The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and Its District: Volume I, Part V (1943) by Philip Ahier

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i I

i fi PART V. (COPYRIGHT). i Price 2/6. ei ) 1942.


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fe > oe. 1942




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ee _ To my old friend, 3 Alderman WALTER HALSTEAD, who first showed me ' the Typographical light.

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CHAPTER VI. (continued) LEGENDS anp TRADITIONS relating to: (IV.) -Landmarks and Localities



1. Cooper Bridge ah a ‘Dumb Steeples The Haigh Cross

ae Longwood or Nab End Tower



its DISTRICT I. The Folly at Halifax ha a Folly Hall. 3. The Folly at Honley




(271 276 282

288 I

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Co OW AN + w&

ay Li, Lee 13, I4. 16. 17; 18, IQ.



Linthwaite Hall

The Slaithwaite

« Slawit”

The Marsden Cuckoo ‘¢A Souvenir of Marsden ” I The Thunderbolt Oak, Lightridge Road The Relics of the former ‘‘ Pear Tree Inn”’

One of the former « Rocking Stones” at Meltham

Bridge, previous to 1936

Cooper Bridge, A.D. 1942 The Dumb Steeple at Kirklees The Dumb Steeple at Grange Moor


The Haigh Cross

The Longwood Tower The Wainhouse Tower The Wainhouse Terrace

Folly Hall, previous to 1906

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The filth: Part bb ‘“The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and its District,’’ as previously announced in the Preface to the Fourth Part, continues those related of Localities and Landmarks; the history of Towers, etc., concerning whose origin there have been some elements of and the ‘‘Follies”’ Huddersfield and District.

Tam very much indebted’ to Messrs. Charles Travis Clay, -M.A., F.S.A., Librarian to the House of Lords, G. Crowther Hirst, of Almondbury, H. B. Rowbottom, of Honley, Major J. Waiker, #2), for ‘considerable assistance in the compilation of this book.

The problem of securing photographic blocks becomes more acute in war days; and I am, as on previous occasions, most grate- ful to the Proprietors of the ‘“ Huddersfield Daily for the loan of several; to Mr. T. W. Hanson, of Halifax, I must tender my best thanks for the loan of “‘The AN Terrace”? to Mr. Reginald Carter, 1 am indebted for the loan of two post- card blocks designed by his father, the late Mr. Smith Carter, of Netherton, depicting episodes at- Marsden and’ Slaithwaite- and finally, to my colleague, Mr. G. N.: Allsop, who has made two wood engravings depicting ‘‘The Slaithwaite Moon -. rakers’’ and ‘‘The Marsden Cuckoo.’’

As in former Parts, I could not terminate this Preface without expressing my gratitude to Mr. Horace Goulden, F.L.A., our esteemed Librarian, and to his Assistants, for many favours accorded to me at our Public Library while searching for material.

Part VI. will complete the first volume of “‘ The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield.’ I am hoping to compile two Indexes, one of Persons, and the other, of Places mentioned in the sm Pane. also a List of the Subscribers and Patrons. It will thus be possible for the Six parts to be bound in one complete volume.



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Previous: to its Restoration in 1880. Photo by the late Mr. Isaac Hordern. nee I

5 wenn ©



After its Restoration. one Photo by the late Mr. W. H. Sikes, of Almondbury.

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CHAPTER VI. (continued). (Continued from Part TV.)



(i) There is a tradition that a squirrel could jump from. Marsden to Hudderstield by springing from tree to tree on his travels.

This tradition may be techy true as the Colne Valley in the Middle Ages was far more wooded than it is now. From the Inquisition held into the Manor of Almondbury in 1340, we learn that a portion of the demesne at Marsden was a forest 2} miles long and 2 miles broad.

(ii) In connection with this forest, it is interesting to note that there are place names in the Valley whose origin is associated with the forest, such as Deerhead, Deer Hill, Doe Hole, Stag wood Hill, Wildboarley. A part of the district near Deanhead is called the linac and in the old deeds of a farm in Deanhead are of Dog Kennels, while a tradition remains that the huntsman visiting these kennels i in the night in his night-shirt was devoured by his own dogs. (Y.A.J., Vol. II. p. 16).


Hobkirk, in his ‘‘ History of Huddersfield’’ (2nd Edition, p. 54), relates the story as told to him by the people of Linthwaite in 1859 :— I

‘“‘It appears that some old chieftain, whom the neighbours call a petty lived here; some ‘misdemeanour against the crown was beheaded in some fields nigh at hand, and is said to have ‘come again, I generally appearing asa headless horseman, roaming about in the dusk of evening. I was confidently assured by one of the residents in the Fold that his uncle who had been dead some thirty years, evening seen him watering his horse at a well near the Hall, and to my question, he answered that he was ‘without his bedel: Avery Aiea? the latest record

of the appearance of the: ‘* Headless Or: concluded I



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There are several versions of this story which is supposed to have actually happened in the early days of the last century, although, as previously stated (p. 3), the story has its counterpart in Wiltshire. I There are also two meanings ‘to the word ‘‘ rake;’’ it may refer to the garden implement ‘‘ rake,’’ or, it may be the dialect pronunciation of the word * reach.

(i) It appears that of young country fellows once gazed into the River Colne (or the Canal) and beheld the reflection of the moon in the water. They imagined that a corpse with ‘upturned face was floating in the river; some of their number rushed to the nearest farmhouse to fetch rakes, and, on their return to the river bank, proceeded to rake out the Gr ’ the moon. I

(ii) A variation of the above relates that the young fellows, who had imbibed rather freely, fancied that a huge cheese was floating in the river and that they endeavoured to bring it to the bank by means of rakes.


(ii) A group of lads noticed that the reflection of the moon was gradually moving nearer to the bridge over the Colne. One of them developed a brain wave: ‘‘ When it get's under t’bridge, we'll get it aht.’’ They then leaned over the parapet, each fellow catching hold of the ankles of the next in the form of a chain. They were on the point of achieving their desire when the one on the bridge called out, ‘‘ Just a minute till ah spit on me ’ands.’ The result was that the whole party tumbled in the river and got a good drenching. If this version be the correct one, they were or ‘‘Mooinreikers.’

_ (iv.) In late 18th century days and even during the early part of the 19th century, there were persons in the Colne Valley who possessed either brandy or whisky stills and who made large sums. of money by the sale of these illicit spirits. One such ‘‘manufac- - turer,’’ fearing a visit from the Excise Inspector, or the Parish Constable, secreted a barrel in the Canal. Some days later, when all clear, at dead of night, he got a rake and was about to recover his possession. In the midst of his dredging opera- tions he was interrupted by the very official he wished to dodge. The official, scenting trouble, remarked, ‘‘Naa then, what ta dooin’?’’ (To which the ‘‘ manufacturer’’ retorted, ‘‘ Ah’m nobbut tryin’ t’ rake t’ mooin aht o’t’ cut.’’ The officer went on his way, no doubt smiling at the absurdity and futility of such a performance. I I I

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Engraving by Mr. G. N.-Allsop.

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Sketch by the late Mr. Smith Carter, of Netherton.


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This is the version which is told more often than the others, I but which is almost identical with the story of the Wiltshire moon- rakers.

(v.) Canon C. A. Hulbert, in his ‘‘ Annals of Almondbury ”’ (p. on gives another story of the origin of the. phrase :—

cu d

“Phe Half—moon’ has long been a current phrase, in an allusion to the story of the village lad, who, visiting York for the first time,. was surprised by all he saw during the day, but when night came, exclaimed, ‘ Well, if that.isn’t the aite

Canon Hulbert went on to explain that he was asked by the Slaithwaite Gas Company to devise a seal and motto for-the firm; the reverend gentleman designed the seal in the style of a crescent rising out of a wood, and gave the motto ‘‘E luco lux’’—‘‘Out of the grove—light.!”

Mr. Patrick A. McEvoy, in his book: entitled ‘‘The Gorse and the Briar,’’ gave the story of the Wiltshire ‘‘ Moon Rakers ”’ :


. ... Presently he asked whether we knew the origin of the Wiltshire ‘ Moon Rakers.’’’

always understood that the story was founded on the ! supposed simplicity of Wilishire men,’ I said.’’

Most people believe that, replied Mr. Steele. ‘‘ The story is true, but it does not originate from the Wiltshire man’s sim- plicity. You remember how a constable was supposed to have found a crowd of men raking a pond on a moonlight night, and when he asked what they were doing, they pointed to the reflection — of the moon, and said: ‘ We be raking for that there great lump my cheese. I I :

-“T always thought that was as far as the story went.’’

‘‘ No, it’s where the story begins,’’ continued the farmer. ‘“ It was in the days of smugglers, and the pond was used to hide the goods that the smugglers sold the natives. The Wiltshire men were dragging the stuff out of the pond with long rakes, and when the constable or excisemen came along they gravely raked at the reflection of the moon and said, “We be raking for that there great lump of cheese.’ ”” '

The late Mr. A. E. Warren informed me that he had lived in Wiltshire in the early years of his teaching experience and had been told the story of the Wiltshire Moon Rakers, which, he said, was almost identical to that told in Slaithwaite.



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254 i It is a well-known fact that during the Napoleonic War of 1803 to 1815, there was a considerable amount of smuggling of wines and spirits (mainly brandy) into this country, even though we were at war with France. Small sailing vessels pliéd between the two countries (mostly from ports: in Brittany and Normandy) and at dead of night discharged their illicit cargoes at river mouths on the south coast so that with the turn of the tide, the barrels would float up-stream and be collected by the of: the. Owners, or by the purchasers themselves.

The late Mr. John Sugden in his ‘‘Slaithwaite Notes’’ » (1902), appeared to be rather sceptical about the story of the ‘‘Moon- I rakers’’ as far as can be gathered from the paragraph in the above work (p. 7) :-—

“The River Colne and the Canal run side by side neue the valley, one dare not tell how much smuggling went on or how much trade was done on the canal bank on the dark nights. was no gas to light up the transactions, so they had better be kept I dark to day(!). Suffice to say, many a barrel of good rum made lighter, and the whiskey did not grow on the way, or wool bags multiply in the transit; at least so it is said, and as no one was much better or much wotek by the nibbling, it shall rest here like ohe of the untofd border tales of olden time.’

(d) THe MarspEnN Cuckoo.

This story, too, is told of other villages in the country where attempts were made io preserve a cuckoo while it had made its summer abode in the locality in question; at Austwick, the inhabi— tants are <yedited . not. only with the fact that they attempted the task but that they were the first villagers to make such an attempt !

Ther are several versions given in Marsden :—

(i) A number of persons thereat decided to add an extra course to a wall surrounding a field which the cuckoo had tem- porarily occupied. Each took a stone and added it to the existing structure. But, in so doing, they frightened the bird which flew away, just skimming the wall. ‘‘ Ee, by gum, one more course and we should ’a’ catched it,’’ said one onlooker. ;

(ii) Another version states that the cuckoo was first heard at Scout to the south of Marsden and that one native tried to keep the bird permanently in the tree where it lodged by building a walled structure around it, but as he was about to put a roof on the wall, the bird flew off.

(iii) Another variation relates that the lodged itself in a chimney and that a few more bricks upon this chimney would

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Engraving by Mr. G. N. Allsop.

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have jmprisoned the poor creature which flew away while the operation was in progress. I

it is said that the cuckoo is first heard by the péopie _ of Marsden and that it arrives on the 25th of April each year on the Spring Cattle Fair Day.

‘The Rev. Thomas Parkinson, in his ‘* Yorkshire Legends and Traditions ”’ cine the story of the Austwick Cuckoo in these words :—

Les determined on the next occasion to sur- round the bird with a high wall, and by this means, secure permanent residence amongst them. The work was begun and carried on up to the point when success was all but certain, but then, alas, the bird took fright, and soaring, with her mocking I _cry, © Cuckoo, cuckoo,’ above their highest effort, they saw her no more until her return in nature’s course another year.”’

The Marsden Cuckoo is perpetuated in a small panel on the left hand side of The Mothers’ Union Banner, to be seen in the chancel of St. Bartholomew’s Church at Marsden.

