Old West Riding (Spring 1983) by George Redmonds (editor)

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Editor George Redmonds All letters, contributions, enquiries, subscrip- tions, books for review and advertising copy should be sent to:- Old West Riding

Associate Editors 5 Knotty Lane Jennifer Stead Lepton Cyril Pearce Huddersfield HD8 OND

Contributions must be in the Editor’s hand no later than July 31st (Autumn Edition), January 31st (Spring Edition).

© Old West Riding Books. 1983

Cover drawing by Anthony B. Burke

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This is the fifth number of Old West Riding, and we continue to be amazed and delighted at the number and variety of contributions which you, our readers, are sending us. Especially pleasing is the fact that students in adult education classes continue to send work of a high standard - work which may otherwise have lain unpublished and forgotten once classes were Over. We would be happy to print more photographs, drawings and maps, and extracts from letters and diaries, if they illustrate some aspect of West Riding life past or present. Please let us know if you have these and are willing to lend them. The topics covered so far include industrial and political history, transport, genealogy, dialect, sur- names and place-names, architectural and gardening history, and the greatest number, which come under the general heading social history; all of which give us vivid glimpses into the life, work and pastimes of West Riding people. The great value of these local studies is in the depth of their concentration — by focusing one’s gaze on such a small area in the minutest detail, a vision of

the wider implications develops like a halo round the limited visual field.

It is with regret in this issue we say goodbye to our associate editor Peter Watkins of Greenhead Books, who has retired. From the outset Peter has worked with great energy and enthusiasm to make this magazine a success, and we are grateful for his con- siderable help and support. We wish him every happiness in his retirement, in which we know involvement in local history will continue to play a big part. One result of this change is that Greenhead Books will now be playing a less active role in the publication and sale of Old West Riding. The magazine will still be available in their Leeds and Huddersfield shops, but enquiries about back numbers and subscriptions should be addressed directly to the editors, who have taken on the responsibility of publication under the name Old West Riding Books. We hope that readers will support us in this new phase of the venture and will bring the existence of the mag- azine to the attention of all local history enthusiasts.


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It was fitting that on their recent visits to the West Riding the Royal Shakespeare Company should have played in Slaithwaite. Amateur dramatic activity has been widespread in the district during the past cen- tury, but only Slaithwaite

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THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. The ‘Colne Valley Guardian’ was unkind about Miss Rhodes’s Shrew, which it considered “more physically emphatic than mentally subtle”, belonging “rather to Castlegate (then a rough bit of Huddersfield town centre long since demolished) than to Edgerton.” But there were other, more conventional appreciations. Goldsmith’s SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER, given in 1926, saw Mr. Wood without a part. Hitherto actor- manager, this time he lightened his burden and was content to direct what the local paper called ‘“‘one of the most successful and certainly the most humorous’”’ plays yet produced. Mr. Dyson Cox as Mr. Hardcastle and Mr. Harry Wood as Tony Lumpkin were singled out for praise. Perhaps by now the whole Company was tiring a little. A full Shakespeare play each year takes a toll of men and women who have to earn a living and attend to their family responsibilities. These productions were nothing if not ambitious, with heavy work both for stage managers and wardrobe mistresses and their assistants. Costumes, wigs and scenery came from Leeds or Manchester and sometimes from London. In ROMEO AND JULIET, which was produced in 1927, there were no fewer than twenty-one scenes entailing the deployment of much skill and more labour. Yet, though the press reported the performance to have surpassed anything previously attempted by the Company, there were only moderate houses during the week. Mr. Wood returned to the stage as Romeo. February 1928 saw the Company’s last production,

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, with Mr. Wood as Benedick, a production which the faithful ‘Colne Valley Guardian’ said “equals in merit any of its pre- decessors there were times when the work rose to really great heights.” But it was Elvyn Wood’s swan song as actor and actor-manager, and without his leadership and inspiration the Company died. Apart from three amateur productions in Marsden during the ’thirties, of which I have no details, no Shakes- peare was performed again in the Colne Valley until the Royal Shakespeare Company came to Slaithwaite Leisure Centre in recent years, In a correspondence which ran in the columns of the ‘Colne Valley Guardian’ for some monthsin 1944-45 a pseudonymous ‘Colne Valley Man’ recalled the work of the Elvyn Wood Shakespearean Players and sugges- ted a revival of serious drama in the Valley. Among those who took part in this correspondence was Mr. Wood himself, and to him we must accord the last word. After pointing out the problems of serious drama for amateurs he goes on: “To produce or play in a Shakespearean production after mastering the language and technique is an unforgettable experience, as all my friends will admit,’’ and he expresses thanks that after a lapse of some fifteen years his efforts should still be remembered and appreciated. It is now over fifty years since Elvyn Wood and his friends played their last parts as Shakespeareans, but those who are still here to remember do so with pleasure and gratitude.

Elvyn Woods Company in Taming of the Shrew

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Elvyn Wood as Hamlet Dyson Cox as Mr. Hardcastle in ‘She Stoops to Conquer.’

Elvyn Wood as David Garrick Elvyn Wood as Shylock in the Merchant of Venice. With him are his daughter Mavis Wood and nephew Ray Wood.

