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MytholmroydThe apparent tranquillity of Mytholmroyd belies a murky past involving an 18th century counterfeiting gang, the ‘Cragg Vale Coiners’. This gang's a...The apparent tranquillity of Mytholmroyd belies a murky past involving an 18th century counterfeiting gang, the ‘Cragg Vale Coiners’. This gang's activities were said to be so damaging that they threatened to wreck Britain's currency. David Hartley learnt his trade as an ironworker in Birmingham, before getting into trouble and moving back to Mytholmroyd to escape the authorities. Once returned to his home at Bell House farmhouse (which is now a bed & breakfast accommodation with educational facilities) David used ironworking as a cover to clip or file the edges from gold coins, milling the edges back so the change was all but unnoticeable, and making counterfeit coins from the shavings whilst returning the clipped coins into circulation. David’s activities soon spread to other farms, with families at nearby Hill Top Farm and Keelham Farm soon becoming involved; forming the beginnings of the gang of Cragg Vale Coiners. Local publicans also helped by placing the counterfeit coins into circulation. David Hartley seems to have been an enigmatic leader, becoming known as 'King David' Hartley and the gang’s numbers grew considerably until well over 30 individuals were involved. Rumours of the gang's activities reached the authorities, who sent an excise man named William Deighton to investigate. One of the coiners turned King’s Evidence and betrayed the gang, leading to Hartley's arrest at an Inn in Halifax on 14th October 1769. Hartley's brother Isaac offered £100 to anybody who would kill Deighton. It is alleged that the plotters planned Deighton's murder at an Inn in Mytholmroyd called Barbary's, which is now gone, but was located on the opposite side of the road to the present day Dusty Miller. On November 10th 1769 at Bull Close Lane near Halifax, Deighton was approached by two men, Matthew Normanton and Robert Thomas. Deighton was shot dead, his body also showing signs of having been stamped on. Just days later, the Government offered a reward of £100 for information leading to the arrest of the murderers and a pardon for anybody, bar the killers, who would turn King's Evidence. Over 30 people were subsequently arrested, including 'King David' Hartley, who was sentenced to death on April 6th 1770 and hanged at Tynburn, near York, on April 28th. His body is buried in the graveyard of the village of Heptonstall, above Hebden Bridge. Robert Thomas was acquitted of Deighton's murder, but was later hanged in 1774 for being a highwayman. Matthew Normanton initially fled the authorities, but was later caught and hanged in 1775. Isaac Hartley was never brought to trial due to a lack of evidence and died in 1815, aged 78. Heptonstall Museum has on display some of the original dies used by the Coiners to stamp their gold discs into coins, as well as panels telling more of their story.
MytholmroydThe B6138 Cragg Road is located in Mytholmroyd, off the A646 Burnley Road and passes up through the village of Cragg Vale to the moorlands above. ...The B6138 Cragg Road is located in Mytholmroyd, off the A646 Burnley Road and passes up through the village of Cragg Vale to the moorlands above. It is arguably the longest continuous ascent in England, climbing 968 feet over 5.5 miles. With an average gradient of 3%, the Cragg Vale Incline isn’t particularly steep, but it is a long drag and a presents a power climb challenge for cyclists. In July 2014 the incline was part of the route of the 2014 Tour de France. Amongst the ‘Grand Depart’ celebrations a team of 18 cyclists towed a baby grand piano up the incline, on a custom-made PianoPorté, invented by sculptor Andy Plant. The team was cheered on by thousands of locals and tourists with live piano concertos played by 15 on-board pianists to encourage their pedalling. Quite a sight! The Cragg Vale Incline has since featured in various editions of the Tour de Yorkshire. The Calderdale Way crosses the Cragg Vale Incline at Church Bank Lane