Archive for the ‘Village – 19th Century’ Category

Lead, Coal and Barytes in Cowling

June 4th, 2015 Comments off

Quarrying and Mining Information Needed

March 16th, 2015 Comments off

Our research topic for February and March is mining and quarrying in Cowling Parish. The group studied information on 19th century coal mining at Reedshaw in the far west of the parish, on the Lancashire boarder. This was in an area now flooded by the eastern end of the reservoir there. We also have statistics regarding a trial lead mine at Gill Bottom in the 19th century. A spoil heap for this mine is still evident by the roadside, on the left before the disused cottages, when travelling NE on Shop Lane. The mine however was and still is on private land, with no access now available. The information for both mines was provided by Mike Gill of Sutton-in-Craven.

We have however very little quarrying information. We know there was a large quarry at Earl’s Crag in the 19th century and that Dick Lane actually stopped as it entered the quarry and then continued after it. We however have no dates, statistics or name of owner. There were also important quarries at Knoll Hill and Mires Close in the 19th century, but again we have no information. It is said that stone went from one of these quarries to build a dock at Heysham in Morecambe Bay.  We know there were also several  other smaller quarries. If anyone has any information regarding quarrying or mining in Cowling please get in touch.

Ickornshaw Mill Destroyed by Fire At Cowling (Craven Herald 22/03/1884)

June 6th, 2013 Comments off

A disastrous fire, resulting in the destruction of Ickornshaw Mill, occurred on Sunday morning last

The mill, which is the property of The Craven Bank, and rented by Mr Thomas Watson,Worsted Manufacturer, was 4 storeys high and 40yards
long. The lower room was used as a store-room for weft and other stock; the second room was used for twisting; the third for weaving, and the top storey for dressing.

The fire occurred in the lower storey, and was discovered at about 6.30am by a mill hand named Jonas Shuttleworth, who resided near the premises. He promptly gave the alarm, and assistance having been procured water was then thrown by buckets on to the fire (the fire-extinguishing apparatus with the mill being useless) and a mounted messenger was despatched to Keighley for the fire brigade.

A manual engine from the town arrived at about half-past eight, followed in about a quarter of an hour by the borough steam fire-engine.
By this time, however, the flames had obtained a complete hold of the building and the roof had fallen in, so the brigade turned their attention to saving that portion of the mill where the engine is situated, and in this they were fortunately successful.

The building, however, was completely gutted, and a large number of machinery and stock was destroyed. There were 56 looms in the mill
and a large quantity of weft, but a considerable portion of the machinery had been removed to new premises only a short time previously; and workmen had been engaged in the task of removal until the late hours of Saturday night.

The flames were fortunately prevented from spreading to the weaving shed which adjoins the mill, or the damage done to the property would
not only have been much greater, but a large number of workpeople thrown out of employment, as the greater portion of them are employed in this part of the mill.

The damage is estimated at £2,500, and is covered by insurance in the Sun Fire Office.

A portion of the mill is sub-let by Mr Watson to Mr Robert Pickles, who had 26 looms in his department.

Part of the mill was worked by water and the other portion by steam and it is hoped that operations in the weaving shed will be resumed.

The fire, which burned for some hours with great brilliancy, and was observable from a great distance, is believed to have been caused by
the spontaneous combustion of weft.

Researched from the
CRAVEN HERALD dated 22 March 1884 by Dennis Harkeand typed out larger by Norman Binns.

For a summary of findings from this newspaper article read the article below.

1884 Mill Fire Gives Up New Information

June 6th, 2013 Comments off

The research began at the March meeting was continued. This time however (April), the whole group examined a Craven Herald article from March 1884. This described “a disastrous fire, resulting in the destruction of Ickornshaw Mill”.

From this article members were able to discover new details about not only the fire but the ownership, use of and size of the mill at that
time and the usage of various rooms.
The difficulties of putting out a fire in a pre-motorised world were highlighted when a “mounted messenger was despatched to Keighley for
the fire brigade.” Both a manual and steam fire- engine were sent. These arrived two hours after the fire was discovered! Is it any wonder that the mill was destroyed?

The good news was that a “considerable portion of the machinery had been moved to new premises” the night before the fire. Also the
adjoining weaving sheds were saved. Members noted that the mill was insured and questions were immediately raised about how the fire started. One member, a textile specialist, questioned the reason given “spontaneous combustion of weft”. However, over one hundred years on, all our ideas and suspicions can only be conjecture.

Members quite rightly compared in their minds this article with present ones. Questions were therefore asked about the accuracy of the
facts contained here. Had the reporter ‘got it right’? Was the person giving the information accurate in what he or she said?

Members agreed that this was an interesting evening, in which all members present had been able to take part in a piece of research
that gave new historic  information, as well as leaving time for chat, banter and of course a cup of tea!

The full newspaper article can be viewed above. Paper copies can be provided on request.

Forresters Hall – An Early Benefits System

December 2nd, 2010 Comments off

In the summer of 2010 a Moonrakers walk prompted questions regarding the origins and use of the Foresters Hall on Colne Road, at the top of the village, in the area known as Cock Hall. It is a fine, large three storied building. The Hall itself was on the top floor.

Dr Roger Logan of The Foresters Heritage Trust, a charitable organisation who store archives of the trust and answer queries, such as ours was very useful and supplied the information here.

The hall was built around 1869/70. However by then the Foresters had been active in Cowling for over 30 years, meeting regularly in different  public houses over that period. Thus the Foresters were active in the village when New Roadside (as the early modern village was known) was in its infancy and most textile workers were either domestic or working in small mills or workshops.

