Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion : Background Information : L

Background Information



L-plan house
A house with a single cross-wing at right-angles to the main hall, giving an L shaped plan.

See Halifax house and Hall-and-cross-wing

Labour exchange
In 1909, an Act of Parliament required towns to set up labour exchanges to help the unemployed to find jobs. The first 80 labour exchanges opened on 1st February 1910.

See Brighouse Labour Exchange, Halifax Labour Exchange and Todmorden Labour Exchange

Element used in place names. The name is said to mean a path, route, or journey.

See Ladstone Rock, Llads-Lowe Balder and Low Brown Knowl, Wadsworth

The title comes from the Old English hlæfdige meaning loaf-kneader = bread-maker.

It was used to refer to the wife of a Lord, and for any woman who had authority or rights of property

Aka Lathe.

A barn and/or mistal.

The word comes from the Old Norse hlatha

See Laithe-house

A building in which the house and the byre or mistal – the laithe – were under the same roof, but not internally connected.

They were common from the around 1650, with most being built for poorer farmers in the 18th and 19th century.

These are common in Pennine farms which were built after the enclosures.

The oldest surviving laithe house in the district is Bank House, Luddenden which was built around 1650.

In some parts of the country, these are known as long-houses

See Cromwell Lake and Lake Calder

Wooden sticks which attach the treadles to the shafts in a loom

Lammas land
Land which is open for common grazing at Lammas

Used in place names, often along the Ryburn Valley, such as Barkisland, Greetland, Norland, Soyland, and Stainland, but at few other places locally, or in the West Riding in general.

The element is Norse or Old English and means field or piece of land suitable for cultivation, and is used as an alternative to felt or field

Land ownership map
Aka Cadastral Map. A map showing the extent, value and ownership of land for taxation purposes

Land patent
A document giving details of the ownership and permanent claim to a piece of land

Land tax
This was introduced in 1692 during the reign of William & Mary in order to finances wars with France. The tax was paid on houses, land and tithes and was originally based on a poundage rate of the property. An Act of 1780 required all voters to be assessed for the Land Tax in order to support their claim to have a vote, for which they needed to possess a freehold worth at least 40/- per year. It was abolished in 1831 but continued in other forms until 1950 and was finally abolished in 1963. Returns recording details of those who paid the tax were made to local magistrates in the spring and can be found at the Country Records Office

A standard payment – made to the king or lord of the manor – by each house in a mediæval town

An old form of the word landscape

Stale urine which was used during scouring and fulling.

The urine was collected from farms and private houses where it was left in a tub or a bucket by the door.

Pigs' manure could also be used.

With the growth of the gas industry, the ammonia which was a by-product was used instead of urine.

See Night soil

A sheet or rope of loosely matted cotton or wool which accumulated on textile machines.

A lap stick is a small metal rod around which the lap is wound as it emerges from a machine

A place where food was stored, a pantry.

A larderer or lardner was in charge of the store.

The name comes from the French lardier meaning a tub where bacon was stored

Large families

A name for dysentery

Last dying speech
A speech which was given by a convict just before he was hanged. These were often published

A charge which was levied on freight

A strong, durable cotton, worsted or woollen cloth. It is used in the manufacture of luggage and shoes.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1798

Late-night shopping
With few exceptions, the phenomenon of late-night shopping has not reached Calderdale, and most shops are closed by 5:00 pm.

See Early-closing day

Latin Mottoes & Texts

A yellow alloy of zinc and copper, similar in appearance to brass. This was used for plates on monuments and for church brasses.

A lattener was someone who worked in the metal

A solution of opium in alcohol. It was commonly administered and used as a tranquiliser, a pain-killer, or to induce sleep. It was also taken as a cure for cholera, and a mixture with camphor and chloroform was used as a cure for toothache

In 1619, James I issued a laurel coin worth £1, a half laurel coin worth 10/-, and a quarter laurel coin worth 5/-

A popular name for the skylark. This is used in several local place-names including Lark Hall, Midgley, Laverack Hall, Laverock Crescent, Brighouse, Laverock Hall, Causeway Foot, Laverock Hall, Brighouse, Laverock Hall, Southowram, Laverock Lane, Brighouse, Laverock Place, Brighouse and Lavrock, Midgley

Also Lowe. Old English element used in place names – such as Whirlaw and Pike Law, Rishworth - the element means stone or heap of stones, and by extension may also mean a boundary which was marked by such a cairn or heap of stones, and a barrow. It has also be said that law can mean a meeting place.

