almondbury wearing his clogs and blue apron twisted around his body, and after ths ceremony returned to his weaving. The bride, a sweet and comely maiden journeyed there by another route in print dress, apron, and handkerchief upon head. The modern rites attend- ing marriage are now of a more refined character. °" Wedding Ale " however is still demanded and drunk, for many people in

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Honley would not only look with disfavour upon a " dry- wedding," but consider it rather unlucky.

of the old customs observed at death and burial are still followed, but more have been abandoned. The tolling of the Church bell for the dead dates back to the Seventh Century. - It is a relic of the Roman Catholic custom of ringing the bell when a person was dying, so that prayers would be offered for the soul passing away ; hence it is named the ** passing-bell." - We now ring it after death, but this beautiful old custom of tolling out the years of a departed neighbour is seldom now observed. The use of flowers, and formerly of sweet herbs at funerals is also of great antiquity. At the death of a female, either in girlhood or early womanhood, it was customary in Honley for those of her own sex and as near her age as possible to carry the coffin to the grave. Their black garments were relieved with white bonnets, veils and gloves. This fashion is no longer with us. Carrying the coffin '* shoulder-height," or upon men's shoulders, covered by a velvet or silk pall which generally belonged to one of the Benefit Clubs was in use amongst us ; but this custom is also discontinued. Persons who were bidden to funerals of people in superior stations of life, for the purpose of acting as ** bearers," were supplied with black silk or crape streamers to hats, broad silk sashes to be put crossways on bodies and black kid gloves. These costly trappings are now things of the past. Other customs such as bidding of friends and relatives to the funeral,-providing wine and biscuits previous to the funeral, and tea afterwards,-giving a last look at the dead,- burial at the third day,-attendance at Church on the Sunday following a funeral,-wearing of black garments for a year,- the widow's bonnet and her general effacement for a longer period ; and the providing of funeral cards are still observed.

The beautiful old custom of "singing away " the dead is rarely, if ever, practised now, though once common in Honley. I can recall such funerals of the past when carrying a humble worshipper to his or her last resting-place. The coffin carried '* shoulder-height '"' and the long procession following singing

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the well-known hymns of " Oh ! God our help in ages past " and " Thee we adore Eternal Name." Words and tune borne on summer's breeze or winter's wind to listening ears, may perhaps have proved more suggestive to many than sermons. The funeral of members of Brass Bands or other Musical Societies are now often accompanied to the grave by the beautiful strain of the " Dead March," which has replaced the

" singing away *' of the past.


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(Music.-Choral - Society.-Brass - Band. -Hand-bell - Ringing.- Cricket.-Football Clubs.-Tennis Club.-Flower Bull-baiting. -Hunting.-Foot-racing.-Whippet - racing. -Cock - fight- ing. -Pigeon - _ Landmarks.-Workhouse.-Town Hall. -Stepping-stones.-Stocks. -P infold.-Rising Corn Mill. -Toll-bars.-Wells).


OF HONLEY. Music. From the days when the Ancient Hebrew in the 137th Psalm pathetically bewails that exiled Israelites were not able to sing *" one of the songs of Zion " in a strange land ; so every shade of feeling has been expressed in music. In our early English history the sentiments of a people were voiced in masses, ballads, and madrigals ; and to-day we breathe forth our emotions in modern compositions. Perhaps the most popular recreation in Honley, both past and present, has been and is the cultivation and love of music, the art being as strongly characteristic of the people as their independence of spirit. In addition to efficient Church and Chapel Choirs-Musical Societies, (Glee Clubs, etc., have always been formed and flourished in connection with our places of religious worship, schools, institutes, etc. At one time we had the best Choral Society for miles around. I have no date when it was formed, but its first meeting-place was at " The George and Dragon " Inn. There were no lights in those days, so rehearsals took place upon dates nearest a full moon. A few members came from neighbouring parishes where the love of music was equally as strong, and members of Honley Choral Society joined that of their neighbours. I have heard old music- lovers speak of perilous journeys to and from rehearsals on dark and stormy nights, often after a hard day's labour. One

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enthusiastic member of a noted musical family was wont to walk to and from Penistone to attend musical practises, there being no railways in those days. Honley Choral Society encouraged by local help, next met for weekly rehearsals in the National School, and launched forth into giving sacred and secular concerts. Numbering amongst its members the best vocal and instrumental musicians in the neighbourhood, these concerts were great musical treats ;-sacred music hold-

ing first place.

The music of Handel has always exercised influence upon natives of our hill-sides. And what can approach its grandeur and sublimity when sung by dwellers in the West Riding of Yorkshire ! So thought members of Honley Choral Society. Handel was their favourite composer, for familiar Biblical words were often the only worship of toil-worn men and women who sung them. Almost every child in Honley was able to sing any piece out of the " Messiah " from memory by so often hearing relatives practise the music. Who that has heard "" the fire and go " of the " Hallelujah Chorus " sung and accompanied by members of the old Choral Society, when at the zenith of its fame, can forget a performance in which voice, fiddle, trumpet, trombone, double-bass, etc., were not spared ? In addition to the " Messiah " being a favourite, " Creation," "* Joshua," "Twelfth Mass," " Alexander's Feast," " Acis and Galatea," "Judas Maccabzus," "Samson," and other works were given. The Secular Concerts generally consisted of the best old glees, madrigals and songs. I remember that '* Hail Smiling Morn,"-" Since first I saw your face,"- ** Begone - dull _ care,"-" Simon _ the _ Hail Memory *" and songs relating to May-day and May-time were favourites. (May must have been different in the Calendar than at present when so many of those old songs were com- posed). Older people may recall prominent members of the old Choral Society, notably Mrs. Ben Hirst, Miss Roebuck, who married Mr. Ben Stocks, of Huddersfield, Miss Kaye, who married Mr. John B. Donkersley, Miss Smythe, Miss Athorn, Miss Renshaw, etc. Amongst the men, the names of Beaumont,

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1886 1896


Hirst, Mortons, Knuttons, Drakes, Hobsons, Sutcliffes, Boothroyds, Roebucks, Renshaws, Mettricks, Schofields, (Giledhills, etc., are familiar.

To give an example of the robust sustaining power of Honley voices. At one Concert given by the Choral Society, when Hadyn's "Creation " was sung, only one lady treble was present, the other females with musical touchiness having ** hung their harps upon the willows " on account of slight rebukes. The lady treble, now nearing eighty years of age, is Mrs. Ben Hirst, nee Miss Lavinia Charlesworth, one of the many noted Chorus Ningers from this part who, in the past, were in great request at the famous Crystal Palace Concerts of the late Queen Victoria's days. What was to be done ? There was a large audience seated in the National School, a full chorus of powerful voices and a great number of instrumentalists waiting on the platform. The Concert pro- ceeded, Mrs. Hirst upholding alone the treble part throughout the work, her voice sounding most effective though heavily weighted with a strong male chorus. Persons who know the

exacting nature of the high treble notes required in singing

many parts of "The Creation," such as " The heavens are telling,"-" On mighty pens,"-" Marv'lous Works,"-" The Lord is great," etc., will realise that it was a noteworthy performance.

The Society continued to flourish for a long time under well- known Presidents and local help. In 1861, when Handel's ** Joshua" was performed, the late Sir Thomas Brooke was President. The late George Jessop, Junior, Esq. was at once time also President, followed by G. W. Farrar, Esq., W. H. Walker, Esq. and other well-known local gentlemen. In the year 1886, the once famous Choral Society was broken up. In 1896, the ashes of the old society was again formed into life, and re-named °" Honley Musical Society." This did not long continue. Again another resurrection which was also short- lived, for our present generation do not live in the strains of Handel, Mozart, etc. as did the old.

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Music being the birthright of almost all who are born on our hill-sides, it is not an agreeable task to single out for special mention one particular musician of a past or present day. As in the past, Honley is still a land of song. Music is in every corner, beautiful voices sounding in hall, cottage, church and chapel. They can be heard side by side with the rattle of the loom, or floating on the night air from a returning pleasure party, all parts of the music blending together in perfect harmony. In the past, as at present, many natives of Honley have taken no insignificant part in Cathedral Choirs, Musical Festivals and World-Tours. The late Mr. George Allen Beaumont was a great musical genius, whose playing upon the organ won great praise from eminent musical critics. The death at the age of nineteen years of this clever youthful organist cut short a promising career. Miss Smythe possessed a soprano voice of great power. Mr. Alexander Lee, a young singer of a later date has a tenor voice of much sweetness. There are also many others of more than local fame who are worthy of mention even in a land of harmony.

Details regarding numerous Societies, Glee-parties, and other kindred Associations cannot be here given. They have been many and varied claiming wonderful beginnings, but rather prosaic endings. Out of door " sings," held upon Honley Feast Sunday and other Sundays have now become common. The religious music of old-time composers is still as popular as formerly, and grand old hymns and tunes, so familiar and loved by dwellers in the neighbourhood, are heartily sung by assembled crowds. In the history of the National School will be found particulars of the successes of the school children in "* The Mrs. Sunderland Musical Competitions," held at Hudders- field. We thus see, that as fresh and new as spring-time the love of music is re-assertive amongst us ; and to-day Honley is still a nest of singing-birds.

Brass BAND.

The present Honley Prize Band was formed in 1865. Pre- viously there had been a noted old Band in existence, many

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of its members being well-known performers upon their respective instruments at Choral and other Concerts. The members of the present Band when formed in 1865 were chiefly young men connected with Church, Chapels and various Sunday Schools, whilst others were members of old musical families in Honley. They each paid £1 to enter as a member. The first new instruments were supplied by Messrs. Higham, of Manchester, the well-known musical instrument makers. The Trustees for the safe finances of the Band were Mr. William Brooke, Mr. George Wm. Farrar, and Mr. Wm. Hy. Walker. Mr. William Brooke gave out these first instruments to the members at the National School, where rehearsals took place. Members from Meltham Mills Band came to Honley, and played around the village upon the new instruments to the great delight of the inhabitants. At night, all dined together at the Commercial Inn. It is interesting to known the names of first members of the Band. They are as follows :-Joseph Swift, Wright Renshaw, John William Holdroyd, Edwin Holdroyd, Joseph Holdroyd, George Brooke, John Garside, Henry Smith, Lawton Smith, George Taylor, Ben Brooke, Edwin Boothroyd, Henry Knutton, Richard Bingley, George Dyson, Benjamin Carter, Willie Wilson, John Pearson and Irvin Wood. Death has claimed nearly all these once enthusiastic members. The Band has always been fortunate in securing good and efficient conductors in the persons of Mr. Henry Smith, John Berry, of Meltham Mills, J. Gladney, Wright Renshaw, Seth Coldwell, and the present Mr. Fred Berry.

During the time that the Band was under the conductor- ship of Mr. J. Gladney the famous Brass Band Conductor of that day, it reached a high standard of efficiency. The Band took Kirst Prize on September lst, 1884, at Belle Vue, Man- chester, beating at this annual contest such famous Bands as ** Black Dyke" and Linthwaite. As this contest is looked upon as one of great importance, there was much rejoicing in the village at the victory. During the same year, they won First Prizes at Lincoln, Chapeltown, Worsborough Dale,

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1885 6-7 1884 1887


Queensbury, Guiseley, Southport, Rotherham, Gainsborough, Thurlstone, etc. Also second Prizes at Kettering, Batley, etc. In 1885-6-7 they failed to hold premier position at the Annual Belle Vue Contest, and fell behind to fourth place. From 1884 to 1887, the total number of prizes won were 32 Firsts, 13 Seconds, 7 Thirds, 6 Fourths, 1 Fifth, and 1 Sixth Prize. Then came changes. Mr. J. Gladney ceased to conduct, and members drifted one by one to the more successful Meltham Mills Band. When the latter went out of existence, thirteen Honley members returned to their own Band.

Honley Band is yet in a flourishing condition, and its present members as enthusiastic as of old. They are always ready to enliven our local rejoicings, religious, political or otherwise, by their inspiring music ; and Honley would indeed feel the loss of its Band. The present President is Alderman George Wm. Oldham, who has held the office for many years.

Haxnp-BELL Rinameo.

The young men members of the Church formed the first Hand-bell Ringing Society in Honley. Supplied by help from well-known friends with the best bells, the members became expert performers ; and the sweet music was greatly appreciated. As time passed, the members either tired of the music, or exacting practises ; and decided upon a rest. Another Society was formed under the name of " Wood Royd Hand- bell Ringers," whose performances became so proficient as to win prizes. These also considered that a change was beneficial, and I believe that the once sweetly-sounding bells are at present silent.


We have had other recreations in addition to music. Previous to the " George and Dragon " Inn being converted into the Working Man's Club, there was a spacious field behind the public house which is now covered by buildings and scored by roads. One of the best Cricket Clubs in the neighbourhood played upon the ground, nearly all its members being noted local cricketers, such as Mr. Joshua Robinson and his brother

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Charles, Mr. Robert Heap, Mr. Thomas Beardsell and his brother Brook, etc. I can remember that the batting powers of Mr. Joshua Robinson, and the bowling abilities of Mr. Robert Heap (the underhand bowling of the latter being termed "shoddy balls ") were considered wonderful. When the landlord of the " George and Dragon " Inn constructed the racecourse out of this field and those adjoining, the members migrated to a large and elevated field behind Northgate Mount placed at their disposal by Mr. William Brooke. Here the Club continued to flourish for a long time, until the present spacious ground was secured by the help of Mr. Brooke and other subscribers. Being part of one of the oldest estates in Honley, its rural seclusion had been preserved. With its picturesque pavilion, the field is not only one of the largest cricket-fields in the neighbourhood, but one of the old beauty- spots still left amongst us. Though numerous other Clubs in connection with various places of worship have been formed, the original Club still holds together. It has had its bright and dark days, ups and downs, sulks and recoveries. When the Club has been nearing highest honours, I have seen large and enthusiastic crowds line the field. If a member made a false step in a keenly contested struggle, the air has suddenly become highly charged with exacting criticism, fault-finders feeling convinced that they could have played the match much better.

I hope that this ground will always be preserved in our midst, for one of the most typical sights of the neighbourhood are our playing-fields on a Saturday afternoon.


There has been a change in this game since the days when the casing of footballs were made by our village shoemakers,- stuffed with bladders begged from our butchers,-and kicked under a moonlit-sky in any old pasture-field. The once boyish pastime has now become a National sport. Football Clubs formed both for adults and boys have been and are so numerous in Honley, that I am unable to give particulars of any special Club. Suffice to say, that as winter approaches the striped J

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1884 1888




jerseys of Football teams dot the green fields in place of white clad cricketers. ‘


This Club was formed in June, 1889, and its first President was Miss Niddon. It had a large membership at that time, and was in a very flourishing condition. Interest however gradually waned, and the number of members dwindled. The Club has since been formed into new life, and has regained much of its old standing with regard to members.

FrowEr Snow.

Honley has also floated its Flower Shows. The first Exhibition was held on August 8th, 1884, and continued annually until 1888. A succession of wet and windy days in each year when the Show was held proved disastrous, and prevented people from attending. The Flower Show eventually became merged in the present Poultry Show, which is still annually held under cover in November.

Other recreations which have been features of the past will be found under histories of Schools, Institutions, Holidays, etc. with which they were associated.

SPORTS. Burr-BArtina.

In the past, many amusements and diversions of Honley people may have been of a brutal character, but they were typical of the age. On the other hand, we have seen that the intellectual and refined interested the minds of other dwellers. Bull-baiting was once a popular sport in England, and patronized by Royalty. Queen Elizabeth, King James I. and Queen Anne all took delight in the cruel sport. In 1802 a Bill was introduced into Parliament to suppress the dis- graceful exhibition, but so popular was the National pastime, that it was not until 1835 that Bull-baiting was made illegal by law. A dam of water covers the deep hollow in Thirstin where Bull-baitings took place at Honley Feast. I can only

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describe what I have heard old people repeat who were witnesses of the baitings in Thirstin, but these accounts are trustworthy. Their statements made deep impression upon the writer even if only yourg at the time, being a great lover of animals. A retentive memory has helped me not to forget the least detail of this old-time sport.

Imagination must re-construct the once natural hollow surrounded on all sides by sloping furze-covered hill-sides, uncrossed by roads, or covered with buildings as at present. Here was brought the bull, one often coming from Flockton. Sometimes the animal was decorated with ribbons and heralded ‘by a band of music. The stake was fixed in the middle of the hollow to which the bull was tied by a rope four or five feet long. Seated, or standing, upon the sloping hill-sides, or any place suitable for sight-seeing, were thousands of spectators all eager for the sport. The dogs were then brought to the fray. Both bull and dogs had previous training. If the dogs were of a peaceable nature, and did not give encouraging signs of future fierceness, there were a few Honley natives who understood how to practise cruel arts upon the animals to make them savage. Failing, even after these torments, to rise to their owner's idea of courage ; the dogs were destroyed. Savage animals were applauded, and kept for future exhibitions, and I have listened to many anecdotes of the " pinning " powers of certain dogs of a past day. The dogs did not resemble the low, cloddy, pure-bred bull-dogs of the present day. These are a modern production. The Bull-baiting dog of old time was a cross between the present breed and an undersized mastiff. The latter were descendants of the watch-dogs formerly in use as guards against Moss-troopers and other objectionable visitors. Crossed with the bull-dog breed of that day, a formidable animal both of strength and grip was produced, which answered to Charlotte Bronte's description of " Tartar " in " Shirley." Owners of dogs previously entered them for the sport paying a small fee. I forget the number of times a dog was allowed to be slipped at the bull before being withdrawn, but I think it was "three slips and a bite."

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If the dog succeeded in " pinning " the bull-that is-bringing him down to his knees, and holding him fast by the nose ; a prize of five shillings was given to owner. - Often the bull tossed a young unwary animal high in the air. People and owner would rush to catch the inexperienced warrior, or else it would be badly hurt in its fall. On the other hand, sometimes the bull had to trample a plucky animal to death with his fore- legs before able to break the dog's grip from his nose.. If the bull was so injured by dogs that it was unable to endure a second baiting, it was sold to the nearest butcher, an idea prevailing that the flesh of a baited-bull was very tender, and therefore much prized.

When younger, I have heard my father, who was born in 1806, relate particulars of two exhibitions in Thirstin at which he was present as a youth. The crowd was so vast at one baiting, that his nearest standing-point was on the top of (Green Cliffe rocks which had then an unbroken view of the hollow. This was the year when a bull broke loose from the stake, scattering sight-seers right and left in its escape from its tormentors. It raced a long distance until it sought shelter in a wood, where it fell from exhaustion. Here it was caught and goaded back again to the stake. Another year, my father obtained a place nearer the stake to which an animal was tethered that was reported to be of great courage. After waving red flags before his eyes, blowing pepper up his nose, twisting his tail, goading him with iron prongs, etc., the animal refused to encounter the dogs. When pinned and brought to his knees by a tenacious animal, my father always declared with conviction that he 'saw tears as large as peas running down from the eyes of the bull, and that his bellowings were pitiful to hear. The cruelty practised upon this animal was so great, that my father left the scene, and never again witnessed a Bull-baiting. The secret of the bull's disinclina- tion to gore or toss the dogs slipped at him was the fact, that a dog kept at the farm where the bull had been reared had been his playmate and companion. The uproar of the crowd was so great at the deprivation of their sport, that they fell to fight-

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SAMUEL NORCLIFFE. (see page 149).

Huntsman with Honley Hounds at Bottom of Gate.

LD HUNTING HORN, formerly belonging to Mr. Sam Norcliffe, Huntsman. HOOF of his famous old hunter '* Stiff Breeches."

(see page 149),

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ing each other. These combats were of frequent occurrence at Honley Bull-baitings, chiefly with the residents of Skelmanthorpe and Crosland.

Such was the fiendish sport known as Bull-baiting !


When moorlands and woodlands were more extensive around Honley than at present, hunting was a popular sport. Farmers and their servants often thrashed corn all night, and weavers toiled at their looms by the light of rushlights ; so that all could enjoy a day's hunting on the morrow. Honley hounds, whether trencher-fed or kennelled, were truly a pack of the people. Formerly there were few families in the place who had not at one time or another kept a hound, each Inn, yard, or fold having its Banker, Music, Towler or Bilberry. In addition, Nudger would find a home at Castle Hill side, Blossom on the opposite side of the valley at Oldfield, Ring- wood at Crosland and so on. Of the same breed as Penistone hounds, the oldest pack in Great Britain ; Honley hounds possessed equal strength, size and stamina that are required for hunting in our rough mocrland neighbourhood with its high stone walls. Of more majestic size than a foxhound, large head, long in back, deep in chest, and voices musical as __ bells, their ears in the words of Shakespere " Swept away the morning dew." Records of early hunting days in Honley are lost, so that I am only able to go as far back in their history as my memory will carry me. This was in the days when Mr. William Sykes, of Lindley, was master of the pack, and Mr. Sam Norcliffe the huntsman. The hounds were collected by the " whipper-in " early on a hunting morning from distant hill-side and sequestered farmstead. Their eagerness for the chase was expressed in musical gladness, which floated to our ears whilst the fields were white with dew, and the morning mists hung around. Then came the full outburst of hound joy when released from their temporary kennels at the bottom of " Gate.'"-the red-coated Sam Noreliffe on horseback,- the cracking of whips, -the rebukes to the too eager Bellman or Lively, and the followers of the sport on horseback and foot.

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When on our way to school, it was a picturesque and fascinat- ing sight to watch hounds, with gaily-waving flags, each dog being known to us by name, red-coated horsemen and hardy followers on foot pass through the village ; or to view them upon a distant hill-side streaming over field and copse.

At that time, hares were more plentiful than at present, and famous runs were often recorded, Sam Norcliffe being a huntsman who tolerated no dog in his pack that merely made up the cry, and did not hunt. Honley hounds also frequently visited other districts for the purpose of hunting, especially the neighbourhood of Penistone, and friendly visits between the two packs were of long standing. Mr. J. H. Dransfield, of Penistone, the writer of its history, and a great lover of its hounds, told me that on one occasion Honley hounds joined the Penistone pack for the purpose of hunting a wild stag provided by Mr. Charles Wortley. The meet was at Wortley, and after a long chase, the stag was killed. To prove the strength and stamina of Honley hounds of that day, the dogs walked carly in the morning to Wortley, had an arduous day of hunting over a rough part of the country, and at the end of the chase, were dismissed with the huntsman's order to '* get away home," his whip curling around tired bodies and limbs helping tardy movements. If the end of a day's chase found dogs and followers a long way from home, this spartan dismissal was common, the dogs finding their way home as best they could.

During the time that Mr. Sam Norcliffie was huntsman, it was also a custom to hunt one week in each season over the estates of Mr. Spencer, at Cawthorne, Mr. Blackett, at Bretton, and the Bosville lands at Gunthwaite. The dogs were kennelled for this purpose at the old foxhound kennels at Cawthorne. Mr. Dransfield informed me that the week was spent in old hunting fashion by the guests then assembled. This was hard riding during the day, and at night generous fare, songs sung, toasts drunk, and gallant deeds of horses and hounds recalled. I have also a dim remembrance of the hounds having day's hunts with Bramham Moor pack, when large fields assembled.

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PRESENT PACK. (see page 149).

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Often a fox was hunted in Honley which had been presented by a neighbouring hunt. It was previously turned out upon Honley Moor, and a large crowd generally assembled. Former supporters and followers of Honley hounds once held races at Fixby Hall in connection with the hunt. I have been in- formed that the present Rockwood Steeplechases owe their origin to the Fixby Hall fixture once held in connection with Honley hunt.

After the death of Mr. Sykes and Mr. Norcliffe, the hunt was carried on for a time by a Committee. This did not prove a success. Mr. Frederick Eastwood, of Huddersfield, next undertook the mastership, and retained the position about 12 years. The remnants of the once grand pack were gathered together, and kennelled upon Honley Moor, Mr. Jonathan Cole acting as huntsman, and his brother David as whip. Foxhound blood was introduced in 1880, that in my idea spoiled the size, beauty, and distinctive character of the hounds. Supporters of the hunt say, that the cross has since been eliminated. I find from long experience that a bad cross in animals, like human beings, is apt to crop up again in future generations. Under the generous mastership of Mr. Eastwood, the hunt regained much of its old prestige ; but his death again brought changes. The present hounds are now a foot pack, known as " Holmfirth, Honley and Meltham Hunt," under the management of a Committee.

As population increases, and wild bits of nature decrease, hunting in our neighbourhood becomes more difficult each season. The old race of men who clung to their hill-sides

and whose food was oatmeal porridge washed down by home-

brewed beer are gone. Sound of wind and limb, they earned by hard toil a day's hunting which satisfied them for the rest of the year. These men have been replaced by a less strong race, whose food of tea and bread and employment in factories are not favourable for a day's following of the hounds on foot. Yet we have a few stalwart followers of the hounds in Honley, such as David Lunn and others, who are true-bred sons of the hills in their love for the chase. To those also who saw the

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fine collection of local hounds entered at Holmfirth Show in 1911, that I judged, I venture to say that they had not their equal for size, beauty, and strength in Great Britain. It would be a matter of regret to all lovers of hunting if these grand old hounds are allowed to become extinct.

Hunting songs are not now so frequently heard as of old. After a hard day's run, the strains of " Old Towler," " John Peel," and other songs of the chase floated out to passers by from bar or kitchen of once noted hostelries. Often the song of " Old Towler," with its ranting chorus of " With my hey-ho chivy " sung by lusty voices to cheer the return homewards, awoke the echoes of silent hill-sides. Below is copied out an old hunting-song, which was a favourite with old members of Honley hunt of a past day, and which is typical of the sport in the early part of last century. My excuse for insertion is, that many, if not all, of our local songs once so popular in our midst are forgotten, or only live in the memory of older people.

A Sone.

*'Twas a fine hunting day, and as balmy as May, And the hounds to the village did come. Every friend will be there, and all trouble and care Will be left far behind us at home. See servants and steeds on their way, And sportsmen their scarlet display, Let's join the glad throng that goes laughing along, And we'll all go out hunting to-day.


So we'll all go out hunting to-day, All nature looks balmy and gay, Let's join the glad throng that goes laughing along, And we'll all go out hunting to-day.

Farmer Hodge to his dame, says ' I'm sixty and lame., Times are hard and my rent I can't pay, But I don't care a jot if I raise it or not, For I must go out hunting to-day.

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There's a hare in yon planting they say, Let us find her and get her away, I'll be first up yon hill, and be in at the kill,

_ For I must go out hunting to-day.'-CHoORUS.

See the doctor in boots with a breakfast that suits, Of strong home-brewed ale and good beef, His patient in pain, says 'I've called once again To consult you in hope of To the poor he advice gives away, To the rich he prescribes and takes pay, But to all of them said ° You will shortly be dead, If you don't go out hunting to-day.'-CHoRrUs.

Then the judge sits in Court, and gets wind of the sport For the lawyers apply to adjourn ; And no witnesses come, there is none left at home, They have followed the hounds and the horn, Says his Worship ° great fines they shall pay If they will not our summons obey, But 'tis very fine sport, so we'll break up the Court, And we'll all go out hunting to-day.'-CHoRUs.

Then the village bells chime, there's a wedding at nine, And the parson unites the fond pair, But when he heard the sweet sound of the horn and the hounds, And he knew 'twas his time to be there, Says he 'for your welfare I'll pray, And regret I no longer can stay, You are safely made one, I must quickly be gone, For I must go out hunting to-day.'-CHorus.

None are left in the lurch, for all friends of the Church With beadles, and clerks, and all they Are determined to go, and shout ' Tally-ho " And the bell-ringers joined in the rear, With bridegrooms and brides in array ; Each one to the other did say, 'Let's join the glad throng that goes laughing along, And we'll all go out hunting to-day.'-CHxorus.

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1859- 60


- There's only one cure for all maladies sure That reaches the heart to its core, That's the sound of the horn on a fine hunting morn, And where is the heart wishing more ® It turneth the grieved into gay, Makes pain unto pleasure give way, Makes the weak become strong, and the old become

young, So we'll all go out hunting to-day."-CHoRuUs.

According to an extract from the diary of Rev. Robert Meeke, which will be found in another part of the history, foot-racing was a popular sport on Sundays in Honley in the year 1689. The sport long continued, races generally taking place upon highways during the last century. Often the landlords of public-houses organized races, offering a copper- kettle as a prize. As tea was a prohibited luxury in most homes at the time of the " hungry forties," copper kettles were of no use only as ornaments or heirlooms. As time went on, foot-racing was brought more into the line of recognised sport for the success of which a special training was required. Mr. Joseph Haigh, landlord of the " George and Dragon " Inn, converted the large cricket field, previously named, into one of the finest tracks in the country for foot-racing. This was about 1859 or 1860, when foot-racing was in full swing in the neighbourhood. Celebrated running athletes from all parts of the country competed on the track, and many were trained in the village. A running champion was as much an object of hero-worship as a present-day football or cricket celebrity. (Great crowds came from all parts to witness the contests for victory on the track, and large sums of money were wagered. Like as at present in the present popular game of football, the younger generation imitated the older in their sports. The ambitious of many youths at that period took the form of excelling in running, and strenuous self-training was the order of the day. Money was spent in buying pumps and drawers in place of footballs and jerseys as at present. Advantage

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was taken of each spare hour to practise running with perhaps beneficial results to health in after years when youthful fever for training had run its course.

Amongst celebrated runners fifty years ago, was Arthur Boothroyd, of Honley, a steady youth belonging to an old clothing family whose grandfather is mentioned as carrying his piece of cloth to Manchester, under the heading of the staple trade of the district.. A challenge went forth to the world for-" Hather" as he was locally named to run for a mile any other athlete at the same age. This was not taken up, so that his powers at that age remained unchallenged. He however retired early from the track on account of his objections to the large sums of money wagered upon his performances, only running for the love of the game. There were other well- known runners who were either trained in Honley or ran upon its race-course. Their names fifty years ago were household words to sportsmen of a past day, notably John Neary, James Nuttall, William Lang, who for a long number of years held the world's record as the half-mile champion,. and others of lesser note.

When Mr. William Brooke purchased the " George and Dragon " Inn, in 1864, for the purpose of closing the racing- track, another was opened at Oldfield by Mr. Joseph Haigh, the landlord. This did not long continue. (See history of Oldfield).


Whippett, or Snap-racing as it is locally named, is a working- man's recreation in the North, where the sport has flourished

over one hundred years. Formerly it was a popular Saturday afternoon's recreation in Honley, and we had at one time many celebrated Whippett-racing dogs. As Yorkshire sportsmen are

proud to recall past winners of the St. Leger, so many in more humble walks of life love to speak of past performances of a Dick or Nance which covered the ground in such a time, and which they trained with much patience and self-sacrifice.

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This breed of dog generally termed a " running dog," was produced originally from a cross between an English greyhound and an Italian greyhound ; possessing the swiftness and stamina of the former, with the slender limbs and fine beauty of the latter. These dogs wearing muzzles to prevent them picking up objectionable food, and protected by covering on account of tender delicacy of skin, were familiar in Honley streets when being trained. An important person for the success of the sport was the " slipper," or the man who holds the dog for the purpose of sending it off at the right moment. The loss of half a yard by bad "slipping" means much to working men who have probably backed their own or neigh- bour's dog to win large stakes. Sport has developed more modern outlets upon which time and money is now spent. I do not think that Whippett-racing is so eagerly followed as fomerly, when large sums of money depended upon the slender limbs of these dogs.


Cock-fighting, like Bull-baiting, was a National sport until declared illegal by law. After being thus prohibited, the pastime was long carried on secretly in Honley as in other places. I can recall mains being fought at early dawn upon Honley Moor, and other isolated places in our township. Game- cocks with deliberate walk, menzcing feet, and alert suspicious eyes of the old fighting breed were common, for the sport died hard upon our hill-sides.


Pigeon-flying was also a working man's recreation in Honley. This has now become a fashionable hobby, and the old name of " flying " is changed to " Homing."

We had also other popular sports. Many sports now witnessed at out-door Agricultural Shows are only repetitions of older forms of amusement once common amongst us ; cycle and automobile competitions taking the place of foot and horse-racing.

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Many of our games which older people associate with youthful years date back to Anglo-Saxon times. A fourteenth century M.S. represents a lady and gentleman playing at draughts. The game of checks dates as far back as 1599. One day I was surprised to hear a young lady declare that she had never heard about checks, though born in the place. This old game, which requires practice and skill, is as follows:-throw the four checks down, bounce the pot-ball or marble as it is named, gather up first one check, then two, next three, and lastly all four, catching marble at same time. We did not require our finger nails cut and manicured in those days. Kneeling down on cold stone flags, causeways, etc. the stone performed that office for us when sweeping up in triumph the last four checks and bouncing marble. Dominoes, nine-pins, whipping-top,

knur and spell, hand-ball, blindman's-buff, battledore, etc.,

are all old games. One children's game named " Johnny Ringo," has been in use over 100 years. It is as follows :-

'* Johnny, Johnny Ringo, Who goes about me Oh ! Nobody but poor Johnny, Don't steal all mi sheep, No more I will, no more I may, Steal, and steal em all away, One by one, two by two, And away wi thee."

Another old game is named " Black-thorn."

One cries out-" Black-thorn." The other replies-'" New Milk and Barley-corn." The question-" How many sheep have you to-day ? " The answer-" More than you can catch and carry away.'"

Many other old familiar games and their ditties could be recalled, which renew their life in each younger generation.

OLp LANDMARKS. I often feel regret that many old landmarks of Honley should

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have been carelessly given cver to destruction without any effort being made for their preservation, or even to keep a record of their history.


The houses in Thirstin, known as Victoria Place, now occupy the site of the old Workhouse which was demolished over 50 years ago. Previous to that old erection, there had been a build- ing of some kind standing upon the site. The first mention that I can find of this Workhouse is that on February 8th, 1703. a town's meeting was held empowering the Chapelwarden and Overseer to repair the gates and building. Evidently there were no master or mistress appointed, Poor Laws at that time being in a continual state of change. The next interesting event was, that an advertisement was ordered to be sent to the " Leeds Mercury " inviting applications for the post of Master and Mistress. It was also decided that the inhabitants of Crosland should join with Honley for the purpose of carry- ing on the building in future as a regular Workhouse under control of Honley Chapelwarden and Overseer, Crosland at that period being under Honley with regard to its civil and religious affairs. This building was in use until 1763, when a new erection was contemplated. In an old agreement, dated December 3rd, 1763, made between Chapelwarden and Over- seer and William Booth and William Pogson, the two latter undertook the work. It is interesting to note the value of labour and material at that date. The following is a copy of the old agreement :-

''That the said William Booth and William Pogson shall erect a building in Thirstin in the manner and form following, viz :-The same wideness of the old building and to roof with the same, and in length hollow eight yards four, three lights windows in the lower room, one yard six inches high, and one foot six inches wide each light, and to be arched over with brick in the inside and four windows in the upper rooms, one fire-place in each room, the low room firestead to be four feet wide, and the chamber to be thirty inches wide to be run up the rig, and that they, the said William Booth and William

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Pogson, shall find all materials except bricks, paving, slate and scaffolding, lime and mortar, and to sample in workmanship the house of George Batley, and to finish and complete the same in or before the 24th day of June next ensuing-for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen pounds, five shillings.

William Williams. ) - Matthew Haigh, | Chapelwarden

James Thornton. j James Armitage, i & Overseer. The site for this old Workhouse was given to the town by the Lord Dartmouth of that day, and it sufficed for the needs of Honley poor until the Poor Law Authorities altered the old state of affairs, and the present Workhouse at Deanhouse was erected. My earliest recollection of the old Workhouse was of a low and plain stone building with small windows, white- washed outside, and enclosed by a high wall. I have also a vivid remembrance of its once noted inmates. The township had to keep its own poor in those days, and the inhabitants looked upon the inmates in the light of dependent children. At the worst, the paupers generally received " more half-pence than kicks." The capable and willing had encouragement and help, whilst the hopeless and infirm were treated with indulgence and tolerance. The able-bodied male inmates, or those, to quote a local saying, who were " strong i'th back and weak i'th head " had to work in return for food and shelter. Dressed in the then recognised garb of corduroy trousers and velveteen coats, they swept or scraped up mud from the roads which at that time was plentiful ; or in other ways worked for the township. Labour not being restricted, many carried water from the wells to private houses after work-hours to earn pocket-money. Those who were able, attended Sunday service in Church, and sat in rather conspicuous seats which at that time were underneath the " three-decker pulpit."

There are persons in Honley who can recall the " characters " who once found shelter in the old Workhouse, and who con- sidered themselves no small fractions of the community. Many laid proud claims to special deformities of body, or were dis- tinguished by oddities of speech and manner from which they were generally named-their surnames being forgotten. There

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was Joe " Sprod," whose immortal sentence of " say we then," will be found in " Characteristics Sayings of Honley." From year end to year end, Joe demanded his penny per week from friends he patronised by his attentions, with an extra demand for holidays. Joe absolutely refused to receive any sum either more or less than a penny. There were old Waterloo soldiers who were in a perpetual state of war with officials, unable even behind Workhouse walls to lay aside military ardour. A few cherished a malignant hatred towards us children, looking upon us as enemies who might with advantage be destroyed. - Harry " Bow-wow," " Dog Ben," " Deaf Nathan," etc., also claimed their older friends and younger tormentors in the village. Then we older people all remember harmless ** Charlie," or " Charlie 0° owd Mallys " who " cowled " the roads with melancholy caution befitting a man who only received " meat for work.'' There were others also, whose stagnant depths could be aroused either to vindictive alertness at fancied injuries, or assume airs of innocence in expectation of coming good. We had also feminine inmates of varied characters, one noted Sallie being often in disgrace on account of increasing the birth-rate more than was desirable in her walk of life. Another with militant tendencies was always in a state of chronic insurrection. I can recall to memory one who had twitching muscles combined with a scarred face, who delighted in behaving badly in Church, often saying " Amen " at the wrong time, or making faces at us children to our great delight. She had a sister who, as if conscious of her inferiority, was always ready to drop the humble curtsey. There was also a well-known feminine character who when given sixpence for being " soft," quickly exclaimed that she had also a sister who was " soft."

At that time there were no evening services held in Church as at present, candles being the only illuminating power. Sunday evening services took place in the old Workhouse, which were well attended, and much valued by the most intelligent inmates who were unable to attend services in Church. The Workhouse services continued to be held for many years,

Page 205

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bringing outside friends and inmates into close friendship. The services, -friends,-inmates,-and those who devoted their Sunday evenings to the duty, were all part and parcel of a past primitive life no longer with us.

When the present Workhouse was erected at Deanhouse, and managed under new laws and regulations, the old Work- house in Thirstin was closed, and its inmates removed to Deanhouse. Many of the leading inhabitants of Honley proposed erecting new town offices upon the old site. Plans were prepared, but evidently our local statesmen were very cautious in those days in spending ratepayers' money. It was resolved to sell the site and apply the proceeds of its sale for the good of the town.

Town Haut.

The old Town Hall stood at the bottom of Cuckoo-lane. It 1911 was pulled down in 1911 on account of its dangerous state, and also for the widening of Cuckoo-langé. Formerly all public business was transacted there when not taken to the vestry of the Church. In the account of Sunday Schools it will be seen 1814- that it was also in use as a Sunday School from 1814 to 16 1816. It was a plain stone erection, but one of Honley's old landmarks, which should have been restored and respected for its associations.


The Stepping-stones which enabled people to cross the river to Honley Old Mill have been replaced by a bridge. This ancient fording road to the mill where once Honley tenants were

forced to grind corn and mill cloth has been in use since the time of Edward IIL.


The Stocks stood formerly at the top of " Gate" close to 1870 the pinfold. When the " Gate" was widened in 1870, this ancient engine of punishment was nearly destroyed. The late Mr. Joseph Whitworth removed the few unbroken remains K

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to his garden for preservation. People who had imbibed too freely of brown October ale brewed by old-time landlords of Honley, were placed in the Stocks by the Constable until they had slept off its effects. Persons who transgressed in other ways were also placed in the Stocks, Magistrate and Constable having power to punish local offences if not of a very serious nature. Once the village pindar, who had a reputation for finding straying cattle before being lost, was carried to the Stocks by indignant owners, and subjected for many hours to their jeers and laughter until the Constable came to his rescue. Drunkenness was not considered a great crime, so that often an indulgent crowd supplied both beer, company, and song to a victim whom they considered more "sinned against than sinning." I am familiar with the name of the man who was placed in Honley Stocks for the last time on account of being intoxicated. Good cheer of a varied character was brought to him to enliven the irksome hours of his confinement. It was always stated that he was unable to recover from the effects of imbibing Holland's gin, Jamaica rum, a bottle of wine, beer, and other liquid mixtures, which were all generously supplied to him until many weeks had elapsed. I am indebted to Mrs. Dearnley, the daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Whitworth for a sketch of the old Stocks as they originally stood at the top of " Gate " when in use ; and also for the sketch of the stepping- stones. ‘


The once high-walled prison for dumb trespassers is now out of use. The last pindar appointed by the Ancient Court Leet was Joseph Moorhouse, better known as "Joah O' Neds." We often found wonderful zest in life around the pinfold when Joah had impounded a poor half-starved horse or donkey. At the news of the exciting event, we children were wont to climb the high wall, and gaze with such apprehensive wonder upon the dumb prisoners, that sometimes one of our number fell into the stream of water running from Honley well through the ground of the pinfold. Like unto offices of Constable and Pindar, the pin-fold is now no longer required.

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HonLEey OLD TOWN HALL, now demolished. (see page 161).

RISING STEPS, formerly standing on Far End Green. (see page 163),

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In the days when railways were undreamed about, Rising- steps were common near houses of any pretensions. These ancient "louping on " or mounting-steps were in use for a man to mount his horse easily, and also of the same help to a woman who rode behind him. One of the most familiar objects at one time in Honley, were the Rising-steps standing upon Far End Green. Though the ground was private pro- perty, the inhabitants had so long enjoyed the use of the unenclosed ground, that they thought it belonged to the village. To enlarge the Cricket-field to its present fine dimensions, a large slice of the rural green was taken in, including two beech trees whose branches leaned with out- stretched arms over the Rising-steps. The latter was thus lost to sight to passers by. Storms and time have destroyed one old tree which overshadowed the steps. The earth-bound ties of the other still brave the elements. This tree, and two lonely sentinels standing in the Cricket-field, are the last remnants of a once grand beech-tree avenue belonging to this old-world estate. Neglect had also allowed the old Rising- steps to tumble to pieces, helped on by innocent destruction of children. The writer, with the consent of the Stewards of the Estate, however, has rescued the " Rising-steps " from total destruction, thus preserving one old link of a past Honley.

Since the "louping-on " days, the Rising-steps which once stood upon the green has served for many purposes. Children now grown old, and older people long since gone to their rest, would gather upon and around them in summer twilights to repeat old-world stories of fairies and boggarts ; or in turn, listen to old-world legends. It was there that lovers met and parted. Many tired mothers who, perhaps, at their marriage had left the sunshine of life behind them, rested with their children, no doubt recalling days when they were not tired. Sometimes the steps served as a rostrum for religious and political preachings, or the meeting-place of village statesmen. Formerly the Primitive Methodists held their annual camp- meetings upon the green, the speakers mounting the steps,

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and assembled worshippers seating themselves upon the grass. At Honley Feast, often the village fighting champion and his backers resorted to the green to encounter a neighbouring enemy, who had declared that he could thrash his Honley adversary, and eat him up if necessary.


