Welcome to the Cowling Moonrakers Website.

Announcement From Moonrakers …

September 30th, 2009 Comments off


Thursday June 2nd Bancroft Room, St Andrew’s Methodist Church. All welcome, refreshments served. 7.30 – 9.15pm

Thursday July 7th – See events below

August – no meeting due to holidays


June 7 th visit to Bradford Industrial Museum

Moonraker man from the back cover of the book 'Cowling, a Moorland Parish'.

Moonraker man from the back cover of the book ‘Cowling, a Moorland Parish’.


– an illustrated talk by Mike Gill, mining specialist 

– 7.30pm St Andrew’s Bancroft Room.

Talk free, donations welcome. Refreshments served, all welcome.

Record office visit – being planned


NEWS IN BRIEF: 2015/16

September – Holy Trinity church visit

November – Queen Street Mill visit, Burnley. Cowling School visit – see events

January 2016 – Meeting/ visit programme finalised for first six months of 2016

February – Old roads document studied

March – Original documents recently donated were studied

April – Cowling Hill Baptist Monumental Inscriptions studied

May – Historic building recorded – Gill to Middleton


Four members who visited Holy Trinity Church in 2015.

Four members who visited Holy Trinity Church in 2015.



An old photo of Wainman's Pinnacle, which stands proudly above Cowling on Earl's Crag.

An old photo of Wainman’s Pinnacle, which stands proudly above Cowling on Earl’s Crag.














Categories: Moonraker Updates

Welcome Cowling history lovers.

September 4th, 2009 Comments off

A big welcome to our Moonrakers website.

This is our  second site, built after the first webmaster  was unable to maintain the old site due to pressure of work. Our thanks go to him for his hard work.

Looking North West from Holy Trinity Church.

Looking North West from Holy Trinity Church tower.

We therefore went for a new look site, which continues to  develop.  The intention is to keep you up to date with the latest Moonrakers local research, history stories and events. Our hope is to have various contributors  bringing energy and  a wealth of experience to our sharing of information and historic adventure. We hopefully might even give you a laugh on the way.

We have decided to run the two websites side by side. Therefore the information on the old website will stay there. Historic pictures of Cowling can be browsed in the old site’s gallery.

So its onward and upward and into the future – or should that be into the past? Enjoy your visit to Moonrakers and please keep returning to watch us progress.

Mark Barnes,  Chairman

Categories: Moonraker Updates

Revealing Baptist Grave Study

April 27th, 2016 Comments off

In April we studied Cowling Baptist Monumental Inscriptions. Although Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel was built in 1724 these inscriptions are on graves in its second graveyard and only date with names from 1816 (earliest we found). The first graveyard was a triangular plot behind the chapel. The list we used was compiled by Keighley Family History Group and was dated 1996 and thanks must go for their endeavours in compiling it.                

The 1816 inscriptions were very sad. A young mother Mrs Martha Shuttleworth of Ickornshaw,  aged 29, died in July. In September of the same year her one year old son John also passed away. This represents how short life could be not that long ago.  There was however also many people living into old age.     

Monumental Inscription in Cowling Baptist graveyard.

Monumental Inscription in Cowling Baptist graveyard.


Several burials are from people who lived in many villages around the area. This could reflect the distances that people were prepared to travel to this, one of the earliest non conformist buildings in the Craven area.                                                                                                                                          

On looking at the most common family names buried at Cowling Hill, it will be no surprise that Smith topped that poll. Other local family names that featured prominently were Emmott, Harrison, Rushton and Shuttleworth. A mention should also be given to the several Whitakers, Snowdens, Shackletons, Scarboroughs, Gotts, Binns and Bensons who obviously worshipped at Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel and were buried there.                                                                                                             

 Finally on another subject, we can give first notice of a talk to be held at our July 7th meeting entitled ‘Mining in Cowling and Cononley’, given by mining expert Mike Gill of Sutton. This talk will be free, with donations welcome.                                                                                                                                       


Categories: Uncategorized

Old Documents Examined

April 27th, 2016 Comments off

Our March meeting was taken up with an examination of various documents recently given to the group for safekeeping in our archive.

