Historical notes on Bradshaw near Halifax.
STRAY NOTES ON BRADSHAW
The following extracts are from a book found in Halifax library.
It is an exercise book with the following newspaper cuttings pasted in, and reading the text it sounds to have been written about 1877/78.
Recently writing some "Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth," Bradshaw and some if its inhabitants came under notice. Previous to 1838 this out of the way place was an important portion of the ecclesiastical district of Illingworth. Many of the former worshippers at the Church of St Mary the Virgin lived in Bradshaw, and some of the richer sort bequeathed farm lands and other properties for the support of the preacher of God's Word at the church where they received counsel, comfort, and spiritual food. These and other considerations led me to pay a hasty visit to this neighbourhood.
Bradshaw has a beauty peculiarly its own. Seldom is it visited by the holiday rambler, its quiet is not disturbed by the Sunday school trip or the pleasure party, and strangers there, when seen, are made a note of. There are no carefully laid out and inviting pleasure gardens, with lakes, fountains, and summer houses, with here and there a rustic "seat for two" in some shady recess, "for whispering lovers made." There is no large sheet of water, be it river or reservoir. In fact, there are few or none of the attractions which art affords. Nevertheless there is a something which pleases the eye, and leads the visitor to linger on a quiet afternoon of a summer day, and gaze on the pastoral scenery around him. The primitive character of the people, the long straggling rows of houses erected on each side of the winding road, the rugged boldness of the hills at the foot of which the village nestles, the scattered homesteads, with here and there a pleasant nook, have all a charm. The mountain air is bracing, and not impregnated with noxious gasses, or loaded with particles of soot from mill chimneys. The farms are intersected with footpaths, and even some of the roads partake of the primitive character of the place, and look like bridle paths. A short walk brings you to the summit of the highest hill in the district, from the top of which most extensive views can be had. But there are several other object of interest, which need not be named at present. How are we to get to Bradshaw some would ask? To reach this village from Halifax the visitor will have to pass over Lee Bridge, not one of the most pleasant outlets of the town, up the Halifax and Keighley road to Ovenden Cross, the scenery becoming more pleasant as he proceeds. On the right the road is skirted by the railway leading from Halifax to Holmfield. This line will be convenient for visitors to Bradshaw, when opened - when? Echo, in Ovenden, answers when? From Ovenden cross there are several ways of reaching Bradshaw, one being by way of Illingworth, one by way of Holmfield, and others by footpaths through the fields; but for a stranger the most direct is by Holmfield, and through Holdsworth. From the centre of the town to the village of Bradshaw the distance is about three and a half miles.
As the visitor nears this elevated region, his eye will be captivated by the picturesque appearance of the neat village church, with its walls and gables mantled with ivy, having interstices through which representations of Scripture scenes in stained glass reflect their many colours on the asphalted walk leading to the porch in the south side, whilst the dark green ivy, and the sombre grey of the square battlemented tower, form a pleasant contrast to the more lively green turf of the God's acre around which trees have been planted The church is dedicated to St John, and was built in 1838, by Miss Wadsworth, who, with her bother the Rev. John Wadsworth, the curate of Coley Church, resided at Holdsworth House. The land on which the church is built is said to have belonged to the Staveleys, one of the old Halifax families, who owned a number of farms in Bradshaw, and Mrs Berry, whose maiden name was Staveley, gave the land as a site for a church. Viewed from the heights of Queensbury, Mountain, Ringby, Swilling Hill, or from the plain below, the church is the most striking object in the village. The style of architecture is debased Gothic, and there has been little or no attempt at ornamentation. The height of the tower is proportionate to the size of the church, and the latter will accommodate between 300 and 400 worshippers. The main entrance is by a porch on the south side, Internally, the church has a light and cheerful appearance, the old straight backed pews have recently been removed and more modern and comfortable ones substituted. Besides this, many other alterations have been made, a quantity of stained glass added, and the church generally restored. The east window, erected by Mr J T Ramsden, of Jumples House, in 1877, is in memory of the Rev. Edward Ramsden, the first incumbent of Bradshaw Church, who died June 6th 1853, age 62 years, and who was interred at Illingworth. On the south side, at the east end, is a memorial window of Wm. and Hannah Dean, of Scausby Hall; and the next two lights are also filled in with stained glass, one in memory of James Wilcock, of Bradshaw, and the other of William Wilcock, of Leeds. Round the cornice of the body of the church are suitable quotations from Scripture. The organ is placed in the gallery at the west end. The Rev. Wm. Lewis Morgan M A, formerly curate of St James's Church, Halifax, was appointed in the month of August, 1853, to succeed the Rev. Edward Ramsden. In the September of that year the church was closed. The wardens at that time were William Dean and Thomas Lister Lees, who had to appeal to the parishioners and friends for