Heyhead, Langfield




At Heyhead, on the Lumbutts Road out of Walsden, just before you come to the hamlet of Lumbutts itself, is the Shepherd's Rest, a popular inn with walkers and almost everyone else on a fine summer's day. Its location makes it an ideal stopping place for ramblers on the many paths in the area.

This photo shows its wonderful countryside location. Taken from Mankinholes, the pub is the white building towards the top of the photo, with Lumbutts at the bottom.


Despite looking as if it has been a pub for all of its existence, this is not the case. It was originally a hill top dwelling providing accommodation for a working family, like many others of the same ilk that were scattered over the Langfield area. In the late 1830's and early 1840's, the family of Abraham Stansfield, a sawyer, lived there.

Abraham had gone by the mid 1840's and James Greenwood then made it his home. James was a mule spinner by trade and a local man, born and raised in Langfield. He married Susan Shackleton and they were established at their Heyhead home by 1846.



This is much how it must have looked in previous times. Very little changed from today. Photo by kind permission of Frank Woolrych


James was an eccentric of sorts and a great collector of oddities. He decided he wanted to share his collection for all to see, so he opened his home as a museum.

People came from all over the place to see the artifacts on show, possibly the first tourist attraction in the area. On the few holidays allowed to them, folk would make a day of it, with a walk and a stop to view the museum where they could also get refreshments of various kinds, before going back down to the valley and the hum drum life of work.

On the 28th of May 1854, a crucial battle in the Crimean War was fought, the Bombardment of Odessa, which was a great victory for the English. James decided to celebrate the event by holding a gala at the museum on the 26th August 1854. Thousands attended and enjoyed a day of entertainment and dancing. The music was provided by the Heptonstall Drum and Fife Band and at the end of the day, a great firework display representing the "Bombardment of Odessa" brought the day to a resoundingly noisy end.


The entertainment may have included the popular game of Knur and Spell, which was enjoyed throughout the area. At this time, Knur and Spell, also known as "tipping", was one of the most popular games in the district for the workingmen, attracting huge crowds with hundreds of pounds changing hands in wagers.


The Knur was a ball, about the same size as a golf ball, normally made of clay. It was placed in a sling that was suspended from a stick firmly rooted in the ground. The Spell was a type of slender wooden bat, broader and flattened at one end. The object was to hit the Knur with the Spell and send it as far as possible into the distance. This was known as a Knock. The match was decided by the longest knock, or the best average in an agreed number of knocks. Matches were normally between twenty and thirty knocks, with each player taking five consecutive shots in turn. A referee supervised the contest and the rules were observed rigidly. Young boys stood along the course to watch for the knur as it landed, and measurements were taken over walls, huts or other obstructions. The course was marked with vertical pegs at intervals of 20 yards to facilitate measurement. A first class player could knock the knur about 300 yards. Interest in the game dwindled as wages rose and the ordinary man could afford a round of golf. However, it is still played in parts of Yorkshire.

One such match was played at Heyhead in May 1890 between John Whittaker of Hanging Ditch and Paul Greenwood of Castle Street. The stake was £5 a side, a fair amount for the time. John Whittaker was the victor, but maybe the Shepherd's Rest was the real winner in the end, if he spent his winnings over the bar.

Michael Uttley, a landlord of the Rose and Crown at Castle Street, was an expert maker of spells, also known as batsticks.


Barker Halstead, shown in the photo, was the local champion about 1920 when the photo was taken. He was one of the most famous players in the North of England, winning 29 out of 39 of his big matches. His best performance was in a Handicap at Walsden, in which he made two hits of 248 yards.

photo by kind permission of Roger Birch


James Greenwood and his family left their home at Heyhead in 1859 and went to Accrington, taking the collection of curios with them. The new life of the cottage was about to begin. William Butterworth, who had come from Rough Bank, near Ogden, Newhey, bought the premises and applied for a beer licence, which was granted, so he went ahead and opened the new beer house which he named The Shepherd's Rest.

William married a lass from Langfield called Betty, but they did not have much time together at the new pub as William died in March 1860 just a few months after becoming the proud new landlord. He is buried in the graveyard at Lumbutts Chapel.

