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Lascelles Hall

The Hall
 
It is thought that there may have been two halls in the village at one time, although there is little trace left of the second hall.
It is likely that the family who built the original hall and owned land in the area came over with William the Conqueror whom they supported and who favoured them in return. It is uncertain whether this was the de Laci family, or the Lascelles of Lacelle near Limoges in France.
Certainly by 1385 the Lascelles were installed in the hall, for in that year Barbara, daughter of John Lassell of Lassell Hall married a Thomas Stansfield. In 1434, though, the last Lascelles male heir, John, died leaving the hall to his daughter, Joan.  She married Henry Beaumont after which a line of the Beaumont family, whose main residence was nearby Whitley Hall, were resident at this hall. The Beaumonts still lived here in 1641. 
 
Meanwhile it seems a second Lascelles Hall was built, probably in the Laygarth area, early in the seventeenth century by John Ramsden. In 1661 Christopher Richardson (1619-1698) bought this hall. He was a Cambridge University graduate and had been rector of Kirkheaton since 1646 but was removed by the Act of Uniformity in 1662.  As a  nonconformist he then continued to preach using the staircase of the hall as a pulpit "so as to enable him to escape in case constables should come to apprehend him for holding a conventicle". The hall then became a licensed meeting place for non-conformist leaders, including prominent presbyterian Oliver Heywood who visited often. Richardson gave the hall and estate to his son Christopher Richardson jnr. in 1683 who lived there until his death in 1721. Meanwhile his father, now elderly, left Lascelles Hall to begin a ministry in Liverpool.
 
At some later stage the original hall passed to the Richardson family and then, around 1751, to Joseph Walker who had made his money in the woollen industry. When he died his son, Samuel, inherited and Samuel was succeeded by his son, another Joseph, who may have rebuilt the hall around 1817. This Joseph's daughter, Amelia, attended Roe Head school at the same time as Charlotte and Anne Bronte whom she befriended and who visited the hall, her home, in 1829.  The hall is currently used as a care home. It gave its name to the small settlement that grew up nearby.
 
Lascelles Hall Cricket Club
 
Behind the Hall, tucked away in the countryside with a remote air is Lascelles Hall cricket
ground, home to one of the oldest cricket clubs in the country. Cricket was first played in
Lascelles Hall around 1698, an early date by any standards. Later, it seems, local youths,
intent on a game of cricket ,would play on the land where the club now stands, although they were actually trespassing on land owned by the Walkers who owned the Hall. Eventually, either the Walkers gave them permission to continue or the lads took advantage of their
abscence (they left to live in Torquay) to take over the ground.  In any case the cricket club was formed in 1825 and the land was no longer considered private property by the 1860s. The groundsman in the 1860s, John Lockwood,
produced a top class wicket and went on to do the same at The Oval, no less.  In 1867 a Lascelles Hall XI defeated an All England XI in a special challenge match, a magnificent fete.
Then in 1874 no less than six Lascelles Hall players were in the Yorkshire XI to play Glamorgan! Three years later, again six of the county team came from Lascelles Hall, but, more even than that, the club was able to send out sixteen professional players to other Yorkshire clubs who were just starting up. The club became renowned throughout Britain as the greatest nursery for professional cricket players in the land. Two of the greatest players the club produced were John Thewlis and Willie (or Billy) Bates.
 
 
  
Unusual stile at the Cricket Club incorporating an old stone grass roller
 
John Thewlis
The Thewlis family produced many fine players for the team.  In fact, in one match against Chickenley in 1866 the Lascelles Hall team consisted of 11 players all called Thewlis. The umpire, scorer and gatekeepers were also called Thewlis, obviously all cricket fanatics. The team's greatest player of that name was John Thewlis (1828-1899). Another good Lascelles Hall and England player, Luke Greenwood, recommended Thewlis to the England selector seeking a good batsman for a match between an all England XI and Southampton. Thewlis played but was out first ball in the first innings, doing better in the second, though.  After this he was noticed by
the Yorkshire team and played for them, only the second Lascelles Hall player, after Greenwood, to do so. In 1868 he scored the first official century for his county side in a
match against Surrey.  He continued to play for England at intervals between 1862 and 1875. He also umpired first class matches between 1869 and 1887. After his cricket
career was over, Thewlis moved to Manchester and descended into poverty. He was found, by a journalist
tracking
down former great players, undertaking menial duties for a few pennies and the
journalist's report led to Yorkshire CC allowing him a small pension. Not long after, though, in December 1899, Thewlis died after visiting his Lascelles Hall relatives, taking ill at the "Tandem Inn" on Wakefield Road where he had gone to meet former colleagues. The Inn was
one of the players' favourite gathering places. Three of his nephews, John
Thewlis jnr, Henry Lockwood and Ephraim Lockwood all went on
to 
play first-class cricket for Yorkshire.
 
                                                                       the former "Tandem Inn"
Willie Bates
WilliamBates1900.jpg
Willie(or Billy) was born in Lascelles Hall in 1855, soon excelling at the game and  becoming a professional cricket player in 1873, a Yorkshire player in 1877 and an England player in 1881. He was an all rounder, excellent with both bat and ball and a proficient fielder too. He played 15 Test matches for England, all of them against Australia, and in a match in Melbourne during the 1882-3 tour took 7 wickets for 28 runs, including a hat trick, the first ever for England in a Test.  His total wicket tally of 14 for that match was the best ever bowling by anyone in a Test match, besides which he scored a half century in the same match, another record for batting and bowling combined. At home he took 121 wickets in the 1881 season, and took over 80 wickets in a season on four other ocassions. As a batsman, he scored over 1,000 runs in 5 different seasons of first class cricket. His nickname was "The Duke" - nothing to do with his cricketing - but because he dressed like one! Willie was to suffer an awful accident which put an end to his career and to his mental well being. Touring in Australia in 1887-8 and batting in the nets, he was struck in the eye by a fast ball from a team-mate, damaging his eyesight irrepairably. The sudden end to his playing ability caused Willie severe depression and he tried to take his own life on the sea voyage home. After this, he did play a little club cricket and was able to coach. But, sadly, he caught a cold whilst attending the funeral of fellow Lascelles Hall man and Yorkshire player, John Thewlis (see above), dying from it a few days later in January 1901, aged just 44. He is buried in Kirkheaton cemetery.  His son, William went on to have a long first class cricket career for both Yorkshire and Glamorgan.
 

