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Heptonstall Museum

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Information on Heptonstall Museum

Attraction type:
  • Culture & Heritage
  • Family
  • Galleries & Museums
  • Historic Sites & Trails
  • The Gallows Pole & Cragg Vale Coiners

Heptonstall Museum will be open to the public from Thursday to Sundays 11am – 4pm. Admission is £3 or free for under 18s.

Heptonstall Museum is located in the centre of the ancient village of Heptonstall, in the Old Grammar School Building at Church Yard Bottom.

The Grade II-listed building dates back to 1600. Built as a warehouse, it was converted to a grammar school in 1771 and closed in 1889. The Yorkshire Penny Bank occupied it 1898 until 1954 and it became a museum in August 1972.

The Museum has been closed to the public in recent years, but the small volunteer group the Friends of Heptonstall Museum have worked hard towards a community asset transfer of the museum, which now has its re-opening on Saturday 27th May.

The Museum’s opening exhibition explores the lives of the Cragg Vale Coiner’s, coming to your TV screens in BBC drama The Gallows Pole. Scenes for The Gallows Pole were filmed inside the Museum, which was transformed into ‘Barb’s’ the Coiner’s watering hole.

The Museum’s display includes a replica c18th loom and a display of weaving tools and fabric samples showing the stages of cloth production used by home-based weavers who sought to make a livelihood, pre-Industrial age.

A corner of the museum is devoted to recreating Bell House, ‘King’ David Hartley’s Cragg Vale home on Erringden Moor. Alongside this will be two costumes indicative of those worn by David Hartley and William Deighton.

Displayed alongside are a set of coining dies – replicas of those used by the Coiners (commissioned by the same team who created a set for The Gallows Pole). Visits will be accompanied by a soundscape of execution scenes including the ‘Ballad of King David.’

To place the exhibition within the Calderdale landscape, the Museum also has contemporary and modern maps and images of the moors from the After Alice project.

‘King’ David Hartley was the leader of the Coiners and his gravestone lies a stone’s (coin’s?) throw from the Museum’s doors, amidst the atmospheric graveyard of St Thomas’ Church.

(Please note that the Museum is 100% run by volunteers, so opening hours may be subject to volunteer availability).

Please note that Heptonstall is a small village that is unsuitable for motor vehicles. Wherever possible please visit using public transport or on foot from Hebden Bridge.