This old mill now in ruins can boast of an ancient history, and readers will find its mention in early Sales of Land recorded in this book. Many of the old inhabitants of Honley can recall the mill nestling in the once sylvan hollow beside the stream,- its sleepy flour-sprinkled men,-and the general whiteness all around. With fascinated gaze we loved to watch the ponderous water-wheel moving slowly down to unknown depths, and with its dripping ribs as slowly emerge again. In those days there rested an air cf brooding mystery over the hollow. Childish imaginations peopled dark rooms and obscure corners of the mill with strange inhabitants ; and at the approach of gloaming fearful creatures, known as ** bloody-tongues '"' and other monsters, of which we could form no conception, were supposed to haunt the mill-stream. When the yearly harvest had been gathered, and threshers with their flails had filled sacks with grain, they were carried down the deep-rutted lane to grind at the mill. (I suppose corn was worth growing in those days ?) Old Matthew, the miller, would give us children a handful of " shellings," the local name for grains of corn cleaned from the husks. No luxury in after life tasted half so sweet as those " shellings."

The slumberous peacefulness of the hollow was first disturbed by the erection of a Woollen Mill. This was built by the late Mr. William Haigh, a son of Mr. Joseph Haigh, of Hall Ing, mentioned in Wood Royd history. He also built a residence near, and named it Hope Bank. There was a path between the Woollen Mill and Smithy Place running by the side of the dam and river. The mill was destroyed by fire, and afterwards left untenanted. The path by the side of the dam was closed on account of its danger. Time and nature softened the

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1267 1662



gaunt looks of the wrecked mill, mosses and grass covering its walls, and water-rushes the dam. Flowers were left un- molested by the side of the stream, and other growths of wild nature gave back to the hollow its original look of peace and silence.

Mtr. J. W. Mellor eventually purchased the property, and has gradually changed the picturesque hollow to a modern pleasure resort named after the residence. The thousands of visitors who throng to this beautiful place on Bank and other holidays, have long since dispersed all fairies and boggarts which were supposed to haunt the low-lying land after dark. True, the walls of the old Corn Mill are still standing, but deserted and dismantled with weeds growing around ; the building can suggest no pleasant recollections to strangers who visit the more enticing and well-cared for part of the grounds.


As we have seen, the early modes of locomotion were slow and cumbersome on account of the shocking state of the roads, if such they could be named, that it was marvellous how the trade of the country could be carried on. Tolls originated in 1267, but it was not until 1662 that the first Act of Parliament was passed regarding roads. This Act was for the purpose of making roads, so that people could travel upon them with less danger. Turnpike gates were set up, so named on account of the gate turning on a post or pin admitting a person, but hindering an animal. The roads were thus named after these gates, an old coaching road in Honley still retaining its old name of Turnpike. After the passing of the Act in 1662, there was little improvement in roads for over one hundred years ; so that we need express no surprise when people drew up their wills previous to undertaking a journey to London. Rate- payers who were forced to help to make the new roads were greatly opposed to their construction. The setting-up of Turnpike Gates aroused greater indignation, especially amongst the class of people who were forced to travel by road. There were many night-raids by rioters with covered faces and

Page 214





dressed in women's clothes, who destroyed the obnoxious gates in their neighbourhood as quickly as they were erected. They were known as " Rebeccas," having adopted the name of an imaginary female of that name. The highwayman riding headlong, or the roistering sportsman returning home late would often leap over the barrier to escape paying the toll. The stage-wagon driver also frequently yoked his horses to the gates, and pulled them down, (In an old pamphlet, published May 6th, 1637, is the name of the place where the Yorkshire stage-wagon driver lodged or " baited" in London when travelling to and from with his wagon).

It was still unsafe travelling even when Turnpike Trusts, and the paying of tolls became universal, until such men as Melford and Macadam about 1818 brought knowledge to bear upon the construction and repair of roads ; which then increased rapidly. Thousands of miles of new highways were made, one noted road-maker being John Metcalfe, a blind man, better known as " Blind Jack, of Knaresborough." He constructed the fine highway to Holmfirth, cutting through what was then bog and forest. To give an example of the numerous toll-gates scattered over the country, there were three in Honley township within a radius of two miles, viz :- Honley Bar, Catch Bar, and Smithy Place Bar. About 1870, (am open to correction regarding exact date), toll-bars were abolished, and the making and maintenance of roads in future were to be undertaken by Local and County Councils.

The passing of coaches, the sound of the guard's horn, and the change of horses at the Inns were great events in the lives of our forefathers. These old toll-bar houses are mementoes of the time when highways were full of such picturesque traffic night and day. The houses are now disenfranchised, dis- endowed, and sold to people who would purchase them. With their small bow-windows commanding views of all roads they possess a distinctive character of their own which cannot be mistaken by observing eyes. It is to be hoped that they will long remain a feature of our highways as in the past, and not all be given over to ruthless destruction.

Page 215

CoRNER or BaANK's OLD CORN MILL, see page 164),

vea ooc es ea el linn IPT Snap acta ELEC E00 x ; - % 4

HonLey WELLS. (see page 167).

Page 217


Honxnury Bar.

This discarded bar-house was purchased by Mr. William Brooke, and is now used as a lodge for Northgate Mount, thus preserving one landmark. Previous to the opening of rail- ways, coal had to be carted from collieries in the neighbourhood of Kirkburton and Emley, in addition to local supplies at Hall Ing and Brockholes. Northgate Lane, or as it was generally named " Nogasts " Lane, was the only available highway at that time leading out of Honley to the Kirkburton and Emley coal-pits ; so that the tolls were of value.


This bar-house standing at the bottom of Gynn Lane is now rented as a dwelling-house. Previous to the opening of the branch line of railway to Meltham, coals and goods had to be carted to that place, Netherton, Crosland and other hamlets in that neighbourhood from Honley Station ; so that considerable traffic passed up and down Gynn Lane. The only alternative road to the station at that time was Cow Lane previously mentioned. It was seldom however that horses were put to the task of wading through the mud and water with the chance of eventually being stuck fast. The vexatious toll was generally paid as the lesser of two evils, so that Catch Bar was at one

time a source of large revenue.

SmItHy PuacE Bar.

This toll-gate was in readiness for all vehicles travelling on the main highway which runs through Brockholes, so that there was no escape in that quarter only for those who used

" shank's mare."


In old days Wells and Springs were so valuable that our forefathers dedicated them to Saints, and also assigned to the water certain qualities. These customs and beliefs were remnants of Popish superstition, there being scarcely a Well of note in Great Britain which has not been dedicated to a Saint in the Romish Calendar. We have our St. Helen's Well

Page 218




in Thirstin. St. Helen or Helena was the mother of Con- stantine the Great, and was supposed to be a native of Yorkshire ; so that more Wells were dedicated to her name in our county than to other Saints. In old Pagan worship, Thor was one of nature's Deities to whom sacrifice was then offered in primeval simplicity of heart. He was the god of air, storm and rain. The once natural hollow named Thurston, or as we now write it Thirstin, is named after Thor, the word Thor, as ages passed, gradually coming to be " Thur," whilst " ton " means dwelling, hence Thurston, or Thor's dwelling. No doubt the once sequestered hollow would be a place of worship in old Pagan days, to where the woad-stained Briton once roaming these forests would resort for the purpose of worship.

The spring would be in existence in those far-off days as at

present, many old legends and traditions still lingering around the place.

Honley is particularly favoured with numerous Springs and Wells. The well-known St. Helen's Well is the only spring in the place retaining a Saintly name, and at one time its water was supposed to possess many curative properties. The well was placed in its present position in 1850, on account of the original spring being situated in a dark corner difficult of access, from where the water is conveyed into the more modern trough. Honley Well in old days was an uncovered stream of water which found its way as at present from higher ground over the open space known as May-pole Hill, or Town-gate. In the year 1796, the city fathers, in the persons of Constable and Overseer, stepped in, covered the crystal stream as a preventa- tive against contamination, built a structure for the water ; thus preserving our ancient watercourse for future generations. St. Helen's and Honley Wells have never been known to run dry even in the most droughty season. We have also beautiful old wells and springs of water at Hagg,-Deanhouse,-Smithy Place,-Hall Ing,-Spring-wood,-OId Moll, -Nan Hob,- Moor-bottom,-New-drop, etc. - In addition, they are numerous around the outskirts of the township, also in private houses, folds, yards, etc. The water at Nan-Hob Spring was once

Page 219



also highly valued for possessing certain good properties. At one time it was customary to make a pilgrimage to the Spring early in the morning of the first Sunday in May, and drink of the water. I think that this health-giving custom of early rising and drinking pure water is not now observed.

The meanings attached to the names of Nan-Hob and Old Moll Springs have often puzzled me. It is difficult to say whether they are only dialect names, or derived from the Norse. Nan is used for mag-pie or " pinot." The word is also a quarry term for a fault in stone. Hop means a hollow amongst hills through which a brook runs. This description can be applied to the situation of Nan-Hob, and local dialect may have changed hop to hob. With regard to old Moll. The marsh marigold which once grew in abundance around the well is named Moll in old local dialect. The word Molle in Norse stands for mill. The ancient mill which once stood by the spring may have given its name to the water. On the other hand, when nature's myths and poetic legends were the religion of the people, the well may have been dedicated to St. Mary, being in close proximity to St. Helen's Well. As Moll is the local by-name, or '" nickname " for Mary, the familiar term applied to the well may have outlived the original name of St. Mary, Honley being tenacious of its dialect names. The extensive silk-dyeing works of Mr. G. W. Oldham now stand upon the ancient site.

Honley Wells and Springs are not now valued since Hudders- field Corporation first turned on its water supply in September 1881. Water-fetchers with long cans, head cans, barrels, and vessels of various sizes and fashions are now no longer seen. The joyful exit from school so often sobered by anticipated extra °" water-fetchings " for brewing, washing and cleaning days are memories of the past. No longer the wells serve as a meeting-place, and water-carrying prove a help for shy lovers. The mystery which surrounded stream or spring in hollow or wood after dark, has been superseded by prosaic brass-taps upon well-lighted slopstones in the home, furnishing no food for vivid imaginations.

Page 220


When Huddersfield Corporation water was brought to Honley, many residents for a long time had painful speculations of what they were drinking. There are yet many people who obtain their drinking water from Honley, St. Helen's and other Wells ; resolutely refusing to imbibe Municipal water.

Page 221

a8vd ass) A3I1NOH

'(291; asvnd 228) 'ODONIHYHd4S §OHM-NYN

Page 223




(The History of St. Mary's Church. -Cemetery.-Parish Room).



TxE history of an ancient Church is generally so interwoven with the lives of generations of men and women who have lived and died under its shadow, that its history is their own. A stranger when entering Honley Church would at once realise that the present edifice is of comparatively modern date. What history then can be written about a building which bears no traces upon its walls of a remote past ° The present Church however is the third edifice which has stood upon the old foundation. When the Roman Catholic religion prevailed in England, an Oratory was in existence in Honley previous to 1503, but all trustworthy records regarding this ancient building are lost in the mists of the past. If, however, all traces are destroyed, the first document relating to the structure is still preserved. This is a Faculty written in dog-latin by Archbishop Savage, Primate of England in 1503 granting leave for "Celebration of Mass, Canonical hours, and other Divine offices " to take place in the Oratory which the Arch- bishop describes as "founded and erected of old." This wording proves that an Oratory, or place for private devotion was in existence before 1503, which stood upon the site of the present Church. The Oratory would be near the dwelling in Church Street, to which previous reference has been made. If, according to oral traditions, a petty King or Richard Waley, Lord of Honley, lived there, probably the latter would main- tain the Oratory until reduced to penury. The Wallis and

Page 224


Stapylton families, as we have seen, followed him in possession of the Manor of Honley. There are no records that either of these families were resident ; so that no doubt the Oratory was closed and neglected, or only used when a travelling Priest passed that way. Certainly there would be no resident Chap- lain else we should not find that according to the Faculty, and an old MS. said to be at Woodsome, that the dwellers in Honley had to walk to Almondbury for all purposes of religious services. Canon Hulbert in his history, quotes from the Woodsome MS., that when Almondbury Church was enlarged by the Kayes, of Woodsome, it was " casten into four parts as the Parish is, and dealt and divided and when complete, then lots were cast where every quarter of the Parish should sit when they came to Church to avoid contention, viz :-Honley, Farnley and Meltham quarter in the North side, Almondbury next, then Crosland next to them, and Holmfirth quarter on the South." This was previous to the date of granting the Faculty for worship at Honley. The following is a translation from the Faculty granting permission for holding of Mass. written by Archbishop Savage :


Hoxury, 18th vyrEar or HExnry VIII., a.p. 1503."

by Divine permission Archbishop of York, Primate of England, and Legate of the Apostolic see, to the beloved children in Christ, the natives of the villages or hamlets of Houndsley (Honley), Meltham and Crossland in the Parish of Almondbury, in the diocese of York, to the inhabitants greeting in Our Saviour's embrace. Since we have lately had information from true source, that the real Parish Church of Almondbury aforesaid, is far distant from the hamlets aforesaid, and that the natives and inhabitants of the villages or hamlets broken down with age and held with various diseases, moreover women labouring with child, and several others of them being far distant, are by no means able to be present to celebrate Mass on holy and other festivals of the

Page 225

LATIN FACULTY, for celebration of Mass in the Chapel of Honley, 18th year of Henry VIII.-A,D. 1503.

(see page 172).

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1507 1630




Saints, and at the Canonical hours in the said Church, in the Parish of Almondbury. We, desiring to relieve such persons

and other inhabitants of the villages or hamlets aforesaid, from a great and heavy labour of continually visiting the afore-

mentioned Parish Church of Almondbury, hoping to maintain, that they may more frequently offer the accustomed offerings at the Divine Services, and for the rest, may be free to attend the offices. In order that in the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Houndsley (Honley) aforesaid, founded and erected of old, the Mass, the Canonical hours, and other Divine offices may be freely and lawfully celebrated in a low voice by some proper chaplain or proper chaplains, the various vestments and expenses being furnished and found, ye may have power, and such men may have power, while however from thence there shall be no injury to the Parish Church of Almondbury

aforesaid. To you, and your children and servants for the

hearing, and to the Chaplain or Chaplains aforesaid, that the

celebration of the Mass and other offices may be carried out,

licence by the tenour of these presents we grant. May it be confirmed by commendation to our Spiritual benediction. Given under our seal in our Castle of Cawood, on the last day but one of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand, five hundred and three, and the third year of our translation."

The late Rev. Charles Drawbridge left a memorandum to the effect that this Chapel was built in 1507, and lasted until 1750, with alterations in 1630. No doubt when proper services were allowed to be held, the old Oratory would require alterations to meet the needs of public worship, so that practically it would amount to a re-building in 1507. Upon an old map of Yorkshire, published in 1610, Honley Chapel occupies a prominent place. Important modern towns, such as Huddersfield, etc., are not marked, thus proving not only the ancient character of the Chapel, but its importance at that time.

In the year 1527, John Ermytage (Armitage) assigned and

Page 228




bequeathed in his will amongst other items " 4/- for Masses to be said for the repose of his soul in the Chapel of St. Mary, Honley." This sum represented an important amount of money in those days.

There are no records where the money came from that was paid for religious services performed at Honley only from private benefactions. The Chapel being under the jurisdic- tion of Almondbury with regard to its Ecclesiastical affairs, Curates, stationary or otherwise, were sent from that place to Honley to preach. According to entries in an old Vestry book when they came on a Sunday, their expenses were paid, and if necessary lodgings found. From the few particulars which I can glean about salaries paid to the Clergy, they were not heavily weighted with generous incomes in those days. Mr. Morehouse stated in his history that the earliest mention of a Curate or Preacher at Honley was in 1570. The first recorded by Canon Hulbert, in his history, is the name of Rev. Robert Cryer, M.A., in 1575. (A full list of Curates, Incumbents, Vicars and Churchwardens to present date will be classed together at the end of Church history). I am also unable to say when the change from Roman Catholic ritual to the doctrine and worship of the Church of England took place in Honley Church. Old natives of the soil were not given to sudden changes. New religious alterations would be accepted with characteristic caution, and the changes if gradual would be slow. There are traditions handed down, that after the Reformation, Roman Catholic services were held in the Old Hall, in Church Street before-mentioned, and that a private Chaplain was long retained there. Mrs. Mary Kaye, St. Mary's Square, who died in 1891, aged 92 years, (a great aunt of mine), often repeated to me tales of penance performed in the old Chapel. I cannot vouch if correct, or give dates, but I have heard similar statements from older relations. These old tales give an idea that Roman Catholic observances lingered after the Reformation. Mrs. Kaye, whose memory was a store- house of past events, had heard her father-in-law give an account of his flight to London when a young man rather than

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1720 1733


submit to the indignity of penance in the old Oratory. This journey would be no slight undertaking in those days. Another account of a young woman who had proved frail performing another hazardous journey, is worthy of mention for its brave daring. To escape the ordeal of public penance in white sheet and candle in hand on Sunday, she left Honley the previous evening, and walked to York Castle (where her father was detained for some offence) with her illegitimate child strapped upon her back.

We have seen that in 1569, Sir John Kaye, of Woodsome, ancestor of the present Dartmouths, purchased from Sir Robert Stapylton the royalty of Honley, which constituted him Lord of the Manor. No doubt as time went on additions and alterations would be required in the old Oratory. Sir John, acting up to his responsibilities, gave land in the early part of the 17th century for an enlargement of the building. Am open to correction, but these alterations were supposed to take place about 1630, answering to the date given by the late Rev. Charles Drawbridge. In one of the painted glass windows of this building, were the arms of the Kayes. Canon Hulbert, in Almondbury history, states that a MS. in the British Museum (24, 439) records that there was an ancient inscription on brass written under this painted glass window. It is trans- lated as follows :-

"* 1, John Kaye, Esquire, and Justice of the Peace, The ground of this isle doth freely release, 1 To joyn to this Chapel for ever and aye, That people may have more room to pray. If wicked laws come to pull Chapel down, Then withess I give to the poor of the town."

A memorandum in the Town's Book, written by the Rev. Samuel Brooke, M.A., headmaster of Almondbury Grammar School, whose father held the Curacy of Honley from 1720 to 1733, the word " Chappel " is substituted for isle. Evidently the verses were in existence at this date according to Mr. Brooke, who prefaces the copy of the verses by writing

Page 230



'* Memorandum on the East side of Honley Chappill copied by Mr. Brooke, Aug., 17783." The late Sir Thomas Brooke, of Armitage Bridge, also possessed a copy of these verses. Sir John Kaye lived in an age when religious reversions had been rather too common for his peace of mind, so that he secured

the ground he gave against the meddling of " wicked laws."

I must here make a short digression to record an important event in the annals of the Chapel, when the men and women dwelling upon the same soil before us, felt that their religious principles were worth fighting for. During the disturbed period of the Civil Wars, the inhabitants of Meltham built their own Chapel and withdrew from their worship at Honley in 1650. The erection of Meltham Chapel (for such was then its name, being like Honley a Chapel-of-ease for Almondbury) was due to the religious zeal of Abraham Woodhead. He was nephew to Mrs. Woodhead, who was a regular attendant at services at Honley Chapel, and was frequently pelted with sods when on her way to and from Sunday worship. Mrs. Woodhead was also the grandmother of the celebrated Abraham Woodhead, the supposed author of " The whole duty of Man," and other learned works. The latter, in his early life, was inclined to join the Romish Church much to his grandmother's indignation. Mrs. Woodhead, on account of advancing age and infirmities, had strongly desired to " set up an habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob" in her native village. When erected, she was as energetic in declaring that "she would rather see the Chapel burnt down than fall into the hands of papists." There was not only close connection, but relation- ship between Honley and Meltham families at this time ; and much interest would no doubt be taken by the former in the new building. Upon a brass plate affixed to a pew owned by Anthony Armytage, of Thickhollins, was an acrostic inscription written by William Crosley, of Honley. It was fashionable at that time and looked upon as a sign of learning to take the name or title of a person and write a line from each initial letter, so that the name was in a perpendicular line. The

Page 231


1672 1507


following is a copy of the inscription taken from Canon Hulbert's history :-

** With building and temples some have seemed, In former dayes their soules to have redeemed ; Lying in Lymbus, from all penal crimes, Let into paradize ; Yet these our times In this last age, most men are far more wise And yet much less devote ; for most denyes Meritts. But yet one faith by workes men tries.

Come see this building free from superstition, Rejecting merrittes, voide of all ambition, Of faith not worthy, witnesse few there bee Such workes that doe, that men their faith may see Let after ages celebrate his fame Egregious praise is tribute to his name,

Yet faith and workes doe justifie the same." A.D. 1652.

William Crosley, a member of one of Honley's oldest families, was grandfather to the wife of Anthony Armytage, of Thick- hollins. Holding the same religious views as Mrs. Woodhead, he was a staunch Protestant, and had a great dread of Popery, which at this time had again become a threatening rival for religious supremacy.

Godfrey Beaumont, of South Crosland, about this period gave lands and tenements situated in Meltham, Honley, Cros- land and Netherton towards the maintenance of the Ministers of Honley and Meltham Chapels. His will is dated 3lst March, 1672.

This first Chapel, erected in 1507 according to the researches of the late Rev. Charles Drawbridge, sufficed for the spiritual needs of Meltham, Crosland and Netherthong. From accounts handed down by word of mouth, it was a plain building with three corners, one pointing towards Meltham, another in the direction of Crosland, and the third signified the claims of Honley worship ; least, these three angles suggested the idea L

Page 232






to the villagers. (Netherthong at that time was not considered a separate township, being included with Deanhouse). This first erection was known as the " Three-nooked Chapel" or '* Old Peg." Its successor was also given the name of " Old Peg." I have not been able to discover the reason, unless '*Peg" was a local by-name for Mary ; both old and new buildings being dedicated to St. Mary. As before mentioned regarding names of wells, the by-name for Mary is " Moll," and not Peg. I have however heard it stated by an older generation, that sometimes the name of " Moll" had been applied to this old building.

Soon after the restoration of Charles II., that Act cf Uniformity regarding religious worship was passed, by which nearly two thousand Church of England Ministers were ejected from their pulpits for refusing to conform. The Rev. Oliver Heywood, who was Minister of Coley, Halifax, was one of the ejected Ministers who would not obey the Act. He kept a diary which is as representative of the daily happenings of that period as our present daily newspapers record the doings of to-day. A few extracts from his diary relating to Honley Chapel at that period will prové of interest. He writes :-

'* August 12th, 1663.-Visited Mr. Dury, at Honley, who had not to preach that day, and the people made overtures to me, but it was in vain." (It will be seen Mr. Dury was a Clergy- man who refused to conform).

* July 28th, 1667.-I studyed after dinner, rid to Honley, being my first journey on my new horse. Lodged at Frank Sandersons."

'' July 29th.-IL preached twice in Honley Chapel. God assisted me in a full assembly. Lodged that night at Abraham Woodheads, Thong." '

** December 4th, 1681.-On Lord's Day came Joseph Lock- wood a message to me from Jonathan Hanson, preacher, Honley, who being sick and startled for his sins, much desired to see me."

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Oliver Heywood records other preachings at Honley. Also that when Mr. Dary and himself were at Shadwell, Nr. Leeds, "" they were taken up by the Leeds without warrant." Another entry, dated 1683, is to the effect that °" Mr. Robinson, Vicar of Almondbury, a careless swearing man having married his daughter to the Rev. Dennis Heyford who was Chaplain at Fixby Hall, placed him at Honley Chapel, one Armytage dying having left £16 0s 0d. per year."

Two extracts from the diary of Rev. Robert Meeke have been given earlier in this history regarding Sunday sports in Honley, and also referring to its hospitality. Mr. Meeke records riding amongst the crowd to find Mr. but we must remember that Sunday sports were encouraged after the Restoration. An extract from Almondbury Registers records the marriage of this Mr. at Honley Chapel, which proves that marriages could be solemnised at this date, though for a long period afterwards, marriages generally took place at Almondbury. Whether this was due to custom, or that the licence authorising marriages in the old Chapel had been withdrawn, am unable to state. The present Registers of Marriages in Honley Church only date from 1813. The marriage extract is as follows :-

** December 27th, 1683, the Rev. Carus Phillipson, Vicar of Almondbury, to Dorothy, daughter of Joseph Haigh, of Nether- ton, at Honley Chapel, by the Rev. Randall Broome, Curate

of Meltham."

Mr. Philipson who belonged to an ancient family held a freehold estate at Honley, and was a clever Mathematician. His will is dated 1703.

The Rev. Robert Meeke, writes :-

'' Rept. lst, 1689. Preached at Honley, it being a rainy, windy day, there were few at the Chapel ; but bless God, he afforded me his help."

" Oct. 21st, 1689. Went to Mr. Ramsbottoms to dinner, his daughter being baptized for whom I stood as a witness and sponsor, being requested by the father. Lord grant the child

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may have Thy grace renewing and regenerating ; so that the benefit of baptism may be confirmed." (Mr. Ramsbottom was

Curate of Honley).

'*Feby. 16th, 1690. Rose betimes, and being desired by Mr. Broome, I went to Honley and preached there from John III., 5, and Mr. Broome preached here."

Archbishop Sharp's MS., relating to " Augmentations," states that for the maintenance of Honley Minister, Richard Horsfall, Esq. and William Walker, Esq. (Far End), gave in 1729 the sum of £200 0s. 0d. to meet a sum of £200 Os. Od. given from Queen Anne's bounty.

A public meeting was held in the Vestry of the Chapel in December, 1749, to vote that 15/- per year was to be given to the Rev. Mr. Croft who, at that time was Curate-in-charge, for keeping the public accounts of the Town. Evidently Christmas joy ruled the hearts of the parishioners at this festive season, and they were in a generous mood. Mr. Croft kept the Town's books for four years for this magnificent sum of 3i4d. per week to the satisfaction of the inhabitants, for they again held a meeting in 1753 for the purpose of highering his wages to £1 per year. According to entries in vestry book, Mr. Croft was a hard working Clergyman ; but even in those days of scanty pay, he was stricken with the fever of destroying the old, and establishing the new. No doubt he thought that the old Oratory had been so often patched, that a new building was necessary. A Faculty was obtained, and practically the Chapel was re-built in 1759. Most of the old material was used in its re-construction. Mr. Croft was chiefly instru- mental in its re-building, and he lived to see the completicn of the work. The cost was £1,392 0s. 0d., which was partly collected by briefs, and helped by voluntary subscriptions to the amount of £160 0s. 0d. This building was also a plain structure without a tower. There was a small copula at the West end in which a bell was hung. The Chapel contained three galleries or "lofts" as they were then named. These were known as "red," " white" and "singing lofts." The

Page 235





red loft was situated over the East end, the white over the North, and the singing loft over the communion table. There was also an organ. The pulpit was what was commonly known as a °" three-decker" with an oak canopy or sounding board, and stood in the central aisle. The pews were of dark oak, many of them having been in use in the old Oratory when built in 1507, and were carved with that date, owner's initials, etc. Upon the walls of the North and West sides of the build- ing were two life-size oil-paintings of Moses and Aaron. The Royal coat of arms hung in front of the East gallery. The Parish Clerk was a conspicuous and important person in the services. The sales of pews were authorised for supplying remainder of funds needed for the building.

The selling, buying and renting of pews which continued in our Church until 1887, has been condemned as alien to modern ideas of worship. Yet no better way of raising money could be found in old days. Again, to obtain a seat in God's house, there was no other alternative only by purchase or rental. If pews were owned and left in wills, like other property, or were included when leasing farms, etc ; the custom had been handed down generation after generation. We have only substituted payment for a privilege in a different manner. Fifty years ago, not many wills existed in Honley in which mention was not made of pews. I have old wills belonging to my family, one especially dated November, 1790, in which my great- great grandfather left to his daughter (my great grandmother), amongst other property " a closet containing four sittings in the front of the North gallery of ye Chapel of Honley." Another closet containing " three sittings in front of the North gallery of ye Chapel of Honley." Another closet situated in "* ye bottom part on the North side of the said Chapel." My father sold the " closet contzining four sittings in the front of the North gallery " on January 7th, 1835, and the receipt I still hold ; so that the custom of buying and selling pews was the only recognised way of obtaining a seat in God's house in those days. We have now arrived at the days of free and open Churches.

Page 236






When the Enclosure Act of 1788 was applied to Honley Moor, a grant of land was given to Almondbury in place of the inhabitants having to pay tithes to the Mother Church. Certain dues however were in existence, for payment of which a Church rate was levied at this time. In August, 1789, the grave yard attached to the Chapel was consecrated.

The builders of the newly-constructed Chapel of 1759 not having had previous experience of lofts, now discovered that the pulpit was in the wrong place. Probably the enthusiastic Mr. Croft had possessed more zeal than knowledge. A Faculty was obtained on Nov. 22nd, 1793, to alter the situation of the pulpit. Crosland and Netherthong were opposed to its removal. This opposition was the beginning of a long cortention between the three townships which lasted over a hundred years,-when at Honley Feast free fights were indulged in between natives of the three townships in memory of the old religious feud. To escape the watchfulness of Netherthong and Crosland sentinels, the pulpit was secretly removed during the night-time, and placed against the wall on the North side of the Chapel. Netherthong and Crosland went to law. Litigations commenced at York in 1793, and extended over many years. Extracts from the old Parish Book will explain their nature which according to modern ideas might seem of a pitiful character. But our forefathers in the village did not trifle with concessions, either religious or political.

Persons accustomed to present-day forms of orderly worship, might deem the devotional services in use in the 1753 Chapel irreverent. On the other hand, what would be the thoughts of men and women of a past generation if they could return, and see the changes in religious worship since their day ? The services in the old Chapel were not only characteristic of the period, but considered as orthodox as at present ; and the worshippers would not be conscious of any shortcomings. Those who gathered there, Sunday after Sunday, heard the same words, and repeated the same prayers as ourselves ; not the less earnestly if breathed from a square pew adorned with an owner's name, and fastened with a padlock if necessary.

Page 237






(A native of the soil valued his independency even in religious worship).

The Church rate previously named appears in regular pay- ments until 1834. Mr. Thomas Leigh, who was Chapelwarden, records in 1806, that the Church rate paid to Almondbury was previous to that date 2/- in the £. He writes that a little later it was 1/- in the £. I can find no other mention of rate being paid until November 6th, 1834, when from a memoran-

dum its payment had lapsed.

It was the custom to have a " great sing '"' upon Honley Feast Sunday, when the Chapel was not only filled to over- flowing, but listeners crowded graveyard and street. When the Rev. Charles Drawbridge became Incumbent these " great sings," which had been held for a long period were discontinued. The religious feelings of worshippers in Honley Chapel were not only expressed in hymns, but the English version of the Psalms by Sternhold and Hopkins was also in use, and con- tinued to be sung in Honley Church during my recollection. When a few advanced individuals thirsted for novelties in the shape of a new version, composed by Nahum Tate, the then Poet Laureate, and set to music by Brady, there were disturb- ances. Many musical warfares were fought out in the high singing gallery with regard to old and new versions ; for musical harmony is highly susceptible to discord. Another old custom observed in the Chapel was the singing of Luther's hymn at the death of a member of the congregation. Mr. James France, who at that time was a well-known performer upon the trumpet, blew three loud blasts upon the instrument at the end of each verse. The singing of Luther's hymn, and the blasts from the trumpet generally produced a great effect upon the congregation.

This second Chapel, of 1759, must not have been very sub- stantial. - According to entries in vestry book in the handwriting of Mr. Drawbridge, it required repairs in 1825, and at that time new pews replaced the old in the bottom of the building. Two important events occurred also about

Page 238

1828 1830 1830





this period. Crosland and Netherthong following the example of Meltham erected their own Churches. When finished, Crosland withdrew from worship at Honley in 1828, and Netherthong in 1830. Mr. Chantrell, of Leeds, an eminent Church Architect of that time, advised in 1830 the entire re-construction of Honley Chapel. His suggestions however were not carried out until twelve years later. On Sunday, January Oth, 1842, a large congregation assembled for the last time in the old building, Mr. Drawbridge, who had officiated as Curate for 19 years, preaching from Psalm XXXVI., 8th verse. He writes that the occasion was felt to be a very solemn one by the congregation assembled, and that on the following Monday, January 10th, 1842, the contractors entered the building and " began dismantling and throwing down." The old names of " Three nooked Chapel" and " Old Peg " also shared the same fate. Henceforth, the new building would be known as St. Mary's Church to future generations.

The present and third edifice was built upon the same founda- tion as previous structures at a cost of over £4,000 Os. Od. The foundation stone was laid by the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, Northgate House, on February 14th, 1843. The Rev. Hugh Stowell, of Manchester, and the Rev. J. Bateman, Vicar of Huddersfield, preached the two opening sermons. The Rev. C. Drawbridge preached the first Sunday sermon. The new Church arose to its completion amidst many difficulties, and it was due to the diligence and ability of Mr. James Stocks, Church- warden, that it was brought safely through its troubles. The following are a list of the donors, their names recalling good Churchmen of a past day.

£ s. d. William Brooke, Esq. . . 2. . _ 500 Miss Mary Anne Armltage . . __ 500 Ripon Diocesan Church Building Somety .. _ 400 The Right Hon. William Earl of Dartmouth 320 Thomas Brooke, Esq. .. . . .c. - 200 (George Jessop, Esq. .. 2. . c. - 150 Mrs. John Allen 2. .. 2. .. _ 100 John Brooke, Esq. (brother to above) .. 50

Page 239


£s. d. George Beaumont, Esq. .. .. .. 50 Mrs. Waddington .. .. . .. 50 James Stocks, Esq. _ .. .. .. . 30 Honley Co-operative Society . . 24 5 Mr. Charles Brook, Mr. Edward Brook Mr. Enoch Vickerman, Mr. Leigh, and Mr. Edward Lees, Surgeon, each £20 .. _ 100 Godfrey Drake, Esq. .. 10 10

Miss Brooke, Miss E. Brooke, Mr B. L Shaw Mr. William Wilkinson, Mr. Benjamin Mellor, Mr. Joseph Haigh, Mr. John Dyson, Mr. Thomas Dyson, and Mr.

Wm. Leigh Brook, each £10 .. . 90 Joseph Kilner, Esq. . 5 5 Thomas Schofield, Esq. 5 5

Mr. Walter Platt, Rev. C. Drawbrldge Mr. 8L Mrs. Tidswell, Mr. W. Green Armytage, Mr. Leigh, Mr. Wm. Drawbridge, Mr. Abr. Littlewood, Mr. Geo. Littlewood, B. France & Son, Mr. Wm. Bottomley, Mrs. Donkersley, Mr. Benjy. Littlewood, Mr. Joseph Littlewood, Mrs. Eastwood, Mr. Charles Hallas, Miss Smith, Rev. Geo. Haigh, and Mrs. Wm. Leigh, each £5 90 O

Smaller Subscriptions .. .. .. 2. 42 17 10 Received for Vaults -.. 2. .. .. 20 7 10 Bank Interest .. 2. 2. 2. .. 47 15 11 Total .. .. l. 2785 6 7

William Brooke, Esq., made up the balance of 1434 11 8

18 3

The building remains the same outwardly as when erected 1843 in 1843. Its interior, however, has had to pass through many ordeals in the shape of supposed improvements since that date. I will describe the Church when erected in 1843. Built

Page 240

1830 1843


in the substantial Gothic style, it has a square lofty tower 105 feet high containing a clock with four dials, and at that time one bell, which had been in use in the old Chapel. Inside, the nave is supported by lofty arches. It had three galleries, and the organ and singing-pew were situated at the West end of the Church. The Chancel had three large windows. Under- neath were black boards upon which were written in golden letters the Ten Commandments, The Apostle's Creed, and the Lord's Prayer. There were also a Communion Table, and two antique chairs given by the late Miss M. A. Armitage, within the chancel rails. A large brass chandelier was suspended from the roof in the middle of the building which had been in use in the old Chapel. Candles inserted in its scones were lit when short winter afternoons closed in early, gas not being introduced in the new building. This fine piece of ancient workmanship was formerly suspended from the roof of the Parish Church of Huddersfield. After alterations had taken place in that building, the chandelier was purchased by the late Miss M. A. Armitage, and given to Honley Church. When gas was introduced, it was sent to Brockholes Church. When gas illuminated the small edifice there, the chandelier was sent back to Honley. It was next hung in the National School until electricity dispensed with its services. The Royal coat of arms was placed in front of the West gallery of the present Church, but the two valuable life-size paintings of Moses and Aaron which were hung in the " Old Peg," and previously, I believe, in the old Oratory, were sent to the National School. - When the enlargement of the latter took place they were destroyed. The Constable or Churchwarden's pew - was enclosed by red curtains, the present Baptistry occupying its place. The Constable staves guarded each end, one bearing date 1830, and a new one of the same date as the - re-building of the Church, viz. 1843. There were two pulpits. Below the one in use for reading lessons was the Clerk's desk, the Parish Clerk being still an important person in the services of the new Church. His name was Joseph Kaye. I have a vivid remembrance of his " Amens " and responses in that tone peculiar to old Parish Clerks. Free seats ran around

Page 241


both pulpits, which were occupied by the inmates of the old workhouse. The newly-erected Church contained 242 more sittings than in the previous building.

It is interesting to record, that the wages paid to skilled 1843 masons of that date who were employed in the 1843 con- struction of the Church were 2/6 per day. Many of these men afterwards became well-known builders and contractors, who often drew comparisons between past and present rate of wages.

When the present Church was re-built, it seems a matter for regret, that so few ancient relics from older buildings were not gathered together and preserved. Mr. Drawbridge aptly describes their destruction as " dismantling and throwing down." Yet life-long experience has proved to me, that each succeeding Clergyman in nearly all parishes is fond of " dis- mantling and throwing down " the work of his predecessor. This custom of construction, destruction and re-construction might with advantage be restrained. Many of the inhabitants of Honley secured stones, doors, stained glass, sun-dial and other relics from the ruins of " Old Peg" during the " dis- mantling " process, which at least was preferable to their utter destruction by careless workmen. An old font, hexagon in shape, has been replaced in the Church yard. It is of very plain design and not ancient, bearing initials and dates 1714 1714," "J.B.," "R.B.," "J.M." The latter are the initials of the Incumbent and three Churchwardens, or Constables, as their proper titles would be at that date. An old sun-dial upon the roof of a house in Exchange is previously named. Some of the old Church plate is still preserved. On a large Paten is a Latin inscription which translated reads ** To the glory and honour of God for the people's convenience, and for the welfare of the Chapel of Honley, this piece of silver have the inhabitants presented, together with the rest, for the constant celebration of the Eucharist." Upon a small Paten- ** Sacred to God and the Church at the cost of the inhabitants, 1792 A.D. 1792." Upon the chalice is written " Honley Chapel, 1754 A.D., 1754."

Page 242


1379 1664


1646 1886



Netherthong and Crosland having built their own Churches managed their own Ecclesiastical affairs. Long continued law contentions however had embittered the dwellers in the three townships against each other, which as we have seen found an outlet during the festivities of Honley Feast. When Crosland " feasters "' were returning home, they were wont to shout derisively when passing the new Church " We won you at York!" This pleasing retrospect of their victory was so elating, that when arriving at Mag-bridge, they tumbled the coping-stones belonging to Honley portion into the water. (The bridge divided the two townships). Honley in turn took the same trouble with the other half owned by Crosland, that often the bridge was dismantled and dangerous to cross. Time however dims animosities and feuds.

The graveyard attached to the Church was closed for burials on June lst, 1856. Upon gravestones, and under covering of the Church will be found names inscribed that are mentioned in the Poll-Tax of 1379, and Hearth-Tax of 1664 ;-old names indigenous to Honley soil, and still represented by living descendants. Modern taste would no doubt condemn many of the quaint and too personal inscriptions engraved upon the plain stones ; but these poetic effusions were hallowed, and their associations sacred to our forefathers. Previous to 1789, it seemed the rule to journey to Almondbury not only for the purpose of marriage, but to bury the dead. Whether this was due to the old custom of bringing parted members of a household band to be laid side by side at the last, or that at. times the graveyard had proved too small ; I am unable to state. There are records of burials of members of Honley families and their gravestones at Almondbury from the time of Dorothy Armeteg (Armitage), 1646, to that of William Brook, Honley Moor, 1886.

Many of the echoes from the old Chapel lingered in the new Church. One old custom was kept up by Churchwardens until 1860. This was leaving Church during singing of the hymn before sermon, and making a circuit of the village as in old days to see that all public-houses were closed during

Page 243





morning service. The services were broadly evangelical, characteristic of the period. The Parish Clerk still called out the number of hymn to be sung, and loudly repeated responses and Amens. The Rev. C. Drawbridge in his black Geneva gown and white muslin neck-band, would perhaps have been as angry at our present white-robed Clergymen ; as they in turn would be shocked at the sight of the Calvinistic garment. The feminine element had not then been cast out of religious and musical observances, and a Sexton's duties were reverently performed by a woman. The music in use in the services was in keeping with the robust character of the people, its luxuriance not then being pruned to its present severe character. The Psalms were not chanted, but repeated verse for verse alternately by Clergyman and Congregation, the Gloria being vigorously sung at the end of each Psalm. At Church festivals, selections from the masterpieces of the World's greatest musicians were sung. Favourite hymn-tunes were those taken from Cheetham's Psalmody, arranged by Houlds- worth, which admitted of solos, and then the Choir and Congregation joining in the Chorus with lusty force.

In 1858, a new organ, built by Jardines, of Manchester, who at that time were noted organ-builders, was presented to the Church by Miss Marshall, who resided at Northgate Mount, about this period. A large number of people assembled at the opening services on December 17th, 1858, when the clever young organist, Mr. George Allen Beaumont, to whom reference is made in °" Music," presided at the instrument, which served for fifty years. In 1876, Honley became a separate parish, and henceforth the name of Incumbent would be merged in that of Vicar. In 1878, the interior of the Church was con- siderably changed. Gas had been introduced which brought further alterations. Evening services were now held for the first time in the history of the Church. A wooden screen with folding doors was thrown across the bottom of the Church at the West end as a protection from draughts. A warming apparatus replaced the stoves, and a new system of ventilation was introduced. The total cost was £469 0s. 0d., which was

Page 244







raised by subscription. Mr. Thomas Farrar, of Grass Croft, who at that time was serving as Churchwarden, devoted much time and energy to these alterations. '

Harvest Festivals in our manufacturing neighbourhood were not then common. A Parishioner's meeting was held on October 8th, 1884, to decide whether to have a Thanks- giving Service or not, and also to take opinion regarding the decoration of the Church. A Harvest Festival took place for the first time in Honley Church on October 12th, 1884, when a large congregation assembled to take part in what to many was a novelty in religious services. Recently a Flower Service has been added to the Harvest Festival Thanksgiving.