assistance, as the church had become very dilapidated, and it was thought advisable to use every exertion to have it put in thorough repair. The sum of £394 15s. 7d. was raised by subscriptions and collections for this object, and a record had been kept in a warden's book of the alterations effected. The stone mullions were inserted in the windows; two aisles were made instead of one running up the middle; the old pulpit and reading desk, which stood in the centre at the east end of the church, were taken away and a new reading desk was fixed on the north side of the chancel arch, the new pulpit being placed on the south side. The chancel was excavated, and the boiler for heating the church was fixed there; the present porch on the south side of the fabric as built; a window to light the vestry was put in, where formerly there was a door; a new bell, weighing 504 pounds was placed in the tower; the churchyard was drained and planted with trees; the buttresses of the church were taken down and rebuilt; the gallery was lowered; and a new font was obtained. By the end of April, 1854, these extensive alterations and repairs were completed, and the church again opened for Divine service. Four years afterwards, it was decided to have an organ, and one was obtained from the well know firm - Messrs. Conacher and Co. of Huddersfield, and erected in the gallery, its cost being £110. In 1863, so the warden's book informs us, it was discovered that the roof of the church was in a dangerous state, the beam ends on the north side were quite rotten, and other matters required attention. The building was thoroughly inspected and repaired, and new castings were placed under the beam ends. New communion rails were erected, a lectern was obtained, the chancel was repainted, the ceiling was coloured, a number of new lamps were purchased, and the walk outside the church was asphalted. Two lightning rods were fixed on the church - a very wise precaution, as in this elevated region thunder storms, attracted by the lofty hill behind, rage with great violence at certain periods of the year. The conductor is a solid copper type, patented by Messrs. Sanderson and Proctor, of Huddersfield, who were entrusted with this work. When the church was again opened, the congregation noticed that their churchwardens had each possessed himself of a badge of office, and, with the stave in hand, they performed their duty cum dignitate. For twenty two years was the Rev. William Lewis Morgan incumbent of Bradshaw. He died on the 3rd of June, 1875, in the fifty second year of his age, having won the love and esteem of his parishioners by the unostentatious manner in which he had performed the duties of his sacred office, and by the kind and thoughtful attention he paid to the poor. His parishioners, as a tribute to their affection erected a beautiful memorial of him in the church yard, at a cost of over £30. The monument is surmounted by a cross, and on one of the panels beneath is a representation of the Bible, opened at the words, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so they also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." Cut on a scroll below is the simple inscription in Old English characters, "In memory of William Lewis Morgan, 22 years vicar of this parish, called to his rest June 3rd 1875, aged 51 years." Mr Morgan was succeeded by the Rev. Joseph Hall, B A, the present vicar, who for a number of years was senior curate at Sowerby Bridge, where he won golden opinions from the people amongst whom he ministered, both as curate at Sowerby Bridge and minister in charge of the church at Norland, and by whom he is always welcomed as a visitor. For nearly four years has Mr Hall laboured in Bradshaw, and for twelve years before that time in Sowerby Bridge. He is well know throughout his parish for his kindness, courtesy and genial disposition. His pastoral visits are always welcome; his ministrations in the pulpit are listened to with pleasure and profit, his attainments being of a high order; and his advice, and help are often sought and as freely given. On the right hand side of the road leading to Bradshaw and near the Church,
The village preacher's modes mansion rose,
It is worth while to linger at the low wall in order to admire this pleasant picture. The building has a southern aspect; its style of architecture is gothic, and its gables one of which faces the road, the other being at right angles, are highly pointed. The carved ashlar of the mullioned windows are displayed by a mass of ivy, nicely trimmed. The front entrance is by the porch, whose sharply pointed roof, is just visible amidst the profusion of evergreens. The whole is embowered in trees, streaming through the foliage of which glints of sunshine light up the scene. There may be many parsonages more pretentious, many more commodious, but there are few more beautiful, in the parish of Halifax. Bradshaw parish, though not thickly populated is extensive; it covers 2,491 acres, being nearly as large as those of Illingworth, Pellon and St George's put together, whose united areas amount to 2,679 acres. Bradshaw parish takes in Swilling Hill, and is bounded on the north by the parishes of Denholme and Thornton, on the north east by Queensbury, on the east by Haley Hill, on the south by Illingworth, and on the west by the township of Warley, which is in the parish of Luddenden. Its greatest length, stretching from Netherton to Denholme, is upwards of four miles and its average breadth about three miles, taking in Cold Edge, near Wainstalls, Ogden reservoir, and Ogden Kirk, as well as a quantity of moorland over which there is a good deal of grouse shooting. The parish contains two villages - Bradshaw and Holdsworth, and two hamlets - Ogden and Causeway Foot.