(e) THE GoLcaR

I have received two different versions of the origin of this phrase : — I

(a) The first relates that before the Gplne. Valley became ‘* in- dustrialised,’’ lilies grew in profusion in the vicinity of Golcar, but when the atmosphere became polluted with smoke and soot, they no longer beautified the district. '

(b) The second theory seems more feasible : ‘‘ The hilly dis- trict produced lovely complexions on the maidens of Golcar—pink and white as a lily—and they were called accordingly.’? surmise is almost analogous to the appellation given to my former celebrated countrywoman, Lily Langtry (afterwards Lady de Bathe)—the Jersey Lily. I ee ee

The'earliest reference which, so far, I have discovered relating to the ‘‘Golear Lilies’’ is in a newspaper report of ‘‘ The Golcar Lilies beating the Boundaries of that Township on August 17, 1857."? :-—

‘fAn old-fashioned custom, known as beating the boundary, took place this day at The Church Sunday School scholars dressed in holiday attire, and bedecked in garlands of leaves and flowers, assembled ‘at the parsonage, and having been formed in procession, headed by the clergy in robes, the officers of the Church, the Village Brass Band, etc., with a flag bearing

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the device of ‘ Golcar Lilies,’ proceeded to the Ramsden Mill. They then went—some in the centre of the river—through the fields to Crimble, and on their way marked the Baths, which are in Golcar. Scape Goat Hill, Hollin Hall, Wood Mill, Row Wood, Scar Lane, and then again Ramsden Mills were visited, each place

being properly whipped. The journey extended ten miles, and at

intervals, refreshments were partaken. The boundary walking was necessitated by a recent Act of Parliament, having converted some ecclesiastical districts into parishes.’’ I

It would be interesting to know what has become of the flag the device of ‘ Golcar Lilies.’ I


At first sight there is a suspicion that the name of this road originated from its being the scene of the burial of some cat, but

tradition relates another story :

_ It seems that’ in mid-nineteenth century days there’ lived in the valley between Grimscar and Lindley an old woman whose Christian name was Kate. Unfortunately, she suffered from some loathsome contagious disease. After her death, so the report goes, the farm labourers lifted the mattress, bedding and the body with their pitchforks and interred the entire remains into a

huge hole in a nearby field which had been partially filled with

lime. Further quantities of lime were hurled upon her remains to prevent the possibility of the infection spreading ; thus the spot became known as Kategrave from the grave of the woman named Kate, and this was ultimately shortened to Catgrave.

ale Incidentally, this place name is not included in Mr. Armitage Goodall’s list of those under the heading of ‘‘Cat.’’ (see p. 236).



(a) THE “EMPARKING’ = OF - FIXBY, It is said that at one time where the present Park now stands, there existed several farmsteads, the tenants of which farmed the lands in their vicinity. Either in the late 17th or early 18th century days, this village of Fixby was destroyed by one of the Thornhills (Lords of the Manor of Fixby) and converted into a private park, leaving the ancient right of way from Shepherd House to the former South Lodge intact.

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Such is the story which had been handed down in: the early days of the last century and which has been remembered hy persons who had it told them by their forbears.

I This tradition is certainly confirmed by one paragraph in Richard Oastler’s ‘‘ Fleet (Vol. I., No. 18). Oastler tells us that in his early days as steward to Thomas Thornhill he had talked with an elderly resident, Mr. William Stocks, who could remember ‘‘ those days when, what is now the park, was all in little farms, studded with buildings, stacks and hedgerows. He would tell me who lived here and occupied there.”’

But a problem arises. In what year did this ‘‘

precisely take place?

(i) Watson, in his ‘‘ History of Halifax,’’ written in 1775, says: ‘‘ There is also a park at Fixby, the seat of Thomas Thorn- hill, Esq., which has been of long standing, but I have seen no account when it was first made.’’

(ii) The late Mr. T. Bryan Clarke-Thornhill, in a letter dated April 13th, 1932, wrote to me thus: ay

‘“T have been told that ‘Capability Brown’ (1715-1783), the well-known landscape gardener, laid out the Park and garden of Fixby, and that the walls and ditches were made under his direc- ‘tion to prevent the cattle spoiling the young trees and trespassing ‘in the garden, but I have no written authority for this.’” ‘ Capa— bility ’ Brown certainly laid out the lawns and gardens at Wood- some, Whitley, and Cannon Hall. I

emparking ”’

(iii) Warburton’s Map of Yorkshire compiled about the year 1720, marks Fixby Hall and a ring to denote the present Park. In another map of the district dating about the year 1789, Fixby Hall is also marked and the park denoted by a similar ring which encircles two or three trees. Hence it would seem from the presence of these rings on these two maps that Fixby Park was in existence in the 18th century. A

3 (iv) The publication of the Fixby Deeds by the Yorkshire Archeological Society has revealed the former existence of a large number of place—and field—names in Fixby. Even after an interval of 600 years, some of these still remain, e.g., Lightridge, first mentioned in a deed dated June 28th, 1314. The complete list of these place names exceeds sixty and although some have not as yet been located and others are outside the Park, yet two of them which are certainly in the Park itself, viz., le Depehey (1421) and le Shepcott (Shepherd House, 1501) still survive. Hence it’ is quite possible that there were a few farmsteads in the Park before the ‘‘ emparking’’ took place.

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Associated with the tradition of the ‘‘ emparking ’’? was the allegation that the demolition of the farmsteads had been effected

a ruthlessness akin to that perpetrated by William the ©»

_Conqueror when he laid out the New Forest. But it is very questionable whether the Thornhills of the 18th century ever adopted such drastic treatment in dealing with their tenants. himself said: ‘‘ The anecdotes of the hospitality munificence of the old Thornhills for many generations were re— by .’’. This sentence repudiates any sugges - tion of a ‘“‘scorched earth’? policy having been put into operation by the Thornhills whenever the ‘‘emparking”’ of Fixby took place.


“As some doubt has been expressed as to the exact location of the three trees which I called ‘‘ The Three Sisters ’’ (a photo- graph of which appeared on page 90), I hasten to state that the greater bulk of the information concerning Fixby Park was given to me by the late Mr. George Barker, the Head Woodman (or Verderer) of Fixby. ae, Ad I

Mr. Barker commenced his duties at Fixby in 1885 and con. tinued in that capacity up till the time of his death in 1935.. 1 spent many happy hours in his company; he told me the precise spot of the many groups of trees which bear (and_ bore) characteristic appellations; he had a fund of knowledge regarding the various plantations in the Park, the Ice House, the Orangery, — the Wells, and he also proved of considerable assistance to me_ when I endeavoured to trace the sundry place names mentioned : in the Fixby Deeds (p. 259). I Hak:

Mr. A. L. Woodhead, M-A., J.P. (amongst others) queried my — statement as to the location of ‘‘ The Three Sisters.’’ He fixed them as a group ‘‘ which stood further up the Park, sixty yards beyond the drive and on the right side of the footpath, and which gave their name to what was then the seventeenth Hole of the Course.’’ (‘‘Golf Chat,’? in the ‘‘ Huddersfield Daily Examiner,’’ June 12, 1941). These trees disappeared many years ago, ae

THE I Miss Clara Thornhill, the only daughter of Thomas Thornhill ‘by his second wife, Clara Pearse, when a young girl, planted three trees, one in honour of herself, and the other two of her

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two Younger step-sisters, , “the Misses’ Eleanor and. Honoria — Thornhill, Thomas Thornhill’s se. oh his wife, Honoria F ‘orester. Cad fap

These three trees, two oaks and one sycamore, went by the name of ‘‘The Three Sisters,’? and were sometimes known as “Clara,’’ ‘Eleanor’? and Honoria,’? whose names are also per- petuated in Clara Street, Fleanor Street and Honoria Street, three streets in Hillhouse, which are a reminder of the fact that a part of this district still belongs to Colonel Basil Thornhill, M.C.., Lord of the Manor of Fixby.

These three trees were planted on the left-hand side of the public footpath from Grimscar to Shepherd House, near what is now the eighteenth green on the Golf Course. The two oaks lie

on its northern side, while the sycamore stands on its southern.

Some years ago, the Golf Club wished to remove one of these trees as it was an obstruction, but the late Mr. T. Bryan Clarke - Thornhill Pr objected, as it had been planted by his mother.

A group of three trees about fifty yards from the private road leading to the East Lodge to the Hall, and to the left of the public footpath going to Shepherd House, is also called, but OMA Three Sisters. a


Many years ago there could be seen a group of three sycamore

trees which were hundreds of years old. They were named ‘‘Faith, Hope and Charity,


’ and were to be found in a direct line near the right-hand side of the carriage drive (or private road) from the Hall, mid-way between the public footpath and Shepherd House. One of these trees died, and the other two were felled to make

room for the ninth tee on the links. =


During the last century, there existed a ring of trees, oe beeches and one sycamore, popularly known as ‘““The Clump’’

“The Plump.’’ They stood on the highest point of Fixby, on ne

left of the public footpath going to Shepherd House. On the 22nd of December, 1894, during a most violent storm, the majority of these trees was down or those that survived were felled shortly after the last war.

This may have been the group of trees known as ‘‘Morgan’ s ’? and referred to by Richard Oastler in an open: letter to Thomas Thornhill, his former employer ;— :

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are fond of racing, Sir, but you never saw at Doncaster, Ascot or Newmarket, such good races a8 I have seen in Fixby Park. Oh! how the steeds went prancing and neighing, and kicking and rearing in a race of their own, from Morgan’s Clump ——down the sweep—on the plain—and up the hill to the Shepherd’s Cot—and then back again.’’—(‘‘ Fleet Papers,’’ Vol. I., p. 98).


Tradition says that this old tree which now stands in the I garden of ‘‘Sunninghill,’’ on the right-hand side of Lightridge Road, Fixby, was struck by lightning over two hundred years ago. _ The electric phenomenon resulted in the tree being cleft from top to base, leaving the interior completely hollow.

The oldest residents in Netheroyd Hill and Cowcliffe, and their grandparents before them, have only known the old tree in its present condition. There can be no question that before it was struck by lightning it must have risen to a considerable height. Some persons have expressed the opinion that the Thunderbolt Oak is over 800 years old, and if this statement be correct it must have been a young sapling when Henry I. sat on the throne (1100- 1135).

At. the present time, its height is about 28 feet, and its cir- cumference at the base measures approximately the Same, 7) 2t contains four-cracks or vents, the largest of which faces Light- ridge Road’; this opening is over 20 feet long and measures 19 inches at its greatest width, and ati its smallest, 16 inches. A second crack lies opposite the first, and is 5% feet long, with a greatest width of 9. inches. One half of the tree is quite dead, but four living branches emerge from the other half, and put forth leaves every spring. All the other branches are hollow, and in their cavities as well as in holes to be found at the top’ of the tree, I sparrows and starlings make their nests.

No one knows when the old oak tree was destroyed by light- ning, if the words “Thunderbolt Oak’’ accurately describe it.

Tradition states that shortly after the tree was struck by lightning, a public house was built between it and the site of the present Lightridge House; this public house, so I gather, bore the “name of the Pear Tree la, ’? and some relics belonging to it, a tablet stone bearing the upraised initials [.H.I., a date stone a stone carved to represent a bat or an eagle, a few finials and a head-stone formerly stood in Mr. O. Binns’ garden at Lightridge. House. Some of the stones: of this public house, so I have been

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THE ‘THUNDERBOLT OAK, Lightridge Road.

‘The Relics of the former PEAR TREE INN. Photo by Capt. Geoffrey Binns.


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informed, were used to build the present cual House by Mr. John Platt.

It is related that at one time the interior of the old oak tree was used by a cobbler to repair shoes! 1 have seen a photograph shewing twelve persons standing quite comfortably within its ae

The destruction of the oak tree and the subsequent conflagra- tion must have caused a great impression on the people in Cow- cliffe, for there formerly existed a public house in that locality known as. ‘‘The Blazing Stump’’ opposite the present ‘‘Shepherds’ Arms.’’ ! i


During the last century, a ‘‘poem,’’ or, to be strictly accur- ate, ‘‘doggerel’’ verse, was composed about the Old Oak Tree; this seems to have been a favourite recitation amongst the young- sters of Netheroyd Hill. An old inhabitant could, however, only remember the first four lines, which ran as Follows. ae I

‘‘Yon sturdy oak tree that stands by John Platt’s, Wer’ nobbut a young’ sapling in t’ days that are passed. Our forefathers trained them and brought t’ beg up, And look at them now, so elegant and tair....’’ (3)


This place name is marked on the Map of Almondbury com- piled in the year 1634—a photograph of which is to be seen in Mr. Taylor Dyson’: S “History of Huddersfield and Its District’’ (p. 99): The original map is now in the possession of the Almond- bury Church School. ; is ae

The Gallows Field stood” on the left-hand side of Kaye Lane proceeding from the Church to Castle Hill.

