History in the South Pennines
The Legacy of Alan Petford

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Special Offers

Subscribing to History in the South Pennines: The Legacy of Alan Petford online also provides you with the opportunity to acquire other publications on the South Pennines at significant reductions if ordered with this book.

Diaries of Cornelius Ashworth £9.50 (50% off)

Pennine Perspectives £9 (50% off)

Pennine Valley £10.50 (30% off)

Laithes and Looms, Cows and Combstocks £5 (30% off)

Postage for all offers will be £3.85 per book

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Alan Petford legacy

The Diaries of Cornelius Ashworth 1782-1816

The Diaries of Cornelius Ashworth 1782-1816Edited by Richard Davies, Alan Petford and Janet Senior. Published 2011. Hardback. 368 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-2-6. £9.50 (plus £3.85 towards shipping)

On Friday 4 October 1782 Cornelius Ashworth, a thirty year old farmer and handloom weaver in the West Riding parish of Halifax, made the very first entry in his ‘Book’. Thereafter he recorded events on a daily basis for over a year, a process which he repeated in 1785, 1809 and 1815. All four diaries have been transcribed in full, and they provide some fascinating insights into an age when the world of work and worship was being transformed.

The text is annotated and accompanied by an introduction which examines Ashworth’s weaving, his farming methods, his chapel going and his travel within the parish of Halifax and beyond. His keen interest in his neighbours and acquaintances is noted throughout, and the comings and goings of his extended family are regularly reported. A number of facsimile pages, illustrations and early maps complete this very particular account of Cornelius Ashworth and his times.

Pennine Perspectives: Aspects of the History of Midgley.

Pennine Perspectives: Aspects of the History of MidgleyEdited by Ian Bailey, David Cant, Alan Petford and Nigel Smith. Midgley Books, 2007. 346 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9554965-1-6. £9 (plus £3.85 towards shipping)

Pennine Perspectives is a collection of essays about the township of Midgley, near Halifax. They will interest all those concerned with local history as well as those living in the area. They have a wider interest too. Bearing upon themes well beyond the township boundary, they illuminate not only the history of the Calder valley but also important aspects of the history of Northern England. The book is the result of a research project funded by the Local Heritage Initiative and the essays have been researched and contributed by twenty-five of the participants in the project.

Topics covered range from prehistory to reminiscences of shopping in mid-twentieth century Midgley. In between are chapters on settlement, farming, population changes, use of the commons and moors, folklore, religion, the Luddenden Valley Railway and of course various aspects of industry and the growth of the factory system. The book is illustrated throughout and contains a fold out map of the township made in 1834-5 by J.F. Myers.

Pennine Valley: a History of Upper Calderdale

Pennine ValleyEdited by Bernard Jennings. Originally published 1992. Reprinted with corrections 2011. Paperback. 224 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-4-0. £10.50 (plus £3.85 towards shipping)

Pennine Valley is a comprehensive and panoramic history of the upper Calder Valley from Halifax to the Pennine watershed, encompassing Todmorden, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge. Covering from earliest times to the present day, the book surveys the Middle Ages, the beginnings of industrial growth, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, community life through the ages, the changing industrial scene, and twentieth century transformation.

The dramatic landscape of upper Calderdale has shaped its history. Farming was difficult, and from the fifteenth century a flourishing ‘dual economy’ developed, combining farming with the manufacture of woollen cloth. This in turn produced a prosperous class of ‘yeoman clothiers’, and the houses which they built are one of the treasures of the valley. The proud and independent spirit fostered by a hard life amid the ‘barren and unfruitful hills’ shows up in the nineteenth century social movements and the flourishing culture of ‘Co-op and chapel’. During the Industrial Revolution, both industry and population drained down the hillsides into the expanding towns of the valley bottom, soon dotted with mill chimneys and served by road, canal and rail. Recent history has seen the rapid decline of traditional industries, partly balanced by the rise of tourism and leisure industries.

Pennine Valley is the product of many years research carried out by a group of dedicated local historians in upper Calderdale, under the guidance of Professor Bernard Jennings, who has been exploring and writing about the history of the Yorkshire Pennines for several decades. The book is copiously illustrated, with a hundred striking drawings and photographs, some in colour, and a series of specially-drawn maps.

Pennine Valley is written primarily for people interested in the upper Calder Valley in particular and the Pennines in general, but it also makes an important contribution to the history of the North of England. Pennine Valley gives a comprehensive account of the rich and varied history of the people, places and events in the valley at the heart of the Pennines, and is an absorbing, readable and definitive history.

Laithes and Looms, Cows and Combstocks

Laithes and LoomsLaithes and Looms, Cows and Combstocks: Living and Dying in Marsden between 1655 and 1855: By Hazel Seidel, Published 2013, Marsden History Group, Paperback, 189 pages, ISBN: 978-0-9557175-3-6. £5.00 (plus £3.85 towards shipping)

This book describes what it was like to live - and to die - in the small South Pennine community of Marsden in the two centuries between 1655 and 1855. It is based on the transcriptions, by Marsden History Group, of the probate documents of Marsden Manor Court.

The probate series, unusually, includes inventories up to the mid-nineteenth century, which enables a view of how daily life changed over the whole period. Chapters on farming and the domestic textile industry show how these aspects of the dual economy may have influenced each other, as the wool textile industry first increased in importance and was then mechanised. These changes, and improvement in transport links, also influenced the lives of craftsmen and traders, which are explored in further chapters. Chapters on housing and domestic life illustrate the fact that few Marsden people became really wealthy. Inheritance patterns are described, in particular as they affected women in Marsden; also what can be learned from probate documents about education, religious practice and burials in Marsden.

Readers may be interested in using this volume to make comparisons between this small settlement in the Colne Valley, and other settlements in the South Pennines. The book includes full references, a glossary, and indexes of persons and places.

Spring 2016 newsletter

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Family History

The group runs a popular programme of workshops and drop-in sessions at the Birchcliffe Centre

Churn Milk Joan

Upper Calderdale's suitability for the preservation of local cultural tradition is nowhere shown as strongly as in its wealth of folk tales about places, many of which are still being passed on by word of mouth.

Midgley Moor

For some years now a small group of friends has been exploring the evidence for prehistoric activity in the South Pennines.