In 1885, an exchange of livings was arranged between the Rev. E. L. Walsh, Rector of Arborfield, near Reading, and the Rev. John Jones who had been Incumbent of Honley for 21 years. The Rev. E. L. Walsh was inducted to the living of Honley, on May 9th, 1885. The Church soon experienced a whirlwind of changes which found the two Churchwardens who were serving at this period ample exercise both for mind and body. In 1885, two new bells and a new clock were added to the Church. The old bell, which had been in use in both previous buildings, was hung in the tower of the Cemetery Chapel. It had been re-cast in 1753 on account of its cracked tone, and bears date to that effect. The new bells were supplied by Messrs. Taylors, of Loughborough, and their cost was defrayed by public subscription. The large bell weighs over one ton, and the small one five cwt. They were dedicated to the services of the Church on October 25th, 1885, the morn- ing preacher being the Rev. Canon Bardsley, Vicar of Huddersfield. The evening sermon was preached to a large congregation by the Venerable Archdeacon Brooke, the third son of the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, Northgate House. The new clock was supplied by Messrs. Potts, of Leeds, at the cost of Miss Octavia Brooke. The latter lady, along with Miss Siddon, augmented the Church plate at this time by presenting a gold and silver paten and chalice.

Page 245

1876 1886


1888 1887


Previous to this time, Confirmations had taken place at Holmfirth Church. Now that Honley had been constituted an Ecclesiastical Parish, in 1876, Confirmations could be held. The first Confirmation took place on March 3lst, 1886. This was a great event in the history of the Church. Bishop Boyd Carpenter, of Ripon, confirmed the large number of candidates, Honley at that time being in the Diocese of Ripon. Another innovation was the introduction of the weekly offertory, for which offertory-bags and alms-dish were given by Miss O. Brooke. - Formerly Churchwardens collected subscriptions from a few members of the congregation for necessary Church expenses. For other special objects, collections were taken in Church. These latter collections occurred perhaps four or five times per year. With the introduction of the weekly offertory came the necessity for sidesmen. These were elected for the first time at the Easter Vestry in 1886. There were other changes also introduced, such as the Eastward position, early Communion, Daily Prayers, an Open Church, alterations in Church Furnishings, etc. Improvements also took place at the Vicarage.

An important event occurred at this time. This was the formation of the New Diocese of Wakefield in which Honley was now included. The Rev. William Walsham How was the first Bishop appointed, whose presence was so frequent and welcome amongst us. His enthronement, at Wakefield, took place on June 25th, 1888.

In 1887, the Vicar and Parishioners had a bad attack of the fever of restoration. A public meeting was held on December 20th, 1887, when it was resolved to carry out extensive alterations. A building committee was formed, and the work entrusted to Mr. Hodgson Fowler, Durham. The Church was closed on July lst, 1888, and re-opened August 3lst. The re-opening services were largely attended, pre- ceded by a procession headed by the Bishop of Wakefield, who preached. - Afterwards a public luncheon was served. At the evening service, the Church was again crowded to hear the Venerable Archdeacon Brooke preach. - With

Page 246


1887 1896


the opening of the restored Church, the custom of buying, selling, and renting pews was abolished. The internal alterations consisted of enlargement of chancel, transparent glass in East windows replaced by memorial windows, a new pulpit, organ removed from West to East end, singing-pew abolished, oak choir-stalls substituted in chancel, body of Church re-seated with open benches, front of three galleries removed further back, abolishing of screen placed there to keep out draughts, improved system of heating, ventilating, ete. The mixed choir formerly occupying the lofty singing- pew was replaced by a surpliced choir of men and boys sitting in chancel choir stalls. The two pulpits and clerk's desk were replaced by a new pulpit, the gift of the late Captain Jessop and Miss Siddon, in memory of the late Mr. George Jessop, and his two sons, George and Richard, -father and brothers of Captain Jessop. The panels of the pulpit contain beautiful paintings of the four Evangelists. A new brass lectern was given by the Sunday School Teachers. The three East windows placed there by the present Brooke family in memory of their father, are inscribed :-*" To the glory of God, and in memory of Thomas Brooke, who died August 3lst, 1859, the windows in the Chancel of this Church are given by his children in thankful remembrance of a holy life and example, A.D. 1888." These windows were dedicated on November 24th, 1888, by the Rev. J. S. E. Spencer, Vicar of Wilshaw, a former Curate

- of Honley. The monumental tablets which had been placed in

Church, in memory of members of Brooke, Waddington, Jessop, Drawbridge, etc. families, remained in their original positions upon the walls.

These alterations being on such an extensive scale, exceeded the original cost of £2,062 0s. 0d. (This is usually the case). Subscriptions, Bazaars, Garden Parties, etc., however, soon paid off all debts. One very successful Bazaar was opened by Lord Dartmouth, at Honley Feast, 1887. Another successful Garden Party took place on August 22nd, 1896, at Northgate Mount, when over two thousand people had tea in the grounds.

Page 247


1889 1897






A stained-glass window was placed in the West end of the (Church by the late Mrs. Brooke, in 1889. It is inscribed :- "* This window is dedicated to the glory of God by Anne Brooke, in loving memory of her mother and brother, Anne and Benjamin Ingham, A.D., 1889." A beautiful window was next placed at the East end of the South gallery by Mr. William Brooke, in memory of his mother. The subject is the Annunciation. The inscription is :-" To the glory of God, and in loving memory of Anne Brooke, who entered into rest, August 10th, 1889, aged 80 years."

In August, 1897, the death of Bishop Walsham How took place in Ireland. To describe the fine but simple traits of the first Bishop of Wakefield is not my province in Honley history, but his saintly memory will live in the beautiful hymns he composed, when his lovable personality cannot be recalled by a future generation.

Electric light was first switched on for evening service in Church, on March 27th, 1904. In 1905, alterations and additions to Chancel took place, the Church being re-opened on June llth, 1905. The Chancel had been re-decorated in ornamental but chaste style, a Tryptich placed over the altar upon the side wings of which are finely executed figures of St. Raphael, St. Michael, St. Gabriel, and St. Uriel. Upon the central panel the Adoration of the Magi is represented. The paintings are of great artistic merit. These latter altera- tions cost about £450 Os. 0d., which sum was raised by subscriptions. In 1909, a new substantial Choir Vestry, and Organ Chamber were built at a cost of £604 0s. 0Od., which was raised by donations and bazaars. A new Organ, built by Conacher & Co., of Huddersfield, was given by Mr. William Brooke and Miss Brooke, at a cost of over a £1,000 0s. Od. The beautiful oak-case of organ was designed by Mr. Hodgson Fowler, of Durham. Upon the brass plate is the following : "* To the glory of God, this organ, the gift of Sarah and William Brooke, was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Wakefield, May 14th, 1910." Dr. Fricker, the eminent City Organist of Leeds, presided at the organ at the opening services. A Side Chapel M

Page 248



1578 1581






was given at the same time by Mr. William Brooke, in memory of his sister, Miss Edith Brooke. This consists of

oak seating, panelling, lectern, prayer deck, etc., placed at the end of the North aisle.

At the beginning of the year 1914, the history of our Church must close. As the new is a continuation of the old under different forms, necessary changes will no doubt take place in the future as in the past. We have seen that the Church, whether under Papal cr Protestant rule, has ministered to the spiritual welfare of the inhabitants ; and the influence of its Ministers and devoted worshippers, both of the past and present, has made the world a better and sweeter place.

IncoumBENTsS anD CUurRATES or Hoxury.

Canon Hulbert, in his history of Almondbury, writes that it is impossible to obtain a correct list of all Curates of Honley. The following officiated, though many blanks occur :-

Robert Cryer, M.A. He attests deeds executed by Sir Robert Stapylton. His two daughters, Isabella and Susanna, were baptized at Almondbury in 1578 and 1581. to Isabella were Edmund Thewlis, Cecilia Thommhill, and Joanna, wife of Thomas Hepworth.

James Martindale, M.A. His son was baptized Aug. 12th, 1582, at Almondbury, the sponsors being William Armitedge (Armitage), Thomas Marsh, and Alice Wilson.

John Binns, M.A. He was born at Over Brockholes or Bank End, officiated at Honley 18 years, afterwards Holmfirth for nine years, married the daughter of Wm. Crosley, of Honley, his son, Christian, appointed first Curate of Meltham, who refused to take the oath of the King's supremacy, etc. (See Brockholes history).

Thomas Dury was a Scotchman who also would not comply with the Act of Uniformity, and was supposed to be ejected from his living. Yet he retained his Curacy and was holding the living of Honley at the end of September, 1663. It will be

Page 249



1683 1685


seen from extracts of Oliver Heywood's Diaries, that the latter was a friend of Mr. Dury.

J. Hanson was a man fond of all sports and pastimes, who in his last illness sent for Oliver Heywood. The latter writes in his diary that this " J. Hanson confessed that he had entered upon a Ministry he was not fitted for, and being so startled by - my preaching 12 years previously repented." Mr. Hanson was buried December 27th, 1681.

There is no record in Canon Hulbert's list of Honley Curates of a Rev. Dennis Heyford. According to an entry in Oliver Heywood's Diary, the Vicar of Almondbury placed the Rev. Dennis Heyford (who had married his daughter) at Honley. He therefore must have been appointed either during the sickness of Mr. Hanson, or after his death, the date in diary being 1683.

William Bray, B.A., 'was Minister of Honley at the time when Godfrey Beaumont left lands to Meltham and Honley Chapels, signing the terrier bequeathing the same.

1690-1 Rev. William Ramsbottom, M.A., was Curate from January

1704 1705



17th, 1690 to 1691. The Rev. Robert Meeke, of Slaithwaite, records in his diary preaching his funeral sermon at Almondbury, on January 17th, 1691 from Philip III., 21.

Joseph Lancaster, B.A.

John Wayds, M.A. He was ordained Priest by the Bishop of Lincoln, May 26th, 1678.

Rev. Stephen Carr, M.A., was ordained Deacon by the Archbishop, 21st September, 1707. Watson, in his history of Halifax, states that in 1703 Stephen Carr was " Schoolmaster at the Free at Halifax, where his daughter Sara was baptized. He married the daughter of Mr. John Richardson of that place. In Northowram Register is entry of his burial on January 25th, 1718. His widow died in 1755, aged .90


Edward Wareing, M.A., died in 1720.

Page 250

1720- 33


1780 1761


Rev. Thomas Brooke, M.A. next held the Curacy from 1720 to 1733. The sermons of the latter, preached at Honley, are written in peculiar and ancient hand-writing, and are preserved by his descendants. There are records, however, of a Rev. Thomas Tatham, M.A. in 1720, Rev. Obadiah Porritt, M.A. in 1722, and Rev. John Wilson in 1724, acting as Curates of Honley during Mr. Brooke's term of office. I am unable to say if these men were occasional Ministers, who were then common, who derived their incomes from contributions given by congregations, and performed the services for Mr. Brooke. The latter resided at Almondbury during the time that he held the Curacy of Honley, so probably made acrangements for services to be duly performed. His son was the Head- Master of Almondbury Grammar School, who copied the verses from the ancient brass in Church, for preservation in the Town's book previously named.

Rev. William Croft, M.A., was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Chester, January 16th, 1731, and Priest by the Archbishop, August 5th, 1733. He followed the Rev. Thomas Brooke to the Curacy of Honley, and as before noted, was instrumental in re-building the old Church in 1759. He held the Curacy until his death, and is buried under the Chancel.

Joseph Armitage, M.A.

Edward Hasleham, B.A., was ordained Deacon by the Arch- bishop, June 10th, 1750, and Priest by the Bishop of Carlisle, October 2nd, 1758. He held the Curacy for nearly thirty years, and was also the Master of Almondbury Grammar School. Previous reference is made to him in the history of Wesleyanism regarding sending the Constable to arrest John Pawson when preaching ; and also as the Author of a sermon against the Methodists. He lived on a farm at Honley, but have been unable to locate the dwelling. According to oral traditions, he was a well-read man of fine manners, but rather fiery and tempestuous when crossed in religious arguments. As representative of the Church, he evidently thought it his duty to discourage religious innovations in the shape of Wesley's preaching.

Page 251

THE REV. CHAS. DRAWBRIDGE, Incumbent 1823-1862. (see page 197).


Page 253



Rev. John Alexander, M.A. was the Clergyman who read prayers when John Wesley preached at Honley.

1793-4 Rev. Mr. Mason officiated at Honley.


1796 1802

1813 1814


In this year, an application was made to the Bishop for a Resident Curate to be appointed.

There occur the names of Mattinson, Stafford, Balmforth, etc., who officiated at various times.

Thomas Heaton, M.A. He resigned May 6th, 1802.

Robert Smith, M.A. was appointed in this year, and held the living until 1845, though suspended from officiating. He was known as " Parson " Smith, whose saying of " You must do as I say, and not as I do " has passed into a proverb. Dur- ing his suspension, many clever and devout men acted as Curates, notably :-the Rev. Robert Pickles in 1813, Rev. T. R. Winstanley, afterwards D.D., in 1814, and Rev. Peter Ashworth in 1815.

In this year, the Rev. Charles Drawbridge was appointed Curate-in-charge, pending Mr. Smith's retirement, which did not take place until 1845, when Mr. Drawbridge was then appointed Incumbent. Gazetted as Ensign in the Royal Artillery and afterwards promoted to be first Lieutenant, he served with his corps in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. Retiring on half-pay in 1820, he was ordained in 1823, and for over 38 years fulfilled the duties of Curate and Incumbent of Honley with zeal, fidelity and love. Rich and poor alike, all honoured and loved Mr. Drawbridge. A monumental tablet placed in the Chancel of the Church, and a large monument in grave yard, record the piety and zeal of this Christian gentle- man with his many fine and soldier-like qualities. His wife towards the close of her life was unable to move about with freedom, and was carried to and from Church in a sedan chair, so that the writer, in addition to many other Honley dwellers, can vividly recall this once fashionable vehicle.

1862-4 The Rev. Ed. Colis Watson, M.A., who was Curate of

Page 254






1789 1795



Almondbury, and had married the daughter of the Rev. Lewis Jones, Vicar of that Parish, was next Incumbent of Honley, and afterwards Vicar of Meltham.

The Rev. John Jones, M.A. was appointed Incumbent, formerly Curate of Kirkburton, and Incumbent of Milnsbridge. Mr. Jones, in 1885, exchanged livings with the Rev. E. L. Walsh, Rector of Arborfield, Berks.

The Rev. Ed. Lionel Walsh was inducted to Honley, on May 9th, 1885, being the first Vicar instituted since 1876, at which date the Chapelry became a separate Parish ; so that hence- forth Incumbent is merged in the name of Vicar.

Rev. R. T. Heygate followed Mr. Walsh, who left the Parish on October lst, 1893. Mr. Heygate, who is now Vicar of Boston and Canon of Lincoln Cathedral, was Vicar until 1900.

The Rev. W. B. T. Hayter was inducted May 12th, 1900, and left June 12th, 1904.

The Rev. H. F. T. Barter, M.A. was inducted October 1st, 1904, and at present remains as Vicar.


Many blanks may occur in the list of Curates, also I have found it impossible to give dates when they officiated at Honley on account of these not being forthcoming.

Rev. Elkanah Hoyle.

George Mason, M.A., was appointed Assistant Curate to Mr. Alexander at a stipend of £40 per year.

Rev. Richard Foster, B.A.

Since 1840, the following are a list of Curates :-Rev. T. Schofield, Rev. J. Rogers, Rev. T. B. Bensted (Rector of Lockwood), Rev. Wm. Knight, Rev. E. Davies, Rev. E. Carr, Rev. Ed. Boyden, Rev. J. S. E. Spencer (Incumbent of Wilshaw), Rev. Hy. Sinden, Rev. Wm. Yates, Rev. W. E.

Page 255


Chapman, Rev. P. Cronin, Rev. Wm. Gould, Rev. J. T. Hall, Rev. T. Longstaffe, Rev. F. S. Thew, Rev. T. Haworth, Rev. J. Harrison, Rev. J. M. S. Walker, Rev. - Scadding, Rev. - Bishop, Rev. - Perry, Rev. G. D. Rayner, Rev. J. E. Gofton, Rev. J. H. Crick, and Rev. E. M. Dunning, etc.


The names of Constables who had to perform both Ecclesiastical and secular duties of the Township have been given to the date of 1844 when the Church was re-built. After- wards the Ecclesiastical duties of a Constable were merged in the office of a Churchwarden. We have seen that Mr. James Stock was Churchwarden previous to Church re-building, and remained in office until the edifice was completed. The following are the names of persons who have since served as Churchwardens :-1845-6, Godfrey Drake. 1847, James Haigh. 1848-59, William Wilkinson. 1856, William Wilkinson and Joseph Whitworth. 1858, William Wilkinson and George Wm. Farrar. 1859, William Wilkinson. 1860-64, Joseph Hirst. 1865, Joseph Hirst and Joseph Waite. 1866, Joseph Hirst and Geo. Wm. Farrar. 1867, William Wilkinson and George Wm. Farrar. 1868-9, William Wilkinson. 1870, Alfred Beaumont and William Wilkinson. 1871-4, James F. Lunn and Alfred Beaumont. 1875-6, Jas. F. Lunn and Lupton Littlewood. 1877, Jas. F. Lunn and Richard Littlewood. 1878-80, Jas. F. Lunn and Thomas Farrar. 1881, Jas. F. Lunn and James Mellor. 1883, James Beaumont and Geo. Wm. Farrar. 1884-5, Ceorge Wm. Farrar and James Mellor. 1886-1895, William Brooke and Samuel Jagger. 1895-1900, William Brooke and S. F. Newsome. 1900-7, William Brooke and Henry Mellor. 1907-12, William Brooke and J. Hoffman Beaumont. 1912 to present, William Brooke and Benjamin Eastwood.


I have no record of past Choirmasters in Honley Church, so can only give names of persons from my own memory. Mr. Edward Beaumont acted as Choirmaster at the time that a

Page 256




mixed choir occupied the singing pew in the West gallery. He was the father of the talented young organist, Mr. George Allen Beaumont. When a surpliced male choir was intro- duced in 1888, Mr. Richard Henry Hardy, son-in-law of Mr. Edward Beaumont, was the first Choirmaster. Mr. Arthur Theaker next undertook the duties. He was followed by Mr. J. W. Tunstall, Assistant Master in the Boys' School, who was appointed November, 1892, and still retains his office. The late Mr. J. C. Beaumont, of Berry Brow, presided at the Organ after the death of Mr. George Allen Beaumont. Mr. J. C. Beaumont left to undertake the duties of Organist at Armitage Bridge Church. Mr. J. Stacey, who at that time was Schoolmaster, filled his place. When the latter left Honley, Mr. J. C. Beaumont again returned to Honley Church and acted as Organist 22 years. The present Organist is Mr. J. W. Hirst.

ExtrAcTs FRoM OLp Parisx Book.

We have seen from previous extracts the nature of duties undertaken by Constables of past days. Have chosen a few representative items from the old parish book which bring into clearer light various responsibilities which had to be undertaken under sanction of Church Vestry, and to which references in various chapters of this history are previously made :-

1791. £s. d. July 31 To a treat when Marsden Organist and Singers came to Honley .. .. .. .. 5 Aug. 7 To Mr. Armitage for his journey to York ._. 1 11 6 Dec. 25 Our Singers' Christmas Box .. .. .. 5 1792. Mar. 2 To Clerk, 4 year's wages .. 7 6 o 2 To Sexton, 4 year's wages 4 6 April 4 Our share of a new surplice . . 15 8 June 17 To Mr. Alexander for his journey to York 2. 2 12 6 Sept. 23 Treating Mr. Amerton, a fresh Minister 2. 1 , - 30 Treating Mr. Armistead, a fresh Minister 2. 1 -

Page 257

1793. Mar. 17 , - 20 »» _ 31 April 1 e, June 17 1794. April 25 May 18 Nov. 12 1795. April 1 Sept. 1 May 12


Treating Mr. Bellas, Minister . Joshua Moorhouse and self journey to York to give instructions for having answers to Dyson's allegations, Leeds for horses, turnpike and hostler, as follows :- .. For one dinner and liquor Coach hire from Leeds to York Spent at top of Bramham Moor Spent at Tadcaster Gave Coachman Paid our Expenses at York Gave Chambermaid .. .. Coach hire from York to Leeds Spent at Tadcaster and Bramham Moor .. Gave Coachman at Leeds Chambermaid Paid at Robert-Town for Dinners .. A quart of Ale at Huddersfield (Particulars of journeys to York, with similar charges, are numerous during the period when litigations were in progress between the three townships regarding removal of pulpit previously named). Washing surplice for one year . My expenses at Almondbury at Easter Chusing new Chapelwarden Letting Abraham Shaw Spout-making for Chapel gave him in earnest . Pd. Chris. Sanderson for docking in Chapel Yard Pd. for New Bible

Pd. as per bill for Pulpit-shifting Chusing Chapelwarden Pd. at my footing . .. Pd. at a meeting of the Chapelry about 2 pews

Saxton for one year bell-ringing Snow Shooling . Journey to Netherthong Wlth other Chapelwardens Paid for postage for letters from York ever since troubles began

2 11


N -- |--



= (®

1 17

& & TG O6 CG © ND Q



i & ®




C) ® O ~]

Page 258


1798. June 17 Sept. 6

1801. July 13 Nov. - 2

1808. July 18

1804. Sept. 3 1805. April 10 May 10

Aug. 10 »» - 10

sept. 24

1806. Mar. - 8

Aug. 23

1807. April 2

1809. May - 5

Oct. 23

»o- 27

» - 30


£8 To 3 days taking account of corn 2. . 9 A journey to Mytham Bridge to notice a woman out of the town _ .. 2. 2. 2. 1 Singers' Treat 2. -. .. a ._. 10 To Almondbury with a town's apprentice 2. 3 One day hiring Militia - .. .. . 2. 5 Expense of bell-man for crying " Act of Parlia- ment '' for Army Defence 2. . 2 Myself and Saxton dining at the " George" .. 5

To bell-woman crying against profaning Chapel yard .. J. Donaldson's (of York) blll for repairing organ 132 16 (There are other items too numerous to copy relating to organ repairs, amountihg to) 50 A Summons for Lockwood & Sons before George Armitage, Esq., to compel them to amend their work on the organ .. -_. .. 1 A pewter basin for Christening .. -. .. 3

Messenger to Armitage Bridge for a certificate to

sign for Recruits .. . 1 My attendance at Armitage Budge to put out J Bailey, Apprentice . -. 2. 2

Spent at Will Theakers by townspeople at attend- ance at Vestry to make me a chapel warden. Being a large party, they would have double allowance to oppose Crosland and Thong people 2. 2. .. -. 5

Journey to Linfit to consult Jonathan Sanderson as a witness in these suits _. . 3 Sent to J. Eastwood and Thomas Hobson, of Batley Carr, part expenses to York as

evidence | .. . 2 2 Journey to Huddersfield to engage Nathanlel Berry as evidence . . 3

To give Nathaniel Berry backword that he was not to go to York.. 2. 2. 2. I

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1810. £ s. d. Nov. 12 Pd. Honley's share for Robert Ludge (Lodge) making J. Haulkyard (Hawkyard) cloaths

and trimmings | .. -. -. ». 14 1811. April 10 Paid Mr. Wrigley Honley's share of Saxton's coat cloth .. _. -. <_. _. 15 Aug. 8 Post carrying a petition to Archbishop, and booking at Coach Office .. . . 8 $3 8 Posting a letter, describing J. Sanderson a I deserter _ .. .. .. .. .. 1 1814. April 23 Remitted to Lister and Lawton, the cost of suits against Crosland and Thong -. 2.0 214 7° 7

(I have also copies of extracts from an old parish book, at Almondbury, relating to Honley, dating from 1782 and onwards. The entries treat of the same primitive mode of carrying on religious and secular duties of our parish of that date, and are similar in character to above extracts).


With the closing of the Churchyard, in 1856, came the - necessity for providing a new " God's Acre." A public meeting was held, when it was decided to purchase land to annex to the Church as a Burial Ground. A representative committee was formed, consisting of William Brooke, George Robinson, G. W. Farrar, Charles Kellet, Wm. Wilkinson, Benjamin Mellor, John France, James Robinson, Samuel Drake, George Donkersley, Godfrey Drake, George Jessop, Daniel Donkersley, and Benjamin France. Subscriptions were collected, the total amount being £815 9s. 8d., and Nonconformists gave £127 5s. 0d. of this sum. The old subscription book is headed '* A public subscription to purchase additional burial ground to be attached to St. Mary's Church, Honley." This is in the hand-writing of the late Mr. James Robinson. The Cemetery was consecrated on September 24th, 1857. Mr. William Hirst, of Town-head, was the first person interred. There is no com- parison between the present Cemetery, and the first small " God's Acre" of nearly sixty years ago. Since that time,

Page 260






the Church has loyally and generously undertaken the ever increasing responsibilities attached to the Cemetery, such as paying of Caretaker's salary, upholding and beautifying the grounds, etc. Constant watchfulness has always been required on account of the exposed position of the ground. Additions to burial ground, improvements to buildings, new walks, drains, boundary walls, seats, etc., have been both numerous and costly. Important improvements took place in 1889. The road was widened near entrance-gates, a large piece of land added to burial ground, new boundary walls built, construction of new walks, drainage, etc. The whole cost of these extensive alterations was defrayed by Mr. William Brooke. The new additional ground was consecrated on September 16th, 1889. Another addition of land was given by Mr. Brooke and con- secrated April 16th, 1890. On account of the sloping nature of the Cemetery, the roads and walks require constant attention due to our heavy rainfall. The latest gift of Mr. Brooke has been the defraying of the cost of asphalting the steep roads and walks.

Perhaps no other burial ground in the neighbourhood is so picturesque and well-cared for as Honley Cemetery. Its surroundings still retain much of their original rural character, Stones-wood having been re-planted and preserved at Mr. Brooke's expense. Its ancient path, now made a good road, is highly valued by Honley dwellers, and aptly named " The lover's walk.": On Sabbath days when the air is free from smoke, a grand outlook upon earth and sky can always be - obtained from its elevated position ; whilst in the quiet of summer twilights a multitude of thoughts may throng across the minds of visitors-" Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."


When Mr. William Brooke purchased the Commercial Inn, in 1887, he erected upon its foundation the present beautiful Parish-room and Caretaker's house. The building is of 17th century design, and was built by Mr. Brooke in memory of

Page 261

THE PaArRisH Room. (see page 204),


Page 263


1893 his mother. The room was opened on March 30th, 1893 with- out any ceremony, and given over by Mr. Brooke for the use of all parochial work, organizations, etc. The building was placed further back from the street than where the Inn originally stood for the purpose of allowing a wider entrance to be made to the Church. Mr. Brooke included the ground and new gateway to Church in his gift of the Parish-room.

Page 264



(Honley Chapels.—Oongregationa1 Church. -Wesleyan Chapel. -P rimi- tive Methodist Chapel.-Wood Royd Chapel.-Berry Croft Chapel.- Reformer's Chapel). .



_PrEviOUs to the Evangelical awakening which followed Wesley's preaching, there were no Chapels in Honley ; so that I cannot go as far back in their histories as that of the Church. The building of each Chapel in turn was due to the religious revival of that period when it was said, that no person could pass through Honley or its neighbouring townships without hearing the sound of prayer and hymn-singing. Mention has been made of the early Missionaries of Methodism, whose religious activity no persecution could quench, and also refer- ence to their converts who walked long distances each Sunday to hear the Rev. Hy. Venn, Vicar of Huddersfield, the friend of Wesley, preach. The great feature of the religious revival of that period was not only the strong convictions of the converts, but their zeal to convert others. With wonderful ardour they travelled long distances to address cottage- meetings, helped to educate the ignorant on the Sabbath Day, and by their personal example of religious piety and zeal, exercised strong influence upon all around.

In the foundation and building up of all religious sects, the fiery furnace of persecution and hatred had invariably to be passed through. When early strenuous combat for free- dom of worship is merged in its attainment, then spiritual zeal is apt to encourage a spirit of bigotry towards those who differ in religious views. The beginnings and sowings of the seed of dissent in Honley were due to intense spiritual con- viction and belief. There is more formality now in the services of the Chapels than in the rousing times of early Methodism.

Page 265


The remorse of the sinner is of a more sober and circumspect character than in the days of earlier converts, who perhaps were too lavish in their religious renunciations. But the followers of these good men, if they have not altogether kept to the original mode of primitive dissenting worship, have kept to its spirit. Amongst our dissenting families are to be found the most orderly, useful, and unselfish members of the community in which the earnest piety of earlier Methodism still lives on.

It is not my province to criticise the different modes of worship adapted by each sect after " breakings away." John Wesley himself said " that the English language did not contain a more ambiguous word than that of Church." Religion has as many meanings as its sects are numerous, and differences have agitated the minds of each generation in turn. The tenets of each Chapel are, I believe, identical, but separation has been solely due to different ideas upon Church policy and government.


Previous to the preaching of Wesley, there was a rise of an older dissent against Ecclesiastical privileges which was em- bodied in such men as the Rev. Oliver Heywood, Rev. David Dury, of Honley, and later, Rev. Hy. Venn, of Huddersfield. These men were typical of the thousands of Ministers of the Church of England who were ejected from its pulpits beginning in 1640, and following on for refusing to sign the Act of Uniformity. As a rule, they were the most God-fearing, as well as the most intellectual men amongst the ordained Clergy of that day. Ruling powers had not then discovered (nor have they yet found out), that persecution never quenched freedom of thought ; but as a rule helps to establish the struggles for freedom upon a firm basis. The punishment of these ejected Ministers therefore only led to greater popularity amongst their devoted followers, who gladly welcomed them in each town and village they visited. The diaries of the Rev. Oliver Heywood testify to the hard strenuous lives lived, and the persecutions endured by those pioneers of Noncomformity.

Page 266



The early beginnings, therefore, of the religious sect known as Independents were not at first far removed from the Evangelical doctrine of the Church of England. Later, In- dependence developed to Calvinism, and afterwards, there were many changes regarding the religious points of Calvinistic belief. Suffice to say, that Honley Independent Chapel has its ordained Ministers, Deacons, Sacraments, etc. Many good and notable men of the past have been members of the Chapel, and its present members still identify themselves with all good works. As in the past, the Chapel is a source of great influence, and its members zealously help forward the moral and religious progress of Honley.

Mention has before been made that persons from Honle; attended the services of the Rev. Henry Venn. Amongst those who journeyed to Huddersfield would be a shy boy named Joseph Cockin, whose influence was great upon the earlier history of Moorbottom Chapel as it is still named, on account of its situation at the bottom of Honley Moor. He was the son of John Cockin, a Honley Clothier of local standing, whose name will be found in this history acting as Chapelwarden and Constable for Honley from 1747 to 1748. The Cockins are an old Honley family, and have still descendants living in the place. Like unto other children of that period, Joseph Cockin would not have much schooling. But he would be reared in the time of the great Evangelical revival which evidently influenced his youthful mind. When about fourteen years of age, a Mr. John Bottomley, a student training for the Independent Ministry, came to Honley to preach at the house of his cousin. Perhaps young Cockin would listen to the discourse, and be a witness also to the rough usage meted out to Mr. Bottomley, who, when mud was thrown in his face refused to wipe it off. The boy began to read the Bible, attend the scanty means of religious worship available at that time ; and preferred the friendship of the seriously inclined to in- dulging in sports and pastimes common at that period. In consequence, he had to suffer for acting differently to his neighbours. His father, as a Churchman, was indignant that

Page 267



a son of his should join in the worship of the then obnoxious Methodists. When parental commands for him to desist were unheeded, the boy was turned adrift. We must remember, however, that parental authority had to be obeyed at that time. - Young Cockin found shelter with a friend at Lockwood, who introduced him to the Rev. Hy. Venn to the great joy of the youth, who had longed to speak to the great preacher. The latter proved a wise counsellor, and but for the removal of Mr. Venn from Huddersfield, probably Joseph Cockin would have been a Church of England Minster, in place of one of the great pioneers of Noncomformity in the West Riding of York- shire. When Mr. Venn left Huddersfield, a Clergyman different to his predecessor was appointed, who soon alienated the most devoted members of his congregation. These seceded from the Church, and erected a place of worship known as Highfield Chapel, in 1772, in which they could worship God according to their conscience. From my study of the history of Independent Noncomformity in this neighbourhood, I can only conclude that Highfield Chapel was not built in a spirit of dissent. Its erection was due to the prevailing intense religious enthusiasm, and from a desire for the old spiritual food which had been so abundant and satisfying under the guidance of Mr. Venn.

When Highfield Chapel was erected many people from Honley attended regularly for years, amongst them being

Joseph Cockin, who had returned to his home. With other young men who had become converts to the new religious

spirit, they held cottage prayer-meetings, and in other ways

worked zealously for the spread of the gospel in their own village. Joseph Cockin, however, had again to leave home on account of work, and also had to serve in the Militia being chosen by ballot. During the time that he was in barracks, he publicly prayed and preached, though only 19 years of age. When his term of military service had expired, he was placed in Heckmondwike Independent College for the training of Ministers, kind friends supplying necessary funds during his stay there. The College was under the charge of the Rev. James Stocks, a famous clerical divine of that time. In the


Page 268


memoirs of Joseph Cockin, he writes in most eloquent terms of his old tutor. In " Yorkshire Notes and Queries," published by J. Horsfall Turner, is a picture of the old Heckmondwike Academy, in which Joseph Cockin was trained for his great work. During vacations of his student's years, he took every opportunity of preaching and speaking out of doors when it was perilous to do so ; youthful persecutions fitting him for the position of pioneer. Once at Almondbury his earnest preach- ing in the street held a tumultuous crowd as one man for a little time. Knowing from experience, that a mob can easily

be swayed one way or another, he ran for his life directly he had finished his discourse.

The first pastorate of Joseph Cockin was at Kippin Chapel, Thornton, near Bradford. In " Yorkshire Notes and Queries," is published a letter which the Rev. J. Scott wrote at that time to the congregation regarding the call given to Joseph Cockin to be their pastor. In this letter, Mr. Scott appeals for generous support of the salary of their new pastor. The Rev. Joseph Cockin remained 14 years at Kippin, and during that time he preached throughout the West Riding in Chapels, houses, barns, fields, or anywhere when opportunity offered. So effective were his efforts, that Chapel after Chapel was erected where he had preached. His next sphere of labour was at Halifax, where he was continually engaged in all kinds of religious activities, not only in that town, but further afield. In the meantime, the Rev. Joseph Cockin had not forgotten ** the nest where he was born." It was his dearest wish that an Independent Chapel should be built at Honley. He worked zealously to arouse the desire for a new Chapel, and collected in London £156 0s. 0d. towards a building fund. The devoted followers of Venn, who still attended Highfield Chapel, also had a strong desire for their neighbours to enjoy the same privileges at home. From the time when Mr. John Bottomley, the young student, had preached at Honley, there had been cottage services held at the house of a Mr. Benjamin Littlewood 1795 as often as preachers could be obtained. In 1795, the Rev. (i. Richardson, of Penistone, was invited to Honley and

Page 269







preached his first sermon on the Feast Sunday in the house of Mr. Benjamin Littlewood. Afterwards he preached regularly until his little congregation, which met at the same house, began building their first Chapel in 1796. The land was given by Mr. John Littlewood, the originator of the once well-known woollen firm of Messrs. John Littlewood & Sons. The Chapel had a burial ground attached, and was opened for Divine service on July 3lst, 1797, on which occasion the Rev. J. Cockin preached one of the opering sermons. To me it seems a pity, that the sermon of this noteworthy man upon such an eventful occasion could not have been preserved. As the popular and gifted preacher, then in the zenith of his fame and usefulness, stood in the pulpit, what a flood of memories from earlier years would pass across his mind ! He would, perhaps, recall past days when self-absorbed he sat by the home-fireside, or walked in field-paths around Honley, working out in silence in the firelight's glow, or under the stars, the religious problems agitating a youthful mind. I must, however, now refrain from following further the interesting history of this °" Honley lad," who died in 1828, aged 73 years. Suffice to say, that at his death funeral sermons were preached in all Chapels though- out the West Riding of Yorkshire, for he had always been ready to preach for other religious denominations which differed from his own, and plead for their Institutions. His son, the Rev. John Cockin, a man of religious zeal and intellectual ability, though a cripple, was pastor for 46 years at Holmfirth Chapel.

(I am indebted to Mr. Jas. Sykes, LL.B., Chapel Secretary, for supplying me with following particulars).

When the first Moorbottom Chapel was built no particular creed was defined, but in 1809, "The same covenant and Confession of faith" was adopted which prevailed amongst the Independents of that date. There remained a debt of £240 0s. 0d. upon the original building. As time went on the number of worshippers increased, and a gallery was added in 1809, at a cost of £350 Os. 0d. This sum, along with the debt remaining upon the Chapel was gradually paid off. In

1819 1819 a resident Minister's house was erected in Cuckoo Lane, at

Page 270

1830 1838 1864






a cost of about £800 0s. 0d. In 1830, a plot of land was added to the burial ground, and the whole enclosed. In 1838 con- siderable repairs to the outside structure and decorations inside cost nearly £300 0s. 0d. In 1864, the Chapel was closed for five months, during which time extensive alterations were carried out at a cost of over £300 Os. 0d. The re-opening services took place on February 28th, 1865. This outlay was met by voluntary subscriptions and collections.

In the year 1899, the congregation began to discuss the advisability of erecting a new Chapel, and a scheme was in- augurated to raise money for the purpose. A site was purchased near the existing schools, and efforts to form a building fund went steadily forward. In 1905, Mr. Arthur Drake, one of the Senior Deacons of the Chapel, offered £200 Os. Od. towards £1,000 0s. 0d. to commence building on condition that the remaining £800 0s. 0d. was raised by the congregation. The latter resporded generously, and also a further sum of £500 Os. 0d. was raised. A legacy of £20 0s. 0d. had been left to each place of worship in Honley by Mrs. Anne Whinfrey, née Miss Ann Roberts, a well-known member of a Mag-dale family. The legacy left to Moorbottom Chapel was added to the building fund. The late Mr. Josiah France, of Parkton Grove, who had life-long and old family associations with Moorbottom Chapel, also added £250 0s. 0d. The ladies of the Congregation, with their usual self-denying industry, raised large sums by Bazaars and other means. There were also additional subscriptions from all the members, a few contri- buting large sums, whilst others followed with smaller contributions according to their means. The first sod for the erection of the new Chapel was cut on February 26th, 1910, by Mrs. Charles Roberts, one of the oldest workers at the Chapel. The stone-laying ceremony took place on April 30th. This must always be a red-letter day in the annals of any religious sect or secular society. It is also of interest to note if the names of those who laboured so long in the interests of the old Chapel in the past, are still represented in the new. When such is the case, it proves that the work of the Chapel has proved a blessing.

Page 271


1796 1865


Twelve memorial stones for the new Chapel were laid by the following : Mr. Alfred Sykes, of Huddersfield, treasurer to the Yorkshire Congregational Union,-Mr. F. B. Booth, Hudders- field, treasurer of the District Congregational Council, -Mr. Clarkson Booth, Bourneville, a past member of the Chapel, -Mr. Fred Moseley, Knighton, a past member,-Miss M. R. Steel, Edinbro',-Mrs. Joe Robinson, on behalf of Ladies' Sewing Ward, on behalf of the Sunday School, -Mr. Arthur Drake,-Mr. Thomas Heaton,-Mr. James Sykes, LL.B., Church Secretary,-Mr. Albert Robinson,-and Mr. T. A. Thornton. There was also an interesting tree-planting ceremony by Sunday School Scholars. Before describing the new Chapel, we must give a final good-bye to the old. It had been decided to pull down the building and to make use of the material in helping to erect the new Chapel. The closing services were held on March 6th, 1910. There would be many present who had known the burden and heat of the day since the time when in the dawn of life they had been Sunday School Scholars, and youthful members. We may be sure that the destruction of the old Chapel would leave its empty ache of memories in many hearts. It is interesting to record that from its building in 1796 to the year 1865, over 1,200 children were baptized by the respective Ministers, and over 300 persons received in membership. The vacant site has been enclosed, and will serve to remind future generations where the first Independent Chapel built in Honley originally stood. The burial ground is also closed.

The new Congregational Church, as it is now named, is erected in the Gothic style, and has a lofty spire of 85 feet in height. In the interior is a chancel, Choir Stalls, Rostrum, Minister and Choir Vestries, Lecture Room, an end gallery, and a beautiful Organ placed in an arched recess. The woodwork is of pine. Leaded tinted lights fill the tracery windows. A memorial window to the memory of the late Mrs. Arthur Drake is placed in the Chancel by her husband and children. There is seating room for about 417 people, and in the gallery about 63. The whole of the interior is very beautiful and of chaste design,

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whilst the outside appearance from an architectural point of view is very striking. - According to a balance sheet, published by the Secretaries and Treasurers of the Building Fund, the cost of the new Chapel was £4,578 12s. 4d. It speaks well, not only for the practical knowledge of those who formed the building committee, but also for their oversight, that such a beautiful edifice and its surroundings only cost that sum which was raised beforehand with the exception of £400 0s. 0d. The dedication service took place on May 15th, 1911. The Rev. J. D. Jones, M.A., B.D., Ex-Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, preached a power- ful and practical sermon on " Individualism " ; and special services were continued for a few Sundays.

The nrames of the Ministers who have been called to the spiritual oversight of the Independent body of worshippers in Honley and their dates of service, are :-Rev. George Richardson, 1795-99,-Rev. John Hampshire, 1800-7,-Rev. Robinson Pool, 1808-1817,-Rev. James Potter, 1818-1852,- Rev. George Eustace, 1853-1857,-Rev. Edward Potter, 1858-1860,-Rev. Henry Hustwicke, 1862-1867,-Rev. Joseph Henderson, 1870-74,-Rev. Christopher Thompson, 1878-9,- Rev. John Croft, 1880-6,-Rev. Reuben Briggs, M.A., 1887- 98,-Rev. Robert Henry Morgan, 1898-1906,-and present pastor, the Rev. George Wm. Gervis, B.A., appointed 1907.


The followers of Wesley in Honley first worshipped in Green Cliffe Chapel to which was attached a burial ground. It was a plain erection with seating for about 250 people. I have no records further back than 1806, in which year it was built. Such was the religious fervour of the period, that its worshippers came long distances to attend the services in the Chapel. In the year 1820, there was a second great religious awakening in the neighbourhood, which again had its most numerous converts at Deanhouse. This revival spread to Honley, and was known as the " Reins revival." It was during this time that Mr. Edward Brooke, of Northgate House, familiarly known as Squire Brooke, was converted to Methodism. When

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REv. R. 1809, aT THE AGE or 29. Memento of the Independent Chapel. (see page 214).

WESLEYAN CHAPEL, (see page 214).

Page 275

1823 1824


following his sport upon Honley Moor, he had met Mr. Thomas Holliday, a noted Primitive Methodist preacher, who questioned the wisdom of the young squire's mode of finding happiness. The few simple words changed the whole course of a life.