The Western end of the Foresters Hall

The Western end of the Foresters Hall

Trevor Hodgson & David Gulliver in The History of Cononley, where similar friendy societies were forming, suggest it may have been that working people were feeling increasingly insecure. Poverty had been on the increase after the Napoleonic Wars and the wealthy had been more reluctant to help. The 1834 Poor Law Ammemdment Act  had brought in the fear of the workhouse for the needy. Agitation among working classes manifested itself in the Chartist movement and so Hodgson & Gulliver say it is not surprising to see working men banding together to protect themselves against misfortune.

One public house used for meetings  was the long gone Masons’ Arms, Middleton. The Foresters record of this confirmed the existence of this 19th century pub for Moonrakers. Dr Logan thought that the move to build their own Hall by the Court “Compassion” No 104 of the Ancient Order of Foresters might have been prompted by Temperance movement of the time. Possibly it was no longer good for business to be linked to a public house for meetings.

A court was a branch. The earlier courts, such as Cowling’s were in The Royal Order of Foresters. The original founders would have given the court its name and number. The names tended to be virtues or have moral attributes, so Court Compassion fits into this pattern.

Dr Logan stated “The registered purposes of a Foresters Court were, as laid down by contemporary legislation. However as a general rule we might say that members combined for establishing locally a common financial fund, into which they all paid, and were, in consequence, eligible for sickness and death benefits.”

He goes on to say, “As the century progressed some courts extended their activities, as authorised by law, such as making mortgages avialable to members. There were also added benefits such as the  travelling  system by means of which members could receive financial support whilst searching for work away from home.

Dr Logan was surprised at the size of Cowling’s Foresters Hall. Funds could not be used to pay for the building, which was paid for by subscription. He suggested that the lower part of the building might always have been used, as now, for residential purposes.

The members would have met in the hall weekly, to pay their contributions and hear the sick list. They therefore knew who was gaining benefits that week!

The hall would also used for social purposes by the Foresters and others.

The Cowling Court Compassion No 104, seceded or left the Ancient Order of Foresters as early as 1899. However Dr Logan suggested that the Cowling Foresters may have continued independently long after the secetion from the order.

This shows that Cowling folk, were from quite early in the 19th century, grouping together to provide benefits in times of difficulty.’ Cowinheeaders’ have long had a reputation for being careful with money. Here we have 19th century proof!

We thank Dr Roger Logan of The Foresters Heritage Trust for his hard work in answering our queries and enclose his information and statistics below.

Court “Compassion”, No. 104 of the Ancient Order of Foresters (AOF)

Established 1834 at the Black Bull, Cowling

From the outset it functioned as a Court-out-of District, thus bearing the full liabilities of the Sick and Funeral fund.

Named founders : James Nelson, James Thompson, John Emmott.

Landlord at Black Bull in 1834 – Christopher Snowden

The Court originated as a Court of the Royal Foresters. In this it had the same name, but with the number 163. It had probably been founded in 1831 (see note below).

Year     Meeting place                                    Secretary        Treasurer        Members

1840       Black Bull Inn, Ickornshaw               nk                     nk                           68

1845       Black Bull, Freegate, Ickornshaw    nk                     nk                           81

1846       Masons Arms, Middleton, Cowling nk                   nk                           79

1847       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           84

1848       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           90

1849       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           112

1850       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           115

1851       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           116

1852       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           129

1853       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           nk

1854       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           139

1855       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           139

1856       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           136

1857       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           156

1858       Black Bull Inn, Cowling                       nk                     mk                          170

1859       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           171

1860       Black Bull Inn, Icornshaw, Cowling nk                    nk                           174

1861       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           201

1862       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           207

1863       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           208

1864       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           208

1865       ditto                                                            nk                     nk                           204

1866       ditto                                                      James Dawson  nk                           204

1867       ditto                                                      James Dawson  nk                           221

1868       ditto                                                      ditto                      nk                           224

1869       ditto                                                      ditto                      nk                           227

1870       Foresters Hall, Cowling                  ditto                      nk                           238

1871       Foresters’ Hall, Roadside, Cowling   J Dawson      nk                           240

1872       ditto                                                      ditto                      nk                           241

1873       ditto                                                      ditto                      nk                           243

1874       ditto                                                      ditto                      nk                           246

1875       ditto                                                      ditto                      nk                           245

1876       ditto                                                      ditto                      C Snowden         240

1877       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      232

1878       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      230

1879       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      224

1880       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      221

1881       Foresters’ Hall, Cowling                 ditto                      ditto                      214

1882       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      215

1883       Foresters’ Hall, New Rd.Side, Cowling   ditto        ditto                      209

1884       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      205

1885       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      205

1886       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      204

1887       ditto                                                      ditto                      S Shuttleworth  204

1888       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      202

1889       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      198

1890       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      189

1891       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      183

1892       ditto                                                      ditto                     ditto                      181

1893       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      176

1894       ditto                                                      S ShuttlewortthS Hartley              170

1895       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      166

1896       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      tba

1897       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      158

1898       ditto                                                      ditto                      ditto                      151

1899       ditto                                                      seceded from the Order

At the date of secession it had 151 members, and £1,962 in funds

The Foresters Hall is the large building in the middle distance.

The Foresters Hall is the large building in the middle distance.

