A big welcome to our Moonrakers website.
This is our second site, built after the first webmaster was unable to maintain the old site due to pressure of work. Our thanks go to him for his hard work.
We therefore went for a new look site, which continues to develop. The intention is to keep you up to date with the latest Moonrakers local research, history stories and events. Our hope is to have various contributors bringing energy and a wealth of experience to our sharing of information and historic adventure. We hopefully might even give you a laugh on the way.
We have decided to run the two websites side by side. Therefore the information on the old website will stay there. Historic pictures of Cowling can be browsed in the old site’s gallery.
So its onward and upward and into the future – or should that be into the past? Enjoy your visit to Moonrakers and please keep returning to watch us progress.
Mark Barnes, Chairman
WINTER MEETINGS 2013/14:
Thursday Dec. 5th , Jan.2nd, Feb. 6th at the Bancroft Room, St Andrew’s Methodist Church, 7.30 – 9.15pm Refreshments available. All welcome.
Some members plan to walk to investigate old building foundations on Moss. Watch for further details.
NEWS IN BRIEF: 2012/13
2012 – A local history booklet introducing visitors and new parishoners to Cowling History has been worked on to go into B&Bs and other businesses. We thank the parish council for donating the printing costs. Work has stopped awaiting decisions about photographs and design.
June walk cancelled to concentrate on deciding which parish council old documents to keep.
June -Parish council documents have been sorted into categoriesand are being scanned and listed
June/July D Gulliver, Cononley historian/author providing Moonrakers with new information (See June 2012 meeting report)
July – Work on council documents completed.
June/July/August – extreme wet weather hindered usual outside meetings – Only one short one at Cowling Hill (Head)
September – 10th year commemorative calendar planned.
November – 50 calendars sold in 4 days. A further 25 ordered and sold. No more orders to be taken. Thanks to those who have purchased our 10th year commemorative calendar.
November meeting – David Gulliver – local historian/author – speaker re Cowling research findings
December – change of mind on calendar re-order due to demand – 10 more ordered – all sold
2013 January – ‘Thrang as Throp’s Wife’ – Cowling Hill(Head), Ickornshaw connection. Cowling Pinnacle building research begins, Research on early owners of Ickornshaw Mill begins. Decision to take advice re condition of Viscount Snowden Memorial.
2013 February -Advice from English Heritage re Viscount Snowden Memeorial passed to parsh council. Research to be trialled at March meeting. 11th year as a local history group begins.
2013 March, April and May meetings group research new information on Ickornshaw Mill.
2013 July parish council refer us to District Councillor re improvements to Snowden Memorial.
2013 July 1st display of research at our Cowling gala stall
2013 September new information regarding dam flood in 19th century.
2013 September English Heritage say all of Snowden memorial should be pointed
2013 October wrapping commences of archives in special paper to stop deterioration. Cowling Parish Council to pay up to £300 to point around plaques on Snowden Memorial
A proposed outside meeting at the Viscount Snowden Memorial Cairn lead to a keen discussion, at the June meeting, of its poor condition. Members were very concerned that the Cowling Parish Council clerk had been informed by Moonrakers, in February, that English Heritage had given the go ahead for full re-pointing of the monument and conservation work to the base and path. However through informal discussions with parish councillors it was discovered that they have not been informed.
The monument, at the end of Pad Cote Lane, is a parish asset and the maintenance of it is vested in Cowling Parish Council. It is their responsibility to maintain it on the behalf of the people of the parish.
Viscount Snowden was born at Middleton in 1864, the youngest son of a weaver. He rose by his own efforts, without a university degree, to
become an MP and then the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer and was chancellor on a further two occasions. Whether you agree with his politics or not, the parish at the time of his death in 1937, thought it fitting to erect a monument in his memory.
As the most famous son of Cowling Parish we consider that the monument to Viscount Snowden should be one the parish can be proud of. We
have worked now for over two years to improve the signs and improve the state of the long neglected monument.