Passing up the road to the cross road at the top, called Bradshaw-lane, we notice a row of houses dignified with the name of Horton place. The large house at the west end of the row was built and opened as a beerhouse, but the manner in which it was conducted did not find favour with the Bradshawites, and led the magistrates to take away the license.
Turning to the right, the new board school built by the Ovenden School Board is reached, resting at the foot of the hill. It is a handsome building with two wings erected after the style of Mixenden school, and having a spacious playground in front. The rooms are light and airy, and pots of plants are placed in the windows for decoration. There is accommodation for 450 scholars - 150 in each department - boys, girls, and infants, and the school has been opened for about two years, during which time upwards of 300 children have been admitted. The master is Mr Turner.
Bradshaw Mill, a little further on the road, is run by Messrs. Patchett and Co. Here employment is found for a large number of Bradshaw people. Being the only factory in the place, and being six or seven storeys high, it is a conspicuous object all round. The noise of the temporary engine, lately fixed, together with the clatter of the machinery, seems all the louder from the otherwise general silence which prevails, and in a certain sense adds life to the district. There was a time in the history of this place when the population was much larger than it is at present, when a large number of woolcombers, spinners, and weavers, though chiefly the first mentioned, occupied cottages in the village or on the hill sides, and work was fetched from Brookhouse and other places. But the introduction of machinery, and the application of steam effected a great change. Having been brought up to the craft, it was no easy thing in middle life, or old age, to seek out other employment. The younger portion of the families were introduced to the mills, and grew up with the present system. The facilities for obtaining employment in the town were much greater than in the country, so that many families left the neighbourhood in which their fathers had been brought up, and removed to Halifax and other centres of manufacturing industry. In order to check this depopulating tide which was depreciating the value of property and emptying the cottages, a company was promoted to erect a factory, which should find employment for the people. Mr Lassey, who represents an old Bradshaw family, was one of the originators of this scheme, which ended in the erection of Bradshaw Mill, where woollen spinning is carried on. But this only temporarily arrested the tide of adversity. The coal measures of Swilling hill are the same as those of Southowram, and therefore, contain the same beds of coal. What are called the Halifax hard and soft beds have been worked extensively both on the Bradshaw and Thornton sides of the hill, for at one time it was the only source of supply for a very extensive district. Hence the getting of "black diamonds" became a source of wealth to the neighbourhood, and gave employment to men and young people of both sexes. There is one woman still living on Swill hill, who can remember the time when she worked at the neighbouring pit with a number of others. This, of course, was before the time of mining acts and the appointment of inspectors of mines. In later years this industry has partially failed, for some of the pits are flooded, and in others only engine coal is worked. From these and other causes the population was reduced to 3,195, in 1851; to 2,171, in 1861; and 1,941 in 1871. Though perhaps there never was a time in the history of what is now the parish of Bradshaw,
When every rood of ground maintained its man.
Yet now the population has decreased till there are more acres of land than residents.
