The Laith, also known as "Murphy's Laith" and "Laith House", is a former building that was situated above Folly Dolly Falls near Meltham.
The name implies the building was likely a barn, and was named as "Murphy's Laith" on the 1851 Census and simply "The Laith" on the 1854 Ordnance Survey map. However, parish records from as early as 1780s name the property.
Ellen Murphy, resident there in 1841 and presumably a widow, died in 1847.
Ellen Rayner (or Raynor), who later married Amos Bower and may have been Ellen Murphy's niece, continued to live at The Laith until her death in October 1896, aged 80. Ellen was an illegitimate daughter, as the baptism record of 5 May 1816 lists only her mother, Hannah Raynor.
By 1901, tailor George Henry Stead was residing at the property with his wife, Sarah Jane (née Allen), and family.
The building was aligned next to a stone-lined water channel (now used as a footbridge) below the source of the spring that flows over Folly Dolly Falls, so it may have at one time used a stream or undershot water wheel.
The Laith appears on maps up to the 1950s, after which it was presumably demolished. Remains of the building can still be found at the location, which is adjacent to the public footpath that runs up to High Brow Farm.
|year||person||age||occupation / notes||birthplace|
|1841||Ellen Murphy||55||living on her own means|
|Hannah Murphy||25||living on her own means|
|Ellen Rayner||25||cotton thread worker|
|1851||Ellen Rayner||34||cotton frame tenter||Meltham|
|Hannah Rayner||65||farmer of 5 acres||Meltham|
|Mary Shaw||68||windowed aunt of Ellen||Meltham|
|1861||no entry found|
|1871||Ellen Rayner||52||cotton worker||Meltham|
|Ellen Bower (née Rayner)||64||housewife||Meltham|
|Bannister Bower||51||stone breaker (brother of Amos)||Meltham|
|1901||George Henry Stead||36||journeyman tailor||South Crosland|
|Sarah Jane Stead||35||wife||Meltham|
|Mary Stead||10||daughter||South Crosland|
|Winifred L. Stead||11 months||daughter||Meltham|
|1911||George Henry Stead||46||tailor||South Crosland|
|Sarah Jane Stead||45||wife||Meltham|
|Mary Stead||20||daughter: warehouse hand at cotton thread factory||South Crosland|
|Winifred Lascelles Stead||10||daughter: scholar||Meltham|