Table of Contents for The History of Huddersfield and the Valleys of the Colne, the Holme and the Dearne (1898):
The Earl of Lancaster's Rising — Waley of Honley — Tyas of Farnley — The Elland Feud — Assize of Arms — Archers — Local Butts — The Poll Tax of Richard II., Local Returns — Subsidy temp. Henry VIlL, Local Returns — The Spanish Armada, Some Local Musters — The Civil War — Sir William Savile — Major Beaumont of Whitley — Royalist Levies in the District — Local Incidents in Civil War — Isaac Wormall — Beaumont Correspondence — Horsfall of Storthes Hall — Beaumont Composition — Rev. Christopher Richardson — Rev. Richard Sykes — Rev. Abraham Woodhead — Composition of George Beaumont — Of Francis Horne — Of Thomas Pickles — Of Richard Pilkington — Of Thomas Shirecliffe — of Matthew Waterhouse — Of Tho Hirst — Of Sir John Kaye — Parliamentary Muster — Holmfirth Puritans — The Stuart Rebellions — Hearth Tax Refurns.
AUTHORITIES :— Crabtree : History of Halifax ; Berry : History of the Volunteer Infantry ; Poll Tax Returns, temp. Richard II. ; Subsidy Rolls temp. Henry VIII. ; Froude : History of England ; Lawton : Skelmanthorpe Notes ; Annals of Yorkshire ; Macray : Beaumont Papers ; Yorkshire Compositions ; Hughes : History of Meltham ; Jagger : St. Mary's, Honley ; Morehouse : Kirkburton ; Ismay : Diary ; Tomlinson : Notes ; Macaulay : England ; Hearth Tax Returns.
The history of the people of Huddersfield and its vicinity, as distinguished from the history of their manorial lords, can scarcely be said to have left any impress upon national or local records until the time of the Civil Wars. It is true that before that period there is evidence that in very early days the people had already become known as makers of cloth, and I shall narrate in later pages the humble beginnings of the staple industry. But apart from this one finds but little evidence of concerted action of the inhabitants prior to the Stuart era. What part the people took in historic doings they took as the vassals of their territorial lords. Thus we read that when the great Earl of Lancaster, lord of the Manor of Huddersfield, "one of the mightiest earls in Christendom," rebelled against the King in 1322, many of his sub-tenants in this district followed his fortunes and were involved in his fall. Richard Waley, lord of Honley, more fortunate than his feudal chief, escaped the axe of the executioner; but his lands was confiscated, and he was fain to pay a fine of 2,000 marks in money, a heavy sum in those days. Henry Tyes, Lord of Farneley — whence the name Farnley Tyas — and of Slaithwaite, also fought under the Earl's banner, and on the suppression of the rising was condemned of high treason and executed, his lands being escheat to the Crown. Sir Robert Beaumont, of Crosland Hall, Hugh of Quarmby, Lockwood of Lockwood, also were among the adherents of the great Earl. The lord of the Manor of Wakefield, in which, as we have seen, Holmfirth was included, was the Earl Warren, and Warren was a supporter of the King, and Sir John de Eland, or, as we now spell the word, Elland, was the steward of Earl Warren. Not merely political differences existed between the Earl of Lancaster and Earl Warren. Alice, the wife of the former lord, was abducted, nothing loth it was thought, by Warren. Three hundred years after both lords and lady, and those whom their feud involved in partisan strife, had mouldered to dust, some poetaster set to verse a story that should interest us if only as illuminative of the times when, as we read, "If any earl or great man found himself aggrieved by another, they frequently got together all their men at arms or knights that held of them, their other tenants and poor dependents, and as much assistance from their friends and confederates as they could, and burnt each others houses, etc." The verses are of inordinate length and were first published about the year 1650, having probably for many generations been recited by the minstrels who wandered from hall to castle and from camp to camp. The Sir Robert Beaumont mentioned in the first of the verses I extract was son of Sir William de Beaumont, of Whitley, and married Grace, daughter and heiress of Sir Edward Crossland, of Crossland.
The poem goes on to narrate that the murderers demanded meat, ale, wine, and bread. These were set before them by the affrighted household. The two sons of Sir Robert Beaumont were bid to dry their tears and sit at board with the men whose hands were red with their father's blood. The younger complied, but Adam, the elder, refused "right sturdily," and when Sir John Elland gave him bread cast it from him, whereupon Sir John vowed "he would weed out the offspring of his blood as they weed out the weed from corn." On the morrow Lady Beaumont fled with her sons to Brereton, where she had friends. The youths were brought up at Brereton Green, where also sons of the murdered Quarmby and Lockwood had found refuge and protection. There, too, was a son of the great house of de Laci. Young Lockwood burned to avenge his father's tragic end, and the other youths may be assumed to have been not less eager. They took counsel with two "countrymen," Dawson and Haigh, of Quarmby, probably humble retainers of the great house there, and from them they learned that on a certain day duty would take Sir John Eland to Brighouse "turn" or leet, doubtless the Court Leet of the manor. They planned to waylay him :—
Sir John rode into the ambush, and seeing the hostile array, "val'd his bonnet" and spoke them courteously. But Adam Beaumont declared his parentage and fell upon Sir John, who made gallant defence, but was killed. The conspirators Beaumont, Lockwood, Quarmby, and Lacy, fled to Furness, where they lived as outlaws, till they conceived the affair had blown over. Their vengeance was not sated, for the son of Sir John de Eland lived in the manor house there, happily married. They compassed his death. On Palm Sunday, "about the mirk midnight," they concealed themselves in Eland miln. Now it chanced that —
To church the knight, his lady, and servants repaired, passing the miln-house on their way. Here Beaumont and his friends fell upon them, and Elland fell, shot through the head by an arrow from the bow of William of Lockwood. His young son and heir, too, fell mortally wounded. The conspirators fled to Ainley Wood, pursued by the people of Elland —
They overtook their quarry in Ainley Wood. Quarmby was pierced by an arrow. Lockwood bore him off into the depths of the wood, where he was found by the Elland men and despatched. Adam Beaumont betook himself to Crossland Hall and there defied his enemies. Lockwood sought shelter at Canon Hill. There he became involved in an intrigue with the daughter of the tenant of that mansion. Bosville, the owner of Canon Hall, was also Sheriff of the county, and he surprised Lockwood dallying with the maiden, who proved not less false than fair; for Lockwood made a stout defence and would have made good his escape had not his mistress cut his bow-string. Thereupon he surrendered and was put to death "to the utter exterpation of the ancient family of Lockwood of Lockwood."
Adam Beaumont, more fortunate, contrived to flee the country. He offered his sword to the Knights of Rhodes and fought, with no mean command, in defence of the Christian faith, in the kingdom of Hungary, against the Turks. He was dubbed a Knight of Rhodes, and out of Hungary wrote a letter to Jenkyn Dixon, of Hole (Hoyle) House, narrating his adventures, successes, and honours. He fell in one of the numerous engagements against the infidel, and so honourably ended a bloody and turbulent life.
That the ballad of the Elland Feud is based upon fact is abundantly established by the Assize Rolls of 1353, which sets forth the indictment of Robert Booth of Holmfirth, his brother Richard, Matthew Hepworth of Hnddersfield, Thomas Lister of Almondbury, and Rudolph of Skelmanthorpe, for sheltering William de Lockwood and Adam Beaumond, knowing them to have killed John de Eland and to be outlawed ; of Edmund de Flokton for sheltering Adam de Beaumond ; Thomas Molot de Wakefield for assisting Thomas Lasey; John de Shellay for sheltering William de Lockwood, Adam Beaumond and others at Brighouse. The jury found the prisoners "Not Guilty." A pillar now standing in a field at Salendine Nook, and known as Haigh's Cross, is supposed to commemorate the feud. It is inscribed :
The reader will observe that the people of Elland "made them bown, their lord's enemies to slow," in other words, betook themselves to the then national armour for the rank and file, their bows (bowen) and arrows. In perusing the account of this ancient vendetta we must not forget that our ancestors were their own army, both for private offence and defence and against external foes. The feudal system required that every freeman should be a soldier. The Assize of Arms of 1181 had provided that every military tenant should be armed, not, as theretofore, just as completely, or as slenderly, as his caprice, his pride, or his parsimony inclined him, but should be furnished with a coat of mail and a lance, and that his followers should be clad in habergeon (a sort of steel or iron waistcoat protecting breast and back), an iron skull cap, and should bear a lance. Itinerant judges of the Assize at Arms visited each manor and saw to it that each freeman had equipped himself in conformity with his rank and means. A statute of Henry VIII., in its preamble, throws a vivid light upon the martial exercises of our forefathers: "The Kyng, our Soverign Lord, callyng to his most noble and generous remembrance how by the feate and exercise of the subjecttes of this his realme in shotying in long bowes there hath contynually growen and been within the same grete nombre and multitude of good archers which hath not only defended this realme and the subjecttes thereof against the cruell malice and danger of their outeward enemys in tyme heretofore passed, but also with litell nombre and puyssance in regarde have done many notable actes and discomfitures of warre against the infideles and others, and furthermore subdued and reduced dyverse and many reygons and countrees to due obeysaunce, to the grete honour, fame, and suretie of this realme, and to the terrible drede and fere of all strange nacions any thyng to or all attempts to do the hurte or damage of thyme of any of them." The statute proceeds to enact that every man "not lame, decreperte, or maymed beyng withyn the age of lx yeres " shall have a "bowe and arrowe redy contynually in his house to use himself and do use himself in shotying" ; he was also to "teche and bring upp his children and servants in the knowledge of the same shotying." "Buttes were to be made" in every citie, towne, and place" and maintained at the common charge.
