‘WADESUURDE’ - A SHORT HISTORY OF WADSWORTH
Ancient no doubt it is; Wadsworth stretches its bounds to encompass, not just Old Town and Pecket Well but Widdop, Walshaw, Midge Hole, Crimsworth Dean, Cock Hill, the moors around and the western flank of the Luddenden Valley, and is reputedly the second largest parish in England in terms of area and has a long history.
  The ancient Druids would have made use of the various rock outcrops, like Winny Stone on Cock Hill, where it is not hard to imagine some bloodletting ritual being carried out on the big elevated stone. The stones at High Brown Knoll, with a clear view to the Gorple gap, may have provided a perfect facility to observe the setting sun and record time. The ancient ring near Blake Dean and the Walshaw Dean stone circle, now submerged under the waters of the middle reservoir, are all testament to Wadsworth’s early residents.


  Rocks hold a fascination; they are permanent and fixed to the earth and have a mystical presence, which is probably why John Wesley chose to preach from one by the roadside at Widdop on his crusade across the north to garner followers.
  Did the Romans occupy parts of our parish? The Saxons, unaware of any precise historical detail, would name former Roman settlements as ‘Old Town,’ where  the true name was not known and there are numerous places throughout England bearing this name-most with established links to the Romans, like having a fort site or an old bit of wall. But sadly we are devoid of such antiquities as proof. The closest we can come is the strange earth circle above the Golf Club that has been said to be a Roman signal station. Indeed the outlook from this location is commanding, with uninterrupted views up the Calder valley to beyond Todmorden, across the valley to the head of Cragg Vale and down the valley and as far as Emley Moor. A quick nip up the hill to the back of the site for a Roman signaller would give him a direct line of sight to Ilkley Moor; ideal for him to flash off a message to the occupiers of Olicana (Roman Ilkley).
  What we do know is that there are many ancient tracks that came this way, mostly those associated with commerce. Tracks that would bring in vital goods like corn, salt, limestone and coal; that would then convey woollen goods produced in the numerous farms by hand loom weavers to markets as far as Bruges and Hamburg. In addition to the myriad of footpaths that connected the various places of manufacture were the more substantial tracks that connected towns like Halifax, Colne, Rochdale, Keighley and beyond.
  Many old trackways and roads that passed through Wadsworth can still be traced; it has to be remembered that the valley bottoms were boggy and impassable until the canal came along to drain the valley floor, and so many routes took to the high ground. Old Town sits on a direct route from Burnley that took the ‘Long Causeway’ over Blackshaw, and the road from Colne to Halifax passed over Widdop; both of which dipped briefly into the valley before gaining the heights to Old Town and on through Midgley to the commercial centre of Halifax.
  An important northerly route, used for the conveyance of cloth, passed along the edge of Crimsworth Dean from Heptonstall over ‘Stairs’ to Haworth and Keighley. And one route of particular intrigue is a paved track coming up to Dodd Naze from Mayroyd, now sunken beneath the ground and almost lost. Did this ancient paved road link up with an old track coming along Kilnshaw Lane and Stoodley Pike from Lancashire, where traces of raised road can be found? And did this track then carry on from Dodd Naze and up Rowland Lane to the Lane Ends and Old Town? The road from Hebden Bridge wound its way to Pecket Well and along the east of Crimsworth Dean (now Haworth Old Road), to join with the road from Heptonstall at Grain. Of course there would be a link between Old Town and Pecket Well, and was the route from Mayroyd and Haworth Old Road part of an important early Roman route to Ilkley? (Crump the historian thought it possible.) Much of the road generally aligns with Ilkley (from Manchester) and some parts of it, particularly down Bodkin Lane, show distinctive signs of it being constructed in Roman style.
  Putting this speculation aside, we know for certain that Wadsworth featured in the Doomsday Book and was recorded as ‘Wadesurrde’ and in early documents Crimsworth is given as ‘Crimlishworth.’ Both meanings are uncertain-some think that Wadesurrde refers to woodland  and that Crimlishworth is a reference to a celtic cromleck (a Megalithic tomb). The lands belonged to the Lordship of Wakefield-the de Warrens who came over with William the Conqueror. It later passed to the Thornhill family and then to the Saviles through marriage. Around 1440 Thomas Sayvyll of Thornhill granted Richard de Waddesworth the elder and his heirs, lands and liberty –to hunt, hawk, fish and fowl as often as they pleased.
  In 1284 Wadsworth paid more tax (16 shillings) than Halifax (11 shillings) which suggests that it was considerable in population or manufacture. In 1763/74 a survey showed that Wadsworth had 404 houses with 388 families (today there are over 700 households),  and Halifax had 1312 houses and 1272 families. Commenting on Wadsworth in 1775, the Rev John Watson in his history of Halifax states: ‘A remain of a place once more considerable, at present it consists of very few houses.’ We can still see the truth of this, because if we strip away the newer properties and mills, not much would be left, other than Old Town Hall and Farm,  Ackroyd House, and the older farms at Crimsworth. Other than that there is little trace of what might have been, which suggests that for a long period of time, it was a scattered community that peppered the parish with farms and places of manufacture for woollen goods that brought prosperity to Wadsworth.
Steven Beasley

