Eng. (Lancashire). Parish Bury.

The registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) online

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It will be observed that one of the peculiar features of this struc-
ture is its simplicity, and although that very circumstance may be
adduced as an argument in favor of its antiquity, the fact that the
shaft has none of that interlaced and curious tracery work before
referred to, is against the probability of a Saxon origin.

Old Hearne, the antiquary, tells us that "among us in Britain
crosses became most frequent, when, after William the conqueror's
time, great crusades were made into the Holy Land. Then crossings
or creasings were used on all occasions. 'Twas not looked upon as
enough to have the figure of the cross both on and in churches,
chapels, and oratories, but it was put also in church yards, and in
every house, nay many towns and villages were built in shape of it,



and it was very common to fix it in the very streets and highways."
Crosses were not uncommon in the parish. Watson mentions
one in Fixby which he seemed to think was placed by the wayside,
"according to the superstition of the times ;" also "the cross of Man-
kynholes," this was in existence prior to the Reformation, and the
presumption is that all of them were, for it was the custom of the
Romish church to erect crosses in public situations, to remind the
traveller of his religious duties ; so far Mr. Watson's conjecture may
be correct, but it is open to doubt whether if this cross had been
used as a symbol of faith, it would have escaped the mistaken zeal
of the Reformists ; or the fanatical fury of the Puritans, when they
attacked Bradley-hall, had there been a tradition that it was origin-
ally placed for a superstitious use.

It is not improbable that it was placed there to mark the
boundary of some land. Crosses were made use of in former times
for this purpose, particularly where lands belonged to monasteries or
religious houses, and it is certain that the knights of St. John of
Jerusalem had lands in this part of the country, as also the nuns of
Kirklees. There is a statute in existence to prevent the removal of
these species of land-marks. Other descriptions of crosses called
memorial crosses are to be found in many parts of the country, but
being in general erected to perpetuate a particular event, tradition
has preserved the history of their erection.



This well gives name to Helliwell (or Holy-Well) green. It is
sometimes called St. Helen's well from its supposed connection with
St. Helen's chapel. There is no evidence to shew when it was first
formed, nor is there any thing peculiar in its construction that it
should excite the attention of the passing traveller. That " it is no
new conceit, but a real piece of antiquity" the following, from Wat-
son, will satisfy the most incredulous.

"I have the copy of a deed without date, but which, by the
witnesses, must have been executed between the years 1279 and
1324, wherein William de Osesete grants an assart in Linley to
Henry de Sacro Fonte de Staynland." Its original use must be mat-
ter of conjecture, although there can be little doubt it was honored
in the dark ages of Popery with the peculiar designation of Holy.
The custom of giving names to wells is of great antiquity and
prevailed in the days of the patriarchs, see Gen. 21 — 31. "It was
a custom if any well had an awful situation, and was seated in a
lonely, melancholy vale ; if its water was clear and limpid, and
beautifully margined with the tender grass, or if it was looked upon
as having a medicinal quantity, to dedicate it to some saint."

Hence is it that at this day we have St. John's well, St. Mary's
well, St. Peter's well, &c. &c. The superstitious practice of paying
adoration to wells and fountains was forbidden in the early ages, and
there was a canon made in the reign of king Edgar to that effect.
The custom of affixing ladles of iron, &c., by a chain to wells is
also of great antiquity, and still retained in many parts of the North.


This third and last ecclesiastical division of the Parish consists
of the following townships, viz.




The chapelry which possesses the same parochial rights as Elland,
is subject to similar impositions, and under the same ecclesiastical
jurisdiction. The vicar of the parish has the right of presentation,
and pays the incumbent an ancient yearly stipend of £4. Attached
to the parochial chapel is a chapel of ease at Crosstone, within Stans-
field ; and another has recently been erected within the same
township, under the sanction of the Commissioners for building and
promoting the building of additional churches.

The chapelry comprises a larger district of country than either
Halifax or Elland, and over which nature has indeed been lavish of
her gifts. "Were it in the power of taste (says Dr. "Whitakeu.)
for one moment, to separate the inelegance which ever accompanies
manufactures, from natural scenery, it would be impossible to tra-
verse this portion of the vale of Calder, without pleasure. There
are, in particular, two scenes, one West of Hebden-bridge and the
other of Todmorden, which, in countries free from such associations,
would be compared to very fine Highland glens ; the latter in par-
ticular strikingly resembles the pass of Killikranky."