Cowling Foresters

Court “Compassion”, No. 163 of the Royal Order of Foresters was established in Cowling in 1831.  The date of 13th August 1831, shown on the inscribed tablet on the external wall of the building, is consistent with the little information that we have of formation dates for this period.  [ Note – I cannot now find the image of the stone tablet, which I viewed some years back, on the current cowlingweb site]

Following the decision taken by Royal Order delegates  to the Great Convention of Foresters , held at Rochdale on 4, 5, 6 August 1834, to re-form as the Ancient Order of Foresters, members of Court “Compassion” decided to join the new organisation. As a consequence on 6th October 1834, a new Dispensation (document authorising the Court’s existence) was issued to James Nelson, James Thompson, and John Emmott, meeting at the Black Bull, landlord Christopher Snowden, with the Court now being No. 104 of the AOF. (AOF, Court Dispensation Book)

Details of the known meeting places, Secretaries, and Treasurers, are shown on the accompanying schedule. (AOF, Foresters’ Directory, various)

The Court registered under the 1850, etc., Friendly Society Acts, and the date of 22nd February 1851 refers to this. The number 161A was, presumably, that given by the Registrar.  In 1875 a new Friendly  Society  Act became Law, and Courts were required to register as branches of the Order, to enable them to be eligible to benefit from the provisions of the new Act.  Court “Compassion” did not register until 1888, however when it did, it was assigned the registered no. C211. (AOF, Foresters’ Directory, 1889)

As to the reference to the Compassion Benefit Society, my view is that this is the name taken after the members seceded from the AOF in 1899, however this is just a best guess based on facts currently known.

One interesting point emerges from this. Philip Snowden, the local man who became Chancellor of the Exchequer, is reported in the biographies I have read as being a son of a temperance advocate, John Snowden, and himself a member of a temperance society. This is interesting to note in the context of the initial involvement with the AOF locally of the landlord of the Black Bull, Christopher Snowden in 1834, and the subsequent identified connection of C Snowden (the same as Christopher?) as Treasurer.

I wonder if the construction of the Foresters Hall was an attempt to provide a meeting place for members away from public houses, and thereby induce membership faced with competition from a temperance society that may also have offered friendly society benefits?  Funding for the construction of the Hall should have been from voluntary subscriptions made by members and other well wishers. It would have been illegal to use any of the benefit funds maintained by the Court for such a purpose. 

Sanctuary “Compassion”, No. 104 of the Ancient Order of Shepherds

Associated with the Ancient Order of Foresters was the Ancient Order of Shepherds. This was described as the second degree of Forestry. Effectively it was a means by which existing Foresters could, by paying additional contributions, receive additional benefits. To belong to a Shepherds Sanctuary (branch) it was necessary to be a Forester, up to the late 1880’s. The existence of a Sanctuary associated with a Court can be interpreted as an indication of the relative wealth of members, since clearly they would need to have sufficient earnings to pay for the two lots of contributions.

Sanctuary “Compassion”, No. 104, was established in 1839. Early details remain to be ascertained, however it clearly maintained a presence, being shown in the Shepherds Sanctuary Directory for 1879 as having 39 members. The Scribe (Secretary) was then J. Smith and meetings were held at the Foresters Hall.  During the 1880’s moves were made to separate the Ancient Shepherds from the Ancient Order of Foresters, and it became an Order in its own right prior to 1890. The entry for Sanctuary “Compassion” shows that it had 36 members in 1886 with J Smith still Scribe.

It should be noted that the Ancient Order of Shepherds connected with the Ancient Order of Foresters was entirely distinct from the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds (Ashton Unity) established in 1826, and its splinter organisation, the Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds (Wisbech Unity). These were both entirely separate friendly society Orders.

Roger Logan

6th July 2010

Cowling Past and Present. By Alfred Teal

January 20th, 2010 Comments off
Reprinted from the “WEST YORKSHIRE PIONEER “, November 1902.
Supplied By: Mrs Anne Akeroyd


I am not going to take my readers back, even in imagination, to the time when Cowling was one vast forest, or the time when our sturdy forefathers first took the axe in hand and began to cultivate the soil. As Englishmen, or to become more homely, as Yorkshire men, we believe there is no place like home. Still, the familiarity with its hills and dales, its rocky heights, and woody ravines, appears to most of us commonplace. Why? Because we never try to find any thing new in them. We are surrounded in summer with an almost illimitable variety of flowers, herbs, and ferns whose names are almost unknown to us hundreds of varieties of insects, birds, and animal life of whose names and habits we know little, yet whose study would be worthy of our spare moments. The watercourses abound in fossils, such as the Lepidodendron, Ligillaria, Calamite, etc, which reveal to us the fact this neighbourhood was once a tropical clime. Also the rocks, shell fossils, encrinites, foraminifera, etc, teach us that it was once an ocean bed. The ” HITCHING STONE” and Crags remind us that glaciers once did their silent work in this locality. But leaving geology, let me first take my reader upon the breezy moor, by way of ” Dean Moss “over ” Andrew Hill ” to what we term as the “New Hut “a good substantial stone building which was opened this last summer. It has been built by public subscriptions, and fitted with stoves and cooking utensils, and through the season it has been a public health resort for the people of Cowling. We are far away from the madding crowd ; nothing breaks the stillness except the call of grouse, a passing moortit, the bleating sheep, or the distant wail of a peewit. In days gone by we should have been standing on the shores of a lake, or reservoir, known as the ” Old-Dam “and standing on the heather covered bank, one longs to see the opening where it burst through, made up again, and a few boats on the spot for sailing, which would make the ” New Hut ” almost as popular a pleasuring place as the sea side, as well as a rendezvous for skaters during the frosty season.
Behind us we have a peculiar range of hills, known as ” Timothy Scaurs ” and as we wander about amongst the hillocks we wonder how they came there.This was once a busy centre of industry, along with another place just across the moor known as Round Holes, or in broad Yorkshire ” Ra’and Hoils “. These were both lime works fifty years ago, and the lime was exported across the moors to Ponden Scartop. and other villages bordering on the moor on the other side. If we crossed the moor we should find remains of a causeway which was once extended over the moor ; over this causeway the lime was conveyed.
Perhaps twenty or thirty ponies were used for this purpose ( or gals as they were known in those days ). The gals carried the lime in bags across their saddles, the leading gal having bells fastened to it, and the others following single file ; and those who are to young to remember them are left to imagine the procession as they crossed the moor daily to the musical tinkle of the bells, and the crack of the drivers whip.