The people of Meltham to this day are familiar with the name "Popley Butts" ; and the old Manuscript Book at Woodsome mentions "a chappell of old tyme, in the lane above the Butts at St. Elyn well."
The earlier events in the feud between the lords of Elland, Quarmby, and Crossland are all assumed to have occurred about the time of the Earl of Lancaster's rising, i.e., about the year 1320. It will be interesting to study at this point certain Returns that enable us to gauge the population of Huddersfield and the parts adjacent about this period. In the year 1379, some half-a-century after the Elland Feud, the Commons granted to King Richard II. a Poll Tax, or tax upon each poll or head. One may observe in passing that in country districts people still talk of going to the barber to have their heads polled. The levy seems to have been at the rate of 4d. upon each person, "not a notorious mendicant," over the age of sixteen. The student of history will scarce need to be reminded that the attempt of a collector of the tax to verify the age of a young girl led to Wat Tyler's rebellion, or rather should one say that attempt was the spark that fired a train long laid ?
In my "History of Huddersfield and its Vicinity" I have set out the returns of the collectors for this district in detail. It will suffice here to transcribe a summary of them :—
|19||4||The List comprises a Marchant (Johanes de Mirfield) who is taxed at 6d. ; a Smyth at 6d. ; a Souter or Shoemaker at 6d. ; a Jaylour at 6d. ; a ffarmerat 12d.; and the others, whose occupation is not specified but who were probably husbandmen, at 4d.|
|10||8||A Wright is taxed at 6d. ; a Smyth at 6d. ; the rest at 4d.|
|Ffarnelay Tyas||Males 10
|7||4||Johannes Kay, ffrankeleyn (yeoman), is taxed at 4od. ; the rest at 4d. ; This John Kay was of Woodsome Hall, and a descendant, Elizabeth Kay, four hundred years later, married the Hon. Geo. Legge, and became ancestress of the Earls of Dartmouth.|
|6||10||A Taylour is taxed at 6d. ; the rest at 4d.|
|6||2||One Cattle Dealer is taxed at 12d. ; and one Smyth at 6d. ; the others at 4d.|
|Querenby (Quarmby)||Males 39
A perusal of the list establishes that families bearing surnames now common in the district were already, six hundred years ago, settled in the neighbourhood. We have the familiar names of Boothroyd, Hanson, Blackburn, Greenwood, Milner, Rose, Hudson, Copley, Brook (By-the-Broke, in the Lists), Batley, Rayner, Vicars, Cooper, Haigh, Brown, Bate, Moorcock (Mocock, in the Lists), Walker, Lindley, Dyson, in the Huddersfield Returns ; Thorpe, Newsome, Taylor, Wood, Hudson, Walker, Hepworth, Halliday, Longley, White, in the Almondbury ; Kaye, Tyas, Dyson, Dawson, in the Farnley Tyas ; Green, Shepherd, Adamson, Palmer, Hirst, Fox, in the Whitley ; Taylour, Mallinson, Jones, Priestman, Dickenson (Diconson), Walker, North, Mitchell, in the Burton ; Wood, Burley, Copley, Thomson, Brown, Scott, Bryce, in the Heaton ; Armitage (Armytache), Denton, Rowley, Dickinson, Milner, Crossland, Day, More, in the North Crossland ; Crossland, Denton, Lockwood (Lokewood), Dyson, Bradley, Smith, Walker, in the Crosslandfosse ; Turner, Thewlis, Mason, Wood, Batley, Bate, Denton, Hoyle, Naylor, Moore, Dawson, Hirst, Dalton, Thomson, Collier, Lockwood, Copley, Whitacre, (Qwytacres), Jackson, in the Quarmby ; Cooper, Dean, Judson, Hall, Wilson, Walker, Hanson, in the Honley ; Goodman, Mellor, Dickenson, Smithson, in the Meltham ; and Atkinson, Cooper, Rhodes, Coldwell, Smith, Moorhouse, Edmundson, Lindley, Tinker (Thynker), Green, Hinchlifie (Hyncheclyff), Wade, Booth, Naylor, Taylor, Wood, Hill, Littlewood, Green, Slater, Jepson, Broadhead, Burnett, Ramsden, Mallinson, Brownhall, Tinker, (Tynger), Jackson, Hoyle, in the Holmfirth ; Lumb (Lymbe) and Hoyle (Hole) in the Slaithwaite.
In all the population there is mention of but one merchant, one yeoman, one farmer, one cattle dealer, two wrights, three smiths, and two taylours. There is no hint of anyone engaged in the now staple industry, unless the Taylours were so engaged.
From the time of Richard II.'s Poll Tax to the days of Henry VIII., when, in 1523, the Commons granted to the King a subsidy upon lands, goods, and wages, a period of some one hundred and fifty years elapsed. The subsidy was granted to enable Henry to prosecute the war with France "for the conservation of his honour, and for the avenging of the wrongs to his highness and his subjects." The unit of the levy was the mark of 13s. 4d., and the term "five marchlands" meant lands assessed at five marks, £3 6s. 8d. The Returns of the Collectors are as follows :—
|Thomas Cay for...||40||0||0||20||0|
|John Hirst of the Gledholtt||10||0||0||5||0|
|John Hirst of the Greynhed for...||16||0||0||8||0|
|Edward Cowper for 8 march guds||5||6||8||2||8|
|John Hirst of the town||2||0||0||1||0|
|Kateune Cowper, wydow||2||0||0||1||0|
|James Hirst, of Smythed||2||0||0||1||0|
|William Brooke, of Bradley||6||0||0||3||0|
|William Brooke and John his Son||6||0||0||3||0|
|The Wyff of Thomas Steyd||2||0||0||1||0|
|John Brooke of the Barkhouse||2||0||0||1||0|
|Edward Brooke, of Wodhouse||6||0||0||3||0|
|Edward Brooke, of Blakhouse||2||0||0||1||0|
|Edmund Brooke, of Greynhouse||2||0||0||1||0|
|Thomas Brooke, of Yathouse||2||0||0||1||0|
From this it will be seen that in Huddersfield-cum-Bradley, only two persons, Arthur Pilkyngton and John Cay, are taxed as owners of landed estate. The bulk are assessed for goods, and three persons for wages. The Brookes, Hirsts, and Armitages have displaced the families of the earlier subsidy roll, of whom only the Coopers remain.
|Nicolas Feney, 5 march lands||3||6||8||3||4|
|Richard Appelyard, 5 march lands||3||6||8||3||4|
|Peter Cay for...||1||6||8||1||4|
It will be noticed that in "Almondburry" the bulk of the taxation is in respect of lands, in Huddersfield in regard of goods, from which it may be inferred Huddersfield was now assuming the character of a place of exchange or mart. In 1538, John Wood, of Longley, died, leaving a daughter and co-heiress, Johanna, who had married in 1531 William Ramsden, son of Robert Ramysden, of Elland, and thus apparently began the connection of that family with Huddersfield. The name of Parkin is still preserved in Almondbury.
|Richard Beamond, 40 march||26||14||0||26||8|
Kirkburton is not mentioned.
|William Hirst of Th' Armitage||8||0||0||4||0|
|John Cay of the Yatte||2||0||0||1||0|
|John Lytylwodd, of the Hill||1||0||0||1||0|
|Thomas Hynchlyff, of the Crosse||1||0||0||1||0|
|John Tynkar, of the Scolls||1||0||0||1||0|
|John Greyn, of Cartworth||2||0||0||1||0|
|John Litylwodd, of Yatholme||1||0||0||1||0|
|John Cay, of the Hill||4||0||0||2||0|
|John Morehouse, of Lidyatte||1||0||0||0||6|
It will be remarked that the Morehouses, Tinkers, and Littlewoods, still retain, in Holmfirth, the prominence observable in the earlier records.
|(Not mentioned in the Subsidy Roll of Richard II.)|
The above Returns afford a sufficient indication of the condition of Huddersfield and its vicinity in the reign of Henry VIII. ; and we are warranted in assuming that it was much the same in the days when his daughter, Elizabeth, sat upon the throne and the Spanish Armada set sail upon its expedition for the subjugation and conversion of England. The Spanish looked for an easy victory if — a big if — they could but evade or overpower the English fleet, and disembark their troops on English soil. "Thirty years of peace," writes Froude, "were supposed abroad to have emasculated the once warlike English nation, and to so have enamoured the people of quiet, that they had no longer energy to defend their own firesides If their vigour was unimpaired it was held certainly that they must want skill and experience. Their peculiar weapon, the long bow, though it had not yet become a toy for the playground, could no longer decide a battle in the face of muskets and cannon ; and ardent Catholic Europe expected confidently that in collision with the trained regiments of Spain or France, the English militia would break in pieces at the first encounter ... The Prince of Parma knew better what the country was made of. Although the hundred beef-eaters at Court constituted the only permanently existing force in the service of the Government, yet English and Spanish soldiers had encountered in many a hard fight on the Antwerp dykes or in the open field, and man to man the Spaniards could claim no superiority. He (Parma) had experienced at Sluys that their engineering skill was not contemptible. He knew, perhaps, to use the language of a writer, who, after his own people, respected the Spaniards above all other nations in the world, that 'the English had always been, and at the present were, a free people, such as in few or no other realms were to be found the like, by which freedom was maintained a valiant courage in that people.' Flanders, France, and Ireland had been training schools where many thousands of Englishmen of all ranks had learnt the art as well as the practice of war ; while for the last eight years the militia had been carefully trained in the use of the modern weapons. Volunteer military schools had been established all over the country, gentlemen who had served abroad drilling the sons of knights and squires. Three hundred London merchants who had seen service took charge of the City corps, and the example, it is likely, was imitated in other towns ; while along the coast the privateering trade had made lessons in fighting a part of the education of every high-spirited lad.