The township is bounded on the North and East by the Hepton,
on the South by the Calder, and partly on the West by a brook


which separates it from Stansfield, and comprises an area of 5320
statute acres.

As to the etymology of the name Watson says it is a little un-
certain, it may come from the anglo-saxon beap, an heap'of any
thing, and tun, an habitation or settlement, the word "stall" having
been since added. Be that as it may. Hep, in Saxon, is high, and
Keptonstall the high place ; unless we are to understand by it the
place on the Hepton, for in a charter S. D. referring to an ancient
dispute between the prior of Lewes, as rector impropriate of Halifax,
and sir John de Thornhill, as mesne lord, mention is made of " Joh.
prior de Lewes, & DrTs Joh de Thornhill, super stagnum de Hepton-
stall super aquam quse vocatur Hepton (notHebden*) quae currit inter
Heptonstall et Wadsworth." The date does not appear, but a deed
is referred to dated J 313, 9 Edward H, whereby sir John granted
to the prior and convent of Lewes, in Sussex, and their successors
licence to attach their mill dam of Heptonstall on his soil in "Wads-
worth, over the water called Hebden, where it should please the
said prior and his successors.

Mr. Watson appears to have fallen into an error respecting
Heptonstall, when he says it is thus mentioned in Domesday book.
"In Heptone duo fratres habuerunt tres carucatas terre ad geldam,
ct tres caruce possunt ibi esse. libertus habet, et Gamel de eo,
sed wast est. T. R. E. valuit xx solidos, silva pastura 1 leuga et
dimidium longltudine, et leuga latitudine." This is not the Hep-
tone described in Domesday, says Db. Whitaker, "but another
place in Agbrigg wapontake ;" therefore Mr. Watson's hypothesis
must fall to the ground. It is not improbable that it was granted
from the crown to earl Warren, for in Kirkby's inquest, 24 Edw. I.
carl Warren was found to be the lord of the manor of Heptonstall ;
and in a MS. m the British Museum, No. 797 of the Harleian
MSS. being collections relating to Morley hundred, chiefly written
by Mr. Jennings, it appears that John Warren, earl of Surry,
claimed free warren in Heptonstall, by charter, 37 Henry III. By
an inquisition taken at Pontefract, 25 August, 5 and 6 Philip and
Mary, it was found that sir Henry Saville, knight, died seized in
fee tail of the manor of Heptonstall, and from him it passed by

• Di. Whitakui- tliiuks thfl latter the true orthograph}-.


degrees to sir George Savillc, of RufFord, deceased. 5 Charles,
1629, a court was held at Heptonstall, by Charles Greenwood,
clerk, rector of Thornhill, lord of the manor of Heptonstall. The
present possessor of the manor is The Right Honorable the Earl of

The village, from which the township takes its name, is situated
on a bleak and barren hill, frequently rendered inaccessible by the
inclemency of the weather, the only safe approach being the new
road branching from the Todmorden and Halifax Turnpike Road, the
old highway over the Hepton is steep and dangerous. It is difficult
to conceive how a large and populous village should have arisen on
a site so cold, barren, and difficult of access. "The place is the very
counterpart of Haworth," But it is not without its redeeming
qualities, the scenery viewed from the various points of this elevated
station is indeed grand, romantic, beautiful and picturesque ; and the
ascent by the new road commands a most pleasing view of the rich
vale of Calder. Tradition tells us that a battle was formerly fought
here between the Cavaliers and Roundheads, and that a great
part of the town was burnt. To its honor be it recorded that it
it formed a garrison for the king. The appearance of the town in-
dicates that it has seen better days, and trade was once so good here
that it maintained some kind of a market. Watson refers to a deed,
2 Charles I. wherein it is recited, that John Sunderland, late of
the Horsalde in Ayringden, purchased of sir Arthur Ingram, of
London, knight, William Ingram, doctor of laws, and Richard
Golthorpe, of London, gent, all that house and building commonly
called Heptonstall Cloth-hall, in Heptonstall aforesaid, by indenture
dated Nov. 10, 9th James I. As the prescriptive market at Halifax
came into repute this might decline, and there is the greater reason for
this presumption, as the reign of queen Elizabeth^ is the very
time when trade began more particularly to flourish at Halifax.
This the owners above named being sensible of, in the succeeding
reign of James I. and there being no probability of the hall being
ever used for the lilce purpose again, rather than suffer it to sink
down into unprofitable ruins, they conveyed it as above.