Love-feasts and class-meetings were a great feature of early Methodism in Honley. At one of these love-feasts, held in Green Cliffe Chapel, the conversion of Squire Brooke was announced. There were great rejoicings amongst its members at the joyful news, many being in the employment of "Th' Young Maister." In 1823, Edward Brooke was made a class- leader. In 1824, he preached his first sermon in the chamber of the house of Joseph Donkersley which is opposite the present Chapel. As years passed, Green Cliffe Chapel proved too small and inconvenient for its large number of worshippers. - Edward Brooke, full of religious enthusiasm, and with all the energy characteristic of his race, agitated for a new Chapel. The building was erected on its present central site, at a cost of £2,500 0s. Od. Attached was a School, Vestries, etc., and the building was able to seat 600 people. Mr. Edward Brooke, full of expectations of coming good, could not wait patiently until the building was properly finished. Mr. William Dawson, a popular revivalist preacher, who resided near Leeds, preached at the opening service. There were no pews for the vast crowds of people who came, and they sat on the floor, un- finished frameworks or any place where a seat could be obtained. I have heard old people recall the wonderful preaching, fervent singing, and religious exaltation which distinguished the opening of the new Chapel ; and the day was long remembered in Honley. When the Chapel was properly completed, it was opened and dedicated on November 26th, Mr. Edward Brooke himself being the preacher. The collection at this service amounted to £700 Os. 0d., and largely by his help, the Chapel was eventually free from debt. The old building at Green Cliffe was converted into cottages, and the burial ground was


Space forbids me to more fully extend the life of Squire Brooke, but the history of his life has been written by the Rev.,

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J. H. Lord. As one who often heard Mr. Brooke preach at Honley when younger, who also was acquainted with many who were once the gay companions of his youth, and knew others closely connected with his religious work in after life ; I think that the life of Squire Brooke has been written with truth and fidelity by Mr. Lord. Probably the book has been read by nearly all the followers of Wesleyanism, not only in Great Britain, but in distant parts of the world.

The history of a building like that of a human life has to experience times of darkness. It was not all revival, con- version and building up days in the Wesleyan Chapel such as have been described. The closing of Shaw's factory in 1845, previously named, was a great blow, not only to the industrial life, but also the religious life of Honley. Many of the most staunch members of the Chapel had to leave the place, and seek employment elsewhere. Inwardly, the Chapel also was passing through what was known as the " Reform agitation." During this time of stress, a large number separated themselves from its worship. Dark days however passed. In 1893 a great work was again accomplished. This was renovating and decorating Chapel, restoring organ, and other alterations at a cost of £1,800 0s. 0d. I am unable to give particulars of these improvements, but the debt was paid off by gifts, sales of work, and the self-sacrifice of its members. It is one of the most beautiful Chapels in the neighbourhood, and a shining centre of devoted worship and useful work. In the roll of its members are to be fourd many of the good old family names of Honley. Many of their descendants who have remained on the soil, worthily walk in their footsteps. Along with others who have adopted Honley as their home, they are an influence for good upon those around them.


This earnest and hard-working body of worshippers seceded from the parent Wesleyan body on account of differences held regarding a few points of minor doctrine. Amongst the more humble followers of Wesley during the earlier and middle

Page 277


Wins ne » » etn a nt tn nA Ain nt

Woon RoyDp CHAPEL. see page 220).

Page 279




part of last century were many unable to read or write ; and often those who preached had not much more learning behind them. But if unlettered, they were well read in scripture. If their language was homely, their intense fervour appealed strongly to hearers. This rousing method of preaching the gospel did not meet with the approval of the more restrained and educated members of the Wesleyan body. A great camp- meeting was held out of doors at Mow-Cop, in Staffordshire, when intense religious enthusiasm prevailed, which was again condemned. In 1810, those who clung to the old form of religious expression without restrictions separated themselves from the parent body. They named themselves Primitive Methodists, the word primitive being more in harmony as they thought with their original mode of worship.

Honley Primitive Methodists first met and rented a room in Oldfield Buildings, which had previously been used as a meeting-place by the Methodist New Connexion body. Their numbers grew, and it was decided to erect their own Bethel, which was built in Southgate or Far End Lane, as it was then named in 1842. A Sunday School was built under the Chapel and there was also a burial ground attached, which is now closed. The estimated cost of Chapel and School was about £700 0s. 0d. Experience proves that these calculations are generally exceeded and such proved the case. It was only religious real which dared have attempted such an undertaking at that time. Its members were nearly all persons occupying a humble position in life, and work was scarce on account of the closing of Shaw's mill. Members of the Primitive Methodist body, however, had always friends in Honley, both amongst Church people and otherwise. These did not enter into questions of their religious doctrines, but respected them for their earnest and genuine mode of worship. With great sacrifice also on the part of the members, who perambulated far and wide after their day's work was over in search of sub- scriptions, the debt upon the Chapel was paid off.

As time passed, the Primitive Methodists, like other religious bodies, had to move with the times in satisfying modern

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requirements. The Chapel was enlarged in 1899 at a cost of about £1,400 0s. 0d. These various alterations were of a very extensive character, and a fine organ, built by Conachers, of Huddersfield, was also added. The four foundation stones for the enlargement of Chapel front were laid on April 20th, 1899, by J. Jenkinson, Esq., Sheffield, Alderman James Smith, Bradford, Henry Adams, Esq., Sheffield, and Mr. Allen Boothroyd, Honley. The latter, as one of the oldest scholars, laid the fourth stone on behalf of the Sunday School.

Like all who seek the good of others rather than their own, the earlier efforts of Primitive Methodists in other neighbour- hoods had to encounter much scorn and often rough usage. Their joyous form of worship when holding revivalist services, camp-meetings, love-feasts, etc., earned for them the title of * Ranters." The Primitive Methodists of Honley, however, have not had to suffer from such persecution to my knowledge. Since the time that they raised their Chapel, the band of worshippers has always been a religious feature in the place ; even rough and uncultivated characters having a sneaking regard for their primitive form of worship. In the past, the members have held camp-meetings and services in the open- air, singing hymns dear to their rugged hearts as they marched through the streets ; for an old-time Honley Primitive Methodist has never been ashamed of his religion. In stirring revivalist times, they would sally forth each evening to seek the lost sheep of Honley. When holding their love-feasts, they would plead earnestly for the conversion of the sinner, dwell upon their many blessings, and turn their daily hardships into spiritual joys ; for when the religious zeal of an old-time Primitive Methodist was aroused, it was bad to stifle.

I can recall to mind many of the old-time members, both men and women, with their expressive modes of worship, prayer, and characteristic exclamations generally uttered in the strong local vernacular. A younger generation of worshippers may perhaps feel that more decorous worship is preferable. But they have not lived in days when religious

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expression was the Alpha and Omega of lives whose lot was so


The modern Chapel now takes rank with other religious buildings. Though its walls may not again resound to the old- time services and homely language, yet the Chapel and School are centres of active service and worship. These perhaps are more adapted to the modern fdeas of its younger members than past modes of worship.

A feature of the Primitive Methodist body was its encourage- ment of women to also publicly give expression to their religious convictions. - Whilst upon the subject of the Chapel, the name of Miss Sarah Ann Castle should not be allowed to fade from the memories of an older generation of worshippers who remembered her ; and as worthy of more than a passing thought from the younger. Born May 4th, 1839, Sarah Ann Castle was the daughter of Jonathan and Mary Castle, of Scholes, near Holmfirth. Her parents were Wesleyans, and class- meetings were regularly held at her home. When the Primitive Methodist formed a body at Scholes, her parents joined ; and their daughter was converted at the age of eleven years. At the age of 14 years she was chosen to preach, and put upon the plan.

Perhaps the greatest things in life have been accomplished when what is thought ordinary judgment has been thrown to the winds. It must naturally strike us that all common sense had fled, when a girl of 14 years is solemnly chosen to preach. Yet the confidence placed in this young girl reared in a limited sphere was justified. She became a mighty Evangalist, and before she was 20 years of age, had conducted services, missions, etc. in all parts of the neighbourhood. She often preached at Honley Primitive Methodist Chapel. Like as when vast crowds flocked to hear Squire Brooke, when he preached in his native place, so the preaching of Miss Sarah Ann Castle held the same attraction to the multitude. The writer, when a child, was always taken by her mother to hear this once celebrated female preacher, and can vividly recall

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her personality. Comparing the expressive individuality of Miss Sarah Ann Castle with cultured women of a later date whom I have heard speak upon many subjects, the former stands out in my memory as their equal. To go back to the days of seventy years ago in the isolated village of Scholes. What kind of education would fall to the lot of a humble child in a cottage home, especially a girl ? Knowing this, I can only think of her mental gifts as inspiration, or as Tennyson writes : '* Here and there a cottar's babe is royal born by ( right

George Eliot, in her novel of " Adam Bede," gives a pen picture of Dinah Morris the female preacher. In later life I have often wondered if the great novelist, whose book was written at the time when the preaching of Miss Castle was at its zenith, saw or heard her ? George Eliot's description of Dinah Morris answers in each detail to the personality of Miss Sarah Ann Castle with one exception. The latter had dark hair. Otherwise the beautiful face, quaker-like style of dress, clear and graceful style of preaching, free from all sensational- ism, the softly-modulated voice with its plaintive wail of Miss Castle, are all re-produced in the description of Dinah Morris.

Woop Royp CHnarEu.

This Chapel is named Bethel, and has a Sunday School and Burial Ground attached. With its dark yew tree overshadow- ing the small " God's acre" the Chapel is situated amidst picturesque scenery, and old world surroundings. Its building was also the outcome of the great religious revival which swept over the country after Wesley's preaching. Mention is made of the Haighs in Hall Ing history. One, Thomas Haigh, born in 1749, was the founder of the Methodist cause in this corner of Honley township. A young man of wealth and standing, he indulged in sports and pastimes common at that period amongst his class. His mother was a pious and God-fearing woman regularly attending the Ministry of the Rev. H. Venn, at Huddersfield. One of the numerous converts of Whitefield

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1851 1797




and Wesley was a stone-mason of the name of John Nelson, residing at Birstall, who became one of the most celebrated of the revivalist preachers of that time. At the age of 23, Thomas Haigh heard this far-famed man preach in 1770. It was the turning-point in the life of Thomas Haigh. A convert to religion, he at once desired to convert others. A class of earnest men and women was formed, and led by him, prayer- meetings were held in his own house at Gynn, to which reference is made under the head of " Old Houses." After- wards meetings were held at Hall Ing, and in a cottage at Wood Royd Mill, which was the property of the Haigh family at the time. It is mentioned also that he preached at Farnley Tyas upon Easter Sunday in 1780 to a large assembly of people. He had a fervent co-worker in his son, Joseph Haigh, who purchased the Hall Ing property in 1851.

The Methodist New Connexion body was formed in 1797, having seceded from the parent Wesleyan body. Thomas Haigh and his son Joseph at once joined the new society, both having taken a foremost part in its institution. - When Thomas Haigh was called to his rest, the good work begun by him was carried on by his son Joseph. The latter set apart ground at Wood Royd, for the purpose of building a Chapel. The foundation stone for the building was laid in April, 1840, and the Chapel was opened for service on September 23rd, 1840. Joseph Haigh defrayed the cost of erection, with the exception of subscriptions from his sons. When the foundation stone was laid, Henry Martin Haigh, a grandson of the founder, was baptized upon the stone. The first person to be interred in the peaceful burial ground was a child belonging to a member of the family. The second person was Joseph Haigh himself, whose memorial stone will keep in memory one of the old worthies of Honley.

The original doctrine of the New Connexion body underwent a change in 1907. The Union of three Methodists' Societies took place at that time, and are named " The United Methodist Church." The members. of Wood Royd Chapel are now joined to this Union. The Jubilee of the Chapel was celebrated

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on October llth, 12th and 13th, 1890, when a three days' festival, both of a religious and social character, marked the interesting event. The name of Mr. and Mrs. Henderson and family have long been closely and hcenourably connected with this Chapel and its good work. I am indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Henderson for supplying me with particulars regarding both Chapel and Sunday School. Mrs. Henderson is a grand- daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Haigh, and still resides near the old homestead.


This Chapel was one of the many little Bethels raised by men who had been so strongly influenced by the prevailing religious fervour of that time. Mr. Jonathan Roebuck, of Thirstin, a well-to-do Clothier, and a member of one of Honley's oldest families, was a devoted member of the Methodist New Con- nexion body which had been formed at Hall Ing in 1797. Like unto others who had become converts, he was anxious for the conversion of others. Employing a number of work- people in his trade as Clothier, he gathered them together as well as friends and tenants, and formed a small band of worshippers in Honley. Renting two cottages in Oldfield Buildings, they were adapted for a meeting-house. Here the small band continued to hold services until about 1856, when Mr. Jonathan Roebuck built a Chapel at Berry Croft, near his home, familiarly known as "Jonathan's Chapel." Mr. Roebuck gave it over to the Methodist New Connexion body, who supplied its Ministers. The small meeting-room in Old- field Buildings, which he had rented, was afterwards used by the Primitive Methodists'® Society until able to erect their own Chapel, in 1842. When they vacated the building, it was in

turn occupied by another " breaking away ' body, who named

themselves " Reformers." - During the life-time of Mr. Jonathan Roebuck, there was no lack of religious zeal or active work in connection with Berry Croft Chapel. There was a flourish- ing Sunday School which held its annual Anniversary and School-feast. After the death of its donor, who had been the life and soul of the little Chapel, its once active influence waned.

Page 285






Old attached members still supported both Chapel and School, but as these passed away, a younger generation went else- where. About 1887, Berry Croft Chapel had to close its doors for lack of worshippers, and the building is now rented for secular purposes.


There was a secession from the parent Wesleyan body about 1836 by many members. The new sect was named " The United Methodist Free Church." It was not however until 1849 that Honley members were able to form a body naming themselves °" Reformers." They met in the building before mentioned, which had been rented by Mr. Jonathan Roebuck, and afterwards by the Primitive Methodists body. They also formed a Sunday School, which held its annual Whitsuntide festival, prize distributions and anniversary. The latter was held out of doors, and generally attracted large crowds. The small but devoted band of God-fearing men and women who worshipped in the Reformer's Chapel however gradually grew less. As death removed its early staunch supporters, their places were not taken by younger members. Towards the end of 1900, Reformer's Chapel was closed for lack of support and membership. The building is now used for the teaching of wood-carving to week-day scholars attending the National School.

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(Sunday Schools.-Church Sunday School. -Congregational Sunday School. -Wesleyan Sunday School. -Primitive Methodist Sunday School. -Wood Royd Sunday School).


T'xE® origin of Sunday Schools was all part of that great religious revival which swept over the country. Robert Raikes, of (iloucester, influenced like others, gathered together in 1780 the stray children in the streets of his native town ; and taught them on a Sunday. Helped by others, his noble and unselfish efforts far exceeded his expectations. Giving publicity to his enterpise in the columns of the Gloucester Journal, of which he was proprietor, his scheme awakened great interest throughout the country. In 1784, there appeared a letter in the " Gentleman's Magazine," written by Robert Raikes, explaining to his numerous enquirers about the Sunday School at (Gloucester. This Magazine was read by all country gentlemen at that time. No doubt the letter would be seen by a Honley resident or residents, and probably discussed, for a Sunday School was established in 1790. The Wesleyan and Independent religious bodies joined with the Church of England in opening the first Sunday School at Upper Steps Mill, in 1790, where writing was taught by using a piece of pointed wire upon Calais sand, when the writing could be erased by running the hand over the sand. This method of acquiring learning side by side with religious knowledge continued until 1814, when by mutual consent each party separated, and provided rooms for themselves. The Church rented the now demolished Town Hall for the instruction of scholars on Sunday, the Independents taught in a cottage in Thirstin, situated underneath the present Minister's residence, and the Wesleyans removed to Green Cliffe Chapel. In the early history

Page 287

UPPER STEPS MILL, where the first Sunday School was held in Honley. (see page 224

MooRBOTTOM CHAPEL OLD SCHOOL-now demolished. (see page 233).

Page 289




of the National School, it will be seen that scholars attached to the Church were removed to the new building erected in 1816. This was the first National School erected in Honley. When the present School was built in 1846, they were then taught in the new structure ; where Sunday-School teaching with week- day education has since been carried on side by side.

Sunday Schools have been a great feature of religious life in Honley since their formation over one hundred years ago. It was there that reverence for God and our fellow-beings has been nourished and kept alive in young hearts, and willing hands stretched out to give spiritual guidance to untrained feet. According to extracts from old Sunday School books, still in existence, the scholars in the past had kind friends, treats, prizes, etc. as at present. Amongst the items copied will be found recorded the custom common in Honley Sunday Schools of giving beer for the children's refreshments on Whit-Monday in place of tea being served as at present. This: might be due to the old custom of drinking Whitsun-ale, but more probably on account of tea being an expensive luxury at that time, whilst home-brewed beer was cheaper. In the early part of last century, when food was at famine price, good fare was certainly meted out to the children on Whit-Monday and other holidays, according to entries in the old Sunday School book ; and the word treat was not misnamed.

It is said that the attendance at our Sunday Schools is not as good as formerly. Annual Anniversaries however are still held in esteem, and our streets and lanes are bright each Sabbath-day with clean and well-dressed children and adults all hastening to their respective Schools. Sunday School Prizes are still valued, and there does not seem as yet any diminishing in numbers attending our Whitsuntide festivals, which it is hoped will never be merged in an outside world holiday. Minor changes have taken place in our Whit-Monday festival since the early days when beer was given to the children in place of tea as at present. These alterations have all been for the better. Old scholars will recall the time when no


Page 290



crockery was provided in the Schools for partaking of tea. Each scholar had to bring his or her own mug, the care of which proved a great infliction during the afternoon march around the village, and generally ended in disaster to the mug before the day ended. Cups and saucers, with no responsibilities attached, have replaced the mugs. Cut bread and butter, flanked by other dainties, have also been substituted for the once familiar currant tea-cake with which we were regaled. The custom also of presenting a second currant cake to each scholar when dismissing them after tea continued for a long time. At present, I suppose this once valued luxury would not be considered worth taking home. The present Whit- Monday evening scene of children playing, and older people all meeting together until sunset is a happy change, and typical of a once " Merrie England " scene. In past days many small flags were carried by the children in Whit-Monday processions, until now superseded by one large banner borne aloft in front, requiring male strength for carriage, and ropes for steadiness. Next came the advent of brass-bands heading each school procession, which transformed a once modest gathering into a triumphal march. The most notable change, however, has been the meeting of teachers, scholars, and all connected with the various schools in Town Gate. Here, after the marching around has been concluded, are gathered old and young, who join together in singing well-known hymns and tunes dear to the natives of Honley.

The great Centenary Festival in commenoration of the opening of Sunday Schools was held on July 3rd, 1880. If Robert Raikes had witnessed that festival, he would have marvelled that his first early efforts of gathering a few waifs and strays out of the streets of (Gloucester for instruction, had been crowned with such wonderful success. To see scholars of our respective Sunday Schools, varying in age from 3 or 4 years to 30 and often older, march on Whit-Monday, the girls dressed in white or light-coloured garments if fine weather, and the boys clad in new suits of clothes is a very pretty sight. Headed by bands of music and flags,-marching through

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1814 1816


familiar streets and lanes,-winding in and out under shady trees,-or standing upon lawns of well-known residents ; each scholar is confident that his or her school is of more importance than that of other groups who pass and re-pass on Whit- Monday perambulations. The parents also, whose loving hands have made the children look so fresh and fair, live over their past in their children's present.. When teachers and scholars have been regaled with tea, then follow games in green fields which have been played in the past, such as " drop handkerchief," "Choosing partners," " Kiss in the ring," ** Bingo," " Duck-under-water kit," etc. At the approach of dark, a happy future is being mapped out by lovers stealing away to the old field-paths and lanes walked upon by other lovers before them. How often the Sunday School festival in Honley, with its once familiar faces and observances, will have been recalled by toil-worn men and women ; or those dwelling in far distant towns, or- under foreign skies !


Imagination must take a backward leap to the year 1790, when the boys and girls of Honley assembled on a Sabbath Day in the small upper room at Steps Mill, endeavouring to acquire knowledge by using a piece of wire on Calais sand. Then think of the scholars attached to Church assembling in the old Town Hall in 1814, until advanced another stage by being transferred to the building erected in 1816, described in the early history of the National School. Their hours of instruction were long, not only religious, but secular instruction being given on a Sunday. Many scholars also came long distances, and it was common to bring the Sunday dinner according to entries in old Sunday School book. Mr. William Leigh was the first Treasurer of the School, whose family history will be found under Honley families. In the Sunday School book, he records in beautiful hand-writing, each small detail in connection with the work of the Sunday School for a long period. First there are rules to be observed, such as opening of the Schools at half-past eight in the morning during summer, and a quarter-of-an-hour later during winter. The

Page 292

1821 1824





afternoon School opened at half-past one throughout the year. - Children were not allowed to break the ranks when going to Church on account of being thirsty, as the School was supplied with two cans of water for those who brought their dinners. Naughty children were entered in the " Black Book," and if absent four Sundays without cause, their names were erased. The names of the original Trustees of the School will be found in the National School history, for the early annals of both must of necessity run side by side. The following extracts from Sunday School book prove that old customs were not far removed. from _ present-day - Whitsuntide _ observances. Evidently there were many treats given during the year in addition to the Whitsuntide feast. Easter and Good-Friday were not allowed to pass over without due observance, and Good-Friday cakes were given to the children. £ s. d. May 17th. Good Friday. 244 cakes for children 2

A treat for teachers and children on Easter Monday, viz :-232 spice cakes for children, 2 spice loaves for teachers, 12 light-cakes, 12 tea-cakes, one loaf of bread, 7lbs. of sugar at 1/- per lb., G6ozs. of tea, 3ilbs. of butter, tobacco and pipes for teachers 3 4 11

May 25th. Whit-Monday School-treat. Two strokes of malt and hops, 10/83. Brewing, 2/6. Prize Books, £1 5s. ld. Waiting on and Coals, 3/-. 280 cakes and bread, £2 9s. 0d. Tobacco and

pipes for teachers, Butter, Cream, etc., for tea Total.. 5 4 2

June 4th. . Whit-Monday Treat. 240 cakes, bread and muffins. 18 quarts of ale, black tea, green tea, sugar, butter, milk, Miss M. A. Armitage two bottles of wine for negus .. 2. Total .. 4 3

There is also an account of the Whitsuntide festival of May 3lst, 1830, written by Mr. William Leigh. Its descriptive simplicity is worthy of record, bringing back a more beautiful

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age than at present, or so it reads perhaps to those who are inclined to cherish lost illusions. The following is a copy :-

May 3lst. °" The children assembled in the National School at 2 o'clock. The boys on the South side, the girls on the North." (This is the custom at present). " The tables and seats for the Minister, Trustees, Superintendents, Visitors, etc., being at the West end between the two Schools. The proceedings commenced with a suitable hymn, followed by prayer and address from the Minister,-then the children's pieces,-a&a boy and girl alternately. Then the Seripture Candidates for the two Bibles annually given as rewards for learning the Scripture :-Harriet Pool, Thomas Jessop, Harriet Burhouse and Edward Senior. Harriet Burhouse 7 mistakes, Thomas Jessop none. Their pieces interspersed with hymns to relieve the children, and diversify the proceedings till four o'clock or half-past, when the cakes and beer were brought in, the children rising and singing the grace :-

* Be present at our table, Lord, Be here and every where adored, Thy creatures bless, and grant that we, May feast in Paradise with Thee."

The children having been refreshed and presented with a cake were dismissed, and the teachers' tables for tea prepared. The Minister asking a blessing, and at conclusion the whole rising and singing :- '

'We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food, But more because of Jesu's blood, Let manna to our souls be given, The bread of life sent down from heaven."

The tea things removed, the Minister addressed the teachers on the importance of their office, the acceptance of personal religion to make them successful, and above all, for the blessing of (God the Holy (Ghost on their labours. Then the 84th Psalm was sung to Bedford's tune. Then the Anthem, 'I will arise and go to my Father female teachers leaving

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with the presiding lady, and the male with the superintendent about 8-0 o'clock."

The grace is still sung at the Annual Sunday School Festival as heartily as when sung 84 years ago. The Anthem, " I will arise and go to my Father," is as familiar in our midst as of


When the present National School was built in 1846, the dividing line was then drawn between the work of Sunday and week-day teaching, the particulars of the latter being continued in the history of the National School. Even in the year 1846, and for a long period afterwards, the hours of instruction in the Church Sunday School were longer than at present. I remember when the scholars assembled at a quarter-to-nine in the morning, and at half-past one in the afternoon. When the time for assembling at morning school was changed to the late hour of nine o'clock, there was great fermentation. One angry parent declared to the Clergyman by whose wish the original time allowed for teaching had been curtailed, that ** things wor coming to a pass, when th' parson wor too idle to get up on a Sunday morning." At the same time also, she gave him free advice about cultivating the habit of going to bed earlier. The pulpit which had been erected in the 1846 school held a commanding position between the boys and girls rooms. The resident Vicar, or in his absence, the boys' Superintendent occupied this pulpit when opening and closing both Schools, all scholars joining in the hymn and prayer. Prizes were not earned so easily as at present, and generally consisted of a Bible, Prayer and Hymn Book, these being valued as priceless treasures in those days when literary pastures were so bare. The Whitsuntide Festival ended after the children had partaken of tea. We were dismissed with a bun which we carried home along with the mug that had proved such an infliction during the afternoon's perambulations. The Superintendents and Teachers, however, held a meeting afterwards in the School, much in the nature of that Whit- suntide Meeting described by Mr. William Leigh, in 1830,

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1854 1870 1873


when present-day amusements, such as " Socials," etc. were non-existent. Quarterly Meetings of Teachers were a feature of Sunday School work for a long time. Excellent lectures or addresses were given, and each Teacher provided his or her share to the evening's entertainment. The rules at that time were strict with regard to the conduct of a Sunday School Teacher, and present-day dancing would not have been tolerated. If the hours of instruction were longer than at present, we did not think so. Taught by earnest and capable Teachers, the time often passed too quickly.

Since 1846, the scholars attending the Church Sunday School have gradually increased in numbers, the high water mark in attendance being reached from 1880 to 1885. Perhaps no other Sunday School in the neighbourhood has been so blessed with worthy and capable Superintendents and Teachers, especially in the past, when Sunday School work was more honoured than at present. Amongst those who in addition to teaching undertook the duties of acting Treasurers after Mr. Leigh's resignation, were Mr. George Jessop, 1838 to 1846. He was followed by the Rev. T. B. Bensted, Curate, afterwards Vicar of Lockwood, who married Anne, daughter of Mr. William Leigh, mentioned in her father's diary when describing the attack made upon his house by rioters. _ After Mr. Bensted's removal in 1852, the duty was undertaken by Mr. Thomas Brooke, Junr.-afterwards Sir Thomas Brooke. On his removal to Almondbury, when married, Mr. William Brooke (the present) became Treasurer in 1854, and held office until 1870. Mr. William Hoyle, of whom mention is made in °" Private Schools," followed until 1873, when Mr. James F. Lunn, Churchwarden, and Mr. J. A. Jones, son of the then present Incumbent of Honley, undertook the the latter acting for a long number of years until his removal to Huddersfield. It is interesting also to trace the names of mem- bers of all the leading families in Honley, who in turn were teachers in the Sunday School of a past day. Amongst the names are the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, Mr. William Leigh, Mr. Thomas Hallas, Mr. James Brooke, Mr. George Jessop, ete. As time

Page 296


went on, the eleven sons and daughters of the late Mr. Thomas Brooke followed in his footsteps. All were Sunday School teachers in turn, either at Honley, Brockholes or Armitage Bridge until marriage, or the duties of a wider world, caused their removal from the old home. Mr. William Brooke remaining upon Honley soil, has been a devoted Teacher at the Sunday School for over fifty years. The lady members also of the Brooke family have all taken active parts in Sunday School work, of whom mention is made in the family history. In addition, other men and women, both good and true, have sacrificed their Sunday's rest for the benefit of the scholars.

The adult classes have long been distinctive characteristics of the Church Sunday School due to the personal influence of two teachers, who, in the hey-day of youth shouldered the duties of teaching, and did not shirk their self-imposed tasks during a lifetime. Mr. William Brooke's class, and Miss Brooke's class have long been household words in Honley. Many of the young men and women who once were taught Sunday after Sunday are parents, who have now children attending the same classes. Others are grey-headed, dead, or scattered far and wide. But to all, the purest memories of life will be associated with past Sundays in the school. The difficult task of teaching adult men and women for fifty years is not easy to grapple, but praise is due to those who have unselfishly stepped into gaps, and undertaken these duties since the resignation of Mr. William Brooke and Miss Brooke.

The activities of the Church Sunday School have not been confined to Sunday teaching. A well-stocked Library pro- vided by friends of the School, and the duties of Librarian, undertaken by the same friends in turn, was for a long time the only means of obtaining good books to read. The gradual cheapening of books, and the opening of Free Libraries also cheapened this once valued blessing. Societies of a varied character formed for the moral and religious benefit of the young replaced the Library, many of which are mentioned in National School history. The writer can only add, that

Page 297


1881 1882



the Church Sunday Schools of the past have had great moral and religious influence upon the character of Honley dwellers. With regard to their future, as well as other Sunday Schools in the place, let us hope that we can apply to them the words of Robert Browning, that :-

" God's in his heaven, All's right with the world."


We have seen that the Independent body first taught their scholars at Upper Steps Mill, and afterwards removed them to a cottage in Thirstin, which is still under the Minister's residence. Whether the children remained here until the building of a new Sunday School near the Chapel I am unable to say. My information about the present Sunday School has been very scanty. A meeting was held in January, 1839, to take into consideration the building of a School. Mr. Thomas Armitage, a well-known member of the Chapel, gave the site, and the first Independent Sunday School was erected at a cost of £140 Os. 0d. As time went on a Library was added, and numerous organizations formed, which are features of active Sunday School work. The number of scholars also gradually increased, so that the School proved too small and inconvenient for improved modern requirements. About 1881 or 1882 (am open to correction of exact date), the members of the Chapel determined to build a new School, and the present beautiful and well appointed structure at Moorbottom was erected. In the past, as at present, there have been earnest and God-fearing Teachers, whose influence has been far reaching. Many of its Sunday School scholars also have worthily upheld the traditions of that teaching, and have joined themselves to all good work, not only in Honley, but in the outside world.


When the present Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1827, the Sunday School was under the Chapel, and had its entrance in Cuckoo Lane, where the scholars were removed when Green

Page 298





Cliffe Chapel was closed. Here the Sunday School was held until there was a desire for larger and better equipped premises. A meeting was held on October 28th, 1871, for the purpose of taking into consideration the building of a new School. It was decided to erect a new school, and dedicate it to the memory of the late Mr. Edward Brooke, whose conversion and life had been so intimately connected with the Chapel. The foundation-stone was laid in 1878, by George Mallinson, Esq., of Linthwaite, who gave £50 0s. 0d. towards the new building. The occasion was a red-letter day for members, teachers, scholars, and friends of the Wesleyan body, when headed by Honley Band, they marched around the village. The School was opened the following year. There remained a debt upon the building which was gradually paid off by gifts from generous friends, and the labour of devoted workers. When the debt was finally paid off, a thanksgiving meeting of old scholars who had attended the school in the past was held. The great gathering was presided over by Edward Brooke, Esq., the eldest son of him to whose honoured memory the School had been built. The former had given £250 Os. Od. towards the extinction of the debt. The new School is a handsome and substantial building, and fitted up with all modern requirements conducive to healthy and happy surroundings. Like unto other Sunday Schools in Honley, it has proved a great moral force both in the past and present.


When the Primitive Methodists erected their Chapel in 1842, the Sunday School was built under the Chapel, where it still remains. Its number of scholars has increased since that time, and a new School is in course of erection. When recalling the past history of the School, one is reminded of the Annual Anniversary which formerly took place in Thirstin out of doors. The love of music is so implanted in the hearts of Honley dwellers, that there was no lack of willing helpers, both with tuneful voices and clever performers upon musical instruments, to swell the volume of sound which came from the lofty platform at the Annual Sunday School Festival.

Page 299




The large number of instrumentalists, singers, and scholars would burst forth like a thunder-peal at the motion of the Conductor's wand :-

'* Behold ! another rolling year, Has swiftly passed away, And we within Thy courts appear, To hail this happy day."

I have seen tears run down cheeks at the familiar words and music, perhaps regretful memories being too keenly aroused in the minds of those who had carelessly drifted away from their places of worship. As time passed on the behaviour of many strangers who were amongst the vast crowd which gathered, became rather irreverent. The out-door annual service was thus discontinued in Thirstin, and the School Anniversary is now held in the Chapel.

Woop Royp Suxnpay ScnuooLu.

Previous to the building of Wood Royd Chapel, we have seen that a Sunday School was established by Thomas Haigh, at Hall Ing. Assisted by his son Joseph, the School was opened on December 25th, (Xmas Day), 1821, in a room known as the "Stove" which was in use for cloth-manufacturing on week-days. ~It is interesting to know that one old lady in Honley, aged 86 at the time of writing this history, attended Hall Ing Sunday School as a scholar as early as 1838. Beginning at the age of ten, she walked from Honley to the School twice each Sunday, which would mean a four mile walk if youthful feet strayed no further than Hall Ing. Still alert, intelligent and well-read, she can recall many interesting reminiscences of the past in connection with the school, -such as past Whitsuntide Festivals, when buns and home-brewed beer were given to the children,-the teaching of reading and writing on a Sunday,-and the almost fatherly care and kind- ness of the Haigh family at that time. - Like unto other children of that period, she had to begin work at an early age ; and the Sunday School teaching at Hall Ing School was the only

education she received.

Page 300


Rule 12

Rule 28



When Wood Royd Chapel was built in 1840, the Sunday School at Hall Ing was transferred to the present room under the Chapel. Mr. and Mrs. Henderson tell me that the teaching of reading and writing was carried on in the School for a long time even after its removal to the present Chapel. By the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. Henderson, I am able to give a few interesting extracts from a Primitive Register book containing '* Rules of Hall Ing Sunday School, instituted December 25th,


'* That if any teacher does not attend to his or her appoint- ment, or provide a proper substitute, shall pay for omitting for the day 2d. If half-day 10., and if a 4 of an hour late by the Chapel Clock 1d."

'* Resolved that a School-feast be made on Whit-Monday to commence at two o'clock, a desent (decent) cake for each scholar, one strike of malt brewed for teachers and scholars

only." s. d. December, 1838. " Joe Sigg (the local pronunciation for Sidgewick), for misconduct before he begun work was fined .. .. .. c. 5 To Sigg for misconduct again " .. . .. .._ 2

p AW

Page 301


1808 1811



(Education. -National Schools.-Private Schools.-Dame Schools.- Mechanics' Institute).


T'xr present-day school boy or girl who receive free education as their due, are naturally in ignorance of the great forces which have been at work to enable them thus to be taught. To-day when cheap books, periodicals, newspapers, etc., numbered by millions are sent broadcast throughout the land, and copies of the once most famous books in the world bought for a penny ; much imagination is required to think of the time when there were no books, and when nearly all the people were unlettered. Previous to the Elementary Education Act of 1870, Government did not trouble its head much about educating the rank and file of the people. Those who had no wish for enlightenment could be left in peaceful possession of their ignorance, whilst those who were troubled with ** Divine discontent" found their own mental food. The education of people in the lower ranks of life was dependent upon religious zeal, private charity, or voluntary effort. The British and Foreign Bible Society, founded in 1808, and the National Society, founded in 1811, for the purpose of educating the poor in the principles of the Established Church, were the pioneers in promoting Elementary Education amongst the people. Both these Societies had generous supporters and subscribers in Honley. Other Voluntary Societies have also rendered invaluable aid in the past, such as Endowed Grammar Schools, etc. Before giving details of the efforts which have placed the present Nationai Schools in our midst, I will give a brief sketch of the progress of Elementary Education

Page 302






for the last 80 years ; but only so far as its evolution concerns Honley National Schools.

Until the year 1833, the existing Primary Schools of the country had been mothered as it were by the aid of the two noble Societies mentioned, and private help. The Govern- ment, in 1833, began to make grants to National and British Schools. These grants, however, were only given on condition that the Schools were annually inspected as to their pro- ficiency, and also fully equipped with educational apparatus. The salaries of teachers were also gradually improved, for as a rule, the early Schoolmasters had to supplement scanty incomes by undertaking clerical tasks of a varied character. In the middle of last century, the National Society realised before an existing Government that an age of expansion had come, and that the old-time, and often self-taught instructors of the young no longer commanded the respect and awe amongst a people who were thinking and reading for them- selves. The Society conceived the idea of erecting Training Colleges for teachers, so that the new generation of teachers could be more properly fitted for their work. Helped by a grant from Government, the National Society erected the first Training College for Elementary School teachers, which was built at Battersea, in 1842. In the meantime, if Govern- ment did not help much at first in the education of the children of the country, it began to concern itself more and more with the question. In 1846, Pupil-teachers were established, when promising children over 13 years of age were kept on at small salaries, and bound by indenture to serve five years. (Pupil-teachers were not adopted in Honley Schools until 1863). Payment by annual reports was now introduced. This was superseded by payment of results, as it was named. It was not, however, until 1870, that the Elementary Education Act of Mr. Foster became law. The country was mapped out, and if any complaints that existing National Schools were insufficient in any town or village, a school-Board could be formed. At first there were many difficulties connected with the Act, chiefly the religious

Page 303


1876 1903

1808 -11


question which generally provokes hostility. But differences of opinion have to meet and unite for the benefit of the whole. Various amendments in the Act were made in 1872 and 1873. The Trust Deeds of National Schools that had been aided by the National Society for educating the poor in the principles of the Church of England caused difficulties. These were met by the "Conscience Clause" which gave freedom to parents to withdraw children from religious teaching if wishful, whilst allowing others to be taught religious irstruction as before. The country was now quickly dotted with rate-built Schools which became so numerous, that such abundant provision was not valued. Many parents did not see the necessity for their children to be better taught than they had beer themselves, and took no trouble to send their children to school. To force careless parents to a sense of their duty, the Government passed an Act in 1876, compelling the attend- ance of all children at School. Then came the Act of 1903, taking the power from School Boards, and Voluntary School- Managers ; and handing over every branch of secular education to the various County Councils.

During all this time that Royal Commissions had been sitting, demonstrations held, and religious differences being settled ; Honley National School had been educating its children before many of our present-day Educationists were born. We will take a retrospect of its history.


When Sunday Schools became general, children who worked long hours were taught to read and write at the same time that they received religious instruction. During the early part of last century it has been noted that this mode of education was a feature of Sunday School work in Honley, and the primitive instruction was often the only education received by many intelligent and respected inhabitants of a past day. Though the National Society, and the British and Foreign Bible Society were founded in 1808 and 1811, which really were the beginnings of popular education for the people, it

Page 304







will be seen in the history of Sunday Schools that there were persons in Honley before these Societies were formed who realised their duties as Christians by helping to educate the poor and ignorant. There is a record that James Hawkyard was a Schoolmaster in Honley in 1792, but no trustworthy information that he taught scholars attending the first Sunday School at Steps Mill. There is an oral tradition that he taught the Church scholars at the old Town Hall, when they were removed there in 1814. During the short time that they assembled in the latter building, a few good Church people contemplated providing a more suitable room and this pro- ject was carried out in 1816. The National Society sent £50 0s. 0d., the Earl of Dartmouth gave £21 0s. 0d., William Brooke, Esq. (grandfather of the present Mr. William Brooke) £10 0s. 0d., and the site upon which to build the school, and other Honley families contributed smaller amounts. There are a few recorded subscriptions of 3d. each. Other persons also worked for the cause by giving labour, and finding horse- teams for three or four days each. The total subscriptions amounted to £207 13s. 9d. There were also furnishings of the School to be added to the cost, which were met by subscriptions.

Thus the first National School was erected in Honley in 1816, according to the tenets of the National Society, that the children should be educated in the religious principles of the Church of England ; and also for their instruction according to Mr. Bell's plan. The latter was at that time a great authority upon education, and his ideas were carried out in all National Schools. This first erection continued to be used until the present National School was built in 1846. Those persons who had contributed to the building, continued to subscribe annually to its maintenance, the names of which are still recorded as present-day subscribers, notably the Dartmouth and Brooke families. The original Trustees of the first Elementary School (as well as Sunday School) in Honley are as follows. We find, as in many other records of good work performed, that son has followed father, generation after generation.

Page 305


MR. GEO. DONKERSLEY, Schoolmaster from 1835 to 1859.

(see page 239).

(see page 242).

Page 307





Trustees :-Rev. Peter Ashworth, Curate-in-charge ; John Brooke ; Thomas Brooke ; William - Leigh, Sen.; Thomas Leigh, Junior ; Joseph Armitage ; John Jessop ; John Lock- wood ; William Booth Gartside and Thomas Swift. Visitors for boys :-George Jessop ; Joseph Leigh ; William Leigh, Junior; Edward Brooke ; Wm. Lees and James Jessop. Visitors for girls :-Miss Sarah Brooke and Miss Ann Leigh.

When the building was opened in 1817, the first recorded Schoolmaster was Mr. Hawkswell, There was no salary paid, but £5 0s. 0d. was given to him as a present at Christmas. During the first year that the School was opened, there was an average attendance of 72 boys and 38 girls, and the attendance increased yearly. The number attending the School each Sunday was regularly returned to the National Society in London for many years. There was a Library attached to the School to which books were added year by year, and their titles given. In 1823; there are recorded payments of 2/- yearly to persons teaching on a Sunday. Details relating to fires, cleaning, purchase of battledores, etc., all prove that the scholars were not neglected. It was customary, and continued for a long number of years to have an annual collection in Church on behalf of the School. Special preachers were engaged, to whom payment was made. The Choir also was augmented by singers from neighbouring parishes who were remunerated. It will be seen, when giving particulars of Church Collections at these services, that in 1828 £1 notes were still in circulation. Children also were as mischievous 80 and 90 years ago as at present, payments for broken windows being frequent entries in the School book. Have copied the following extracts from the Sunday School book, thus

showing the secular, combined with the religious work carried on side by side.

1821. £ s. d. Jan. 3 Pd. Ann Winter 4 year's wages for Sweeping School 5 April 15 Paid Almondbury Singers 10/- at Will Sandersons 10 June 25 Paid at Coronation of King George IV. to the scholars, 6d. each _ .. .. 2. o 4 11


Page 308







1821. £ s. d. Dec. 25 A present from the Trustees and Subscribers to Mr. Hawkswell for his services 5 (Evidently a Xmas Day present). 1822. Jan. Paid Charles Hawkyard, Singer 10 6 May 23 Postage of letter to National Society, London 1 - Sept. 15 Collection in Honley Chapel for aid 'of scholars. copper, £2 13s. silver, £4 5s. 6d ; notes, £3 0s. 0d. ; gold, £2 2s. 0d. Total £13 9s. 0d. Out of this pd. Singers, £1 0s. 0d., and to Mtr. Foster, preacher, £1 0s. Od. -. 2. 2. 2. . ll 9 1828. April 20 Sermon preached by the Rev. N. Padwick for School. - Copper, £1 15s. 7d.; notes, £7 0s. O0d.; gold, £2 Os. silver, £1 8s. 6d. Total .. 12 4 j 1830. Jan. 25 A donation to James Walker, Teacher, in lieu of wages .. . . oy April 3 Rev. David James preached for benefit of School Collection 2. 6. ». ». .- - 10 3 1832. Mar. 31 A National Fast Day.

Mr. William Leigh, who at that time was 72 years of age, but still taking an active part in the School, writes in the book on January 26th, 1835, expressing his earnest wish that '* before long the Honley Schools will be carried on as a daily school agreeably to Bell's system of education, and on the principles and doctrine of the Church of England." Also expressing a hope " to raise the School a storey higher for a dwelling for a Master and Mistress to live in." On February 12th, 1835, is a record of the death of Mr. James Walker, schoolmaster. Mr. George Donkersley was appointed in his place at more remuneration than his predecessor. The next record of importance, is that on June 25th, 1836, Mr. George Donkersley was paid for teaching writing to the scholars on Saturday evening for six months, the sum of £3 13s. 6d. This is a proof of the good effects of the Factory Act of 1833, limiting the hours of children's labour. Though their hours were still

Page 309






long in comparison to the present, children evidently could "lay away " in time on a Saturday to come to be taught in the evening. (I believe that they could cease work at four o'clock about this date).