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SPRING WOODS 1500—1800

George Redmonds

One of the commonest place-name elements in York- shire is ‘spring’, not in the sense of a well, but used for woodland, Spring woods were in fact coppice woods, culled at regular intervals, and sold for the most part to wood-colliers or charcoal-burners, tanners and sawyers. The decline in popularity of the place- name element almost certainly reflects the decline in wood management, and for many people its meaning is now obscure. Where it has survived it has often had to be remotivated: Wimpenny’s Spring in Almondbury, for example, became first Penny Spring and then Penny Spring Wood. The earliest history of the word is not yet well known, although it has been established that areas of wood- land were being coppiced in West Yorkshire during the Middle Ages (1). It is my intention, therefore, in this essay, to concentrate on evidence for the years 1500—1800, when the spring woods’ important role in the rural economy is relatively well documented. Curiously, ‘spring’ appears to have undergone an interesting semantic development during this same period, Initially it seems logical to associate the word with the growth of the young trees during each cycle of the wood’s life; the ‘springs’ being the new shoots or saplings. This is certainly the usual dictionary def- inition and it seems particularly appropriate in the cases where ‘stovens’ were listed amongst the trees to be sold: a stoven was a stool, or stump of a tree, from which the new young shoots could spring to provide wood of exactly the required measurements. This interpretation is supported by the wording of a lease (1766) which stipulated that, ‘‘the woods should be felled in such a way as to encourage the future Springing and Growth”, and also apparently in a similar document saying that the woods

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Shackleton, Black Carr and Hey Woods, first in 1672-3 and then again in 1690. A similar deduction is possible using the accounts of Colne Bridge iron forge (1692— 1750) (6): charcoal from Gregory Spring at Mirfield was entered in 1698 and 1716; from Breary Bank in 1704 and 1721. These same woods were on the Beaumonts’ estate and if the extracts from their accounts quoted above (1647—1680) are considered, along with the Colne Bridge records, there are gaps respectively of thirty-three and thirty-seven years. If an allowance is made for one fall of the woods in the meantime, the statistics again suggest a cycle of from sixteen to eighteen years. The inference is that growth well in excess of eighteen years was inadvisable, and an interesting court case, described as Pilkington v. Wentworth, emphasises the point (7). One aspect of this dispute concerned a wood known as Helm Wood, said by several witnesses in 1727 to be of about thirty years’ growth. The accuracy of this can actually be verified in Colne Bridge Forge accounts, for they had purchased the charcoal from Helm Wood in 1697. It is difficult to determine what damage the trees had suffered; according to Richard Eastwood there was “one Acre thereof ...near the Highway which (was) Damaged and Brogg’d,” but a second witness claimed that “by reason of its not being Cutt or Fallen when it was fit (it was) very much damaged as a Spring Wood.” An estimate of the loss incurred was made by John Kay, who said, “The not falling the woods when they were so ready has been a loss to the Estate of several hundred pounds in respect to the future growth of the same woods as Spring Woods and to the Interest of the Money for which the said Woods fallen might have been sold.” Confirmation that the ideal cycle was eighteen years emerges, almost incidentally, from entries in the Kaye Commonplace Book (8). John Kaye, c.1587, was advising his son how to be sure that he always had enough kidwood (i.e. kindling or firewood) and the calculation, which took into account when various woods were sold for charcoal, came to precisely eighteen years (9): “How and where to have kyddwood for thy Howsse for ever. First the Cootbanke being well fencyd and kept for that purpose as yt is, will serve the Howsse well viij years. When the Carr is sold to be Colyd Reserve xij hundrith kydds to the Howsse use by Bargayn as I doo which will serve the Howsse iij yeares, But make them at the Best tyme for keping. In the Byrks next adjoyning to the seale Royd wilbe one yeare kydwod for thy howsse, if thow save it as I have done. Than Kyd thy Brome in thy Closis above as thow shall plowe them and they will well serve thy Howse vj years unto the Cote banke be Ready to fell agayn and be good fewell to make thy kydwod for many years.” One of the earliest explicit documents relating to spring woods in this area is a lease of 1527 between

Sir Godfrey Foljambe of Walton and Richard Beau- mont of Whitley Hall. Sir Godfrey held the woods, both of which lay in Denby in Kirkheaton parish, of the Abbot of Byland, and they are described in the deed as “two greafes of wodde that oon called holerhede otherwise holroide And that other Frere parke.” They were being sold for charcoal and one of the interesting aspects of the lease is that each clause contained a reference such as “as it hath been accus-

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and eight Black Barks to every acre, but often where the number of wavers was given the acreage was not, and it is impossible to work out what was normal practice, if indeed standards were applied throughout the area. When John Rysheworth sold woods in Coley in 1548 to two Liversedge

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must not “leade through standing or groweing

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example, a payment of nine shillings was made to Thomas Lodge “for plowing two acres of land in Gregory Spring, to sow with Acrons” and shortly afterwards compensation was allowed for “land taken off the Lodge Farm and laid to Gregory

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Alan Brooke

Considerable interest has been shown in A Bradford Mill in St. Petersburg which appeared in our last issue. Many people have memories of the returning bosses and managers in 1917 (whose children were often more fluent in Russian than in English) and who had suddenly to adjust to a life without servants. The life of tennis tournaments and tea-parties in St. Petersburg was supported by the hard graft of the

