Huddersfield Chronicle (03/Apr/1852) - Holmfirth: "Old Genn"
"OLD GENN ;" OR, THE MARKET CROSS.
During the early part of the present week a number of small bills were posted through the town and neighbourhood of Holmfirth, informing the public that it was intended to repair the old Market Cross, commonly called “Old Genn,” immediately, and put upon it the date of its erection, with the time and height of the late flood. About this “Old Genn” itself, or himself, it may not be out of place to say a few words. It stood opposite the White Hart Inn, and just at the end of the house occupied before the flood by Mr. James Shackleton. Since it lifted up its head amongst the dwellers of the valley of the Holme it has experienced no small share of the cuffs and storms of passion and ill-feeling, inseparable from an existence in this world. It was erected in October, 1801, to commemorate the peace commonly called the “Peace of Amiens,” the preliminaries of which were signed on the first of that month. It consists of a square stone column, about eight feet long, surmounted by a ball, and placed on a cubic pedestal. The whole was erected on a plain stone base, about a foot thick. Near it were placed the stocks ; and while these have held the legs, its base has been the seat of graceless vagabonds brought there to learn manners. A subscription was entered into for its erection, but no money raised ; so that like many a tradesman of our day it commenced the world in debt from which it has never since been free, and both those who found materials and those who found labour for its erection have since repented of their haste to do business. The ball was brought from Thickhollins ; the column was purchased from a man named Genn, after whom the cross has since been named. The pedestal was obtained from a mason named John Marsh, and the other materials were furnished by a man named John Wadsworth, who also erected the column. On one ride of the pedestal was an inscription commemorative of the blessings of peace and on another the name of the person by whom it was erected and the date of its erection. “Old Genn’s” troubles began early. Not more than a year had elapsed after the peace was concluded before the war broke out a fresh, for which the people determined to be revenged on “Old Genn,” and defaced it by erasing the inscription commemorative of peace. Wadsworth, after waiting a long time for payment, during which he abused the cross every time he got a drop too much, determined to have his revenge too, and so set to work and effaced the inscription intended to immortalise his own name. After this things seem to have gone on pretty smoothly for a while ; but ever and anon when any of those who were out of pocket in consideration of services rendered to “Old Genn,” “moistened their bodies” rather too much, they would stop to curse the poor column in no very gentlemanly terms. After the old veteran had battled manfully with all the ills of life for upwards of fifty years the great flood came and stretched it at full length on the ground. To its repair we have no objection whatever, though we should like to see a more appropriate monument erected to bear record of the great calamity which has befallen our valley. We understand that the subscription for its repairing is progressing very satisfactorily.