Near to the Round Holes at this period the Laneshaw coal pits were in operation. Though the coal was far from our ideal class of coal, yet it supplied the village with its apology for coal. Before we leave the moors let us visit that monster stone, ” Hitching Stone ” standing in solitude on the bleak moor as a boundary mark, and one which cannot be easily moved. Here used to be celebrated the Hitching Stone Feast on the 12th of august when the grouse shooting commenced. Racing and various sports took place, but uneven ground made racing difficult, though it helped to put action into the competitors.

Now let us visit Gill Bottom. As we stand on the bridge, and look up at the ruined mill and the ivy covered houses, all is silent except the murmur of the brook and the rush of the spring from the closed mine . Once it watered the farm houses scattered along the hillside, but the mines drew it away, and left the cottages with a meagre supply.
Last summer they had all their water to fetch from a distance for months, but this year the supply has been greater than the demand. Standing on the bridge, we ask yourself the question Has this quiet valley ever been disturbed by the humdrum of life? Yes and I will try to take you back in imagination to the time when this was one of Cowling’s busy centres.

Just opposite the row of cottages to our right (which are now unoccupied) stood a mill or “weaving shop “as they were called in those days. This place was filled with handlooms and bobbin engines, and business was transacted after the quaint methods of the day. The rules of a weaving shop were different to rules in our factories to day. Each weaver had to pay rent for his stand for a loom, which was called “shop rent ” and if a weaver was off work for a week he had to weave the next week sufficient to pay his rent before he could start for himself. He also had to find his own candles when “lighting up time” came. I might just add here that since power looms were introduced into the neighbourhood weavers had to buy their own candles, weft forks, brushes etc. It was quite common to see a weaver at two looms, with black warps in, and an “eights” candle swung over him was the only light he had. This reminds me of a notice given out from the pulpit of one of chapels ” A preaching service will be held at Moss – Bar, on a certain night, and it is requested that the congregation bring their weaving candles with them.” Even since gas was introduced into our neighbourhood the weaver had to pay half the gas bill.

But to return to Gill Bottom. Opposite the bridge we notice the heaps of shale and gravel which have been excavated from the bowels of the earth. Once upon a time an enterprising party, after prospecting, came to the conclusion that this quiet valley was not without its wealth. So miners were engaged and machinery got to the place and with pick and shovel the miners in process of time struck the lead ore, and the miniature Klondike did its daily round and common task. Just above the bridge stands in ruins another mill, which was burnt down a little over 30 years ago. This place once employed many hands and did a prosperous business. But let us go twenty yards further up the valley, and we shall see the ruins of a rope walk. The crumbling walls are covered with brambles and other creepers. It is situated in one of the most picturesque places in Cowling. In early spring the hill side is literally covered with primroses. This place furnished our village with ropes and twine of various kinds. Not only from this village but from many a village and town, orders were sent into this sequestered valley. No doubt the visitor will have noticed the waterfall just below here. There used to be a water wheel, which, by means of a long rope ran the works of this “Band Mill “. I think I have said sufficient to show that this quiet valley with no human habitation today, was once a busy part of Cowling.
We will now leave Gill Bottom and following the road it leads us to Cowling Hill another almost deserted place but once the village proper, situated on the old road to Colne. It possessed its village green (which is now en closed ). Here in bygone days were held the sports and pastimes. It was the centre of sport. Often men from the country around have assembled here to indulge in the popular winter “bone hunt”. They kindled a fire upon the village green and got a large bone and placed it in the fire.

When sufficiently burnt they took it out and tied a string to it, and trailed it over the snow around the whole countryside, and finally buried it in the snow. The competing dogs were then let loose, and followed the scent of the burnt bone and the dog which discovered it first won the prize ! Let us now come back again to Freegate and Ickornshaw, where decay and ruin meet the eye at every turn. Freegate has its tumbled down mill and similar cottages, yet it has had its day. Here Cowling used to celebrate its feasts. It was the centre of attraction at a feast time when everybody was full of life and mirth. Long rows of stalls attracted the juvenile portion where they spent often their only pence during the year on small novelties which had to last them until another festive occasion. Here was seen the ” toppler ” displaying his antics and the box organ grinding out its popular airs. The races which were always run on the main road were one of the principal features. When these events came off a man stood in a prominent place and rang a big bell for a considerable time until the people all flocked around him, and then he gave out in lound tones the rhyme which had been handed down to him from his ancestors : –
“Three, an’ a’ race Fra Hoggit loin top An’ this place.”
The race run twice off and on, between Freegate and the place named.

Now let us look at Ickornshaw Mill and our minds go back to the time when it was in the possession of that good and noble man Abram Binns, who was the founder of Methodism in Cowling. Not only did he found it but he supported it at his own expense for 17 years until the day of his death. Ickornshaw Mill was carried on by Abram Binns as a cotton spinning factory and as we view it today we wonder what its future will be and wish we could bring back to it its once popular trade of cotton spinning. Spinning was also carried on at Royd Mills. Middleton in the days of hand looms, possessed two weaving shops and Winkholme Providence Place and Flood Root each had similar establishments whose history would furnish us with many an interesting incident. To finish our ramble let us take a stroll down the ” Bottoms ” . We come past the old stables now in ruins where once the fine bred hunters were kept, and the dog kennels by old Carr Head now a relic of the past and as we gaze at the Carr Head with its towering trees and lovely surroundings we can almost imagine the old hall again full of activity and hear the crack of a gun as the pheasants rise above the trees, or see the bright coloured riders as they clear the fences in wild pursuit of their quarry. But now a stillness reigns over the place and as we pass the old stables on a night we think of the ghosts and goblins, and start at the screech of an owl.