Old Ickornshaw Mill share certificate.

Old Ickornshaw Mill share certificate.

 Ways of raising funds were also discussed. At the April meeting the group will study Cowling Baptist Monumental Inscriptions.


Categories: Uncategorized

Historic Parish Road Systems

April 27th, 2016 Comments off

Our February meeting centred mainly on a discussion of old road systems in the parish.

 This was stimulated by a document given to us, which was a copy of talk given on the topic over thirty years ago. The main aspects of interest were Jeffrey’s map of 1745, the workings and naming of the Turnpike Trust system, the Blackburn-Addingham- Cocking End turnpike, toll booth positions and William Moore’s Causeway.

An old scene from a Turnpike Gate.

An old scene from a Turnpike Gate.

Finally monumental inscriptions at both Cowling Hill Baptists and Holy Trinity Church were briefly discussed along with planned visits to record offices.

Categories: Uncategorized

Planning for early 2016

April 27th, 2016 Comments off

Our January meeting was full of business about the running of our group.A new involvement with our website for the photographer members was explained and demonstrated.

The main business however was working together to decide on a programme for our meeting, research and visits for 2016. More museum visits are planned, as is a group record office visit. We are to continue our record of historic building in the parish, in the summer months.

Wakefield Record Office

Wakefield Record Office

So as we move into our fourteenth year  there will be some new things and a continuation of work in progress. As always we will look forward to welcoming anyone who feels they would like to come along in 2016, to see if they would like to join us in sharing our enjoyment of Cowling’s wonderful and unique history.

Categories: Uncategorized

Sandyforth Causeway 18th century evidence.

April 27th, 2016 Comments off

Three main items occupied our December meeting. Firstly we sorted lots of new archives we had been given lately, ready for adding to our archive list. It’s amazing in a small village how many documents keep appearing to feed our history research.   

A packhorse train, such as would have travelled Ickornshaw Moor.

A packhorse train, such as would have travelled across Ickornshaw Moor.

One of these items was a copy of an assessment from the early 18 century. Inhabitants of Ickornshaw were being assessed to contribute to the upkeep of The Sandyforth Causeway, which the ‘Cowling a Moorland Parish’ book states went from Sandyforth Farm to Hill Ends. These causeways were paved areas, often laid to help progress over wet areas. This was part of a packhorse route over Ickornshaw Moor. These routes were the main method of moving heavy goods around in hill country before the advent of Turnpike roads. Therefore our second item was a first look for evidence of route ways over the moor, projecting internet aerial images of the moor for all to see. We would like to hear from anyone who has information about the causeway or packhorse routes in our parish.

Another Pennine causeway, partially uncovered.

Another Pennine causeway, partially uncovered.

For the third item we looked at pictures from our recent visits, which will in due course be added to our website, to add interest to our items and to add to our Events Gallery. 

Categories: Transport

Freegate Mill, Cowling School & Textile Museum!

November 29th, 2015 Comments off

November has been a busy month for the group. It began with a full meeting, when the information found from various sources about Freegate Mill was discussed. Thanks go to Joan Tindale for much of this, which will be displayed on this website.

Following on from the meeting three members visited the year 3/4/5 class at Cowling School to assist them in their history studies of Cowling during WW11. This was a most enjoyable and rewarding time when were made most welcome by all. Those involved passed on firsthand knowledge and experiences to young children eager to learn.  The session culminated in a blast from a WW11 air aid warning siren!

The Queen Street Mill's working steam engine.

The Queen Street Mill’s working steam engine.

A few days later the group visited Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley to link in with our Freegate Mill research. Most of our group had experience of working in the textile industry and therefore were able to note that this unique steam driven museum was able to demonstrate, as far as possible, the processes in a weaving mill. All agreed however it was impossible to completely create the dusty atmosphere, shattering sound and numbers of workers involved. We would still recommend a visit, to glimpse back into Cowling’s past and the age of steam driven engines.