Betty Butterworth, who was a few years older than William, was left in charge and she managed to compliment her income from the beer house by taking in lodgers for a while. Betty's sister Maria lived nearby at Croft Carr with her husband Abraham Crabtree and two children, Betsy and James. Abraham died in 1856 and Maria and her son James went to live at Heyhead.


A frightening occurrence happened to Betty in October of 1863 and was reported in the Halifax Guardian:

24th Oct 1863

House breaking - On Thursday at the Magistrates Court, Thomas Astin, Thomas Nixon, and Thomas Leek, all lads from Knowlwood, were charged with having broken into the beerhouse of Mrs Butterworth at Heyhead in Langfield. At half-past eleven on Sunday morning the house was entered and the drawers ransacked. The prisoners were identified, but were remanded for a week, until James Leek and William Whitehead, who had been of the party, but had absconded, were apprehended. These lads were taken at Bradford the same day.


A week later on 31st Oct. 1863 the following article appeared in the Halifax Guardian:

House breaking case - On Thursday at the petty sessions the lads James Leek and William Whitehead charged with breaking into widow Crabtree's house, at Heyhead were committed for trial. They pleaded guilty.


A view of the pub and a glimpse of the beautiful countryside views

Maria Crabtree and her son James eventually joined forces with "Owd" Betty Butterworth, as she was known, and in 1871, with Betty aged 59 and her sister Maria 57, the pub continued to offer refreshment and drink to both workers and weekend trippers. Maria's son James Crabtree, a mechanic by trade, helped the widowed sisters with the heavier work.

Maintaining a separate household at Heyhead at that time was Thomas Fielden, a stone dealer in his 40's who was born in Walsden. He was married to Betsy Crabtree, daughter of Maria and Abraham and they had four young children, Betsy, Abraham, Hannah and James. The family connection with the pub would be carried on in the future by this Fielden family.

One particular sport, which was popular around that time as well as Knur and Spell, was sparrow shooting, and in October 1870, a match was held for a £1 a side. Not a sport that has continued into the 21st. Century.

James Crabtree, Maria's son, took over as the next landlord. James ran the pub and his elderly mother had help in the house from her granddaughter, Betsy Fielden, now a young girl of 18, whose mother was widowed in 1877 and who still lived at Lower Heyhead, farming 12 acres. Her son Abraham helped on the farm whilst daughter Hannah Maria at 13, worked at the cotton factory. The youngest son James Howarth Fielden  was still at school, aged 10. Maria died in April of 1891 and was buried at Lumbutts with her husband. She lived to be 82, a grand age for that time, when life expectancy was short.


Maria's granddaughter, Betsy Fielden, became the next licensee of the Shepherd's Rest, taking over from her uncle James Crabtree. She married Stansfield Hollows of Longfield early in 1882 and they had four children, but by 1890, she was a widow as Stansfield died in 1890 aged only 33. She was left with three young children, between seven years and eight months, so running the pub was one way of making some money and being at home to look after the children. Her widowed father-in-law, also called Stansfield, and his son George Hollows, lived at the pub with her, giving her a lift when necessary. Her sister Hannah was also living with them, supplementing the upkeep of the household from her wages as a cotton weaver.

The other household at Heyhead was now a farm run by Alfred Bentley. Betsy did not stay a widow for long and married Charles Walton from nearby Lee in 1893. They ran the pub together and were still there in 1908. The couple both died in 1935, Charles in June and Betsy just two months later in August. They are buried at Lumbutts Chapel with Betsy's first husband Stansfield Hollows.


By 1922, Robert Coupe had taken over and this lovely photo of him and his wife outside the pub is by kind permission of Roger Birch.

After Robert, a local family, the Winfields of Croft Gate, ran it for many years, continuing in the tradition of welcoming clients with food, good beer and hospitality.


Many other landlords have been and gone over the successive years and it was not until 1960 that the pub obtained a full licence. It underwent a complete transformation, being brought up to date and able to cater for the new sort of clientele who, with their motor cars and trips out into the country, now required more than a snack and a beer.

Gone are the old farmers and shepherds from the early days who would sit huddled round the fire on a cold night or wander in on a warm summer evening to chat about the day in the company of their own kind, with a glass of beer or two, of course.

One man who well remembered those days was James Hollows, son of Stansfield and Betsy, who was born at the inn in 1886 and who lived to see these changes. He enjoyed nothing more than reminiscing about those times gone by to the new customers of the Shepherd's Rest.