Many things in Cowling which helped to make it picturesque have disappeared the waving cornfields which once added beauty to our hills desire no longer to be seen the three windmills which helped to break the monotony of the landscape as they lazily turned on a summers day are gone and long smoky chimneys are the most prominent monuments of today.

In those by-gone days one might hear the click click of the hand loom, and the buzz of the spinning wheel, in almost every home, singing to the music of the loom, as they picked the shuttle to and fro and we can picture the weaver as he rests a little from his toil, smoking his pipe in peace outside his cottage door, enjoying a freedom which is almost unknown in these days of push and hurry. The business of today is the “get up” of a thing the shoddy passed off as good substantial cloth prints you can scarce detect from the real woven colours, mercerised for silk and a thousand articles all show which are scarcely worth anything when it comes to service.

But only the real thing stands the test of time; the quality of handloom cotton woven by our forefathers stands in the estimation of the people of today as “the best”. I have now shown as best I could, what Cowling was like fifty or sixty years ago.

Let me now call your attention to the difference between our forefathers and us. Enter one of our village homes today, and you find the carpeted floor the fancy sideboard, easy chairs and luxuriant furniture, a living room and a room for special occasions, a sewing machine papered walls, and ( no homestead is thought complete without it ) a piano. But contrast this with the homes of our grand fathers. A handloom in place of a sewing machine sanded floors in place of carpets a stool instead of an easy chair. The special room was the one filled with peats, the walls were all white washed both living place and bedrooms without any under drawing and in many cases a man sitting by his fireside could see the blue sky above him through holes in the chamber floor and the roof. On many a winter’s morning the people had to be very careful when getting out of bed lest they should step into one of the snowdrifts in the bedroom made during the night. Some of the homesteads possessed four or five handlooms the principal furniture.
The warp sizing was often done on a Saturday night, and put on the stretch to dry and at some of the houses combing was done by hand. We have had a glimpse at the homes now let us contrast the fashions of today with those of the past. Walking along our streets when everybody is dressed in their Sunday best a stranger would find it hard to distinguish an employee from his employer or a schoolmistress from a mill operative. How different to the days when starch and linen did not trouble anybody, when a cloth suit classed a man as a gentleman; when a brown velvet jacket and vest fustian trousers, and a white hat were too good for everyday wear and were only worn on a Sunday with a pair of iron sided clogs. And this kind of suit for Sunday had to used with great care. Big leather aprons, known as “leather jumps” were used to protect them from becoming shabby.

An every day suit was of fustiangreasy and patched, through long years of wear. Among the lads new suits were almost unknown. They were often made from their big brothers or their fathers “cast offs”, and sometimes they were so patched that it was hard to tell which was the patch and which the suit. During two or three months in summer time the children never used to wear either stockings or clogs. ( They must have had better summers in those days ! ) The girls used to wear ” cheka brats ” to go to Sunday school in, with a handkerchief tied over their head. When they got these on they were considered smart. and some of the young women used to wear their “checka brats” even after they were married. When the weather became so cold that stockings for the children were a necessity, reducing became necessary, and the stockings of up grown persons were made to fit their children. The stockings were cut up the middle and sewn to make the size required.

The abject poverty of our neighbourhood in those days made it impossible for anyone to indulge in luxuries. The main reason of their being so poor was that they were not compelled to work, for a man was his own master, and many of them used to idle away the beginning of the week and never start work in good earnest until just before the pay day. Then at the last “push” they would sometimes work all night. If a man had been compelled to work ten hours a day as we are he could undoubtedly have lived in comfort.

Had our forefathers been living today they would have believed in the saying of a middle tonight “that they wod’nt mind gooin’ ta’t mill if they hedn’t ta get up i’th neet ta gooa”. There was however, one qualification of our forefathers which we do not possess – the Cowlingites are not the sturdy, healthy, vigorous set of people they once were when plain simple diet was the only diet when indigestion and biliousness were unknown; when one doctor was not as hard worked as are half a dozen today for the same area. In those days dry bread was above an ordinary meal; with treacle or dripping up on it, it was considered a luxury and often “haver bread”, with a thin slice of white bread upon it was eaten as we eat cheese an”haver bread”. Butter was scarcely ever tasted, and old milk or skim milk was used precisely as we use new milk. The luxury they could best afford to indulge in was eggs which were 36 for the shilling. As we muse upon the strong healthy men of the past many of whom never knew what a day’s sickness was until they broke down from sheer old age we envy them. Many of them walked to Draughton, Beamsley and Addingham and back again on a Sabbath day in order to tell the old old story. All honour to such men. In this respect our village today lacks the grit of our ancestors.

The people of Cowling are now an educated people compared with those of the past. The broad dialect of the village is fast dying out. I will give an example of one of the former schools of learning. It was kept in Ickornshaw by a woman, who had the misfortune to lose her right arm and in consequence had commenced a school. Her name was Betty French and she used to set copies in pencil in a large hand to be traced over in ink by her pupils. She moved about amongst her scholars with her pet cat always perched upon her shoulder drilling them in the art of writing and learning them to spell. I have heard it said that she did not know anything about figures. Imperfect as the places of learning were in those days, it was not everybody who got the opportunity of attending these rudimentary schools. Many of the boys started work at five, six and seven years of age, and so were robbed of any education at all, and as a natural consequence many of the people were ignorant and had no knowledge of things which transpired beyond the bounds of their horizon. In times of war a man would think nothing of walking to Colne for a newspaper and then securing the services of one of the few villagers who could read they would make their way to a certain house and thereto an audience of perhaps a dozen men the news of the war was read.