We worked with the parish council and with their full knowledge, to improve the signs and the monument, until we were accused of damaging it by removing old pointing. This was because it was a listed building, which we and most of the parish council were unaware of.
Moonrakers understand that the parish council is busy and had set its budget previous to February, but this does not explain why councillors
have not been informed and a decision about its upkeep made. We have again sent the information to the clerk, in case it has been misplaced or forgotten.
Since writing the above, our member Councillor Benson has gained this as an agenda item for the Cowling Parish Council Meeting of 1st July.
Other items for discussion at the meeting were the gala stall display, a list of owners and tenants of Ickornshaw Mill and a letter of
1937 to the Craven Herald, from a member of the Dawson family, outlining their family’s role as engine tenters at the mill for over a century
A second fire at Ickornshaw Mill in mid March 1910, was the subject of investigation for the group in May. This had happened exactly 26
years to the weekend after the previous fire, reported last month
From this we gained information that confirmed that the mill was now a two storey building. The warp-dressers room, where the fire began was on the second floor. There was a loading and unloading door on this floor, which burning material was thrown out of. Hose pipes were now available to turn onto the fire, down in the mill yard. The building was insured with Royal Insurance.
The fire was noticed by three young men returning at 1.30 am on a Sunday morning in March, from Colne Fair. They and neighbours, who they
raised, put out the fire. As the Fair was in mid March, this could possibly have been an Easter Fair. The three men were returning along the highway. As no mention of transport is made we can only presume that they had walked from Colne. How many people would do that these days and after a night out?!
More discussions were also held regarding a gala stall and a visit to the Snowden Memorial.
Three young men who were returning along the highway to Cowling from Colne Fair at 1.30 am on Sunday Morning last, noticed a fire in the warp-dressers’ room of Ickornshaw Mill, (owned and occupied by Mr. Joseph Shuttleworth, Manufacturer.) (formerly in business at Colne.) They noticed the blaze was coming from the warp-dressers’ room of a two-storey building.
Giving the alarm to a few of the neighbours they then broke into the mill by using a wheelbarrow as a buttress against the door, to find a heap of about 40 warps a blaze on the second storey. They quickly set to work opening some doors at the end of the room and got out the burning material into the Mill Yard. They then poured water on to the floor, which had not been burned through, and turned a hose pipe onto the burning warps in the yard. The fire was completely out shortly after 2 o’clock. But for the timely and prompt action of these men, (whose clothing was considerably burnt,) the premises would have very soon been gutted.
It is not known how the fire had originated, because all the doors had been found locked and left secured on Saturday noon. The owner is unable to account for a broken pane of glass near the top of one of the windows furthest from the fire, the window being left intact on Saturday.
The estimated damage is found to be between £80 and £100, the premises being insured by the Royal Insurance Company.
It is a curious coincidence that the same building (then a four-storey one) owned and occupied by Messrs William Watson & Company (Manufacturers) was completely gutted, exactly 26 years ago on Sunday morning, despite all the strength of the Keighley Fire Brigade.
Dennis Harker, typed out larger by Norman Binns 2013
A disastrous fire, resulting in the destruction of Ickornshaw Mill, occurred on Sunday morning last
The mill, which is the property of The Craven Bank, and rented by Mr Thomas Watson,Worsted Manufacturer, was 4 storeys high and 40yards
long. The lower room was used as a store-room for weft and other stock; the second room was used for twisting; the third for weaving, and the top storey for dressing.
The fire occurred in the lower storey, and was discovered at about 6.30am by a mill hand named Jonas Shuttleworth, who resided near the premises. He promptly gave the alarm, and assistance having been procured water was then thrown by buckets on to the fire (the fire-extinguishing apparatus with the mill being useless) and a mounted messenger was despatched to Keighley for the fire brigade.
A manual engine from the town arrived at about half-past eight, followed in about a quarter of an hour by the borough steam fire-engine.
By this time, however, the flames had obtained a complete hold of the building and the roof had fallen in, so the brigade turned their attention to saving that portion of the mill where the engine is situated, and in this they were fortunately successful.
