Honley Feast (1867)

The 1867 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 22 September and Wednesday 25 September.

Over the years, the feast had extended outwards along the road towards Lockwood and Superintendent Thomas Heaton wrote to the Lockwood Local Board requesting the temporary use of a room at their Town Hall as a police station. A couple of councillors objected, as in the previous year the police had brought noisy drunks into the hall. After deliberations, it was agreed to grant the request with the proviso "that no prisoners should be detained [in the Town Hall]."[1]

In preparation for the feast, it was reported that the local "tub thumpers" had been going from door to door collecting up spare barrels which could be used to store the "feast drink". The Chronicle noted that the locals like to say they would "have a sup, if th' corn shake i' th' field." The high price of beef was causing concern but it was reported that fruit was plentiful, especially plums, so it was hoped that there would instead be plenty of fruit pies.[2]

The steady stream of people walking from Huddersfield to Honley via Lockwood and Berry Brow meant that many stall-holders set themselves up on the road, all vying to tempt visitors to part with their money before getting to Honley. The Bath Hotel and Victoria Inn, both in Lockwood, did a good trade throughout the feast.[3]

The Chronicle felt that the feast was growing "smaller by degrees and beautifully less." Despite bands promenading the streets and a reasonable number of stalls and attractions, "there was not half the company which generally congregate" at the feast. A highlight was the arrival on Wednesday of Pablo Fanque's Circus.[4]

John McCabe and his wife Mary, both of Leeds, were seen acting suspiciously, with Mary wandering through the crowds, bumping into people, and then then passing items to her husband. Apprehended by the police, both were searched and money was found hidden all over her body — money in a rag was found under her left arm and, "under one of her breasts a 2s. piece." Other items were recovered to the value of £4 or £5. Both protested their innocence, but Mary was sentenced to one month's imprisonment.[5]

Notes and References

  1. "Lockwood: Meeting of the Local Board" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Sep/1867).
  2. "Honley: Further Signs of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (21/Sep/1867).
  3. "Lockwood: The Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Sep/1867).
  4. "Lockwood: The Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Sep/1867).
  5. "Capture of Travelling Pickpockets at the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (28/Sep/1867).