As showing the ignorance of some of the villagers a story is told of the parson calling to see one of his parishioners, and being surprised at the ignorance she displayed on biblical matters. ” But surely, my good woman, ” said the pastor, “you know the ten commandments? ” ” Nay ” she said”aw’ nobbut knaw fower, and they’re north, south east and west “. But today with our Board school which has done such a noble work for nearly thirty years, we are better educated and more comfortable in every way. Cowling however still remains an isolated village outside the network of railways, and likely to remain so until a generation of agitators springs up in our midst. In this respect we lack the grit and energy of our forefathers, who were men who had to think and plan for them selves while we sit down and expect providence to send a railway. During the past few years the village has been anything but prosperous, and I believe nothing can bring it back to its once flourishing condition but a railway. What is required in the neighbourhood is new trades. There were far more in the old days than now – spinning, lime burning, band making bobbin turning, coal and lead mining, all these are industries we have lost completely. I imagine some people saying ” What’s the good of talking about the past ? ” or to quote from a beautiful poem “The mill will never turn with the water that is past.” ‘Tis true, we cannot live upon the past, but has not the past made us what we are ? If our forefathers were unlearned and uncultivated, they have paved the way for us, and many of them have left us a bright example to follow, for ” A tree is known by its fruit, and a village by the grit of its inhabitants “.

News of a new church in Cowling – Holy Trinity.

January 20th, 2010 Comments off
























My Friends,


                  By the good providence of God I am at length enabled to announce an event of great importance to you, and to your children, and to the generations which may come after you in this place.  It is my pleasing duty to tell you that a Church for the accommodation of the inhabitants of Cowling is about to be immediately built: nor is this all; I have grounds for hoping that the erection of a school will follow; and further still, that by the residence of a Clergyman among you, the full benefit of these blessings will be secured to you.  For eighteen years have a few pious and benevolent friends of yours laboured for this purpose, some of whom after many hindrances and difficulties are spared to see their endeavours crowned with success:  to some indeed this boon has been denied:  your late respected Vicar would have rejoiced to see this day, which brings with it the fulfilment of an anxious wish of his heart.  But God has been pleased to order it otherwise; and if he has by his removal from earth been deprived of this gratification, you have the comfort of believing that better things are provided for him, even the recompense of those who on earth followed peace with all men, who dealt their bread to the hungry, and covered the naked with a garment; and if it has been my privilege to enter on his work, a labour at the eleventh hour, I am chastened by the reflection that I at the same time succeed to much of the care and responsibility which its accomplishment will entail, and from which he has been set free.  In the few remarks I am about to make, it is my wish to point out to your notice the duties which will be required of you in return for the great privileges thus vouchsafed, and I hope they will be received in the same spirit in which I have written them – the spirit of Christian friendship.

The Almighty in His holy Scriptures is pleased to represent Himself as dealing with men according to the improvement they make of the opportunities they may enjoy of knowing His will.  He tells us He will accept of men according to that which they have not; and again, that from those to whom much is given much will be required.  As, therefore, the means of grace in the ordinances of Christ’s holy religion will be brought nearer to you than they have ever been, even to your very doors, let me express my hope that they will be cherished as they deserved to be, with closer attention and more heedful reverence.  The obstacles which at present hinder your township as well as many others from duly profiting by Church administrations, while they must be viewed with concern by every sincere member of that pure branch of Christ’s Catholic Church which is established in this Country, have arisen in part from circumstances over which neither the ministry nor the people have had control, and against which I acknowledge it has been difficult, nay, even impossible to contend.  In your case, on the one hand, the long distance which separates you from your present Parish Church prevents you making that ready use of it which it was intended to afford; and on the other hand, the vast size of the parish , as at present constituted, effectually hinders that constant intercourse between the Clergyman and his flock which it is so much the interest of both should be carefully kept up.  If it should be asked how this state of things has arisen, I should answer, that since the arrangements for the spiritual supervision of this Parish were first made important changes have taken place: population drawn together by manufacturing influence, while it has changed villages into towns, has converted a few straggling houses into a large village, and the provision that was no doubt once made for the pastoral care of the population, and which was originally sufficient for the work, has, by the mere alteration of circumstances (even if none of it had been diverted from its proper use,) proved inadequate to the maintenance of a proportionate increase in the number of parochial Ministers.  It is not that arm of the Church of England has waxed shorter, but it is , that much has grown up, especially during the last century, beyond the reach of her existing machinery.  But by God’s help she will not be unequal to the rapidly increasing claims which are being made upon her.  If indeed, vital religion, obedience to the laws of our country, or even outward morality flourished where her light shined not, and where her voice was not heard, quite as well as where men submitted their spiritual interests to her guidance, it might be doubted whether we were justified in making any sacrifices to extend her influence; it might be a matter of indifference whether the rising generation of children might not be left to pick up any religion or none as it suited their own ideas, but the proofs are visible elsewhere as well as in your township that wherever the Church (from whatever cause) has not assumed her position as the teacher of the people, that ignorance of religious ordinances, disobedience to the laws, and profanation of the Sabbath day prevail to a fearful extent.*  I am not now alluding so much to the ordinances or ceremonies of the Established Church, such as Confirmation, or the Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, or the like, but I allude to the neglect of the two Sacraments, those distinguished features of Christianity, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which the gospel has declared, and the best and wisest men in all ages of Christianity have confessed, to be generally necessary to salvation.  With respect to the Sacrament of Baptism, the neglect of it among some of you, and the misconceptions of it among others, grieves me more than it surprises me; for having had the charge of a district among the Silk Manufacturers of Bethnal Green, in London, I have had the experience of the same sad results of a population having out-grown the provision made for its spiritual necessities, I pray to God that I may live to see in Cowling the increased means of acquiring religious knowledge embraced as hopefully as they have been in Bethnal Green*

