Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion : Background Information : S

Background Information



In old documents, a non-final letter s was written as a long s = ſ For example:
mistaken » miſtaken
mistress » miſtreſs
myself » myſelf
last » laſt
parish » pariſh
persons » perſons
assisted » aſſiſted
such » ſuch
shipped » ſhipped
suspicious » ſuſpicious
This looks something like – but is not – a letter f but without the full cross bar, and possibly just a short horizontal stroke or nub on the left side of the letter.

The long s is, of course, pronounced like a regular s.

The Times of London stopped using this form during 1802, and The Morning Chronicle after 1803

An heraldic term referring to the colour black

Sac & soc
The privilege of the lord of the manor to hold a court and to impose fines.

See Franklin

A dry white Spanish wine. The name comes from the Latin/Spanish word seco for dry

A unit of weight equal to 56 pounds

Aka Vestry. A small room off the chancel and close to the altar, which is used by the clergy for robing and for storing ceremonial vessels, liturgical books, and communion equipment

A plant – carthamus tinctorius – which was used to produce a pink to scarlet dye

The dried stigmas of the purple-flowered crocus – crocus sativus – which are was used to produce an orange-yellow dye and in medicine and in food

See Autumn crocus

Saint Anthony's fire
A potentially fatal ergot poisoning caused by eating bread made with rye or other grain on which a fungus is growing. Symptoms include hallucinations, cramps, convulsions, miscarriages, and gangrene

The name was also used for erysipelas

Saint Blaise
Or Bishop Blaize.

The patron St of woolcombers and wool weavers who celebrate the St on his festival, 1st February.

In February 1757, it is recorded that a procession of woolcombers made they way through Stainland, the streets being lined with spectators for the Bishop Blaize festival.

See Bishop Blaize, Halifax

Saint John Ambulance Brigade
An English and international charitable organisation which teaches and applies first aid.

Local branches include

Saint John the Baptist
Halifax Parish Church is dedicated to St John the Baptist.

Popular legend told that a relic of the head of the St was held in the town. This is unlikely as the town would then have been a major centre of pilgrimage. No such pilgrimages are recorded.

Amongst other things, he was the patron St of cutters.

See Feast of St John the Baptist, Halifax Coat of Arms, Name of Halifax, The Halifax Seal and Rood

Saint John the Evangelist
Aka St John the Apostle.

See Patmos, St John the Evangelist, Bradshaw, St John the Evangelist, Clifton, St John the Evangelist, Warley and St John the Evangelist, West Vale

There are many Internet websites with information about the Christian Sts and their St Days

Sal volatile
Aka Smelling salts. Ammonium carbonate which was used to revive ladies who had swooned or fainted

Saladin Tithe
A tax on beer introduced by Henry II

A metal plate for browning meat, or a poker

Salt was used for preserving meat. An essential commodity, it was carried by packhorse along saltways, typically from the Cheshire salt mines.

White-salt has been heated and dried.

See Salter in placenames

The element is used in place names, such as Salter Rake Gate, and may be derived from salter-ergh meaning a shelter for salt merchants along a packhorse route

A packhorse route over which salt was carried. In Calderdale, these were often used to bring salt from the Cheshire mines.

There are reminders of the salt trade in names such as Salters' Gate

Salvation Army
Originally called the Christian Mission, the organisation became the Salvation Army in 1880, with William Booth as General.

The Salvationists came to Brighouse in 1881, and to Halifax in 1882.

Because they campaigned against the demon drink and encouraged teetotalism, fought against low wages and poverty, and supported equality of the sexes, there was popular opposition to their cause, and mobs attacked the early meetings – when the membership numbered 6 men and 10 women – with stones, as on 23rd June 1882. The strong Salvation Army bonnet evolved as a head protection against missiles and other weapons.

They held their Brighouse meetings at the Oddfellows' Hall, the Assembly Rooms, and Stott's Mission, Brighouse.

See Christ's Chapel, Elland, Elland Unitarian Chapel, Goshen Salvation Army Citadel, Todmorden, Saint Paul's Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School, Brighouse, Salvation Army Barracks, Halifax, Salvation Army Church, Holmfield, Salvation Army Citadel, Brighouse, Salvation Army Citadel, Halifax, Salvation Army Citadel, Sowerby Bridge, Salvation Army Meeting Room, Elland, Salvation Army Men's Hostel & Metropole and Stott's Mission, Brighouse

An ointment which is applied to aches, wounds or sores

Salving bench
A piece of agricultural equipment – looking rather like a curved ladder – which was used in the process of massaging a mixture of tar and butter into the fleece of a sheep. This prevented occurrence of scab and ticks in the animal.

There is an example of such a bench in The Threshing Room at Shibden Hall

The holiest, eastern part of a church, where the altar stands. In later churches, this was extended to become the chancel

See Right of sanctuary

Sandringham time
In order to allow more time for shooting, Edward VII introduced the practice of setting all the clocks at Sandringham half-an-hour in advance. George V retained the custom. Edward VIII abandoned the practice

Capital punishment

An heraldic term referring to the stain (colour) blood-red

Sanitary District
Established around 1875, and controlled by a sanitary authority with responsibility for public health, such as the water supply, the sewerage system & street cleaning.

