Honley Feast (1866)

The 1866 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 23 September and Wednesday 26 September.

The Chronicle reported that the usual preparations for the feast were taking place in the village, with housewives taking the opportunity to clean and sometimes redecorate their homes. The relatively high price of cabbages had not spotted a local grocer from selling 240 cabbages and nearly 4 cwt. of pickling onions in the weeks before the feast, with an expectation of selling just as many again before it commenced. The Chronicle noted that husbands would be roped in to cut the vegetables — "Pill unyons an' cut th' cabbage. See tha cuts it not ovver thick, nor ovver thin, but in a middlin' way."[1]

In the days running up the feast, one housewife went to check how well her cabbage was pickling only to discover an appalling smell. It soon transpired that the bottle which had held the vinegar had previously been used to store turpentine. The Chronicle recorded as her as exclaiming, "Well, o'l be hang'd if it hasn't grown into furniture paste."[2]

It was also reported that beef was expensive but local butchers had been struggling to meet demand. However, visitors were warned that portions might not be as large as in previous years.

The Honley Working Men's Club, which had been opened in time for the previous feast, laid on a "feast for the mind" with an industrial exhibition.

William Roebuck of Taylor Hill, a known trouble maker, had been drinking at the feast on Monday. He then proceeded to Lockwood where at around 10pm he caused chaos by pushing a wheelbarrow into the White Lion Inn in Lockwood and knocking over tables and breaking glasses. He was soon escorted to the temporary police station at Lockwood Town Hall where he promised to go straight home. However, he instead returned to the inn and assaulted the wife of the landlord, John William Thornton. Brought before the magistrates, he was fined a total of 24s. 2d. or 14 days in the Wakefield House of Correction.[3]

The Chronicle's summary was rather downbeat, noting that there had "been little worthy of notice in this year's feast", and visitor numbers were much lower than previous years. The newspaper lamented that "Honley may be said to be fast loosing its far-famed prestige of a village feast."[4]

Notes and References

  1. "Honley: Signs of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (15/Sep/1866).
  2. "Honley: Further Signs of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (22/Sep/1866).
  3. "A Honley Feast Freak" in Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Sep/1866).
  4. "Honley: The Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Sep/1866).