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History in the South Pennines: the legacy of Alan Petford

Erringden, Langfield and Stansfield Probate Records 1688 – 1700.Edited by Nigel Smith. To be published Spring 2017. Hardback. Approximately 400 pages. Over 120 illustrations. ISBN: 978-0-9933920-1-6.. £20.00 (plus £3.85 shipping). This price is a pre-publication offer available for a limited time only. Order the book now.

This is no ordinary local history book. It is the first publication for many years to cover aspects of the history of various localities across the South Pennines, rather than focusing on the history of a specific area. Produced by the South Pennine History Group as a memorial volume for the late Alan Petford, a gifted local history lecturer, it presents the results of new research by some of the many people that he inspired.

This book will appeal to all those who wish to understand more about the events and processes that helped form the man-made landscape of the South Pennines. Ranging in time from the 1500s to the 1900s, these essays by a group of expert authors focus on the Calder Valley, Marsden, Saddleworth and Shipley. Topics include the process of settlement expansion and how townships defined and maintained their boundaries. The changing population of Halifax parish is examined during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while studies in building history explore construction agreements and the design and function of inns and alehouses.

The way that people lived is brought to life through analyses of wills and inventories in three areas, shedding light on the dual economy of farming and textiles. The impact of nineteenth-century industrial growth on the landscape includes studies on a moorland dam and a planned railway, while analyses of literary output bring to life contemporary perceptions.

All proceeds from this book will go to the Alan Petford Memorial Fund, set up to help those wishing to research and promote the study of local history in the South Pennines.

Order now.


Erringden, Langfield and Stansfield Probate Records 1688 – 1700. :

Erringden, Langfield and Stansfield Probate Records 1688 – 1700.Edited by Mike Crawford and Stella Richardson. Published 2016. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.6. Paperback. 209 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9933920-0-9. £9.99 (plus £2 towards shipping)

This collection of wills and inventories is a companion volume to publications of probate documents for Sowerby and Soyland, and also for Midgley.

The documents offer vivid insights into life and death among the people of the Upper Calder Valley townships of Erringden, Langfield and Stansfield at the end of the seventeenth century. Many were involved in the dual economy of the domestic textile trade and farming. Intriguing insights into family relationships are revealed through bequests, property transfers and the choice of executors. The documents show the desire of the testators and the efforts of the probate courts to ensure that the estate was administered as intended.

The inventories not only describe household goods and personal possessions, titles of books in one case, but also trade tools and farming implements. Small details like the names given to cows bring us closer to the people. The wealth of these families was the basis for building the mills in the next century.

The volume contains a description of the probate process, extensive indexes of persons and places, and a thorough glossary of usage for this period.


Sowerby Probate Records:

Sowerby Probate RecordsHousehold and family in the Upper Calder Valley 1688 – 1700. Edited by David Cant and Alan Petford. Published 2013. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.4. Paperback.  215 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-3-3.  £9.99 (plus £2 towards shipping)

The wills and inventories of the people of the upland Pennine township of Sowerby paint a vivid picture of life (and death) at the end of the seventeenth century.  Many were involved in the domestic textile trade, most had some involvement with farming.  A few were owed considerable sums of money and some were in debt.  They all followed the customs of the time in making provision for their soul, their funeral and their dependents.

The documents provide an intriguing insight into the links between the families through personal bequests, transfers of property, support for those surviving and the appointment of executors.  The inventories not only describe personal possessions and household goods, but also trade tools and farming implements.

The introduction includes a description of the probate process, and the volume has a glossary, indexes and maps.


Going to War:

Sowerby Probate RecordsGoing to War: People of the Calder Valley and the First Weeks of the Great War. By M. Crawford. Published 2013. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.3. Paperback. 145 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-7-1. £9.99 (plus £2 towards shipping)

The book concerns the first weeks of The Great War and the experiences of Calderdale people during that critical time: people at home and people in uniform. A main theme concerns the reservists called away from home and family, and follows the experience of two West Riding regiments - The Duke of Wellington's Regiment and The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry - from Mons to the River Aisne, where movement stopped and trenches began.

