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Kirkheaton 3

The Old Rectory
 
 This rectory is on the site of an older one and was built in its present form in 1729 by the
Reverend Thomas Clarke, former Headmaster of Wakefield Grammar School. There is an inscription mentioning him above the door which reads
 
 
Thomas Clarke
Anno MDCCXXIXNonnobis                                                                                       

C Alderson Renovie
MDCCCXXXVIII
 
The Reverend Christopher Alderson renovated the building, adding a new entrance way
and new boundary walls in 1838.
 
A new rectory was built behind the old one, which was then divided into two private houses, in 1986.
 
The rectory was being used as a school for the classical and commercial education of young gentlemen by the Reverend W. Kettlewell in the 1820s and 30s. Annual fees were 36 guineas for boys over 12 and 30 guineas for those under 12, extra for books and washing.
 
A field near the rectory was the scene of a robbery with violence in 1850. Joseph Wilby and Abraham Mallinson had been at the Huddersfield market until after 9pm on the 15th January and called at the "Tandem Inn" on their way home to Kirkheaton for refreshments. The robbers,  John Swift and Henry and John Wood noticed them there, conspired to attack them, and waited for them to depart, which was between 11 and 12 o'clock at night. The two good citizens proceeded on foot but when they got near the rectory they were attacked with sticks, punched, knocked down and their money stolen.  Both Wilby and Mallinson suffered from their injuries for the next week or so. Some notes had also been taken from Mallinson, but the robbers soon discovered that these were only chemist's notes and worth nothing to them (the Mallinson family owned a chemical works at Gawthorpe Green). The robbers took their booty to George Smith who was also implicated in dividing up the proceeds. There was snow on the ground at the time and Superintendant Heaton followed the snowy footprints and apprehended the criminals. Swift turned "approver" and gave evidence against the others, who were sent for trial at York Assizes by the Huddersfield magistrates.
 
In June 1935 an unfortunate incident occurred at the rectory, when Seth Whiteley, aged 79, father in law of the Reverend Charles Tremayne, fell to his death from an upper floor.  Mr Whiteley's memory had been failing for some time.  On Sunday 2nd June he was heard moving around his room in the early hours and the Reverend then put him to bed as usual. His bedroom door was often locked to save him from harm, as he sometimes wandered around in the night. The next morning at about 7am his body was discovered on the ground with his bedroom window, about 15' above, wide open. He had broken his collarbone and several ribs, and his death was due to shock. Mr Whitely was a retired schoolmaster and was well known in the village.
 
 Kirkheaton Church (St. John's)
 
There has been a chapel on this site since at least the medieval period. It seems to have
originally been a chantry chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, celebrating masses for the souls of the departed, and a few Anglo-Saxon cross fragments and ancient carved stones have survived. A new church was probably built when Kirkheaton became a parish, rather than part of Dewsbury parish, around the year 1200. When chantries were abolished in the mid 16th century, the local lords of the manor, the Beaumonts, took over the chapel for their own use. They  had customarily buried their dead here and had also
supported the church through bequests and donations. Indeed the only parts of the church to survive a disastrous fire of 1886 were the
Beaumont chapel and the bell tower and bells bequeathed by Henry Beaumont in 1486 (see below).  After the fire, the church was rebuilt in its present form.
 
There are some interesting pieces inside the church.  For instance, this collection of pew plaques, each once used to mark private ownership of one of the pews in the old church. It is said that the walls of these pews were often built high
so that the occupant might dose off without being noticed during the sermon! There is also a small piece of medieval glass bearing
the insignia of King Edward IV, and a larger piece commemorating a visit by Prince Leopold, one of Queen Victoria's sons, in 1883 and his unfortuneate death soon afterwards.
 