To anyone studying the local textile industry it soon becomes apparent how different are the lives and, as a result, the attitudes of employers and workers, In the case of Thorntons’ mill, described in Bradford Mill in St. Petersburg” by Jenifer Stead in Old West Riding Vol.2 No.2, the cultural gap between the privileged Anglo-Saxon friends and relatives of the foreman, managers and bosses and the Russian workers is even more vast. A study of Thorntons’ from both sides reveals in microcosm many of the factors which led to the Russian Revolution. We have seen what factory life was like for those who lamented the passing of the old epoch, let us now see what it was like for those who were striving for the new. The connection between the Yorkshire and Russian textile industries is a long one. To quote one example from many, in 1802 a Gloucestershire manufacturer went to St. Petersburg, where he visited a mill built and run by a Yorkshireman called Edwards for the Russian government. Much of the machinery — carding engines, billies and jennies — had been brought from England. The workforce was of course Russian, they were earning about 6d. a day and to the Glou- cestershire visitor they appeared to be literally slaves at the total command of their masters (1). Every aspect of life in Russia was dominated by the Czars and their bureaucracy. Some more than others took an interest in the industrialisation of the country, and in 1800 it was reported that a school of weavers had been established at St. Petersburg to weave linens and worsteds, which at that time were being imported from England (2). Edwards’s mill appears to have been part of this policy of encouraging home production and diminishing imports. One of the main obstacles to industrialisation was serfdom which bound peasants to the land and prevented the free movement of labour. It’s abolition in 1861 heralded the beginning of Russia as a modern industrial power. English, German and French capital poured into the country, particularly after 1880. Textiles was one of the least foreign-dominated industries with only about 20% of foreign capital, but outside investors like the Thorntons set up mills to avoid the protective tariffs which reduced the


Russian workers, whose wages, working and living conditions paralleled those of the Yorkshire and Lancashire textile workers at their most inhuman in the first half of the nineteenth century. Alan Brooke pointed this parallel out to us in the specific indictments against Thornton’s mill which appear in The Collected Works of Lenin. (J.S.)

import of cloth to Russia from their own countries. They could also expect high rates of profit on account of the cheap labour. Between 1887 and 1897 the number of textile workers more than doubled from 309,000 to 642,000 (3). Most of these were immigrants from the countryside, former peasants unaccustomed to urban life let alone factory work, Developments which had taken Britain a hundred years to achieve were imposed on Russia in a couple of decades. The new plants tended to be large concerns employing hundreds if not thousands of workers and were concentrated in a few industrial centres, The first effective factory legislation prevent- ing child labour and establishing a Factory Inspectorate was not till 1882, (4) fifty years after its British equivalent. Despite harsh repression and the lack of trade union traditions strikes broke out to improve working conditions. It became increasingly apparent to the anti-Czarist intellectuals, particularly under the influence of the ideas of Karl Marx, percolating from the west, that this growing industrial working class was a new social and political force which would, sooner or later, clash with the autocracy. In 1895 a 25 year old lawyer, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, the leader of a small Marxist group in St. Petersburg, was already writing articles on factory legislation and conditions for workers in local factories. He was to become better known as Lenin and his group became one of the founders of the Russian Social Democratic and Labour Party, which later split into the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties. It was decided in 1895 to publish a paper Workers’ Cause describing conditions in the factories. One of those involved in this, a young woman teacher Nadezhda Krupskaia, (later to become Lenin’s wife), who taught workers’ education classes, described how they set about the task; I remember for example, how the material about the Thornton factory was collected. It was decided that I should send for a pupil of mine named Krolikov, a sorter in the factory who had previously been deported from Petersburg... Krolikov arrived in a fine fur coat he had

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borrowed from someone and brought a whole exercise book full of information which he further supplemented verbally. This data was very valuable. In fact Vladimir Ilyich fairly pounced on it. Afterwards I and Appollinaria Alexandrovna Yakuba put kerchiefs on our heads and made ourselves look like women factory workers and went personally to the Thornton factory-barracks visiting both the single and married quarters. Conditions were most appalling. It was solely on the basis of material gathered in this way that Vladimir Ilyich wrote his letters and leaflets (5). The Workers’ Cause was never printed for in December of that year Lenin was arrested. But their efforts were not wasted. In November Thorntons’ 500 weavers went on strike and Lenin used his detailed knowledge to write a leaflet addressed ““TOTHE WORKING MEN AND WOMEN OF THE THORNTON FACTORY”. From this we have a vivid picture of what conditions were like behind the barbed wire fence of the factory compound. The grievances resulted from attempts by Thorntons’ to reduce wages during a period of bad trade. As in Britain during the industrial revolution, and even since, the factory owner resorted to a variety of devious practices. The adding of noils (the shorter wool left from the combing process) to the yarn, resulted in the breaking of warps which slowed the weavers down. They had to wait longer for warps and as the length of the piece had been reduced from nine to five schmitz (a unit of about 11% feet) it meant that delays were more frequent. The pay-books of some weavers showed that they were earning only 1 rouble 62 kopeks a fortnight. Different rates were being given for different kinds of cloth called Bieber and Ural although they required the same amount of work from the weaver. There was no adherence to the legal requirement for a published list of rates informing the weavers how much they were entitled to. In the spinning department two thirds of the mule spinners had been laid off, and in the dye house, where a 14% hour day was worked, wages were being reduced by illegal deductions and the

