Leeds Mercury (03/Jun/1899) - An Old Yorkshire Mansion

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


J. W. S., Grimscar, Huddersfield, writes—

Clough House, Huddersfield, a fine, large, old Elizabethan mansion, which is now being pulled down to widen the road and make streets and houses in the grounds, is situated on the edge of a hollow or clough, at the bottom of Cowcliffe Hill. There are many houses with the name of clough before them in various districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire. This one is built of stone, with four pointed roofs ; there are six windows and one door on the ground floor at the front of the house, which, faces a few degrees to the east of south, and five windows upstairs (or the second story) at the front. When the house was divided into two dwellings, there was a door between the library and breakfast rooms windows, which was made up when the library and breakfast rooms were made into one large room, two iron beams having to be placed to support the floor and wall above it. There were the same number of windows on the ground floor as at the front, but three doors, one of which was made fast, and two circular windows, like spectacles, made in it. There were five windows on the second story at the back. Most of the windows had originally stone divisions, and small diamond or square leaded gloss of a yellow or bluish tint, and there were perpendicular iron bars fast to each window to prevent any one breaking into the house, as when it was built in was quite in the country. The old coach road, with ruts axle deep, ran alongside it, with only room for one cart to pass at a time. The stage coach went that way to Halifax before the New North Road was made. This road was made wider in 1869, and a stone with the date was put into a wall opposite Ash Villas in remembrance of the event. This stone is near where the old coal shaft used to be. Another coal shaft was under the old spinning-shed floor at the mills, and another one in the field near. The top bed of coal was the one which was worked under Norman Park and Clough House garden and the fields behind it, which was called The Park. The district near was called Ffartowne, Ffirtown, or Ffertown, in the old times (the first-named being the usual way). The fields where Norman Park now stands were then divided by large hawthorn hedges, and were called Tanyard Ings, and another field in the farm, adjacent was called Carter Ing.

The present Clough House has been, built in four sections — first the two centre windows, one on each side of the front door, then the breakfast room, part with arched roof back and front, like the middle part ; then the end near the road, and lastly the drawing-room farthest from the road. The drawing-room walls were panelled with black oak, which used to be polished, but as the room was called by children the ghost room, because any one who died had their coffin put there, the oak was painted white and light blue. This made the place look more cheerful. The rooms were low, and a yew tree near the windows shut out the light. There used to be three trees in a row opposite the drawing-room window's, two on each side of the front door, and two opposite the breakfast-room, and library windows ; but all are dead or pulled down now except the two opposite the drawing-room window, near which golden star-shaped flowers used to bloom. In the centre of the pointed roofs, both at the back and front of the house, were some dressed stones, like the front of a dog kennel or the letter U when, turned upside down, the surrounding wall being built up with smaller stones. It is said these stones may have been taken from the older house when it was pulled down, and put in the present house, which bears the date 1697 over the door, as the architecture of these dog-kennel stones, which, I suppose, were called ornamentations (if they were not made for pigeons to use), is of much older date than 1697. Some people say they are several hundred years older, though they do not look it. The date stone over the front door has been put into Norman Park as an ornament, along with two pinnacles which were on the top of the roof. The garden in front of the house used to be full of old-fashioned, sweet-smelling flowers, sweet briar, and southernwood. Clematis ran up the wall near the road, wallflowers, numerous white maidens blush, red and variegated rose trees, snap dragons, stocks, and asters, pinks, carnations, picotees, mignonette, musk, syringa, and single and double red hawthorns were in profusion. The long garden wall was full of Jargonelle pears, and plum trees, full of large, rich, luscious red and yellow plums. There were peach and various kinds of large apple trees, full of good-eating fruit ; cherry trees, laden with large cherries. The fruit trees were lovely to look at when in bloom. The large vine (a black Hamburgh) was often covered with bunches of grapes, varying in size from a pea to a small marble ; but very few of them got perfectly ripe. The flower garden was near the house, and the kitchen garden was farther away and divided by giant box and dwarf box planted as edging. The garden was remodelled by Mr. John Scholes. It was made into a lawn-tennis and croquet ground, with a terrace and gravel walks around, a parterre being made near the house and circular flower beds at the end near the walnut and mulberry trees. The latter one still remains and flourishes, and was a favourite place to climb up amongst the branches to read books in summer weather. A large kitchen garden was formed cut of a field on the other side of the high brick wall. Mr. John Scholes spent a lot of money in improving and modernising both the inside and outside of the house and grounds. There was a large court-yard at the back, surrounded by a barn, stables, harness-room, carriage-houses, out-houses, and two yards, with piggeries, cart sheds, pigeon and hen places, and reservoir. When he farmed the valley — the places used to be full of horses, carriages, cattle, geese, ducks, turkeys, pigs, hens, Guinea fowl, pigeons, &c. ; and peacocks used to sleep in the high sycamore and ash trees on the road side. The front garden gate used to be formed of pieces of wood of unequal lengths, which acted as a sort of screen, being only a little over an inch space between, the woods which made a pattern of squares that converged to a centre, and there used to be flat stones with holes in for upright wooden railings on the top of the wall on the other side of the road at the end of the house. There was once a fire, when many cattle were burnt. The place where they were buried can be seen to this day. In is in the long flat field up the valley, near the hedge which parts Hay Banks from Carter Ing. The ground has sunk in, and there is a hole, about ten yards long and five yards broad, still remaining where they were covered with quicklime.

Clough House was supplied with first-class pure water from several springs from the fields in the valley. There was "a spring in the held opposite Storth," also "Amber Well," also "the three springs" at the far end of Carter Ing. The overflow from the two latter ran into a reservoir in North Field, and there was Holroyd's Well, behind Lake Cottage, and a well in a plantation near Norman Road. There were plenty of fish in the three reservoirs, at one time — trout, pike, eels, gudgeon, and perch in the large pond : and a large eel once got into the pipe which supplied the boiler and stopped the mill. There used to be carp and tench in the bottom pond, and gudgeon and perch in the top pond, but when the ponds were cleaned out to their original size again the few fish which remained died. There was a boat and boat-house at the bottom end of the large reservoir of Clough House Mill, over whose waters darted the kingfishers, which was close to the house, and had a large waterwheel at one time before the age of steam. It is said there are distinct traces of a glacier moraine a few fields away from Clough House at the bottom of Fixby Hill, where the earth has been forced down by the action of the ice in past ages. It is said that some of the Ashworth family are buried at a small chapel-of-ease at Elland, and that some of the Macaulay family are buried at Lightcliffe Old Church. The old Firth House, from which some of the Firths spring, was up the Stainland Valley, past the Firth House Mill. There used to be two pews in the gallery of the Huddersfield Parish Church belonging to Clough House, but when the church was re-seated they were let, to seatholders in the usual way. In the course of time there have been many cottages and outbuildings pulled down which were near Clough House — two at the back, in front of which was a large pear tree ; one also with a small reservoir behind it ; the piggeries, the large cattle shed in the field, an old cottage in the mill-yard, tentering, storing, and scouring places, spinning shed, stable and cart shed, stone chimney in middle of old mill, stone chimney on road-side, replaced by a brick one, offices on the road-side, cattle shed in Tan Yard Ing, old tenters near road-side — all these have been done away with, and a large new shed and new warehouse built.

Sarah Scholes, the first wife of John Scholes, who lived at Clough House, was the grand-daughter of John Booth, of Low Ground, Broughton, near Skipton. She died at Clough House in 1869.