The name conjures upi trials of guilty persons at! the Court held at the Castle on the Hill in the early days of the de Laci ownership of the Manor of Almondbury, of the death sentence being imposed upon them, of their being incarcerated’ in the dun- geons of; the Castle till the day of their execution, of their being led from thence to this field, of their subsequent hanging on a gibbet placed here, which popular tradition, for centuries, has ascribed to it the name of Gallows Field.

Canon Hulbert, in his ‘‘Annals of Almondbury”? (p. 71), when

discussing the Parish Workhouse which stoéd in the vicinity, said :—

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“‘Near which is’ an’ -enclosure called Field,’ where Kane been found pits:of hewn stone similar to that of the Church, with ashes of bodies consumed, remains of executions by fire, either of Martyrs, Criminals or Witches. Ave Court of the Manor had the power of life and death.”’ :

i Unfortunately, the Rolls of the Maibtial Court of Pontefract, unlike those of the Manorial Courts of Wakefield, are non-existent ‘at the moment ; it is not definitely known whether Manorial Courts were held in thé Castle on the Hill before the year 1340. In that year, we learn from the Inquisition held into the Manor of Almond- bury, that the Three Weeks Court of the Honour of Pontefract (of which the Manor of Huddersfield formed a part), was held at Pontefract. i !

The tradition is so strong that it cannot be ignored, and it ‘s just possible (although, as related above, it cannot be proved) that, as the Lord of the Honour of Pontefract had the power of life and death over his tenants in 12th and 13th century days, there may have been executions in this field.

On ‘the other hand, from the Rolls of the Manor of Wake-_ field, we read of a burelary having taken place in Almondbury in 1315, and its sequel :—

Te Be Friday in Whitweek. — John de- Blakhourmore, taken at fue suit of Roger Walgar de Almonbury, for breaking into his house at Almonbury, and stealing goods and chattels, value 10/—, which goods were found in his possession and are brought into Court, is asked what defence he can make for the said burglary and theft’: he pleads not guilty.’’

An inquisition was ordered and found him guilty. I He was ordered to be hanged, but there is no clue given as to whether he was hanged at Wakefield or in the Gallows Field at Almond- idl


‘In the fifties of the last century, a story was current in the parishes of Kirkburton and Farnley Tyas, that many years pre- viously, a certain man had buried his wife in the woods’ surround. Storthes Hall.

. Tradition stated that ae her life-time ie had OY a desire to be interred there rather than in a cemetery as she had dearly loved walking through these woods. In those days, when superstition ran rife, the local villagers were dreadfully perturbed lest they should encounter. the ghost.of this woman! .

Page 26


Some confirmation of this burial took place many years later

when a party of gamekeepers from Storthes Hall (when it was a private residence) went One of the keepers plunged his hand down a rabbit—hole near the roots of a mulberry tree, and; in so doing, encountered a copper nail which bruised his skin rather badly. The removal of the earth around this hole revealed three other nails and a metallic plate some nine inches square on which the following verses had been written diagonally :

‘“Ye sorrows of Winter descend, Gather thickly ye snows on her grave, There is here (does its pureness offend ?) No inward pollution to lave. Be silent, thou place of her rest, Be silent, affections worn tread, Let the quiet in life she loved estos Seal the quiet repose of the dead.’’


Some years ago, a correspondent wrote to the ‘“ Post,’’ drawing attention to a Sun Temple on the summit of West Nab. His observations on his ‘‘ are here re-pro- duced :—

The unique feature at West Nab is dhe three seats cut

the rock of the largest and highest stone, facing the East, doubt- less those of the priests of the sacred Triad, from which they watched for the first rays of the sunrise, when the sacrifice was made. I do not know of any other instance of the three seats anywhere else in Great Britain.’ It would be interesting to take a compass bearing to Castle Hill to East, or to watch on Mid- summer Day, or on the first of May, and note whether the sun rises exactly over Castle Hill, which should have the same relation to the Nab, as the Friars Hill has to Stonehenge.’’ I

‘! East, of the group of rocks on the summit is a large square rock under which is a fairly large cave, but, most interesting of all, in front of it is a circular building of large stones, which forms an entrance or vestibule to the cave. The doorway is formed of

two great monoliths. On the left hand one is a short Ogham

inscription near the base, and in the centre is a large round stone syntal, like the circular building, of the sun, on which the sacred fire must have burned, undying from year’s end to year’s end, from which the Bale fire was lit at every important festival—mid- winter, spring, mid-summer, and in autumn.”’

> =

Page 27


267 ‘. *£ One would like to know when the last Bale fire burned on the summit of West Nab; still more, when did the last priest of Bel or Baal breathe his last in the cave which I find,—from the Ordnance Map, still bears his name—for it is called ‘ Bellman’ s Cave ’—no surname of some moor farmer, but the ‘ Bale-maa,’ the priest of Bel, or Baal, the Sun God, who tended the undying fire’on the round stone which lies there to-day.’’

may have been 1,500 years ago, for Christianity had not

‘penetrated into these valleys till well on into Saxon (Anglian?) days; it may well have been a thousand, for paganism was not

extinguished even at the Norman

‘“Tt is a relic of ancient worship, the remains of which are found from the furthest east to the furthest west, better preserved than many others, and unique in having the fare seats of the Triad, and: the actual residence of the old priest of the Sun.’’ ©

Thus wrote this correspondent, and his “‘ findings ’’ have been frequently quoted as authoritative, even by London newspapers.

I examined this so-called Temple of the Sun on Whit-

. Monday, 1939, and must confess that I was very sceptical as to


the observations and conclusions made by this writer.

In the first place, the ‘‘ vestibule with the doorway formed of two. great monoliths’’ is decidedly modern, these upright stones are quarried after the fashion of 19th century workmanship; the ‘‘ Ogham inscription’’ has been incised by some wag who wanted posterity to know that he had visited the spot (or, as suggested later, by gamekeepers). The so-called syntal shows little traces of having been used for the purpose described by the writer and like the two upright stones, seems very

I am inclined to think that this structure was built for a variety of purposes, perhaps as a sheep-collecting centre or even™ as a sheep dip, perhaps as a place of shelter during heavy rains for gamekeepers, beaters, shepherds, &c., perhaps as a cover for shooting game. I

The ‘‘ vestibule ’’ arrangement was erected against a ‘‘ cave’’ consisting of an irregular flat stone inclined at an angle upon two or three others which are embedded vertically in the peaty soil. This last group of stones certainly has the appearance of a crom- lech similar (but on a smaller scale) to the one at St. Martin’s in the Island of Jersey, but I am of the opinion that this group which

is ‘‘ as old as the hills’’ is the result of glacier action and not

originally erected by those worshippers of the Sun who built the stone circles at Avebury and Stonehenge. The space under the

inclined super-imposed stone could be used as a shelter during a

Page 28

: 968

heavy fall of rain by one or two persons (certainly not more com- fortably) who would have either to lie full length on the peaty floor or else to crouch in an uncomfortable recumbent’ posture !


Further to the west of this so-called Temple i is another group of three stones, two upright and one superimposing them which has a cromlech-like appearance. There can be no doubt whatever that this particular group is also the result of glacier action. As_ for the supposed existence of rock basins there are a large number of well-worn pot holes to be seen on the top of West Nab.

‘*The Daily Express’’ some years ago, in a series of “‘Panels’’ entitled ‘‘ Arms and the Place,’’ in which brief histories of English towns and cities were related, informed its readers that.

or Odersfelte, ‘the territory of Odére, the Chieftain’ was a centre of ancient Druidic worship and the numerous giant’ rocking stones in the neighbourhood are probably relics of its long-forgotten rites. In Saxon times, it was an important Manor, being valued at one hundred shillings. But it was destroyed by the Normans, etc.’

The late Dr. T. W. Woodhead’s comment on the above para- eraph was: * Absolute piffle ! No schoolboy would ever dream of it nowadays.

At the time the was first of the supposed existence of a Sun Temple on West Nab, a special sub-committee © of the Yorkshire Archeological Society visited the site, and as a — result of their investigations, ridiculed the whole idea. What were supposed to be Druidical remains proved to be nothing more than geological phenomena. In the opinion of this committee, the Ogham characters said to be inscribed on some of the stones Soy did not exist, but there were some modern initials chipped by Ee The writer of ie “Panel” in the ‘‘Daily did not explain what a Scylfing Chieftain meant, nor did he give his authority for saying that the Saxon (‘‘Anglian ’’ would have been more accurate) Manor was ‘“destroyed’’ by the Normans.

‘He by saying that Queen Elizabeth had sold the Manor to William Ramsden, whose descendants still owned it (!). It was apparent that this ‘‘ historian ’’ had not heard of the sale of the Ramsden Estates to the Huddersfield Corporation in 1920.


I The above account’ of the’ so-called Temple of the Sun at the top of West Nab affords me an opportunity to give a description

Page 29


and -history of two former Rocking Stones which existed at the top of this hill and which have been subsequently destroyed.


Two Rocking Stones are indicated on Meltham Moor on the Ordnance Map of Huddersfield and Its District are -1854), one near West Nab was 1641 feet above sea level.

(a) The first Rocking Stone stood on Brow Grain: between West Nab and Deer Hill. It was wantonly destroyed one Whit- Monday in 1827 or 1828. The Rev. Joseph Hughes, in his ‘‘ History of Meltham ”’ (p. 4), says that ‘‘ some half dozen masons planned and executed the work of destruction for a frolic. They first endeavoured to accomplish it by blasting it with gunpowder,

on the failure of this scheme, they fetched tools from Deer

Hill, with which they drilled a hole and then wedged it, when the stone fell with a tremendous crash, hardly allowing the man on its summit , who was drawing in the wedge to ‘escape without injury.’

We are fortunate in having a sketch of this Rocking Stone at Meltham, drawn by John Warburton, F.R.S., Somerset Herald, when he visited Huddersfield and Its District in 1720. His sketch plainly shows one stone superimposed upon another, and it is conceivable that the uppermost stone could be rocked on the lower one.

(b) The other Rocking Stone was ved by a former gamekeeper, Mr. Robert Hogg, on the instructions of the owner of the locality, because persons going to see it crossed the moor, and, in so doing during the nesting see were liable to tread on eggs or upon young birds.

One of these two Rocking Stones (probably the former) formed one of the boundaries of the former Manor of Meltham.

At the Inquisition held into that Manor in 1677, the Manorial Jury defined the limits in a lengthy paragraph. Among the boundaries mentioned are:—“‘ From the said Shyton Nabb (Shooter Nabb?) following the ditch onto Rockingstone att Farr . Croft Nabb.’’ ee , I I

(ii) ON WHOLESTONE Moor, NEAR OUTLANE. _ The Rev. J. Watson, in his ‘‘ History of Halifax ’’ (p. 25), says that this (former) Rocking Stone is ‘‘ so situated as to be a boundary mark, dividing the two townships of Golcar and Slaighthwait in the Parish of Huddersfield, adjoining to the Parish of Halifax on Wholestone Moor. The stone as measured by the late Thomas Percival, of Royton, in Lancashire, is 104 feet long,

Page 30


9ft. 4in. or 5in. broad, and 5ft. 3ins. thick. Its weight, sup- posing 70 pounds to the square (? cubic) foot, is 18 tons 190 Ibs. It rests on so small a centre, that at one particular point, a man may cause it to rock; though some years ago (previous to 1775) it was damaged a little, in this respect, by some masons, who endeavoured, but in vain, to throw it off its centre, in order to discover the principle on which so large a weight was made to move.’ : oan

about the year 1886, the whole of the Rocking Stone was removed by blasting operations in the adjoining quarry. While I was exploring the locality in 1936, an old resident in- formed me that he had sat upon the stone when a youth and had caused ‘it to rock. I I

The Rocking Stone on Wholestone Moor is still indicated on modern Ordnance maps, and the place name is still preserved as the postal address of two houses which have been built below the quarry. I

: nl tee 7S VLA pf APF FF a Eo PS DA Lh hip FEL ihe > Co

7 Lip




Sketoh by John Warburton, 1720. Enlarged by Mr. L. Ellis.