"In this way for eight years all England had been in preparation for the day of trial ... And thus it was, that when the long-talked-of peril was at the doors, and the people were called on to take their harness to resist invasion, a hundred thousand men, well officered and appointed, were ready at a day's notice to fall into their companies and move wherever they were wanted. In the uncertainty where the Spaniards would land they were left at their homes, but with their line of action accurately laid down. The musters of the midland counties, thirty thousand strong, were to form a separate army for the defence of the Queen's person, and were directed to assemble on the first note of alarm between Windsor and Harrow. The rest were to gather to the point of danger. The coast companies had orders to fall back, wherever the enemy landed, removing the corn and cattle, and avoiding a battle till the force of the neighbouring counties joined them."
That this district took its due share in the national duty of defence there can be no room to doubt. In a booklet entitled " Historical Notes of Skelmanthorpe and District," the author of which, Mr. Fred Lawton, has done me the honour of appropriating, without acknowledgment, numerous sections of my " History of Huddersfield and Its Vicinity," I find mention of a muster at Barnsley on December 4th, 1587, of a corps, under the command of Richard Wortley and George Woodruff, of those in the localities undermentioned who were in readiness to encounter the Spaniard if and when he should approach these regions. The letter a indicates an arquebusier, b a billman, c, one armed with a culiver or firearm.
By "Town Soldier" we are probably to understand a member of the Train Bands which, at a later date, proved so useful to the Parliamentary cause during the Civil War.
The services of these musters were not required, though it may well be that the knowledge that the manhood of England lay ready to encounter the Spaniard, should he succeed in evading the English fleet, may have deterred those who had placed their loyalty to the Bishop of Rome above their allegiance to their sovereign from any attempt at an internal rising.
The defeat of the Armada left England the undisputed mistress of the seas, the acknowledged head of the Protestant powers of Europe, and in a position to regard with indifference the plots and ambitions of her Continental ill-wishers. The position and prerogative of the Crown seemed more securely based than at any time in the history of the country. The Catholics had lost all heart for intrigue against a Protestant dynasty, the danger that had menaced from Spain had united against a common foe the Church of England and the schismatics ; commerce flourished, and James I. succeeded, on the death of Elizabeth, to the throne of a loyal and contented nation. Yet but forty years were to elapse e'er the country was torn by the acutest religious dissensions, and all that was most considerable in the middle and lower classes was arrayed in arms against the King. To attempt to set forth the causes that led to the Civil War, still more to attempt to justify or condemn one side or the other of the contending forces, were utterly beyond the scope and purview of this work. It is sufficient for the present purpose to set forth, with what fulness the records that have survived the ravages of time and the still more fatal consequences of indifference and neglect permit, the part played in the struggle by the people of this district. It must not be forgotten that there was no standing army in the country when Charles I. unfurled his standard at Nottingham. The King relied for the support of his cause upon the landed proprietors, whom alike the tenure of their estates, their affection for the Episcopal Church, and the traditions of their class, might be counted on to rally to his aid. The leaders of the Parliamentary cause found their most devoted adherents in the centres of commerce and among the Puritan, or, as we should say, Dissenting ministers and their flocks.
The commander of the Royalist forces in the West Riding was Sir William Savile, Bart., lord of the manor of Golcar. This gentleman, who had been nominated on the Council of the North, and whose devotion to Charles I. and approval of the policy pursued by that monarch under the baleful influence of Laud and Wentworth may therefore be safely assumed, had served in 1639, the year before King and Parliament came to blows, in the expedition against the Scots. He sat for Yorkshire in the Short Parliament, and when the Civil War broke out he was among the foremost in the Royal cause. He held Leeds and Wakefield for the King, Bradford being in the possession of Sir Thomas Fairfax, the Parliamentary General. On January 23rd, 1643, Fairfax set forth from Bradford for Leeds. He had with him six troops of horse, three companies of dragoons, one thousand musketeers, and two thousand clubmen, men armed with staves, scythes, or such rude weapons of offence as came opportune to their hands.
A trumpeter was despatched to Sir William Savile, requiring the town to be delivered into the hands of Fairfax for the Parliament, to which Sir William returned a disdainful answer. The Parliamentary guard then approached the town on the south-west side, with colours flying, to begin the assault, which commenced about one o'clock in the afternoon ; and in two hours the Royalists were driven from their works and their cannoniers killed. Sir Thomas Fairfax, his brother Sir William, Sir Henry Fontis, and Captain Forbes cut their way through all opposition, and, entering the town sword in hand, at the head of their troops, soon got possession of the place, where they,found two brass cannons, with a good store of ammunition. They made many prisoners among whom were six officers. There were about forty-six slain. Sir William Savile fled, and escaped being taken by crossing the river, but Serjeant-Major Beaumont was drowned in making the attempt.
I have found no record of the force that constituted the garrison of Leeds, but it is possible that Sir William Savile had with him some members of the Train Band referred to in the Beaumont papers published by the Rev. W. D. Macray, M.A., F.S.A., a collection of interesting documents preserved at various times by members of the family of Beaumont of Whitley-Beaumont. Amongst these was found a "Shedull indented conteyning ye names of 150 footmen of the Regiment of Sir Henry Savile, Baronett, delivered to Sir John Ramsden, Knt., for his Company within the said Westz [iding], the viith day of April, 1626." The letters C and M probably mean culverin and musqueteer.
The Rev. Edmund Hill, A.M., was Vicar of Huddersfield from 1619 to 1652, the Rev. Geo. Crosland was inducted Vicar of Almondbury in April, 1598. As his successor, the Rev. John Crosland, died in 1644, it is clear the Muster Lists given above were compiled before the actual outbreak of the Civil War, though it is likely many of the men named took part in this conflict.
The Rev. Gamaliel Whitaker, Vicar of Kirkburton, suffered severely at the hands of the Parliament forces. There had been, in the first days of the wars, an officer in the Royalist Army named John Firth, commanding a troop raised by Bosville, of Gunthwaite Hall, in the King's interest. The troop was a thousand strong, and every trooper stood at least six feet in his boots. Firth was one of the garrison at Nottingham Castle what time George Fox, the Quaker preacher, was confined there, and the exhortings of the prisoner had such an effect upon his gaoler that he joined the Society of Friends and retired to his homestead at Shepley Lane Head. He was probably suspected of being unfriendly to the Parliamentary cause. A body of horsemen was sent from Halifax to effect his arrest. Forewarned he took refuge in an old quarry at Skelmanthorpe, but was discovered and taken prisoner. He was mounted on the back of a horse, behind one of the troopers, and the soldiers proceeded with him towards Halifax. As they were passing through Boxings Wood, situated between Shelley and Kirkburton, John Firth slipped off (from) behind the trooper, and escaped into the wood. Search for him proved fruitless, and the troopers went on their way without him. The captain of the horse soldiers was very much exasperated at the loss of his prisoner, and in passing the Vicarage House at Kirkburton he emptied his arquebuss through the staircase window which faces the road. The vicar's wife was descending the stairs at the time, with a light in her hand, and, whether intentionally or not, he shot her dead. In the parish register at Kirkburton Church there is the entry:—
The Rev. Gamaliel Whitaker was a strong Royalist, and it was supposed that he had given some information about this district to the Duke of Newcastle, so he was arrested and taken to Manchester, where in about a month he died in prison. Tradition says the troopers camped the same night under the old Yew Tree at Teapot and Kettle, and that one of Cromwell's soldiers died that night and was buried under the old tree.