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what a good friend you were to me when as you say I worked when I was not able to do you kept my looms on many a time when I wanted my peice and I have not forgotten it nor I never shall. it made me cry when [ read your letter it made me think what I have gone through but no one knows what I have had to go through but myself of course you have anidear you saw plenty of me but I thank God many a time for giving me better health. I have had a few years of illness since the youngest was born but I have had every thing money could buy to do me good, and I can but thank God for a good Husband if I had had to go on as

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talk properly and not been able to see our brothers & sisters and our friends, I feel miserable some times and then I have to cheer up for my Husbands sake, as he is very good to me and the English here are not as they ought to be. they are rather to high and there is only four because my Husband does not go billiards playing & drinking with them, they do not seem to like it well I am glad he does not as if he begins he will get to like it he never did it at home I shall send you a Photo on. on saturday as I can not send it myself I shall have to get my Husband office boy to do it and it is to late when he leaves of work only saturday and then it is 4.30 and let me know as soon as you get it if it is alright you asked me if we could get English papers yes our friends in Oldham sends us some every week and comic papers for the children you will see by the Photo we had the young- est hair cut of last summer and it did spoil her as it was curly but it was so hot but it is growing very nicely but she has never look the same I shall not have it cut any more I do not think so I conclude with again thanking you for your kindness and we both join in wishing you every success in the coming year your ever true friend A Marshall Bogorodsky Jany 27th 1903 Dear Eliza Your welcome letter to hand I was very sorry to hear about your poor father being so ill but glad he has got

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to school and the eldest I do not know what she is doing to do. our Edith is looseing her schooling but I feel I can no part with them if I sent one the other will have to come to her dada says he will begin with her as soon as he can manage this lanuage. and keep them up with there English you would be suprised some words. when they are talking they will say. I forget what it is in English. we laugh at them many a time our next door neighbour is coming to England this summer. we shall be very quiet as she is the only married woman English besides myself of course when the weather is warm the children and I will have to go out more to pass our time on. I am getting my sewing done before the warm weather comes it gets so hot while we can do nothing give my best love to your Father & Mother also your sister and yourself I remain your true friend A Marshall Bogorodsky April 4th 1903 Dear Eliza

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they all took bread and what they call a paska to be blessed. it was grand to see but if the Lord spares us to meet again andI hope he will I can explain it better to you and when they meet the first time after they kiss each other 3 times and exchanges eggs which has been boiled hard and coloured. My Husband had


In March 1802 a temporary peace was concluded between Britain and Napoleonic France. The negoti- ations leading up to this Peace of Amiens had of course been begun earlier and on their initiation one Henry Dobson had set out from his home and business in Rouen to visit England and inter alia to meet his sister in Yorkshire, whom he had not seen for twelve

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Archer’s house in Ossett, searched the house, took away a basket full of Archer’s models and Dobson’s notes and his boiler model, and conducted Archer and Dobson as prisoners to the White Hart in Wakefield. Justice Wood could find no offence in regard to Archer and dismissed him; Dobson he committed to the House of Correction at Wakefield to await trial at the next Quarter Sessions to be held in Pontefract towards the end of the ensuing April. Dobson was to receive or send no letters which the Governor of the prison had not seen, and to have no visitors without a magistrate’s order; a letter from his son in France to Mrs Archer was seized by the Constable. The defending lawyer, David Colvard, the “‘honest lawyer’”’ of Wakefield, claimed in the brief to counsel which he prepared that in fact no offence had been com- mitted by Dobson. Dobson appeared before the Quarter Sessions on the first charge, having already been committed to appear at the Assizes of July 1802 on the second of the counts against him — the enticement charge. George Archer had meanwhile become insolvent “‘and has fled from Home to avoid his Creditors, as is said’’. An Ossett volunteer was found to guarantee Dobson’s defence costs — which by the end of the Quarter Sessions appearance already amounted to £27.6s.9d.


Ian Dewhirst

At the end of the Crimean War, Keighley was visited on several occasions by a mysterious, middle-aged Scot called David Urquhart, vaguely described by slightly overwhelmed locals as “a sort of disappointed

politician”, formerly

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of its “different

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in Huddersfield again reported: “In the last week four houses in Slaithwaite were entered by the Luddites and the frames and shears destroyed. The names of the owners I have not learned, indeed there seems to be a shyness on speaking on the subject”’ (4). It is important to note that the public were unco- operative in helping either the military or the press throughout the next months; this indicates how public opinion was firmly behind the machine breakers despite an attractive financial inducement to inform upon them. The final incident before Luddism began to spread to the Spen Valley was reported in the Leeds Mercury of Saturday March 21st 1812:

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to Huddersfield for the trial of one of the soldiers who had refused to fire on the Luddites during the attack the previous week. As the manufacturer made his way home after the trial an attempt was made to murder him, which failed, and which was greeted by the following comment from the Leeds Mercury: “Surely the followers of General Ludd cannot approve of private deliberate murder” (12). Anthipathy towards Mr. Cartwright was strong even among the middle and trading classes, who were surprisingly sympathetic to the Luddites. This was shown when thirteen pairs of shears sent by Cartwright to Huddersfield to be sharpened were broken and returned to him (13). The failure of the attack upon Cartwright’s mill and the attempt upon his life did lose the Luddites some of their considerable local support. To revive their prestige the machine breakers realised that they would have to perform a deed of considerable mag- nitude against a large local manufacturer; they chose as their victim the very unpopular William Horsfall who had introduced new machines into his cropping shop thus antagonising the hand-croppers who sub- sequently combined to form the bulk of the local Luddite band (14). It was known that Horsfall had taken great precautions to protect his mill on the same lines as Cartwright, yet was careless when it came to his personal safety. It was therefore decided that an attempt upon his life would be less dangerous for the Luddites and would create more publicity to revive interest in the cause (15). The attempt on Horsfall’s life was made as he returned home from the George Hotel in Huddersfield to his mill at Ottiwells near Slaithwaite. The attackers chose Ratcliffe’s plantation near the Warren House Inn at Crosland Moor. The report in the Leeds Mercury of the following Saturday May 2nd ran as follows: “Attrocious Murder! Mr. William Horsfall of the Wells near Slaithwaite cloth manufacturer, was returning home from a meeting in Hudders- field when four men with horse pistols appeared in a small plantation close to Warren House at Crosland Moor and inflicted four wounds in the left side of their victim. The murderers walked to the distance of some yards, and soon after briskening their pace they ran towards dungeon wood and entirely escaped They were all wearing masks, dark course woollen coats and appeared to be working reward of £2,000 was offered immediately to any person who will give such information as will lead to conviction of any one or more of the four men concerned in the murder” (16). This daring murder increased the prestige of the Luddites locally, though the authorities had now to renew their efforts to catch the leaders as the murder was a sign of an escalation in their activities. Magistrates in other parts of the country were more successful than those in Yorkshire in arresting machine breakers, but feelings were running high and talk of a general rising continued during the whole of June. Raids for arms took place throughout the West Riding, especially


in Huddersfield, as the Leeds Mercury of May 9th reports: “The Luddites were active in collecting arms from houses in Almondbury, Woodale, Farnley, Netherton, Meltham and Honley. The military have not been fortunate enough to discover the depot of the Luddites.” Large bodies of men were seen frequently at nights performing military exercises, and great numbers of leaden vessels were stolen to melt down for Suddenly, around the middle of June, the government spies who had been working in the area since before the first major Luddite attacks, denounced several local men as Luddites, notably James Oldroyd of Dewsbury who had been involved in the abortive attack upon Cartwright’s mill. It is symptomatic of local support and sympathy that Oldroyd was able to prove an alibi to satisfy the jury, and thus be liberated, even though the government spy swore positively against him. Baines, the leader of the Halifax Luddites and of the St. Crispin Republican Club, was also denounced by government spies who had infiltrated his organisation, but it took two to swear to his guilt before a jury would convict. Because of this rash of prosecutions the Luddites went ‘underground’. The four members were still free despite the huge reward of £2,000. Also at this time the success of the murder was seen, for the machines at Horsfall’s mill were removed and replaced by hand-cropping. The silence was suddenly broken by the following paragraph in the Leeds Mercury of October 24th:

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the key witnesses in the trial (18). The trial took place at York before Mr. Baron Thompson and Mr, Justice le Blanc on January 2nd 1813. The chief witnesses were Benjamin Walker the informer, Joseph Armitage the landlord of the Warren House Inn, Henry Parr and Joseph Banister who saw the incident, Rowland Houghton the surgeon who attended Horsfall at the Inn before he died, Joseph Snowdon with whom Mellor had left the guns after the attack and Mrs. Martha Mellor his cousin’s wife, with whom he had sought refuge after the incident. When all the evidence had been heard and the judge had summed up, the jury retired at 7.30 pm and re- turned twenty five minutes later finding all three guilty. They were sentenced to death, and on January 8th at 9.00 am they were executed (19). With the executions Luddism lost much of its impetus. After 1815, however, the privations caused by the economic dislocation at the end of the Napoleonic wars involved the working class in more civil disturb- ances in which Luddite techniques and strategies were revived. On the 8th and 9th of June 1817 while a rising was taking place in the traditional Luddite centre of Nottingham, a simultaneous rising was planned in Huddersfield where several hundred cloth workers marched on the town from the Holme Valley. The leader was reported as saying the follow- ing by the correspondent of the Leeds Mercury:

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Cyril Pearce

The literature produced by the tourist industry pur- porting to introduce the visitor to the history and traditions of a particular place is not, on the whole, remarkable for its scholarship. Quite the opposite: it is often unbearably superficial, journalistic (in the worst sense) and patronising to both visitor and visited. In its frequent pursuit of a lowest common denominator of content it has a tendency to trivialise and sensation- alise. On the other hand, that literature which tries to avoid this approach has too often tended to retreat into an antiquarian’s blind alley of factual detail; dark, dense and totally lacking in illumination. The Department of the Environment’s guides to the historic sites are a case in point here. For myself and, I daresay, many others, history, even the tourists’ guide book version, is a lot more than just a vicarious thrill at the “juicy bits’, a kind of antiquarian’s page three or a “News of the World” version of “1066 and all