Page 31




A great deal of speculation has arisen over the origin of this :— ee I

(i) Some have put forward the theory that the first structure was erected by a man of the name of Cooper! This is. sheer invention and based on the analogy that Jackson Bridge was built over a stream in the valley separating Totties from Mealhill by Mr. Henry Jackson who died in 1710 (Dr. H. J. Morehouse,

~‘*The History of Kirkburton and the Graveship of Holme,’’

p- 201). (ii) A contributor to Puck’s ‘‘In and About Column ”’ in the ‘‘ Huddersfield Daily Examines ’? suggested, ‘‘ the possi-— bility is'that the original name is Cooper’s Bridge, the coopers being cask-makers who carried on their industry in the neighbour— hood generations ago,’’—a most fascinating but inaccurate theory.

As a matter of fact, the prefix Cooper in Cooper Bridge is a

corruption of Cowford or Couford. In 1836, we find the then

bridge referred to as le Couford, ‘‘ the bridge over Keldre (Calder)

~ between le Couford and the Abbot’s grange at Bradley.’’

Le Couford was the name given to the ford over which cows

~ could cross the River Calder in post—-Conquest days before the

bridge was built. ' a to I The first bridge over the Calder in the vicinity of le Couford

was built by the Monks of Fountains who possessed lands in

Bradley. The earliest reference to a structure of this sort is in a deed dated before the year 1177 when Ralph, son of Nicholas, granted the monks, lands in this district, ‘‘ and the strengthening © of their bridge over the Calder where they wish over the same bridge.’’ The date of the grant is not known, but it was confirmed by Henry de Laci, Lord of the Honour of Pontefract (including the Manors of Huddersfield and Bradley) before his death in 1177 (‘Early Yorkshire Charters,” edited by F. W. Farrar, Vol. III.,

The Monks of Fountains were enjoined to keep the Couford Bridge in a good state of repair, but during the 14th century, the rickety. state of the wooden bridge caused a great deal of anxiety to the folk in the neighbouthood of Bradley.

I In the 18th century Brighouse and Rastrick had come under the control of the Manor of Wakefield, whose lords, the

de Warennes, Earls of Surrey (p. 124), held their Manorial Courts

and Court Leets at Rastrick, at Kirkburton, at Halifax and at Wakefield itself. > ee I

Page 32


COOPER BRIDGE, previous to its demolition in 1936. Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the “Huddersfield Examiner.”

Page 33


I References to the ruinous state of this structure are to be found in the Wakefield Court Rolls:

On the Wednesday of Whitweek A 1309, at the Sheriff’ Ss Tourn (or Court Leet) held at Rastrick, we read :

Abbot and Convent of Fountains who are bound to make and repair Bradeley Bridge, leave it unmade, in prejudice of - the Earl (de Warrenne) and his liberty, and to the great damage and nuisance of the whole country. acy are to be ‘distrained when found.’’ '

This had apparently no ‘effect, for at the Manorial Court held at Wakefield on June 1, 1309, the order was issued, ‘* Distrain the Abbot when found ”’ ( !).

Evidently neither the Abbot nor his Monks were ‘‘ found,”’’

did the Abbot effect substantial repairs, for in 1310, the same

bridge was declared by the Manorial Jury to be ‘‘ broken and in ruin, to the grave damage of these parts adjacent, and the great of men and animals crossing it, and that no-one is of right held to repair it, construct it, or sustain it, excépt by his (the I _Abbot’s) special goodness or freewill, and what the Abbot did, was of his special goodness.’’( !)

This paragraph expiains the Abbot’ S to the safety of travellers in 1309-1310, but the continual thunderings of the Manorial Jury fell on ‘deaf ears, for, in October, 1315, at the Tourn held at Rastrick, that body of men decreed : I

‘The Abbot of Fountains is bound to keep Bradely bridge in order, and it is now in disrepair. He is amerced 40s., and is distrained by 13 horses.’’

Still the stubborn Abbot of Fountains refused to move in che matter, and in 1317, he was again distrained for its repair.

On this occasion, the Jury related that the bridge was built during the reign of Henry III. (1216-1272). This was an error on their part; they may have mistaken Henry III. for Henry II. (1154-1189), or perhaps the first bridge built before the year 1177 (previously referred to) may have been destroyed and a second one built somewhere else over the river during the reign of Henry III.

The Jurors, however, said that the bridge had been built by some Abbot where none had existed before for the convenience of his Grange (at Bradley), and that it was constructed on his soil from one side of the middle of the water and on the soil of the Prioress of Kirklees to the middle of the water on the other.’ Some sort of pressure must have been brought. to bear upon the Jury at this inquiry, for they gave a verdict in favour of the Abbot

Page 34


i ”


Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the “ Huddersfield E x

Page 35


and it was ordered that the distraint previously enjoined, should not take place.

3 Throughout the 14th Senna the struggle- between the Abbot and the Steward of the Manor of Wakefield continued; in the Court Roll of 1336, there is the reference to the bridge ‘“ over Keldre between le Couford and the Grange at Bradley.’’

In 1366, the Abbot of ‘‘ ffunteigns’’ was summoned at the.

Court held at Rastrkbrighouse ‘‘ for not repairing the bridge over Keldre’’ and was fined 6s. 8d.!

How long this state of affairs continued is not known, but a century later, in 1488, the sum of 6s. 8d. was bequeathed for the repair of Cowford Bridge; while as late as 1575, John Horsfall, of Woodhouse, ‘‘in Huddersfield,’’ by his will, bequeathed ‘‘40 pence to Cowper brigg for repairs,’’ and he likewise donated ‘‘ 20 pence to Huddersfield brigg.’’ Apparently, he held Cooper Bridge in higher esteem than a predecessor of the modern Somerset Bridge.

In the year 1581, Parliament took up the question of the

repair of bridges by a Statute which empowered the Justices of I

the Peace to enquire and determine at the General Sessions, “‘ all manner of annoyances of broken bridges.’’ This Act ordered the

J.P.’s assembled in the Court of Quarter Sessions to levy a rate >

for the repair of bridges upon the inhabitants of the district in which these structures were situated; the Act also enjoined the ].P.’s to appoint collectors of this rate, and surveyors to investi- gate broken bridges and to supervise the work of repair.

It is not known whether any repairs to Cooper Bridge were effected as a result of this Act of Parliament, for the first extant Rolls of the W.R. Court of Quarter Sessions only begin with the year 1597 and continue till 1602. In these Rolls there is no mention of Cooper Bridge, and it is not until the year 1638 that we read of an order issued by the Court for the building. of a stone bridge under the River Calder :—

Pontefract, April 3rd, 1638.

‘“Forasmuch as this Cort is informed of the great decayes of Cowper bridge over the River Calder in this West Riding, and of the necessitye thereof, and takeing into consideration what

severall summes of money have beene formerly allowed towards

the repaire thereof, are further certified that the said bridge very necessarilye ought to be builte of stone, considering the suddaine floods that come downe under the said bridge, which, now being of wood, is continually a danger to be driven downe the water and taken away.

‘itt as therefore orderd bs dis Cort that Sir William Savile,

_ Barronet, Sir John Savile, Knt., and John Kay and ES

Page 36


Thornhill, or any more of them shall, with some skilfull workemen, viewe the said bridge and contract with the workemen for the building (of) a new bridge thereof stone, if they shall so thinke fitt, and what summe they agree upon that to be estreated and levyed

upon the whole West Riding, and collected by the severall high

Constables there, and paid over unto John Armitage, of Kirklees,

Esquire, and John Naylor, of Clifton, who are appointed by this I

Cort to be surveyors of that worke.’

certificate made that the sum of £350 will But builte

(= build) a bridge of stone there, the said summe is accordinglye I

estreated upon the West Riding.”’

The work of erecting a new bridge proceeded during the winter of 1638-9, but the sum voted for the cost did not prove sufficient and consequently a further sum of £16 10s. Od. was ordered by the J.P.’s at their Halifax Sessions on October 1, 1639:

Whereas Sir John Savile, Knt., John Kay, esq., and others, his ‘Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, having viewed the work at Cowper alias Cowford bridge, do certify how well and sufficiently the same is performed by the workmen there, and that they con- ceive the sums formerly allowed for that work is not sufficient.’

‘‘ Ordered that the sum of £16 10s. Od. shall be estreated upon this W.R., and collected by the several high constables there, and paid over unto the said workemen, being over and above the

sum which remaineth in the hands of the above-named Sir


I This bridge was 13ft. 6in. in width and served its purpose till about the middle of the 18th century, when it was re-

widened, although a portion of the older 1638 structure was

retained. In 1936-87, the present Cooper Bridge was erected. I


(4) Near

A good deal has been written concerning this Obelisk which stands at the junction of the Huddersfield—Leeds Road and the Brighouse—Leeds Road, not far from Cooper Bridge.

‘Because of its proximity to the ancient Priory of Kirklees, few antiquarians and topographers “during the last century (and even in this) believed that it was a Sanetuary Cross connected with that Nunnery. I

Page 37


One of the first to this Sat was Hobkirk in his © ‘‘ History of Huddersfield ’’ (Ist Edn. pp. 62-63), written in 1859, wherein he said that the ‘‘ Dumb Steeple ’’ was ‘‘ supposed to be a corruption of ‘Doom Steeple.’’’ He then continued : ne

Priory of Kirklees was one of the places privileged as a. Sanctuary, where any persons guilty of a crime were secure for the space of forty days, during which time they might confess their guilt and submit to banishment, and if any layman expelled them, he was excommunicated, and if a clerk, he was made irregular. This Dumb Steeple is believed to have marked one. of the. boundaries of the sanctuary, upon an which {16 doomed person was safe during the time named.”’ —

Two other historians have followed Hobkirk I in ak i I

(a) The late Mr. J. Horsfall Turner, in Hastor of Brighouse, Rastrick and Hipperholme ”’ (p. 205), stated that Dumb I Steeple probably meant Steeple,’’ indicating that a doomed person, on reaching this point, was safe. ‘‘These places I of sanctuary, like the Cities of Refuge in the Bible, were a public © benefit in lawless times, but the civil authorities stamped them out as much as possible, and, in 1548, they were totally abolished.”

(b) Mr. C. E. Wright, in his ‘‘ History Through Architec— ture,’’ (p. 31), is also of the same opinion.

But this theory of Dumb Steeple being a Sanctuary Cross, however interesting it may be, is unsubstantiated, for,

(i) It is very doubtful whether Sanctuary Rights were ever -accorded to the Nunnery of Kirklees, such privileges were usually eranted to Abbeys, Monasteries, and kindred male institutions. The Charters of Kirklees Priory were published and annotated by the late Sir George Armytage, Bart., and the late Mr. S. J. Chad- wick, of Dewsbury (Y.A.J., Vol. XVI. p. 319, p. 464, Vol. XVII. p. 420), and not one of those contains any reference to the precincts of the. Priory ever having been used for that purpose.

(ii) Sanctuary rights were granted to St. John’s Minster, at — Beverley, and to Durham Cathedral (among other places). Two persons from Almondbury, Robert Beaumont, ‘‘ Litteratus ”’ (a person capable of reading), and Elizabeth Beaumont, “ Gentil—. woman,’’ on the 26th of September, 1480, ‘‘ came for the peace of St. John of Beverley, for the death of Thomas Aldirlay de whom they had themselves killed in the previous October of the reign of Edward IV.’’ (Surtees Society, Vol. I.,

p. 162).

Again, on the 26th of October, in the reign of one of the Henries (the document says Henry XIV., but this is an error,

Page 38


Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the

Huddersfield Examiner.”


Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the “ Huddersfield Examiner ”


Page 39


as there has not yet been a King Henry XIV. on the throne of Eng- land), ‘‘ Robert Nelson, formerly of Huddersfield, came for the peace and liberty of St. John of Beverley for the death of Richard Hyndson and all other felonies and murders.’’ (Surtees Society, View bi, p, 160).

Is it conceivable that Robert Beaumont, Elizabeth Beaumont

and Robert Nelson would have tramped wearisome jouurneys in those days from Almondbury and Huddersfield to the Minster of Sf. John. at Beverley, near Hull, to do penance for their crimes

and receive absolution, if, so to speak; there was a Sanctuary at.

their own door step, ae. at the Kirklees Priory?

