Meltham Feast is a former annual celebration which usually started in early September, following St. Bartholomew's feast day on 24 August.
The annual Feasts or Wakes — the largest of which was arguably Honley Feast which at its height extended to Lockwood — likely originated from the rushbearing ceremonies and celebrations in the district. These grew to become annual holidays during which local mills would close for several days and people would journey to Meltham to stay with their relatives. The events often attracted fairs and travelling entertainers and, in later years with the coming of the railways, saw workers travelling to the coastal resorts to take short holidays.
The following summaries are compiled from books and contemporary newspaper reports, and help give a flavour of the festivities:
The Meltham Feast — which had the nickname "Bartleby" — appears to have died out by the start of the First World War.
Notes and References
- A Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield (1883) by Rev. Alfred Easther page 111 and Slawit in the 'Sixties (1926) by John Sykes chapter 10. With thanks to David Stave for identifying contemporary references to this nickname.