This chapel was originally dedicated to St. Thomas a Becket,
and Du, Wuitakeii says, " though there is no certain evidence


of it, it was probably erected not long after his murder." (Dec.
30, 1172.) A well in the neighbourhood is called Pecket (for
Becket) well, and seems to have been dedicated to the saint of the
place. Wright says, this chapel was built about the year 1 340 :
but Watson thinks it to be coeval with Elland, and to have been
erected before the year 1260, for the reason already mentioned. It
may not be amiss to take notice here, that Joseph Wilkinson, vicar
of Halifax, in the chancery-suit about Heptonstall, swore, that he
had heard, and believed it to be true, that the family of Saviles did
formerly build and endow the chantry chapels of Heptonstall and
Elland, and did build and repair part of the parish church of Hali-
fax ; and that there was some agreement between the inhabitants
of Elland and Heptonstall chapelries, and the rest of the inhabitants
of Halifax parish, and the Saviles, that the said inhabitants should
repair their several chapels, and that the other inhabitants in the
parish of Halifax, who were nearer to the parish church, should
repair the same at their own charge. This may or may not be true,
but it is improbable that the Saviles built Elland chapel, for it was
erected long before the Saviles had any estate there ; and the same
is also true of Heptonstall. Another assertion, made use of in the
same dispute by the vicar of Halifax, was equally false, that Hep-
tonstall was originally a chantry chapel, but afterwards became
parochial ; for there is reason to believe, that it had parochial rights
before a chantry was ever founded in it.

Of the oiiglnal fabric there are no remains, the whole having
been rebuilt about the end of Henry VII's reign (1500.) It is a sin-
gular edifice, and very judiciously, though awkwardly constructed,
low and on a broad base to resist the outrageous tempests which
oft assail it. The tower if left to itself is strong enough to defy the
fury of the elements for many centuries : the masonry is excellent.
The chapel itself has four aisles, of which two, with a row of angu-
lar columns running up the middle, occupy the ordinary place of
the middle aisle ; on the outside of these are two others, low and
sloping to the eaves. The date of the present erection, which from
its extent implies that the chapelry attached to it was then become
very populous, may I think be ascertained from some fragments of
painted glass, yet preserved in the East window, with the date
MDVIII. Every thing about the architecture agrees with this.


In one of the aisles is an ancient grave-stone, the inscription
round which is worn out, but a Calvary cross is still visible thereon.
On one of the windows are the arms of Stansfield, of Stansfield ;
date in old numerals, 1508. Also sufficient remains to shew, that
the twelve apostles have been painted there, and with each of them,
in antique character, the part of the creed inscribed to him. On a
pillar towards the North is the ancient mark for Jesus.

There was once an organ here, as appears from the following
entry in the register book : "Mem, The 21 day of April, AnoDomi.
1572, in the parish church of Heptonstall there were laid up in the
coffer, with the register book, 1 20 organ pipes ; and 1 6 great pipes,
5 wood pipes, and 15 lead pipes, were laid up with Richard Bentley,
in Heptonstall, for the use of the parish, in the presence of, &c."
Watson says " the chapel of Heptonstall was made uniform in
1634, and every man's particular form or seat appropriated to him,"
but I have a grant in my possession, dated 33 Elizabeth, (1596) of
"one half of a short form and stall, as the same was then builded,
standing on the South side of the church, betwixt the stalls or forms
of, &c." which goes far to prove that an appropriation of seats took
place before the time specified by Watson.

There is inserted in archbishop Scott's register at York, fo. 29,
a licence granted by the ordinary, in 1482, for the celebration of
masses and other divine offices, without the chapel of Heptonstall,
till it should be restored, having been polluted by the effusion of
blood. The chapel was restored on the 10th of January following,
by a commission for that purpose. The following is a copy of the
original : — "Will. Poteman, etc. Reverendo in Xpo Patri et Domino,
Domino Willielmo, Deigracia Dromoren, Episcopo, dicti Reverendi
Patris Suffraganeo, salutem in omnium Salvatore. Quia, ut accepi-
mus, Capella de Heptonstall, Parochie de Hallyfax, Ebor, Dioccs.
cum cimiterio ejusdem, nuper fuerunt et sunt violenta sanguinis
consueta, vestre Paternitati Reverende tenore presentium concedi-
mus facultatem, et plenam in Domino potestatem. Dat. Ebor.
effusione notorie poUuta, ad reconciliandam igitur dictam Capellam,
cum cimiterio ejusdem, ut prefertur, violenta sanguinis effusione
polluta, ceteraq ; omnia ct singula facionda, cxercenda et cxpe-
dienda, que in hujusmodi solempnitato nccessaria fuerint ct fieri
decimo die mensis Jauuarii, Anno Dom. millesimo quaterccntissimo
octogesimo secundo." From the same Register, fol. 30.