See Low Brown Knowl, Wadsworth

A kind of fine, thin linen or cotton cloth with an open texture. The name is derived from Laon, France, where it was manufactured extensively. When made with combed yarns, it has a soft feel and slight lustre, and is called nainsook. The cloth is used for underwear, dresses, blouses, night wear, curtains, lingerie, collars, cuffs, shirts, handkerchiefs.

See Nainsook

A wooded area of forest in a deer park

Lay subsidy
A tax on movable property which was introduced in 1290.

The rate was one-tenth of the value of the movable property of those who lived within a city, borough or royal desmesne, and one-fifteenth for those who lived elsewhere.

These were recorded in Lay subsidy returns and Lay subsidy rolls.

Between 1524-1536, they were revived by Henry VIII. The tax was levied for a specific purpose, such as a foreign war.

They are useful in researching surnames

Part of a machine used in processing wool

A unit of distance equivalent to 12 furlongs or 3 miles = 4·8279 km. The exact length may vary regionally

League of the Helping Hand
A charitable organisation.

See Bethesda Methodist Chapel, Elland

Lease for three lives
A legal term for a lease of land which applied for the life of the holder, his son or wife, and a grandson

An artificial channel, or race, which leads from to – or away from – a mill wheel.

See Drain

Leather industry

Aka Weeting. A version of fulling where the cloth is wetted with stale urine to remove the grease and oil

A flat, horizontal slab of stone.

This is often a recumbent headstone of a grave, such as may be re-used as a paving stone

[Taken in September 2016]

A large freshwater worm – Hirudo medicinalis – which was used by physicians for bloodletting.

The name was also used for a doctor or physician.

See Mrs Wood

The Leeds General Advertiser
Newspaper which was read locally. Recorded in 1844

The Leeds Intelligencer
A popular Tory newspaper which was read locally. The paper was launched in Leeds by Griffin Wright on 2nd July 1754.

Thomas Wright was proprietor in 17??.

In 1809, the name was changed to Wright's Leeds Intelligencer.

In 1818, the Wright family sold the paper and the name was changed to Leeds Intelligencer & Yorkshire General Advertiser.

In 1837, Rev Brontë wrote to the paper in support of the repeal of the Poor Law Amendment Act [1834]. He also spoke against the Act at meetings in Haworth.

In 1866, the name was changed to Yorkshire Post & Leeds Intelligencer.

In 1883, the name was changed to Yorkshire Post.

In 1939, the name was changed to Yorkshire Post & Leeds Mercury

See The Leeds Mercury

The Leeds Mercury
Leeds newspaper which was read locally. It was a popular, dissenting newspaper established in Leeds in 1718.

The paper ceased publication in 1755, but was revived in 1765.

In 1797, the paper was bought by a group of Unitarians and Methodists, including Edward Baines and John Marshall.

Rev Brontë wrote to – and for – the newspaper – see Cremation, Crow Hill.

In the 19th century, there are records of criminals – such as John Waddington and James Wright - expiating their crimes by placing a notice in the newspaper.

The paper was published on Saturdays until July 1855, after which it was published on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

In 1850, the annual circulation was recorded as 459,000.

In 1923, the paper was taken over by Yorkshire Conservative Newspapers.

In 1939, the paper merged with the Yorkshire Post.

See John Binns, Halifax Mercury, The Leeds Intelligencer, Newspaper stamps, Alfred Ramsden and John Wrigley Willans

The Leeds Times
Established on 7th March 1833.

In 1850, the annual circulation was recorded as 251,000.