In the Huddersfield List we find the name Isaac Wormall, both Christian and surname being sufficiently uncommon, especially in conjunction, to warrant the assumption that the person referred to was that Isaac Wormald who dwelt in the well-known house in Westgate, in Almondbury, still bearing the inscription :—
The house is described in Hulbert's "Annals" as a two-storeyed building, having projecting windows above, with an archway at the south end leading to what were formerly the gardens and outpremises, now adjoining the Woolpack Inn, with a summer-house commanding a beautiful prospect of Farnley Wood and the parishes of Kirkheaton and Kirkburton ; the rooms low, but wainscotted with oak throughout, the upper room running the whole length of the building, except a room over the gateway. In Almondbury Churchyard is a tombstone, with arms and esquire's helmet, bearing the record :—
To return to Sir William Savile, who may have been an able commander, but was certainly an unfortunate one. Though unsuccessful in his attempt to hold Leeds for the King — it was in January, 1643, that he surrendered that town — he was appointed in May of the same year to the command of Sheffield Castle, serving under the Earl of Newcastle. There is a letter dated May 23rd, 1643, from Sir Thomas Fairfax, commanding on the opposing side, to the Speaker of the House of Commons, which serves to give us a fair notion of the state of this district and its people at that time : "The Earl of Newcastle's army," he wrote, "do now range over all the south-west parts of the country, pillaging and cruelly using the well-affected party; and here about Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax, being a mountainous, barren country, the people now begin to be sensible of want, their last year's provisions being spent, and the enemies' garrisons stopping all the provisions, both of corn and flesh and other necessaries, that were wont to come from the more fruitful countries to them ; their trade utterly taken away, their poor grow innumerable, and great scarcity to relieve them ; and the army which now lies among them to defend them from the enemie, cannot defend them from want, which causes much murmurs and lamentations among the people ; and for the army itself, it is so far in arrears, and no way appearing how they shall either be supplied with money or succour, as they grow very mutinous."
Savile, we have seen, was holding Sheffield. His wife, Anne, was the daughter of Lord Coventry, Keeper of the Great Seal of England, "a lady remarkable for her zeal and staunchness in the royal cause, from the support of which no difficulties nor dangers, nor even the fear of death itself, could deter her." The lady was the heroic daughter of an heroic age. She lost by death her husband ere Sheffield Castle was obliged to capitulate, and as though that were not calamity enough, she was brought to bed of a clild the very day after the surrender, the besiegers, it is affirmed by Dr. Barwick, barbarously refusing ingress to a midwife in hopes of bringing the lady to terms, she declaring that "she was resolved to perish rather than surrender the Castle."
Among the Beaumont Papers were found many letters or copies of letters that passed between the Marquis of Newcastle, Sir William Savile, and Major Thomas Beaumont, who was deputy Governor of Sheffield Castle in Savile's absence :—
The Constable of a town at that time held a position analogous to that of the Mayor of to-day.
This letter seems to be an exhortation to Major Beaumont not only to supply the necessities of his force by plundering the enemy, but also to make a purse for himself. This Savile had ever an eye to the main chance.
It is clear from this and other documents I have copied from the Beaumont Papers that women took an active part in both sides during the Civil War. The present-day advocates of Women's Rights seemed to have overlooked this argument to support their claim.
The Captain Horsfall mentioned in the letter resided at Storthes Hall, Kirkburton. In "Round about Bradford" there is a notice of the Horsfall family :—
"Wilsden, the old Cotton Mill at Goit Stock, with the pleasant residence close by, was once occupied by the Horsfall family, who were very early associated with the worsted trade of Bradford, and who played a not unimportant part in its development. The Horsfall family seem to have been of some importance early in the fifteenth century, and, as it is shown by some Ancient Deeds, had possessions in the neighbourhood of Denholme at that period. In 1605 Richard Horsfall purchased the Manor of Thurstonland and Storthes Hall, the principal mansion, in the Parish of Kirkburton, near Huddersfield, which had been the seat of the Storthes, a family of some antiquity. A son of this Horsfall took part in the Civil War, when he joined the Royal Army, and held a command in Sir George Savile's regiment of foot. After the battle of Marston, his -father having died, Captain Horsfall settled at Storthes and died there in 1688."
According to Morehouse, Henry VIII., in 1541, gave to John Storthes, of Storthes Hall, the Manor of Thurstonland, together with certain lands, etc., late belonging "to the monestrye of Roche" [Roche Abbey] "now dissolved."
I have already mentioned the reference to Captain Horsfall in the inscription on the tombstone of one of his descendants, in which it is stated that the gallant captain "took an active part with the Royalists in the Grand Rebellion." I grieve to have to dispel whatever pleasing illusions may be nursed by living descendants of the captain, as to the "active part" taken by him on the King's behalf. It will appear, when we come to the records of a later stage of the war, that the gallant captain was a self-confessed deserter.
To return to the Beaumont Papers :—
But it was not fated that Lord Eythin should "weat upon" Fairfax. Dis aliter visum. The Parliamentary forces "weated upon " the Royalist.
Exactly a week after the dispatch of this missive the Castle was evacuated. I extract certain of the Articles of Surrender, dated 10th August, 1644 :—
The surrender made, Major Beaumont retired, on terms, to his own house at Whitley-Beaumont. Here are the words of his safe-conduct :—
If the gallant officer flattered himself that he was now quit of interference from Parliament, he had presently a rude awakening. He was called upon to attend Commissioners in London and set forth a statement of his estate and worldly gear. There is an affidavit by his wife, the Lady Elizabeth :—
Here we have the Commissioners' Report :
There is an inventory of the household goods at Whitley-Beaumont and of the farming stock. It is interesting as affording some notion of how the mansion of a considerable landed proprietor of ancient lineage was furnished two hundred and fifty years or so ago :—
|Little Kitchen Chamber||0||15||0|
|Little Kitchen Chamber||0||15||8|
Making the most generous allowance for the difference in money values, £28 8s. scarcely represents a sum that in these days would be considered sufficient for the furnishing of a single principal room in a considerable mansion.
The reader will have observed that Major Beaumont took the National Covenant before the rector of Kirkheaton, the Rev. Christopher Richardson. What a picture would it be could the faces of squire and divine have been limned on the taking of that oath; for the rector was a staunch Presbyterian and had succeeded to the incumbency of Kirkheaton on the expulsion therefrom of the Rev. Richard Sykes, who, as we shall see, bestirred himself actively for the King. The Rev. Christopher Richardson was graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, and though doubtless episcopally ordained, had seen his way to conform to the Presbyterian discipline when that became the vogue under the domination of Parliament. He was Rector of Kirkheaton from 1646 till the Restoration, when the Church of England and its ministers came into their own again. Then Mr. Richardson was "silenced." He purchased Lascelles Hall, and, using the staircase as a pulpit, held there religious services after the Presbyterian model, taking out a licence for that purpose. Under date January 2nd, 1693, Oliver Heywood tells in his diary how he preached for Mr. Richardson at Lascelles Hall, and how the serjeant of Sir John Kaye, of Woodsome, came thrusting through the crowd and demanded their licences for preaching. Heywood and Richardson concluded the service and then set out for Woodsome, accompanied by the serjeant and two of Sir John's livery men. Waiting the good knight's pleasure in the outer hall, they observed many waiting men playing at cards, and Heywood indulges the reflection that the devil was spiteful against preaching since he did not hinder but promoted keeping open house, feasting, dancing, and revelling. Richardson produced his licence to the Justice, and on Heywood undertaking to forward his, the ministers were dismissed with a caution not to go beyond the King's intention. When far advanced in years Mr. Richardson removed to Liverpool and established, at Castle Hey, the first Presbyterian Church in that place. He died December 5th, 1698. He must have been some sixty years of age when he wrote to Mistress Hephizibah Pryme, who became his second wife, the letter which I reproduce, in some doubt as to whether its variance from the style usual in amorous missives is due to the writer's sacred calling or to his years :—
The Rev. Richard Sykes was mulcted heavily for his loyalty, as appears from the following Report upon his case contained in the Royalist Compositions :—
Another clergyman connected with this district made himself prominent as an adherent of the Royalist cause — the Rev. Abraham Woodhead, who was born at Meltham in 1609, and baptised at Almondbury Parish Church, and who, the Rev. Joseph Hughes, author of the History of the Township of Meltham, surmises, received his early education at the Almondbury Grammar School, founded some sixty years before his birth. At the age of sixteen he was sent to University College, Oxford. He took his M.A. in 1632, and was Skirland and possibly Freestone Fellow, and in 1641 became a Proctor of the University. He fell under the displeasure of Parliament, and in 1642 was ordered to appear at the Bar of the House of Commons, for that "when the Parliament attempted by every means to gain the University over to the Republican Party, and had proposed a convocation in order to introduce the Solemn League and Covenant, the firmness of Mr. Woodhead prevented in a signal measure the innovation ; and at the Bar of the House he made so able a defence that he was dismissed without further molestation, returning to the University, where he remained till the expiration of his Proctorship." Thereafter he lived for a time under the protection of the Duke of Buckingham, with apartments in York House, and still later he was in hiding in the house of Lord Capel, being suspected of Papist tendencies. That celebrated work, The Whole Duty of Man, is claimed to have been written by him. He died, May 4th, 1678, by his will directing his trustees to pay "ye residue of ye yearly rents of his lands in Meltham and Thickhollings to ye minister of ye word of God, yt shall be settled and officiate at ye Chappell of Meltham att ye time of my decease, and so to his successor in ye same place and office for ever."