The only "houses of entertainment" in the village are the Fleece Inn and Bradshaw Tavern, the latter a beerhouse and the former a roadside "pub" both in keeping with the character of the village - quiet, unpretentious, somewhat primitive, and quite respectable. Three breweries flourish in the district, two of them being in the village and the other on Illingworth Moor. The reason given for the existence of three breweries so near together is the fact that good water is most abundant, springs abounding in all directions.
Keeping along Bradshaw lane the village smithy is passed, and soon the Primitive Methodist chapel is reached. This is the only Nonconformist place of worship in the village. The history of Primitive Methodism in Bradshaw shows what may be accomplished by a few poor but earnest men. An old Bradshaw man informed me that about 56 years ago the Primitive Methodist Conference appointed Jeremiah Gillburn as a home missionary in Halifax. This man was invited to preach in Bradshaw, and the result was that a little old building adjoining the blacksmith's shop was opened for preaching and for holding other meetings peculiar to Methodism. It was while assembled in this building that a number of young men on one occasion determined to play a trick on the people. The building was a low one, and enabled the jokers the more easily to get on the roof, and they took with them a large black hen, which they thrust down the chimney. In falling down the sooty aperture, the hen made a great noise with its wings, frightening the people. Some of them perhaps, thinking there was a visitor from the unknown world, at once made their exit. Amongst other members present was Mr Joseph Lassey (his grandson, an old man, is still living), who took great interest in everything connected with the chapel. He was rather infirm, having to use two crutches, so that he was obliged to sit in the chair by the fire, and see who the unwelcome visitor was. Though liable to annoyances of this kind, the cause continued to grow, till the little cottage was too small to be used as a place of worship. It is about 50 hears since it was decided to erect the first Primitive Methodist chapel in Bradshaw. The chapel was built by Mr Joseph Lassey, and so arranged that it might easily be altered into two cottages, providing it did not answer the desires of the Primitives as a place of worship. However it answered its purpose very well up to 1862 or 1863, when it had become too narrow for the congregation worshipping there, and the officials began to consider the desirability of erecting a new chapel. Ultimately, after many difficulties had been overcome, the want of funds not being one of the least, the present chapel was erected in 1864. The Rev. John Simpson, superintendent minister in the Halifax circuit, referring to this work in a letter to the Primitive Methodist Magazine of October 1865, says under the head of "Opening of Bradshaw Lane Chapel. Halifax Circuit"- " Some time ago, when I told the readers of this magazine of the chapel building work which had been effected in this station, I promised to give more at length the history of the chapel named above. For years Brothers Town and Varley, two old and tried members of our church at Bradshaw lane, had contemplated the building of chapel there; but as their ideas of what a chapel should be were vastly larger than the means they had at command, the authorities of the circuit refused to sanction their proposals; so the brethren named waited in patience, hoping that better days were in store for them. And so it turned out. Other places, a poor and feeble as Bradshaw, having arisen and built themselves houses of prayer, and a blessed revival of religion having taken place in the hamlet, Brothers Town and Varley said, "Now we will have a chapel, and a chapel worthy of the place it shall be." Well, they got official sanction, and set to work in earnest. A most eligible site was secured, plans for a noble building were drawn, and friends came forward with wondrous help. Two gentlemen (bothers) in Halifax, who had been brought up in Bradshaw, threw their energies into the project; the one promised to give and beg £50, and the other gave secret orders to one of the contractors to put £20 worth of extra work into the building, and to look to him for the pay. Nine unoccupied cottages were bought for £40, all the materials of which were found to be good and useful, and by using which many pounds were saved. Besides this, beneath five of them stone was found, which supplied good walling and effected a considerable reduction in the outlay. Still we had our trials and sorrows. One of them arose from a failure in securing a mortgage. But prayer was made to God, and when our needs had reached their climax, the way opened in such a manner as to show us that prayer prevailed. Well, at least the chapel was brought to a finish, and the opening services were so successful, that we were certain that God was in the project. Mr Lamb, of Hull, was the preacher on the fist Sabbath (Easter Sunday), and Mr Lodge, one of our own local preachers, and myself, were sent to gather gleanings on the second. Nearly £40 was got on these occasions. The chapel is the largest, best, and most beautiful of the five new ones recently built in this station. On counting our receipts after the opening, we found that we had netted £310 6s. 6d., and on this being made known to the Messrs, Crossley, they more than honoured their promise by sending me a cheque for £103 10s. I hope, Mr Editor, this act of generosity will not excite in readers beyond the limits of this station a determination to apply for aid at the same quarter; for (will you believe me?) those generous men have been nearly inundated with begging letters from our people, and persons have even invaded their private residences for aid for Primitive Methodist chapels since my last mention of their benevolence to us, so that I blush for the church to which I belong. The building, but for the circumstances named, would have cost us nearly £1,000; as it is, a little over £800 is our outlay. Many persons deserve grateful mention in this account for their generous aid; but I shall refrain from naming them, except the two friends referred to above, namely, Mr Jonathan Hainsworth, who collected and gave £50, and Mr William, who gave £20 to enrich the ceiling, and who, had he lived to see the chapel opened (which alas! He did not), would have paid off the debt, such being his real intention."