 
 
Tomb of Sir Richard Beaumont or "Black Dick" 
 
 
This Sir Richard (there are several of that name) was born on 2nd August 1574, the son of Edward and Elizabeth Beaumont (nee Ramsden) of Whitley Hall.  The Beaumont family had been awarded lands in Yorkshire by the Crown after their role in the 3rd Crusade, and this included half of the manor of Huddersfield and the manor of Whitley. As Lords of the Manor, h
is predecessors had been benefactors of the parish church of Kirkheaton.  In
1486, Henry Beaumont of Lascelles Hall bequeathed 40 shillings for a bell tower and bells, for instance.  The family then established a chapel dedicated to themselves within the church in the mid 16th Century, enlarging it around the time of Richard's burial there in 1631, perhaps to accommodate his lavish tomb.
  Richard himself established a free boys grammar school near the church in 1610.
He was knighted by James I and became a baron in 1628.  He made several attempts to become an MP, but when he finally achieved this, for Pontefract in 1625, he was reluctant to take up his seat, partly because the legitimacy of his election was in dispute, and partly because plaque raged in London at this time. Richard was known to squander money by gambling at cards and cockfighting and rumour once had it that he had to supplement his income and pay off his debts by becoming a highwayman, hence his nickname, "Black Dick". He was also criticised by his kinsmen, the Leicestershire Beaumonts, as being "so slack and dull in marriage" that he had no son and heir to carry on his estates. However, he does seem to have had two illegitimate daughters by Mary Lewis of Marr, Yorkshire, and left an annuity to provide for her and dowries for them in his will. When he died on 20th October 1631 his estates went to his nephews, Leonard and Thomas Wray and Richard Pilkington. 

There is a monument off Grange Moor Road popularly known as "Black Dick's Temple".  However, this was built a long time after his death, probably as a summer house to Whitley Beaumont Hall, the home of the Beaumonts, which fell into decay and was demolished. The tower has an ashlar stone exterior with an impressive arched entranceway, and windows to four sides with extensive views over the surrounding countryside. The interior is lined with handmade bricks dating back to c.1779. It has a cellar which may have been used for cooling wine to be served at al fresco meals here.

                                                                                   

 
  
  Whitley Beaumont Hall
 
The
Beaumont family (see above) lived on this site, between Lepton and Kirkheaton from
c.1390 to 1917. Sir Richard Beamont (1574-1631) had an income of £1,200 a year
from his 2,000 acre estate and was able to rebuild the hall, creating two Elizabethan style wings in the early 17th Century. Then c.1704 the hall was again rebuilt in Georgian style when a new frontage was added to connect the Elizabethan and earlier parts of the building, some dating back to 1560, to create a quadrangle. This new building had a grand interior with marble fireplaces panelling,  stucco decorated ceilings and works of art by
some of the Italian master painters. One magnificent room was the dining room, its ceiling decorated with grapes and cupids. The grounds also were landscaped on a grand scale, possibly by 'Capability' Brown who visited the estate in 1779, and consisted of woodlands and parkland with a walled garden and kennels in the grounds. The estates continued to be added to in the 17th and 18th centuries and the Lords of the Manor were able to gift land on which Lepton church was built as well as Beaumont Park near Crosland Moor. Servants were employed to serve the household and maintain the estate. Eventually, however, the hall stood empty and was sold off in 1917 to the Sutcliffe family of maltsters, who made another attempt at restoration.  In 1949, sadly, the hall was again sold to a demolition company who did their job, leaving the estate to be used for open cast mining. The photos show the lane originally leading to the Hall, the kennels and a carved stile post and gate post which belonged to the estate.
 