Reverting to the Royalist Composition Papers one cannot but be impressed by the comparative severity with which the agents of the victorious Parliament dealt with the people of Kirkheaton and its vicinity, all of whom may be reasonably supposed to have been much influenced by the teachings of their spiritual guide, the Pastor of Kirkheaton, and their territorial lord, the Squire of Whitley. I confess, however, that the case of Captain Horsfall, of Storthes Hall, does not seem to call for much sympathy. I extract the Report referring to him :—
It ought perhaps to be stated that the National Covenant, to which reference is made in the Compensation Papers, was the Covenant or Declaration by which the signators agreed inter alia to abandon the Episcopal Church and to accept for the future the Presbyterian mode of Church government and doctrine.
Other Compositions in the parish of Kirkheaton and hard by are as follows :—
Seized of land at Kirkheaton worth £23 10s. per ann. and in Thornhill worth £24, and hath persnl. este. £80 13s. 4d.
It will be observed that Home's submission was in August, 1644. The date is significant. The Battle of Marston Moor was fought July 2nd, 1644, and the Royalists of this district may be excused for having little stomach for fighting after the disaster of that day.
The Inventory of this delinquent's property is interesting. Had they no pictures, no books, in those days ?
|One range, 2 tables, 2 forms, 4 chairs, one pan, 3 pots, one spit, and one buffet stool||3||0||0|
|In the over parlour —|
|One stand bed, 2 trunk beds, one feather bed with,beddg., 3 chests, one trunk, one chair||3||0||0|
|One silver cup and moneys||11||0||0|
|In the nether parlour —|
|One stand bed, one feather bed with bedding, one table, a frame and a cupboard, half a dozen,cushions||2||10||0|
|Two stand beds, 2 feather beds with certain bed,and cupboard, 2 chairs||3||10||0|
|A certain press of Wader (?)||1||0||0|
In the whole house 7 chairs, 2 forms, 1 stool, and 8 beds ! Accommodation enough for the night, but what of the day ?
|In the barn —|
|Wheat, oat, pease, and hay||50||0||0|
|In the fold —|
|In the ground —|
|11 cows, 2 calves||22||0||0|
|Wains, ploughs, and other husbandry —|
|Tanned leather and dry||16||0||0|
|20 country steer hides and 50 cow hides||50||0||0|
|Eleven score hides bought at London||220||0||0|
|120 hides bought at London and not yet at Hull||150||0||0|
|In bills and bonds||479||13||2|
|Glebe lands in Sandall||£6||10||0|
|Tithes in Crigleston worth||£61||0||0|
|Fine at a sixth||£258||6||8|
Whilst the Manor of Kirkheaton, in which the feudal spirit may be presumed to have been of a robuster sort, fared thus ill at the hands of the victors, Huddersfield came lightly off. Even the lord of the manor, Sir John Ramsden, does not appear to have suffered much pecuniary loss, though he was in arms for the King. His regiment was engaged at Marston Moor, but the knight himself had been taken prisoner at Selby in an encounter with Sir James Fairfax's army on its march to the siege of York. He was committed to the Tower for high treason 31st May and released August 14th, and died some eighteen months thereafter, and so escaped the attentions of the Parliamentary Commissioners.
I find mention of only one Huddersfield resident in the Composition Papers. The case is quoted by the late G. W. Tomlinson, though I do not observe it in the collected papers :—
If the reader will refer to the muster-roll of Sir Henry Savile's Regiment he will find among the names of foot soldiers and others that of The Widow Hirst, of Greenhead. I can only surmise that this lady provided a substitute.
Although, as we have seen, Col. Will Legge was amongst the most prominent of the Royalist soldiers, it does not appear that the Kayes of Woodsome, to alliance with which family it need scarcely be repeated we are indebted for the association of the Legge family with this district, took a very active part in the war, and that although Sir John Kaye of Woodsome was Treasurer of Lame Soldiers, temp. Charles I., was Colonel of a regiment of horse in the war, and received a baronetcy for his services. The Compensation Papers contain the following Report :—
Hitherto we have been concerned mainly with the doings of those of this district who embraced the Royalist cause. Thus we have seen that the great landowners of Huddersfield and the valleys that lie about the town stood for the King: Sir John Ramsden, Sir John Kaye of Woodsome, Major Beaumont of Whitley, the Saviles who owned Golcar, Horsfall of Storthes Hall, and, on the Beaumont estate at least, many of the tenantry. But there is every reason to believe that the mercantile classes and the general people inclined to the Parliament side. The mere fact that in Huddersfield only one man — Hirst, of Greenhead — was called upon by Parliament to compound for his Delinquency is negative proof that the sympathies of the traders of the town were with the cause for which Cromwell stood. I have, however, searched the archives of the Record Office in vain for any muster-rolls of this district of men engaged on that side. The explanation appears to be that any who drew the sword or shouldered pike or musket for faith and freedom as Parliament understood them, were drafted into the regiments of various commanders, and so their identity was lost.
We are not, however, entirely without record of the part played on the Puritan side by some of the people of the neighbourhood in the grim tragedy of the Civil War. Almondbury seems to have been a rallying ground for the Parliamentary forces in the district, notwithstanding that its natural fortress, Castle Hill, looks down on the one side upon Longley Hall, the home of Sir John Ramsden, on the other upon the bonny woods that bower the ancient seat of the Kayes, and the further fact that Storthes Hall and Whitley-Beaumont are in close proximity. To Almondbury, accordingly, those who were willing to bear arms against the King were summoned to repair, as witness the following proclamation issued by the Parliament leader in these parts :—
The people of the Holme Valley seem to have distinguished themselves beyond their neighbours in their zeal for the Parliament cause. And it will be seen later that in the comparatively recent times when the Civil War raged the Valley of the Holme was much more populous than either Huddersfield or either of the Valleys of the Colne or the Dearne. Holmfirth would in those days be regarded as of much more consequence than Huddersfield, and it is possible that the youthful members of the latter town resorted for their junkettings on feast days and holy days to Holmfirth, much as now the young folk flock from Holmfirth to Huddersfield on Saturdays.
According to Mr. Morehouse "it was while the Earl of Newcastle was lying with his large army at Wakefield, in the spring of 1643, that a detachment was sent into those mountainous districts of Yorkshire immediately to the west of Wakefield (viz., the parishes of Almondbury, Kirkburton, and Penistone), whence at that period they could most readily be approached, and where the bias in favour of Parliament was very strong. Of this we have corroborative testimony in a letter from Sir Thomas Fairfax to his father, the Lord General Fairfax, which points to this event, written from Bradford, April 20th, 1643, in which he says : "This town is very weak, by reason many are gone to defend Ambry (Almondbury) and those parts ; but I hear Captain Radcliffe is revolted to the enemy and most of his company, if not all; the other company, being not strong enough, returned to Elam (qy. Elland) ; there Captain Morgan, who had raised some dragoons, joins with them for the defence of those parts this day ; some of the Penistone men came also to demand aid, there being seventeen colours in Barnsley five miles off them."
The people of Holmfirth seem to have responded handsomely to the appeal of Fairfax, for as we have already seen, their petition of 1650 in the matter of the Church claims that "the inhabitants of Holmfirth did make and set forth a hundred musqueteers for the Parliament's service, by order of the late Lord General Fairfax ; and that there are severall of the sonnes and servants of the Inhabitants still in actual service of the Commonwealth." This zeal for the Parliament brought its natural consequences, for, "by reason thereof they had above Thirtie houses burned downe by the Armye against the Parliament, under the late Earl of Newcastle five regiments of the enemye's foot, three of horse and two of dragoons, came into the said chappelrie, killed and tooke prisoners, and plundered and took away their goods soe that many lyed in prison, and the rest were forste from their owne habita'cons to the great impoverishment and hurte of the poore Inhabitants."
It was, one need scarcely say, a Stuart king whose wrongheadedness — for wrongheadedness it was, even if we allow it to have been conscientious wrong-headedness — embarked his subjects in Civil War. We cannot withhold a measure of admiration from the landed gentry and beneficed clergy who made enormous sacrifices for their King and Church. But later Stuarts appealed for similar sacrifices in vain. James II., undeterred by the fate that had overtaken his father, embarked upon a like policy. Sincerely attached to the Romish faith he sought by unconstitutional methods to compass his ends. He caused the following questions to be addressed by the Lords Lieutenants to the powerful gentry of the country, among other to Sir John Ramsden, of Longley, and Sir John Key (Kaye), of Woodsome, both of whose ancestors had been, as we have seen, King's men in the Civil War.
This was what we should now call "heckling" ; but heckling by a king is a very different thing from heckling by a voter, and the spirited replies of the two gentlemen addressed must have afforded but cold comfort to the monarch.
Seeing there is noe Commission produced from the King, neither any authority appears to us by the Statutes of the Militia whereby answers to the Question may be required : Wee take leave to make this Declaration, that we think ourselves under noe obligation to reply to them, otherwise than to show our willingness to exprese our obedience whenever, and by whomsoever the King's name is made use of.