(iii) The distance of the present obelisk from the centre of the Priory precludes it to have been a Sanctuary. Such rights were. restricted to the cemeteries and churchyards of the Abbey, Monastery and Church in question.

Il. Another theory, somewhat fanciful in its conception, it

: ‘“ steeple ’’ with—

must be admitted, is, that, as this structure is a out a bell, so therefore it must be ‘‘dumb’’!

Commenting in this theory, Mr. Taylor Dyson, M.A., in his ‘‘History of Huddersfield and District’? (p. 328), wrote: it is that many instances are known of steeples being built apart from the main monastic building, but belonging to it, and being within the precincts of the monastic grounds.”’

_ As suggested above, there is no evidence whatever to suggest that the present obelisk, which, there is good reason to believe,


re-places a former one and was erected in mid-eighteenth century _

days, was ever part. of the Priory of Kirklees.

And now we come to the real problem. What was cae reason

for the erection of the first Dumb Steeple? On this point there

are two rival theories which can now be discussed.

(1) A Boundary Mark.

It is possible that the original pillar which preceded the present Dumb Steeple may have been erected to define the limits of several townships and parishes which converge in its vicinity, viz., Mirfield, Clifton and Hartshead, or, it may have been a land- mark on a boundary between two properties which may have designated the settlement of some dispute regarding them. As

will be stated, when discussing the Haigh Cross, this procedure

of erecting a post or pillar was frequently resorted to in the Middle Ages. (p. 285). The view that the Dumb Steeple is a Boundary Mark is held by such an authority on ecclesiastical history and antiquities as Professor J. Hamilton Thompson, M.A.,

D.Litt., formerly Professor of History at Leeds University.

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The word ‘‘ Steeple,’’ is, no doubt, a corruption of the word — ‘“ Staple,’’ a word derived from an old English root, ‘‘ stapul, stapel,’’ meaning a post or pillar of stone or of wood.

Mr. Armitage Goodall, in his ‘‘ Place Names in South- West Yorkshire,’’ does not discuss the origin of the phrase Dumb Steeple, but under ‘*. Stapleton ’’ (p. 269) says :— I

‘The word ‘staple’ is found in place-names under a variety of ‘circumstances. The long list of Staplefords in the country — shows how common it was in older days to use posts in order to mark out the point at which a stream might be crossed. Places where goods might be exposed for sale or markets held, were frequently distinguished in the same way.’

F “ollowing up this line of argument, the word Dumb ”’ may be a corruption of the Latin word ‘‘ Dom ’’ or ‘‘ Domini,’’ mean - ing ‘‘of the Lord,’’ and it is possible that Dumb Steeple may be a distorted of ‘‘Domini Stapulus,’’ meaning the Lord’s post or staple, the boundary pillar set upon his estates by some

feudal magnate in the Middle Ages.

This, I think, after most careful consideration, is the origin of both the phrase and of the purpose of the erection of this obelisk.

(2) Yet another theory as to its origin has been formulated ; it was believed by some former topographers that the former pillar was a relic of the primitive worship of Phallus, which is thought by some antiquaries to have been universal.

Mr. Henry Speight, in an article which appeared in the ‘York- shire Weekly Post ’’ some years ago, wrote ie following account of conical stones :-— I

‘“ The most ancient ieligion of Syria, Phoenicia and of Canaan consisted in the marriage of heaven with earth, or of the vivifying, mysterious action of fire in the waters of the Celestial Ocean.

Conical stones and even huge rough blocks of stone became the expression of this religion in an idol form. Originally, they were, like the temple stones of the Druids, rough and untouched by tools, except’ such as were necessary to procure them.

_ several places in the West Riding, there are,: in my judgment, still existing monuments of this primitive worship. They are known by the not very enlightening name of Dumb Steeples. No legends or traditions appertain to them, nothing is known of their origin or, history, and still they stand dumb or silent witnesses to the creed of a pre- - historic age, once probably universal in these islands.

Page 41


is a Dumb Steeple near the gates of Kirklees Park,

on the Huddersfield Road, but this is a comparatively late erection,

and, in all probability, commemorates, in an altered form, a relic of Phallic Worship.’

(zs) ON Grance Moor.

is also a Dumb ,Steeple on Grange Moor some two miles North-West of Flockton and about five miles East of Huddersfield. I

It is a conical structure of rough unmortared stone some six feet in diameter at its base end, about 20 to 25 feet in height; on its Southern face it contains a tablet stone which has inscribed ‘upon it the following particulars :


The tablet stone suggests that the former pillar or obelisk must’ have been in a ruinous state previous to that year, and that Mr. R. H. Beaumont, (1748-1810), the well-known antiquarian of Whitley Hall, wished to preserve the memory of whatever had stood there previously. I

Mr. H. Speight, in the article previously mentioned, wrote:

‘It occupies a fine prospecting site at the North-East verge of a piece of table land which towards the East rises the tree- crowned slopes of Brown Hill. The latter may suggest an owner’s or resident’s name, but formerly this was all unenclosed moor- land, with no house or habitation upon it, and I am disposed to believe the name a survival of the Cymric—Celtic ‘‘bron’’ (pro- brown), meaning a hill slope or bank, which exactly suits it. If this be correct, we have here preserved a name as old as the time when this peculiar form of nature worship prevailed in this district.’’

The late Mr. Legh Tolson, in his ‘‘ History of Kirkheaton (p. 21), said: I I ;

is an absence of legend or tradition concerning it, but the fact that it was re-built 150 years ago by the owners of the Whitley estate, shows it to have been an object of interest or importance at the time. No doubt when it was first erected, Grange Moor was unenclosed common land, and it has been suggested that’ the obelisk marks an ancient boundary of the


Page 42


Beaumonts of Whitley and the Lister- of Grange Moor. It is appropriately called Dumb Steeple for it tells us and remains a silent witness of we know not what.”’

There is a third of these Dumb Steeples at Sandal Magna, near Wakefield, and I am strongly of the opinion that the threc of them were originally erected as boundary marks.


There are many mistaken ideas concerning the original pur-— pose for which this Cross was erected. It is situated in a field at the end of Crosland Road, Lindley, at the left hand side near its junction with the Outlane—-Rastrick Road.

The Haigh Cross is a plain pillar of sandstone about three yards high above its rectangular about a foot square. Its base consists of two stones clamped together with iron plates; in the centre of the base stone is the socket to receive the pillar. The base is two. yards square and eight inches thick. I

On the side facing Outlane, in a sort of panel, is the repre- sentation of a Yorkshire red grouse (quite common on Wholestone Moor, near Outlane), regardant, the Quarmby Crest’; under these appear the words ‘‘Quarmby de Quarmby’s Crest, 1304. > Om the other side, the north-eastern, appear the words: ‘‘ Re-erected by Teas 1808, after being wilfully pulled down.”’ I

The earliest documentary reference to the first Haigh Cross occurs in the Parish Registers of All Hallows, Almondbury,

wherein we are told of a tragic taking place in its vicinity

in February, 1568-9 :

‘* 1568, Rychard Hyrste off Mylnes Brygge commynge from Halyfax Market on Satyrdaye ye xii daye of Februarie was through a greate snow left and stopped—the dryfte of snow was so greate, and beynge alone all Satyrdaye nyghte geryshed and died on Lynlaye Moore, not farre from a cross called Hayghe Crosse, and was found on the morrow after, his horse standynge bye hym— even harde bye hym,—and was brought home to his owne house and buryed at Almondburye Monday ye xiili daye of Februarie.’ (Quoted by Cankon C. A. Hulbert, ‘‘ Annals of ALOE eo “po

ty Beis certain that this tragedy) did not take ete near the present Haigh Cross. The existing obelisk has a decidedly modern appearance and shows little signs of having been weathered as in the case of other crosses in the vicinity of Hud-


Page 43

983 There is no doubt whatever that the first cross which was erected in that vicinity was originally intended to be a boundary mark. Confirmation of this view is borne out by the derivation of the word “ Haigh,’’ which the late Mr. W. E. Haigh, in his ‘* Dialect of the Huddersfield District,’’ explained as:

(i) A ridge or bank of earth for an enclosure. (ii) A long, low, natural hill, resembling such a bank of earth.

(iii) A small hamlet or group of houses and outbuildings, generally on or near the top of a hillside, originally fenced with a trenched haigh topped with haigh trees, for protection. Hence came the family of Haigh, the ancestral bearers of which lived in these enclosed places.

(iv) The red berry of the haigh tree or hawthorn, which is stiil the commonest tree for fencing in of fields and other enclosures. (‘‘ Glossary of the Dialect of Huddersfield District,’’ pp. 27-28).

In the vicinity of the Haigh Cross are the following farm— steads :—Haigh House Hill, Haigh House, Haigh Cross Farm.

As the late Mr. W. E. Haigh suggested, the family of Haighs in this locality originated from the locality name of Haigh. In one of the Hopton Charters, we read that John Hagh, son and heir of John Hagh, of Hagh House gave lands to his brother Thomas Hagh in 1430. (Y.A.J., Vol. IV., p. 164).

Mr. Armitage Goodall, in his work ‘‘ Place Names in South West Yorkshire,’’ (p. 152), when discussing the derivation of the word ‘‘ Haigh,’’ compares it with an Old English word haga, Middle English, haghe, meaning an enclosure, or small farm, or from a Danish root, hagz, meaning an enclosure, Old Norse, hagi, meaning a hedged field or pasture. He also states that the first documentary reference of the word ‘‘ Haigh’’ is one of the Charters of Fountains Abbey dated 1199 where it is. written ‘Vrach :

There is very good reason to believe that a Boundary may have been erected in Lindley in the Middle Ages. In 1219, the de Quarmbys, who owned the Manors of Lindley and Quarmby were involved in a land dispute with two feudal magnates, William de Bellomonte of Crosland and Colin de Quatremars, both of whom then owned ‘‘Moieties’’ of the Manor of Huddersfield under the overlordship of John de Laci, Lord of the Honour of Pontefract. After some delay, the manorial jury decided that, as the estate of forty acres in Quarmby had been formerly held by Thomas de Quarmby, the father of John de Quarmby, so it rightfully descended to his son. Consequently, John de Quarmby was re- instated in his lands and the defendants fined. (Y.A.J., Vol. VIII., PEO Ke: I


Page 44


THE HAIGH CROss. I Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the Reproduced by courtesy of the Proprietors of the “ Huddersfield Examiner.” - Huddersfield Examiner.”


Page 45

‘ I 285 Hence, it is quite possible, that after this lawsuit, a boundary stone was erected to define the northern limits of the de Quarmby lands in the former manors of Quarmby-cum-Lindley, for boundary stones or crosses were erected after disputes between two neighbouring overlords had been settled either by law or by arbitration. The fact that the de Quarmby crest is carved upon the modern cross apparently supports this hypothesis.

‘On the other hand, there have been at least Hinge other theories put forward as to why the first Haigh Cross was erected; all of which, as wt be subsquently observed, are devoid of founda - tion.


(a) In this connection, the late Mr. G. W. Tomlinson, in his work on ‘‘ The Founders of the Huddersfield Subscription Library, 1807,’’ (published in 1875) stated that ‘‘it is said to have been erected by one of the Haighs in memory of one of the victims of the Elland Feud.”’

It will be remembered that one of the conspirators in that Feud was a man called Haigh, who, incidentally, only played a minor part in it. The above statement has sometimes been as a reason why the obelisk bears the name of Haigh — Cross. But if this were historically true, why was the de Quarmby crest’ engraved upon it? Should not the crest of the Haigh family have appeared upon the monument? And, in any case, the date 1304 now appearing upon the pillar is some thirty-seven years too early to have perpetuated either the memory of. the Feud or of any one of its actors.

(b) Mr. Thomas Castle, in *' ‘The Journal of the Spen Valley Literary and Scientific Society,’’ (Vol. I., No. 5, p. 34), when re- -telling the story of the Elland Feud, remarked ait the - Haigh Cross in the following paragraph :—

or nothing has been published that we are aware of regarding its history, but we suspect that it has close associations with the Elland Feud which took place about this time and in which one of the Quarmbys lost his life in Ainley Wood, not far away on the slopes of the hill towards Elland. The date 13804 scarcely agrees, for Quarmby’s death is assumed to be a few years later, but during the same century. It is singular as recording two names which played an important part in this Feud, and may may have an important bearing in connection with it.’’