Mr. William Leigh, who had kept the School book with such exact detail, resigned on February 22nd, 1838, on account of advancing age and ill-health. He expresses himself in writing to this effect, and delivered up the title deeds respecting Honley National School to George Jessop on this date, who next under- took the office of Treasurer until 1846.

As time went on, the building was not considered adequate, and the present National Schools were built in 1846 in close proximity to the old. The Managers, under the original deed of 1817, converted the old building into cottages, the rents of which are applied for the benefit of the School. A stone built into the wall at the South end of these cottages, will keep in memory the site and building of the first National School erected in Honley.

When the present. School was finished in 1846, it had been built by voluntary effort, and also supported afterwards by the same means until Government (Grants were given. I have no record that the old building was used as a day school according to Mr. Leigh's wish. The new Schools, however, would fulfil his desire. I have no particulars of the cost of its erection or a list of its subscribers, so that this interesting information cannot be given. The Earl of Dartmouth pre- sented the site, and the National Society sent £565 Os. Od. The late Rev. C. Drawbridge writes in an old Churchwarden's book, that the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, of Northgate House, was a most generous subscriber, and infers that but for his help, the building would not have been finished ; but no amount is given. So numerous have been the improvements and alterations to the School since 1846 to meet the continual demands of the Education Department, that I am unable to record all in detail, but will enumerate a few. To provide for the growing population of Honley, the Managers enlarged

Page 310







the Schools by adding class-rooms and other buildings in 1872 and 1873. To meet all requirements of the Elementary Education Act of 1872 and its many subsequent demands, the Managers again enlarged the Schools ; adding out-buildings, sanitary improvements, a large piece of land to play-ground, substantial boundary walls, and other outside requirements, at an estimated cost of about £1,500 0s. 0d. These extensive additions were completed in 1882. The late Mr. Lupton Littlewood, who was one of the School Managers at this date, took a very active part in this great scheme. Mr. William Brooke, the Chairman of the School Managers, gave £500 Os. 0d. The Earl of Dartmouth presented the land for the additional playground, and also gave a subscription. Other Church people also subscribed generously. To clear off the debt, an Exhibition of all kinds of works of art and a Bazaar were held, which was opened on Honley Feast Monday, September 25th, 1882, and remained open for two weeks. The Earl of Dart- mouth was announced to open the Exhibition and Bazaar, but was unable to be present on account of sickness. His place was filled by the late Sir Thomas Brooke. The Exhibition and Bazaar, managed by a small but capable committee, was a great success. Entertainments of a high- class character were given each evening by friends and supporters of the School, not only in Honley, but from neighbouring parishes. So great a success did this two weeks' Exhibition and Bazaar prove, that at its close £1,000 Os. Od. had been raised.

After these great alterations which placed Honley National Schools amongst the best Denominational Schools in the neighbourhood, there were constant growing demands from the Education Department. Being no rate-aided School, these claims had to be met by voluntary effort. In 1884, another plot of land was added to the playground. Next followed an epoch in the history of the School. Free Education was adopted on September lst, 1891, when the finding of the weekly school-pence, and necessary books by parents ceased. Mr. William Brooke had long contemplated

Page 311


1906 1910



erecting a house as a residence for the Schoolmaster. Inability to secure a suitable site for a time prevented his desire being carried out until 1898. Lord Dartmouth gave the land, and the present handsome School-house was built, together with extensive outside additions to the notably, large exercising shed for wet days, boundary walls, taking in additional ground, etc., at a cost of about £1,500 0s. 0d. Towards this sum Mr. William Brooke gave £1,000 Os. 0d., thus defraying all cost of Schoolmaster's house, and leaving a margin to help to pay for remainder of School alterations. In 1906, £150 was again spent for sanitary alterations and improvements in ventilators. In 1910, a boy's cloak room was built, lavatories erected on latest prin- ciples, asphalting yard, and other alterations, which cost £377 0s. 0d. Towards this sum Mr. William Brooke gave £100 Os. 0d., and the rest of the amount was raised by a Bazaar ; the members of the Congregation working enthu- siastically to raise the balance. In the same year, a new boiler and other alterations to warming apparatus were required, towards the cost of which Miss Brooke gave £50 0s. Od. The Education Department next demarded partitions. These were erected in each School, followed by the installation of electric light. The last alteration was the laying down of new floors in each School, at a cost of over £100 Os. 0d. The expenses of these numerous alterations have all been met by gifts of money or labour expended in Bazaars, etc. I have often thought that the original walls of the Schools must have been of the most substantial character to have withstood the various assaults and batteries which have been brought to bear upon them under the name of improvements. The Schools have accommodation for 700 scholars, and there is an average attendance of 550.

When the Schools were built in 1846, children were not expected to know a little of everything, which ends in know- ing nothing ; but a little was left to imagination. There were no Training Colleges established for teachers at that date, and Mr. George Donkersley, who had taught in the old building

Page 312





since 1835, was again appointed Schoolmaster in the present Schools. I have no record wher he retired from teaching only my own memory. I think that it was about the year 1859, when Mr. John Dearden was the first Certificated Master who was appointed. He had been trained at Battersea College. A young man at that time full of ardour and energy, he was not only the life and soul of all Intellectual and Social Societies formed in Honley for the welfare of its dwellers ; but he brought the School to a high state of efficiency. When Mr. Dearden was appointed to Thornhill Grammar School he was followed by Mr. Charlee Wall, then Mr. Josiah Stacey, who vacated the position on his appointment to the office of Sub-Inspector of Schools. The boys are now under the kindly and capable sway of Mr. George Borwell, the present Schoolmaster, who was appointed in 1893. With the help of his Assistant Teachers, he has also upheld the School in a high state of efficiency. He not only guides the boys in their irtellectual training, but also takes an intelligent interest and shares in their games and recreations. The boys in the Honley National School won lst Prize and Medal at the Annual " Mrs. Sunder- land Musical Competition," held at Huddersfield in 1904. The following year they also won lst Prize and Medal. In 1906, the boys in the Competition had to take second place, in 1908, fourth place, but in 1909 they again gained 2nd Prize. The boys have also won high honours in Cricket and Football Competitions. In 1904, 1905, and 1912, they won the °" Marshall Cricket Shield." In the Football struggles, they carried off the " Huddersfield Shield " in 1906 and 1910, also the "Crowther Cup" in 1910. These notable victories were the cause of much rejoicing in Honley at the time.

The first Schoolmistress in the Girls' School was Miss Elliott. The next was Miss Beaumont, who at that time resided at Stubbins, Netherton. _ A member of an old family of Clothiers, she was appointed like Mr. George Donkersley before the days of Training Colleges. If not very learned, she taught us thoroughly the arts of sewing, knitting, and all kinds of useful needlework. Her personality had that human touch which

Page 313







changes the unit to the individual, and she exercised a strong influence upon ductile minds. She was married to Mr. Dearden about the year 1861. Miss Jane Brook was appointed Head Schoolmistress in succession to Miss Beaumont. Miss Jane Brook was trained at Ripon College, and was the first Certi- ficated Schoolmistress appointed in the Girls' School. She resigned in 1887, after 26 years of faithful duty, not only performed on week-days, but also in the Sunday School. She received a handsome presentation as a recognition of her long years of service. She was followed for a short period by a Miss Mellor.

The present Head Schoolmistress was appointed in 1887. For this long number of years, Miss Bartle has worthily carried out her delicate duty of guiding the youthful feminine sex, whose education is now as exacting as in the Boys' School. She is helped by Assistants, whose gentle reminders or wise approbation, like her own, leave happy memories. Miss Bartle has not varied in her long years of service of sustaining the reputation of the Schools. Miss S8. A. Brook was the first Certificated Mistress appointed to the Infants' School. She was sister to Miss Jane Brook, and before taking charge of Honley School, was Head Mistress at Brockholes Church School. She resigned along with her sister in 1887. Since her resignation, there have been others appointed, amongst whom was Miss Wilkinson. The presert Head Mistress is Miss Evans, who took up her duties in 1901. With her sooth- ing persuasive voice, helped by Assistants, who follow her example, Miss Evans faithfully and unobtrusively carries out her duties of planting the first seeds of learning in the minds of Honley Infants.

It is no light task or ignoble calling which is called upon to foster and succour into life the first growth of knowledge in a child's mind. Great intelligence, much intuition, and broad understanding are required to train a motley assemblage of children. The excellence of the Education given at these Schools, under the capable heads of each department, cannot be surpassed. Such good training must leave an impress

Page 314

1846 1862


upon our future men and women, whose fair life garden is now bounded by its walls.

Mention has been made that pupil-teachers were established by Government in 1846, but it was not until 1862 that they were introduced into Honley Schools. George Crosland was the first pupil-teacher in the Boys' School, I was the first in the Girls' School, and Ada Smith the first in the Infants'. The latter, and myself, served as Monitors until we had reached the age of 13 years, when we were then appointed. Previously, the head-teacher in each school had not a single helper, only friends who offered their services voluntarily. The difference between the duties of a pupil-teacher of to-day, and the time when we were appointed is very great. A pupil-teacher of to-day would smile in scorn at the restrictions which were then placed upon us by our teachers. After the marriage of Miss Beaumont, I was awakened from a dreaming idyllic school existence to find that the duties of life were not so easy of accomplishment as copy-book texts to write. Our teachers believed in youthful obedience, even if we had been promoted to instruct others, and we were under the most rigid discipline both in and out of School hours. At that date both teachers and pupil-teachers had to work hard. In addition to teaching all day, we had to assist in the night-school, which was held during the winter months. In order to gain instruction so as to be able to pass the yearly examinations as pupil-teachers, we had to rise early, and go to bed late, having no aids as at present. - There was no School-Attendance Officer in those days, and we had to hunt up on a Saturday absentee scholars who were very numerous. Memory can still vividly recall the weekly martyrdom I endured from irate parents who resented my youthful zeal and enquiries. It was as imperative that we should teach in the Sunday School as it was for our head- teachers to take the post of Sunday School Superintendents. Also we must attend all religious observances, and help in all the numerous social and instructive activities which were then features of School-work. A visit to a theatre would have proved a terrible discovery, and we should have gasped with

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apprehersion if absent from one service at Church. Yet if there existed spartan rules in comparison to present-day latitude, and if young shoulders carried heavy responsibilities in those days, we eventually realised that discipline and obedience were necessary for our future welfare.

The National Schools apart from the daily education of the children have also been the nursery for intellectual, social, and all kinds of Societies formed in connection with the religious and secular welfare of the parish. Previous to these modern activities, the Clothing Club was a great feature in the early history of the Schools. Weekly contributions, ranging from one penny to one shilling per week, were paid by parents of the children, and at the end of the year, the capital and interest took the form of a ticket, upon which the amount was entered. This sum was spent upon useful clothing, or home require- ments at any shop, either in Honley or Huddersfield, of good local standing. This paying-out or ticket-day was a great event, answerirg to the present Co-operative dividend dis- tribution. Many families were yearly clothed from these once useful Clothing Clubs. Modern Societies for saving money came into existence, which gradually supplanted the old Clothing Club. As one who formerly took an active part in the work of Sunday and week-day School activities, I recall the formation of Musical Societies of a varied character,- Drum ard Fife Bands,-Hand-bell Classes,-Gymnastic Societies,-Football and Cricket Clubs,- Nursing Lectures,-Cookery -Dramatic and Mutual Improvement of Hope,-Savings' Banks, and other Associations of a varied character. Is it not written in the book of our memories how all these in turn were launched into life with great enthusiasm, ran their course, and then the cold fit succeeded hot zeal ?

We will now turn from recounting dry facts and recall bright memories. Since the present building was erected in 1846, merry boys, and laughing girls, who in succession have been taught in the Schools, have become old men and women ; whilst memories are only left of others. Those who

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are still alive, will like myself, recall to mind past scenes and events in connection with a building in which we were not only taught the first alphabet, but also learnt the alphabet of life. What did it matter if cane or ferule were wont to awaken and stimulate slumbering intellects into activity. We were not troubled with foolish illusions of our own importance in those days. If we had been punished, there was no demand for a Parliamentary enquiry from parents, but generally an added reminder from them of our youthful misdeeds. Whether under the care of a grim and austere master, or a benign mistress, all the happiness of life was once concentrated within the walls of the Schools. Previous to a Certificated Mistress being appointed to the Girls' School, about the sixties, kind friends who took the deepest interest in the moral and religious welfare of the children of Honley daily visited the School, and helped in our teaching. Each scholar was known by name, noticed, praised, reprimanded, and all deficiences helped. Perhaps many parents who are in deadly fear of religious teaching, prefer the blatant mode of training their children to have no respect for God, man, or anything upon earth ; not even for their own selves. I value the teaching which left memories behind, and nourished thoughts

for a future.

The numerous alterations to the Schools may have been acquisitions, but they have changed well-known landmarks which were once associated with the building. Many will recall the pulpit situated aloft between the boys and girls' school-rooms, from where the School-master daily opened and closed the School by prayer and singing of morning and evening hymns. The word standard held no meaning for us in those days, the highest seat of learning being known as the " Bible Class." There was the Schoolmaster's old oak desk to which trembling male culprits crept to receive punish- ment, and the table of the Schoolmistress from whose vicinity came milder reproofs. Many women, both those whose path in life has been on the sunny side, and others who have had to shoulder heavy burdens, will recall Miss Beaumont. With

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what fearless joy we went each morning to meet her, caught her smile of welcome at our approach, and struggled for the honour of carrying her basket! On our arrival at School each day, we were always greeted with the familiar faces of Moses and Aaron, whose pictures hung upon the wall at the top end of the room. We were not defrauded in our young years of religious teaching, and Bible stories and pictures took shape and form in active imaginations. Did we not also take part in the wanderings of the twelve tribes, sit under palm- trees, lead the camels, and see the burning bush ? All these, and much more were symbolized in those two old pictures, now alas! destroyed. There was also the lofty gallery in the Infants' room upon which we have all sat in turn, and slided down its banister to the accompaniment of falls and bruises when watchful eyes were off their guard. Then there was the exciting event of the annual visit of the Government Inspector. He filled our youthful imaginations with such awe, that for many days previous to his arrival, sleep and appetite were affected. Our persons had been polished to misery from head to foot, and we shone with cleanliness. When questions of a varied character were hurled at us from his Jovian altitude, we were in such a state of agitated awe and excited fear, that abilities were paralyzed and knowledge generally scattered to the winds. And what red-letter days were our holidays ! There was the happy rush out of School at the ringing of the ** pancake-bell," -the " barring-out " early release upon November 5th, so as to have ample time to prepare joy,-and the grand summary in which all the holidays of the year were concentrated-Honley Feast.

It speaks well for the generous supporters of Honley and Brockholes Schools, that the Managers have met all demands of educational legislature, both before and since the Elementary Education Act was passed in 1870 ; so that no School-Board has been required for either place. This would not have been possible, but for the liberal support and life-long interest of Mr. William Brooke, its oldest Manager. No words of mine are required to remind Honley people of the debt of gratitude

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to him for helping to provide educational facilities so long enjoyed without a school-rate, until Government handed over the secular education of the children to County Council management, when a rate was levied. According to the original Trust Deed of the School, the Vicar of the parish is constituted for the time being one of the Managers. Successive Clergy- men in turn have also undertaken the instruction of the scholars in religious knowledge in the past. Also the same duties are performed at present at the stated time allowed by (Government. There have been also other hard-working and unselfish Managers of the School, who have sacrificed time and money for its welfare and good management. Generous donors, annual subscribers, and willing helpers at Bazaars have not been wanting. But it is chiefly due to Mr. Brooke's unfailing help that the School has been kept to what its original founders meant it be.

It is interesting to note that according to returns issued in 1908, the Church of England Schools still numbered 11,180, whilst all other Voluntary Schools, such as Roman Catholics, Wesleyans, Jewish, Undenominational, etc., numbered together 13,152. The Blue Book of 1913 gives the number of Church Schools as 10,877, whilst the rest of other Voluntary Schools are 1,760. Also that the National Society, founded in 1811, has not only been the parent of 12,000 National Schools to which it has given its name ; but the Society has also built 24 out of 31 residential Church Training Colleges. The National Society, in addition, also subsidises these Colleges to the amount of £4,000 0s. 0d. per year.


The National Schools were not the only means of education in Honley forty or fifty years ago. There were Private Academies to which prosperous manufacturers or tradesmen sent their sons to be educated or " finished " after leaving the National Schools. There were also " Ladies" Schools, in which "ladylike" education was taught. Parents, who to make use of a local saying " were the better end out of the worse pannier,' gave their daughters the benefit of these

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means of instruction, so that they also could be considered *' finished." There were also numerous Dame-Schools held in sequestered cottages, or situated in yards and folds so abundant in Honley. In addition, there existed Evening Schools, such as the Mechanics' Institute, for those whose eager thirst for knowledge was not quenched by a day's hard toil. My earliest remembrances of the fine old race of male pedagogues in Honley, were Mr. George Donkersley, National Schoolmaster, Mr. William Hoyle, who taught a Private Academy held in the Independent Chapel School, and Mr. James Ainley, who carried on private teaching for boys at Brockholes, held in the " yellow " school, now demolished. Mr. Hoyle was a man of learning, and austere religious character ; who always adopted one method with conceited and spoiled children. His School was held in great repute, both for its intellectual and moral training, and many of his scholars have become noted men in different walks of life. Mr. James Ainley, or ** one-legged Jim," as he was generally named by his rebellious pupils when out of School, who had so often to " kiss the rod," was a person of different calibre. Physically, he was a fine robust man, but walked with a crutch, having had the mis- fortune to lose one leg. This loss altered the course of a life. The careless boy became a studious youth, reading books upon philosophy, and of the Tom Paine order, which altered his views upon religion. An avowed Deist of that date would soon be brought into collision with people of crthodox con- victions. When Mr. Ainley took up teaching to earn his living, he was considered a pernicious person by many parents whose School must be shunned. Yet he was a man of ability, knowledge, and a successful Schoolmaster, who, if he had to suffer for his convictions did not teach them to his scholars.

Having to keep in order the young male barbarians of that time, the sway of these Schoolmasters would seem harsh in comparison to present-day methods of correction. They were men who believed not only in energetic punishment for disobedience and vicious conduct in the young, but also as a stimulant for dull intellects. There was a parent in Honley

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who thrashed his boys once a week whether they deserved punishment or not, declaring that if their conduct had been good, they would require the usual chastisement before the week had expired. Like unto this parent " who nursed his wrath to keep it warm," I have seen one Schoolmaster whose influence for good has been great, and whose memory is now honoured, thrash all the boys in his School, beginning at the eldest and ending with the youngest. I have also listened to oral experiences from old scholars of the punishing qualities which were special gifts of Mr. Ainley. He was wont to make use of his crutch when the cane proved useless. But the breed of these old-time Schoolmasters is now extinct whose discipline was so severe.

DamEr ScnxooLs.

We had once many well-known Dame Schools, from where many of the natives of Honley graduated ; backward scholars perhaps able to make " strokes " and " pot-hooks," and clever pupils able to read the Bible. These Dame Schools were pre- sided over by women of knowledge, who did not stunt young plants in their growth by over cramming. They allowed scholars a wide margin of playtime whilst preparing meals for surly husbands, or performing other domestic duties. One well-known Dame School was presided over by Mrs. Clementina Swift, but better known as " Clemmy " Swift. The Swifts were an old Honley family of Clothiers who had been left behind in the march of progress. The School was held in a cottage in Swift-fold, so named after the family. I do not know what mysterious agency led my youthful feet to " Clemmy's " School, unless it was enticements of childish playmates, or a preventative to mischief. Nor can I recall time, circumstance, or person that helped me to learn the meaning of those strange symbols, known as the alphabet. I must have mastered the rudiments of learning quickly at '* Clemmy's " School, for I was transferred to the " Bible- class "" on account of being able to read the Bible. When scholar outran teacher, Mrs. Swift was wont to solemnly affirm to my mother, that "I wor too sharp for this world,"

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and always prophesied for me an early death. When a little older, I was then commanded to attend the National School. The Jaggers who lived at the top of Honley Moor,-mother and daughter were also long engaged in teaching children whose scattered homes were at long distances from National Schools. This " top o'th Spinner-gate " School was one of the most typical, as its teachers were the most characteristic of old-time Dame Schools. Miss Hawkyard, Mrs. Guest, and - Mrs. Bean also kept Dame Schools. Other persons also I can recall who held small week-day Schools. Presided over by matrons in blissful ignorance of tense, mood, or Rule of Three ; they had derived their religious knowledge from the Bible, and their secular perhaps from Zadkiel's Almanack. We have travelled far since those days. But at least Honley Dame Schools of the past served their day and generation before the advent of Government Education Bills, and other aids to learning. Many bappy recollections may remain of days, when one book,-and that perhaps only containing a few torn leaves, had to serve for a noisy but happy throng gathered in some humble cottage.

Honley has also never been wholly destitute of its " Ladies' Seminaries." These were held in great esteem before the days of Ladies Colleges or Girls' High Schools. Miss Platt, of Lower West House, was long noted for her excellent teaching of the daughters of well-to-do parents in Honley. At present, Miss Beaumont presides over a Mixed Private School of good standing.

Mrcocnarnics' InstIITUT®E.

The Mechanics' Institute was formed about 1838, or perhaps a little earlier. Am open to correction about exact date. The pupils, whose hungry faculties had to find their own mental food, first met in a room in Church Street. This was in a building which formerly was part of the premises used by the late Mr. William Leigh in his business of cloth-manufactur- ing. The building is now the present " Live and let live " Inn. Afterwards the Institute was moved to a room in New Street. There it continued doing a good work until superseded

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by more modern facilities for instructions. Its members were generally the most intelligent young men in the place athirst for knowledge. There were teachers and students - of Astronomy, who, according to village ideas " weighed the moon, '-lovers of Science whose tastes were " akin to th' owd lad,"-poets and orators who were considered " off th' side." The students were taught by men of intellect, who unselfishly gave time, and the fruit of what had been so earnestly striven for by themselves. The members formed their own Library, and various Societies for the study of special subjects. They held Debating Classes which trained thinking and reasoning powers, whilst members of the Dramatic Society drew upon Shakespere, Sheridan, Goldsmith, etc. for their plays. Perhaps the memory of many old members, yet living, can recall the elocutionary powers of the late Mr. William Vickerman when taking the parts of Macbeth, Shylock, Jack Absolute, ete. Mr. Donkersley, Benjamin Theaker, the brothers Roberts, Charles Vickerman and others also possessed declamatory gifts of a high order.

Mr. John Robinson, of Cliffe House, whose family history appears in Brockholes history, was the first President, and a most enthusiastic worker in the formation of the Institute. Mr. Thomas Mellor, of Newtown House, followed Mr. Robin- son in the office of President,-members of the Mellor family at that time taking a leading part in all religious and social work in Honley. Mr. George Donkersley, the National Schoolmaster, had the general supervision of the Classes. These were taught by men as eager to impart information, as the pupils were as keen for enlightenment. Mr. John Robinson, the brother of the President, was also a great worker in the cause ; also the Rev. T. B. Bensted, then Curate of Honley, and afterwards Rector of Lockwood. He undertook the Class devoted to English literature and geography. Mr. William Vickerman taught Mathematics Mr. John Lock- wood and Mr. Jeremiah Donkersley instructed the students in Chemistry. These men of genius in their own sphere left their impress upon many pupils who, in after life fought man-

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hood's battles with greater nobility and success due to the influence of their teaching.

The members of the Mechanics' Institute, in addition to indulging in °" The feast of reason and the flow of soul," also provided entertainment. They honoured the Anniversary of the birth of their Institute upon Easter Monday, naming their Feast day a " Soirée." Great were the crowds which flocked to Honley on that day all eager with anticipation. This was for the purpose of seeing paper balloons sent up from Town-gate into the air without human aid, which was considered a miraculous feat. I have stated previously, that amongst teachers and members of the Institute were men of genius and originality, who were certainly born before their time. The late Mr. Edwin France, Plumber, a clever man of Science, was the first person to make gas in Honley. A small retort in Marsh, behind the dwelling he then occupied, contained the supposed dangerous lighting power. The late Mr. William Vickerman, a poet and elocutionist of no mean order, under- took the making of the balloons, assisted by once well-known members in the persons of Mr. Allen Moss, Levi Crosland, Joseph (Green, John Lockwood, John Littlewood, Joshua Littlewood and others. The balloons were conveyed to Marsh, filled with gas, taken back to Town-gate, and then sent away into space sometimes reaching as far as York before collapsing. One reached Leicester, and another year one was picked up near Derby. Such achievements held captive youthful imagina- tions, and filled the minds of older people with wondering admiration. - When a Gas Company had been formed in Honley, the balloons were then filled with gas in Town-gate from the Company's mains.

The evening meetings held in connection with the " Soirée " were generally addressed by men holding with no unsteady hand the rights of conscience and representative government. I can distinctly remember visits of the late Mr. Joseph Wood- head, Mr. Frank Curzon and others, whose ideas at that time were also in advance of their time, and therefore considered rather revolutionary. These speeches were of course enlivened


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by music and singing as befitting the dwellers in a land of song. Old people will recall the visit of Mrs. Sunderland, the °" Yorkshire Queen of Song " to one of these Easter Monday Soirées, held in the old National School, which are now cottages. Also they will remember the visits of other celebrated vocalists of that date, such as Miss Whitham, Miss Crosland, Mrs. Lister Peace (mother of the celebrated Organist, Doctor Peace), William Hirst and others. Mrs. Sunderland sung best what appealed to her own nature. Such songs also held the same sentiments for her hearers, in whose hearts was implanted the deep love of home and their own hill-sides. Old people will yet speak of her impassioned fervour, when pouring out all the golden wealth of her great gift under the roof of the old building in " Home Sweet Home " and other old songs ; bring- ing back to world-weary men and women the dreams of their youth.

I must now refrain from giving more details relating to the old Mechanics' Institute. A few of its old scholars are left, but more have been scattered far and wide like a parted household. If by chance this history should fall into their hands, they will be reminded of long-past evenings when by candle-light, and in a small unventilated room, they learned the way to acquire knowledge.

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(Benefit Clubs.-Working Man's Club.-Conservative Club.-Liberal Club.-Labour Club.-Masonic Lodge.-Nurses' Home).


During that time of storm and stress to which frequent references are made in this history, the people found out that the secret of self-help is thrift and knowledge. It was due to the great expansion of mind amongst all classes at that period that Benefit Clubs, Mechanics' Institutes, etc. were formed. I cannot give in these pages the origin and history of each Benefit Club in Honley, which were striking features in the place before the advent of State aid. Following the example of Ancient Guilds, the members joined themselves together, the support of numbers being necessary for mutual help. They formed strict rules, such as paying contributions, pro- viding for sickness, decent burial, meeting, eating and worshipping together. According to an old printed copy of the rules of one of the earliest formed of these Clubs, they were in existence in Honley as early as 1777. Upon the outside cover of the book (published by Thomas Smart, Bookseller, Huddersfield), is printed " Rules and orders to be observed by the members of the Brotherly Society at Honley, begun the 2nd day of August, 1777, at the house of Mary Sanderson, the sign of " Ye Wheat Sheaf."

Unitas et Amor. (Unity and love).

This little book contains a preface, expressive of religious piety and self-help in its most unselfish spirit, so that at first it seemed as if these Clubs were formed from highest Christian motives. The Loyal Albion Lodge, No. 354, opened

1829 on May 4th, 1829, at the Coach and Horses Inn, is a branch of

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the present Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity. I can recall flourishing Societies in Honley numbering hundreds of members, such as "The Ancient Order of Druids," "The Modern Druids," "The Free Gardeners," *The Shepherds," etc. To show the importance of these Clubs and intelligence of their members, the Oddfellows published a Magazine named " The Oddfellows' Magazine " over a hundred years ago, or perhaps earlier than that date. As Parliamentary Reforms were then burning questions of the day, the contents were chiefly political in character. The Magazine was read in nearly every workman's home in the manufacturing districts. I possess some old copies, and one bearing date 1818 contains particulars of " The first trial of William Hone, the Secularist, for publishing a parody upon religion."

Though Benefit Clubs were purely democratic in their origin, the members appointed officers who held superior positions to the rank and file ; and on great festivals were distinguished by wearing the representative garb of their order. These uniforms were worn upon Easter Monday, which was the appointed day set apart for honouring the Anniversaries of the various Clubs in Honley to which previous references are made.

Worrmnmge Max's CLUB.

When describing sports common in Honley in the past, mention has been made of the George and Dragon race-ground. Mr. William Brooke purchased the Inn, and property com- prising the race-ground, on July lst, 1864. Both the public- house and race-ground were then closed. At this time vested interests in such property were strong, so that the purchase price to secure such a valuable investment was no small sum. The old Inn was transformed to the present Working Man's Club, and the extensive grounds used as allotment gardens. The Club was opened on October 23rd, 1865. As there was no similar Institution at that time in Honley, large numbers joined ; membership not being limited to religious or political

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Creeds. Representative Committees were formed, and have since remained a feature of the Club's management. A large Library, facilities for all kinds of games, reading, smoke, and lecture rooms were provided. During the earlier history of the Club, hot coffee could be obtained at any hour of the day. The Club became the centre for the providing of the intellectual and social progress of the village. Its enthusiastic President, Mr. William Brooke, was always ready to give all help possible. Many old members will recall the series of " Penny Readings," Lectures, Entertainments, etc. floated by the Club, when gifted people in various walks in intellectual life came to Honley, and gave the people of their best. Space will not permit me to name all the ardent and self-sacrificing workers in the cause of the Club's welfare during its long life. Rich and poor, young and old, took their willing share in offices of Secretaries, Librarians, acting on Committees, etc., as well as giving services for lectures, entertainments, etc. As time went on, modern requirements were not neglected, and the Club was always well supplied with the latest methods for instruction and amusement.

The twenty-first Anniversary of the Club was celebrated on October 23rd, 1886. Mr. William Brooke, the President, was in the chair, and the speakers included Viscount Lewisham, the late Mr. Frank Curzon, Mr. J. Dearden, and others. When the Club was first founded, Mr. Dearden was Schoolmaster at Honley ; and was one of the most zealous workers amongst those who laboured for the good of the members.

The members of the Club, on May 31st, 1884, presented Mr. William Brooke, the President, with his portrait. He in turn presented it back to the Club, where it hangs in the large reading-room. Since the Club was opened in 1864, Political and other Clubs have been originated in Honley, which must of necessity have robbed the Working Man's Club of many of its members. But the latter still remains a popular and flourishing Institute ; and at the beginning of 1914, its members number over 200.

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The Conservative Association was formed in Honley previous to the opening of the Club. A small band of enthusiastic workers in the cause met once a month at the Coach and Horses Inn and held meetings, at which lectures of a political and educational character were regularly given. In 1884, the present building originally erected by the late Miss Armitage, the donor of Brockholes Church, was secured. The opening ceremony of the Club in its new premises took place on January 30th, 1885, and the opening ceremony was performed by the late Sir Thomas Brooke. There was a large and imposing procession of members and friends, headed by Honley Brass Band. A tea was given in the Independent Chapel School. There was a large gathering at the evening meeting, when addresses were given by the late Hon. Gathorne Hardy, Sir Thomas Brooke, William Brooke, Esq., and Mr. Touch- stone. At that time there was a large number of members, and much local interest was taken in the Club. William Brooke, Esq., was its first President, and its present President is George William Marsden, Esq.


I am indebted to Mr. James A. France, the present Secretary of the Liberal Club, for the following particulars. The first- formed Liberal Club was held in the room in New Street, which had formerly been occupied by the Mechanics' Institute. The Club was opened on April 26th, 1879. Its first founders were Messrs. James Robinson, William France, Geo. Wm. Oldham, Thomas Littlewood, William Vickerman, Levi Crosland, Allen Priest, Charles Dean, Matthew Cocking, Thomas Sanderson, Charles France, William Charlesworth, John Jillott, William Henry Thornton, Alfred Jackson and Edwin Smith. Out of these original founders only Alderman G. W. Oldham and Mr. John Jillott remain.

The small building in New Street proved inadequate for modern ideas, and increasing number of members. A plot of land was purchased at the top of Cuckoo-lane. Eventually

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228) 'And) AI7NOH

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the handsome stone building was erected facing School-lane in front, and overlooking Thirstin behind. The foundation stones were laid August 5th, 1905. Alderman G. W. Oldham, President, was announced to lay the first stone, but was unable to be present on account of sickness. The duty was performed by Miss Oldham, on behalf of her father. Mrs. Benjamin Eastwood, Rose Cottage, laid the second stone, and the third was laid by Mr. George Vickerman, whose father had been a devoted worker in the cause of Liberalism. Mr. Willie Haigh and Mr. Allen France placed fourth and fifth stones, and Mr. John Jillott the sixth. The new building was erected at a cost of £1,641 7s. 0d. It was opened on July 7th, 1906, by the late Nir James Kitson, of Leeds, who at that time represented the Colne Valley in Parliament ; Honley being in that division for Parliamentary voting. Alderman G. W. Oldham, the President, took the chair at the opening ceremony.

Amongst the earlier Presidents of the Liberal Club were Mr. G. W. Oldham, Mr. Thomas Littlewood, and Mr. Arthur Drake. Alderman Oldham was re-elected in 1893 and remains President.


Political parties are always in a state of evolution. The old-time Tory would scorn the easy principles of the present Conservative, as the Whig of old days would not recognise his politics in present Liberalism. As time passes, both parties have to broaden views to meet various opinions. Failing to do so, new political creeds spring into life ; and thus has been formed the present Labour or Socialistic party in England. The present Labour Club is situated in Jagger Lane. The house was formerly the residence of the late Mr. Lupton Littlewood. - The Club was opened on August 3lst, 1907, when addresses were given by Mr. Victor Grayson, Mr. Cunninghame, Mr. Philip Snowden and others. Its members are very enthusiastic in their cause and take great pride in their Club-house, with its pretty garden situated in the most pleasant part of Honley.

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T'xr Masonxntc

In the past Honley has numbered many Freemasons amongst its inhabitants, and at one time there was a Masonic Lodge held in the place. It was founded about 1821, and named *The Peace Lodge." The Lodge was removed to Meltham about 1826, and afterwards the members met at that place. A second Masonic Lodge was established in Honley on July 23rd, 1912, and named the Brooke Lodge, No. 3608, in honour of its patron, William Brooke, Esq. The Consecration, Ceremonial and Installation of the Worshipful Master designate brother Edwin Brook, took place on July 23rd, 1912, and was performed by W. B. Richard Wilson, Deputy Provincial Grand Master of West Yorkshire. The members meet in New Street, in the building formerly occupied by the Liberal Club. Being a Secret Society, I am unable to give much information regard- ing the Lodge. Its members are very enthusiastic, and are imbued with the true Masonic spirit. The Worshipful Master of the Brooke Lodge is W. B. Edwin Brook, P.P.8.G.D. Since its foundation, nine candidates have been admitted, amongst them being William Brooke, Esq., the patron of the Lodge. At his initiation, every founder and member were present, together with many Masonic visitors. The following are the founders of Honley Brooke Masonic Lodge,- Worshipful Brothers, Messrs. J. E. Heap, Edwin Brook, and A. H. J. Fletcher. Brothers, Messrs. David France, Thos. Eli Waite, H. Marsden, Harry Holdroyd, E. Lord, J. Noble, W. Marsden, and J. W. Tunstall.

NursEs' Hoxmr.

The Nurses' Home, in South-gate, was given by Mrs. Winder, the only daughter of the late Josiah France, Esq., to whose memory she dedicated this beautiful building. Mr. France was descended from a well-known old family of Honley Cloth- manufacturers, who owned works in Thirstin in the days of hand-loom and "out" weaving. Mr. Josiah France was known as one of the foremost and most successful highclass Fancy Worsted Manufacturers in the district. He occupied

_Bteps Mill, and at the time of his death, resided at Parkton

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HonLEy LABOUR CLUB. (see page 263).

HoNnNLEY NURsSES' see page 264),

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Grove ; having left the old homestead in Thirstin some years previously. Mrs. Winder purchased the ground in South-gate, built the Nurses' Home, and suitably furnished it entirely at her own cost. In addition, she endowed a sum of money for the purpose of providing a trained nurse for the sick and poor of Honley, at a salary of £100 Os. 0d. per year. The manage- ment of the Home, and also administration of the fund, has been given over by Mrs. Winder to the Committee of Honley Nursing Association.

The Nurses' Home was built in 1908. The building is in the Gothic style, and the whole of the material used is of the best workmanship. It is also provided with all conveniences for the carrying on of the work of a Parish Sick-Nurse. Upon a slab fixed in the wall of the stone porch of the Home is inscribed-'" Honley Nurses' Home. Erected by Mrs. Winder in memory of her father, Mr. Josiah France, 1908." Mrs. Winder refused to have any public ceremony in connection with the opening of the Nurses' Home. A representative deputation however from Honley waited upon her at Blackpool, and presented to her a handsome testimonial for her beautiful gift to her native village, which had so long sheltered her fine old race once so typical of Honley soil.

3p als

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(Brockholes.-Smithy Place.-St. George's Church.-Clergy House.- National School.-Wesleyan Church.-Elon Crowther, Esq., J.P.- Alfred Sykes, Esq., J.P.-James Robinson, Esq.-John Mitchell, Esq.)


In the history of Honley it will have been noted that the hamlets of the township were also dwelling-places for that race

of "free-necked men" known as yeomen. Living in their scattered homesteads, they too bought lands and houses,

contributed to good work, and shouldered the responsibilities of public duties. Other dwellers also, who neither bought nor sold lands or houses, would experience the joys and sorrows of life, each little community having its births, marriages, deaths, romances and tragedies as at present.


These two places may be named together as one hamlet in the township of Honley, though on account of modern progress the term village may now be more applicable than that of hamlet. A certain part of Brockholes is in the township of Thurstonland, this dividing line being due to the course of the stream. Wherever part of the body of Brockholes may be, its heart and all its past memories rest in Honley. Whether it was a habitable place like Honley at the time of the Norman Con- quest I cannot say, my researches going no further back than 1406. No doubt its history is equally as old. There is one fact, however, of which we can be confident, and to which its present rocky headlands and picturesque woods testify. Brockholes would be part of that vast forest which once stretched over the neighbourhood in which wild animals of the chase sheltered, and to which reference is made in Chapter I. Its name, like so many of our local place-names,

Page 337




is purely Anglo-Saxon in its derivation. " Broc" is Anglo- Saxon for badger, " Holth " means cave or hollow in earth- hence Brockholes ; so that we can conclude that badgers were most plentiful in this part of the forest. In old ballads, border-sketches, dialect language, etc., the badger retained its old name of " broc," and it has not undergone change in our neighbourhood. The saying of " sweating like a broc " is still common amongst us, proving that the nature of the animal was well understood by the people.


Smithy Place is also an old part of the hamlet. There is a tradition that a Smithy once stood by the stream on a piece of land now occupied by a part of Messrs. Robinson's Mill. I have no proof of this, so must leave the derivation of Smithy Place to imagination.

In a Charter devising lands in 1406, appears the name of John de Brockholes, who lived in the reign of Edward III. The old custom of receiving sarnames from lands, houses or personal traits, prove that the family must have been in existence previous to this date. John de Brockholes dwelt in &a house of considerable importance as far as primitive civilization of that time allowed at Over Brockholes, now named Bank End. In the family shield of Beaumonts, of Whitley Hall, there appears also the shield of Brockholes, so that the two families must have been connected by marriage or relationship. - In this Charter of 1406, John of Brockholes, granted his estates at Over Brockholes to John Dyson, of Linthwaite. Whether this was due to the fortunes of war in which John of Brockholes, would be forced to engage, or that he changed his residence is not known. There is no further record of him, and he appears to be the last of the name. The estate in turn descended to the families of Lockwoods, Kayes, etc., eventually becoming the property of one Arthur Bynnes (Binns). (This mode of spelling Binns at that time is copied from old deeds translated by the late Mr. J. Nowell). From the *" Yorkshire Society "' Records,-Dr. Morehouse's

Page 338




1588 1597





** History of Kirkburton,"-Mrs. Collins' " Registers of Kirk- burtcn,'""' and other sources, I find the first mention of Arthur Bynnes. In the year 1556, he stands as sponsor along with John Walker for the son of a John Morehouse. In the same year, Arthur Bynnes bought lands from Robert Jagger, John Hoyle, and Isabel Walker. In an indenture, dated 1574, one acre of wood named " Seynt Marye Wood " (St. Mary's Wood) is conveyed to him. His six children were all baptized at Kirkburton, and he was buried there on October 30th, 1587. His wife died the following year of the visitation of the Plague, and was also buried at Kirkburton. John, the eldest son, occupied the paternal home, also buying houses and lands in 1588. He had to pay a tax of 8/- for £3 worth of goods in 1597, and again in 1603, 2/8 for 20/- worth of goods. His brother Michael, linked Brockholes with Honley in the close ties which have been customary since that day. He married Sara, daughter of the Rev. Robert Cryer, Curate-in-charge at Honley, from 1575 to 1582. In the will of Dame Johanna Hepworth, of Honley, dated 1620, of which previous mention is made in Capter I., she names " four score pounds that I owe to Michael Bynnes, to be paid him." John had a son also named John, who became Curate-in-charge of Honley. This Rev. John Bynnes married Mary, daughter of William Crosley, yeoman of Honley, named in the history of the Church, and also Honley families. The marriage settlement is dated November 17th, 1619. The Rev. John Bynnes after officiating at Honley 18 years, was Curate-in-charge at Holmfirth nine years. Whilst at the latter place, he was at variance with the parishioners regarding pew rents and other matters until his death, which took place até Bank End, in 1646. One part of his parishioners petitioned for his removal. Others pro- tested against it, saying " That he had served as Minister of God's word at Honley Chappell for the space of eighteen years, and since at the Chappell of Holmfirth for some nine years, we have adjudged his doctrines to be sound, orthodox and profitable, and conversation peaceable, ready to compose differences and self-peace among kis neighbours upon all occasions."

Page 339

1646 1650






This Rev. John Bynnes had an only son, named Christian, who received his education at Cambridge, taking his degree of B.A. in 1646, the same year of his father's death. When the inhabitants of Meltham erected their own Church in 1650, the Rev. Christian Bynnes was appointed first Curate-in- charge. He was a remarkable young man of great natural gifts, and refused to take the Oath of the King's Supremacy ; yet retained his Curacy during that time, when so many Church of England Clergymen were ejected from their pulpits. Anthony Armytage, of Thickhollins, Meltham (see Armitage family), married his sister Elizabeth, who was the grand- daughter of William Crosley before mentioned. The Rev. Christian Bynnes died at Bank End, and was buried at Kirk- burton, June 27th, 1669, leaving his money and estate to his sister Elizabeth, wife of Anthony Armytage. The Rev. Christian appears to be the last of this good yeoman family who resided at the old homestead, and the estate passed into the family of the Armytages.