The Stuart cause died hard. In the reign of William of Orange, who succeeded James II. on the throne, there were ceaseless plottings for the restoration of the exiled dynasty. Baron Dartmouth, lord of Woodsome, was, as we have seen, suspected of being concerned in these plots and cast into the Tower. It was perhaps natural that a Legge should be deemed to have a hankering affection for the Stuarts.
But when in 1715 the old Pretender made an abortive attempt to recover the throne no family of this district was engaged in the rising. I find only one document that connects the locality with that historic rising. It is preserved by Mr. Hughes in his History of Meltham.
At the time I write these lines a General Election seems imminent. During its progress many will wear Orange favours. To how many will it occur to connect the issues involved in the Election with the principles of the Revolution and the wearing of yellow rosettes with the Orange lace insisted upon in the above Order.
Mrs. Jagger, in her monograph on St. Mary's, Honley, records that when a child she once saw some dilapidated military garments worn by one of those who answered the call of the constable to help in the defence of that village. The coat was of a red cloth of a now antiquated pattern and furnished with brass buttons. A band of yellow lace adorned the hat.
In 1745, when the Young Pretender made a more serious attempt than that of his father to regain the throne lost by the folly of James II., this district was not a little perturbed. We in these days are so accustomed to settled peace within our shores and to implicit reliance upon the protection afforded by a standing army that we realise with difficulty the state of constant apprehension of Scottish raids in which the northern counties lived. My grandfather told me that he well remembered that his father, who lived at Holme, in Slaithwaite, in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, kept ever in the house a loaded firearm, not, as we should now surmise, for poaching or to affright the casual burglar, but that he might be ready at any hour of the night to sally forth against cattle-lifters from beyond the borders. When, then, it was a question not merely of a small band of raiders, such as made the train of Rob Roy, but of an organised body of great numbers, who must perforce sustain themselves upon their march by pillage, and who were little regardful of the sanctity either of person or property, we can realise in some measure what dismay struck into the hearts of the people hereabouts when it become known that the Scots were on their southward march. To their concern for their own safety appear to have been added public considerations. "The people of this district," says Morehouse, " were for the most part attached to the reigning family ; there were, however, some — a small section — who were desirous of the restoration of the Stuart dynasty; among these were a few of the clergy, yet none of them took an active part, contenting themselves with giving expression to their wishes more or less openly. The Rev. William Eden, the presbyterian minister at Lydgate, entered with great spirit into the cause of the reigning monarch. His appeals to the people from the pulpit, in which he seems to have been assisted by the Rev. Benjamin Shaw, of Bullhouse Chapel, were calculated to arouse the people to 'patriotism and duty' — 'to stand fast to the liberty which had been so dearly won for them,' warning them 'not to become entangled in the yoke of bondage or the devices of popery, which led to both civil and religious slavery.' When the news was received here that the rebels had arrived in England, the state of alarm became very great. The chief constable of the district, and some of the principal inhabitants, set about actively to solicit subscriptions for the purpose of establishing Watch and Ward and raising men to prepare to defend the district from pillage and violence. On the 1st of November Watch and Ward was accordingly set up in Holmfirth and in the adjoining townships. The weather during that month was extremely cold and severe, often alternating between rain, frost, and snow. The accounts of the progress of the rebels, brought from day to day, were vague and often contradictory, and the numerous stories which were circulated of the enormities committed by them, and the severities exercised upon the people, were very exciting, each day seeming to add to the excitement. But early on the morning of Saturday, the 30th November, a report had spread far and wide that the rebels had got to Marsden, and would be at Huddersfield in the course of the day. An express had been sent in the middle of the night from Huddersfield to all the principal clothiers in the Holme Valley, to fetch away their cloth. 'They were in a terrible consternation in Huddersfield, as they were hourly expecting the arrival of the rebels.' It was also reported that a large body of the rebels had arrived in Saddleworth and were expected to come over the moors to Holmfirth; the people here and in the surrounding places were in the greatest consternation and alarm. The people ' flocked into Holmfirth from every side,' the young men, as well as the older ones, having provided themselves with either guns, swords, hay-forks, scythes, and such other deadly weapons as they could obtain, and formed themselves into a large and formidable force. At the head of this troop of mountaineers was the Rev. William Eden, who had displayed great zeal in the cause. For some days previous to this, Mr. Eden had been at great trouble 'in going about to get men to sign their hands to a paper, to go with him if there should be occasion' ; upon which great numbers volunteered, and now came prepared. He addressed the men before they marched away, urging them to be faithful and stand their ground, and resolutely defend their King, their country, their families, and their homes. Thus prepared they marched away in the direction in which the enemy was supposed to be coming, but they met with no resistance. This day has since been remembered as Rebel Sunday." From the circumstance of Mr. Eden having led this band of mountaineers he afterwards received the appellation of 'Captain' Eden.
In the Diary of the Rev. I. Ismay, under date December ist, 1745, there is the following reference to the expected coming of the Pretender's army : "The people at Huddersfield, Mirfield, etc., were put into a prodigious panic by ye Lancashire Militia Officers suspecting them to be Rebels. A woman at Huddersfield was frightened to death with the report of the rebels approaching the place. The coal pits at Mirfield Moor and other places were stocked with clothes and provisions." Mr. Tomlinson preserves in his Notes a letter from a Holmfirth gentleman, dated January 12th, 1745 : "I hear the Rebels are returning [from Derby], and it is feared some of them will come this way; they are in greater consternation than they were on Saturday, the 30th of last month. A great many troopers and dragoons lodged in Huddersfield and Almondbury last night belonging to General Wade's regiments, George Morehouse, of Almondbury, had four troopers and four horses. They went away soon this morning. General Oglethorpe was with them and lodged at Greenhead."
Scot Head, Honley, is said to owe its name to the fact that some of the Scots' force, probably stragglers, reached that place.
The events to which this chapter has been mainly devoted, the local happenings during the Civil War and the Stuart risings, took place between 1640 and 1745, indeed a troubled century of our national life ! I am able to furnish some detailed particulars of the population of Huddersfield and the valleys that there debouch, not, I regret to say, of the days of the Commonwealth, but of days closely succeeding it. The Hearth Tax Returns here set out contain the names of men who must have been in their prime in Cromwell's time, and many of them must have struck stout blows on the one side or the other. The Hearth Tax was a levy rightly obnoxious to the people. In Macaulay's account of the progress of Wiliam of Orange to the capital he writes : "Along William's whole line of march from Torbay to London, he had been importuned by the common people to relieve them from the intolerable burden of the hearth money. In truth, that tax seems to have united all the worst evils which can be imputed to any tax. It was unequal, and unequal in a most pernicious way ; for it pressed heavily on the poor and lightly on the rich. A peasant, whose property was not worth twenty pounds, had to pay several shillings, while the mansion of an opulent noble in Lincoln's Inn Fields or St. James's Square was seldom assessed at two guineas. The collectors were empowered to examine the interior of every house in the realm, to disturb families at meals, to force the doors of bedrooms, and, if the sum demanded were not punctually paid, to sell the trencher on which the barley loaf was divided among the poor children and the pillow from under the head of the lying-in woman. Nor could the Treasury effectually restrain the chimney-man from using his powers with harshness ; for the tax was farmed, and the Government was consequently forced to connive at outrages and exactions such as have, in every age, made the name of a publican a proverb for all that is hateful," by the term "publican" being understood, not a keeper of a public-house, but a farmer or lessee of the public revenues, who bought the estimated proceeds of a tax at a lump sum down and recouped himself as fully as he could.