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convincingly and, in so doing, suggests not only that many of the Luddites accused were innocent but that the authorities knew it and didn’t really care. The object of the show trials was, as so often before, to strike terror and put a stop to the disturbances. In this the authorities were successful, For developing this line of argument alone, ‘‘On the Trail of the Luddites” is worth anyone’s £1.50. While I have reservations about Pennine Heritage

Network’s excessive enthusiasm for the idea of tourism as a solution for the West Riding’s economic ills — I, for one, don’t wish to be gawped at as a “local native” by curious “foreigners” - they are to be congratulated for this venture. I believe the first print run is by now almost sold out. Might I there- for recommend all those interested in the Luddite story to order now and guarantee a second edition.

Bretton Hall: Camelia House

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THE BRETTON ESTATE Cyril Pearce Part I: Geography, historians and documents

The village of West Bretton, near Wakefield, (a mile from M.1 access point 38) is rapidly becoming some- thing of a tourist centre. In the last ten years it has been the site for a number of developments which have drawn visitors from many parts of Northern England and much further afield: Bretton Lakes Nature Reserve (1973), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (1977) and Bretton Country Park (1978). Bretton Hall itself, once the dominant influence in the com- munity, has been, since 1949, a College of Higher Education taking in students from all parts of the United Kingdom. How different then, is this picture from that which was true for West Bretton for the preceding five or six hundred years. What is now a publicly-owned resource to which all have access was originally built and for centuries developed as the exclusive preserve of those who owned Bretton Hall and its estate. In the middle ages it was the Dronsfields; from 1406 to 1792 the Wentworths and from 1792 until the sale of the Hall and parkland in the late 1940’s, the Beaumont family. In 1906 the family was ennobled first as Baron and later Viscount Allendale. Yet despite the recent and growing interest in Bretton and despite the Hall’s occupation, since 1949, by students in varying forms of higher education, the history of Bretton Hall and its estates is still only sketchily understood. Surprising as it may seem to the visitor Bretton still has no authoritative and compre- hensive history. While this article can in no way remedy this lack it may help to draw attention to what needs to be done and to the splendid range of source materials now available to the brave scholars who may take up the challenge. That is not to say that the Bretton estate and its owners have been totally ignored by historians; nor is it to suggest that there are no published accounts of its history. Over a considerable period of time there have been numerous contributions to our knowledge by a variety of scholars and enthusiasts. However, these accounts do tend to be fragmentary and, no matter how scholarly, reveal one major problem: From the 1770’s onwards, the Bretton estate was more than just the Yorkshire properties, it included substantial agricultural land, moorland shooting, urban property and, above all, lead mines in North- umberland. The centres of this other estate were at Bywell Hall, Hexham and Allenheads. This division between Yorkshire and Northumberland is reflected in both published and unpublished studies. Local historians, whether amateur or professional, have tended to concentrate on one area or the other, never both. This, understandably has denied the economic integrity of the whole estate and the reality of its social, political and personal complexities. Such


accounts have produced a one-dimensional and lop- sided version ofits history. This has not only distorted reality but has also under-valued the estate’s real wealth, power and importance. The Northumberland estates have perhaps attracted marginally more recent scholarly interest than those in Yorkshire. Part of the reason for this is the deposit of many of the lead mining documents at the North- umberland County Record Office, and the presence in Northumberland of a strong local interest, much of it emanating from Newcastle University. When one considers that the Beaumont Lead Company was one of the two major British lead companies in the nine- teenth century this attention is not surprising. Nor is it surprising to find both Newcastle University post- graduate students and professional historians such as Arthur Raistrick exploring Bretton’s Northumberland lead interests (1). Similarly the parts played in North- Eastern politics by successive heads of the Bretton estates and their sons have attracted historians’ atten- tion. The first substantial record of this appeared as early as 1895 (2). Yet, detailed and useful though these studies are, they only give us the perspective from Northumberland; they say little of Northumber- land and Yorkshire together. Indeed, from reading much of this material it hardly seems possible that the Yorkshire estates existed at all. As for the Yorkshire estates, the picture is, in a number of ways, rather different. To begin with, the Yorkshire estates can trace their history far beyond the 1770’s and well into the middle ages. The North- umberland connection, although ancient in its own right, came to the Bretton estates rather late in the day. Secondly, since the 1940’s the Yorkshire estate’s documents have been dispersed and difficult to use. Thirdly, unlike the North-East, the West Riding’s universities and polytechnics have, hitherto, shown remarkably little interest in Bretton’s history. This may be because, in contrast to their Northumberland activities, the owners of the Bretton estate appear not to have made dramatic contributions to the economic or political history of Yorkshire. It may also be that the owners of Bretton have been overshadowed by their neighbours: the Earls Fitzwilliam at Wentworth Woodhouse or the Spencer-Stanhopes of Cannon Hall. If this is correct then it is sad, not only because the scholarly picture largely ignores Bretton but because in doing so it misses so much. The Bretton estate wielded enormous influence over a substantial part of the West Riding. The detail of this doesn’t stand out to demand attention in the obvious way of the Northumberland issues but it is, none the less, sub- stantial and important to our understanding of the history of this part of Yorkshire. Nevertheless, Bretton’s Yorkshire estates have attrac- ted a good number of scholars over the years. Perhaps