After the death of the Rev. Christian Bynnes, a Curate named the Rev. E. Robinson resided at Bank End. Under the ancient edifice of that date was a large cellar in which he carried on " clipping and coining." An Act of 1695, made this crime, which had become common, punishable by death. The Rev. E. Robinson had much more money to spend than his salary warranted, which aroused suspicion. He was discovered and executed at York Castle. His son was a clever assistant, but his life was spared on account of his youth. Afterwards this son was employed in the Royal Mint, and eventually cccupied an important position.

There are records that a family of Lockwoods next owned and occupied the house at Bank End. In 1762, John Lock- wood served as Constable at Honley. Matthew Haigh, of Ridings, also served as Constable in 1763. As time passed on, the property came into the possession of the late B. H. Allen, Esq., thence to the present Brooke family. The residence has shared the fate of many old houses, and is now converted into three dwellings, its old-time dwellers and ancient name

Page 340


forgotten. Facing the South (for our forefathers knew the best position where to build their homes), and commanding still a magnificent panorama of earth and sky, imagination can replace the surroundings of the ancient residence in the days of John of Brockholes. Below would be the forest with the bridle-path scoring the hill-side leading to the dwelling. The path with its ancient causeway, flanked by old-world growths, is still left.

We will now come to the Brockholes and Smithy Place of eighty years ago, when there were no Railway, Church, Chapel, Mansion, Villas, Mills, Engineering works, Recreation-ground, Co-operative Stores, Post Office, long rows of houses, etc. as at present. The few dwellings which stood in the hollow of the place were old and of humble architecture, many being what is locally known as " one deckers." There were, perhaps, three or four small homesteads scattered here and there upon the steep upland sides, where the farming and clothing industry would be carried on under the roof. An old building stood by the side of the Occupation Road leading to Riding's farm, in which one of the early Sunday Schools was held. It is now destroyed. Holmfirth flood swept away an old Smithy, in which nailmaking was carried on. There were also a dyehouse and mill-wright's shop. A stream known as " th' ochre dyke," so named on account of its yellow colour, ran down from colliery workings, wandering through the place at its own sweet will. The present road to the railway station could only be named a bridle-path. It was sheltered on either side by grand old trees and luxuriant hedges which almost met over- head. The chief occupation of the dwellers in Brockholes and Smithy place eighty and ninety years ago was that of coal-getting, with the exception of a few who would be employed at the dye-house, mill-wright's shop, or on farms.

As we have seen, the Enclosure Act was the means of stripping Honley Moor of its trees, so that there was no supply of fuel from that source as in old days. There were no railways to bring to our doors coal from Barnsley and elsewhere, as at present. The getting of coal under the remnants of the forest

Page 341





was therefore an important local industry at that period. The Haighs of Hall Ing, worked the Collieries at Brockholes. (See Hall Ing history). There was a pit-head near what is now Thurstonland railway tunnel, numerous " day-holes," pit-banks, etc. in surrounding woods, and one in Station Lane.

Life was hard for the people of Brockholes and Smithy Place in those days, as it was for others, especially for women and children, who took a brave share in the daily toil under the earth. Children of tender years were carried upon the backs of older people down the pits to act as " hurriers," whilst women worked by the side of fathers, brothers and husbands. I can recall to mind two old dames, robust and healthy at eighty years of age, who worked in Brockholes and Hall Ing Coal-pits, both before and after marriage. It would have been difficult to have found in their limited sphere more comely types of womanhood, heard more intelligent conversation, or seen more beautifal old age. I have often listened to their tales of early hardships, simple recreations, and religious gatherings in humble Bethel or dwellings. Brockholes also possessed its local poet in the person of Mr. Charles Robinson. When over sixty years of age, he published in 1867 his book of poems on the subject of Holmfirth flood, and other circum- stances connected with the sad event. I recall to mind also, the old nailmaker, James Moseley, and his spare trim wife Betty. The history of his life was written by the Rev. George Lloyd, Vicar of Thurstonland, under the title of "The Yorkshire Blacksmith." Both these little books were presented to me when a girl by their respective authors. No doubt there are a few old natives of Brockholes and Smithy Place still left who also possess copies of these books. The little community, whose dwellers were a distinct class to themselves, remained unchanged until modern developements which will be fresh in the minds of the present generation.

The modern progress of Brockholes has been helped onwards by the opening of the railway in 1850. The highway also which runs through the place has been another aid in linking the hamlet with the outside world. In 1861, the Church

Page 342




1881 1882


was built, and in 1872, an enlargement made of the then exist- ing Schools, particulars of which appear under their respective headings. Formerly the nearest place of worship was at Honley, so that the erection of a Church was a great event in the history of Brockholes and Smithy Place. The next change was the beginning of the hum of industry, which followed the erection of a large cotton-mill in 1870, suitably named Rock Mill, on account of its near vicinity to the elevated headlands. The interior of this building was destroyed by fire in 1877. Mr. Joseph Sykes bought the property, and re-constructed the premises for a Woollen Mill, trading under the name of Messrs. Joseph Sykes & Co. The untimely death of Mr. Sykes, in 1881, cut short the career of a noted business man. Rock Mill was next taken over in 1882 by Mr. Elon Crowther and Mr. Alfred Sykes, and is still carried on under the name of Joseph Sykes & Co. The extensive works employ such a large number of workpeople, that erection of houses became a necessity. Rock-terrace, Rose-terrace, and other terraces were built. Dwellings of larger size gradually enclosed the Station Lane. The latter also came under extensive alterations in order to prove less dangerous to increased traffic. Formerly letters had been delivered from Honley once a day. Modern and business requirements demanded earlier and quicker postal facilities than the old belated methods which satisfied the inhabitants of an earlier day, and a Post Office was established. In an increasing industrial community, the formation of Co-operative Stores, Working Man's Club, Cricket and Football Clubs followed in due course. Church and Schools were altered, improved, and enlarged at various times. A Clergy House was erected, so that the Curate-in-charge of Brockholes and Smithy Place was able to reside near the Church in place of walking to and from Honley as hitherto. The Mill owned by Messrs. Robinson had also gradually in- creased its size. The mill-wright's shop had been replaced by a larger building to meet the demands of modern progress which must be obeyed. It is erected upon the old site by the descendanis of its original owner. Electricity was first publicly used in Brockholes, which was generated at these

Page 343


1798 1791


works before being adapted by Honley District Council. Mr. Elon Crowther, one of the heads of the great manufacturing firm before mentioned, decided to live in Brockholes. He erected a mansion named Rockleigh commanding a fine view of the grand valley below, even if dotted with smoky chimneys. He first occupied the house in 1897. Mr. Wright Schofield has also erected a handsome residence in Station Lane. The highway which runs through the heart of the place continually covered by traffic of various kinds was proving a death trap to venturesome children. Mr. Elon Crowther and Mr. Alfred Sykes secured on a lease a piece of ground in the centre of Brockholes, and undertook to pay the yearly rental. Trees were planted which now when grown give a restful effect. It was opened for a recreation ground to commemorate the late Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. A Wesleyan Chapel was next erected for those who did not wish to attend the services of the Church, the particulars of which will appear under its own heading. Brockholes has also two resident Magistrates, and one closely bound up with its social and religious life in the persons of Mr. Elon Crowther, Mr. W. Schofield, and Mr. Alfred Sykes. Thus the oldest dwellers in the once sleepy hamlet have seen the old world character of the place and its people changed by commercial enterprise.

Old echoes from a past, however, have not wholly died away. The magnificent headland jutting out, the beautiful wood- lands skirting roads and lanes, and the Church perched on top of picturesque rocks, still serve to make a picture of rural beauty from a distance. A few houses characteristic of the Brockholes and Smithy Place of my childhood are yet left. Their original appearance is changed on account of modern demands for more domestic comfort. Two bear date 1798, a third 1791, whilst another old house has had its humble family shield defaced. There is also an old homestead of the Tudor period, situated in Station Lane, but it has suffered from many changes. There are still dwelling in the place descendants of the old families, such as Robinsons, Mitchells,


Page 344








Heeleys, etc. The family of Renshaw, noted for their love and practical knowledge of music for many generations, have representatives yet left, whose musical gifts keep up the reputation of their forefathers.


The pretty Church overlooking hill and dale was erected in 1861 at the sole cost of Miss Marianne Armitage, of Honley. (For particulars regarding this lady, who placed the Church on the top of the hill encircled with its " God's Acre," see family history of the Armitages). It is built in the Gothic style. The site was given by the late William Walter, 5th Earl of Dartmouth, whose family have always been generous con- tributors to all good work in the neighbourhood. The Church, when first erected was small, costing £1,000 0s. 0d., the dwellers in Brockholes and Smithy Place being few in numbet at that time. It was consecrated for public worship in 1862 by the late Bishop Bickersteth, of Ripon, the Diocese of Wake- field not being formed at that date. When first built, there was seating accommodation for two hundred people, but there have been numerous alterations and additions to the original structure. I have been unable to obtain particulars of many important improvements ; but in 1873 £900 0s. 0d. was spent on the edifice. The body of the Church had been re-seated, a Chancel and Baptistry added, and other outlays. In 1886, the Church was re-opened after extensive alterations, when Canon Pigou, Vicar of Halifax, and Canon Bardsley, Vicar of Huddersfield preached at the opening services. In 1890-1, a new organ chamber and vestry were added. The new organ cost £250 0s. 0d. The introduction of a surpliced choir of men and boys followed in place of the mixed choir of males and females who had previously occupied the stalls since the erection of the Church. Many other improvements have also taken place, which cannot be here recorded. On May 3rd, 1905, Mr. Elon Crowther gave a beautiful stained glass window in memory of his late wife. In the " History of Almondbury,""' the late Canon Hulbert refers to the bell of Brockholes Church, formerly the property of his father who

Page 345

(see page 274).

| (

Page 347



lived in Sbropshire. The bell was rung at the marriage of his parents, and at his own birth. When Miss Armitage built the Church at Brockholes, Canon Hulbert presented the bell

to her, and it was hung in the turret of the building.

Previous to the erection of the Church, Honley had always provided for the spiritual needs of Brockholes and Smithy Place, and there existed close connection between the two places. After the building of the Church, which had not been endowed by Miss Armitage, Honley still loyally responded to all appeals for help from its daughter, both in religious and social Brooke family especially being generous contributors with money and personal service. During the early part of the history of the Church, the late Mr. James Robinson and the late Mr. John Mitchell were also generous in their support. Various members of the Armitage family have at times taken great interest in the Church.

Brockholes has no legal standing as a separate Ecclesiastical parish, and is still dependent upon Honley for its supply of a Curate-in-charge. Since Messrs. Joseph Sykes & Co. took over Rock Mill, both Mr. Crowther and Mr. Sykes have been generous yearly subscribers towards Honley Curate's fund. Other people also are helping to provide for spiritual needs by giving smaller yearly subscriptions.


This erection was due to the kind thoughtfulness of the late Mrs. Brooke, of Northgate House. Previous to her death, she was anxious that one of the Assistant Honley Curates should reside in Brockholes and devote his whole time to its spiritual needs on account of fast increasing population. The Rev. T. Haworth, the present Vicar of Linthwaite, was the Senior Curate of Honley at that time, and Mrs. Brooke expressed a desire to him for the erection of a house, so that he could reside there. The land for the site was again given by Lord Dart- mouth, and the erection was finished in 1892, costing upwards of £1,000 Os. 0d. The construction of the road to the house proved rather a costly business. With the help, however, of

Page 348




kind friends in Honley and Brockholes, contributions by Sales of Work and other means, the whole amount was collected. In the meartime, the Rev. T. Haworth had accepted the living of Linthwaite, and the Rev. F. R. Lambourne, now Vicar of Farnley Tyas, was the first Honley Curate to occupy the house.


During the earlier part of last century, the only means of education in Brockholes were of the same primitive order existing in Honley described in Chapters on " Education " and '* Sunday Schools." Mention has been made of an old build- ing once standing near farm, in which the first Sunday School was held. The erection of the building was due to the Evangelical awakening of the people of England at the latter end of the 18th century due to Wesley's preaching. The site was given by Lord Dartmouth, and the cost of the building defrayed by public subscriptions. Upon the stone over the doorway was carved--'' Built by Subscriptions. To do good is our aim." My memory cannot recall the exact date, and no doubt the stone has shared the same fate as the building. The small hamlet contained few children at this time, but they were gathered together, and taught by self-sacrificing people in this building on a Sunday. Evidently creed was not to influence the motto over the doorway. As time went on, perhaps those who taught thought differently. The adherents of the Church formed their own Sunday School, which was in exist- ence about 1836. Religion and politics must have had a clear dividing line in Brockholes at this period, the Church building being named the " Blue School," and the one in Riding's Lane the " Yellow School." The former eventually developed into the present large National School. This was erected in 1842 by public subscription, chiefly contributed by kind friends from Honley, the inhabitants of Brockholes and Smithy Place not being a prosperous community as at present. The site was given by Lord Dartmouth. This first erection was small and of primitive character, but sufficient for the few children which the hamlet contained at this time. There was no week-day teaching, the custom of learning to read and write

Page 349


1882 1887


on a Sunday still being followed. In the meantime, the "* Yellow " School had ceased its Sunday labours. The scholars who did not attend the Church School on Sundays, came to the various dissenting Chapels in Honley, which had sprung into existence one by one after the visit of John Wesley to the valley. The Church School was now the only means of obtaining either secular or religious education for the young. It was opened for week-day teaching about the same time as Honley Schools. The Managers of the latter took the keenest interest in the welfare of Brockholes Schools. The same generous support was given, and the progress of each went on side by side. Certificated Masters and Mistresses were appointed, enlargements to the building continually taking place, and all modern appliances supplied which the Education Department demanded. It is a significant fact, that a Certificated Mistress was appointed to Brockholes School by Honley Managers before one was supplied to Honley Schools.

In 1872-3, the School was re-built and enlarged at a cost of over £700 Os. 0d. This did not include the site, the extra land required again being given by Lord Dartmouth. In 1882 and 1887, considerable outlay was also demanded, the particulars of which cannot be given. The School, like the Church, has required continual enlargements and improve- ments, not only to meet the requirements of a fast-growing population, but also the demands of the Government Board of Education. Mr. William Brooke can almost be named a life-long Manager of the Schools to the duties of which he has attended with his well-known zeal and regularity. He has also been one of its most generous supporters.


We have seen that the building has been in use for a Sunday School since its first erection. Previous to the erection of the Church, the scholars walked to Honley on Sundays to attend afternoon service. It was customary also to hold the Whit- suntide Festival on the Tuesday. Honley friends engaged in the pleasant duties of entertaining their own scholars on

Page 350


the Monday, were thus left free to perform the same pleasant duties for Brockholes Scholars, who marched to Honley, on Whit-Tuesday. This cugtom has been discontinued many years. I suppose up to a certain age, youth should be led, but there comes a time when youth prefers to walk alone. Evidently the daughter Church thought that she was old enough to take her affairs into her own hands, and act in- dependently of the Mother Church. Last year, however, the old custom of holding the festival on a Tuesday was revived.


When Brockholes became a centre of industry, many families came to settle in the place who had been reared in the principles of Wesleyan Methodism. A few of the old natives also had attended the Chapels at Honley, Deanhouse, or Thurstonland. Like unto the earlier history of Wesleyan Methodism, the cause at Brockholes had a humble beginning in the shape of cottage services, which were held at the house of Mrs. Emma Brook. As members increased, a temporary Mission room to seat about seventy persons was erected, to which was added a Sunday School. When the debt incurred for the building of the room was cleared off, members next secured ground upon which to build a new Chapel. Part of the site was given by the late Sir Thomas Brooke, and the rest purchased at a cost of £217 14s. 10d. Mr. J. H. Mitchell, who had long been a devoted member of the Wesleyan body, cut the first sod forthe 1903 new Chapel on June 20th, 1903. The Rev. W. H. Gregory, Superintendent Minister, on behalf of the Trustees, presented Mr. Mitchell (who was seventy years old the previous month) with a silver spade suitably inscribed, as a momento of the red-letter day. The next sod was cut by Mr. Urigh Brook, who was 98 years of age the previous year. The Rev. G. Frayn presented the old Wesleyan patriarch also with a spade similar to that handed to Mr. Mitchell. Mrs. Healey, of London, a native of Brockholes, cut the third sod. Miss Smailes, of Honley, presented to her also a silver spade in memory of the 1905 occasion. On September 30th, 1905, Memorial Stones were

Page 351



laid for the new Chapel, and the day was again observed with much rejoicing. Between the first sod cutting and stones laying, death had claimed Mr. J. H. Mitchell, who had served in every office open to a layman in the Methodist Charsh. Feeling references were made at the ceremony to his life work. Stones were laid and mallets presented by representative friends in the various circuits, and from other neighbouring places. The opening services took place on September lst, 1906, and were continued the following Saturday and Sunday. Interesting tree-planting ceremonies were also duly observed.

The new Wesleyan Chapel was erected at a proposed outlay of about £2,200, and will seat two hundred persons. It is a beautiful building of an Ecclesiastical style of architecture, designed by Mr. E. W. Lockwood, Architect. In the interior is a nave, chancel, Minister's vestry and organ chamber. There is also a Church parlour and kitchen attached for use of meetings and social purposes. To complete such a handsome structure, there must have been much self-sacrifice and unselfish labour. Mr. Wright Schofield, Mr. Isaac Mitchell, and others may be named whose work is recorded in the published souvenir of the Chapel. The book is a valuable momento of the first Wesleyan Methodist Chapel erected in Brockholes, and all particulars connected therewith. This praiseworthy plan of preserving records of important events in the history of a Church or Chapel might with advantage be followed.

The long list of subscribers to the Chapel is headed by a donation of £50 from Mr. Elon Crowther, and also £50 from the late Mr. J. H. Mitchell. Amongst the list of subscribers, in addition to those who made presentations at the stones laying ceremony, will be found names of well-known friends from Honley ; thus renewing the close relationship which existed of old between the two places.

The history of Brockholes would not be complete without a brief notice of people who in the past, as at present, have stamped their personality apon the place, either in the old life or under new conditions.

Page 352



The lives of self-made men are generally greater romances than can be found in the pages of a novel. That leap from a hand-loom in a cottage to the concentrated industry in a large mill may read like a fairy tale in print, but the space between has not been bridged over without knowing the " burden and heat of the day." Neither is the industrial organizer made, else many humble homes would not have proved favourable nurseries for that sharp detection of possibilities, patient endurance, and concentrated action which are necessary to success in any walk of life.

Mr. Elon Crowther is a member of a remarkable Colne Valley family cf four brothers, who have transformed little hamlets into busy centres of industry. Each member of this family can truly be named a great Captain of industry, whose characters can be summed up in their work. Mr. Elon Crow- ther is of the type of those men who have silently built up the commercial greatness of England, whilst others have done the talking. Thus to have made the best of natural abilities is greater and nobler than inheriting a name of high social rank. It may be, and often is, that greatness of soul does not grow side by side with increase of wealth, but Mr. Crowther has that well-balanced mind which makes him keenly alive to his responsibilities. A generous contributor to all good works around him, his gifts are generally hid in modest privacy. As a person more of achievement than words, his utterances may be brief in public ; but they are always weighty with knowledge and personal experience ;-that experience which answers to Ruskin's description of the true Captain of industry that "The market may have its martyrdom as well as the pulpic, and trade its heroism as well as war." Mr. Crowther is a man of sturdy Liberal principles, but has never allowed party politics to bias his public actions. When taking his part in public duty, which is of all duties the most thankless, he has always ignored self-interest for the general well-being of the whole community.

We have noted that Mr. Crowther and Mr. Alfred Sykes

Page 353



1899 -1908 1910


purchased Rock Mill in 1882. When their eldest sons came of age, the business of Messrs. Joseph Sykes & Co. was then changed into a Limited Company. Rock Mill may be counted as one of the most important in the neighbourhood. It is furnished and equipped not only with all modern aids to success in business, but also for the comfort and well being of the workpeople. In the summing up of the progress of Brock- holes, reference was made to Mr. Crowther building his home in the place, and also of the Recreation ground. Mr. Crowther and Mr. Sykes were the chief movers with regard to bringing about the extensive alterations to the old steep lane leading to Brockholes Station which was widened, and its steepness modified as much as possible ; the improvements costing about £800 0s. 0d. Honley township contributed £356 11s. 6d. and Thurstonland £150 0s. 0d. towards this sum. The rest of the cost was paid by the firm. To enable the workpeople to purchase their own dwellings, if wishful, Messrs. Joseph Sykes & Co. built 24 cottages, and also made favourable terms with the Co-operative Society with the same end in view. The firm has also provided a Working Man's Club, and other recreative facilities which cannot be here enumerated.

It is often a truism, that the busy man has most leisure. We find that, as a rule, the head of a great industrial concern generally devotes more time to public work than a man of idleness. Mr. Crowther has not only expended energy and intellect upon his own business, but has brought the same qualities to bear upon local public work. Chairman of many important undertakings not connected with this history, he was elected Chairman of Honley Gas Works. Next elected a member of Honley Urban District Council, he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Sewage Board of Honley and South Crosland in 1900, his personal capacity and trained judgment being highly valued. He was also elected Chairman of Honley Urban District Council, from 1899 to 1908, and from 1910 to the present. In 1906, Mr. Crowther was made a J.P. When the ratepayers of Honley undertook the ambitious purchase of the Gas Works, they had tc thank Mr. Crowther for his help ;

Page 354


and still more to thank him for bringing his ripe judgment, personal knowledge, and ability to bear upon its success.

Mr. Crowther placing a stained glass window in Brockholes Church. in memory of his wife, is previously named. In addition, he formed a. Trust fund in her memory, known as "The Mrs. Elon Crowther Benevolent Fund," investing the sum of £2,500 0s. Cd. for the purpose. The interest arising from this money is to pay pensions of 5/- per week to men or women who may be incapable of work from old age, sick- ness or accident. Persons receiving such benefits must have been workers and residents in Brockholes or immediate neighbourhood for three years, preference being given to those who have been employed at Rock Mill. The Fund is invested in the hands of representative trustees, so that its distribution is not controlled by party or sect. Other Societies formed for the benefit of the workpeople, and guaranteed by Messrs. Joseph Sykes & Co., are also managed upon the same principles.

AurRED SYKES, Esq., J.P.

It is not within the scope of this history to review the careers from starting point to goal of all the men in the neighbourhood, who, left to their own resources have filled the valley with industrial prosperity. Mr. Alfred Sykes, without those modern aids which are now a common feature is one of the most notable men in the neighbourhood. Though more identified with Thongsbridge and Holmfirth than Honley history, his close connection with Brockholes justifies mention of his public life, and intellectual energy in the outside world. Never a robust man, he has won his laurels against wind and tide- the success of a brave man worthy of success. In striking contrast to his business partner, Mr. Crowther, who may be termed a silent man of deeds ; Mr. Sykes is a brilliant speaker and public man of action. Often the intellectual training of the brisk determined son of the people does not keep pace with his business energy. Mr. Sykes is not only a Captain of industry, but possessing those rare mixture of qualitie-the

Page 355

ALFRED SYyKEs, Esq., J.P. (see page 282).

JOHN MITCHELL, ESQ., Brockholes. (see page 286),

Page 357



1901 -11



practical and imaginative, he has also a high appreciation of

all that is most intellectual and elevating in life. When

publicly honouring his parents by building the Netherton Cottage Homes in their memory, we might infer that his bring- ing up by a "good father and exemplary mother" had fostered and fashioned his constructive genuis. We know, however, that humble or luxurious homes, good or bad parents are not always conducive to success. Mr. Sykes was sent early to work, but later on trained himself for a Solicitor by passing examinations under difficulties common to all who have overcome adverse circamstances. " The Alfred Sykes " Gold Medal," and " Alfred Sykes Law Students' Library," as incentives to study, are probably in remembrance of those early unaided struggles. When the change from legal study to the financial management of an important industrial under- taking was necessary, Mr. Sykes successfully adapted himself to new conditions. Serving in turn the offices of Sunday School-teacher, Superintendent, and Churchwarden, he did not neglect the religious duties of life for the secular. Taking upon his shoulders his fair share in local administration, he was elected in 1885 at the head of the poll as a member of Thurstonland Local Board. The following year he was appointed Chairman, retaining the office 27 years until retiring from ill-health in 1912. In 1906, Mr. Sykes was made a J.P. Appointed Director and Chairman of important public Com- panies, Associations, etc., not connected with Brockholes, his trained judgement has often helped to secure the industrial peace of the neighbourhood. Mr. Sykes was President of Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce, from 1901 to 1911, having previously filled the offices of Treasurer, Junior and Senior Vice-Presidents. In addition, he has a seat on the Council of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of Great Britain ; and was chosen as one of a deputation of men representing the commercial interests of the country to present an address to the French President when visiting this country in 1913. In the year 1910, Mr. Sykes erected and endowed five model cottage-homes at Netherton for aged people of his native village. These were built in memory of " a good father and exemplary

Page 358






mother." Mr. Sykes was Chairman of Halifax Joint Stock Banking Company, when it was joined by the Halifax and Huddersfield Union Banking Company, in 1911, under the name of the West Yorkshire Bank, Ltd., and was appointed Chairman of the newly amalgamated Banks. Perhaps no other local person was more intellectually fitted for carrying through the equitable unity of the two Banks. In of his services, he was presented with his portrait in oils, executed by A. S. Cope, R.A. This was exhibited in the Royal Academy in 1913, afterwards presented to the Huddersfield Corporation, and placed in the Art Gallery. Mr. Sykes became President of Huddersfield Young Men's Christian Association in 1911, and was associated with the erection of a Statue to the late King Edward VII., and the raising of £24,000 for further endowment of Huddersfield Infirmary in memory of his reign. To commemorate the late Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, in 1897, Mr. Sykes presented a new organ to St. Andrew's Church, Thongsbridge, of which he is a generous supporter. Space forbids further mention of many more public and philanthropic works with which he has been and is still identified. To sum up, it is characteristic of Mr. Sykes that his name is yet on the law-list, and that he renews his certificate to act as a Solicitor.

JamMErs RoBINSON, Esq.

Reference has been made to a dyehouse in Smithy Place. It stood upon ground now occupied by Messrs. Robinson's Mill. The dyehouse was owned by Mr. Joshua Robinson, who in 1750 was a noted blue dyer for the manufacturers or clothiers who had not dyehouses attached to their premises. He had three sons named George, John and James, George removed to Thongsbridge. John, after marriage, resided at Cliffe House, Honley, carrying on the trade at Thirstin dye- house, afterwards occupied by two well-known brothers, Mr. George William and Thomas Farrar; and at present by Mr. Lewis Littlewood. Mr. James Robinson remained at Smithy Place until his death. The three brothers were all noted men in their day. John was a gifted man who, when President

Page 359




of Honley Mechanics' Institute, kept it in full life. (See

account of Mechanics' Institute). His brother George was also a clever man. I have heard old pupils recall the intellectual speeches of the two brothers at the Annual Easter Monday Soirée of the Institute, and also upon other public occasions.

The name of Mr. James Robinson, however, is more familiar in the ears of Brockholes people of a later date. He built Wheatfield House, and resided there in 1850. He was one of the earlier teachers in the " yellow " School. When Honley Independent Chapel was built, it was customary for the scholars to walk from Brockholes on a Sunday afternoon to attend the service. For many years, Mr. James Robinson conducted the children to and from Honley. He also took an active part in all public life. For eighteen years, he was one of the most respected members of Honley Local Board, serving as Chairman from 1865-8, and again from 1873-5. He was one of the earlier members and deacons of the old Independent Chapel at Honley. A man of strong Nonconformist belief and staunch Liberalism, there was no person more respected by those who differed from him in religious or political principles than Mr. James Robinson. In season and out of season he always worked unselfishly for the public good, acted justly, and lived uprightly.

The three sons of Mr. James Robinson inherited much of the character of their worthy parent. Mr. Joshua James, named after his father and grandfather, was also a member of Honley Local Board from 1883-6, and was appointed Chair- man from1l886-9. Of the same firmness of religious and political convictions as his father, he walked worthily in his footsteps, and laboured at all times for the welfare of the township. Mr. William Henry and Mr. Joe Robinson also inherited the fine traits of the family, the former being a member of Honley Local Board from 1883-6. The latter was also a member from 1889 to 1894. They too, were regular attenders at, and generous supporters of the Independent Chapel at Honley, but death claimed both in early manhood. -__

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It is interesting to note, that there are Robinsons of the fifth generation still actively engaged in the same place of business at Smithy Place.

Journ MITCHELL, Esq.

The name of Mr. John Mitchell was a household word in Brockholes forty or fifty years ago. He was one of the old- time workers, who combined the Christian virtues with the daily duties of industrial life ; and would have looked out of his element away from the Church, School, or Brockholes. The quaint mill-wright's shop surrounded with arches of sweet-smelling wood waiting to be fashioned into droning mill-wheels or thumping stocks, was typical of the master. Here was no haste to be rich, but only steady modest industry, which matched the old primitive mode of manufacturing to which it ministered before steam-power had made speed a necessity. Dating from the commencement of the building of Brockholes Church, Mr. John Mitchell acted as Church- warden until eighty years of age. He was also Superintendent of the Church Sunday School from its beginning until that age, retiring in 1880, when he was presented with a large family Bible by the teachers and scholars. This token of respect is greatly valued by the family.

Such regularity and attention to religious duties during a long number of years may be looked upon by many persons as irksome confinement. Not so with Mr. John Mitchell. He kept to his self-imposed duties in bright and dark days, living a life of blameless satisfaction to himself and those around him. When the Sunday School scholars attached to the Church marched to Honley on Whit-Tuesday, he always headed the procession, and I believe he valued that honour more than rank or riches. And what an approachable Churchwarden ! With his kindly face he would welcome strangers to the little Church on the hill. No Sunday School scholar stood in awe of him, and no person was afraid of his gentle authority.

The once picturesque mill-wright's shop is gone like its mild- eyed master, but many memories of Mr. John Mitchell, will

Page 361


come back to old scholars ; for he was part and parcel of an old life now passed away.

The descendants of Mr. John Mitchell are still associated with the religious life of Brockholes, though their activities are now devoted to the Wesleyan body of worshippers.

Page 362




(Oldfield. -Oldfield School. -Deanhouse.-Hall Ing).


Oldfield is one of the oldest hamlets in the township, and at one time branches of our oldest families dwelt there. Perched upon its eminence overlooking Honley, and of which passing travellers on the Railway catch a glimpse ; Oldfield seems only to require a Church spire embowered in its midst to com- plete as pretty a picture as can be found in an English landscape. Perhaps it is that the cluster of old-world houses built on the ridge is such a familiar sight, that we do not value the picturesque beauty of its situation and character. In the past, stage coaches did not pass through the hamlet, and later, railways have not disturbed its peacefulness. This isolation of a place may retard its progress, but it keeps alive its in- dividuality. The Armitages and Berrys were important families at one time at Oldfield, and seemed to have owned all the land. The Berrys, when married, had evidently to leave the home-pasture, and provide dwelling-places of their own. They did not, however, go far away, choosing Hagg, Deanhouse, or some other place in close proximity to the old homestead.

Oldfield is mentioned in 1560, when John Ermytage (Armitage), of Oldfield, made a will, the witnesses to which were John Ermytage (Armitage), Edwin Taylier (Taylor), John Berye (Berry), and Nicholas Swalowe (Swallow). In the early history of Honley will be found records of the purchase of land by Leonard Berye (Berry) from Sir Robert Stapylton

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1569 1569




in 1569. Leonard Berye (Berry) was married at Kirkburton to Elizabeth Grene (Green) in 1569, so that it appears as if he was beginning his married life by purchasing his own home- stead. In the same year, the will of John Berye (Berry), of Hagg, is drawn up. It is dated October lst, 1569. There is an entry in Latin in Kirkburton Church registers of a daughter of a Berry being baptized. Translated it reads :- ** Margaret, daughter of Herre Byrre, of Ag, Honley, was baptized May 20th, 1571, at Kirkburton." The following is an extract from the Almondbury register which is full of human pathos. Written three centuries and a half ago, we see the same shadow and anguish darkening a human life as to-day.

** Agnes, ye wyffe of Richard Littlewood, off Oldfelde, by ye

March instigation of ye devell within XIII. dayes, that she was



1614 1617

1626 1610 1569 1657

delivered off child ; ye XIII. day of Marchee about or before midnight, rose out off hyrr chylde bedde, privilie went to a little well not halfe a yarde deepe of water, and drowned herself, and was buried ye XVI. day off March. From the infestations and instigations of an unclean spirit, and from so undesired a death, most merciful God deliver us."

We come again to Leonard Berye (Berry). An old document, dated 1579, records the sale of land from Leonard Berye, of ye Hag, Clothier to Wylliam Ermitage, of ye Bankes, 4 acres of land named Bacon Royd for £60 0s. 0d. Oldfield is again mentioned in 1601 in relation to the Armitages. John Ermy- tage, who bequeathed " Heigroyd and Clyffe Inge " (High-Royd and Cliffe Ing) named as witnesses to his will dated 1601, John Taylier (Taylor(, the elder, and John, the younger, all residing at Oldfield. In 1614, Thomas Berrye, of Hagg, died and his wife Alice in 1617. Next the death is recorded of Rishard Berye, of Hagg, who was buried at Almondbury, November 18th, 1626. In 1610, there is mention of Andrew Berrye, of Hagg. Andrew and Richard were brother and son of John Betrye, in whose will, dated 1569, they are named. In Almondbury Registers No. IL., dated January, 1657, it is recorded that Joseph Berrye, of Oldfield when returning from Wakefield Market met his death from snow and cold when near S

Page 364




his own home. At that time the road would be only a bridle- path over wild moorlands.

The Swallow family dwelling at Oldfield were also persons of good local standing. Joseph Swallow acted as Chapel- warden for Honley in 1765. An old Honley family who followed the Berrys in residence at Hagg was that of Hobson. They were Clothiers of repute, and married into the best families in the neighbourhood. At one time a Hobson married a Crosley. In 1778, Thomas Hobson, son of David Hobson, of Hagg, was married to Mary Armitage, of Kirkburton. Many old people will recall these family names in their descendants. The Heaps were another good family dwelling at Oldfield, who followed the occupation of Clothiers. I have heard old residents recall the time when the little hamlet throbbed with whirr of hand-looms in every cottage weaving for the Heaps ; and they would also declare that this period was the most prosperous and ideal in Oldfield's history. The Heaps became manufacturers on a large scale and removed to Lord's Mill and Crosland Factory. The clothing industry, however, did not forsake the little hamlet for a number of years after the removal of the Heaps. The Haighs, Dysons, Mr. Law Lee and other families indigenous to Oldfield soil were all well-known and respected Clothiers, but eventually their primitive mode of industry withered and died. The trade of hand-loom weaving lingered on until recently, Mr. William Platt being the last hand-loom weaver in Oldfield.

The peacefulness of Oldfield remained undisturbed until the race-course could find no standing room in Honley. Its proprietor constructed another track at Oldfield, and erected a public house, naming it " Star of the Day." The unfitness of the old-world hamlet proved too much for the strife and tumult of alien crowds, and the race-course ceased to exist. For a time the " Star of the Day " struggled to keep its luminary shining, helped by a Brewery Company. Eventually the public-house had also to close its doors, but whether this was due to the fact that the brewing of home-brewed beer had not wholly ceased in Oldfield Cottages, or that thirsty customers

Page 365


did not prove numerous, I cannot say. Thus Oldfield was again left to its original repose, and the place remains almost unchanged in its old-world character. The folds with their houses, out-buildings, gardens, and walls, speak of a past generation of clothiers, farmers and hand-loom weavers. It does not require much imagination to again picture the master- clothier sat in his gig, or riding on horseback regularly attending the weekly market ; whilst previously perhaps he had been sizing his warps, and drying them in the lanes around his home- stead. We can bring back to our mind's eye the hand-loom weaver who, hatless and coatless, would sit smoking at his door, or saunter to his " yerd " end for a neighbourly chat, in which his " piece,"-'" treddle,"-*" Shuttle," etc. would form no small part.

Before leaving Oldfield history, mention must be made of Mr. John Carter, who performed for Honley township the duties of rate-collector, road-surveyor, constable, and a few other supplementary offices for 21 years. And what a task to keep roads in repair, almost solely by the aid of pauper labour ! Yet John Carter always remained tranquil. To the time of his death, he kept the child's heart which annoyances failed to ruffle. Since his days fashion has changed, not ouly in collecting rates, but in their bulk. At that time rates were 8d. in £. When they leaped to 10d. in the £1, there were strong rumblings in Honley. John Carter was grieved in spirit that he should be thus called upon to collect such a large sum. His cheery chirps, however, disarmed all anger, for his presence was always like gentle spring in comparison to blustering winter. Thus the great crisis of a tenpenny rate passed over without revolution. To many the mention of John Carter, with his old-world courtesy of manner and tenderness to defaulting ratepayers, will bring back many pleasant memories.

THE Scuoor.

About eighty years ago, a few of the dwellers in Oldfield, together with their neighbours at Honley, contemplated the erection of a National or Church of England School. The land was given by Lord Dartmouth, and with help from Honley

Page 366


subscribers, the most generous being members of the Brooke 1838 family, the present School was built in 1838. The Dartmouths and Brookes are still annual subscribers. A few of the dwellers in Oldfield also subscribed amounts according to their means, and those who were unable to give money helped in other ways. Others again helped with horse and hand labour. Surday evening services were held in the building for a number of years after its erection. Also a Sunday School was formed, and in addition, week-day teaching was carried on. The spiritual welfars of Oldfield was looked after at that time by Honley. The late Rev. Charles Drawbridge and his Curate supplied the religious services, and formerly the ties between Honley and Oldfield wore very close.

We have seen that there are records of sorrow and death in Oldfield history. I will recall one of its romances. The Rev. C. Drawbridge, with the true soldier's impatience of incompetent men, generally made choice of the best type of divine to serve under him. - One Sunday evening in January, when a heavy snowstorm had been raging all day, it was the turn for one of his energetic Curates to preach at Oldfield. Though persuaded not to venture through the deep drifts _ by his landlady, he started in the whirling blast and forced his way as far as the cross road. Here he found himself suddenly buried overhead in a snow-drift. For a long time he endeavoured to find his way out, when his cries were heard by the inmates of the nearest farm-house who happened to be crossing the yard to attend to the cattle. He was rescued almost insensible, and conveyed upon the farmer's back to the house of Mr. John Carter, who at that time had a young lady relative staying with him. - The Curate when fully restored, was not allowed to return to Honley that night, as the roads were impassable. The acquaintance thus made that Sunday evening resulted in marriage between the young lady and the belated Curate, who afterwards became a hard-working Missionary in Australia.

As time went on, improvements were required to the School- 1874 building, and it was restored in 1874, helped again by generous

Page 367




supporters from Honley. Though Oldfield is in the township of Honley, it is now in the Ecclesiastical parish of Netherthong. The restored School was re-named the Mission-room. For many years after its restoration, Sunday services were held, which were supplied by the Vicar of Netherthong. Eventually these were discontinued, and the building was used for a Work- ing Man's Club. In 1908, chiefly due to the exertion of Mr. J. Pennington, the School was restored to its original use. Mr. Pennington, since residing at Oldfield, has taken a deep interest in the welfare of the place. The last restoration of the School cost over £50 0s. 0d., and it was again re-named the Mission-room. It is now licensed for the celebration of Holy Communion, and Sunday services are regularly held under the direction of the Vicar of Netherthong. Mr. T. H. Smith, of Honley, who, in addition to his public duties, has taken upon himself the office of Lay Preacher, being licensed by the Bishop of Wakefield, conducts the services on alternate Sunday evenings. - The sacrifice of devoting a day of rest to the welfare of others is always worthy of record.


Deanhouse was in the township of Honley until transferred to the Urban District of Holmfirth on April Ist, 1912. The event has been so recent, that the history of Honley would be incomplete if Deanhouse was not included in its annals. * Owfield at th' top, and Deynhaase at th' botham," is a local saying, which aptly describes the two hamlets. From Oldfield. can be seen the first streak of dawn, and the last ray of sunset ; whilst Deanhouse is situated in a deep valley. Its dwellers have been a race of clothiers, farmers and hand-loom weavers. The hamlet takes its name from an ancient homestead which once stood at the head of a sequestered and beautiful valley or dean on the Oldfield side of Honley. The rivulet which runs down the valley is named dean-brook or " th' Deyne- brook " as the dwellers pronounce the still pellucid stream.

When the Stapyltons sold their property in Honley to families then living in the place named in the early part of this

Page 368







history, amongst others who purchased lands was " John Beaumont, husbandman of Deynhouse." The deed is dated October 12th, 1569. The word husbandman, like yeoman, then held a different meaning than at present. A husbandman did not mean altogether one who cultivated the land, but one who also owned it. At that time Deanhouse would be in- cluded in the forest which covered the district. Imagination must picture the dwelling of John Beaumont nestled in the hollow. It would probably be built of wood and plaster, and its only surroundings moorland and forest ; the latter tenauted by wild animals which were common in the neighbourhood. John Beaumont valued his homestead however humble in comparison to present-day buildings, else he would not have been possessed of that land hunger which was a characteristic of the old-time yeoman ; buying woods and lands surrounding his home from the Stapyltons. Another indenture regarding purchase of land by Henry Beaumont, of Deynhouse, yeoman, from Sir J. Ramsden, of Longley, is dated April 5th, 1623. This Henry Beaumont had two sons named Richard and Joseph. Deanhouse remained in the possession of the family until 1675, when Abraham Beaumont sold to Joseph Armitage "all that messuage or tenement called by the name of Deanhouse, and all houses, barns, buildings, lands, closes, woods, grounds, etc., belonging to the same." The property comprised the whole of what is now a well-populated hamlet. Joseph Armitage dying in 1689, bequeathed Deanhouse to his nephew Joshua Woodhead, of Toothill, who sold it to John Wilkinson, of Greenhead, Huddersfield. Nir John Lister Kaye, of Denby (Grange, married Ellen, the daughter of John Wilkinson, and Deanhouse next passed into the hands of the Kayes. In 1763, Godfrey Berry bought Deanhouse and other lands at Honley for the sum of £400 0s. 0d. from the Kayes. The price may seem a small amount, but the neighbourhood was then barren moorland and woods. It will be seen in the account of Wesleyanism, that John Pawson, who wrote regarding Wesley preaching at Deanhouse, describes this part of Honley at that date as " a way opened into the mountains above, where the people in general were little better than heathens, ignorant

Page 369




1760 1767

1781 1798

1843 1835



and wicked to a high degree." Honley Moor was still covered with forest trees, the Enclosure Act not coming into operation until 1788 ; so that Deanhouse would be even more sequestered and uncultivated.

The history of one family is not the history of a place. As time went on, other husbandmen like unto John Beaumont would erect dwellings, and cultivate lands. There would be births, marriages and deaths. The homesteads and out- buildings of clothiers and farmers would gradually spread over hill-side or in hollow, and cottages built to shelter weaver and farm labourer. In Almondbury Registers, dated February 11th, 1660, is entered the death of Elizabeth Haigh, of Dean- house, widow, who was killed by the downfall of her house, and buried before a coroner's inquest could be held. We have seen that the Berry family, whose records date back to 1560, dwelt at Honley, Oldfield and Hagg. There is a record that a Thomas Berry, Deynhouse, was buried at Almondbury, on February 2nd, 1623. Only field lengths divide Oldfield, Hagg and Deanhouse, so that probably one branch of the Oldfield or Hagg family migrated to Deanhouse. Godfrey Berry, of Deynehouse, was Constable for Honley in 1760, thus proving residence there before purchase of property. In the year 1767, he was appointed Chapelwarden at Honley Church, and was buried from Deanhouse at Almondbury, January 3lst, 1781. Nathaniel Berry, of Deynehouse, also - served as Chapelwarden at Honley in 1798.