Categories: Uncategorized

Freegate Mill Information Sought

October 22nd, 2015 Comments off

October saw each member who visited Holy Trinity Church in September add to the report of the visit, which can be viewed below this article.

Another item under discussion was the proposed visit to Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley. This will add to our knowledge of the industry in the village. This was well covered in the excellent 1980 book ‘Cowling A Moorland Parish’. This was written by villagers and edited by Alec Wood, Head of History at South Craven School. We consult this book regularly, especially when beginning new research topics and always aim to build on its account of parish history.

However, no matter how good and respected a book is there are always new facts to discover. Next month we will present our latest knowledge on Freegate Mill, a mill that was not covered in the above book, possibly due to lack of space. If you have any historic information regarding Freegate Mill, Ickornshaw, we would be very pleased to hear from you.

We must thank Mrs Dorothy Holmes (Makin) and Mrs Joan Tindale for donating documents in their care to Moonrakers. Some of the October meeting was spent on an initial look at these.

Categories: Uncategorized

Holy Trinity Visit Reveals New Information

October 22nd, 2015 Comments off

Items discussed at the September meeting included a newly published South Craven Court Book by David Gulliver of Cononley, an invite to a Heritage day in Keighley, website changes and a forthcoming visit to Queen Street Mill textile museum.

However the focus was our imminent visit to Holy Trinity Church, Cowling. Last year we had a very fruitful visit to Cowling Hill (Head) Baptists and our Holy Trinity visit was continuing our local history look at parish places of worship.

The visit took place on Wednesday 16th. We were made very welcome by members, with refreshments and a guided tour of the church. The highlight was the guided tour of the tower. At the top the day was clear and bright and all agreed that the view would be difficult to beat.

The church clock was made by JB Joyce & Co, of Whitchurch, Shropshire as indicated boldly on the workings. Wikipedia states that: “J. B. Joyce & Co, clockmakers, was founded in Shropshire in England. The company claim to be the oldest clock manufacturer in the world, originally established in 1690.” (Another clockmaker also claims to be the oldest.)

Holy Trinity Church clock workings.

Holy Trinity Church clock workings.

“In 1849 the company copied the Big Ben escapement designed by Lord Grimthorpe. The firm made large clocks for many public buildings, both at home and overseas, and for some of the principal railway companies“.  Holy Trinity’s clock, made in 1925, is one of the Big Ben copies mentioned above!

Also noted on the visit were:

  • The sites of two previous lean to buildings. One, on the south side had been to house a previous organ fan, when the organ was situated on the other side of the church. The second was on the west side and had been to enter down to a previous coal fired boiler house.
  • A previous internal balcony at the tower end, destroyed when a storm blew corner pinnacles off the tower corners.
  • A list of vicars

    Vicars of Cowling Holy Trinity Church

    Vicars of Cowling Holy Trinity Church

  • The funding for the 1926 clock installation
  • A plaque and window to the King family of Carr Head
  • A plaque to the longest serving vicar George Bayldon (40 years)
  • Evidence of previous coke and gas heating.
  • A previous alter table with a plaque engraved: Rev GW Kendall 1889 Easter. As there is no mention of this name in the list of vicars we can only presume that the table was originally in another church.

Vicars of Cowling Holy Trinity Church


Our thanks go to the church members for this very enjoyable visit.

Categories: Religion

Gala Disappointment

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

We’re disappointed to have had to pull out of Cowling Gala at the end of July. Unfortunately there were not enough members available to work on the stall. We are not meeting in August due to holidays, so our next meeting is at St Andrew’s Methodist Church 7.30pm on 3rd September .


Categories: Uncategorized

Gala Planning

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

Our June meeting was taken up planning a display of our year’s work to show at Cowling Gala on 25th

July. Next month we will assemble the display, ready for the day. We hope you pop into our stall on gala day for a chat, have a look what local history topics we’ve been researching over the last year and have a go at a traditional game.


Categories: Uncategorized