Dr. Whitaker has indulged in some very severe remarks on the
usage to w^hich he alleges the chapel and its cemetery w^as formerly
subject. A vulgar notion exists among some of the inhabitants, that
the belfry or steeple of this chapel belongs to the churchwardens for
the time being as of right. I should not have adverted to the fact, had
not that supposed right been attempted to be exercised on a recent
political occasion, vi^hen the keys were obtained from the incumbent
and possession of them held against his express remonstrance ;
the bells not being permitted to be used for ecclesiastical purposes.
It is needless to add there is no foundation for such an extravagant
and absurd notion, but the ignorance of its partizans.

The chantries which were founded in this chapel were these, as
inserted in the archbishop's certificate mentioned under Elland : —
1. A chantry there (no founder's name mentioned) worth yearly
five pounds. 2. The service of our lady there, worth four pounds
yearly. From this there is a variation in Willis's History of Ahbics,
V. ii, p. 292 ; for under the title of Heptonstall is this : " Virgin
Mary's chantry. To Richard Michell, incumbent, £3 12s." But
there is an old MS, wherein the sums to both agree with the arch-
bishop's certificate, as does Steven's Supplement to the Monasticon,
vol. i. p. 68. In a list of the tithes paid in the vicarage of Halifax,
in the reign of Hen. VHI. is the following entry : "For the lands
in Stansfeld belonging to the Chauntry of the blessed Virgin Mary
in the church of Heptonstall, 12d."

The old chapel-yard is filled up, but a considerable addition was
made some years back, The present cemetery is large and commo-
dious, and surrounded by a wall and iron fence.

Of the Testamentary burials at Heptonstall, the oldest appears
to be '• Robert Shagh, buried in the church-yard of the chapel of
St. Thomas the Martyr, of Heptonstall, 1467, 7 Edw. IV." This
from a MS in the British Museum, Harleian Collection, No, 797 ;
and from hence may be seen, among numberless other instances
which might be produced, what little distinction was formerly made
in this parish, between the words church and chapel.


The chapel has from time to time been endowed with the
following property and gifts.

By the will of Richard Naylor of Erringden, dated May, 1609,


an annuity of thirty-two shiUings and six-pence, charged upon three
closes of land, meadow and pasture, called the Gould pit, the Great
hey, and the South end of the Crag in Mixenden in Ovenden, con-
taining about seven acres, for and towards the keeping and main-
taining a preacher at Heptonstall for the time, so as he be a master of
Arts, to be paid at the feast of St. John the Baptist, for all the year.
John Greenwood, of Learings, in Heptonstall, by will, dated
Feb. 10, 1087, gave to the owner or inheritor of Learings, in Hep-
tonstall, and to the churchwardens and overseers of the same for
the time being, and to their heirs and successors for ever, one annuity
of forty shillings a year, issuing out of a messuage and tenement,
with appurtenances, in Stanslield, commonly called Dovescout, in
trust to pay the one moiety or half part thereof unto Daniel Town,
curate at Heptonstall, for preaching every year a sermon upon the
first Wednesday in June yearly, at Heptonstall, during his natural
life, if he be able in body, and can be admitted ; and after his de-
cease, to the curate of Heptonstall for the time being, he perform-
ing as aforesaid for ever.

John Greenwood, of Hippings in Stansfield, by will dated 13
Deer. 1705, willed that he who should be lawfully admitted as
parson or minister of Heptonstall, to officiate there, should preach
a sermon upon the first Wednesday in August yearly for ever, in
lieu of which sermon, and his yearly Avages for Hippingsland, he
gave him and his successors twenty shillings yearly, for ever.

Thomas Sunderland, of Hathcrshelf in Sowerby, by will dated
Nov. 13, 1721, gave and devised one annuity or yearly rent of
twenty shillings, payable out of a messuage and lands thereunto
belonging, called New house, in Turvin, yearly to such orthodox
curate or parson of Heptonstall church or chapel, in this county,
for the time being, as should be conformable to the present Estab-
lished church of England, both in doctrine and discipline, and should
on the second Wednesday in the month of March, for ever, preach
one commemoration sermon, for, or on account of, the testator's
only child, Thomas Sunderland, who died in that month.