The Berrys, like unto many old families, were gradually dispersed, or became merged in other branches whose histories are not associated with Honley. Mr. J. Horsfall Turner in '* Yorkshire Notes and Queries," published the diary of John Berry, a descendant. He was Magistrates' Clerk at Wakefield, and records all intresting events taking place in an outside world at that date. On May 24th, 1843, he writes about the death of his Aunt Martha Kaye, at Netherthong. In 1835, the property passed to Joseph, Benjamin and John Eastwood. In May, 1860, it was conveyed to the Guardians of Hudders- field Union as a site for a new workhouse. A comparatively

Page 370



modern dwelling-house occupies the other part of the ground upon which the old homestead stood from which the hamlet takes its name.

There existed close relationship between Honley and Dean- house in past days, the Oldfield-paths linking up the two places, being silent witnesses of the days when its dwellers came to the Mill to grind their corn. Deanhouse loyally honoured Honley Feast, sending its fighting champion to help to uphold the reputation of the township. The little hamlet also supplied its fair share of Constables and Chapelwardens. The first breaking away from old ties took place when Netherthong Church was erected in 1830. Deanhouse being so close to Netherthong, it was included in the new Ecclesiastical parish, and familiar figures no longer were seen coming down the old field-paths to attend Honley Church. The change from the domestic mode of manufacturing cloth to the factory system also was the cause of alterations. A woollen mill was erected, and if the old race of " out "-weavers refused to learn the new way of making cloth, their descendants grew with the new order of things. Next followed the erection of Huddersfield Union Workhouse, which also brought great changes in the once sequestered hamlet. Last, but not least ; the civil government of Deanhouse was transferred from Honley to Holmfirth. - These last new conditions have now finally severed old ties. This sub-division of an ancient township should not have been allowed.

There is, however, one close bond between the two places which the future student of history will not everlook, and that is the Wesleyan revival. The inhabitants of Deanhouse should for ever keep in memory the two visits of the great unwearied field-preacher, whose preaching was the means of forming a religious body which now numbers its members by millions. But they have more reason to feel proud of that old race of sturdy dwellers, whose hearts had been so stirred that they erected the first Wesleyan Chapel in the valley of the Holme against all opposition and persecution.

Page 371

JOSEPH HAIGH, EsQq. (see page 2907).

GEO. ARMITAGE, Esq., J.P., High Royd, Honley, generally named *' Justice'' Armitage. (see page 301).

Page 373






Haut Inc.

Hall Ing is one of the oldest and most interesting hamlets in the township. The word Ing (a clearing) is suggestive of land cleared from the forest for a dwelling, which at that time would be named or looked upon as the Hall. Hall Ing first comes into notice in connection with the Armitage family when Roger dwelt there in 1524 (see Armitage history). Hall Ing of a later date is, however, more associated with the name of Haigh than that of Armitage. The latter family had left the place, and about the middle of the 17th century a Haigh who had married an Armitage resided there, though the family had evidently dwelt in the hamlet at the same time as the Armitages. In an indenture, dated 1626, relating to a mill- dam, at Armitage Bridge, the Hall Ing Haighs are named. Am unable to say what relationship they held to " Chapman " Haigh, of Netherton, a noted Cloth-merchant, who according to Hunter " was an honest stitcher and full of wealth," but they were of the same family. At the time that Thomas Haigh named in Wood Royd Chapel history changed his mode of life in 1770 at the age of 23, the family was carrying on the business of clothiers, combined with the farming interest. I have no date when they added the getting of coal to the family business, but probably when they purchased part of Hall Ing estate owned by the Armitages about 1792. Hall Ing of that date would then be one of the little communities in the township, where the dwellers worked for one master, either in one capacity or another. They would be plain God- fearing men and women seldom going further afield than their own lanes or folds, unless to a marriage or funeral. The way of life would be almost patriarchal in character. The master not only provided for the spiritual wants of his dependants, but undertook the duties ; son following father in their zeal for the good of the workpeople and neighbours around them.

When Hall Ing property owned by the Armitages came into possession of the Haighs, coal-getting was carried out upon a more extensive scale. They opened out more collieries, and also leased land from Lord Dartmouth for the same purpose.

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The coal obtained from these collieries was the chief supply of fuel to the etc. being a feature in the neighbourhood of Hall Ing as at Brock-

holes. The carrying of coals in panniers strapped upon

donkeys' backs was one of the familiar sights of the country

side. Gynn or Gin Lane takes its name from a gin being in

use there. The horse yoked to one gin for drawing up coal at Shaw-head was driven by a woman. In 1833, Mr. Joseph Haigh, the son of Thomas, purchased the remainder of Hall Ing property from Mr. Thomas Armitage for £2,150 0s. Od., a sum which shows the depreciation of land since that date, the area of the ground being small. The coal however under

the property which had made the land valuable became exhausted. When the Railway was constructed so that coals could be conveyed from Barnsley districts, the Haighs ceased to work the collieries, and they were closed. Mr. Joseph

Haigh died in 1851. Mr. John Haigh, the son of Joseph, who was a member of the first Local Board formed in Honley, next opened out Victoria Collieries at Morley, near Leeds, leasing land from Lord Dartmouth for that purpose. His sons went to reside at that place, and Joseph, one of the sons, was elected Mayor of Morley in 1909, but died in the second year of his Mayoralty. The Haighs, in addition to once being land owners of importance, have been farm tenants and lessees for coal-getting under the Earl of Dartmouth for over 100 years. There are still descendants in the same capacity, notably, a grandson of Joseph Haigh who is the present lessee of Victoria Collieries, Morley, opened out by his grandfather. There are still direct descendants of the Haigh family living in Honley.

Page 375

_ 1319




(Armitage. -Brooke.-Jessop.-Siddon.-Crosley.-Leigh.-Wadding- Families).



Txx® family of Armitage is the oldest in Honley, having held to the soil since 1319. They are of that stout and valiant race of yeoman freeholders so often described in this history who owned and tilled lands, engaged in commerce, and whose name for generations is associated with the best traditions of the neighbourhood. It is difficult to trace out clearly a long family pedigree in which the same name re-appears in each generation, so that if errors occur, they are due more to recurrence of names than carelessness. The Armitage family in their different branches have been friends and connections by marriage with the oldest families in Yorkshire and Lancashire as well as local families of note, such as the Kayes of Woodsome,

Beaumonts of Whitley, etc. This history will not allow

mention of each individual member of a family that like an old tree must of necessity have spread out its branches. Many interesting ancient deeds regarding purchases of land, wills,

etc., dating on generation after generation, are also too

numerous to enumerate, so that only a few will be drawn upon.

The family originally sprung from Armitage Bridge, or "* Th' Ermytage," which was the site of a Hermitage in ancient days ; the family and place thus deriving their names. In the Poll Tax of 1319 is mention of Willelmus del Ermytache and Agnes his wife (William of Armitage). In an old charter

Page 376







of this date Heighroyd is also named. This manner of spelling the place still remains the local mode of its pronunciation. To this charter is attached small bags of " Heighroyd " earth, a custom at that time to which reference is made in Chapter I. The next authentic reference to the family is in 1524, regarding the payment of taxes by Roger Armytage, of Hall Ing, when money was being raised for the French war. He had eight sons who settled in various parts of the neigh- bourhood. It is presumed that the Kirklees branch of the family are descended from this Roger, of Hall Ing. His brother, John Ermytage, evidently lived at Armitage Bridge at this time, but seemed to have close connection with Honley. The Highroyd branch of the family is descended from this John. In Honley Church history it is noted that he left '* 4/- to the Chapel of St. Mary's, Honley, for Mass to be said for the repose of his soul," and in the same will he appointed his brother Roger his executor. The will was proved in York, in 1527. He had a son named John, who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Beaumont, of Deanhouse, one of the good yeomen who purchased lands from the Stapyltons named in Chapter I. John during the latter part of Queen Elizabeth's reign bought most of the Kirklees estates in Clifton and Hartshead. In addition, he purchased the Rectory and advowson of Mirfield, Glebe lands, tithes, etc.; and that property has since remained in the Kirklees Armytage family, except the advowson of Mirfield, which became the property of the Ingham family of Blake Hall.

John Ermytage was still residing at Armitage Bridge in 1584. In that year he acted as one of the jurors at an Inquisition relating to the Manor of Almondbury. He was also a capable business man who exported cloth to Ireland in 1574, being that " good marchant " named in Chapter I. John had a son named Anthony, who was baptized on September 8th, 1558, and settled at Thickhollins, Meltham. He had also a son named Anthony, and the name is renewed in each generation of this branch. This latter Anthony married the grand- daughter of William Crosley, Honley. (See Church history).

Page 377

Res Or

zn a+ Ao

HIGH RoYD HoUsE, where * Armitage dispensed justice in the Entrance Hall.

(see page 301).

NoOoRTHGATE House. see page 306).

Page 379


1579 1601



1777 1792




Mention is made in Chapter I. of the value of clothing at this date when Giles Ermytage, son of Roger, of Hall Ing, drew up his will. The Wylliam Ermytage, of ye Bankes, named in Oldfield history as buying land from Leonard Berye, in 1579, was a grandson of Roger. John Ermytage, that ** good marchant " died in 1601, and was buried at Almondbury. One branch of the Hall Ing Armitages remained at that place for a long time. They evidently added the getting of coal to the trade of clothiers. In the will of a John Armitage, of Hall Ing, dated 1723, he mentions coal, and cuts off his daughter Hannah with a shilling, who had married Mr. John Haigh of that place. Both a Richard and John Armitage were still working the coal pits in 1751-2. Richard had an agreement with the Earl of Dartmouth for working the coal under the land dated January, 1777, and there are records that they were still obtaining coal in 1792. It will be seen that this branch of the family was serving in all public and patriotic offices, such as Constables, Chapelwardens, local defence, etc.

We now come to a Mr. George Armitage, generally named '* Th' Justice," one of the most noted members of the family. He was born at High Royd, November 2nd, 1738, and was the son of Joseph, and grandson of George, all born at High Royd. He married Sarah, the daughter of Mr. Walker, of Lascelles Hall. I have no date when Mr. George Armitage was appointed a Magistrate. The title then held a different meaning than at present. Magistrates were few and far between. Whether learned or ignorant, bigoted or impartial, they possessed much power. The man to whom the title was given was supposed to be a gentleman above reproach, and in addition, to own a stake in the country in the shape of lands and possessions of a certain value. At that time there were no Police Courts at Huddersfield and Holmfirth, and justice was dispensed by Mr. George Armitage in the entrance hall at High Royd. During the unsettled period of the French Revolution, in 1794, we have seen that he administered the oath of allegiance to King George III. to Volunteers residing in sixteen adjoining town-

Page 380


ships ; so that there must have been stirring times in the neighbourhood of High Royd at that date.

Having so often heard the personal appearance of " Th' owd Justice" described, his sayings and doings recalled, his name was familiar in my childish ears. At this time, the dignity of the office of a Magistrate carried much of its old exclusive- ness and power in the person of Mr. George Armitage. His appearance even at a distance had greater effect upon the unruly spirits of the village than the staff of the Constable. Having the titles of Magistrate and country gentleman to main- tain, he scorned to clothe himself in Penistone " plains," blue '* broads," or any other kind of modern material which was being manufactured at that date ; though composed of all wool, and made with the intention of never wearing out. He clung as long as possible to his powdered wig tied behind, flowered vest reaching half way down to knees, silk stockings, knee breeches, and diamond buckled shoes. There were times, however, when his old-world dignity relaxed, and severity was tempered with mercy. - Often shrewd advice racy of the soil was more liberally meted out than punishment. I have heard many amusing accounts of his mode of administering. justice to disturbers of His Majesty's peace when they appeared before him in the entrance hall at High Royd. A Honley native, as a rule, was either dismissed with a fatherly reproof, or if fined, Mr. Armitage generally paid the fine himself. A Honley Feast bull-baiting ended with a battle between the spectators with only nature's weapons for attack and defence. It was alleged that the chief aggressors were people who hailed from Skelmanthorpe ;-a village in which it was said that a whole man did not exist at that time, having lost fingers, ears, noses, etc., owing to their love of personal warfare. '* Honleyers " however succeeded at this particular feast in thrashing or " skelping " " Skelmanthorpers " out of the town. When Honley combatants were hauled by the Constable to appear before Mr. Armitage, they were forgiven with a gentle reminder from his stick ; for it was an open secret that he was highly delighted at the local victory. If a son of the village

Page 381

1813 1815




was placed in the stocks until he had slept off the effects of drinking too much beer, Mr. Armitage generally considered that the indignity had proved sufficient punishment ; but solemnly warned such offenders not to appear before him a second time. Once when a burly out-weaver more noted for his fighting powers than industry, had thrashed the pinder, kicked down the pinfold door, and rescued his donkey ; Mr. Armitage thought that pinders could be too officious at times even with regard to straying donkeys, only the owner must not repeat the offence. Many more accounts of Mr. Armitage's mode of tempering justice with mercy, his neighbouring fellowship, wise counsel, and generous help to those around him could be given, but space forbids. He administered justice at High Royd until 1813, died in 1815, and was buried at Almond-


Miss Marianne Armitage, one of his daughters, who remained unmarried, inherited his strong characteristics. She first resided at Park Riding, the family dower-house near the old homestead, and afterwards built a house in St. Mary's Square, living there until her death. The house is now occupied as a Conservative Club. A most liberal supporter of all religious work, Brockholes Church was built at her sole cost in 1861. She gave £1,000 Os. 0d. towards the erection of St. Luke's Church, Milnsbridge, £500 towards the re-building of Honley Church in 1842-3, was a generous subscriber to Almondbury Church, and a liberal contributor to all good work in Honley. She died on January 13th, 1861, aged 76 years, and a tablet placed in the Church at Milnsbridge to her memory, records her many virtues.

Miss Marianne Armitage in a letter explained the reason of the change from y to i in spelling the Armitage name. Her grandfather who built Dudmanstone had two brothers, both unmarried, who were next heirs to the Kirklees estates. They were fine spirited gentlemen, wealthy, generous, and known as the "splendid uncles " to youthful nephews and nieces who benefited from their free-handed generosity. _ On account of a quarrel between these two bachelors and the Kirklees branch

Page 382


1574 1822


1820 1884



of the family, the former changed the y to i in spelling the name. In deeds relating to family estates the mode of spelling the name remained.

Joseph Armitage, Esq., J.P., D.L., eldest son of " Justice " Armitage, and brother to Miss Marianne, purchased Milnsbridge House from Sir Joseph Radcliffe and removed there in 1820. During the Plug riots both gentlemen had many difficult duties to perform. Mr. Joseph Armitage was the father of fifteen children, and inherited the fine business traits of that ° good marchant "' who exported cloth in 1574. He built a woollen- mill at Milnsbridge, in 1822, to find occupation for his sons. This was the first woollen-mill erected at Milnsbridge, which is now a busy hive of industry. Afterwards he built Burdett mill, the foundation stone of which was laid by Sir Francis Burdett, on April 20th, 1838, which is recorded on a stone tablet in front of the mill. The erection of Milnsbridge Church followed, and it will have been noted that Miss Marianne gave £1,000 towards the building of the Church ; thus helping to provide for the spiritual welfare of her brother's workpeople.

The family, after the removal to Milnsbridge, became more identified with the public and religious life of Huddersfield and

its neighbourhood than with the affairs of Honley. The estate

of Milnsbridge House still belongs to the Armitage family, but has been divided into smaller residences since the days when it was a centre of great local influence. From 1820 to 1884 High Royd was let. Charles Ingram Armitage, Esq., J.P., a great grandson of the "Justice," and grandson of Joseph before mentioned who erected the first woollen-mill at Milnsbridge considered to return to the old family seat. He restored High Royd, and came to reside there in May, 1885,-a direct descendant of a family who have lived well and acted bravely in the past.

Mr. Charles Ingram Armitage married a daughter of the late Major Coates. Their second son, Captain Clement C. Armitage, is Captain in the Royal Field Artillery, at present stationed at the Staff College, Camberley. The public welcome given to him on his return from the South African War is previously recorded.

Page 383




The Brooke family is not one of the oldest in Honley, but it is the most noted. They are descended from that race of yeoman freeholders who, in the past helped to steadily build up the commercial greatness of England, whilst at the same time taking an important share in all public and religious duties. Their pedigree dates back in an unbroken line to the year 1596. They were God-fearing men, yet free from cant ; attentive to business, yet intensely patriotic ; prudent, yet generous regarding all public and private claims upon their purse. Descendants who can thus claim a birthright of character from their forefathers have reason to feel proud. The faces of three generations of Brookes here portrayed, are strikingly characteristic of this race of clean-handed men who have helped to keep alive the best traditions of the country and neighbourhood. This legacy of character from a true- hearted race has been inherited by a remarkable family of sons and daughters, who have also acted justly and walked uprightly. To quote a local saying which is racy of the soil, " They are thirteen to th' dozen, and not a bad un amongst em." The same simplicity, energy and virtue have marked all their lives. In all good work, the motto has been ®" Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." In all generous deeds, ** Let not thy left hand know what thy right doeth." The sons, from the statesman-like Nir Thomas to the sunny generous soul who gave his life to bringing God's kingdom a little nearer in the slums of London, were strongly alike in hold- ing to one high standard of life, yet brothers of splendid contrasts. The daughters were women of goodness, and sweet- ness of character, whose key-note in life has been self-efface- ment and unselfish service.

~ In the account of the staple trade of the district, references are made, and reminiscences recalled relating to the early history of the firm of Messrs. John Brooke & Sons. Like as in other old families, the same name re-appears in each generation. The firm was founded at Honley in the early part

1798 of the 18th century, by Mr. John Brooke, who died in 1798.


Page 384





Mr. William Brooke, whose picture is here reproduced, was the son of this John, and grandfather to the present William Brooke, Esq., of Northgate Mount. He married Miss Hannah Clapham, of Leeds, August 4th, 1789, the family of Claphams being one of the most influential in Leeds at that time. Merchant as well as Manufacturer, trade did not move for him in small and narrow ways common to those around him at that period. In early life he had ridden far afield to buy his wool, when journeys were hazardous undertakings. When the domestic mode of manufacturing was altering its character, he grasped the nature of the great and wonderful changes, taking place around him, and " marched breast forward." He erected the second steam-engine in the neighbourhood to replace wooden wheels turned by water, and dependent upon its supply. I have heard his character and sayings often described. A God-fearing man of strong sense and worth, he was not only energetic in business, but in all public and religious services. He built Northgate House, Northgate Mount, Armitage Bridge Mills and Armitage Bridge House. This "fine old English gentleman *" died in 1846, aged 82 years. A marble tablet to his memory is placed in the chancel of Honley Church. He too had sons who walked in the footsteps of a worthy sire. John removed to Armitage Bridge House, built for him by his father. Edward, the celebrated Wesleyan preacher whose life has been written by the late Rev. J. H. Lord, went to Huddersfield. Thomas, the father of the present well-known family of brothers and sisters remained at Northgate House.

When Armitage Bridge Mills were built, and the firm removed the business there in 1825, the beautiful Church and Schools were afterwards erected almost at the sole cost of Mr. John and Mr. Thomas Brooke, with the exception of a small grant from Ripon Church Building Society towards the Church. The history of Armitage Bridge Mills and the firm since that time must of necessity be separated from Honley history. It is, however, well-known that after the removal, the old links existing in Honley between master and man were not broken. Workmen still claimed employment as an inheritance. If there

Page 385

LATE BROOKE, Esq. (see page 306).

LATE THomas BrRrookKE, Esq. (see page 307).

Page 387

1859 1889


was a sudden stagnation in trade, men were not discharged. Even if old retainers had been dismissed, they would have refused to leave " Th' Maister," and rebuked him with that reply which will be found in " Characteristic speeches of Honley." Long before old age pensions were dreamed about, they were practical realities at Armitage Bridge Mills.

We must leave the great industrial concern where son has followed father generation after generation, and which has kept abreast in the march of progress ; and write of a home in which were reared the brothers and sisters before mentioned.

Mr. Tromas BrooKk®, the father of the present family, who married in 1828 Miss Anne Ingham, of Hunslet, a member of an old and influential Leeds family, remained upon Honley soil, bound by the strongest ties of interest and affection to his native place. One of my earliest remembrances was of his tall fine figure dressed in the best black cloth that his mill could produce, walking to Church on Sundays. He was a

_ man of grave simplicity, yet elevated mind ; careful not to

indulge in random remarks, refraining from words of blame even when deserved, and walking on the straight road of rectitude and honour. Gentle, yet manly ; unostentatious yet capable ; Mr. Thomas Brooke was a man who loved mercy, walked humbly with his God, and " wore the white flower of a blameless life." Mrs. Brooke, a lady of gracious personality, kindly heart, and generous hand, presided over a home of refinement, progressive thought, and busy activities. She was the mother of thirteen children, the two eldest daughters, Anne and Elizabeth, dying at the age of sixteen in 1847 and 1849. Mr. Thomas Brooke died on August 3lst, 1859, aged 61 years, and Mrs. Brooke, August 10th, 1889. Their memories are consecrated in the hearts of children who were taught by them that their life-work was to do true and noble things. At the funeral of Mrs. Brooke, five sons and six daughters followed a revered mother, as thirty years previously the same sons and daughters had followed a honoured father to the same resting-place. It will be seen in the Church history and Honley

Page 388



1879 1886



events, how their memory has been honoured by thankful children for their examples of good and holy lives.

Sir Tromas BROOKE, the eldest son had a distinguished public career. Whilst a young unmarried man, living with his parents at Northgate House, he undertook active duties in connection with Sunday School and parochial work. His first public service for his native place was that of Poor Law Guardian for Honley, in 1864, the memory of which voluntary duty he always recalled with great pleasure. After his first marriage, Sir Thomas lived at Almondbury, returned to Honley after the death of his wife ; and afterwards resided at Armitage Bridge House until his death, having purchased the estate from his cousin. An active member of the firm of Messrs. John Brooke & Sons until middle life, he threw himself with that zest which is characteristic of the family into all kinds of religious and public life. A true patriot like the race he sprang from, he joined the Huddersfield Volunteer Corps, formed in 1859, rising from the rank of private to taking the command as Colonel. His great personal capacity, broad- minded views, and well-balanced mind, marked him out as one of the most distinguished men in the neighbourhood. With that fine-trained intelligence which can appreciate the in- tellectual as well as the practical in life, he was also a celebrated antiquarian, a noted collector of rare books, and an honoured President and member of many learned Societies, The fringe . of his numerous and varied activities can only be touched upon here. _ President and Chairman of many Political and Educational Societies, he rendered invaluable service and help to the Huddersfield Technical College when that Institute was first established and finding its feet from 1879 to 1886. His portrait, and a stained glass window in the College testify to his great help and self-sacrifice in the cause of Technical Education. President of the Young Men's Christian Associa- tion in Huddersfield, in which he took a practical and keen interest, he was also President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1879-80, rendering distinguished services to both Institutions. Director of Railways, Insurance Companies,

Page 389


1874 1885



1855 1860 1901 1902


etc., he filled the office of Deputy Chairman, and Chairman of Goods-traffic Committee of the London and North Western Railway Company. Sir Thomas was appointed a Magistrate of the West Riding of Yorkshire on February 23rd, 1864, and soon afterwards filled the office of Chairman of Quarter Sessions. He was one of the first members of the West Riding County Council representing Honley division, and was at once elected Alderman and Vice-Chairman of the Council. A staunch upholder of his own political views, Sir Thomas was asked to stand as Conservative Candidate for the Borough of Hud- dersfield, in 1874, and Candidate for the Colne Valley Parliamentary division in 1885. A member of a family of prominent Church laymen, he was one of the foremost to help in forming the new Diocese of Wakefield, and active member of the Building Committee during the enlargement of the Cathedral.

The speeches of Nir Thomas were always weighty with knowledge and practical experience of the many public subjects he had to speak upon. His varied qualities of mind so well- balanced in one whole, enabled him to discuss even burning questions with moderation and calmness. On the other hand, he was equally as ready to indulge in dry humour and witty mirth typical of the soil and his race. The bestowal of Royal and Civic honours was a fitting ending to a career in which the small as well as the large duties in life had been so nobly and justly performed. He was created a Baronet in 1899, and universal approval welcomed the honour. Presentations, Addresses, etc., of all kinds were presented to him, not only locally, but from the great outside world in which he had taken a stirring part ; and a public banquet in Huddersfield celebrated the event. Sir Thomas was next made a Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Huddersfield on July 25th, 1906.

Sir Thomas was thrice married. His first wife was Miss Eliza Vickerman, daughter of Mr. Enoch Vickerman, of Steps, who died in 1855, a year after marriage. In 1860, he married Miss Dewar, of Dumferline. who died in 1901. In 19CG2, he married Mrs. Foster, widow of the late Rev. C. F. Foster, and daughter of James Priestley, Esq., J.P., who survives him.

Page 390


1834 1871



Francis, the only son of Sir Thomas, died at the dawn of young manhood, at the age of seventeen years. Sir Thomas died on July 16th, 1908. Though his funeral was characterised by beautiful simplicity, the vast assembly of public men in all walks of life who attended was eloquent testimony of the esteem

in which he was held.

WirLtam BROOKE, Esq., J.P., the second son of the family, was born at the old home at Notthgate House, on December 2nd, 1834. He married on October 19th, 1871, Miss Gertrude Elizabeth Ingham, a daughter of the late Joshua Ingham, Esq., Blake Hall, Mirfield, an old and influential family. Mrs. Brooke is a lady of gracious personality, many accomplishments, true womanly worth, and whose kindly actions are generally hid in modest retirement. There were great rejoicings and presentations at the marriage, which took place at Mirfield, and was the first marriage solemnized in the then newly- erected Parish Church. Their only son, Mr. Thomas Brooke, born November l6th, 1875, married the daughter of Sir E. Hildred Carlisle, on June 13th, 1904, and resides at Healey House ;-a son who gives rich promise in his young manhood of following in his father's footsteps, and upholding the traditions of the family. The only daughter, Gertrude Elizabeth, was married to Captain Holdich, of the 5th Ghurka Regiment, eldest son of Colonel Sir Thomas H. Holdich, on June 15th, 1910. As none of the marriages of the male side of the family took place in Horley, it was customary to celebrate the marriages of the females with all the more rejoicings, both in the past and present. At the marriage of Miss Gertrude Elizabeth Brooke all mills in the neighbourhood were closed, arches erected in the streets of Honley, and the latter was one mass of colour and brightness, the streets having been spontaneously decorated by the inhabitants. The day was observed as a general holiday by all parties, who were anxious to honour a daughter in whom all the graces and energy of the womanhood of her race are harmoniously blended. On her return from the honeymoon, a large and representative gathering took place at Northgate Mount, when an illuminated

Page 391

WILLIAM BRookKE, Esq., J.P. (see page 310),

HE LATE GEORGE JEsSssOoP, Esq. see page 324).

Page 393


address and silver tea service was presented to her from the inhabitants of Honley, embracing all sects and shades of opinions. - Presentations from the tenants, Sunday School, etc., had previously taken place.

Mr. William Brooke, like his father, has remained upon Honley soil, taking up his residence, after marriage, at Northgate Mount, overlooking his old home. Old natives always designated " Mr. Willie" (the distinguishing name in his early home) as his own father's lad." Inheriting the same natural generosity and pity, the same deep religious principles, the same personal love for his native place, he holds the same keen responsibility towards it. Still named " Mr. Willie" in our midst, he has that rare nature which looks for the best in every thing, and believes that people are as good as they pretend. Perhaps this faith in human nature has made many


** Aye," once said a rough son of the village to his much tried mother, " I mun try and be a goid lad, because Mr. Willie thinks I am."

This spirit of finding the best in human nature has been carried out in all his public life. As a man of fairness to political opponents, he has the same trust in their fairness to others. Learning to rule by first obeying, Mr. William Brooke beginning at the age of 17 years went through each department of the great industrial works at Armitage Bridge before taking upon - himself the role of master. Always loyally submissive, and reverent to those of older years placed over him during his youth ; no duty was too obscure to perform in connection with religious, educational, parochial or business work, passing through all degrees of humble service. When the time came that the claims of an outside world had to be equally con- sidered with local duties, Mr. William Brooke threw himself heart and soul into whatever kind of work he undertook. Whether religious, philanthropic, or political, the same vigorous energy combined with careful investigation were brought to bear upon those duties ; whilst not neglecting the

Page 394



1874 1887- 1893


great industrial business which also absorbed much of his time and attention.

As in the case of his brother, the late Sir Thomas, I can only touch upon a few of those public duties which he has in season and out -of season so loyally performed. He was a member of Honley Local Board from 1864-70. A Sunday School teacher for over 50 years, he has attended his class of young men in dark and bright days, and during storm and stress of a busy public life. He has been a Manager of Honley National Schools for over 50 years, in the history of which will be found recorded his many generous gifts, and life-long devotion to the good of the School. As one of the most loyal Churchmen in the West Riding of Yorkshire, he has held the office of Churchwarden in Honley Church since 1887, in the bistory of which is also recorded those many noble gifts of himself and family. - In addition, he has not only been President of those many numerous Societies of a varied character which have been launched into life during his life-time, but has also generously supported all. These latter are enumerated in the history of the National School. To the duties of the larger outside world, Mr. William Brooke brought the same sincerity of purpose, genuine love, and deep earnestness as in local matters. Always an advocate for religious teaching, he was one of the Candidates for Huddersfield School Board in favour of religious instruction, and was elected in 1874. Chairman of Huddersfield College, from 1887 to 1893, he struggled vigorously, and helped generously to keep the College from being closed. A Governor of long standing of Almondbury Grammar School, that ancient institution has greatly benefited from his generous support and interest. President of some and identified with several such Institutions as the Deaf and Dumb Society, Royal Albert Asylum, Lancashire, Charity Organizations of various kinds, Mirfield Reformatory, etc., which have all profited not only from that open-handed munificence, but from his keen and practical interest in their welfare. As Senior Trustee of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, he has always performed yeoman service for the Institution ;

Page 395


and about 30 years ago gave £1,000 Os. Od. for the purpose of sending suitable cases to Southport and Buxton.

Being brought into personal contact with a practical every- day world, he early in life realised the effects of drunkenness. Throwing himself with his well-known enthusiasm and energy into the work of temperance, he zealously wished his native village to realise its blessings. His purchase of the George and Dragon, and Commerical Inns with this purpose in view, has been previously noted in due order of dates. Mr. William Brooke, like his brothers, has not confined gifts to the narrow confines of a parish. He too contributed nobly to the fund for establishing the Bishopric of Wakefield, and to the enlarge- ment of the Cathedral. Mr. William Brooke was made a J.P. for the West Riding in 1868, and succeeded his brother, the late Sir Thomas, as Chairman of the County Bench of Magistrates, retiring in 1906, but still attends the sittings at Holmfirth Court. Perhaps no other Magistrate has been more assiduous during Iceng years of duty. The office must of necessity be trying to a man whose nature is more prone to pity than blame, and more ready to forgive than punish. In the long calendar of offenders which have come before Mr. William Brooke, the most notorious have always realised that if Mr. Brooke was full of charity towards them, or ready to seize upon any mitigating circumstance in their favour ; he justly upheld the authority of the law.

Mr. William Brooke is the most welcomed speaker in the neighbourhood, his speeches impressing others with his own intense belief and sincerity of purpose when speaking for causes dear to him, whether religious or political. At the great open-air Demonstration held in Longley Hall Park, in July, 1913, to protest against the Welsh Church Disestablish- ment Bill, he spoke in defence of the Church he loved so well with all the fire and energy of his youth. A few months later, he was actuated by the same patriotic fervour for his country when speaking upon the subject of National Defence. The references in this history to the public benefactions of Mr. Brooke to Honley as they occurred, prove his deep love for his

Page 396







native place. No person, however, will know the extent of his private charities, not only to the poor, but to those whose silent tragedies are often greater. These will never be quoted on a public platform, or printed in pamphlet statistics ; for the greatest of his charities are unknown. His long useful life was fittingly honoured by the visit of King George V. and Queen Mary to his home on July llth, 1912, and the con- ferring of the freedom of the Borough of Huddersfield on October 15th, 1913 ; the particulars of which have sppeared previously. It is seldom that a man received more universal testimony of his worth when these honours were bestowed upon him. Much as Mr. William Brooke values these public tributes of respect for him, he also places high value upon more humble testimonials from those whom he can justly claim as his own people, bred and born upon the same soil, and bound together by close ties. On February 25th, 1895, Mr. Brooke's Sunday School Class of Young Men honoured his 60th birth- day, by a presentation of an Album containing sketches of Northgate House, Northgate Mount, Church, Parish-room, and Mr. Brooke himself. On January 18th, 1902, they also presented to him a chair and malacca walking-stick as a recognition of his fifty years' teaching of the class. A silver plate affixed to the chair record those long years of Sunday School teaching. Mr. Brooke was also presented on behalf of the parishioners with a roll-top cabinet, a picture of himself, and volumes of books, as a recognition of his 50 years of teaching.

The honouring of his Diamond Jubilee as an active partner in the firm of Messrs. John Brooke and Sons for 60 years, was probably unique in the history of the staple trade of the district. The proceedings commenced on Friday, February 10th, 1912, the date on which he attained his Diamond Jubilee. On the following day, the celebrations were opened with a thanksgiving service at Armitage Bridge Church. Afterwards, Mr. Brooke entertained all employees at the mill to tea. An illuminated address, congratulating Mr. Brooke on his 60 years active interest in the firm, was presented to him, and a silver rose-

Page 397





bowl to Mrs. Brooke. Congratulatory speeches from the heads of departments in the mill, and an entertainment provided also by the employees brought an event to a close which will live long in the memory of those who were fortunate enough to take part in it. In thankfulness for his Diamond Jubilee at the mill, Mr. Brooke instituted a Workman's Benevolent Fund.

Carlyle writes : " That a man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him." By this Carlyle meant not a profession of creeds, but what a man does. To sum up Mr. Brooke's character,-it radiates from his countenance ; for he has that perfect charity which " thinketh no evil."

Mr. Josuxva Inoxam BrooOoKE, the third son, was born February 14th, 1836. Taking his degree in 1859, he married in the same year Grace Charlotte, daughter of General Godby. Early in life he decided to take upon himself the office of Clergyman, and entered upon the task with the usual ardour so characteristic of the family. Of a joyous sympathising and generous disposition, the character of which shone out from the radiant countenance even to the end of his life, he was eminently fitted for that office whose representatives are not only expected to share the sorrows of the lives of others, but also their joys. The Rev. Joshua Ingham Brooke, with the same modesty and simplicity of purpose which distinguished his brothers, served as Curate of Retford in 1860-3, and Curate of Batheaston, 1863-6. Afterwards he was Rector of East- hope, in Shropshire, in 1866-7, and then Rector of Thornhill, from 1867 to 1888. It was here that he performed a great work for the Church in a district perhaps unfavourable. If not a captain of industry in the West Riding, he became a great spiritual captain whilst at Thornhill. The key-note of his every day life was individual exertion, no detail being too small for his consideration. Churches, Schools, and all kinds of parochial organizations were built and formed in the colliery districts around Thornhill, due not only to his words, but substantial actions. He was appointed examining chaplain to the Bishop of Wakefield in 1869. The Rev. Joshua Ingham Brooke, like unto his brother Sir Thomas, possessed that

Page 398





1876 1887


refined intelligence which can appreciate the beauty of the old without ignoring the importance of the new. Perhaps his greatest undertaking at Thornhill was the restoration of its old historical Church to which he gave individual exertion, attention, and generous help ; and it was only his intense energy which could have truimphed over such a voluntary task. He also greatly helped and took an active part in the formation of Wakefield Diocese. In 1889, he was appointed Archdeacon of Halifax, and Hon. Canon of Wakefield Cathedral. The Venerable Archdeacon Brooke was next appointed Vicar of Halifax. Details of his work cannot be given, but his vigorous energies, cordial manner, and generous spirit endeared him to all classes of the people ; and his name became a household word in Halifax. When bodily infirmity laid its restraining hand upon his powerful energies ; elasticity and courage still distinguished his actions. Pain did not cause him to cease from his herculean drudgery until his shattered frame ended a life of self-sacrifice, lived for the good of others,-a life which had been nobly shared by a devoted wife and family. A Mr. Jon ARTHUR, the fourth son of Mr. Thomas Brooke, was born in 1844, and educated at Repton and Oriel College. He also learned to rule by first obeying, and served in the mill at Armitage Bridge until he became a member of the firm, in 1868, at the age of 24 years. During the time that his brothers and sisters were actively engaged in Sunday School work at Honley and Brockholes, he undertook the duties of Sunday School teacher at Armitage Bridge until marriage. In 1873, he married the daughter. of Major Weston, Morvich, Sutherlandshire, late of the Indian Army. For a short time after marriage he lived at Meltham until taking up his residence at Fenay Hall, Almondbury. Since that time, his life has been one long day of active duties, both religious and public. Appointed a Magistrate of the Borough of Huddersfield, on February 7th, 1876, he was also made a County Magistrate, April 4th, 1887. Mr. John Arthur Brooke was next elected an Alderman of the Borough of Huddersfield from outside the

Page 399

1901 -I



1877 1896


Council, from 1901 to 1907. He has been Chairman for many years of the Colne Valley Conservative Association, and Hud- dersfield Conservative Association. Taking the deepest interest in the cause of education, he was Chairman of the Governors of Huddersfield Technical College, from 1887 to 1889, and has also held the office since 1899. Appointed a Governor of the ancient Grammar School of Almondbury in 1877, he became President Governor in 1896. - His keen interest in all educational matters is most marked in his consistent championship of Church of England Schools. He is Chairman of the Hudders- field and Saddleworth Church Day Schools' Association, which was formed for the protection and preservation of Church of England Schools. Acting as Churchwarden at Almondbury Parish Church for a long number of years, he is one of the most prominent laymen in the Diocese of Wakefield, which he also took an active part in forming.

It is difficult to draw one single character of a family, and fill up its outline with the colour of life, when all its members hold to one standard of conduct. There are, however, always contrasts, if slight. The tastes of Mr. J. A. Brooke as a young man inclined to the pursuits of a country gentleman. He realised, however, that he had a race to run in which his own inclinations must not enter, and took up the duties of life with the usual ardour so distinctive of the family. Since that time, he has never allowed his natural tastes to interfere with his ideas of public and religious duties. A solid genuine man, he has a rugged candour of character, typical of the soil he springs from, but can be silent when unwise to speak. Strong in his political convictions, he proclaims his creed with no uncertain sound ; and is the Samson of the Conservative cause in Hud- dersfield. Strong also in his religious principles, he is never at any pains to disguise his leanings, and champion the cause of Church of England Schools, not merely in words, but by generous help. With that comprehensive and logical outlook upon life, Mr. John Arthur Brooke is too sagacious and shrewd to tolerate cant and pretence in any form ; yet he has that fine nature which looks for the best in all things.

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1902 1903 1903





John Arthur Brooke, Esq., J.P., had two sons and two daughters. The sons are Mr. Robert Weston, and the late Mr. John Weston. The eldest daughter, Blanche, married the Rev. S. C. D. Hoste, Vicar of Almondbury, and the second daughter, Dorothy, married Captain W. H. P. Law, Army Service Corps. Mr. Robert Weston Brooke is a director of Messrs. John Brooke & Sons, and married the daughter of the late Alexander Geddes, Esq., of Blairmore, Scotland. Mrs. Brooke and family have endeared themselves to the whole neighbourhood by their ready sympathies, cordial manners, and unpretentious inter- course with all classes. A tragic interest surrounds the name of the elder son of Mr. John Arthur Brooke, who met the Explorer's fate. The late Mr. John Weston had also a race to run, but the task was to be far away from hill-side scenes of his native place that would probably be recalled in last thoughts of home. The Explorer's blood was in his veins, and there was no other alternative but to leave the beaten ground around his home, and seek an untried wilderness of his own. Educated at Repton, he fought in the Boer War, and joined the 7th Hussars in 1902. He however turned Explorer in 1903, being fitted both mentally and physically for all daring enterprises. His first expedition was to British East Africa, in 1903-4. He next left for India, in 1906, to explore the junction of the Sampo and Brahmapootra rivers. Being unable to enter Tibet via Assam, he sailed for Shanghai, journeyed across China, and made his way alone through Northern Tibet to within 200 miles of his objective. Here he was surrounded by Tibetan troops, and had to return to China. His third expedition was into Western Syechuen, where a year was spent surveying and mapping on the borders of Tibet. His fourth expedition was in Southern Syechuen and Loland where he was killed by natives, December 24th, 1908. Thus ended in tragedy, the life of a brave and fearless young man.

CrxarLEs Epwarp Brookr, born July 9th, 1847, was the fifth and youngest son of the late Mr. Thomas Brooke, and also the youngest child of 13 children. A sunny generous boy whose joyful laughter resounded in his home and the village,

Page 401



the natives would have declared that he was more fitted for fun and frolic than the great task be undertook in after years of wearing out a noble life amongst London's submerged. One old native of Honley, who had a fixed idea that all Clergy- men were of sour visage, when told that " Mr. Charles Edward *" intended to become a Clergyman, received the news with amused contempt.

** Yond lad a parson !" he questioned. " He will have to give up laughing and shouting then, for I can always yer him a mile off. Nay ! Yond lad's too cheerful to make a parson."