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the first useful study was published in 1831 by Joseph Hunter in Vol.II of his “South (3). As was customary for historians at that time, this account is primarily a genealogical one concerned with the descent of the estate from the earliest times. It offers only fragments of other issues relat- ing to the extent and fortunes of the estate and to

the succession of buildings at Bretton. Since then,

until fairly recently, students of Bretton’s history have had to make do with often oblique references in the local histories of neighbouring towns, news- paper cuttings and occasional magazine articles (4). In the Sir Charles Clay, a noted medieval historian and antiquarian, did take extracts from some of the medieval and Tudor Bretton estate docu- ments for publication in the Yorkshire Archaelogical Society’s Records Series but, as far as we know produced no other work on Bretton (5). Not until the 1970’s has Bretton attracted the interests of other than local scholars whose work has yet to be published. Dr. Derek Linstrum has made significant contributions to our knowledge of the history of the buildings at Bretton Hall and elsewhere on the estate. His work has been published in a number of forms most notably in his study of the career of one of Bretton’s architects, Sir Jeffry Wyattville (6). Recently the West Yorkshire County Archaeology Unit’s work has added to our appreciation of the history of Bretton before 1500 but, to date, the period after 1500, with the exception of the Hall’s architecture, still awaits detailed study (7). Perhaps now we can talk with a little more confidence than was possible hitherto of the right moment having arrived to put the Bretton estate’s history into better order. There are three central reasons for this. First, there is more interest than ever before in the subject of local history. There are more students in local history classes, more local history tutors and more schools, colleges and universities incorporating local history material in their history courses. Secondly, in the wider sense, the eyes of more professional and academic historians are turning to look more closely at the great landed estates. Until twenty years ago and the appearance of F.M.L. Thompson’s “English Landed Society in the Nineteenth Century”, much of the writings on the landed estate combined an often sycophantic antiquarian’s preoccupation with genealogy with detailed architectural histories of great houses (8). Recently, however, a more systematic and thorough- going approach to the history of England’s landed elite has emerged and has come to light in numerous import- ant publications by scholars such as Mee, Mingay and Spring (9). Such contemporary scholarship is looking beyond family and house to deeper issues of estate administration, economic power and social and political influence. Finally, no matter how right the academic climate nor how many eager local historians there may be, their work is only as good as the source material available. As far as the documents for the Yorkshire estates are concerned the picture is now much clearer than it has been for many years although it is still, regrettably,


a story of a divided and damaged collection. The precise history and location of all the documents generated by the administration of the Bretton estates over several centuries since the middle ages, is not clear. In 1947 a large collection of Bretton estate material was deposited with the Yorkshire Archaeo- logical Society in Leeds (10). The remainder, we presume, remained at the Estate Office in West Bretton until it closed in 1958. At this point the story becomes confused although certain elements are clear. Many of the documents in the Estate Office were packed into five large crates and despatched to Lord Allendale’s house at Bywell Hall where it remained untouched until 1975. At the same time a great deal of material relating to coal mining on the Bretton estates, princi- pally maps and plans, was handed over to the National Coal Board’s Yorkshire region archives department at Rawmarsh near Rotherham. Perhaps because the crates weren’t big enough, or for other unfathomable reasons, there was also a bonfire. How many documents perished in this way we have no way of knowing. One former estate worker got so tired of it that he took some sacks of documents home to light his own fires. These were put in his greenhouse and forgotten until his grandson rescued them some years later. At the time various items fell into private hands. Some of them have been traced but how many other people may have Bretton material, or who they might be, is impossible to tell unless they are prepared to volunteer the information. The story of the five crates sent to Bywell Hall is less depressing. In the March of 1975, together with a fellow tutor from Bretton Hall College, I went to Bywell to make a preliminary examination of their contents and of a number of other boxes Lord Allendale’s agent, Major J.G. McGowan, had unearthed for us. We discovered two crates crammed to the lid with office stationery, mop heads and surveying tools, one crate similarly crammed with Northumberland material and two full of Yorkshire documents. Lord Allendale subsequently agreed to loan the Yorkshire material to the College where it is now stored. The College in turn agreed to list it, repair it and make it available for College use and for the general public. Since 1981 it has had a thorough and useable catalogue which, it is hoped, will be augmented in 1984 by a computer-based information retrieval system. Access to the collection is by arrangement with the Curator, Bretton Estate Archives, Bretton Hall College. The extent and quality of the Yorkshire collection now back at Bretton is impressive, to say the least. As a collection, particularly when taken together with the section deposited with the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, it ranks with the best in the country for its chronological range, geographical spread, and its representation of documentary types. The chronological range covers seven centuries from the thirteenth to the twentieth. As Sir Charles Clay discovered, there is a good body of medieval, late-medieval and sixteenth century material. All of that which Clay used for his extracts has survived the