|LAY SUBSIDY ROLL 210-293 HEARTH TAX.|
16 CHARLES II. (A.D. 1664.)
|THE WAPENTAKE OF AGBREGG.|
|Mr. Henry Hirst||5||Geor. Batley, of the same||1|
|Edmond Walker||1||Edmond Batley Lisle||1|
|Richard Massey||3||Willm. Broke, of Leeheade||1|
|Widd. Shawe||1||John Hanson||2|
|James Helliwell||2||Willm. Archer||1|
|Willm. Bramhall||3||Mrs. Sara Brooke||8|
|Widd. Watmough||3||Tho. Brooke, of Yathouse||4|
|Rich. Walker||1||Walter Butler||1|
|Tho. Bryer||3||Joshua Brooke, of Storth||2|
|Edw. Brooke of Norbar||2||Arthur Hirst, of Birkby, sen.||1|
|John Stacey, 2, and 1 encreased||3||Tho. Brooke, of the same||2|
|Widd. Jepson||1||Geor. Brooke||1|
|Anto. Hirst, junr||3||Isacke Goodheire||1|
|Edmond Shawe||1||John Starkey||3|
|Willm. Wallinson||2||Abra. Chappell||2|
|Widd. Nickoll||1||John Brooke, of Blackdike||2|
|John Dixon||10||Willm. Marshall||1|
|Edmond Shawe, Botcher||3||Michaell Crosland||1|
|Robt. Stacay||3||Joshua Brooke||1|
|Widd. Midwood||2||John Horsfald||3|
|John Swallow, junr||2||Caleb Singleton||1|
|Edw. Brooke, of Townehead||1||Widd. Birdit||1|
|William Lockwood||2||John Marsden||3|
|John Brooke, of Fould||1||Anthony Allinson||1|
|Tho. Horsfall, of Well||2||Geor. Greaves||3|
|Edmond Jepson||1||John Steade||2|
|Geor. Batley||3||Geor. Steade||1|
|Abra. Woodheade||1||John Bothomley||1|
|Joseph Sunderland||1||George Brooke, of Telgreave||1|
|Edmond Smithson||1||Rich. Gilson, of the same||2|
|Edmond Kay||1||John Rawnshey||2|
|Willm. Beamound||2||Tho. Gibson, of Laine Coate (?)||1|
|John Shaw, of Croftehead||3||Tho. Hudson||1|
|Mr. Mathew Wilkinson||8||Francis Askue||2|
|John Cowper, of Eggerton||3||John Wallinson||2|
|Rich. Brooke, of Lane||1||John Seneor, of Lodge||1|
|Joseph Eastwood||2||Michael Cockin||1|
|John Bankes||1||John Thornton||1|
|Edmond France||1||Tho. Spivey||2|
|Edmond Horsfeild||2||Edward Wilson||1|
|Joseph Woodheade||1||Mr. John Townley||5|
|John Brooke, of Bayhall||1||Robt. Mitchell||1|
|John Hirst, of Greene||1||Joseph Hepworth||1|
|Robt. Reade||1||Robt. Prestot||1|
|James Feilding||2||Edw. Brooke||1|
|Rich. Hirst, of Cloughouse||5||John Burges||1|
|Robt. Greene||2||John Firth||1|
|Tho. Clegg||3||Tho. Marsden||1|
|Arthur Hirst, junr||2||Widd. Crowther, sen||1|
|Edw. Rowlstone||1||Widd. Crowther, jun||1|
|Edw. Cowper, of Woodside||3||Tho. Mitchell||1|
|Tho. Armitage||1||Jeremy Ambler||1|
|Rodger Brooke, of Greenehouse||3||Roger Hirst||1|
|Tho. Brooke, of Greene||1||Peter Wraith||1|
|Arthur Hirst, of Gleadhould||4||John Browne||2|
|Anto. Hirst, sen||2||James Hirst, of Lodge||1|
|Geor. Sikes||1||Widd. Hirst, of Oake||1|
|Edmond Batley, of Lane end||1||John Gibson||1|
|John Kay||1||Widd. Netleton||2|
|Widd. Read||John Hallhouse|
|Widd. Woodhead||John Batty|
|Luke Shawe||James Broadbelt|
|Mary Crowther||John Hardy|
|John Woodhead||Willm. Shawe|
|Rich. Chadwicke||Hen. Beamount|
|Robt. Peaker||Isake Tuncliffe|
|John Beswicke||Willm. Jepson|
|Joshua Batley||James Brearley|
|Tho. Brooke, of Comon (?)||James Hasliffe, of Marsh|
There were, then, a few years after the Restoration, in Huddersfield proper, not, be it understood, in the town now comprised in the County Borough, but in old Huddersfield, one hundred and forty houses, taxable and exempt — not more than may now be counted, I imagine, in more than one street of the modern town. The Hirsts and the Brookes seem to have been the chief families, in number, at least.
|Willm. Ramsden, Esqre.||24||Geor. Wilkinson||4|
|Mr. Horsfald||6||John Hirst||1|
|John Wood||3||Geor. Twiddall||2|
|Tho. Hall||2||Geor. Senior||2|
|John Wood, senr||2||Willm. Brooke||1|
|John Harpin||1||Geor. Brooke||1|
|Abra. Beaumont||5||Tho. Rawlinson||1|
|Tho. Broadley||2||Rich. Heatin||1|
|Mrs. Fenay||9||John Blackburne, sen.||2|
|Tho. Kay||6||John Beamount||1|
|Tho. Liddall||1||Willm. Ouldfeild||1|
|Edmond Mellor||1||Robt. Bradley||1|
|Geor. Bayly||5||Tho. Walker||1|
|James Redfearne||4||Rich. Armitage||2|
|Widd. Woodhead||1||Willm. Wither||1|
|Robt. Hirst||4||Widd. Wither||1|
|Willm. Kay||1||Geor. Brooke||1|
|Whatgodwillf Crosland||4||John Woodhead||1|
|Tho. Gibson||10||Peter Kay||1|
|Robt. Audsley||5||John Kay, of Crosse||3|
|Mr. Robinson, Vicar||5||Widd. Whithead||1|
|John Ellistones||3||Mathew North||6|
|Geor. Crosland||1||Willm. Kay||1|
|Robt. Hoyle||4||Tho. Gleadell||1|
|John Hemingway||3||Tho. Starkye||2|
|Gibriell Tate||2||Joseph Whithead||1|
|Joseph Kay||1||John Megson||1|
|Jaine Kay||2||Geor. Hinchliffe||2|
|Widd. Brooke||1||Willm. Lockwood||1|
|Widd. Haigh||1||Joshua Lockwood||1|
|Robt. Twiddall||1||Joseph Haigh||1|
|John Blackburne||4||Edmond Kay||3|
|Widd. Beamount||2||Widd. Blackburne||2|
|Geor. Sikes||1||Abra. Beamount||2|
|Geor. Field||1||Edmond Feild||1|
|John Kay||4||Widd. Rayner||2|
|Joshua Lockwood||1||Roger Robucke||1|
|Joseph Kay||5||Lewis Wimpenny||1|
|Fran. Home||5||Mrs. Appleyeard||1|
|Edmond Kay||4||Willm. Whitles house||1|
|Edmond Hoyle||4||Willm. Winpenny||1|
|Hen. Griene||3||Widd. Megson||2|
|Willm. Horsfald||2||Tho. Kay||1|
|John Ainley, jun.||1|
|Persons this Yeare found out and Inserted.|
|Mr. Farrand||1||Widd. Binns||1|
|Robt. Bradley||1||John Crosland||1|
|Willm. Roads||1||Widd. Armitage||1|
|John Dixon||1||Geor. Senior||1|
|Tho. Whittaker||1||James Beswicke||1|
|Tho. Beamount||1||Wilton Senior||1|
|John. Home||1||Joseph Hirst||1|
|Tho. Berry||1||Tho. Allen||1|
|John Marsden||1||Abra. Horsfald||1|
|Willm. Parkin||1||Rich. Stringer||1|
|Joseph Hirst||1||Tho. Wither||1|
|Margaret Hanson||1||John Mathews||1|
|Widd. Booth||1||Rich. Firth||1|
|John Whittaker||1||Geor. Harrorge and John Fairebancke||2|
|Abra. Longbottom||Michaell Haigh|
|Mathew Ashton||James Gleadell|
|Widd. Milnes||Robt. Ainley, senr.|
|Widd. Leaper||Robt. Ainley, junr.|
|Abra. Lockwood||John Ainley|
|Joseph Ashton||Tho. Knight|
|Widd. Scholefeild||John Askwith|
|Geor. Preistley||John Ratcliffe|
|Mary Duckworth||Widd. Wright|
|Jeunes Bedforth||John Horton|
|Tho. Bidroyd||Sam. Lockwood|
|Arther Kay||Widd. Tayler|
|Francis Was||John Bradley|
|John Hanson||John Kay|
|Edw. Berry||Geo. Kay|
|Widd. Waterhouse||Widd. Shaw|
|Robt. Beamount||John Crowther|
|John Lockwood||Tho. Haigh|
|James Wardley||John Haigh|
|Willm. Armitage||Tho. Haigh|
|Rich. North||Rich. Williamson|
|John Bawden||Joseph Brooke|
|Sam Brooke||Widd. Hanson|
|Widd. Senior||An to. Dyson|
|John Wilkinson||James Sikes|
|Tho. Beamont Tayler||Joseph Litle|
|Robt Bedford||Tho. Blackburne|
|Geor. Willy||Edmond Shawe|
|Willm. Willy||John Ainley, of Parkgate|
|Hen. Wood||Susan Hanson|
|Rich. Marsden||Widd. Beamont|
|Willm. Hepworth||Widd. Sikes|
|Thomas Gilbt||Sam Feild|
|Tho. Heaton||Robt. Haigh|
There appear, then, to have been 184 houses in Almondbury two hundred and fifty years ago. But the value of the Return, and, indeed, of others, is lessened by the fact that we cannot now know what area was comprised under Almondbury. Clearly not the ancient parish, for we find separate returns for Marsden, part of which was in that parish.