And, from Todmorden to Brighouse, how did local people respond in these weeks of crisis? Not for them the comradeship and excitement of meeting up with old friends. Wives and families at home simply had to get on with life at a time of serious dislocation and anxiety. How much did they know of events in France and what was happening to fathers, husbands and sons? Eventually it became clear that this was not like the war in South Africa.


Midgley Probate Records: Household and Family in the Upper Calder Valley 1531-1731

Sowerby Probate RecordsEdited by Ian Bailey and Alan Petford. Reprint of 2007 edition by Midgley Books. Published 2012. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.1. Paperback. 116 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-6-4. £9.99 (plus £2 towards shipping)

This collection of transcriptions of wills and inventories provides a rare and valuable insight into the lives of past inhabitants of the township of Midgley in the parish of Halifax. In addition to information about individual local families and their relationships, the documents provide detailed examples of the architecture and contents of houses, the type of farming that was engaged in, the extent of the dual economy and the home textile industry. Analysis also sheds light on inheritance practices and the nature of religious belief.

These documents were transcribed by members of the Midgley History Group from original records held at the Borthwick Institute at York. Beginning with the earliest, a will from 1531, it includes two groups of documents: twenty wills up to 1587 and twenty-five documents from between 1691 and 1731 that includes both wills and inventories.


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. £19.00 (plus £2 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.


Hebden Bridge Town Centre Trail

2008. 27 pages. £2 (plus £2 towards shipping)

A beautifully illustrated guide to the many features of Hebden Bridge centre all within an easy walk of ¾ mile (1.2 km) which can be completed in 45 minutes.

Booklet: The Town Centre Trail booklet provides a guide to the town and its buildings, illustrated with past and present day photographs. There’s also a map of the route with 11 marked stop points. More info


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. £14.99 (plus £2 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.


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. £18.00. (plus £2 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.


A Century of Change: 100 years of Hebden Bridge and District.

A Century of ChangeText by Colin Spencer. Edited by Diana Monahan. 1999. Hardback. 200 pages. ISBN: 095372171X. £15.95 (£2 towards shipping)

This descriptive and photographic essay of the Upper Calder Valley during the twentieth century provides a visual record of the gradual transformation of Hebden Bridge and the surrounding area since the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign. The book is richly illustrated with archival photographs, many lovingly restored by Frank Woolrych of the Alice Longstaff Gallery Collection. These are complemented with more recent photographs by Bill Marsden and an account of various aspects of the history of the area by Colin Spencer.

Enclosing the Moors: Shaping the Calder Valley Landscape through Parliamentary Enclosure.

Enclosing the MoorsBy Sheila Graham. Published 2014. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.5. Paperback. 123 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-9-5. £11.99 (plus £2 towards shipping)

Setting out for a walk on the moors is one of the great pleasures of living in the Calder Valley. The upland landscape has a touch of wildness, with its tracts of heather and tussocky grass. Sometimes you can ramble all day without seeing anyone - but you are never far from a dry-stone wall. Some of them may be falling down, but the way they scribe the moors with their straight lines makes you wonder about the men who built them, and why they are there.

Walking books can guide you along the many paths and bridleways that criss-cross the hills, but this book aims to do something different: to look at the events of two hundred years ago that helped to shape the landscape we see now. In 1814 and 1815 parliamentary Acts ordered the enclosure of common land in Ovenden and Stansfield. An exploration of contemporary documents and maps uncovers a story of debates and disagreements, opportunism and philanthropy that made permanent marks not just on the hills but on the urban landscape too.


City in the Hills: Dawson City and the Building of the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs.:

City in the HillsBy Corinne McDonald and Ann Kilbey. Published 2012. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.2. Paperback. 52 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9537217-5-7. Sorry, out of print.

Many people are aware of parts of the story of the Walshaw Dean Reservoir project, like the trestle bridge spanning the river at Blake Dean, and the fact that there was a navvy encampment near Heptonstall. A certain amount has been written about the subject already - Harry Armitage put together an excellent little pamphlet in 1980, and Peter Thomas wrote about it in his book Mill, Murder and Railway, but Corinne and Ann have delved deep into the Archives at Calderdale Library as well as those of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society to bring alive the background and the details of this fascinating story.


 

Publications by Members of the Society

Spring 2016 newsletter
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.