Pudsey and District: People, Resources and Heritage

A new history course starts 25/04/3017

Venue: Parish Church of St James the Great, Pudsey

Time: 10.00 – 12.00

Cemetery lodge, Pudsey

For seven Tuesdays mornings starting on April 25th, 2017 (with a break for half term) I will be teaching another heritage course for the WEA based at the Parish Church of St James the Great, (Galloway Lane, Pudsey, LS28 8JR). The standard fee £48.00 though the course is FREE if you are in receipt of income related benefit (only SEA funded).

Course details

Bankhouse Well, Pudsey

The course considers the interaction between people and landscape. It focuses on how natural resources have been exploited through history and on how this affects the character of the region today.

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • The geological past, Withdrawal of the ice, plant cover and the natural world, the coming of the first people
  • Hunter gatherers, the creation of moorland, uses of the moors in medieval and early modern times
  • Neolithic Revolution, fields from hedgerow to stone walling
  • Water, as an object of devotion, Iron Age burials, spring line settlements, the siting of dams and weirs, water power Canals, drinking water supply, sewage
  • Woodland and its management, woodland clearance, coppicing and standards, wood as a construction material, import of timber, import of exotics for estates and gardens
  • Coal, railways, the Age of Steam
  • Stone: quarrying, houses, Victorian towns

For further details or to book in please in advance visit the WEA website


Calverley Wells Revisited

Calverley Town Wells in spring 2014 – totally flooded

Calverley Town Wells in spring 2014 – totally flooded

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Geoffrey Morris, a correspondent in Wales who is researching his family tree. He writes:

Christopher Keighley and his second wife, Elizabeth née Wade, lived in Well Close, Calverley, in 1881, with two of their children: Arthur and Anne, my mother’s mother. I’ve just come across your website, and wonder whether you can tell me anything about Well Close: exactly where it is, and perhaps even a photo!

It’s a very interesting problem and one to which I don’t think I can provide a solution. I’ve had a look at a couple of sources only to draw a blank, but readers might like to follow the same process themselves just to see if I’ve missed anything.

I started by looking at Tracks in Time  which will allow you to search the Leeds Tithe Maps in a variety of ways and to compare the results with modern maps and aerial photographs. This gives me the location of two groups of fields called Well Close in Calverley Township. One is situated at SE 209 351, the other on SE 193 346. According to the 1880s O. S. map there is no habitation at either site so these are unlikely to be the one Geoffrey is interested in.

The Leodis database , an index of old images of Leeds also offers no matches either.   Neither does a modern A-Z. So I guess I’m stumped. Perhaps someone else can help out.

For more information about the historic wells of Calverley see:

Calverley Town Wells

 More about wells in Calverley

More about wells in Calverley

Visiting Calverley Town Wells

Visiting Calverley Town Wells

Last year I put up a page about Calverley Town Wells which attracted some readers’ comments. One of these, from M. Chappellow, gave the history of the Calverley Spa Well.

My family have lived in Calverley for generations ,
The chalybeate well or waters were first discovered around 1830 whilst digging a coal pit by the Sutcliffe family who dug numerous coal pits in the Shell Lane area of Calverley , there was a bit of a dispute as the Sutcliffes wanted a cut out of it as they found it but so did the Thornhills who owned the land as well as the farmer J Thornton who rented the land then as the actual source of the water ran under Glebe land which is where roughly the Calverley arms hotel is which was then owned by the Vicar or church they wanted a cut out of any money generated ,the story goes that after digging 37 yards into the hillside they came upon a water source that tasted like crab apples .
After about 6 months someone drank the water & died that was the end of that ,
All that’s left now is a damp patch in the middle of the field ,
There was also another well in the next field up just in the dip on Farsley Lane where the millennium way foot path is think that one was called Coates well .
We used to have an old map with the springs & wells of the village.

At the time I was a little unsure of the dating here but I’ve since been doing some more research on the subject and I find that M. Chappellow is right in what s/he says. The confusion is entirely my fault. I had remembered reading an account of a visit to Calverley in The Spas of England by Augustus Bozzi Granville. However I had misread the publication date and thought that Granville’s visit was too early for the date given. It’s not: the book was published in 1841 and so fits in well with the account given by M. Chappellow.

According to Granville, the water tasted like ‘an unripe crab apple – it puckers up the membranes of the mouth’. (This reminds me that there’s a Crab Tree Well at South Crosland near Huddersfield. I’d always assumed that the name derived from a nearby fruit tree. Perhaps it actually got its name from the taste of the water.) Granville was also of the opinion the Calverley would ‘never rise to the rank of a fashionable watering place’…

I also wonder if the spring which formed the abortive spa was known at one time as the Farewell as the Calverley TitheAward  map (which can be searched electronically through the Tracks in Time website) has the field names Farewell Ing and Farewell Close in the area where the chalybeate well is shown on the modern map. Coates Well Close is a little further to the south.

These were not the only wells in Calverley. In his 1988 booklet The History of Town Wells and the Green E. W. Garnett mentions wells in the following locations:

Woodhall Road

West End Road

Above Foxholes

In Calverley Woods

At the bottom of Thornhill Street (often referred to as Well Head or Draw Well)

Of the ones mentioned in the list, I think only Tomblin Well (or Tombling Well) in Calverley Woods now still survives. There is however a large trough at the point where Towngate divides into Calverley and Rodley Lanes (SE 211 367). A little further from the centre of the village on Woodhall Road (at SE 201 354, south of Woodhall itself) there is a recess which once held a pump, but all traces of the pump itself has gone.

Perhaps there are other traces of these old sources of water still to be found in the Calverley district…