The History of Honley and its Hamlets from the Earliest Time to the Present (1914) by Mary A. Jagger
Before closing the history of Honley, I hope my readers will not think that I am now introducing a personal note. Spring and even summer comes shyly and reluctantly back to our hill-sides, and rain-clouds are often more familiar sights-than sunshine. On a summer’s day, however, when nature has perfected itself to sweet existence, Honley is a picturesque place. Its romantic beauty has been preserved to us by private ownership. If the place was denuded of its woods, plantations, spinneys, springs, and little beauty spots, “Bonnie Honley,” as we name our village, would be a staring blot of barren hill-sides. These would soon be happy hunting-grounds for all that is ugly and foul. Then like a fungus creeping over the whole place would gradually come that change when doorsteps and streets replace the old magic and delight which woods and nature hold for children, and the sparrow would be the only remnant of bird-life. A garden city cannot replace an old wood with its rustling denizens singing sweet music to childish ears, and its depths bordering upon unknown regions to childish imaginations. A public park is not so interesting as an old tree girt about with hundreds of years of memories, or an old hedge sheltering bird and vegetable life. Is it a suitable return to those who preserve the natural beauty spots in the country, to strip them of their coverings? Why should roamers in woods and fields make breaches in old hedges, tumble down walls, destroy blue bells carpeting woods, or spoil glens and hollows once strongholds of the fairies and boggarts of our childhood? Is it necessary that the old field-paths — rights of way for ever since the days when our forefathers came down those uplands slopes to grind their grain should be enclosed on account of trampled corn and grass?
Hannah More wrote that “The world does not require so much to be informed as to be reminded.” The quotation is inserted in the front part of this history for the purpose of reminding the dwellers in Honley, not only to preserve what is left of its once old-world beauty and character, but also to act as watch-dogs against both inside and outside vandals.