As already stated, it is very doubtful whether the origial cross had any connection with the aftermath of the Elland Feud. Ii the de Quarmby family had had any desire to perpetuate the

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986 I s

memory of either “Old Hugh ’’ who was murdered in PY

Hall in 1341 by Sir John de Eland the elder, or of his son William,

who was slain by the men of Elland in ‘Ainley Wood in 1351, ©

commemoration crosses or posts would have been set up on or near the places where both the father and the son died.

(c) The late Mr, Sykes, in his ‘‘ History of Hud-

dersfield and its Vicinity,’’ (p. 441), stated that’ the Haigh Cross

was ‘* popularly supposed to commemorate the Elland Feud.’’ II.—A RELicious Cross,

The late.Mr. J. Horsfall Turner, in his ‘‘ History of Brig— house, Rastrick and Hipperholme,’’ held the view that the first Haigh Cross was one of a series of such which had been erected along the road from the Roman fort at Slack (Outlane) to York after the traditional visit of Paulinus to this district, circa.

A.D. 680. He mentioned that these crosses, the Walton Cross, the I Haigh Cross, etc., ‘‘ on the line of the Roman street are probably

our oldest relics.’

But, as already (p. 23), the present pillar in the field at the corner of Crosland Road is decidedly modern and does not date to Anglian days.

I third ‘‘theory ’’ concerning the origin of the Haiph Cross states that it marks the spot where Robin Hood shot his last arrow from the Gatehouse of Kirklees Priory! This piece of fiction may be dismissed in a few words as the product of some fanciful person’s imagination who had not read the traditional story of the medizval highwayman or who wished to add to the confusion already prevailing around the legend.

HaprpENep to THE First Haicu Cross?

It seems certain that a destruction of this Cross took place in 1807 or 1808. This can be inferred from the words on the present pillar, ‘‘ after being wilfully pulled down.’’ I am inclined to think that whenever it was hurled down, the cross was so dreadfully mutilated that it could not be erected in toto. As stated pr eviously (p. 91), some hostility to the Thornhills of Fixby, on whose land the cross then stood, seems to have been manifested about this time, and may have shown itself in this peculiar manner. Consequently, Thomas “Thornhill, whose ancestor had purchased the Manor of Quarmby—cum- -Lindley from Sir Edward Barkham in 1634, re-erected it in 1808, and modestly informed posterity of the fadt in these words :— I I

‘“Re-erected by T.T. after being wilfully pulled down, 1808."

It would seem, although one cannot be certain on this point, that a replica of the original boundary cross was set up. Neither


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Watson, in his ‘‘ History of Halifax,’’ written in 1775, Whitaker, in his ‘‘ Loidis and Elmete,’’ written in 1816, refers to the Haigh Cross. The latter could certainly have thrown light upon the circumstances which led to the re-erection of the Haigh Cross in 1808, while the former could ‘have given us information concerning its predecessor. I


I am inclined to think that the position of the present obelisk is not on the site of the former boundary cross. It is quite possible that’ previous to its having been pulled down, the original cross stood by the wayside at the corner of Crosland Road and New Hey Road, in the same manner that a number of boundary stones, directional stones and milestones are to be seen on both sides of the latter road. Thomas Thornhill, possibly fearing a repetition of the previous vandalism, if it were re-erected upon its old site, _ caused it to be placed in a field then leased to one of his trusted tenants.

The late Mr. D. F. E. Sykes, in his ‘‘ History of Hudders- field and its Vicinity’’ (p. 441), gives a hint that attempts were made in the middle of the last century to remove the cross. He stated that it was due ‘‘ to the late Councillor John Haigh of Lindley, we owe it that this ancient monument has not shared the fate of so many other relics of the past.” I : * % * * an In 1931, I wrote a short article in the Borough Advertiser’’ on ‘‘The Haigh Cross’’ as a concluding paragraph to one on ‘‘ Quarmby Hall.’’ In this article, I formulated a theory that’ there had been three Crosses in the vicinity of the existing one and that the predecessor of the present obelisk had been set up by one of the Thornhills of Fixby after that family had acquired the Manor of Quarmby in 1634, or perhaps, shortly after the transcript of the ballad of the Elland Feud first appeared, probably in 1650. : I I I

After eleven years of serious reflection upon the.above theory, I must confess that I am compelled to abandon it until positive documentary evidence is forthcoming to prove that the Cross wilfully destroyed in 1808 was the same as that mentioned in the Almondbury Parish Church Registers of the year 1568-69, (p. 282).

* et * * *%

For the benefit of \future archeologists, historians and topo- eraphers, may I state that there exists a strong local tradition that the land in the vicinity of the Haigh Cross contains buried

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under it a Roman Amphitheatre? -Of course, only a systematic and scientifically organised plan of excavational work would determine the truth of this tradition. In support of this claim of a buried amphitheatre, the ies arguments have been adduced :—

(i) The Haigh Cross is about two miles along the Roman road east of Slack where from A.D. 79 to A.D. 125, the Romans had a military camp described Mr. Ian Richmond, M.A., in his ‘* Hud- dersfield in Roman (Handbook No. 4; Tolson Memorial Museum Publications). It is possible that the Romans may have built a ‘‘recreational centre’’ at this distance from the more serious part of their headquarters at Slack.

(ii) This Roman road is marked on the Ordnance Map of Huddersfield compiled by Lieut. C. E. Penrice in 1848-1854, and is also indicated by Mr. Ian Richmond on his map in the Hand- book mentioned above.

(iii) A large quantity of Roman coins was found in an urn by Mr. J. Armitage, the grandfather of the late Mr. J. Scott Armi- tage, J.P., at Haigh Cross Farm: about the year 1820. Two * eee “brasses, > one of Vespasian, A.D. 71 and one of Aurelian 271-275, were described by Mr. Ian Richmond. A third ae 18am. the possession of Major Joseph Walker, O. Boks, and also dates from the reign of Vespasian.

(iv) The ground, ‘in the field in which the Haigh Cross lies, slopes, and, as already suggested, may have buried in its soil, the seats of this traditional amphitheatre. I


While collecting information relating to this landmark in August, 1929, I was told a number of fanciful stories as to why the Jower was erected :—

(i) One person me that it was built to commemorate the victory of British troops! In 1860-61, (the years during which it was erected), we were at peace with our Continental neighbours. If the Tower were set up to commemorate the Crimean War of 1854-1856, the promoters of the scheme were a few years late in achieving their object.

(ii) Another told me that it was erected as a memorial: Richard Oastler who died on the 22nd of August, 1861. It is

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THe Loncwoop Tower. or 7 Nas Enp Tower,

Page 50


hardly conceivable that such an erratically constructed ‘monument’ would have perpetuated the memory of the man ‘‘ who labour and suffered for poor children.’ :

(iii) It was also thought by some persons that the setting up of this Tower perpetuated, in a new guise, the old-time procedure of placing beacons on prominent hills and mountains. As beacon I fires were lit on the top of Castle Hill during the threatened in- vasion of England by Philip II. of Spain and his Invincible Armada in 1588, and at the time of a second threat of invasion in 1805 when Napoleon collected an army at Boulogne, so it was imagined that if it were deemed necessary for such fires to be lit at a future date, Nab End Tower would be a suitable spot on which a beacon could be placed. But the invention of the telegraph in 1858 whereby news could be flashed from the sea coast to inland. towns rendered beacon fires completely out-of-date. It appears that a similar tower was built’ at Linthwaite near the Church, but very few traces of its former existence can be seen.

(iv) A small boy told me that it had been built by a ne and dumb man, and that this was the reason why it was so irregular !

Certain it is that there was a skilled mason amongst those I who helped to build it, namely, George Hellawell, who was deaf and dumb. A tablet stone bearing his initials G.H. was built into the Tower which was ‘‘ opened ” on Longwood ‘‘ Thump ”’ Satur- ‘day, 1861. I

There are two slightly different versions of the origin of the erection of the Tower :— I

(i) The first’ (as far as I can trace) appeared in the ‘‘ Hudders- field Chronicle ’’ about the year 1880 in a series of articles ‘“Rambles Around Huddersfield,’’ written by ‘‘ Rambler ’’ who did valuable pioneer work in writing up the stories of prominent landmarks :

The Tower rises from a plateau on the top of the Hill and is five or six yards in height. It was erected about twenty years ago under rather singular circumstances. Trade was depressed, and one of the unemployed said to his companions in a joking manner that as they had nothing better to do, they should copy the example of the Antedeluvians and build a Tower. The site having been selected, and stone being abundant, building opera- I tions were at once commended. Architects and plans were never dreamt of—they could work better without them than with them—and no one knew what was to be the design of the structure when completed, or to what height it had ta be carried, though none were so ambitious as the Babelites.’

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291 “* As the building rose the interest increased, and it so turnad out that what began in play ended in earnest. Skilled workmen came on the scene and exercised a general superintendence over the builders. Having reached an altitude of twelve or fifteen yards, operations ceased‘ and the men turned their attention to filling up the chasm adjoining. This was done, and there was then obtained a level piece of ground capable of affording standing room for about two thousand persons.’’ :

‘“The place was a favourite resort at the time, and occa- I sionally a lecturer or preacher held forth from the top of. the Tower to the’ assemblage of persons on the platform. Large bonfires have also been lit here and at the same time at Linthwaite Tower on the opposite hill.”’

The above account of the origin of the building of the Pott was reproduced in a considerably condensed form by the Rev. J. E. Roberts, M.A., a former Vicar of St. Mark’s Church, Long— wood, and now of St. Bartholomew’s Church at Meltham, in his Annals of Longwood ”’ (p. 38).

An almost contemporary version says that the Tower was built by working men of the neighbourhood of Longwood, who, having a great deal of time in consequence of the slackness of trade, ‘‘ took it into their heads to build a memorial of their industry and good habits instead of wasting their time and money in the public—house.’’

When the Tower was completed, a dinner was held in the open air, and about a hundred of those who had assisted in the building of the structure celebrated the occasion.

(ii) On the other hand, Mr. G. Crowther Hirst: ai Grey- lands,’’ of Almondbury, writes me the following :

"The. idéa that gets put abroad about this Tower is that it was built to commemorate sad times. This is not correct; the young men of that date, to employ their time in the summer evenings, started quarrying the stones from the disused quarries adjacent, and a deaf man, George Hellawell, built the Tower. They did it merely for amusement, ahd gave them a _ trifle for drinks, which they casually had after their evening’s work..’ I : I

The Tower was built on land belonging to Mr. William Shaw, of Botham Hall, Longwood, and his permission was obtained before building operations commenced. The land on which the Tower stands originally formed a parcel of the Thornhill estates in Lindley-cum-Quarmby; some of these estates were sold by the Trustees of Miss Clara Thornhill (p. 260) in 1854, and Mr. William Shaw purchased the land in the of the Tower. I

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992 At the time ‘‘ Rambler’’ wrote his articles to the ‘‘ Hudders- field Chronicle ’’ (1880), the Tower was in a dilapidated condition. The above writer continued :

‘But the tower is not what it once was. It was dry built and the builders had little discretion as to the shape of the stones they used, while the manner in which they were put together is just what one might expect! from a number of novices.”

‘‘ During the last twenty years, visitors to the place have «mused themselves in throwing stones from the top, and then by degrees it has been reduced in height, till the top is only five or six yards from the ground. The sooner the remaining portion is thrown down the better, for large fissures extend along the sides in. various directions, giving indications of approaching dissolu- tion and were it not for a large buttress, it would possibly soon be razed to the ground. The approach to the summit is of the clumsiest description, loose stones being thrown about in con- fusion and if one is not careful, he runs the risk of rolling over the sides and being precipitated again to the bottom.’’ ;

Fortunately, the Tower was not razed to the ground, and apparently, after ‘‘ Rambler’s’’ article had appeared in print, Mr. George Shaw, the grandson of the above Mr. William Shaw, saw some workmen idling at the base of the Tower; he inquired from some of them the reason for their being out of work, on being told he asked them to repair the structure, and, according to one account, he paid them for its renovation and repair. I

Mr. G. C.. Hirst tells me that ‘‘ the young men of Longwood conveyed’ the stones voluntarily to the site of the Tower, and anyone who came near the work was called upon to give them some money for drinks. I was myself among the number. The stones were passed on from hand to hand in a human chain,’’—a procedure that had been adopted when the Tower was built in 1861.