See Newspaper stamps and Rev Edward Parsons

A leet was a conduit which was constructed to divert water from a nearby river or stream and deliver this for use in driving a mill.

See Court leet

The phenomenon of left-handedness has long been regarded with suspicion, and people with this trait have been labelled with names such as

  • The surname Gaukroger is possibly derived from the Norse element gauk meaning left-handed, clumsy person or cuckoo.

    The French word gauche may have the same origins

  • The surname Kay is probably derived from the roots meaning left-handed, clumsy, jackdaw
  • The surname Kerr is probably derived from the Gaelic word cèarr meaning left-handed or wrong

See Cack-handed

A bequest made in a will.

The legatee is the person who inherits the legacy.

See Pecuniary legacy

The technique in which barge workers propel horse-drawn boats through a low tunnel on the canal by lying on their backs on the deck and walking along the roof. The method is used where there is no tow path. The horse is unharnessed and taken over the bridge to wait for the barge at the other end of the tunnel

A garden.

A leightoner was a gardener

A Christian period of fasting starting on Ash Wednesday and leading up to Maundy Thursday and Easter – approximately 6 weeks. The day before Ash Wednesday is known as Shrove Tuesday

In 1344, Edward III issued a leopard coin worth 1/- and a double leopard coin worth 2/-. This alternative name for the florin comes from the image of a leopard depicted on the coin

A bacterial infection which produces lesions of the skin and progresses to damage to the nervous system.

A person who suffers from the disease is called a leper.

The disease can be treated with modern drugs

Aka lecherwite. A compulsory fine paid to the lord of the manor by a villein whose daughter lost her virginity before marriage.

See Merchet

Lesser beasts
Animals which were not considered suitable for hunting – as distinct from beasts of the chase – and which included birds [such as pheasant and partridge], domesticated animals [such as rabbits], and wild animals [such as wolves, foxes and wildcats]

Lesser tithe
See Tithe

Letter box
These were used for sending letters and were introduced in the 19th century with an improved postal service

Letter of administration
If a person dies intestate and there is an estate to be claimed, a letter of administration – an admon – may be issued in the claimant's name, allowing them to claim the estate

Letters Testamentary
A legal document which permits an executor named in a will to carry out his or her duties

Levant Company

Levée en masse
Around 1803, the parish constable produced a list – known as a levée en masse – of men between 17 and 55 who could form a reserve defence force.

See Yeoman

This is an Old Testament term referring to a member of one of the 12 tribes of Israel who were descended from Levi, a son of Jacob. They performed the lesser services of the Temple, and it is this lesser priesthood that is often intended in ironic references to curates and vicars

In Masonic lore, a Lewis is the son of a freemason.

See Priestley Alderson

Used in place names – such as Warley, Wheatley, and Kirklees - the element is probably from Old English leah and means clearing or field, lea, meadow, or pasture with the sense of having been cleared. The form lees is also found.

See surname Riley

Ley line
A concept described by historian Alfred Watkins in the 1920s, in which many objects of antiquity – such as churches, barrows, crosses, standing stones – appear to be aligned along straight lines: ley lines. It has been suggested that these may have had magical or other significance in prehistoric times. These are possibly the routes of ancient trackways

Aka Leirwite. A fine paid to the lord of the manor by a villein whose unmarried daughter conceived an illegitimate child

Liber Cleri
A return produced for the bishop or archdeacon which lists the names of all clergy, church-wardens, and schoolmasters, and the number of communicants, recusants and nonconformists in the parish

Liber Compertorum
A return produced by the church-warden for the bishop

A right, privilege, or immunity, enjoyed by authority, prescription or grant, or an area which has such privileges. Also, a district within a county which was controlled by a town or village but outside its boundary.

These were abolished in 1850

Licensing Act [1904]
The Act attempted to reduce the number of licensed premises in congested areas.

See Beerhouse Act [1830]

Licensing hours
Under the Beerhouse Act [1830], almost anyone could open a beerhouse, and beerhouses were open 24 hours a day.

The Public House Closing Act [1864] required that pubs close between 1:00 am and 4:00 am.