Allowing five persons to each house, the population of Huddersfield was, in 1664, about 700 souls, of Almondbury 920.
|EXCHEQUER LAY SUBSIDY 210-413 HEARTH TAX.|
24 CHARLES II. (1672.)
|QUARMBY. COLD CAR QUARTER.|
|Nichollas Chadwick||2||Nichollas Lockwood||2|
|Richard Lee||2||Widdow Dyson||1|
|James Wilson||2||Toby Walker||1|
|Jerem. Aineley||1||John Pogson||1|
|Edward Lee||2||John Hague||1|
|John Hurst||1||John Bray||2|
|John Hurst||1||Widdow Broadbent||2|
|George Hurst||1||Willm. Anieley||1|
|Anthony Bray||3||Edward Hurst||2|
|James Whitwham||1||Henry Pogson||1|
|James Hurst||3||Robert Heywood||1|
|Arthur Wilson||I||James Goldthropp||1|
|Widdow Walker||3||Richard Crosland||1|
|Willm. Anieley||2||Widdow Brooke||1|
|Joseph Apielyard||1||John Haigh||1|
|George Dyson||4||James Harrison||1|
|James Dyson||5||John Wilson, senr||1|
|Widdow Hoyle||1||Edward Harlin||2|
|George Ratcliffe||1||Willm. Dyson||1|
|John Hurst||1||James Bray||1|
|John Dyson||4||Hugh Ramsden||3|
|Hugh Ramsden||4||Edward Harlin||1|
|John Shaw||1||John Wilson||1|
|Thomas Foster||1||John Lockwood||3|
|John Haigh||2||James Grime||2|
|Willm. Dyson||2||Joseph Dyson||1|
|Edward Haigh||2||Willm. Dysonn||2|
|Joseph Whitwham||1||James Swinden||1|
|John Hurst||1||John Taylor||1|
|James Rigley||2||John Hall||1|
|John Haigh||1||John Hinchcliffe||1|
|John Haigh||1||Robert Shaw||1|
|Widdow Eastwood||5||Widdow Dyson||1|
|Empty and noe Distress to be had.|
|Omitted by Reason of Poverty — 4.|
|Robt Bennit, Collr.||James Grimes, Const.|
There were then in all 71 houses in Quarmby (Cold Car Quarter) having hearths, from which we shall be warranted in assuming a population at that time of some 350 souls, mostly, apparently, of the humbler sort. In the Longwood Quarter, 50 hearths, and a probable population of 250.
There were then, in Honley, in 1664, about 117 occupied houses, affording an estimated population of about 600. Most of the houses boasted only one fireplace, that, doubtless, in the living-room or "house." The most considerable persons, judging from the style of the house they occupied, were Robt. Hey (four hearths), James Bawmforth, and Mrs. Nettleton. It was not till 1750, nearly a century after the time of this Return, that the Brookes went to reside and carry on business in Honley.
In Meltham, then, there were 41 domiciles, suggesting a population of some 200. Of those seventeen had more than one fireplace ; a fair proportion.
There were, then, in Holmfirth, in all, 437 domiciles, with a population of, perhaps, two thousand two hundred souls. Of all the houses assessed, considerably more than half boasted only one fireplace, and as to those not chargeable, HI in number, it may be assumed that those also were thus slenderly provided against the cold. But in Huddersfield, as we have seen, there were but 140 houses, though a far greater proportion had more than one fireplace. Indeed, whilst in Holmfirth, out of a total of 437 houses, only 52, or less than 12 per cent., had more than one hearth, in Huddersfield, out of a total of 140 houses, 53, or 38 per cent., had more than one. Again, whilst in Holmfirth only one house had five hearths and but two four, in Huddersfield there was one house with ten hearths, two with eight, three with five, and quite a number with three. We may conclude, therefore, that the wealthier people of the district were already finding Huddersfield a more convenient place in which to fix their homes.
In Shelley there appear to have been about the time of the Restoration but 54 houses, 22 of them small houses with but one fireplace, the largest, that of the Nichols, having five.
In all 46 hearths to be taxed and 14, or nearly one-third, exempt, presumably on the ground of extreme poverty. Clearly, Shepley was in a parlous state. The Firths who, in the seventeenth century, were the most considerable householders in Shepley, lived at Shepley Hall.
Ninety-nine households, one mill, and of the 99 more than a third exempt. The Thomas Pickles, whose house had five hearths, and who is distinguished by the preface "Mr.," was doubtless that Thomas Pickles, tanner, who, as we have seen, was fined £120 for his loyalty to the Stuarts in the Civil War. The Dickin family I have mentioned in connection with Kirkheaton Church as related to that of Charles Dickens, the writer.
In a supplementary Return for Kirkburton, made in 1671, the house of Sir Thomas Beaumont, of Whitley, is taxed for 17 hearths.
There were thus in Kirkburton 105 houses, 50 of them being exempted from the tax, a fact of sinister significance. With the exception of the abodes of the knight of Whitley-Beaumont and of Mr. Briggs nearly all the houses in Burton seem to have been of the humblest order.
There were, then, in Marsden, in the year 1666, the date of this Bill of Hearths, eighty-one occupied houses, and some of these, if we may judge from the number of hearths, were of size above the common, one house having four fireplaces, four having three, and thirteen two, the remainder but one. Among the last named, strange to record, was the tenement of the Curate of Marsden. In the Returns for the Colne Valley one is impressed by the permanence of family names. The Haighs, Marsdens, Shaws, Firths were rife in Marsden two-and-a-half centuries ago ; they flourish with unabated vigour to this day.
In all 93 houses, suggesting a population of 465 souls, as against 405 for Marsden. A sixth of the population of Slaithwaite bore the name of Sykes, or Sikes. The Bottomleys come next with seven families, the Hirsts after this with six. Only thirteen houses had more than one hearth. The Widow Bottomley would be, probably, the lady at whose house, as we shall see later, the Rev. Oliver Heywood was a frequent guest.
I have now set forth all the Hearth Tax Returns for the district with which this history is concerned. I trust I am not mistaken in supposing that many readers may find the lists both useful and interesting. They are of value for more than one reason. The Parish Registers of the mother churches of Huddersfield, Almondbury, Kirkburton, Kirkheaton, and of the ancient chapels of Marsden, Slaithwaite, Holmfirth, Honley, Meltham, preserve the entries of baptisms, marriages, and deaths from 1557. Most people are gratified to be able to trace their lineage from as remote a root as the records permit. By the aid of the lists it should not be difficult for any family long settled in this district to trace, step by step, the family history at least from the time of the Restoration.
The Hearth Tax Returns, again, have a special interest to the social reformer. They marked the beginning of a new kind of taxation, the transfer of the incidence of national burdens from the landowner to the tradesman and the workingman, from the aristocracy to the middle and lower classes — the break-up of feudalism. Prior to the time of Charles II. the cost of the defence of the country and the support of the Crown rested mainly upon the landed gentry. In the first year of the Restoration a Parliament of landowners, by a stroke of the pen, abolished the feudal rents theretofore paid to the Crown for the land of the country, and substituted levies upon the people at large. Some of these were by way of indirect taxation — customs and excise. Another was in conception an income-tax. It was assumed that a man's wealth might be fairly judged by the kind of house he lived in, and the house guaged by the number of its hearths. Hence the Hearth Tax.
After its abolition in the time of William III., recourse was had to the window tax. In Mr. J. Horsfall Turner's Notes and Queries, I find the following entries extracted from the Sessions Rolls : "William Woofenden, Constable of Quarmby, on ooth, 1677, gave information, as collector of H. Matie's revenue of hearth-money, against William Hirst, of Quarmby, for saying, when arrested for hearth-dues, that Woofenden was a knave, and Sir John Kaye was a knave, and said that soon one could not let a [——] but a Justice of Peace was ready to send out his warrant Fined £10. Leeds 1677" — a sum equivalent to £30 of this day. If the reader will turn to the Quarmby List he will see no Hirst in that village had more than three hearths, most but one. The tax was 2s. per hearth. Whether William Hirst was taxed 6s. or 2s. £10 seems a vindictive fine, whether inflicted for non-payment or for disrespect for the magistracy. In the same Notes is set forth the Petition, in 1687, of the inhabitants of Halifax, Eland, Norbury, Sowerby, etc., complaining that the Collectors had introduced the innovation of levying the Hearth Tax upon "their charcole fires for their hot presses for the pressing of cloth and had distrained upon such as had refused and forced them to pay ffoure shillings for every such pretended ffire, and also other ffoure shillings for every distresse," and alleging that " there were never before any duty paid to his matie or demanded for such ffires either within the said Townes or at London, or in any other pts. of this kingdom."
It will be useful at this point to summarise the Hearth Tax Returns for the whole district which they cover. Although I am not sure that those I have been able to present to the reader are all that are preserved in the Record Office I make no doubt there are few omissions, if any. It may, I think, be taken that the Returns in these pages exhibited present a substantially accurate picture of the area embraced in Huddersfield and the Valleys of the Colne, Holme, and Dearne, as it was at the time of the Restoration. That area practically coincides with the area included in the Huddersfield Poor Law Union, which, on its formation in 1837, had a population of some 90,000. One hundred and seventy-three years earlier the Hearth Tax returns indicate in the same area a population of some 7,500 people living in fifteen hundred houses scattered over the town of Huddersfield and the Valleys of the Colne, the Holme, and the Dearne, houses of so mean a character that of the fifteen hundred more than thirteen hundred had but one fireplace.
Of the 70,890 acres included in the present Poor Law Union there is indisputable evidence that over twenty-five thousand acres were, at a comparatively recent date, common of the people. It may serve to convey an idea of what is meant by an area of twenty-five thousand acres if we remember that the tract of land comprised in the Borough of Huddersfield from Berry Brow to Deighton and from Outlane to Almondbury is some twelve thousand acres.