The chapel has received the following augmentations from the
governors of the bounty of queen Anne; in 1747, £200 by lot, in
consequence of which, a purchase was made of a messuage and
iauds thereto belonging, culled West croft head, in the paiish of


Bradford, chapelry of Haworth, and township of Oxnop, yielding
the clear yearly rent of £8. lOs. In 1736, its clear yearly value
was returned to have been ten guineas, 3rd queen Anne. In 1780
another £200 by lot, in 1 809, £200 to meet a benefaction of £200
from Mr. Marshall's trustees. In 1810 two sums of £200 each to
meet two benefactions of £200 each, one from the Hon. and Rev.
J. Lumley Saville and others, the other from H. Cockroft, Esq. and
others. In 1810, £600 by lot. In 1824, £200 by lot. And in 1825
£200 to meet a benefaction of £200 from the Rev. Joseph Chamock,
the present incumbent. According to the last Report of the Com-
missioners for enquiring into the revenues of the church, the income
is stated to be £120 per annum.

About half a mile beyond the town is a straggling hamlet called
Heptonstall Slack, where it is said there are the remains of some
earth- works, but of what nature I have not been able to ascertain.
There is also a place called The Lea, (or meadow) below the town,
so called from its situation on the bank of the Hepton : the scenery
in this part of the country is peculiarly fine and romantic.


This township comprises a very mountainous country, bounded
by the Calder on the North, partly by a brook and partly by the
township of Sowerby on the East, and by Langfield on the West ;
and contains an area of 2,980 statute acres.

The etymology of the name is uncertain, in the time of Edw.
III. it appears to have been written Heyrikdene, as also in letters
patent J Ith of the same king ; this possibly may be corrupted from
Here-wic-dene, Anglo-Saxon words, the first of which signifies a
company of armed men, the second a fortress, and the last a valley;
if so, says Watson, "it takes its name from an adjoining valley,
where formerly was a castle, already described in the Saxon Era ;
or the army, which came to attack this fort, might encamp on this
ground, which is the more probable, as there are yet the remains
of a redoubt at some distance from the Castle-hill, thrown up to
defend the passage of the river Calder from an attack on the Erring-
den side of the water. But if Heyrikdene be thought a greater
corruption of the true name than Erringden, as it is now generally
written, it might be the Earing-dene, from the Anglo-Saxon Epian
to plow, to till or eare." I have letters patent of queen Elizabeth,
wherein it is spelt Aeringdene alias Earingdene. And this name it
might acquire when it was enclosed as a park, as being expressive
of the chief purpose for which it was enclosed ; for the country, to
a considerable extent, being a forest, and stored with beasts of
various kinds, for the purpose of hunting, there could not be much
corn grown where these had liberty.

In Erringden was formerly a park appurtenant to the forest of
Sowerbyshire, the oldest express mention of which (says Watson)
is in a deed between William de Langfold, and John de Metheleye,


J) Edward III. ft'hercin the former grants to the latter, "omnes ter-
ras et tenementa q: habuit ex dono Dom. Johannis comitis Warren,
in le Withens, Tornelymosse et Mankanholes in Sourbischire extra
parcum de Heyrikdene." Of this deed there was an ancient attested
copy at the late Mr. Cockcroft's, of Mayroid. At what time this
park was first inclosed does not appear, but in all probability it
must have taken place before the erecting of Heptonstall chapel,
(which was prior to the year 1260,) because it was allotted thereto
at the division of the parish, which could not have been, had it not
been inclosed. Probably it was not very long after the date of the
forest : and the ground of which this forest consisted, is said, by
the late Mr. Robert Nalson, of Halifax, at fol. 128 of his MS. en-
titled. Miscellanea, sive ohservationes collectanea, to have been
granted by king Henry I. to earl Warren, in 1116. The park was
dispailed about the 27 Henry VI. as appears from certain letters
patent of that monarch, as follows : — " Richard, duke of York,
earl of March and of Ulnstre, lord of Wiggemore and of Clare,
to all those that these letters shall see or hear, greeting. Foras-
much as for certain reasonable causes moving us thereunto, and also
for to eschewe the debate and controversy, which of long time hath

Online LibraryEng. (Lancashire). Parish BuryThe registers of the parish church of Bury in the County of Lancasrter. Christenings, burials, & weddings (Volume 2) → online text (page 46 of 52)