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crisis of 1958, and is intact at Bretton and in remark- ably good condition. It reveals as much about the narrowness of Sir Charles’ pre-occupations as it does about late medieval and Tudor Bretton. He used edited transcripts for the Record Series rather than the full text and in so doing missed details present-day scholars would consider crucial. Some of these omis- sions may shortly be remedied. A number of the documents in the collection relating to the iron- working activities of the Cistercian abbeys of Bylands and Rievaulx at Bentley, Emley and Flockton are to be published soon in a major new work on the Cist- ercians in Yorkshire. The authors of the piece, Dr. John Addy and Dr. Allan Young, have re-worked much of what Sir Charles chose to omit and have discovered new material he overlooked. From these rich beginnings the collection runs, ad- mittedly rather unevenly, through to 1925. After this date material relating to the Yorkshire estates is subject to a closure and has been returned to Lord Allendale at Bywell. The unevenness of the collection particularly with respect to sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century material, manor court material and the like is complemented by the Bretton collection at the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, although the fit is not a precise dovetail. The geographical spread of the material is, as might be expected, most consistent in the immediate area of West Bretton itself and incorporates all, or sub- stantial parts of, the settlements along the line of the River Dearne from Darton, Kexborough and Barugh near Barnsley to Denby Dale and Cumberworth at its source. It extends to cover Emley, Flockton, the much

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1 A. Raistrick, The History of Lead Mining tn the Pennines, (Longmans, 1966) R. Welford, Men of Mark twixt Tyne and Tweed, Vol. I, (Newcastle, 1895) Rev. J. Hunter, South Yorkshire, Vol. II (Originally printed by J.J.B. Nichols and Son for the author 1828-1831. Republished 1974 by E.P. Publishing Ltd., with Sheffield City Libraries) (a) References to Bretton Hall and its owners can be found in the following local histories: P. Ahier, The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and its

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The cover illustration of Old West Riding, Vol.1, No.2, was a view of Bradford’s Paper Hall, drawn by Tony Burke. The building, which was for many years under threat, stands empty and in disrepair, but a Society exists to promote its preservation and in order to support their efforts we print below a short account of the Society’s aims and an illustration from a leaflet issued by the Bradford Antiquarian Society. Anyone wishing to contact the Directors of the Paper Hall Preservation Society for further details, should write to the following address: 128 Sunbridge Road, BRADFORD BD1 2AT (Ed.).

Paper Hall Preservation Society Patrons: Mr, and Mrs, J.B. Priestley No one knows how Paper Hall got its name. It was built in 1643 and is the only 17th century building close to the centre of the city of Bradford. Though it is doubly protected as a Department of the Environ- ment listed building and as an ancient monument by the Royal Commission it has been allowed to deterior- ate very badly over many years, Now the Paper Hall Preservation Society, a limited liability company and a registered charity, under terms of an agreement to lease with the owners Bradford Metropolitan Council,

has begun restoration work, This work is assisted by a grant from the Historic Buildings Council for England which is claimed pound for pound against public subscription. Generous donations are beginning to come in now that some progress can be seen but much more is required to cover the main phase of restoration for which detailed plans have been prepared. The Society is looking for £80,000 to achieve the main part of its restoration plan. It is negotiating to secure ownership of the Hall which would simplify agreements during further restoration work, a proposal originally put forward by the owners but not proving easy to secure, Paper Hall has played an important role through its owners in the political and religious as well as industrial life of the region. The first spinning machinery in the district was installed in the house in the 18th century and for this reason it is regarded as one of the most historically important buildings in Bradford. The members of the Society are confident that, with continuing financial support, they will restore an important part of the City’s heritage and a build- ing which will provide valuable facilities to local commerce and industry.


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A KNARESBOROUGH ACCOUNT, 1421-1422 Sylvia Thomas

During the last three winters I have been running a Workers’ Educational Association evening class in Leeds at Claremont, headquarters of the Yorkshire

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and to the YAS for allowing us to publish the accounts,


The account of Richard Popeley, collector of rents (? and) of demesne lands, free tenants, cottages and wastes from Michaelmas in the 9th year of the reign of King Henry V [29 Sept. 1421] until the last day of August in the 10th year of the same king on which day he died, and from the said last day of August until the Michaelmas thereafter next following in the Ist year of the reign of King Henry VI for 29 days, and so in total for one complete year [29 Sept. 1422].

Rents of assise The same [Richard Popeley] answers for 32s. 10d. rent for 49ac.1r. of demesne land in the furlong of Pelwell at the terms of Easter and Michaelmas at 8d. an acre. And for 7s.7.1/8d. farm of

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for 1 pair of gloves, free rent for 2ac. of land there at the term of Christmas this year only. For 1lb. of pepper, free rent for 4ac.%r. of land there at the term of Michaelmas only, nothing is paid because it is del- ivered to the auditors for their fee. And for 13s.6d. rent for 1 toft, 10ac.%r. of villein land in Knaresburgh at the same term. And for 27s.5d. rent for 31 cottages, 1 kiln, 2 forges at the terms of Easter and Michaelmas and no more insofar as 1 cottage which was accustomed to pay 2d. a year is in decay for lack of operators

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FA. Hilary Haigh

The Sir John Ramsden Canal from the River Calder to Huddersfield was started in 1774 and the Hudders- field to Ashton Canal in 1794. By the time the Stand- edge Tunnel was opened in 1811, thirty seven years had been spent in constructing a waterway which crossed the Pennines. There is

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Both miners”

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