A Licensing Act of 1872 had local options to close pubs on Sundays.

In February 1929, closing time for pubs in Todmorden was extended from 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm.

In February 1949, closing time for Halifax pubs was extended from 10:00 pm to 10:30 pm between May and July. The extension was refused for Brighouse.

Pubs in England and Wales are currently permitted to open from 11:00 to 23:00 on weekdays; 12:00-22:30 on Sundays

See Temperance and Working hours

A claim placed on assets or property by a person to who money is owed

Life expectancy

This element is used in place names, such as Lighthazles and Lightowler, and refers to light or sparse trees and bushes.

See Thick

The elements lillands and linlands are used in a couple of place names in and around Rastrick and originates at Lillands Farm on the banks of the Calder. The word may derived from lin land, that is, land where flax is grown, or from llyn land, that is, land by the water

Lima shilling
A coin introduced to England and made with silver which had been brought to England by Lord Anson after an expedition to Peru in 1740-1744

A place – the borderland of Hell – to which children went if they died before baptism.

Baptised infants went to heaven

The acidic moorland soil of the Pennines made lime a useful commodity in farming.

After liming the soil, potatoes were planted, then oats, and then the land was left fallow for a year.

The lime was an effective fertiliser and was also used for making mortar and in the iron industry.

Lime is produced by burning limestone in a kiln.

Large limestone deposits were mined in Settle and Wycoller, and areas north and west of the Calderdale district. Much lime was brought from the north side of Boulsworth Hill on the Lancashire border. There are reminders of the lime trade in the name Limers' Gate which is found near packhorse routes in the west of the district

A Gallowa packhorse which carried lime

An older name for flax.

The name was also used for the superior-quality long combed flax fibres, as distinct from the shorter tows.

See Tops

Line shafting
The means by which the power of the steam engine was transmitted along rotating shafts and belts to the individual pieces of machinery in spinning or weaving mills

Line wheel
See Saxony wheel

Linen industry
Linen is produced from flax and was the third branch of the local textile industry, alongside wool and worsted.

Linen has many properties including strength and absorbency, and linen thread is twice as strong as cotton, but more delicate and suitable for use in the manufacture of lace.

Shorter fibres can be used to make twine or paper.

Parts of Yorkshire – such as Barnsley, Howden, Leeds, Nidderdale, and Knaresborough – had a thriving industry growing flax and manufacturing linen, although this declined after 1850 and some areas moved into rope making.

In the 17th century, the British linen industry was encouraged by high taxes on foreign imports of linen.

See Hemp industry, Paper-making and Industry

A unit of length, equivalent to 1/100 th of a chain = 7.92 inches

Linoleum industry
The district has several connections with the oilcloth and linoleum industry including Gordon Manufacturing Company Limited, Lightowler & Company Limited, Joseph Lightowler, Joseph Lightowler, Frederic Jowett Scholefield, William Scholfield, John Edward Sykes, Savile Merrall Sykes, Miles Sykes & Son, Sykoleum, Zachariah Thompson, Frederick Edward Walton, James Walton and David Woodhead

Aka linsey-woolsey, woolsey-linsey.

A thin coarse cloth made of linen and wool, or of inferior wool and cotton, or of linen and wool blend

Liquor Act [1923]
Banned the sale of alcohol to people under 18 in the UK

A plant Glycyrrhiza glabra which is cultivated for its roots. The woody, dried root was eaten raw – liquorice root – and an extract was used in brewing and making confectionery – such as Spanish and Pontefract cakes.

Liquorice was grown by the monks of Pontefract Priory – after attempts elsewhere had failed – and used as a herbal remedy. A confectionery made from liquorice has been manufactured in Pontefract since mediæval times.

It is used as a laxative

It was also used to make water from springs and wells more palatable – see Spa Sunday.

The mixture of liquorice and water was known locally as Popololli

The edge or border of a piece of cloth

Listed buildings

A local name for a dye-house.

The word is related to the word lister.