The building, however, was completely gutted, and a large number of machinery and stock was destroyed. There were 56 looms in the mill
and a large quantity of weft, but a considerable portion of the machinery had been removed to new premises only a short time previously; and workmen had been engaged in the task of removal until the late hours of Saturday night.
The flames were fortunately prevented from spreading to the weaving shed which adjoins the mill, or the damage done to the property would
not only have been much greater, but a large number of workpeople thrown out of employment, as the greater portion of them are employed in this part of the mill.
The damage is estimated at £2,500, and is covered by insurance in the Sun Fire Office.
A portion of the mill is sub-let by Mr Watson to Mr Robert Pickles, who had 26 looms in his department.
Part of the mill was worked by water and the other portion by steam and it is hoped that operations in the weaving shed will be resumed.
The fire, which burned for some hours with great brilliancy, and was observable from a great distance, is believed to have been caused by
the spontaneous combustion of weft.
Researched from the
CRAVEN HERALD dated 22 March 1884 by Dennis Harkeand typed out larger by Norman Binns.
For a summary of findings from this newspaper article read the article below.
The research began at the March meeting was continued. This time however (April), the whole group examined a Craven Herald article from March 1884. This described “a disastrous fire, resulting in the destruction of Ickornshaw Mill”.
From this article members were able to discover new details about not only the fire but the ownership, use of and size of the mill at that
time and the usage of various rooms.
The difficulties of putting out a fire in a pre-motorised world were highlighted when a “mounted messenger was despatched to Keighley for
the fire brigade.” Both a manual and steam fire- engine were sent. These arrived two hours after the fire was discovered! Is it any wonder that the mill was destroyed?
The good news was that a “considerable portion of the machinery had been moved to new premises” the night before the fire. Also the
adjoining weaving sheds were saved. Members noted that the mill was insured and questions were immediately raised about how the fire started. One member, a textile specialist, questioned the reason given “spontaneous combustion of weft”. However, over one hundred years on, all our ideas and suspicions can only be conjecture.
Members quite rightly compared in their minds this article with present ones. Questions were therefore asked about the accuracy of the
facts contained here. Had the reporter ‘got it right’? Was the person giving the information accurate in what he or she said?
Members agreed that this was an interesting evening, in which all members present had been able to take part in a piece of research
that gave new historic information, as well as leaving time for chat, banter and of course a cup of tea!
The full newspaper article can be viewed above. Paper copies can be provided on request.
As was reported last month most of the March meeting was given over to group research into Ickornshaw Mill documents, referring to a dam
bursting, two fires and the various mill owners. This was a new development in our meetings and good progress was made.
It was decided by the members present that this work should continue at the April meeting.
The February meeting commenced our eleventh year as a group recording, sharing and promoting Cowling Local History. It was therefore good to hear of new research being carried out by members. Enquiries into the date of the original building of Cowling Pinnacle have commenced but no definite date has yet been found.
A member has discovered more information about Ickornshaw Mill and its owners. This will be the subject of work carried out at the March
meeting. This includes more detail regarding two fires at the mill and interesting family history about an early owner.
Advice requested by Moonrakers from English Heritage, regarding the Snowden Monument, was read to the group and has been passed to
Cowling Parish Council, whose asset it is, for their consideration.
It was decided that half of the March meeting should be given over to group research into the Ickornshaw Mill documents mentioned above.
This is a new development in our meetings and work which is a fitting and positive way to begin a new year.
To those of you who are keeping track of the year with one of our 10th anniversary calendars, thank you for your support. We had to make two re-orders to satisfy demand and sold many more than we expected. A decision will be made at the January meeting as to our use of the
funds. We officially complete our tenth year at the end of January. As with all things you enjoy it does not seem ten years since a few people standing around the bar at the Bay Horse agreed it might be a good idea to start a village history group. A sobering thought!