  As this letter may perhaps be read by more than I shall have an opportunity of conversing with, let me notice a few objections to Baptism, which no doubt you are familiar with, and which I have been accustomed to hear from others who were similarly circumstanced with yourselves.  Some there are I am sorry to say who scruple not to despise the Sacrament of Baptism, thinking that it is incredible that a little water should have the good effects that are ascribed to it.  Naaman the Syrian treated as a mockery the Prophet Elijah’s word, which told him that his dreadful complaint the leprosy, for the cure of which all human skill had proved useless, could be healed by the waters of the river Jordan, but the Prophet was right, and if God chooses to give the most beneficial effects to the simplest matter, ought it not to demand our gratitude; shall we cavil like Naaman and complain that we have not been commanded to do some great thing? Remember that the Church calls the washing away of sin by the water, mystical or mysterious, which means that she does not pretend to explain how it is done, but after all I cannot see anything more in it to move my wonder than the Acorn transformed into the huge Oak tree with its mighty boughs, and thousands of leaves.  If the Almighty can and does give a small decaying seed a new body quite unlike itself, and to each different seed we are acquainted with, its own body, you need not disbelieve what the word of God tells you about the water in Baptism.  Again there are others who do not go so far, but who argue that Baptism is of little importance compared to a change of the heart; the fact seems to be that the two things must not be separated, the one is the outward visible sign of the other; I will grant that mere Baptism without a change of heart will not ensure salvation* but then on the other hand I cannot understand how anyone can be really converted who does not desire to fulfil all the terms of the Christian Covenants; this surely must be the case with those who either refuse to receive, or do not desire to receive, the Sacrament of Baptism which seems to stand first and foremost among them.  We are told this in so many words Acts xvi, 14—15.  Lydia’s heart was opened that she attended to Paul’s preaching; the first effect was led to Baptism;

1).* On the other hand , after the out-break in the Manufacturing districts in 1842, the result of a special enquiry that was set on foot went to prove that no one connected with the Church Schools, Parent, Teacher, or Scholar, as far as could be ascertained, took part with the disaffected.

2) *  The Parish of Bethnal green contains 70,000 Inhabitants, chiefly Silk Weavers; till about three or four years ago there were only two Churches, ten more are being built, some of which are finished with Schools to each, the number of Scholars has increased since their erection from about 600 to nearly 2,000

3)  * The Church Catechism calls Baptism a state of Salvation, not salvation itself.

she seems to have partaken of the inward spiritual grace  before she received  the outward visible sign or seal;  but if you examine carefully the book  of the Acts wherein is recorded the establishment of the Apostolic Church, you will


see that such was not always the case, sometimes the reverse took place and the gift of the Holy Spirit came after Baptism, indeed it is so in three out of the five instances where the order of the two events seems to be distinctly stated.

 I now come to some objections which I confess are entitled to more consideration, namely, the objections of those who acknowledge on e Baptism for the remission of sins but who differ form the Church as to the manner in which, and the time when, it should be administered.  The subject is too difficult to be treated of in a brief address like the present, but I firmly believe that the doctrine of the Church on this point can be shown to be agreeable to Scripture.  I will merely make a few practical remarks, which may assist you, with the blessing of God, in coming to a right understanding of the matter: first, then, it will be useful to bear in mind when you argue this point that the words which are so generally made use of in the controversy, namely, ‘Dipping,’ ‘Plunging,’ and ‘Immersion on one side, and ‘Sprinkling’ on the other side, are not (as relates to this Sacrament) Gospel terms, the word that is made use of is Baptize, which is a Greek word in an English form, and means, as near as we can give a meaning to it, wetting or washing without specifying the peculiar mode in which the water is to be applied.  If there are instances of Baptism recorded in the New Testament from Which it might be inferred that the persons Baptized were wholly put under water, there are other I stances which render such a supposition very unlikely.It appears to me that if water be applied for the purpose of Baptism by a lawful Minister, in the name of the Father  and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the quantity of water used can make no more difference in the value of that Sacrament than the quantity of bread eaten, and wine drunk, by a Communicant can make in the value of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.  But after all the Church does not pronounce either mode to be the only right one, but, as you may observe by reading the Rubric in the Baptismal service says, “the Child is to be dipt in the water discreetly and warily if the Officiating Minister is certified that it can endure it.”  As in this climate it is seldom safe, water being poured on it is declared sufficient; but all Church Fonts are or should be made large enough to hold the body of an Infant.  As for the other of this latter class of objections, the age at which Baptism should be administered, surely if by the decree of God Himself, Infants were to be admitted into Covenant with Him at eight days old in the time of the Patriarchs and under the law of Moses,*  there is nothing unreasonable in believing them fit to be dedicated to Him now at the same early age; it cannot have been intended that the Children of Believers should be worse off in this respect under the Gospel than they were under the law.  But some say there is no text in Scripture which enjoins Infant Baptism; no, but if Jesus Christ commanded all Nations to be Baptized  and if we do in the Acts of the Apostles read that they did actually Baptize whole households and families, we must, in the absence of any text against Infant Baptism, conclude that Infants were never meant to be Forbidden.  There is no text which directly enjoins the observance of the Lord’s Day instead of the Jewish Sabbath; as far as it appears it is an ordinance of the Church, and as such, has been generally agreed upon by Christians: finally, if, where a positive rule and direction on the subject is wanting, the testimony of Christian antiquity be of value, by far the greater weight is in favour of the mode of Baptism observed by the Church of England. It will be at least confessed that Children cannot be worse for being Baptized; then why not be on the safe side?

