Welcome to the Cowling Moonrakers Website.

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

Lusitania victim was visiting Cowling.

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

Due to the cold and inclement weather, the intended May visit to Cowling Hill Baptists, to survey the graveyard was cancelled. We have also, fortuitously been given an earlier survey of gravestones, which can be studied in future, making a visit unnecessary at this time.

At the meeting a list of ‘stone workers’ in the parish during the 19th century was presented, from census work carried out by members in April. This is to be typed up and studied at a future meeting as part of our research into local quarrying.

A new display of our work was discussed and it was decided that it should be worked on at the June and July meetings so that it can be ready for the Cowling Gala at the end of July.

The day after our May meeting coincided with the commemoration of 100 years since the sinking of the Cunard Liner RMS Lusitania by a German U-boat, causing the death of 1,198 passengers and crew. There was a Cowling link to this disaster. One of the victims, Edwin Moore, a foreman pattern maker, was on his way to visit his daughter, Mary Anne Moore who lived at Lane Ends, Cowling. Mr Moore, who had emigrated 40 years earlier to Rhode Island, regularly visited his daughter in the village.

Categories: Uncategorized

Adam and Eve buried in Cowling!

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

The visit to Earby Mining Museum was enjoyed by all. Despite it not being about Cowling mining it gave an insight into mining work and conditions which would have applied in this parish.

April’s meeting concluded our mining and quarry research with a further examination of census records to make a list of workers involved in these and associated jobs. This will appear on our website in due course.

It has been known for a while that the first two entries in the Holy Trinity Church Burial Register were Adam and Eve, in December 1845, three months after the church’s consecration. Not many churches can boast such a claim!

However the hot news is, one of our members has not only proved who they were, but added very interesting background information. Birth certificates prove that Adam & Eve Shuttleworth were twins, born in May 1844 to Jane Shuttleworth, widow of Upper Lane House, Cowling. Sadly their little lives were cut short in quite dramatic fashion. Adam’s cause of death is described as ” from accidentally burning his clothes upon him. Survived 12 days”, aged one year and seven months. Only six days later little Eve died. The cause of death was registered as “A fit by the visitation of God & not from violence.”

Census records show that Jane, the mother, was a weaver, who in 1841 was living at Starmire Top. By 1851 she was at Winkholme. The good news is that she had two other children, Jonah and Martha, who by 1851 were aged twelve and nine. This information gives us a glimpse of very different lives lived in our parish 170 years ago.

Categories: Uncategorized

Barium Meals in Cowling Mines

August 14th, 2015 Comments off

Thanks must go to a parishioner who got in touch and gave us new leads on mining information. It’s great when people respond to requests. We know that we are not the only ones with Cowling Local History knowledge. It’s great when we can all share what we know. What we are trying to do is store it for future generations.                                                    

By the time you read this the group will have been on a guided tour of Earby Mining Museum to support our mining research. We will report next month.

An interesting fact that came to light during our Cowling research so far was about Barites or Barytes. This mineral was found in Cowling’s lead deposits. In the 19th century it was thrown away. However in the 21st century it is mainly used in drilling fluids for oil and gas exploration as a weighting agent. It is also used in making cars, electronics, TV screens, rubber, glass, ceramics, in the paint industry and in a medical use(barium meals!)

Finally Cowling census records were searched at the meeting for miners and quarrymen. These impressive typed binders, from 1841- 1901, were provided for the group by member D Harker.                                                                                                                                                     

Categories: Uncategorized

Lead, Coal and Barytes in Cowling

June 4th, 2015 Comments off