[to be continued]
STRAY NOTES ON BRADSHAW - No II
The cost of erecting the Primitive Methodist chapel was a heavy tax on the members of the congregation, who were comparatively poor, though they received, as they deserved, considerable help from friends outside. Several Bradshaw people living in Halifax interested themselves on behalf of the new chapel. Amongst others was a Mr Wm. Hainsworth, who gave £20 to enrich the ceiling. On one occasion Mr Hainsworth was soliciting a subscription amongst some friends at the Black Horse Inn, Halifax, when a gentleman gave him a bank note for £5. The room was full of company at the time, and Hainsworth said, "I shall have to get this changed, for if I send it up to Bradshaw they won't know what to do with it." On entering this place of worship the attention of the visitor is attracted by two photographs - one on each side o the communion table. The men thus honoured are Brothers Town and Varley, the two old members of the church who had laboured most assiduously to get a new chapel. It is said that one of these worthy gentlemen had a conscientious objection to having his portrait taken for such a purpose, and it was some time before his objection was overcome. When pressed to give a reason for his scruples, he would quote from the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath." The writer attempted to explain to a well known Bradshaw Primitive, who gave him the information, that the meaning of the passage was principally contained in the following verse, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." "Oh, you can explain anything" was the reply. "We had a Bradshaw man once who used to quote from the Bible in favour of the use of beer, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink." In Bradshaw and many other country places around Halifax beer and drink are synonymous. The chapel will accommodate about 500 persons. In the organ recess is an instrument once the property of Mr Dan Sugden of Halifax, the well known musician, and the first conductor of the Sunday School Jubilee demonstration. This organ, made by Mr Robinson, of Leeds, has a manual and a half and ten stops. It is said there are as many pipes as would supply an organ twice its size, and they are so close together that there is not room for them to speak. It was purchased from the friends at Heywood chapel, Northowram, for £30, and opened on the 27th February 1870. In earlier days the fiddle and bass were the musical instruments used in leading the congregation in the service of song. Charity Sunday (the Sunday school anniversary) was a famous occasion in he village, for then the "band" and singers were reinforced by some of the "talent" in the neighbourhood. For weeks before the even took place the children were often assembled to take part in the rehearsals ("practisings" is the Bradshaw word), when John Slater, the bass player, assisted by his son, and David Spencer, the flute player, took part. But now, even in Bradshaw, charity sermons have become ordinary anniversaries, and the organ has taken the place of the string band. Amongst other notables who have preached in Bradshaw was the Rev. Hugh Burn, one of the founders of this body, and a seceder from the Old Connexion. Reference was made in the "Historical Notes on the Church at Illingworth" to Accepted Widdop, the composer; who was a Bradshaw man. It is said that his father and mother were a long time after marriage before they had issue, and when a son was born, it was such a welcome fact that he was named "Accepted." He lived near Scausby, and as a woolcomber, worked for Mr David Priestley, of Goosegate Farm, manufacturer of lasting. If any one went to Widdop with some choice verse he would at once with a piece of chalk set the words to music on the black board. On one occasion he had the honour of singing before royalty. Of this circumstance I was informed by the Rev. J Ayrton, a native of Bradshaw and a relative of the composer, now stationed at Keighley. James Hoyle, another noted singer, previously referred to, lived in Bradshaw. He was once taking part in some musical performance, conducted by Mr Sugden, when the latter suddenly stopped in the middle of the piece and said that some one was not singing correctly. Hoyle at once handed his copy to the conductor, when the latter remarked that Hoyle was right and all the rest were wrong. John Ratcliffe, of Windhill, Shipley, was another musician of some note, who was born at Bradshaw. He has published several volumes of music, and composed a large number of psalm tunes. Another man of some musical abilities was Thomas Town, a woolcomber by trade, who could turn his hand to almost anything, but making violins was one of his favourite occupation. There have been many instances of remarkable longevity in this district. A short time ago there was an old farmer living who at 91 years of age went to Halifax, purchased a cow, and drove it home. At 90 years of age he followed the plough, almost as vigorously as ever he did in his life. He boasted that he never took a pill, and never had a bottle of medicine in his life.
