In August our meeting was cancelled due to members being unavailable and therefore there was no August report.
As we had not had an inside meeting since June there was much local history news to catch up on at the September meeting. The most interesting of this was a communication from a member of Cowling Hill Baptists. A preacher had given them significant information from “The Baptists of Yorkshire 1912” book. This gave far more detail than was previously known about the background to and setting up of Cowling Hill Baptists in 1724. It also stated that “Keighley, Earby and Hellifield churches had their origin in part from Cowling Hill. The full communication will be displayed on this website soon entitled ‘Cowling Hill Baptists – Origins’
Another communication reported was from a member of the Atkinson family of Laneshaw House (now demolished), in response to our earlier request for information. This gave new detail about the family and about other houses that previously existed in the Green Syke area of the parish.
A request for information about the late David Hoyle, as an artist, was discussed following one of his paintings being purchased in Suffolk. There was a viewing of photos taken at Cowling Hill in July, to commence our recording of historic sites in the parish. Also
discussed were a WW1 commemoration update, boundary changes and listed buildings and a wind turbine request
July saw us return to Cowling Hill, to follow up our Baptist Chapel visit, with a commencement of our recording of parish historical sites both photographically and in print.
We must thank two residents for helping us with much information. This included:
A date for the building of the last inn that stood at Cowling Hill and its exact location
The exact site of the Pinfold (pound for stray animals before 18/19C land enclosure)
Possible sites for Benton Gap Farm
Photographs of many buildings and structures were taken to record what was still there in 2014.
Cowling Hill(or Head) is one of the two oldest settlements in our parish, with Ickornshaw and could date back to or before Domesday Book 1086 as Cowling parish appears in this. It was situated on the main road from Glusburn to Colne until the early 19th century. The road is known as the Old York Road which signifies its importance as a thoroughfare, possibly between the ancient centres of York and Lancaster with its regular stage coach route. It is therefore much older than the present 19th century village and where the term ‘Cowinheeaders’ comes from.
In August we will continue out study of religious buildings at Middleton Chapel and recording the historic sites at Gill and Middleton.
In June the group commenced indexing our archive documents that we had sorted and preserved in previous months. This will continue at our next St Andrew’s meeting.
A report was given of our participation in the Holy Trinity Flower Festival. We were glad that we could be involved in such a successful fund raising activity. Thanks must go to the hard working organisers of the event.
The group heard that a document loans register had been set up. It was then agreed how this should operate. All documents in our archive can be viewed or loaned. A loan deposit may be requested.
A discussion of our Cowling Hill Baptist Church visit followed, with a viewing of photos taken. It was agreed that this had been a very fruitful meeting and was leading to more information coming in, which we shall share soon. Thanks go once again to the Baptist members for their hospitality.
We have two aims for this summer’s off site meetings. Our Cowling Hill Baptist visits started the first one – to visit parish religious buildings. In July we are beginning our second aim by returning to Cowling Hill – to record parish historic buildings/sites. Please see below for details.
Our May meeting, at Cowling Hill Baptist Chapel was our first offsite one of the year. It proved to be a wonderful experience. Two members made us extremely welcome. They began by showing us the baptistery that took the place of baptisms outside, in Surgill Beck pool. We were shown old records, photos, bibles and crockery used for teas. Our many questions were answered and rich conversation about the chapel and Cowling Hill (or Head) went on for two hours. After which it was expressed that the time had passed too quickly.
We not only added to our knowledge of the chapel, but Cowling Hill area as well. We were told that 1724 was the date when a minister, from Bacup, Lancs, commenced serving the population of Cowling Hill, riding between the two townships. This is about 200 years before the commencement of the modern village of Cowling. Cowling Hill would then have been a thriving village, with shops, cottages, one or two inns, farms, possibly a hand-loom weaving workshop, a windmill, other workshops and a green. It was served by stage coaches going between Yorkshire and Lancashire. The road was known as the York Road and there was possibly a set of cottages of the same name. In January 1753 Hugh Tillotson leased land to the Baptists for the building of their chapel (Gulliver 2011). We were given, at our visit, a copy of the letter from Cowling Hill Baptists to the Church at Bacup, in 1756, requesting their independence because of “the distance we live from one another and the inconvenience of our ministerial supplies.” So commenced the independent Cowling Hill Baptists. This year they will be able to celebrate 290 years of ministry and in 2016, 260 years of independence. We thank them for continuing to show excellent hospitality. We also thank another local historian, formerly of Cowling, for communicating with us extra information about Cowling Hill and its Baptists.