See Litthouse Bridge, Hebden Bridge

Anyone who is involved in a lawsuit

Little Joans
A type of wildbore

A mediæval term for land ownership or rights which were received as a gift from the king

Livery company
A trade association which originated in the mediæval guilds. Some examples are Clothworkers' Company, Drapers' Company, Fullers' Company, Mercers' Company, Merchant Adventurers and Shearmen's Company.

The company recorded details of their members, apprentices and masters

A measurement of 240 pounds weight which was carried by a packhorse.

This became a standard measure for lime, coal and other materials carried by the packhorses.

See Cartload, Galloway and Packload

Local Board
Many parts of the district had their own Local Boards of Health – such as

These were formed under the Public Health Act with the main intention of reducing the risks of epidemics cholera and typhoid.

These evolved into Urban District Councils.

See Todmorden & Walsden Select Vestry

Local Board of Health
Established around 1848 with responsibility for public health, such as the water supply, the sewerage system & street cleaning.

See Halifax Board of Health, Hebden Bridge Board of Health, Midgley Board of Health, Ovenden Board of Health, Rishworth Board of Health, Sanitary District, Shelf Board of Health and Sowerby Board of Health

Local Government Act [1894]
Aka Parish Councils Act [1894]. Introduced urban and rural districts, and parish councils for villages with a population of more than 300, and parish meetings for hamlets

Local Government Act [1972]
Reorganised the English counties, abolished urban and rural districts, and changed many county boundaries and names, including the West Riding which became the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire. The changes came into force in 1974

Local history

The Foldout looks at some of the resources which are available to anyone with an interest in local history.

See Family history, Place names and Street names

Local Newspapers

Local Surnames
Some of the more frequently-encountered local surnames have been moved to separate SideTracks

A lock is the usual means of raising or lowering canal boats from one water-level to another.

The Foldout on Locks & Canals looks at some aspects of local canals and locks

A prison used for temporary detention for drunks and vagabonds. The typical lockup was a one-storeyed, one-celled building, often round or polygonal in shape. A blind house was a lockup with no windows.

Some lockups were purpose-built, such as Barkisland Lockup others were in parts of pubs and other buildings, such as Bay Horse, Cross Stone, Black Swan, Todmorden, Heptonstall lockup, Luddenden lockups and Stag Cottage, Heptonstall

Loco parentis
Also in loco parentis. A legal term meaning standing in place of the parent or parents

Lodging Houses

A dye used in the textile industry.

This was produced by a logwood grinder

In Celtic times, the Yorkshire area was divided into the British kingdoms of Loidis and Elmet. Calderdale was in the Elmet kingdom which was approximately equivalent to the old West Riding

London, Lord Mayor of

Long boat
Aka Narrow boat

Long ell
Serge. This was originally produced in Exeter. The Devon trade was superseded by Yorkshire in the 1700s

The yew longbow was a peculiarly English weapon. The outer layer of yew sapwood provides the flexibility, and the inner layer of hardwood provides the strength.

The bow was first recorded in a battle against the Welsh in December 1282. Henry VIII banned the use of the cross-bow which was preferred by the French. An archer could shoot 12 arrows per minute.

The English V-sign gesture of abuse is said to originate from the hand and finger position when firing the longbow.

See Archery, Butt, Crossbow, King's archer and John King

A breed of local sheep. The breed originated in the Lancashire Pennines but was bred and sold in Rishworth, Stansfield, Langfield and Heptonstall. The name comes from the local pronunciation of Lancs, the abbreviation for Lancashire

A machine used for weaving. A single loom is often referred to as a pair of looms.

In the domestic system, it required up to 8 people carding and spinning to keep one loom fully operational.

See Broad loom, Crompton & Knowles loom, Dobbie loom, Draper loom, Handloom, Jacquard loom, Picker, Power loom, Saxony loom and Wire loom

Lord Hardwicke's Act
Aka Marriage Act [1753]

Lord Lieutenant

See Deputy Lieutenant

Lord Mayor of London

Lord of the manor
The man who owned all the land and most of the property and people living in the manor.

The name comes from the Old English hlaford and hlafweard meaning loaf-warden = bread-keeper.

