650 Years on the South Pennine Moors
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
An account of life over the centuries on the moors above Hebden Bridge.
650 Years on the South Pennine Moors by David Nortcliffe has been published by Pennine Pens as an eBook. Is a brief history of a semi remote moorland area in the Yorkshire Pennines, at what was the western end of the ancient township of Wadsworth, not untypical of the wider area.
David Nortcliffe's book also tells the story of how the community moved from farming to a 'Dual Economy' of farming combined with handloom weaving. That, in turn, was to result in the emergence of a new group of local textile merchants. Finally came the decline as mechanised mills were constructed and much of the land was given over to reservoirs to provide water for the growing mill towns.
At the centre of this area, around 650 years ago, was Alcomden, a small community in a semi sheltered spot at the lower end of Walshaw Dean. A largely self sufficient small population lived there and thereabouts who used the small amount of better land for subsistence farming and the moors above for grazing sheep.
The semi-remote moorland area which is the focus of this book lies about 5 miles north-west of Hebden Bridge in the Calder catchment and runs right up to the Pennine watershed. An ancient trans-Pennine trackway passed through the area near its southern edge.
David Nortcliffe describes life in the community and the changes to their way of living over several hundred years. He poses the questions of how, why and when did a textile industry emerge in the area, and what was its impact on the community.
When the West Riding woollen trade came along a few hundred years ago, West Wadsworth supported a bigger population than it ever had before or since. Initially, this was to provide wool for weavers in Flanders and northern Italy. But soon, these hill farmers were to add cloth-making to their skills.
David Nortcliffe describes the hard life the small hill farmers would live. The looking after of the horse, a cow or two, and a small flock of sheep, while at the same time weaving and preparing cloth. And how that life changed initially with the arrival of small water powered mills, and then the big steam powered mills in the main Calder Valley.
More eBooks from Pennine Pens by Hebden Bridge authors
HebWeb News: Theatre in a Time of Change - Michael Prior (Aug 2014)
The Bad Step by Andrew Bibby, also of Hebden Bridge. For Nick Potterton, high-flying London journalist who has moved to the Cumbrian countryside, Davie Peters' death should be just another story to cover. But the longer he investigates, the more disturbing questions he has to answer. Buy Kindle version online now. £1.99. Or iBooks version online for iPads, iPhones and Macbooks.
More books and eBooks at the Pennine Pens website