Big Valley Hotel, South Crosland
The earliest newspaper references to the inn appear in the early 1840s, when it was referred to as the "Dean Wood Beer House" and the "Odd Fellows' Arms". At that time, the licencee was Hannah Wilson and remained there until around 1851, by which time she was a widow. She successfully applied for a full licence at the Brewster Sessions of 1848.
Following the devastating Holmfirth Flood of 1852, the body of Rose Charlesworth, wife of clothier John Charlesworth of Hinchcliffe Mill, was recovered at Armitage Bridge and taken to the the Odd Fellows' Arms to await an inquest.
By December 1852, the licence had been transferred to James Walker, who was linked to the "Grand Order of the Modern Druids, Honley and Huddersfield District". During his tenancy, there is some evidence the inn was also known as the "Walker's Arms".
The licence was transferred from Walker to John Crowther of Lindley on 4 October 1856 and, by the following year, the name had been changed to the "Big Valley Hotel" which indicates that accommodation was available. Crowther was regularly in trouble with the local magistrates and his licence was not renewed the following year.
The longest serving landlord was Jesse Kaye, who had taken over by the end of 1859, although Police Superintendent Heaton raised objections at the Brewster Sessions, stating that whenever police officers visited the premises, Kaye "abused them, and heaped all manner of vile names upon [officials and] called them 'a set of damned thieves and scamps'."
In April 1865, the remains of a horse pistol were found whilst workmen were clearing a quickset hedge near Armitage Bridge and many locals were of the opinion it was one of the weapons used by the Luddites to kill mill-owner William Horsfall in 1812. Kaye apparently bought the relic and proudly displayed it behind the bar of the Big Valley Hotel.
Kaye remained the landlord for over 30 years until around 1890. He died in 1892.
The next licencees were Thomas Harrison and his wife Sarah Ann. He likely remained there until 1921, following Sarah Ann's death in 1908.
The West Yorkshire Alehouse Licences record the following subsequent licence transfers:
- William Shaw on 6 December 1921
- Harold Farand on 3 June 1924
- Ada Wimpenny on 5 October 1926
- Walter Jackson on 14 February 1928
- Harry Heap on 7 June 1932
- Ernest Lockwood Nicholls on 7 April 1936
The licence renewal was refused in April 1968 and the inn closed for good the following year, after which it became a private residential property.
Notes and References
- Leeds Mercury (29/Apr/1843)
- Leeds Intelligencer (27/May/1843)
- Hannah was born around 1797 in Leeds.
- Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Dec/1852).
- The Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Jul/1856) reports on an inquest held at "the Walker’s Arms, bottom of Big Valley" in the supposed suicide of Honley weaver Joseph Whitehead.
- According to the coverage in the Huddersfield Chronicle, Crowther had been fined five times during the year.
- "District News: Subscription Cradle" in Huddersfield Chronicle (19/May/1860).
- "Netherton: A Relic of Luddism" in Huddersfield Chronicle (29/Apr/1865).
- Images of England: Huddersfield Pubs (2007) by Dave Green, page 64