Almondbury

 

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Almondbury, near Huddersfield was, in medieval times, an important parish-town, in the Agbrigg division of Agbrigg and Morley, liberty of Pontefract. The parish of Almondbury was of great importance, both in respect of its commercial activity and its large area, being nearly ten miles in length.

The ancient parish included many villages; South Crossland, Farnley-Tyas, Henley, Linthwaite, Lockwood, Meltham, Netherthong, Overthong (Upperthong), Holme Bridge, Meltham Mills, Milns Bridge, Armitage Bridge, Helme, and part of Marsden, along with the townships of Almondbury, Austonley, and Lingarths and several hamlets, such as Thick Hollins.

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The origins of Almondbury are far older than those of nearby Huddersfield. Almondbury was an important centre for commerce during medieval and Tudor times. A market was set up in the village in the thirteenth century and was held on Mondays for 300 years, but during the 1600’s Huddersfield began to replace Almondbury as the main centre of commercial importance in the area. In the 19th Century local industries included woollen manufactories and some cotton and silk mills and collieries.

There is supposed to have been a Roman station at Almondbury, the Cambodunum of Antoninus, as there are marks of an old rampart, some ruins of a wall and vestiges of a castle. In Saxon times it was certainly the seat of royalty, with a church built by Saint Paulinus, the Northumberland apostle, dedicated to St. Alban.

The present church of All Hallows is a gothic structure.The graveyard is well tended, but many old stones have been moved and used to create paths and steps, overlapped so that the inscriptions cannot be read. This systemmatic vandalism was carried out to commemorate the Festival of Britain in 1951.

Opposite the church is a fine old half-timbered building dated 1631, which now houses the Almondbury Conservative club.Almondbury (Castle) Hill, south of Huddersfield, can be seen from many miles in most directions. This is mainly due to the magnificent Victorian Folly that stands at its summit, which was built to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign.

A large Iron Age Hill Fort, in a roughly almond shape, surrounded the hill, possibly this is where the hill gets its name. There was undoubtedly a settlement there at least from Saxon times.

Later, the crown of the hill was strongly fortified by a motte and bailey castle by Henry de Lacy; the local Lord.

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The area within has also been subdivided into an outer and inner enclosure from the gate, and the remains of mortar and stones almost vitrified, are evidence that the place has at some time been destroyed by fire.

Ancestors – Beamonnt, Wodehead, Lockwodde, Senior

Some of my earliest known ancestors came from Almondbury. Henry Beammont (Beaumont) of Thick Hollins, Meltham, in the parish of Almondbury married Jane Wodehead at Almondbury on the 22nd July 1571. Thick Hollins was a hamlet in those days but now it is a well populated village with an estate of modern houses. The manor house still exists, the seat of the Armytages, and is now used as the club room of the Meltham Golf Course. About the year 1200, Roger de Lacy, Lord of the extensive honorial liberty of Pontefract, had granted to William de Bellomonte, ancestor of the powerful Beaumonts of Whitley, a portion of land for his homage and service. There have been Beaumonts in the Almondbury area since that time.

My ancestors Thomas Senior and Joanna Lockwodde married in Almondbury on 25th July 1560 and their son William married Anna, the daughter of Henry and Jane Beamonnt. The Lockwodde (Lockwood) name almost certainly originated in the village of Lockwood in the parish of Almondbury. There are still many Lockwood graves in the Parish Churchyard. In the 1881 census 54.53% of Lockwoods still lived in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

A map of Almondbury dated in the early 1600’s shows that the Wodehead family were still living and farming strips of land in Almondbury village close to the church. In Pigot’s Directory of 1834, Beaumonts, Lockwoods and Woodheads were listed in the professions and trades in Meltham and Honley. A transcribed extract from the Manor Court Rolls of Meltham 1677 refers to oaths sworn by members of the Lockwood, Beaumont and Woodhead families, who must therefore have at least been of the status of Yeomen. The Senior family were probably from Marsden, only part of which came within the parish boundary of Almondbury.

Extracts from Watson’s Halifax:

An extract from Watson’s book on Halifax notes “William Lockwood, of Lockwood, Esq. was slain in his own house…. by Sir John Elland of Elland and his adherents, in the reign of Edward III.”.

“Crosland Hall. in the township of South-Crosland, and parish of Almondbury, liberty of Wakefield; 4 miles from Huddersfield: Crosland-Hall, an ancient Mansion of the Beaumonts, which was surrounded by a Ditch…………. This mansion is rendered famous in local history, by the family feuds of the Elands of Eland, Beaumonts of Crosland, and Lockwoods of Lockwood, in the time of Edward III. when Sir Robert Beaumont was slain in this Hall.

Cannon-hall, anciently pronounced Camel-Hull, is rendered famous by being the retreat of William Lockwood, of Lockwood, after the battle at Eland, with the Elanders, in the reign of Edward III. In this house, Lockwood commenced an amour with a young woman of loose principles, who betrayed him into the hands of his enemies. In the library, which contains a valuable collection of books, among other curiosities, is the bow of Little John, the famous outlaw and companion of Robin Hood. It was brought many years ago from Wathersage, in Derbyshire, an estate formerly belonging to the Spencer family, where Little John was buried. The bow bears the name of Colonel Naylor, 1715, who is said to have been the last man who bent it. It is of Yew, and though the two ends, where the horns were affixed, are broken, it still measures above six feet.

My father (Harold Archer) has asked me to find a connection between him and Robin Hood – this is the best I can do!!!