See Aid, Appurtenance, Avowry, Bailiff, Banalities, Bondman, Boonwork, Chancel, Chevage, Constable, Corn mill, Corvee, Cottar, Customary due, Demesne, Dower House, Escheat, Farm, Felony, Formarriage, Gallows, Right of, Geld, Go where he will, Great House, Greave, High farming, Homage, Inland, Jurisdiction, Jus primae noctis, Leyerwite, Lordship, Manor, Manor courts, Manor house, Manorial court, Merchet, Piscary, Reeve, Royalty, Sac & soc, Seneschal, Sergeant, Socage, Suit of mill, Tenant at will, Town air is free air, Villein and Warren

Land owned – and often farmed by – a tenant-in-chief or lord of the manor.

See Inland

A pair of spectacles, or opera glasses, mounted on a long handle

In 1569, a public lottery was held in London to pay for repairs to the port

A French coin worth about 20 francs.

See Foreign coins and Louis d'or

Louis d'or
A French gold Louis – first struck in 1640 – and which was accepted as currency in England during the 18th century.

In England, these had a face value of 17/-.

See Foreign coins

A period when the litigants in court proceedings were given an opportunity to reconcile their differences

Love Feasts
Meetings of the whole congregation of a church or chapel. The ritual was very simple. In reminiscence of Christ's words recorded in Matthew X, 42, large cups of water were passed round, followed by trays of buns or bread. Then, interspersed with hymn-singing, there were short addresses from various members of the congregation, often quite extempore. The lovefeast fell into disuse, though some of the large loving cups are still preserved as at Bethesda Methodist New Connexion Chapel, Elland

Low fever
Aka Typhus

Also Law. Element used in place names – such as Llads-Lowe Balder

Lower Coal Measures
Not only the coal, but the clay, sand and gravels lying over the coal measures have been an important resource for industry in the district.

In the Calderdale district, the coal is found mainly to the east of the Hebble.

See Coal mining and Westphalian series

More accurately, £ s d, the term was used to refer to the old pound, shilling, and pence currency. This was replaced by decimalisation in 1971

A small dormer window built into a church spire or roof. A feature of Gothic / Gothic Revival architecture

Groups of workers who were opposed to the machinery and the technological innovations of the Industrial Revolution and who feared the impact of mechanisation on their livelihood.

See The Risings of the Luddites

Another name for syphilis or French pox. The word is derived from and pronounced like the name of the French king Louis

A unit of length, equivalent to 5½ yards.

See Rod

The element is used in place names – such as Lumb, Lumbutts – and is derived from the Old English lumb [a pool]

Lunar Society
An 18th century group of amateur and professional engineers and scientists who met in and around Birmingham once a month – when the moon was full so as to enable them to find their way home afterwards. Many of the ideas of the Industrial Revolution evolved at such meetings.

The society was founded by Matthew Boulton. Members included Erasmus Darwin, Joseph Priestley, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood

On 7th May 1915, the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank off Kinsale, Ireland. 1,198 of the 1,959 people on board were killed. The action, and resultant loss of the lives of 128 US citizens, brought America into World War I.

See Frederick Bateson, Fred Bottomley, Empress of Ireland, John William Hollas and Titanic

Lustre fabric
Produced from combination of alpaca and mohair with cotton. Pioneered by Titus Salt

A cloth making process in which material is modified so that it displays different intensities of reflected light from different parts of the surface

A roofed gateway to a churchyard. This was originally used to shelter a coffin and the bearers until a clergyman arrived to conduct the interment.

The word comes from the Anglo-Saxon word lic meaning a corpse.

There are some local examples at Bethel Methodist Chapel, Shelf, Bradshaw War Memorial, Copley Parish Church and St John the Divine, Rishworth

The name is found in several parts in the district, such as Lydgate, Todmorden, Lydgate House, Lightcliffe, and Lydgate, Northowram. The element may be derived from the Old English meaning a false gate, a back door


© Malcolm Bull 2017 / [email protected]
Revised 16:08 on 29th November 2017 / b113_l / 65