In 1895, Mr. George Shaw presented the Tower and the quarry near-by to the Huddersfield Corporation.. A bronze tablet on the adjacent hill+side has the following inscription :—

‘‘ This Recreation Ground was given to the Public Use in memory of Amy Shaw, by her husband and children in 1895.”

As has been previously stated, no architect’ supervised the work of piling on the stones; all sizes and shapes were collected from the near-by quarry. No cement was originally used to bind the stones ‘together, and yet the resulting structure, after two or three subsequent renovations, is fairly compact. I Euclid came back io life and gazed upon Longwood Tower, he would have great difficulty in, fitting it into his scheme of geometrical solids; he might, perhaps, describe it as a truncated segmentary pyramid.

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Nab End Tower is 23 feet above the flat surface of the quarry, which is itself a considerable height above Longwood Road. The perimeter of its base measures 110 feet. A stone staircase of twenty-four steps now leads to the top, while a railing was affixed to it by the Corporation after the Tower came into its possession. ‘Two steps lead into the parapet which is three and a half feet deep and which is segmentary in shape. In the middle of the parapet stands a hollow iron pipe five feet high, into which, no doubt, a flagstaff could be placed. Since the Tower has been the property of the Corporation, three buttresses have been built

on its western side to prevent the possibility of a collapse.

Shortly after its erection, some doggerel rhymes composed by

one George Collier appeared in print :—

‘“On Longwood Edge there stands a That end near Quarmby Clough, And if you stand out by the church, You’ll see it plain enough. This Tower was built by men and boys Of Longwood, that is true, : And if you want the height of it It’s twenty-nine feet two. So come, my lads and lasses gay, Come, and join the throng, We’ll have a spree this Longwood Thump In Eighteen Sixty-one. (1861).’’

‘It will be observed that the height of the Tower given by the ‘‘ poet ’’ does not correspond with. that I I took some thirteen years ago.

The clearing away of the quarry 16a to the construction of a flat space on which crowds could assemble, and, in the early days of its existence, a preacher or lecturer would take his stand on the parapet and address those who had gathered below. In February 1883, (either the 26th or the 27th), Longwood Tower was the scene of a memorable meeting of strikers. In this vear occurred the Weavers’ Strike. The late Mr. D. F. E. Sykes, in his ‘* History of Huddersfield and its Vicinity,” (p. 435), says that here a meeting of weavers took place to consider the new scale of wages formulated by the then newly formed Huddersfield Manufacturers’ and Spinners’ Association.

At this meeting Mr. B. Copley and the late Mr. Allen Gee, of Lindley, recommended the men to work for a time under the new scale and learn by experience how and to what extent it would affect their weekly earnings. But the men found it hard to believe that the masters’ scale could mean anything but a blow to them- selves. After the meeting at Longwood Tower, the operatives generally struck work, and a dreary strike of twelve weeks



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The New Dictionary has two definitions of the word >

e200 olly which are relevant to our purpose :—

I. “A popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder.’’ Then follows a series of

extracts from authors, newspapers, magazines, etc., illustrating

the use of the term in this connection, e.g., in the ‘‘ Monthly Magazine’? of F ebruary 20, 1796, appeared the following extract : oe “built a great many mounds in the form of sugar loaves, very broad at the bottom and pointed at the top. Travellers call then my Folly.’’ There is also a note to the effect that.

‘“ Many houses in France still bear the name of ‘ La Folie’ (meaning delight, favourite abode), and there is some evidence that ‘ the Folly ’ was as late as the present century used in some parts of England for a pleasure garden.”’

The subject of ‘‘ The Follies of England ’’ was discussed by Mr. Oswell Blakeston in the 1937 Summer Number of ‘‘ John o’ London’s Weekly,’’ in which he quoted some slight assistance which I had been able to give him in the compilation of his article.

The N.E.D. definition quoted above can be further expanded _ I

by a ser ies of sub-classifications.. I also propose to make use of some of the meanings of the word ‘ Folly as discovered by Mr. O. Blakeston.

(a) The enna generally attached to a Folly is a preten- tious tower or an ambitious and extravagantly ornamented house ”’ (Smith’s * Antiquities of North Wiltshire ’’).

The only building in the neighbourhood of Huddersfield which might be classed under thjs heading’ is the Octagon Tower (Wain-_

house’s Folly) at Halifax, but this was not the reason why this structure received this appellation (p. 301). I

» -(b) Mr. ©. Blakeston then quoted the . ek. of the I

filo Smith’s “ of ‘Wiltshire ’’ :—

‘But this is not the idea which the word conveys to tis Wiltshire rustic. He calls a circular plantation or belt of trees surrounding a barn or outlying buildings a *‘ Folly.’’ It is doubt-

ful whether any of our local ‘‘ Follies ’’ comes under this category.

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(c) Buildings which have been erected. to commemorate the _ foolishness of some individual have born this title; thus, a row of houses at Hipperholme is known as ‘‘ The F lly,” which was built, so the story goes, by a lady who received damages from her firmer fiancé for preach of promise of marriage!

(d) Buildings which were ‘‘ left unfinished having been begun without reckoning the cost ’’ are termed ‘‘Follies ” (Chambers’ Dictionary). No examples of this type are to be found in the vicinity of Huddersfield.

There is a F olly Hall at Settle by Mr. Louis Ambler in his work on ‘“‘ Old Yorkshire Houses,’’ in which he says (p. 88): “In 1679, Thomas Preston built this house of rubble stone but he had not enough money to it, hence the name.’

uy Buildings which have been erected fos reasons of spite or, pique have received this term of opprobuim: (i) Tinker’s Monu- ment at New Mill, which is sometimes called ‘‘ Old Ebbie’s Folly,’’ is said, but erroneously, to have been built by Mr. Ebenezer Tinker in 1844, in order to deprive his nephews and nieces of money which they would have received at his death (p. 183). (ii) The Octagon Tower at' Halifax is sometimes called the Wainhouse Folly on account of a legend which related that it had been built for reasons of pique (p. 299).

(f) A number of towers, etc., have earned for themselves the _ title of ‘* Folly ’’ because the local inhabitants did not understand or appreciate the astronomical Sk as or the utilitarian object for which they had been originally built.

This was probably another reason why Tinker’s Monument received the appellation of ‘‘Old Ebbie’s Folly,’’ while the Wain— house Folly at Halifax was so-called because the people in the vicinity ‘‘ could not appreciate its architectural beauty.’’

(g) Buildings erected in out-of-the-way places or upon sites considered dangerous at the time of their construction have been termed ‘‘ Follies ’’; this, without any doubt, seems to have been the reason for the name given to the Folly Hall at the bottom of Chapel Hill.

(h) A secluded leafy walk, in brief, a lover’s lane,—for 1S not ‘most loving mere folly’? This was the definition given by a correspondent to Mr. O. Blakeston in the article quoted above. There may be some connection between this explanation of. the term and the French word ‘‘ feuillé,’? which means a path between high hedges.

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. 996

(i) A writer in cne of the volumes on ‘‘Old (edited by the Rev. William Smith) on the origin of Place Names in the County, states that it is derived from an old engi word


meaning ** common land.’’

The words ‘‘ fardoll’’ and ‘‘ fardole ’? are also used in con- nection with common land, and it may be that the term ‘‘ Folly ”’ as applied to common land arose in some mysterious manner from a variation in the spellings’ of the two words mentioned above.

Mr. Armitage Goodall, in his work on ‘‘ The Place Names of South West Yorkshire ’’ (p. 122), quotes from the English Dialect Dictionary and says that a dole, Old English, dal, is a portion of a common or undivided field « ‘‘A deed dated 1328 in the Ponte- fract Chartulary speaks of ‘ duas seliones que vocantur fordolis.’ (The two fields which are called fordoles). The word ‘ doles ’ is in fact an interesting survival bearing witness to the ancient method of land tenure and cultivation called the ‘common field’ system.’ I

Watson, in his ‘‘ History of Halifax,” a field name called Fordoll in Fixby, but he does not state where this particular field was located. He explains the word as meaning the further dole or division of land perhaps in a public field.

The Folly at Honley probably owes it's origin to this circum- stance, as, previous to the year 1788, there was a good deal of common land in the locality. .

Il. The New English Dictionary also gives the defi - nition, ‘‘ A clump of fir trees on the crest of a We do not to have any such designations in the district of Huddersfield.


This remarkable landmark stands at the edge of the Calder Valley at King Cross, Halifax, and was built between. the years

1871 and 18/8 by Mr, Ja °&. Wainhouse under the following cir— I Pe

Considerable annoyance was caused in Halifax during the last half of the nineteenth century by the amount of smoke emitted from factory chimneys. A good many private residences on the outskirts of that town, such as * Well Head,” ‘ The Shay,’ ‘‘Hope Hall,’’? ‘‘ Stoney Royd:’’ and *' Pye Nest” (the: abode of Sir Henry Edwards) were being spoiled by the smoke issuing from the chimneys in ns vicinity. ;

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Mr. J. E. Wainhouse, who owned the Washer Lane Dyeworks at King Cross, decided to build a new tall chimney to carry away the smoke from his works, and, at the same time, to erect an artistic monument which would serve as a landmark. His first architect was Mr. Isaac Booth who originally planned the hand- some plinth around ‘the structure and designed an imposing entrance at the staircase. .

A brick chimney stack some seven feet in diameter was erected in the tower, and, around this, twisted the spiral staircase. The outside walls of the Octagon r ower were built of stone obtained from Mr. Wainhouse’s quarry at Granary Fill.

During the course of building operations, a tripod was erected on the top of the chimney to lift up the stones necessary for the completion of the Tower. One day it fell; Abraham Buckley, the son of the mason employed on the structure, saw it fall, and while endeavouring to get out of the way of its downward destent, was unfortunately hit by this tripod which broke his arm.

The height of its summit from the ground is 100 donde. AC plain octagonal shaft rises to a height of over 80 yards, then at that altitude, there is an ornamental balustrade. The cluster of massive columns carries a _ particularly fine crown-work of masonry. In the retaining wall, there can be seen a tablet stone inscribed with the initials and the date


Before the Tower was completed, Mr. Wainhouse had quarrelled with his neighbour, Sir Henry Edwards, who, as already stated, lived at the ‘‘ Pye Nest.’’ One result of ie disaereement . was. that Mr. Isaac Booth, who worked for both these gentlemen, found himself in a dilemma and severed his connection with Mr. W ainhouse.

Mr. ey Dugdale (who later became the Surveyor of Huddersfield and designed the Police Station in Peel Street), who had been associated with Mr. Booth, completed the Tower, but altered the original design of the balcony and the vertex. Mr. Dugdale’s name has usually been associated with the planning of the Tower, but Mr. Isaac Booth deserves the credit of having originally designed the chimney and its adornments.

The Octazon Tower is said to have cost £10,000 (one version says £15,000); the chimney was never completed as such, for Mr. Wainhouse retired from the dyeing business before the Tower was completed, and, on account of this, as well as for a few other reasons, the structure was called ‘‘ Wainhouse’s Folly.’’

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I 298


: « (Copyright photo Lilywhite Ltd.)

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There can be no doubt that this huge chimney annoyed Sir Henry Edwards, whose grounds, as already stated, were adjacent to it. The latter was very susceptible to any eyesore which would spoil the prospect of his mansion. He is said to have purchased some farmhouses on the hillside opposite because he did not like to see washing hung out on Mondays !

After the Octagon Tower had been finished, if not before, a ‘bitter feud took place between the two men in question. Mr. Wainhouse had made a well down Washer Lane near the struc- ture; the water feeding it ran through Sir Henry Edwards’ land, and the latter caused it to be diverted so as to leave the well dry. Mr. Wainhouse retaliated by calling Abimelech’s Well and had carved upon the stonework a verse from the Book of Genesis (Ch. XXII. V. 25-80) recalling the trouble which Abimelech had caused to Abraham and to Isaac over their wells, ‘‘ I wot not who hath done this thing; neither didst thou tell me, neither yet heard I of it, but to-day.’’ I 7

Mr. Wainhouse was a vigorous pamphleteer and printed an eight-page pamphlet criticising a short political letter written by Sir Henry Edwards; in this sheet, Mr. Wainhouse corrected the former’s grammar. However, before Mr. Wainhouse died, the two men had buried the hatchet, and renewed their former ship, while Mr. Wainhouse, in his will, gave instructions for the offending inscription on the well to be removed.

