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Patrick Brontė & The Luddites

By andy_AHG    
No, Patrick Brontė & The Luddites isn't the name of my new punk band! It is part of my new project to record places and their stories.

St Peter's Church, Hartshead

For many, the name Hartshead will only be familiar via the motorway service station on the M62, just before the junction 25 turn off for Huddersfield. However, this quiet little corner of West Yorkshire guards a deep sense of history.

Patrick Brontė served as vicar here from 1810 to 1815, at a time when the Huddersfield area was in the grip of revolutionary Luddite uprisings that so scared the authorities, 1000 troops were garrisoned in the town.

On the night of 11th April 1812, between 150 to 300 Luddites gathered near the waymarker known locally as 'Dumb Steeple' in Cooper Bridge. They set off across Harthead Moor with the intention of storming WIlliam Cartwright's Mill at Rawfold, near Cleckheaton. Cartwright had received a tip-off and had fortified his mill in preparation, arming a handful of employees and appealing to the Cumberland Militia (stationed just a mile away) to provide men. What followed can only be described as carnage. As the Luddites attempted to break in, they were fired at from the mill and were eventually forced to withdraw, leaving behind two seriously wounded men. The wounded were taken to the Star Inn, Roberttown, were both died from loss of blood. Many others were wounded and it is said that trails of blood and flesh, even a finger were found in the area around the mill. It is known that several Luddites died later from their wounds, some reputedly being buried in secrecy in Hartshead Churchyard. Patrick Brontė was opposed to the Luddites, but did not stop the funerals.

While at Hartshead, Brontė met his wife Maria and had two children, Elizabeth and Maria, neither of which survived infancy. Charlotte Brontė later based her book 'Shirley' on the area, with Hartshead Church being cast as Nunneley.

The first known church to be built here was a Norman church, built in at least 1120 when the Earl of Warren granted the site to the Priory of Lewes. Some elements of the Norman stonework still survive. This may have replaced an earlier Saxon chapel. In a field nearby lies the Lady Well, where it is thought that Paulinus may have performed baptisms and hints at a much longer tradition of worship here, going back well before Christianity reached Britain. The church was remodelled in 1662 and was extensively renovated in 1881, which is the structure that we see today.

In the churchyard stands the remains of an ancient Yew tree, which is probably at least as old as the church itself. Local folklore tells that Robin Hood cut his final arrow from this tree before his arrival at the nearby Kirklees Priory (Nunwood in Charlotte Brontė's 'Shirley'). It is said that he was the nephew of the Prioress and sought refuge here to be bled (a common medieval cure for ailments). Upon his arrival with his companion Little John, he was installed in the gate house, where either by accident or design the Prioress bled him to death. His grave is still reputedly in the grounds of Kirklees Park (another version of the story has his final resting place at Hartshead Church). Little John left casting a curse on the Priory and it is said that the Prioress' ghost still stalks the grounds.

Thanks for getting this far!


Voters: LizMutimer, paskinmj, zapar40 and 23 more

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paskinmj 11 11 1 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 6:31PM
Great contrast. A true classic B&W photograph.

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chavender Plus
9 451 1 France
2 Aug 2012 6:33PM
Cracking image Andy.
Like the lead in from the path.
Thanks for the write up, very interesting.

andylea 11 37 1 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 6:34PM
love the comp andy fantastic detail wonderful textures and tones belting write up too a cracker nice one Wink
Kenfromsot 12 61 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:09PM
Super conversion Andy. Very atmospheric.

Philip_H 8 1.1k United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 8:22PM
Dramatic and moody capture and great write-up.

Superb and dramatic!
dmhuynh72 12 44 3 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 9:07PM
stunning mono Andy.
Tynnwrlluniau Plus
10 112 38 Wales
2 Aug 2012 9:41PM
Brilliant mono and captivating writeup.
2 Aug 2012 10:32PM
A beautiful mono with lovely tones and textures. An image with lots of drama.

andy_AHG 11 106 6 United Kingdom
2 Aug 2012 10:42PM
Thanks everyone for your votes and comments. And to Chris and Alun for your UAs. Hugely appreciated.

UrbaneMagick 8 172 1 United Kingdom
3 Aug 2012 9:08PM
stunner in every aspect.... I think your'e onto something with the places & related stories /records Andy... gobsmacked to be honest.

cats_123 Plus
16 5.0k 30 Northern Ireland
4 Aug 2012 1:53PM
Excellent ...thanks for the story too Smile
capto Plus
8 6.3k 20 United Kingdom
4 Aug 2012 3:20PM
Absolutely had to be mono. I would love to see a print.
psiman 16 574 Wales
4 Aug 2012 10:07PM
Superb image and fantastic conversion.
bouic 11 3 United Kingdom
14 Aug 2012 11:50PM
Great image Andy, especially the sky.

phil99 13 45 6 United Kingdom
3 Sep 2012 5:17PM
Full of drama here and works superbly in monochrome with your perfect conversion...Phil
BillyGoatGruff 13 191 199 England
4 Sep 2012 10:59AM
Another cracking mono, Andy!


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