Mr. Charles Edward Brooke was educated at Repton School, and University College, Oxford, taking his degree in 1870. During his term at Oxford, he made a tour in the United States and Canada. Though full of youthful exuberance, he had made up his mind with regard to his career in life. Passing to Cuddesdon Theological College, his first Curacy was at the Church of St. John the Divine, Kennington, London, an obscure edifice situated in an unlovely neighbourhood where fashion never came, but where abject and sordid poverty abounded. Distinguished by strong physical and mental vigour, endowed with ample means, inspired by sincere devotion, and of a gladsome spirit ; the Rev. C. E. Brooke choose this unattractive place for his great life's work. (In after years he always went to Cuddesdon College for his large staff of Curates). A magnificent Church replaced the small place of worship. Practically the building could be named his own, and when ready for opening he gave £10,000 to finish the nave. This Church to which he was afterwards appointed Vicar, became one of the most noted places of worship in London, and a place of pilgrimage to thousands, as its Vicar became one of the greatest pillars of the Church. Mission-Churches, Mission- rooms, Colleges, Schools, Clubs, Classes, Guilds and Religious Societies of all kinds rose up, or were formed in unfashionable quarters which the Rev. C. E. Brooke looked upon as his parish. He took over and included in the latter, what Mr. Charles Booth when writing about this part, described as " the darkest

Page 402


spots in South London." The life of the Rev. C. E. Brooke has been written by the Rev. A. G. Deedes, Honorary Canon of Southwark, and the book contains an eloquent preface from the pen of Lord Halifax. These men confessed theirinability to do justice to his wonderful personality, so that I am ill qualified to sketch a life, whose manifold activities, princely gifts, and life-long sacrifices would fill many volumes. With strong intensity of purpose, the Rev. C. E. Brooke, when serving as Curate, soon became the mainspring and dominant force in all religious and social work in a neighbourhood, whose dwellers are slow to give tribute even to those whose lives are spent in their service. Yet in time, those who lived in a neighbourhood where even policemen had to " hunt in couples," recognised corsistent devotion to duty and generous sympathy. True, the Rev. C. E. Brooke lavished gifts upon the vast parochial machinery he had set in motion, but he poured out his wealth also for the relief of the poor he loved so well. If no faltering preacher of dogmatic teaching, yet he had such a wide outlook of a Churchman's responsibilities, that he combined with all kinds of Societies and Municipal bodies in their schemes for the good of the people. At the London School-Board Election, when the battle for religious teaching was being contested, he was placed at the head of the poll by votes numbering 34,896, polling 12,000 more votes than any other candidate. This was proof that London had recognised his great services in the cause of education, which had not been confined to Voluntary Colleges, Schools, and religious Societies ; but also for the provision of Board Schools where necessary. His own large and well equipped Schools were amongst the finest in the country. A member of Lambeth Board of Guardians, he was also actively identified either as Chairman or serving on Committees with those numerous Societies formed in the interests of the poor and unfortunate. With that wide outlook upon the work of the Church, he threw himself heart and soul into the work of Foreign Missions of a varied character. Details cannot here be given of his many acts of splendid Missionary enterprise, any more than can be enumerated all those projects in parochial organizations which he floated into life, and con-

Page 403




trolled. They spread like a network, and yet such were his powers of organization and concentration of purpose, that no trifle however small escaped his notice. Money meant nothing to the Rev. C. E. Brooke only to provide opportunity of doing good, yet he was a strong upholder of thrift ; often spending less upon himself than those spent whom he helped. Though his generosity was so abundant, he did not believe in pauperising people. A man of intense energy in all things, he did not expect the same activity from others, and made allowance for shortcomings. Yet he had no tolerance for laziness or shiftless conduct in whatever form. His part as Joseph, which he always undertook in the beautiful Bethlehem Tableaux he had organized was typical of the man ;-tender,- simple,-dignified. The Rev. C. E. Brooke was made an Honorary Canon of Southwark in 1900. Bishop Talbot, in whose Diocese Kennington was included, declaring " that he felt it a great honour thus to recognise his unrivalled services." The Rev. Canon Brooke died July lst, 1911, spending and being spent until the last week of his life. The sunny youth who had voluntarily left a home of wealth and ease to take up a life of strenuous work was brought back to his native a tired labourer at rest. His great work in South London, and the sorrow of the vast crowd that gathered in his Church to bid farewell to his remains, are the highest tributes that can be paid to his memory.

It is difficult to pay due homage to the female side of the Brooke family, whose unostentatious self-sacrifice was no sudden impulse of undisciplined enthusiasm, or eargerness for the world's applause. Each had their own self-appointed tasks in life, whether as Sunday School teachers, active parish workers, etc. in their native place, or duties beyond its limits. These were followed with unshrinking self-denial and steadfast zeal. The name of Miss BROOKE, the eldest sister, is a household word of love in Honley, for her life-work has been ministering to its moral, and physical needs. Inheriting the attractive features of her race, her face is also luminous of her character ; kindness, meekness, and comfort being ever on her tongue.


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She never turned away from pain, weariness, wrong or sin ; and there was no home in Honley, rich or poor, that did not eagerly welcome her smiling face. She was so full of that angel charity, that her belief in people's goodness made them good. Perhaps no greater testimony to the true sincerity of her life, and that understanding sympathy with human nature in all its varying shades of character is needed than the fact, that often the last wish expressed by rugged or refined men, chaste or sinful women, loved or neglected children was to see Miss Brooke before they died.

Miss Brooke has possessed the same active vigour that distinguishes the family. A life-long teacher at the Sunday School, she also made use of her highly cultivated musical talents, both in religious and secular services. Though dwell- ing in a land of song, Honley people preferred hearing Miss Brooke's singing of " Home Sweet Home " and other old songs, rather than listening to the most world-renowned vocalist. Previous to the introduction of a surpliced choir in Honley Church, Miss Brooke undertook the position of leading soprano in the mixed choir, and also the training of other female members of the choir. This arduous duty was faithfully per-

formed for 22 years, until the restoration of the Church in

1888, when a male surpliced choir replaced the previous mixed choir. Directly after this change, a deputation representing Clergy, Churchwardens, Choir, and Congregation, waited upon Miss Brooke and presented to her an illuminated address in recognition of her faithful services. Miss Brooke's life-long connection with the Sunday School was only recently severed on account of advancing years. Kirst a teacher of younger children, she took charge of the large Bible Class of young women after her sister's marriage, and taught them for over 30 years until her recent retirement. Taking a deep personal interest in each member of the class, this large gathering of young women has been a great feature of Church Sunday School work, and proved of far reaching moral influence. Enjoyable re-unions of all old scholars formerly took place, and many presentations and illuminated addresses have been given to

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Miss Brooke at various times by the scholars. Many are now scattered far and wide. Time and change of scene however can never obliterate tender and sacred memories of a loved teacher, whose personal interest and help did not end with her teaching.

Marriage claimed three other sisters younger than Miss Brooke, viz :-MIss Mary, who was married to the Rev. R. (i. Benson, of Hope Bowdler Rectory, Shropshire ; Miss Emma, married to Edward Brook, Esq., of Hoddom Castle and Meltham ; and Miss FranxncErs, married to the Rev. J. T. Bartlet, Vicar of Mansfield. Miss Mary was generally named the " Flower of Honley," on account of her beautiful features and sweet disposition. Miss Emma, possessed a calm and gracious personality combined with a vigorous activity. - Miss Frances, whose unobtrusive goodness and tender sympathy for the sick, sorrowing and erring, earned for her the love and esteem of all in Honley. The marriage days of each were marked by great festivities and joy in the place. On the marriage day of Miss Frances, June 3rd, 1871, 250 inhabitants both rich and poor over 60 years of age had dinner at Northgate House ; and the school children at Honley and Brockholes entertained.

Miss EpItx and Miss Octavia came next in age to their married sisters. Miss Edith was a lady possessing great intellectual gifts which eminently fitted her to take a high place in life. Though so richly endowed by nature, she did not walk with her head amongst the stars, or looked down with contempt from intellectual heights; but chose the plain track of duty. Though full of womanly tenderness, and distinguished by beautiful simplicity of character in each small detail in life, she had a hatred of shams and untruth- fulness, and could be sternly just towards imposture of all kinds. This much-beloved sister died in London, on April 14th, 1893, where, after the death of her mother, she had decided to take up some noble purpose in life. A service was held in Honley Church at her funeral typical in its simplicity of her life and character.

Page 406


Miss OcTAvIA, the youngest and eighth daughter, whose joyous nature and personal charm were so well-known in Honley, before taking up her work in London with that earnest- ness and intensity of purpose characteristic of the family. Like unto her sisters, she chose the most obscure and least- sought duties in life, for she did not dream of the world's applause. Such would have proved painful to one whose sense of duty only claimed to minister to those whom the world neither sees nor knows. An active worker in Sunday School and parish work in Honley during early life, she decided to give her personal services more particularly to Brockholes, which at that time was a hamlet of sparse population and sparser pockets. When leaving Honley to take up work in London, by the side of her brother, the late Canon Brooke, the Sunday School Teachers and Congregation of Brockholes Church gave to her a present which went with their blessings to one who had laboured so unselfishly amongst them. To quote the words of the late Mr. John Mitchell, under whose Sunday School Superintendence she served, is the most eloquent testimony of her self effacement and self sacrifice. When making the presentation in the presence of Clergymen and Curates, Mr. John Mitchell said, °" She has been a good un. When the weather has been too rough for any parson to walk from Houley, she's walked, drabbled up to th' knees with snow and sleet, and would'nt change her stockings. Ah! and she's preached too. We liked th' parson to miss, because Miss Octavia could preach better than any parson."

Since that time, Miss Octavia Brooke is working out a life's task in homes of want and shame, devoting her wealth and a richly-endowed personality to London's submerged.


The members of the Jessop family were at one time well- known personalities in the place. The late Mr. GroRrGr JrEssor, descended from yeoman stock typical of the soil, followed the family trade of drysalter. In earlier life he lived in the house in Church Street which formed part of the

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1840 1868 1865




family property. Afterwards he built the present Honley House which he occupied until his death. Mr. George Jessop was upright in character, attentive to business ; and of that type of law-abiding men who have helped to keep alive the best traditions of the country. It will be seen that his name frequently occurs in this history as helping in all religious and patriotic work of an earlier day. He served as Chapel- warden at Honley Church, in 1828, and also took an active part in Sunday School work. During that period of storm and stress in the country which prevailed at the time of his early manhood, he was always ready to join the band of patriotic men who volunteered for protection of life and property in their neighbourhood. Mr. George Jessop had three sons,-George, Richard, and Thomas. His wife died December 15th, 1840, aged 38 years, and he died on March 14th, 1868, aged 72 years. Mr. Ricnarp J®EssoPr, the second son died February 5th, 1865, aged 34 years, and GEORGE, the eldest died the following year, on January 20th, 1866, aged 37 years. The death of these men in the prime of manhood, came as a great shock to the neighbourhood, especially that of Mr. Grorar® JESSOP, JUNIOR, who had been more closely identified with his native place than his brother. The unaffected manner of Mr. George Jessop, Junior, had endeared him to all the dwellers in Honley where he was welcomed in hall or cottage. An alert business man, of amiable disposition, generous nature, and homely merri- ment ; his death caused great sorrow in the place. A free- handed giver to all who appealed to him, his gifts were not bestowed as patronage, but rather as if the receiver was con- ferring a favour upon the giver. Mr. George Jessop, Junior, served upon the old Local Board from 1864 to 1867. A monumental tablet is placed on the wall in Honley Church to the memory of Mr. George Jessop, his wife, and two sons. Also the present pulpit has been dedicated to their memory. (See Church history).

Mr. Jrssor, the youngest son, was educated at Cheltenham College, and afterwards Trinity College, Cambridge. He entered the Army as a Cornet in the Scots Greys, and

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afterwards became Captain. He also held an appointment for some years at the Intelligence department of the War Office. After retiring from the Army he lived in London, though his native place had always a warm place in his heart. He was made a Magistrate for the West Riding in 1876. Captain Jessop always took an interest in many religious and educational Societies, presenting to Almondbury School an annual prize of £5 0s. 0d. for the scholars most proficient in Mathematics. He also gave an annual prize to Fartown Grammar School. Captain Jessop remained a bachelor. He died June 27th, 1913, aged 77 years, and was buried July 2nd. His remains were brought to be laid in his native earth by the side of the members of his family. - Amongst his generous bequests, he left locally £5,000 0s. 0d. upon trust for the deserving poor of Honley, the interest of which is to be dis- tributed half-yearly. Also £1,000 0s. 0d. to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Lord Wolseley, in his book of " The Story of a Soldier's Life," refers to Captain Jessop as " an able clever all round man, full of energy, and bright modern views ; a good hard working man of business, free from prejudice, and of a most liberal turn of mind." This description sums up the character of Captain Jessop. He was typical of the sturdy race he sprang from, yet those forcible traits were softened by a chivalrous disposition, generous spirit, and prevailing good nature. As became a good soldier, he was always a loyal comrade ; and many memories of his kindly personalty will long remain in the hearts of those who had the pleasure of his friendship.


Miss Stppo®, who is half-cousin to the late Captain Jessop, is a native of Nottinghamshire. She can, however, claim to be a citizen of Honley, having come to Honley House About fifty years ago. She was elected as one of the Poor Law Guardians for Honley, in April, 1882, being the first lady Guardian sent to the Huddersfield Union. At that time, the ancient opposition to women taking part in any public duty

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outside the household circle, was still rooted deeply in men's minds. They did not think that there could be added spheres of usefulness for capable women which meant not home- obligations any less, but humanity more. Miss Siddon is a born leader. - When such is the case, there is always the irresist- ible impulse, and imperative call in any man or woman to exert their powers. When Miss Siddon was elected Guardian, a new element was thus introduced to the common work of the Union which required mental capacity, clear-headed judgment, and much self-reliance to convince male members of a woman's capability. first acting as Guardian, Miss Niddon has devoted long years of incessant labour to work connected with Poor Law administration, the details of which I am unable to give. This sphere of activity, however; has not absorbed all her energies. She is always willing to take part in any schemes for social reforms or usefulness, and has served on Committees of various Societies ; whilst always taking a kindly interest in homely pursuits in Honley. She is also President of the Huddersfield Branch of the National Union Society for Woman's Suffrage. Serving for a number of years as Vice- Chairman to the Board of Guardians, she was Co-opted Chairman in April, 1913. Male members of the Board now accept, without question, the ruling and guidance of a keen- witted and judicial woman. The office of Chairmanship confers the title of J.P. to its holder, so that Honley can claim amongst its residents the first lady Magistrate in these parts. The political disabilities, however, attached to women, only make the title ornamental, and not useful. As an appreciation of her almost life-long work, Miss Siddon was presented with her portrait in oils by members of the Union ; and the picture

now hangs in the Board-room at the Huddersfield Union Offices.

Miss Siddon's interest in all public affairs remains unabated. A self-contained lady of great strength of will, logical mind, and administrative ability ; she has a keen sense of humour. With almost a child's frank merriment, hearty laugh, and breezy manner, she can crack a joke with any one.

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Txr CrosLEys were an old family in Honley, having con- nections both by marriage and friendship with all the best yeoman families in the district. Each generation helped in all good and patriotic work of an earlier day. It will have been noted that the name frequently appears in the past history of Honley. A John Crosley was one of the Honley yeomen purchasing lands from the Stapyltons in 1569. They owned lands upon which the present Shaw's Factory now stands, and the oldest part of the building is still named Crosley Mill. In 1661, Thomas Crosley and Sara, his wife, sold to Joseph Armytage (Armitage) "Croft, Ely Close, (Neiley), Froste Bank and Bankes." William Crosley was witness to the will of Richard Armitage, proved April 19th, 1666. Reference is made to William Crosley in the account of Brock- holes, and also in Church history. The family followed the occupation of clothiers, occupying the old house in St. Mary's Square, one part of which is still named Crosley entry. (See old homesteads and houses). They carried on the trade both in St. Mary's Square and in the buildings bearing their name, now known as Shaw's Factory or Neiley Mill. Amongst inherited heirlooms of the family was a ghost. When I was a child, the many legends regarding " Owd Crosley's ghost " were all accepted as truth. The family appears to have died out during the early part of last century, and only traditions are left of a true-hearted and generous race of men.


Txr or Wiruram ant TEromMas LEIGH at one time were household words in Honley, though they did not originally spring from the soil. Their birthplace was at High Leigh, in Cheshire, at which village the family name was so numerous, that King Charles I., when in Chester, is reported to have said that " There were as many Leighs as fleas." Mr. William Leigh, the writer of the graphic account in his diary, which is given at length in Chapter III., was born in 1759. Evidently his father agreed with King Charles I. that there were sufficient

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1814 1825 1837


Leighs at High Leigh. He sent his son to Honley at the age of 15 to be bound apprentice to Jonathan Sanderson, Clothier, father to my great-grandmother. seen that apprentices were features of the clothing trade of that time. The in- denture of apprenticeship is dated May 2lst, 1774. He was followed by his brother Thomas. According to family traditions, both were exemplary apprentices, refusing to join in the brutal amusements which were then common. When their term of apprenticeship was completed, the two brothers commenced business as clothiers and afterwards as cloth- manufacturers ; continuing in the trade for 36 years. THomas lived at Town-head in the house now occupied and owned by Dr. Smailes. One of his daughters married into the family of Meltham Brooks, and was the mother of Mr. William Leigh Brook, who died of cholera, at Cologne, in 1855. Another daughter was married to the Rev. T. B. Bensted, Curate of Honley, and afterwards Rector of Lockwood for 30 years. A third daughter remained unmarried. Betty, the wife of Thomas Leigh, died on January 18th, 1814, aged 76 years ; and he died March 27th, 1825. The unmarried daughter died suddenly April 24th, 1837. A monumental tablet on the East wall of Honley Church is placed to their memory.

Mr. Wiuuram LEriGx married a Kaye, of Royd House, Almondbury, a branch of the Kaye family, who were ancestors of the Dartmouths. Mr. William Leigh resided after marriage in the house in Church Street, opposite the Church, carrying on the cloth business in the outbuildings behind the dwelling. (Late in life he removed to Royd House, Almondbury). The house in Church Street at that time belonged to the Armitage family, and was a single residence, not having been divided and sub-divided as at present. In the description given by Mr. William Leigh, in his diary of the visit of the mob to his dwelling during the unsettled period when " Ludism " pre- vailed, he mentions his two daughters. Ann is particularly quoted. She married the Rev. George Hough, who was In- cumbent of South Crosland for 48 years. From records in this history, it will be seen that the Leighs took an active part

Page 412


in the religious and public work of Honley, serving as Chapel- wardens, undertaking voluntary work in Sunday Schools, etc. The descriptive simplicity of the written records of Mr. William Leigh, given in this history, proclaim him to be a person typical

of that race of God-fearing men whose daily literary food was the Bible.


T'xE FAanmIuy name is only known to the present generation as owners of the old-world estate at Far End. In its present dilapidated condition, and also suffering from the many changes it has undergone ; people can form no idea of this once beautiful home. Formerly the buildings were one residence surrounded by plantations, park-lands, orchards, gardens, and a fish-pond. A fine beech avenue, now part of the cricket field, led to the front entrance, before which stood the rising-steps upon an extensive green mentioned in " old landmarks." At the back were stablings, carriage houses, and flower-covered lodge. At that time Far End was one of the secluded places of Honley, where after dark wandering demons of various characters were supposed to haunt. Now dwellings cover its park-lands, and its orchards and beech- avenue are no more. Even in its present condition, with its once pretty lodge a blot of desolation, Far End must appeal to observing eyes if its history is unknown. Even yet it is suggestive of its once old-world beauty and solidity.


WALKER FaAmILY built Far End. They were one of the leading families in the district, following the occupation of wool merchants or wool staplers as they were then named, and took an active part in all good work. (See Church History). At a period when a black native of a foreign country would be a startling novelty in Honley, the family had a negro acting as coachman. His ebony face was such a source of terror to children, that the threat of sending for the " black man " was an effective deterrent to youthful disobedience. The last of the family who lived at Far End appears to be Mr. Robert

Page 413




Walker and his wife Lydia, whose daughter inherited the estate after their death. She was born in 1762, and married a Mr. John Waddington, afterwards going out to America with her husband, who had business interests in that country. At his death, she returned to England, settling at Liverpool until her own death, which took place in 1846, aged 84 years. She had a large family, and a marble tablet on the South wall in Honley Church is erected to her memory, and also to the memory of two of her sons and one daughter. She cherished tender memories of her early life and native place, and the connecting links were not broken until death.


Mr. Grorar WILLIAM OLDHAM is descended from a race of Cheshire yeomen. Coming to this neighbourhood nearly seventy years ago, he can however justly claim the title of a Honley citizen. Born in 1830, this fine old gentleman of 84 years, has been closely identified with all public work in Honley. The old saying that a busy person has the most leisure can be truly applied to him. - During his long life of strenuous business activity, he has also found time to undertake all kinds of public service, and is still quitting himself like a man. He commenced business as a silk-dyer, which was a new trade in our neigh- bourhood, where the woollen industry is indigenous. The world hears little of struggles, but much of success ; so that the uphill fight of surmounting the elementary stage of a new business is generally performed in obscurity. Mr. Oldham hewed his way through a world of difficulties until he earned the honest success of a brave persevering man. Without neglecting his business, he considered it his duty to take his fair share in public work, throwing the same energy and resolute purpose into their performance which he had brought to bear upon his business. Reference is previously made to the ancient Court Leet which if fallen into disuse, has not been made legally obsolete. It is of interest to note that Mr. Oldham was appointed Constable at the last Court Leet, and can still claim to be Constable of Honley. Mr. Oldham has served as Overseer for the township, and was a member of the Local

Page 414



Board 27 years, dating from 1870 to 1897. He was elected Chairman from 1880 to 1886, and also from 1890 to 1891. Elected one of the Guardians for Honley in April, 1882, he was returned until April, 1907, when he retired after 25 years' service in his 77th year. Whilst acting as Guardian, he was Chairman of Deanhouse Workhouse Visiting Committee six years. Mr. Oldham received a deputation in 1892 asking him to stand as a County Council Candidate. He contested the seat and was returned. In 1905, he was made a Magistrate for the West Riding ; and in 1910 an Alderman by the County Council. A man of staunch Liberal principles, he has always loyally and generously supported his party, though he has never allowed political creed to influence his public actions. It will be seen in the account of the Liberal Club, that Mr. Oldham was one of its founders. He was elected President of the Club in 1893, and still remains its President.

It is not an easy task to sum up the character of an individual in a few words, but I should say that the key-note of Mr. Oldham's life has been industry ; and his motto the wise advice of Solomon, that °" Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." These qualities combined with a high sense of public usefulness produce a type of man of whom any community should be justly proud.


There have been other families in Honley whose names I would fain recall, but space forbids their extended memoirs. - Many members of native families may have been rugged in character, yet each possessed their own striking individuality. Often mental gifts and powers of intellect had to be expended upon the toil for daily bread, or were crushed by other kinds of stern necessities. Those who failed to answer the call to vigorous action when required, or whose energy was not equal to aspirations were left behind in the race of life. There were many such silent tragedies in Honley. Others made sacrifices for principles, whilst many, filled with generous ardour for the public good, benefited others more than themselves. There

Page 415


were noble mothers, wives, and daughters also in Honley households, whose fidelity to their mankind obscured their own talents. I have known gifted women who were too timid or modest to give what was best in them only to that household drudgery which is the least rewarded or noticed of all human services.

Many worthy and useful men of the past have been named in this history. - Amongst others whose well-known personalities I can recall were Mr. Enoch Vickerman, Steps Mill,-Joshua Beaumont and his son Alfred, Parkton Grove, -Benjamin Mellor, Newtown House,-Godfrey Drake, Moor Park,- William Wilkinson, Town Gate,-Dr. Lees, Bleak House,- Richard Haigh, Gynn,-George A. Haigh, Grove House,- William Haigh, Banks,-Timothy, Daniel, and Jonas Don- kersley, Mag-dale,-John France, France Fold,-Thomas Armitage, Lower West House,-William - Walker, Bleak: House,-Joseph Whitworth, South Gate,-Henry Thackray, West-gate,-Robert Roebuck, Thirstin,-the Frances in Thir- stin,-Schofield - families, -Hirsts, of Town-head,-Walker families, etc. There have been members of other families who have not spared time and money in promoting the welfare of Honley, amongst whom can be named Mr. Lupton Little- wood, Mr. George William and Thomas Farrar, and Mr. Richard Mellor, once large employers of labour.


Lurprtoxr LItTLEwOOD, Esq., of the firm of Messrs. John Littlewood & Sons, Cloth Manufacturers, was descended from an old Honley family who had followed the occupation of Clothiers. They were a race of God-fearing men, and helped in all good and religious work. It will be seen in the history of the Independent Chapel, that John Littlewood, the founder of the firm, gave the land for the site of the first Chapel. Mr. Lupton Littlewood always called a spade a spade, but he was a genuine, sincere, and upright man, typical of the rugged soil from which he sprang. A just and generous master to his workpeople, a sound Liberal in politics, yet a devoted Church- man ; he was in his day one of the most useful public men in

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1864 1880 1870 1873


Honley. He was also a generous supporter and helper in all religious and social work of the place. During his 16 years' service on the Local Board, he grudged neither time nor money for the good of the township. He was elected as a member of the Local Board from 1864 to 1880, and was Chairman from 1870 to 1873. Mr. Littlewood was Churchwarden in 1875-6, and his brother Richard in 1877. Mr. Lupton Little- wood was also a Manager of the National Schools, and took

1875-6 the most active part in looking after " bricks and mortar"

1877 1882

when extensive additions were made to the Schools in 1882 named in School history.


Mr. WILLIAM AND THOMAS FARRAR were well- known brothers following the trade of blue dyers. Men of open-handed generosity and unfailing cheerfulness, they threw themselves heart and soul into every good work in Honley, whether religious or social. Generous employers of labour, celebrated for their fine horses as for their good dyeing, Mr. George William and Thomas Farrar were at one time two of the most popular men in Honley. Full of ardour in whatever cause their sympathies were enlisted, they were considered generous to a fault. Both brothers were robust Conservatives, and did not spare either work or money in the cause of their creed. An election time to them took the form of a crusade in which they expended much fiery vigour. They were also - loyal and devoted Churchmen. Mr. George William Farrar served on the Local Board from 1864 to 1881. He was Church- warden in 1858 to 1867, and from 1883 to 1885. Mr. Thomas Farrar also sat on the Local Board from 1884 to 1887, and was Churchwarden in 1878 to 1880. During his term of office, great improvements were carried out in Church, to which he gave incessant attention.


Mr. RicHarp was a cloth manufacturer and large employer of labour. Amidst the strenuous duties of a business life, he also gave up time to take his fair share in all public

Page 417

LATE G. W. FARRAR, ESQ. (see page 334).

LaTE RIcHaARD MELLOR, Esq. see page 334).

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1878 1894 1885 -6 1889


service conducive to the good of the township. He was an honest homely man, a just and reasonable master to his work- people, and carried out conscientiously his public duties. During the time that he acted as Guardian for Honley, no person feared to approach him, and his name was a household word for kindness and consideration. Brought up amongst the stern realities of life, he thoroughly understood the position of the poor, and his name is still quoted with affection. A man of quiet discernment, and a worker rather than a talker, his services were highly valued. Mr. Richard Mellor was elected Guardian for Honley from 1875 to 1880, and served on the Local Board from 1870 to 1879.


Mr. Day is not a native of Honley, but being now closely identified with the place ; his public services in the neighbourhood are worthy of mention. During a long life, he has performed good work. Descended from a noted family of local cloth manufacturers, Mr. Day can be truly named one of the grand old gentlemen of Honley, being now on the way to " four score years and ten." A solid man without cant or pretence, he has the typical directness of speech about which we pride ourselves in this part of Yorkshire. His views upon any subject are always distinguished by practical knowledge and sound sense, due to his life-long experience of public affairs, which have been many and varied. He served as Church- warden at Moldgreen Church when residing there, and was appointed one of the Managers of Huddersfield and Agbrigg Savings' Bank. Mr. Day has served long years as a Guardian in Huddersfield Union. Elected as Guardian for Dalton town- ship in 1878, he represented that place until 1894. During that time, he was appointed Chairman in 1885-6, and was Vice-Chairman from 1889 to 1894. He was again elected Guardian for Farnley Tyas in 1895, and remained in office

-1894 until 1904. Mr. Day was elected a Town Councillor for


Huddersfield in 1884, and represented his wards six years,

1904 acting as Vice-Chairman of the Gas Committee for two years. 1884 When he took up his residence in Honley, at the request of a

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deputation, he again continued his activities, serving upon Honley District Council from 1892-7. Director of the West Riding Bank until its amalgamation took place with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank, Mr. Day was then appointed on the Advisory Committee.


The name of Donkersley is indigenous to Honley soil. Though the name was common, the various families were not related. As previously stated, old natives of the place were frugal with regard to speech, and the name of Donkersley was generally shortened to " Donks." To distinguish the various families, they were named "' Donks o'th Dale,"-" Donks 1th Thirstin,'"' and other " Donks " who lived in certain " fowds " and " yerds." Nearly all members of the various families were engaged in the clothing trade. The most noted were the Donkersleys of Mag-dale, who had held to that once picturesque place generation after generation. There were four well- known brothers, three of whom remained bachelors, viz :- Jonas, Timothy and Daniel. John married, and his three sons, Joseph Bedford, Fenton, and John Bentley, were once well known in the local woollen trade. The members of the family were not only great lovers of music, but possessed good voices ; and had many friends amongst musical celebrities of a by-gone day. Many will remember Miss Isabella Donkersley, the daughter of the late Mr. Joseph Bedford Donkersley, of Mag-dale. She was a talented performer upon the violin, and her genius was recognised by the best musical judges in the neighbourhood. She married Mr. A. J. JaAEGAR, the well-known musical critic of London, and resides there. The members of the Mag-dale family of Donkersley were staunch Tories and Churchmen. During an election time, the three bachelor brothers invariably displayed as flags their blue indigo-dyed woollen aprons, which old-time manufacturers were not too proud to wear at that day. To draw a comparison between past and present treatment of youthful disobedience, Mr. Daniel Donkersley and my father when boys were bathing against parental warnings one summer's evening in Steps Mill

Page 421


dam in the year 1820. The water at that time was pellucid, and though of great depth was a favourite bathing place for good swimmers. Daniel Donkersley, then a boy of 13 years, was seized with cramp, and though my father made desperate efforts to save his companion, Daniel Donkersley sunk for the last time. The water was so clear that my father dived after him, laid. hold of one of his heels, and brought him to the side, where one lay insensible, and the other fainted from exhaustion. When the boys were restored to consciousness, then parental anxieties quickly changed to exasperation against youthful disobedience. In place of contemplating obtaining a medal from the Royal Humane Society for the rescuer, or joyfully killing the fatted calf for the rescued ; both boys were severely thrashed, and sent supperless to bed.

The Donkersleys of Thirstin, were also all well-known clothiers, and staunch leaders of Wesleyanism in the Honley of a past day.


Loci dulcedo nos attinet. (The sweetness of the place holds us).

Before closing the history of Honley, I hope my readers will not think that I am now introducing a personal note. Spring and even summer comes shyly and reluctantly back to our hill-sides, and rain-clouds are often more familiar sights than sunshine. On a summer's day, however, when nature has perfected itself to sweet existence, Honley is a picturesque v

Page 422


place. Its romantic beauty has been preserved to us by private ownership. If the place was denuded of its woods, plantations, spinneys, springs, and little beauty spots," Bonnie Honley," as we name our village, would be a staring blot of barren hill-sides. These would soon be happy hunting-grounds for all that is ugly and foul. Then like a fungus creeping over the whole place would gradually come that change when doorsteps and streets replace the old magic and delight which woods and nature hold for children, and the sparrow would be the only remnant of bird-life. A garden city cannot replace an old wood with its rustling denizens singing sweet music to childish ears, and its depths bordering upon unknown regions to childish imaginations. A public park is not so interesting as an old tree girt about with hundreds of years of memories, or an old hedge sheltering bird and vegetable life. Is it a suitable return to those who preserve the natural beauty spots in the country, to strip them of their coverings ? Why should roamers in woods and fields make breaches in old hedges, tumble down walls, destroy blue bells carpeting woods, or spoil glens and hollows once strongholds of the fairies and boggarts of our childhood ? Is it necessary that the old field- paths-rights of way for ever since the days when our forefathers came down those uplands slopes to grind their grain should be enclosed on account of trampled corn and grass ¢

Hannah More wrote that "The world does not require so much to be informed as to be reminded." The quotation is inserted in the front part of this history for the purpose of reminding the dwellers in Honley, not only to preserve what is left of its once old-world beauty and character, but also to act as watch-dogs against both inside and outside vandals.

MARY A. JAGGER. Hoxury, 1914.

Page 423


Page 425



(Cartimandua. Reprinted from the " Numismatic Chronicle.")


On November 7th, 1893, a small find of coins and anti- quities was made at Honley, near Huddersfield. Honley is about two miles from Castle Hill, and about four miles across country from Slack. Castle Hill is said to have been occupied by the British before the Romans, and Slack is the most probable of the many places which have been identified with the ancient Cambodunum.

The objects in question were concealed in a cavity behind a piece of rock, and were discovered by workmen who were breaking away the rock. The greater part, if not all, of the coins and metal objects are said to have been contained in the hollow bone (No. I.), but as to this point there seems to be some uncertainty. However, that all the objects formed a single deposit there can be no doubt.

By the courtesy of Mr. William Brooke, of Northgate Mount, Honley, on whose estate the find occurred, and who has generously presented to the British Museum the five British cons which lend the hoard its chief interest, I am able to give a detailed account of all the objects found. They were :-

I. A hollow bone, probably of an ox, measuring, in its present much decayed and broken condition, 15 ecm. in length. It was originally, doubtless, quite large enough to accommodate all the articles following.

II. A small bronze box with hinged lid (Pl. xv. 7-9), of a well-known type, but the use of which does not seem to be absolutely certain. A number may be seen in the British

Page 426


Museum (°" Anglo-Roman " Room, Table-Case B, and Bronze Room, Table-Case D). Illustrations of similar objects may also be found in J. Battely's Antfig. Rutupinae (1745 ed. in Opera Posthuma), p. 129; Roach Smith, Antiquities of Rich- borough, &c., p. 84, and PI. ; Roman London, Pl. xxxii. 14, 15; Archceologia, xxxIx. p. 508; J. E. Price, Roman Antiquities, Mansion House, 1873, Pl. 16, 17 ; Jacobi, das Romerkastell Saalburg, Pl. uxIx. 10, 11, ;} Friederichs, Klemere Kunst, 569-579; and Jahrbucher des Vereins von Alterthumsfreunden im Rheinlande, xv. (1850), Pl. Iv., Nos. 2, 2a, 2b. These boxes are of various shapes, square, oval, lozenge-shaped, heart-shaped, or rather bellows-shaped, and, like the present specimen, circular. Most of them are pierced at the bottom with three circular holes, and in the side with two square openings. On the lid they are frequently enamelled. The present specimen has a thin plate of silver, pierced with a very graceful design, laid on the lid. The lids of two specimens (of an oval shape, and of bronze) in the British Museum Bronze Room are decorated in relief with the heads of Domitian and Domitia respectively. One of the three specimens described in the JaArbucher des Rheinland. Vereins cited above (No. 2b, circular and gilded) bears the heads, confronted, of Domitian and Domitia. No. 2 in the same publication (circular, and plated with silver) is decorated with an eagle, the wings of which are displayed. These are all distinctively Roman types, but it by no means follows that the boxes served some official purpose. ‘

One view as to the use of these boxes is that they were meant to contain perfumes," If so, it is difficult to see the object of the two lateral openings. Some of them, it is said, have been found containing clay. This fact, unless the boxes were buried in a clay soil, would seem in favour of the rival

' For these references, and for much other information in connection with this paper, I have to thank Mr. C. H. Read. * For the references in ancient literature to the preserving of unguents, &c., in boxes, see the lexicons under

Page 427


theory, that we have to do with seal-boxes. The linum on which the seal was impressed would pass through the two lateral apertures. The three holes in the bottom of the box are difficult to explain on this hypothesis. Mr. A. H. Smith suggests that another cord attached to the document passed through these holes, to relieve the strain on the /imnum proper.

If these are seal-boxes-and this is by no means certain - the seals contained in them must have hung free. The documents sealed cannot therefore have been tabule, which were fastened by a cord lying along a groove in the outer face of the tablet, the seals being placed in a row in this groove, so as to keep down the cord." We have rather to imagine clay or wax seals similar to the Byzantine leaden bullae.

On the whole, the absence of literary evidence as to the use of hanging seals at this period, the small average size of the boxes, their various shapes, and the existence of the three holes in the bottom, reminding one of the modern vinaigrette, make it not improbable that the old-fashioned theory of perfume-boxes may be after all the right one. The existence of two lateral holes, however, forms a distinct objection to this view. They can hardly have served for suspension.

The decoration of rings round the edge is, I believe, peculiar to this specimen. The condition of the box is not quite so good as the photograph (executed from Mr. Anderson's drawings) might lead one to suppose ; but no unjustifiable restoration has been made.

III. A bronze fibula (Pl. xv. 6) of the usual type of the first century a.D., still retaining the ring to which the chain was attached. For the method of wearing these fibulz, and the development of their form in Britain, see A. J. Evans, On Two Fibule of Celtic Fabric from Aesica, Archceologia, pp. 179 ff., and On a Votive Deposit, ibid., p. 401.

IV. Two small bronze rings (Pl. xv. 10), miniatures of the type of the large rings from Polden Hill, Somersetshire

" See Maunde Thompson, Gk. and Lat. Palaeography, p. 25.

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(Archceologia, xiv., Pl. xxI., No. 5). These rings were pro- ably sewn on to a strap or garment, a loop coming over the shorter part of the circumference contained between the two projections, and keeping the ring in position. The larger rings of this sort were probably used for horse-trappings.

V. Eighteen Roman coins, as follows :-


C. Valerius C. f. Flaccus - _- II. 510, No. 7 B.c. 209 T. Cloulius - e - - 1. 360, No. 1 ,, - 119 M. Marcius M.' f. _- _-_ _- II. 185, No. 8 , 119 L. Valerius Flaccus - -__- -- I1. 512, No. 11 ,, 104 (2 specimens) Q. Minucius Thermus _ - -- IJ. 235, No. 19 , -- 90

L. Appuleius Saturninus (in field, M:) -__- _- _-_ I. 208, No. 1 , - 90 C. Marius C. f. Capito (serrate fabric ; symbol, torch ;

number, CXXII.) -- II. 203, No. 9 4, -_ 84 P. Crepusius _ - -- _-_ I. 441, No. 1 4, -_ 84 L. Procilius (serrate fabric) - II. 386, No. 2 or C. Iulius Caesar - - -- II. 12, No. 12 y - 50 Q. Caepio Brutus - _- _ - II. 117, No. 42 ,, 44-42

Nero (SALVS) - Cohen, No. 314. a.p. 54-68

(B). Laror Brass.

Vrsrasian. COS II. (a.p. 71). Rev. S.P.Q.R. P.P. OB CIVES SERVATOS. - Cohen, No. 531. Rev. ROMA. Cohen, No. 419.

(C.) Brass.

NEro. Rev. VICTORIA AVGVSTI Cohen, No. 349 (reading CLAVD). a.p. 54-68. COS. IIII. (a.p. 72 or 73). Rev. SECVRITAS AVGVSTI. Cohen, No. 508. Rev. PAX AVG. Cohen, No. 301.

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VI. The five British coins are all of the same scyphate fabric ; the obverse (convex side) bears the legend VOLISIOS in two rows, marked by three parallel lines. Outside these lines are traces of the wreath-ornament which is characteristic of British coins.

As might be expected from the place where these coins were found, which is in the district of the Brigantes, they belong to this tribe. Hitherto, however, none but gold coins of the Brigantes have come to light ; nor have any been found with Roman coins of later date than a.p. 40. I quote from pp. 406, 407 of Sir John Evans' Comms of the Ancient Britons-'* As . .. we do not find any names upon these coins which can in any way be identified with those of Cartismandua or Venusius, and as the Roman coins found with the British are, as far as we know, of no later date than a.D. 40, it seems probable that the coinage of the Brigantes had ceased before a.p. 50, in- which year Ostorius put down an insurrection among them." Now, however, the date of the deposit of the hoard (after, but not long after, a.p. 72 or 73), enable us to say without hesitation that the comage of the Brigantes continued to the time of Cartimandua. As usual, the increase of Roman influence caused the coinage of this tribe to be restricted to silver.

As to the legend of the obverse (which entirely bears out Sir John Evans in his reading VOLISIOS on the gold coins), and that of the reverses of Nos. 1-4, it can only be said that these must await their explanation in company with the legends previously known. The DVM, DVMN, DVMNOCO, DV MNOVE of the new coins are clearly the same word or words as those on the coins engraved in Evans, Pl. xvII., Nos. 1 ff. The way in which the monogrammatic writing of VE persists through all varieties is noticeable. The fact that while some coins read DVMNOVERO[S] others have DVMNOCOVEROS

* See Lenormant, La Monnaie dans I Antiquite, II., pp. 122, 123.

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seems to show that a new word begins with the letter V. One

is tempted to suggest Venutius or even Vellocatus, but the forms VEP and VEROS forbid this.

The history of Cartimandua is well known, but now that she is represented by a coin it may be of interest to recall the main facts of her romantic career. This queen enjoyed a position of great power, which was due partly to her noble birth and her character, but partly also to the favour in which she was held by the Romans. Her husband Venutius seems to have occupied a decidedly subordinate position. - Cartimandua first appears on the scene in a.p. 51, when she treacherougly _ handed over to the Romans the defeated Caratacus, who had fled to her for refuge." She was well rewarded by her friends, and, corrupted still further by the wealth and luxury which now surrounded her, stooped to an intrigue with her husband's armour-bearer, Vellocatus. In 69 a.p. she openly married this man, and elevated him to the throne. Her audacity raised a storm. Venutius, to whose naturally warlike spirit and hatred of the Roman name a more personal stimulus was now applied by the adultery of his queen, stirred up the Britons | to revolt ; and the defection of the Brigantes placed Carti- mandua in extreme peril. She called in the Romans, who, after a series of battles, succeeded in effecting her rescue, although they were obliged to leave Venutius in possession of the throne." It was not until 71 a.D. that the settlement of the Batavian revolt allowed the legate Petilius Cerealis' to give his attention to British affairs. He attacked the capital of the Brigantes, and reduced a great part of the district. In 74 a.D. he quitted Britain, leaving behind him a procurator vice presidis, but, as his successors Sex. Julius Frontinus and

ann ns 0009.00 mr

° Tacitus, Ann. XII., 36. I have adopted the spelling of the names now usual in all editions of Tacitus, as opposed to Cartismandua, Venusius, Caractacus, ° Tac. Hist. iii. 45. ' Tac. Agric. 17,

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Agricola afterwards found, without having settled the country. Nothing is heard of Cartimandua after her rescue by the Romans. Tacitus makes the Caledonian Calgacus in 84 A.D. allude to the exploits of a female leader of the Brigantes ; but there seems little doubt that he means Boadicea, and that the name Brigantes is due to a slip of the historian's

The date of the deposit is fixed at a few years subsequent to 73 A.D. by the fact that the four coins of Vespasian are only slightly worn, although they have suffered considerably from corrosion. - The British coins are in fresh condition, and cannot have been in circulation very long. The hoard was, therefore, probably hidden during the British wars against Frontinus or Agricola. The republican denarii are naturally in very poor condition. A minor interest of the hoard is that it bears out, while extending their application, the words of Tacitus® re- garding the Germans : " pecuniam probant veterem et diu notam, serratos bigatosque."'

NotE.-In the supplement to his work (p. 588), Sir John Evans is inclined to doubt the possibility of attributing the coins of the class in question to the Brigantes. " The coins seem to be confined to the southern and south-eastern part‘ of Yorkshire, and I am not aware of any having been found farther north than Pickering, which is about eighteen miles S.S.W. of Whitby. The coins, moreover, seem to occur quite as frequently in Lincolnshire as in Yorkshire." The southern limit of the Brigantes must be set, as Mr. Haverfield kindly informs me, south of Leeds and Huddersfield (see Corpus Inser. Lat. VII., 200, 203), and possibly well south of that line, if the inscribed pig of lead (C. I. L., VII., 1207) is of Derbyshire origin. Of their territory, the southern was the more important part, the nothern uncivilized, and, perhaps, half uninhabited. Everything falls into its place if we suppose Cartimandua's kingdom to have been centred in South

° Tac. Agric. 31, and the commentators on the passage. ° Germ. 5.

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Yorkshire. Mr. Haverfield also notes that very few Celtic names begin with the syllable CART. The probability of the identification with Cartimandua is thus slightly increased. It seems, at any rate, to be perfectly fair, in the present state of our knowledge, to class the South Yorkshire coins to the Brigantes (an extremely important tribe, which would other- wise be left without coins), and this particular piece to Queen Cartimandua.

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