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  1. Heptonstall Museum

    Heptonstall

    Heptonstall Museum

    Please note that Shibden Hall will be closing to the public from 20th March until further notice.

    Please note that Shibden Hall will be closing to the public from 20th March until further notice.

    Heptonstall Museum offers you the opportunity to expore the changing importance of Heptonstall and the surrounding area, from prehistoric times until recent day.

    Find out about the infamous Cragg Vale Coiners, who produced counterfeit currency and committed murder to conceal their illegal trade. Explore the temporary exhibition relating to local stories, objects and heroes. Discover the exploits of Heptonstall's Parliamentarian garrison during the English Civil War and uncover intriguing stories of the everyday lives of the people of Heptonstall and the Upper Calder Valley.

    Heptonstall Grammar School was established in 1642, the present building was rebuilt in 1771, where it continued to be used as a school until 1889. In 1898 it became the Yorkshire Penny Bank whose staff were careful to preserve some of the original features of the school: including a black oak desk at which pupils took their lessons which can still be found inside the Museum today.

    FREE Entry.

    Open March to October: Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays 11:00 - 16:00. Closed November to February.

  2. Clay House

    Greetland

    Clay House

    Clay House is a Jacobean building, a fine example of seventeenth century vernacular architecture, located within a beautiful rural park in the vil...
    Clay House is a Jacobean building, a fine example of seventeenth century vernacular architecture, located within a beautiful rural park in the village of West Vale, less than a mile form Elland and less than three miles from Halifax. Clay House is the official start (and end) point for The Calderdale Way, a 50-mile walking route that circles the borough of Calderdale. The start of The Calderdale Way is signposted at the rear of the House, with signage, flower beds and a picnic area. The Main hall (7.3m x 10.5m) is a beautiful room with wood panelling, a minstrel gallery, polished wood floor, large stone fireplace and stone mullioned windows. It is licensed for civil ceremonies and can set up to 70 people for a formal meal, or 100 people theatre style for meetings, training sessions or presentations. Terraces and gardens in front and to the side of the House make great backgrounds for photographs and places to enjoy the views across the Park. Access Information: A portable ramp is provided to the front entrance or there is level access to the side; Two small internal ramps enable access to all public areas; A disabled toilet is available The Main Hall is fitted with an Induction Loop.
  3. eptonstall Octagonal Methodist Chapel

    Heptonstall

    Heptonstall Octagonal Methodist Chapel

    Built in 1764, the design and construction of this Grade II listed Octagonal Chapel were overseen by John Wesley, who frequently preached here. One...
    Built in 1764, the design and construction of this Grade II listed Octagonal Chapel were overseen by John Wesley, who frequently preached here. One of the first octagonal chapels, it is one of the oldest Methodist churches in continuous use today. This unusual octagonal chapel is open every day. It’s tucked away at the bottom of a flight of steps off Northgate. Entry is free, with donations to the upkeep of the Chapel welcome. Please email Circuit Heritage Officer Mr. John Wilson regarding visits and other activities, at chme@calderdalemethodists.org.uk. Methodism in Heptonstall began with the firebrand Scot William Darney. He founded many societies on both sides of the Pennines as he travelled, preaching as he went. The Heptonstall “Darney Society” was visited by Charles and John Wesley in 1747. In these early days, Heptonstall had a preacher every sixth Sunday, with the travelling preachers receiving no stipend or allowance, eating where they could. John Wesley continued to visit Heptonstall and there were always immense crowds to hear him. The society was so successful it was decided to build a chapel. The octagon shape was then fashionable for Methodist preaching houses, as it avoided conflict with the established church. The building was finished in 1764. It was intended to hold 200 people, but by 1802 there were 337 members and over 1000 scholars. The solution was to knock down the far end of the chapel, lengthen the walls and rebuild it, preserving its octagonal shape. Heptonstall is located on The Calderdale Way, a 50 mile walking route that circles the borough of Calderdale. Please call in to visit the Chapel if you're passing by.
  4. Lightcliffe Tower, Old St Matthews Church - Resting Place of Ann Walker

    Halifax

    Lightcliffe Tower, Old St Matthews Church - Resting Place of Ann Walker

    Ann Walker’s grandfather, William, largely funded the Georgian Lightcliffe Old St Matthew Church, which was erected in 1775 and replaced a...

    Ann Walker’s grandfather, William, largely funded the Georgian Lightcliffe Old St Matthew Church, which was erected in 1775 and replaced an earlier, Tudor foundation.

    William also built Cliffe Hill just a short walk away, where Ann Walker lived. Ann and her family worshipped at St Matthew’s Church and had family pews.

    After becoming the companion and wife of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall, the couple had a green velvet-lined pew installed at St Matthew’s so they could worship together there.

    Ann died in February 1854 and was buried in the church, according to her memorial plaque “under the pulpit”. The exact location of this pulpit is the subject of debate, as the church was replaced in 1880 with the current church building.

    The old St Matthew’s church was used as a mortuary chapel, but it fell into decay after suffering serious damage from a storm in the 1960’s. Vandalism and theft followed and the church was demolished in the early 1970s.

    Fortunately the ‘Friends of Friendless Churches’ rescued the memorials from the walls of the church and they are now stored in Lightcliffe Tower, the only remaining part of the old St Matthew Church.

    A memorial stone has been placed on the spot where it is thought that Ann lies and the brass memorial plaque to her now hangs high inside the tower. The plaque is hard to decipher but reads:

    In memory of Ann Walker of Cliffe Hill who was born May 20th 1803 and died February 25th 1854

    and is buried underneath the pulpit in this church.

    And of her niece, Mary who died June 6th 1845 and is buried in this churchyard.

    And of her nephews George Sackville (Sutherland) who died in 1843 aged 12,

    John Walker who died in 1836 aged 1 year and are buried in Kirkmichael, Rosshire,

    the children of George MacKay and Elizabeth Sutherland

    Sadly there are no known images of Ann Walker. Most of what we know about her comes from Anne Lister's diaires and letters. Ann Walker is portrayed by Sophie Rundle in the BBC ONE/ HBO drma Gentleman Jack.

    You will find Lightcliffe Tower along Wakefield Road, in Lightcliffe, Halifax. The tower is located on your left (as you are driving out of Halifax) just before Till Carr Lane, opposite the Sun Country Inn, HX3 8TH.

  5. Dies used By the Cragg Vale Coiners

    Mytholmroyd

    The Cragg Vale Coiners

    The 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.

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