Local Painting at Art Exhibition
The Manchester Art Gallery is now showing a painting of our patch in its Edwardian Exhibition, which continues till December, The painting by Bertram Priestman (1868-1951), a Bradford painter, is titled ‘The Great Green Hills of Yorkshire.’ It is a view from Pecket Well of Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall Church. It was painted in 1913 and Priestman clearly painted it from above the Keighley Road.
Alan Fowler

Wadsworth Boundary Walk
This year’s walk, organised by Hebden Bridge Rotary Club, will take place on Sunday 4th. June. The walk, which takes in some of the finest scenery in Calderdale, covers a large part of Wadsworth parish boundary and is described as moderately difficult. It covers a distance of approximately 23 miles, including an optional Widdop and Gorple reservoir loop, but walkers who do not wish to do the whole route can terminate at any of the checkpoints where free transport back to Hebden Bridge is available. The entrance fee is £8 with advance booking, or £10 on the day. For more details and to book in advance visit:
www.hebdenbridgerotary.org.uk

Wadsworth Community Centre Gigs
WCC is continuing its season of gigs with the following:
Friday 5th. May-Willy Porter and Carmen Nickerson. Tickets £11, Doors 6.45pm.
Friday 13th, October-Megan Henwood
Thursdasy2nd. November-Gigspanner
More details will be available on WCC’s page on the community website and tickets can be obtained from Derek Williamson on 07890 205980.  Supper will be available and the bar will be open.

Annual Parish Meeting
Wadsworth Parish Council is holding its Annual Meeting on Tuesday 25th. April at 7pm. in Wadsworth Community Centre. It is open to all and is a chance for parishioners to find out about the work of WPC and to raise any issues of concern.

Neighbourhood Plan Update
The publication of the draft Neighbourhood Plan has been put back to the end of summer until Calderdale’s draft Local Plan has been published. Wadsworth Parish Council, however, has received the good news that none of the Green Belt fields in our area which were originally put forward for inclusion in the Local Plan as possible building sites have been selected. 

Wadsworth WI Programme
3rd. May-Resolutions, discussions and games
7th. June-Soiree-social evening with food
5th. July-Brenda Fisher-spinning and weaving
2nd. August-Marilyn Hawkins-Egypt

Letter to the Editor
We would like to comment on the work carried out by Wadsworth Parish Council, the WI, and all the people involved in preparing and distributing the over 80’s Christmas hampers. We are sure our over 80’s appreciate the plentiful amount of food and drink.
Many thanks
Brenda and Stuart

If you would like to raise a local issue or are holding an event in Wadsworth which you would like to include in the WW, please get in touch.



 

What's On

 

 

 

Mondays –WCC Karate, 7-8.30pm. Contact Paul on 07931 803572

 

 

 

Tuesdays - WCC  Dancercise-Children’s dance/exercise 5.45-6.45pm. Contact Laura on 07852 971044

 

League Table Tennis 7-9.30pm. Contact Derek on 843088

 

 

 

Wednesdays - WCC Lunch Club, 12-1.30pm. £3. Contact Mavis on 842009.

 

Improver table Tennis, alternate weeks 6.30-8.30pm.

 

 

 

Thursdays– WCC Dancercise-Adult dance/exercise 6.30-9.30pm.

 

African Drumming workshop 8-9.30pm. Contact Iya Sako on 07930 872089

 

 

 

Fridays -  WCC Table Tennis Practice 6.45-9pm. Old Town School. (Term time only) 

 

Old Town Playgroup 9-11.30am.

 

 

 

To book Wadsworth Community Centre please contact Derek on 07890 205980

 

 

 

WADSWORTH WI - For details contact Marianne on 01422 882819

 

 

 

Local Directory

 

 

Post Office, Old Town (846967): 

 

Shop: Mon.-Fri 7-1, 2-5.30. Sat 7-12.30. PO: Mon-Fri 8-1, 2-5.30. Sat 8-12.30

 

 

Hare & Hounds, Old Town (842671)

 

Mon.-Thurs. 6pm.-close, Fri. 5pm.-close, Sat. and Sun. 12 noon-close

 

Also B&B. Curry and a pint of Timothy Taylors -Tues £7, Pie and a pintWeds. £9. Quiz-Thurs. 9.30pm. Live music-last Saturday every month

 

New vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu now available

 

Robin Hood Inn, Pecket Well (842593)

 

Mon-Thurs. 12-3pm, 6-11pm..Fri and Sat.12noon-11pm.  Sun 12-10.30pm. Also B&B. Quiz –Thurs.9.30pm. (Free supper.) Home made food : Sunday roasts. Steak night  Friday (£30 per couple + wine) Kids eat free on Tuesday nights! (  Accompanied by adult diner. )

 

 

Hebden Bridge Equestrian Centre (844021): Riding lessons, hacking, birthday parties, Full livery available

 

MJ Dean Electrical (07912859115): Local, registered electrician. All electrical work undertaken and guaranteed-industrial, commercial, domestic