  
 Kirkheaton Brickworks
Not much remains of the old Kirkheaton brickworks on Lane Side Lane, although it was once an extensive industrial site. The availability of local coal and suitable clays made it possible
and it is likely that bricks have been made in this area since the 1700s at least. Kirkheaton bricks were manufactured by Elliott's Brickworks Ltd., who also owned Kirkheaton Fireclays Ltd., from around 1935 until 1960. Before this Benjamin Elliott and Sons Ltd. had operated brickworks at Spa Bottom Lepton and Fenay Bridge. Benjamin also owned Lodge Mill Colliery which operated nearby in the early 20th century.  Much of the coal produced was used in the company brickworks. Benjamin died in February 1928 at Cop Riding Farm, Lepton.  In early life he had become a partner in Grange Ash Colliery before sinking the Lodge Mill pit. He later took control of the Flockton Coal Company Ltd. and founded the Tenby Bridge Brick and Tile company. George, Frederick and Stanley Elliott were also involved in the brickmaking business.  Elliotts finally went out of business in 1990.
The company advertised "superior double pressed facing bricks and engineering bricks" and delivered them. One interesting advert in the "Yorkshire Post" on 11th September 1939, taking advantage of the situation, reads
Use Best Engineering Bricks for your
AIR RAID SHELTER
and be secure
crushing strength 538 tons per square foot
will stand up to enormous strain
Immediate delivery ex stock
 
 
An advert in the same newspaper the following month advertised their "superior double pressed engineering and facing bricks with  prompt delivery ex stock. Apply Kirkheaton Brickworks Ltd. Tel: Huddersfield 4016".
 
It was a dangerous job! On 6th February 1914 a man named Wilson, lodging at Fenay Bridge, sustained a compound fracture of the right leg when earth fell in on him whilst he was excavating on the brickworks site. He was taken to hospital by Constable Plant in the temporary ambulance. Then, only a few weeks later, on 31st March, an accident occurred at the Spa Bottom works when Joseph Kitson, aged 20, of Tandem was severely injured by a fall of clay.  Doctor Farrer attended and it was found that Kitson had sustained a broken leg and severe head injuries.  He was taken by horse ambulance to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and detained there.
 
 
 
Levi Sheard's Scribbling Mill
 
Again not much remains of this mill, also on Lane Side Lane, built by Levi Sheard in the 1790s
. Levi was born in Lepton in 1754.  He owned land and cottages in Lepton and Kirkheaton and
held tenancies in the Gawthorpe Green area. Some of the Sheard family lived at "Southroyd" a house in Gawthorpe, in the 1790s.
Levi was a stonemason and builder, and held interests in the local coal mining and textile industries. After
building his mill he probably ran it himself for a few years before letting it to tenants to work. The site contained the stone and slate mill, an engine house and separate warehouse, the mill being operated by both water and steam power to begin with. To this end a large dam and water wheel had been constructed and a steam
engine installed. The used water was directed under the road to a field opposite the mill via a culvert and under a bridge, which can still be seen today.
Raw sheep skins were probably
processed at the mill along with processes such as carding and spinning. Eventually, the mill
buildings were considerably extended and heightened,  a mill chimney added and the dam extended as this photograph in around 1900 reveals.
 
A  serious fire ocurred at the mill in February 1857.  The Huddersfield fire brigade were sent for, but before they could get there the fire had reached the
roof, causing it to collapse. The mill was gutted and loss of the building, stock and machinery amounted to £2,000, most of it covered by insurance. Saddest of all, however,
was the discovery of a millworker's body besides casks of oil in the willow shed, burnt to the bone.  The mill dam was also the scene of Wright Rhodes' suicide in June 1899 (see article on the "Beaumont Arms").
 
 
 
 
Old Cornmill
 
Albany House near the corner of Waterloo Road and Albany Road was once part of a corn mill, known as Lepton or Heaton Mill. A weir had been created a little upstream and a goit led from
 
this, opening out to form a narrow mill dam which worked the mill wheel by the over shot
method. The mill is first mentioned in the 16th century documents as part of the estate of the
Beaumonts of Lascelles Hall. By the early 19th century it is described as being built of stone and slate, two storeys high, with 3 grinding stones and with a house for the miller. This latter was replaced by a fine new house in 1850-2, probably the one we can still see today.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
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