In that ten years we have gathered lots of local history information and photos, set up a website, with a photo gallery and set up our own archive storage. Guided history walks, nostalgia afternoons and talks for other groups have been completed. History work in the village such as milestone renovation, signage for the Viscount Snowden Monument and Ridge Mill Bridge plaque have all been carried out or prompted by Moonrakers. All this has been achieved by committed members and the support of Cowling parishioners.
December’s meeting discussed feedback from November’s talk, positive ways of addressing the continued problem of a parish monument that no one can be proud of, the success of the calendar sales and the possibility of a new history plaque for a village monument.
The meeting concluded, in a year of floods, with a reminder of a flood in Cowling of 1848. In that year the Cowlaughton reservoir dam burst,(on Ickornshaw Moor near to the Stone Hut) leading to the owner, John Halstead of Ickornshaw Mill, having to reimburse landlords and tenants for damage worth in the region of £320. Seeing scenes of floods televised this year, we can imagine the devastation this caused.
The January meeting heard that eighteen pictures previously donated to the old village hall have been returned to the new hall, now it is
open. Moonrakers placed them in their archive store when the old village hall became damp. Moonrakers have also presented to the new village hall a DavidHoyle original oil painting. This is a painting of Cowling village, as the late David remembered it from his childhood. This had once hung in the primary school and David had requested it be placed in the new village hall.
The continued disappointing state of the Viscount Snowden Memorial was discussed and it was decided that advice should be taken on the
A 19thcentury copy letter was examined, that indicated the reason for and dates of, the building of Cowling Pinnacle. Further research of this important information was taken on by a member of the group.
At our December meeting we reported John Halstead, owner of Ickornshaw Mill having to reimburse landlords and tenants for flood damage in 1848. At our January meeting a member discussed further research into this family which we should be able to report to you in future.
We can now announce that we have sold all our tenth year commemorative calendars and have none available. Thank you very much for your
wonderful support. The proceeds will be used for our local history work.
Finally an extract from a chapter of ‘Tales of the Ridings’ by J Moorman (1920) was read to the group. This set the saying ‘Thrang as Throp’s wife’ as being uttered around Cowling Hill (Head was its old name), about a farmer’s wife from near ‘Carnshaw’ (Ickornshaw). The inn the Golden Fleece is also mentioned. The story was briefly mentioned in the book ‘Cowling a Moorland Parish’ (1980). As the ‘Ridings’ book is a book of tales, written by the first professor of English Language at University of Leeds, a dialect poetry, song and story collector, one cannot read too much into its accuracy. However one cannot discount the possibility of the saying having local origins. A local amateur historian is exploring the theory. If anyone can add more evidence please contact us. Its an amusing story, full of dialect, which can be found on the internet by searching under the saying.
November has been a busy month.
It started with a wonderful meeting, at which members listened, enthralled, to the Cowling research findings of David Gulliver, Cononley historian and author. In researching his 2011 book ‘The Tillotson Family and its neighbours’ he uncovered much new knowledge about pre 19th century Cowling parish. From original documents he was able to identify the areas of the three old manors of Cowling – Cowling Head or Hill, Ickornshaw and Stott Hill and discuss the works of their manor courts, of which Court House Farm (Stott Hill) was probably one. The importance of the old corn mills: Lumb Mill and Ridge Mill were also highlighted and who had to use which. Magnificent, extremely large ancient documents were examined and passed round. The historic origins of Ickornshaw’s’ free’ moor, owned by its freeholders was also clearly shown, as was Cowling’s historic links with Cononley, due to some parts of both forming one manor in centuries past. Finally an original letter stating the date and reason for the building of Cowling Pinnacle was also read out. It was truly a night to remember.
On the same night we took delivery of our tenth anniversary calendars for 2013. We have been overwhelmed at the demand and must thank the people of Cowling and area for their support. Within a week all fifty were sold or ordered. A decision was then made to take orders for a second batch of . As I write all twenty five of these have been sold. Thank you to those members who have ensured this success, by their work to compile and then sell the calendars. The proceeds from this project will go to fund our continuing work to research, record and report new findings about Cowling parish history.