Lascelles Hall Brewery
 
The earliest mention of a brewery at Lascelles Hall in the newspapers comes in April 1870 when an advert for a traveller, presumably a travelling salesman, of good character appears in the "Leeds Mercury". 
 
Shortly afterwards, in May 1870, a serious accident befell the then owner of the brewery, Mr R Durrans. As he was driving down Kirkgate, Huddersfield, in his gig a wagon belonging to Rose Mills of Dewsbury, carrying sacks of bran, passed him. Three of the sacks fell onto the gig capsizing it and throwing Mr Durrans out head first. A wheel passed over his left arm and right leg.  Fortunately a passer-by prevented the gig from toppling over onto him too. Mr Durrans was injured about the face and head and internally.  He was taken home and attended by Mr  Dyson, surgeon, of Almondbury. 
 
The following year Mr Durrans uses the "Huddersfield Chronicle" to thank the public for their patronage of his business, to tell them any future orders will be promptly attended to, and to let them know that the company has opened an office at no. 21 Chancery Lane, Huddersfield to facilitate this. However, only two years later, in August 1873, the brewery is up for sale by auction, being described as a freehold brewery and bottling plant with buildings, land, a fresh spring water well ideal for brewing, new stone dwelling house known as "Elton Lodge" opposite the brewery, together with five other cottages nearby. The brewing plant is described as a "seven-quarters" plant of the most modern construction. The whole is at this time  occupied by Mr Jesse Rothwell. It seems that some of his customers had not been paying up and he has begun to sue at least one of them shortly before this.                                                                                                   Elton Lodge
 
The next we hear of the brewery is that it was
bought around 1888 by William Stephenson Varley and his son Thomas William Varley. The elder Mr Varley had been an architect in
Blackburn for 25 years before his son persuaded him to enter the brewing business, but this was not a good decision. By March 1894 the owners and shareholders have decided to wind up the company and it is put into voluntary liquidation. The brewery closed, its contents were
auctioned off and most of the buildings dismantled in 1897.  Only one building, probably the granary, still survives.  Mr Varley, the elder, moved on, purchasing a public house, the "White Hart" in St. Luke's, London, but by March 1896 that business had also failed and he was forced to appear in the London Bankruptcy Court.
 
 
Lascelles Hall Mechanics Institute
 
The small community of Lascelles Hall, mainly made up of handloom weavers, nevertheless, from about 1855, had its own Mechanics Institute and Reading Rooms, still visible near the junction of Highfield Lane and Lascelles Hall Road. It was a means of self improvement for the residents of the area. 
 
In October 1856 Mrs Stoner of Ossett gave an interesting and enjoyable lecture there on the subject of "Home as it is today and Home as it will be".  Much later, in February 1873, the members of the Institute held their annual tea party and soiree in a room decorated with festoons and evergreens, provided by Mr Jesse Rothwell of Lascelles Hall Brewery. The
school established in the institute was discussed. At that time it had a total of 107 members, a paid teacher, Mr Friend Jessop, and an average nightly attendance of 40 boys and 37 girls.  This would imply that the children were attending school after work. The Institute had rented a cottage as a reading room that year and had opened a branch of the Yorkshire Penny Savings Bank.
                                                                                       former Mechanics Institute
 Other groups used the building, too. For instance in January 1877 the Cowms Co-operative Society held their annual meeting there, when the annual report was read and a dividend of 2/4d in the pound declared, followed by a pleasant evening's entertainment arranged by the committee.
 
The Mechanics Institute eventually became a Working Men's Club, nicknamed "the Shirtneck Club" probably after the village cricketers who played in their shirts minus the collars. It has now been converted into a private bungalow.
 
Providential Chapel

Built in 1814, this is one of the oldest Methodist chapels in the area. Once opened, it was well supported by the people of Lascelles Hall village.  The meetings there have been described as
"vigorous" or very enthusiastic. A year after opening 170 of its seats were let, so that the owners could attend regularly.  The chapel and its adjoining Sunday School seem to have been used for a variety of purposes. For instance, after the Compulsory Vaccination Act was passed in 1853 babies had to be taken there before they were three months old to be vaccinated. The Sunday School held an annual gathering for its pupils, staff and supporters usually consisting of a tea followed by speeches and entertainment, but besides that, in August 1865, 150 of them were treated to an afternoon of rustic sports and athletic games after walking in procession to a field near Fenay Bridge lent by Messrs. Riley Bros. for that purpose.  In 1869 the school was thriving having 190 pupils and 28 teachers. The chapel itself was rebuilt in 1889 and seating expanded to 350. Besides which the schoolroom could accommodate 300 scholars. The chapel had its own cricket team - Cowmes Wesleyans - in this cricket loving hamlet. When it closed in 1991 the remaining congregation joined Lepton Methodist Church and the chapel was converted into private houses.
 
  
The row of cottages below the chapel is known as "Chapel Row". The nine cottages originally housed handloom weavers and their families. Local hero Luke Greenwood, who played for
Yorkshire and England was born and lived in the fourth one along from the chapel , whilst the seventh one along briefly served as Cowmes Co-operative Store around 1870.

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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