Proceeding up Bradshaw lane, the last row of houses in the village is neared, and the narrow stream which rises on Swill hill, called the Bradshaw beck is noticed. This rivulet, which divides Northowram from Ovenden, proceeds by way of Netherton and Holmfield to join the Hebble. On the Northowram side is the site of Small Clews pottery, a business of which Bradshaw formerly had the benefit. This pottery was commenced by Messrs. James Robinson and John Catherall, who both worked hard to make the pottery pay, and ultimately were successful. They were both steady men, members of the New Connexion, and both lived to a good old age. Robinson, who died eighteen years ago, reached the aged of 77. Afterwards these works came into the hands of some young men, who were unsuccessful. The pottery is now puled down, and the business is lost to the neighbourhood.
The rapidly rising hill in front is not unappropriately named Mountain. On the summit are the works of Mr Paul Speak, who has lately come to reside at Laurel bank in Bradshaw. The tall chimney of his works is said to stand higher than any other in Yorkshire, and it ca be seen for many miles around. A Little further to the south, the face of the hill rounds off towards the east, and trends by way of Ringby in a south easterly direction to Beacon hill.
Leaving the main road a footpath is taken leading to the top of Swill hill, and in a few minutes the summit is reached. As to what is the proper name of the hill, authorities differ. Residents give it the name Swill hill the ordnance map "Swilling hill," whilst others say that Swill hill is a corruption of "Soil hill", which they maintain is the proper name. It is well known that west and south west winds driving against he western slope, "swirl" round on both sides, sweeping along the Thornton valley as well as on the Bradshaw side. This may have given rise to the terms "Swill" or "Swirling" Hill. At the top of the southern aclivity, though not on the highest point is a curious looking building, one part of which is plastered over. On a closer inspection it is found to be a public house, known by the name of the Sun Inn. It was built in 1739 by a man named Holmes, and was first called "The Gin Pit Inn." On account of a coal pit close by, which belonged to Mr Lassey. Mr Titus Holmes, the son of the builder, occupied the house for many years and here a large telescope was formerly kept for visitors. From the chamber window the towers of York Minster and the shooting box on Rombald's Moor can be seen with a good telescope. However, this may be, a most extensive view can be had without any artificial aids. Looking south, there stretches out at the foot of the hill the gently sloping plateau of Bradshaw, falling with the dip of the rocks towards the hills on the east, under which they enter. To the right are the heath covered moors of Warley; on a lower level in front hundreds of mill chimneys and tall buildings betoken the neighbouring town of Halifax. Whilst on the left are the villages of Raggolds, Mountain and Queensbury, all on a lower level. Right away to the south hills on hills arise, the most distant being Holme Moss, above Holmfirth, in one direction, and the Derbyshire hills in another; but to see these distinctly a glass is required. The road leading over the hill top from Raggolds to Causeway Foot is at this point 1,300 feet above sea level, according to the ordnance map, and the highest point is a little further to the west. Passing along this road a short distance, and then turning to the right, a large stone quarry is noticed, where good flag rock is quarried. The northern aclivity is reached directly and here, too, is a fine view. There are not many old buildings on this hill, nor many large ones. Salt Pie was the name of a very old house now in ruins. Many of the cottages are empty and falling to ruin. I was informed that there is a cottage on the hill, the rent of which is 3d. per week, including a supply of skimmed milk. The only moorland on the flat is called Churwell, and some years ago some of the residents contemplated making it into a race ground. It is said that when England was threatened with invasion, perhaps at the time of the Spanish Armada, a beacon fire was lighted on Swill Hill to communicate with Otley Chevin on the north, and Almondbury Bank on the South. In this manner notice of the approach of the enemy might quickly be given to many parts of the kingdom. A fire on Otley Chevin would be seen on the top of Ingleborough, which was used for the same purpose, the word "Ingle" meaning fire. During the height of the Chartist agitation, when pikes were extensively brought into use by those whose intended to enforce their rights, large bodies of men were drilled on the top of this hill. In 1847, the sappers and miners visited this district, and encamped on the top of this hill for about six weeks.