At the April Meeting the hard work conserving our archive documents in special paper was at last completed. This has taken up several months meeting time but should be worthwhile in the end as documents should not deteriorate. The next task is to index these so that they can easily be retrieved for using.
In the second part of the meeting members again discussed aims for the year. These included recording of parish historic buildings and sites, participating in the Holy Trinity Flower Festival and visiting parish religious buildings.
Once again much document conservation was carried out by the group this month (March). Hopefully April will see this completed, leading to an index of the documents for easy retrieval, should they be needed for inspection or display.
Planning of the year ahead commenced to be continued at our next meeting.
Photos of documents and pictures sent to us from the Chadwick family, one time owners of Ickornshaw Mill, were viewed and lead to much discussion of family members and where they lived.
This month the group completed a rather fuller than expected history of the Bay Horse pub, one of the oldest buildings in Cowling village. This is now on the new refurbished pub website, complete with a list of landlords, a sale report from 1923 and a dialect poem about Dolly Watson, a famous landlady of the 19th century. This can be viewed at www.bayhorsecowling.co.uk, Our History. Any additions for this history should be sent to our group at our website, to any member or phone the number below.
Half of the February meeting was given over to document conservation which is going well. It is anticipated that this valuable work will take another few months. Members then added information to the history of The Bay Horse public house, which Moonrakers are compiling for the new website. This lead to interesting talk of ‘Buffs’ (RAOB), buffalo horns and footballers changing in a cellar with a stream running through it. It was later decided to have a display of our research at the Holy Trinity Church flower show in May. At the end a sketch of Ickornshaw Mill ground plan was shared and a map showing a suggested 20th century Cowling bypass.
At our January meeting it was announced that Moonrakers had agreed to provide the website manager of the Bay Horse public house with the history page for the new website, to coincide with the pub’s refurbishment.
Time was then spent on some reorganisation of how the group operates. After that, there followed a very interesting discussion, about the different building there had been on the Ickornshaw Mill site. This is to be followed up next month.
Last month we stated we’d tell you more about the other public houses and ale houses that had provided meeting places in Cowling Parish over the years.
Prior to the growth of the present village, on New Road Side in the 19th century, the two main areas of settlement were Cowling Hill, earlier known as Cowling Head and Ickornshaw. Both are probably very ancient, as Cowling parish is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. At Cowling Hill it appears that there may have been two inns, or possibly one that changed its name. We have the names of The Duke of York and the Golden Fleece. As this was known as the Old York Road, it’s quite possible there would be much passing trade before the advent of the new road.
In Ickornshaw there was a public house which one can still see the ruin of, at the foot of Freegate/Nan Scar. This was known as the Grinning Rat. It was probably also the Black Bull, that moved up to the New Road Side, where Dovetail furniture shop is. We record that it closed as a pub in 2003. It is also said there was an ale house by the bridge. There could possibly have been a Birk’s beer house in Ickornshaw, but there are references to Birks in other parts of the parish.
Middleton is our next oldest settlement, probably dating from the late 18th, early 19th century and is known to have been a hand loom weaving community. In the 19th century The Mason’s Arms, Middleton was one of the venues, used as a meeting place for the Ancient Order of Foresters, before they built their hall on new Road Side, at Cock Hall.
In addition there is thought to have been an ale or tippling house at Stotthill in the 17th century, quite possibly at Dean Laithe Farm. Also it is thought that Brush Farm on the Sutton border was an alehouse. These are situated on or near more important route ways in past centuries and the 19th century quarry at Earl’s Crag.
Again we must thank Mrs J Tindale for this information. More details are available on our old website. If anyone has anything to add to this we’d be pleased to hear from them.
During our ten year existence as a local history group we have been fortunate to be given many original historic documents, such as the 19th
century proposed railway plans for Cowling.
We store these in an archive so that they are not lost to the village in a far off library or record office. At the November meeting we commenced wrapping these in special archive paper, that helps preserves the documents in storage.
This activity will continue next month and may be on going until the task is completed. During this time we could have less monthly news,
unless we come across a document that we consider extremely newsworthy.
Finally we’d like to complement Cowling Parish Council. At the November meeting they were discussing pointing around the plaques of the
Snowden Memorial. We hope that this is the first stage in a complete repair and conservation of the cairn, its base and path. Then Cowling Parishioners can be proud of the monument to their most famous son, who rose from a humble beginning to be Chancellor of the Exchequer
of his country.