The above account of the erection of the Octagon Tower is the generally accepted and accredited version. (See ‘‘ The Story of Old Halifax,’’ by Mr. T. W. Hanson, pp. 267-269), but legend and conjecture have been very busy and have subsequently added statements which are devoid of truth. These can now be given as the traditions told of the Tower :— I

i) One version relates that in their younger days, Sir Henry

Edwards and Mr. Wainhouse both loved the same maiden and that I

the latter was the unsuccessful suitor. The disappointed lover, so the legend stated, erected the monument so that he could climb to its summit and behold the lady whom he had loved (and oy walking in the gardens !

(ii) The explanation given on some recently published picture postcards states that the building “‘was modified into an observa- tion tower to allow the owner to overlook a neighbour’s grounds.”’ This story apparently arose in this way :— I

It was said that when Sir Henry Edwards strongly objected to Mr. Wainhouse’s erecting a lofty monument which would over- look his grounds and rebuked him for continuing in his grandiose piece of architecture, the latter retorted that he would proceed

Page 60


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Page 61


with the work which would be raised to such a height that he would be able to see over the Knight’s high garden wall which enclosed. Pye Nest.

This” ‘story ultimately gave rise to the fiction that the Octagon Tower was built ‘‘ to out-top any possible peepers over the wall.’” (1) 7

there may be some element of truth in the first part of the story related above, for the contention between the two gentlemen arose during the consruction of the monument, but it is hardly conceivable that Mr. Wainhouse would have stated that he in- tended the chimney-cum- -tower to be used as a spy minaret! Mr. T. W. Hanson, in his ‘Story of Old Halifax,’’ makes the follow- ing’ observations concerning the Octagon Tower : oo

‘‘ Some authorities have deemed it the finest piece of archi- tecture in Halifax. It. is: certainly a striking landmark. The Tower was also nicknamed ‘ Wainhouse’s Folly ’ by people who could not appreciate a thing of beauty and who thought it a waste of money.’’ This last sentence, as already stated, is the real reason of its opprobrious sobriquet.

Mr. Wainhouse was a keen lover of architectural beauty, and

on the mill side below the Tower there are several buildings which

bear his initials. ‘ Wainhouse Terrace ’ was one of his ideas: 5

they are ‘ gallery ’ houses, one house on a level with the top road, built above another approached from the lower road. The ‘gallery’ is built like the cloister of a college. Two handsome bridges span the terrace connecting the gallery with a tower or spiral stone staircase. ‘The entrance to a cottage by this stair—

_ case and bridge is as imposing as any castle gateway.

There were other rows of cottages on his estate on which he bestowed an air of distinction by building porches in front of them and enclosed by hammered, iron papings well worthy of a church doorway entrance.

The picture postcard of the Wainhouse omens gives the fol- lowing details concerning it :—

(i) ‘‘ Three years to build; 400 steps, admission 3d. Pennine Range and moors to the west.

(ii) Completed 1874, Height 28 yards (?) Cost £15,000. Fine views. Calder Valley.

(iii) Originally intended as a dyeworks chimney: by its builder, 7. a, Wainhouse. “A brick chimney stack Is enclosed in the Tower,’

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Photo by


the late Mr. Isaac Hordern.

Demolished 1906).

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It is not permissible to climb the Tower at the present time. ] have been informed that there are 365 steps from its base to

the balustrade.


The original homestead. was built for Marmaduke Hebden by ‘* Blind Jack ’’ Metcalf, of Knaresborough (the noted road builder of 18th days) at some date during the last decades of that


ae stood on the ‘right hand bank of the River Colne,. Sage at. the corner of the road leading over what is now Known as Engine Bridge at the bottom of Chapel Hill.

Why was the building termed F olly Hall?

3 There have been two theories formulated as to ory, it re-

this. sobriquet :- —

(a) In those days the River Colne frequently overflowed its banks (before dams and weirs were constructed) and it was con~ sidered foolishness on the part of any builder to erect a house in the immediate vicinity of the river as there was always a possi-

bility that the rooms on the ground floor might. get flooded.

Hence the name Folly Hall was given to this homestead which had been built so close to the river. After the house had been flooded a few times, an. earthen embankment was built to prevent

«further encroachment.

(b) Another version was given by Mr. John Hanson, of the

Lead Works, Folly Hall, ‘in an article entitled ‘‘ Huddersfield

Twenty Years Ago,’’ written for the defunct ‘' Huddersfield

Chronicle’? or ‘‘The Huddersfield Weekly News.’ (June 1, 1878) :

“The large building, three storeys high, comprising four tenements, was built by a person named Duke Nebden, (a cor- ruption of Marmaduke This place stood alone in the fields, and the people of Huddersfield considered it sheer stupidity

to build so large a place in such an out of the way situation.

They, therefore, called it Folly Hall, and from that the surround—

I ing district got its name.

Te quite possible that both the factors mentioned above,

the proximity of the house to the river and its erection in a then


secluded spot, gave the nomestead its nickname.

The late Mr. G. W. Tomlinson, in his unpublished MS. recorded the following note concerning Folly Hall:

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7 304 I ‘In 1871, Mrs.. Broderibb, the grand—daughter of Marma-

duke Hebden, was one of the co—proprietors of the Lockwood Estate, comprising Folly Hall. There appeared in 1871-1872, a

notice of intention to apply for powers to grant leases on the Lockwood Estates in which the numerous descendants of Marma- duke Hebden were enumerated.’’

The late Mr. Isaac Hordern, to the Ramsden sie ,

interested himself considerably in the antiquities of Huddersfield and compiled Photographic Books of photographs of old buildings

which either were to be demolished or which were still in existence.

In one of these is a photograph of Folly Hall taken about the year 1896; the building was then a Public House.

«. The picture shews a three-storeyed building which may have been divided into two dwelling-houses. These latter possessed —

three sets of four-light windows enclosed in stone mullions which were apparently of late eighteenth century days.

This public house was: known as ‘‘ The Commercial Inn ’”' although to the inhabitants in the vicinity of Folly Hall, it went by the name of ‘‘The Cottage by the At the time Mr.

Hordern’s photograph was taken, the sign over the doorway bore ©

the words, ‘‘ The Commercial Inn. Thomas Wheelwright,

Licensed to sell Ale and Porter.’’ A later landlord was Mr. George

Dyson Steed, while its last licensee previous to its demolition, was

Mr. G.

: The house had three rooms, five bedrooms, a staircase, a large kitchen (which, previous to its being pulled out, had a steel

jack and spit for roasting joints of beef in olden times), a Taree

cellar, two wine cellars and a pantry for barrels of beer. The) I

In 1906, the building was demolished, and, on its site, offices and warehouses for Messrs. Joseph Lumb and re Wetk

erected. One of the massive old walls of the Folly Hall can still be seen as well as the floor of its former cellars.

The former ‘‘ Commercial Inn ¢’ was rebuilt opposite Messrs.

_Calvert’s Ironworks and the licence of the old house fo the new premises.

Folly Hall is associated with the famous ‘‘ Folly Hall a gee which took place on June 9, 1817. There are two entirely dif—

ferent versions of this “ skirmish’? which ‘‘took place at a time of great agitation ’’ and unrest among the people of Hfiddersfield.

The first was given by Mr. John Fieusen in the article previously

quoted :

a aed

hall was used as a residence and partly for. offices.’’ . (Letter: ton I the ‘* Huddersfield kxaminer ’’ by Mr. Iver Kirk, April, 1941).


Page 65


4 _ § This (an open field opposite a former primitive foundry) was the scene of the first famous Folly Hall fight, where General Croft gave those notable words of command, ‘ Front rank, kneel down, rear rank, fire,’ which struck terror in the hearts of our brave yeomanry cavalry.’’ I

: ‘“ This Folly Hall fight, as it was called, took place at a time of great agitation. In many places, the people were drilling and arming to fight for their rights and liberties. Croft was a brave old soldier who had fought in many a battle. He was drilling a squad of ‘rebels’ in the field by the River. The Yeomanry had been apprised of this and came down valiantly to disperse the ‘ rebels.’ When they (the Yeomanry) reached the bridge they made a stand to reconnoitre. Just at that moment, the old veteran, in the course of his drill insructions, bawléd out at the top of his voice, the the terrible words, ‘Front rank, kneel down, rear rank, fire.’ A few pistols went off, whereupon our valiant Bobadils took alarm, turned their horses sharp round and galloped up Chapel Hill as if they were riding a steeplechase. They ventured not to check their flight until they ran back to cover in the back yard of *‘The- Rose and Crown.’’ (p. 228). Some sadly malicious people even said they wounded a horse in the nose with a pistol shot, to show what dangers they had braved, and the terrible jeopardy in which ‘their valuable lives had been placed. In all probability, the malicious people who said so were not far wide of the mark. Thus ended the Folly Hall fight, where the vanquished fled without being attacked or even threatened, and the victors were wholly unaware - of the brilliant repulse they had effected.’’ I

The second version of the ‘‘ Folly Hall fight’ is given by Mr. James Mayhall in his ‘‘ Annals of Yorkshire’’ (Vol. I., p. 263) der the year 1817 :—

~*© On the 9th of June, some hundreds of persons assembled about midnight, at a place adjoining the town of Huddersfield, called Folly Hall Bridge, under a delusive expectation that they would be joined by other insurgents from various parts of the kingdom, and that, when united, their force would be sufficiently strong to overturn the government of the country! The approach of half a dozen yeomanry cavalry produced considerable alarm amongst them; but they mustered military ardour sufficient to fire - several shots, and one of the cavalry horses was wounded in the The yeomanry, not considering it prudent to engage with so great a. disparity of numbers, retreated for the purpose of obtaining a reinforcement; but before they could return to the field, a panic had seized the motley assembly at the bridge, and in a few minutes, their force was completely dispersed.’’

‘* Four and twenty persons, charged with having in some way participated in this futile enterprise, were subsequently appre- -hended and committed to York Castle, and several others escaped.

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306 At the Assizes, in July, ten of the prisoners were put upon their trial before Baron Wood; part of them charged with stealing fire— arms on their way to the place of the rendezvous, and the re- mainder with aiding and abetting certain persons unknown, firing at, with an intent to kill, maim, or disable Mr. David Alexander, the yeomanry cavalryman whose horse was shot in the head. Both the charges being ill-supported by evidence, all the prisoners put upon their trial were acquitted.”’


The Folly at Honley leads from Moorbottom to Scotgate (p. 57) and is now known to the postman and rate collector as Grasscroft Road but to the Honley people, young or old, it goes - by its older name of ‘‘ The Folly.’’ . I

The Folly is not indicated on the map of the Manor of Honley, compiled in the year 1788 by William Crossley for use in coa- nection with the subsequent Award as the result of the Honley Enclosure Act, but it is marked on the Ordnance Map of Hud- dersfield and Its District surveyed and contoured by Lieut. C. E. Penrice in 1848 and published in 1854. Both the Folly (a home— stead) and Folly Lane were shewn, the latter being the lane (now known as Grasscroft Road) from Moorbottom to West House.

I The ‘‘ Folly ’’ also seems to have been the name of an area in the vicinity above quoted, in former days about two hundred yards higher up the Moor, there stood at one time a well known as Folly Well or Folly Spring—a public well whose overflow went down what was called Folly Tunnel’ under Grasscroft Road and emptied itself in a well at Thirstin.

There are two explanations as to the origin of the phrase ‘Ti

(i) It is almost certain that it arose from. the fact that —

there was a considerable amount of common land in the neighbour- I

hood of Honley previous to its enclosure in 1788. In other words, it’ is quite possible that the Folly at Honley is a corruption of ‘‘Fardole’’—an old English word meaning ‘‘common land.”’

(ii) On the other hand, Mr. H. B. Rowbottom, of Oldfield, Honley, supplies me with another explanation (which he describes as ‘‘stupid’’) based on the tradition that some of the remnants of the Younger Pretender’s army found their way into Honley in their retreat to Scotland :— i I I I ‘“It appears that a number of stragglers from the beaten army of the Pretender halted at the Meltham Moor end of Grasscroft Road, and a dispute occurred as to the way they should then take. Eventually an officer stepped forward from the rabble, and shouted me, folly me,’’ and the rest followed him on Grasscroft Road, into what is now known as Scotgate,’’—hence the name Folly 1. yey Balined

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