On descending the hill, Brandy Hole is passed and the residence of Mr Joseph Lassey (Bradshaw Hall). The Lasseys have been associated with the history of this neighbourhood for many generations, and the name is supposed to be a corruption of the word Lacy.
A short walk from the village brings Scausby Hall to view. This fine old Elizabethan mansion, embowered in trees, in a pleasant and retired situation, has been in the possession of the Deans for more than 200 years. It is now the residence of Mr Goodyear, who married the daughter of the late Mr Dean. Mr Goodyear's son, when he came of age, assumed the surname of the family with which Scausby Hall has been so long associated, About the middle of the last century, when the parish of Halifax had become noted through the development of the woollen trade, Scausby Hall was enlarged, and the front modernised.
The whitewashed farmhouse know as Great Scausby bears the date of 1662 over the front entrance. Before the institution of the present poor law system this house was used as the workhouse for the township of Ovenden, and its master, James Butterfield, was said at one time to be a constable. As his occupation was gone as master of the workhouse - such are the vicissitudes of fortune - he became a pauper himself, and ended his days in the Halifax Union Workhouse. Great Scausby, with its 29 acres of land, was left to the church at Illingworth.
Popples School is only a short distance from Scausby. It was built in 1815, by Miss Wadsworth, of Holdsworth House, and enlarged in 1861. The first master was Mr Sharp, who came from York. He was succeeded by Mr Ramsden and afterwards by Mr Ayrton of Pundles, in Ovenden. In 1831, Mr William Sutcliffe was appointed the teacher, and he conducted the school till 1866, when his son became his successor. The Church Sunday school is held here.
Near the school are six almshouses for natives or residents of Holdsworth - widows, or unmarried women - not less than 50 years of age. This institution owes its existence to the generosity of the lady just mentioned. Three of the occupants are over 60 years of age, and three over 70, one being 76. Four farms in the neighbourhood form the endowment of the school and almshouses.
The village of Holdsworth must have been a place of importance, in times gone by. Its old and many gabled building, somewhat falling into decay, give the village a quaint appearance, and bespeak its former prosperity. An avenue of stately trees leads to Holdsworth House, a mansion of much interest, erected in the early part of the seventeenth century, long the residence of the Wadsworths. The front, looking south, with its three gables, and projecting porch, the double rows of mullioned windows, and the curious ornaments resting on the eaves and ridges, together with the projecting sandstone toughing form a curious but pleasing picture, as viewed from the principal gateway. The end of the centre gable is surmounted with a stone cross, an emblem used by the knights of St John of Jerusalem to distinguish the property belonging to this religious order, though in this case its use may be simply ornamental. On a massive stone over the porch is a date so weather worn as to be illegible; but Crabtree, the Halifax historian, who saw it before 1836, give the initials as A. B. and the date 1633. The initials stand for Abraham Briggs, who sold the estate to Henry Wadsworth. Over the western gateway the date and initials are better preserved. At one end of the stone are J. W. D. in ornamental letters, and the date 1680 at the other. The initials are those of John and Dorothy Wadsworth. Entering by this gateway the visitor is in an enclosed yard on the north side of which are stables, &c. In the centre is a finely formed arch, still in perfect condition. Above the arch is a small stone with the following J. D.W. 1689. On the ridge is a very old dial cut on the face of a square block of sandstone, with the metal arm broken off. The Roman numerals are very much defaced. The drawing room is at the east end, and the large dining room in the centre, whilst the breakfast room is behind. The ceiling dividing the latter from the passage or hall is of carved oak, and one light is filled in with old stained glass. A small recess in the dining room, fitted up for a library, has a very curious fireplace. The bedroom floors are all of oak, except where they have been renewed. Over the passage is what has been known as the dark room - a recess approached through two curiously carved doors. In the centre of the grounds in front of the hall many years ago there were five large yew trees, and two large fir trees stood at the entrance near the porch. All the outside offices were in thorough keeping with the hall. It was here where that generous and Christian lady, Miss Wadsworh, lived, and devised such liberal things. By her gentle spirit, her deeds of kindness and acts of love, she endeared herself to the people around her, and earned for herself a name that is held in reverence today. She died in 1836, and was interred in Calverley churchyard. Many who knew her as children, now become old men, like to bring to mind the time when as scholars they were invited into the sitting room of the hall to sing the Christmas carol, and when they each received a large piece of plum cake at her hands; and they assert "She was as real a Christian lady as ever lived.
