Yorkshire Archaeological and Topographical Journal (1951) - Yateholme

Reproduced from Volume XXXVII of the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal.

The following is a transcription of a historic journal article and may contain occasional errors.


On page 334 of Volume 13 of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society's Journal appears an extract from the Doomsday Book recording an entry relating to the existence of Yateholme and Holme, in the Parish of Almondbury near Huddersfield. That record being of Yateholme as an inhabited settlement nearly 900 years ago, it seems fitting it should be followed in the Journal by one of its ceasing to exist as such.

There are few known records of its history. It seems to have remained a solitary farm in the Township of Holme, devoted to the raising of cattle and sheep, with about 100 acres of enclosed land, and access to the adjoining moorlands, which run up to the borders of Cheshire, with no restriction of pasturage until the Commons Enclosure Acts of the 1830’s were put into force.

In the register of Almondbury Parish Church for 1596 an entry records the death of Elizabeth, wife of John Green of Holme, buried the 8th of April, aged 100 years. This is the earliest record I find to the Greens, whose family continued to own and occupy Yateholme until the early part of the 19th century. The head of the family was given the courtesy title of "Squire," and in 1753 the then Squire Green built for one of his sons Austonley House and farm buildings, about two miles from the old homestead. This son went to live at the new house, but his successors do not seem to have prospered as they lost possession in the middle of last century. The old settlement, too, seems to have fallen on leaner times, for at the beginning of the 19th century the ladies of the house were taking pupils as boarders.

In 1800, the last "Squire" of Yateholme built another house for his son, this time at Holmside, about half-way between Yateholme and Austonley House, and this branch prospered in the woollen trade, but lacking direct heirs in succession, devised Holmside and its farm to a descendant of the Austonley branch who is now in possessive occupation.

No one being left to live at Yateholme, it was sold to Mr. Spencer Stanhope of Cannon Hall, Cawthorne, who had already acquired some thousands of acres of the adjoining moorlands. It must have been in a dilapidated condition, for its new owner immediately pulled down and rebuilt the house in the style shown in the accompanying photograph. The only date I could find on the buildings was on the gable of the barn, photograph No. 2, shewing various initials of the Green family, and the date 1709.

Twenty years ago the Batley Corporation, who had already constructed three reservoirs, two partly and one wholly on Yateholme property, and were in process of constructing another, bought the farm along with all the others on their waterworks catchground. The farms were allowed to remain in cultivation until 1936 when the disastrous typhoid epidemic at Denby Dale was traced to the public water supply as its source, and then water undertakers generally decided to stop the cultivation of catchground land, and houses and farm buildings were pulled down wholesale, Yateholme with the rest. The third photograph shews part of the barn in process of demolition, in August 1937.

On account of its date of origin an attempt was made to get the farmhouse preserved, and representatives of this Society met members of the Batley Corporation and the local Councils to see what could be done. Once the farmhouse was entered it was obvious there was nothing antique worth preserving and the project dropped. The local Councils were permitted to take the entrance doorway and old oak timbers from the barn to incorporate in the construction of playground shelters, and the one near the centre of Holmfirth has a suitable inscription as to their source.

Holme, the major settlement, remains a village, rural in character, not a workshop in its borders, and its 400 inhabitants mostly find employment in the mills of the Holme Valley.

Joe Hadfield.