I have dwelt at greater length upon Baptism because I feel very strongly about the subject, I will not say so much about the Holy Communion, for I hope that the Preparation for Baptism made by those of riper years will lead them to consult their Minister more particularly about it.  My opinion is, that any person that can understand the nature of the obligations entered into at Baptism, and strives to live up to them, will be enabled, by God’s grace, to become a worth partaker of the Lord’s Table.  It is recorded of the Israelites that after they had for many years been hindered in the Wilderness from duly observing the outward ordinances of their religion, when arrived in the land of Canaan, They lost no time in formally dedicating themselves to their Creator,  Let me hope that in like manner all those among you who have not been admitted into Covenant with God by Baptism, should take the earliest opportunity after the Church is consecrated (if even they so long defer it ) of having this reproach rolled away from off them.*

1)  Acts  ii,    41                Acts  xvi,    33

2)  *  Genesis  xvii,   12        Leviticus  xii,  3

3)  *  Joshua v,   9       

     I have been asked by some among you who fear that considerable additional expense will be thrown on the Township of Cowling, how the Clergyman appointed to do the duty at the New Church will be paid.  I take this opportunity of letting it be known that there was an Act of Parliament passed in the last Session, by which a large sum of money, arising partly from the suppression of certain appointments in the Church, was devoted to the payment of Clergymen who would undertake the spiritual care of Districts or New Parishes, such as it is proposed to make in Cowling.  Small indeed will the stipend be, when the expense of a Clergyman’s education is taken into consideration, and the frequent calls that are made upon his purse; but still I hope that there will be found good and zealous men who will devote themselves to the work.  I have also heard fears expressed concerning the future repairs of the Church. You must know, then, that there has already been put by a sum of money equal to 10 per cent. upon the cost of erection as a repair fund: unless anything unforeseen occurs, this will do all that a new and substantial Building will be likely to require for some time.  I am in hopes that eventually your connection with the Parish Church of Kildwick will cease, and you will then only  have your own to take care of.  I beg your especial attention to the fact that the whole of the Sittings in the Church will be free and unappropriated for ever; there will be no reserved seats, except so far as they will be allotted by the Churchwardens to the Parishioners on demand.  And if the instructions and superintendence of a Minister of God devoted entirely to you, and a Church provided freely for you, be valued as they ought to be, you will not let the Service of  the Sanctuary be performed in an unworthy manner.  I will add a few words on the conduct which I recommend to you as the best way of showing your gratitude for the privileges you are about to enjoy.  You will soon behold rising up amongst you a fair Temple for the worship of your Maker, according to the forms and doctrine of that branch of the Catholic and Apostolic Church which is established in England.  A large sum of money required to be raised before it could be prudently commenced has been obtained, but from whom?  My friends, the greater part has been contributed by entire strangers to you:  persons who never heard the name of Cowling until they heard it connected with its spiritual necessities, have shewn their piety towards God, and their good-will towards you, by assisting you in a matter which concerns your highest interests.  Do not let it be said that the boon is offered to unwilling or insensible hearts; shew your gratitude to God and to the agents of his bounty by yourselves supplying what may be deficient in the building fund.  I believe that no direct appeal to the Working Classes in Cowling has yet been made: one reason of which omission has been, that Trade has been for some time so depressed that it was thought you were not in condition to respond to it; but thank God that work is again plentiful, and I do now solemnly appeal to you, whether it be fitting that you should allow your own Church to be built, as it were, against your inclinations; I cannot believe that you will: most sincerely do I trust that you will shew symptoms of that good old Church feeling which is taking place through the land.  I am aware that there are some of you who must be excepted from this invitation, some who differ as a matter of conscience so far from the Established Church that they cannot join in any of her forms of public worship, or avail themselves of  any of her services; where this is the sincere conviction of the mind founded upon the best information a person had been able to obtain, I for one, although I may lament, am bound to respect their scruples, and to allow that the same conscience which is binding on all who enjoy the laws and institutions of England to support their Parish Church, that every thing may be done decently and in order, does not call upon them to subscribe towards a new one.  But to all others, even those who differing in minor points agree in thinking the Church Prayer Book to be in conformity with the Gospel: to those who have knelt or intend to kneel before the Alter of God, either to receive the Holy Communion or to be united by His Minister to partners who will lessen life’s sorrows and increase its joys: to those who one day may stand around the Font to present themselves or others to receive the outward visible sign of the death to sin and the new birth to righteousness; to those who have listened to the words of eternal life within the Church, look for the time when they shall lie down in the dust beneath its consecrated walls.  To all, even the poorest among you, who will hear in the new sound of the Sabbath bells a new call to prepare to meet their God, I say Do not let this Church be finished without adding your mite towards its completion.  When you look on it in days to come let each of you be able to say “I helped to build it.”

The rich have given of their abundance, even Majesty graces the list of contributors, but I hope that list will not be finally closed till it has many such additions as the following :-

……….. A Working Man………… day’s labour.

Commending the Church, its future Minister, and all that belong to it, to your Christian love and care,

I am,

Your Friend and Minister,

                       John T.C. Fawcett,    Vicar of Kildwick