At the latter end of the last century several piece makers lived in Holdsworth. Amongst others was Michael and John Isles. The former commenced in a low roomed house in the village, and afterwards he took the old corn mill at Netherton, which he raised a little, and then filled it with looms. The mill was afterwards burnt down - about 30 or 40 years since. John Isles removed to Illingworth, and occupied the mill there. Thomas Turner was another who occupied premises on the left hand side of Holdsworth road. Richard Ayrton, who lived at the old farm house on the western side of Holdsworth House, was a maker of plainbacks and shalloons. John Scott and Simeon Hirst were two other small manufacturers living opposite Holdsworth House. Some of these men, after they had got a number of pieces made, would set off to Darlington, Sheffield, and other places to dispose of them. The Swan Inn, is a very old hostelry, though it has been considerably altered in late years. It was for many years occupied by Mr John Firth, who used to brew in a large iron pan placed on the top of the fire, all the beer consumed in the house. As for spiritous liquors the choice of the customer was confined to rum and gin. A noted glee club met at the house, the principal members of which were Messrs. John Hoyle, Nathan Hoyle (a fiddler), John Firth (the host), John Garforth, George Smith (horn player and singer), and two ladies - Mrs Green and Mary Firth, with Mr Joseph Hartley as pianist. About 50 years ago the district was infested with thieves. Warps, pieces and other bulky goods were frequently stolen, and the articles thus removed could seldom be traced. Ultimately some of the goods were discovered in the false floor of Illingworth prison, and the depredators were brought to justice and transported.
During the last half century Holdsworth has not made much progress, so far as the erection of new property is concerned. In that time Laurel bank, the Junction Inn, and two new houses have been erected in addition to ten cottages, built in the place of two old houses pulled down.
These rambling notes, hastily obtained, are getting too long. But perhaps sufficient has been said to show that there are some interesting features in a district so seldom visited as Bradshaw.
A correspondent calls our attention to the following:- "In the "Stray Notes on Bradshaw" last week, is the following passage;- 'James Hoyle, another noted musician previously referred to, lived in Bradshaw, and was once taking part in some musical performances, conducted by Mr Sugden, when the latter suddenly stopped in the middle of the piece, and said that someone was not singing correctly. Hoyle at once handed his copy to the conductor, when the latter remarked that Hoyle was right and all the rest were wrong.' This person was previously referred to in the Notes on Illingworth Church, as having been engaged by the late John Foster, Esq. to sing at Queensbury Church. It will be interesting to some of our readers to know that during the remainder of his life he was connected with that church, also training a son, the present Mr William Hoyle of Queensbury, to the organ, who in his turn has also brought up his son, Mr William Henry Hoyle, to the use of that instrument. For many years Mr W Hoyle presided at the organ at the church, but from increasing age, his son, who for a time had the benefit of the tuition of Dr Roberts, of the Halifax Parish Church, took his place, and at the present time is the esteemed organist at this church, his ability showing that musical genius that is inherited by this family. Mr W Hoyle still remains in the choir as a vocalist.
Data transcribed from:
A book in the Halifax library.
Sue Johnson ©2001