See Board of Health, RSD and USD

A glossy cotton or wool imitation of satin

A cloth made of silk, rayon, or synthetics, in imitation of silk. The name comes from the port of Zaytoun, China from which the cloth was exported during the Middle Ages. The cloth became known in Europe during the 12th, and in England by the 14th Century

Savings Bank
Many savings banks were created around 1807, many of these by philanthropists such as Edward Akroyd – see Woodside Penny Savings Bank.

A savings bank was established by ? in Halifax in 1816.

In 1817, regulations were introduced to control the constitution and operation of such banks.

By 1820, there were 512 savings banks in Britain, and by 1841, there were 553 savings banks with over 801,000 depositors.

The national Post Office Saving Bank was established by Gladstone in 1861. This resulted in a reduction in the number of private savings banks; by 1901, only 230 remained. In 1863, Gladstone introduced his Savings Bank Act [1863], which was intended to encourage the private savings bank movement.

See Brighouse Penny Bank, West Riding Provident Society & Penny Savings Bank, Woodside Penny Savings Bank, York County Saving Bank, Yorkshire Penny Bank and Yorkshire Penny Savings Bank

Savings Clubs
An item in the Sowerby Bridge Chronicle of 10/8/1900, reported that
The institution of Savings Clubs seems to be spreading in this locality. Most of them have been completed and paid out this week. The following have been reported to us

Savings schemes & fund-raising schemes
During World War II, there were several initiatives when the public were encouraged to buy government bonds to raise money for the war effort, or simply to give money.

Some of these included: Salute the Soldier, Thanksgivings Savings, War Weapons Week, Warship Week and Wings for Victory

Saxon acre
Aka Customary acre

Saxony loom
A treadle-operated loom

Saxony wheel
Aka Line wheel. A type of spinning wheel with a foot pedal which was used for spinning flax and long-staple wool in the production of worsted

A delicate, worsted cloth similar to serge. At one time, much of this was produced in Colchester, Essex.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1811.

See Bays & says

Aka Scarr. Used in place names – such as Pickwood Scar, Sowerby Bridge, Scar Bottom, Copley, and Scar Head.

The word comes from the Old Norse skera [a cliff, rock or group of rocks], or from sceard [a gap].

For consistency, I have used the spelling Scar here

Aka Scarlet fever. A bacterial disease of children causing fever and a scarlet rash.

There were local outbreaks in 1849, and there was an epidemic in Brighouse in 1864.

See Miss Selina Porter

Scarlet fever
Aka Scarlatina This was common in the 19th century.

An epidemic of 1870/1871, included

Scheduled monuments

Schism Act [1714]

Used in place names – such as Brianscholes and Scholes, Holmfirth - the element is derived from the Norse skali and means temporary sheds or small dwellings, and may be specifically used for a temporary shelter used to tend summer pastures.

See Booth

School Board
Under the Forster Education Act [1870], a local authority was required to establish a non-denominational School Board to assess the elementary educational needs of the district. The country was divided into 2,500 districts. The School Board was to be elected by the rate-payers, and had the responsibility of identifying and then meeting these needs, building board schools in areas where voluntary organisations were unable to do so.

From the early 1900s, the school boards closed, and education was managed by the local Council's education committee

See Attendance committee, Board School, Brighouse School Board, Elland School Board, Greetland School Board, Halifax School Board, Hebden Bridge School Board, Luddendenfoot School Board, Midgley School Board, Northowram School Board, Ovenden School Board, Rastrick School Board, Shelf School Board, Southowram School Board, Sowerby School Board, Stainland School Board, Stainland-with-Old Lindley School Board, Todmorden & Hebden Bridge School Board, Todmorden School Board and Warley School Board

Schwaben Redoubt
A part of the German defence system, near Thiepval on the Somme, during World War I.

It comprised machine-gun emplacements, trenches & dug-outs.

It was captured by the British on 1st July 1916, but were forced out by the Germans later the same day.

The Redoubt was shelled by the British until 3rd September 1916. Further attacks and counter-attacks took place, until it was finally captured by the 39th Division in mid to late October 2926.

Several local men were mentioned in this engagement

Scold's bridle
A form of punishment which was used for talkative women and gossips. A metal form was strapped to the face with a metal plate to hold down the tongue and restrain the wearer

A fee paid for extracting coal from someone else's land

A levy collected for the poor. Also the rent paid by tenants to the Lord of the Manor.

A free meal was given to those who paid their scot. This is the origin of the term scot free

See Scot & lot

Scot & lot
Parish rates. Scot was a levy collected for the poor, lot was collected for church maintenance

Scotch carpet
A type of carpet. This was an alternative name for Kidderminster carpet.

See William Currer

A whip.

See Flogging

A stage in cloth-making – similar to fulling – in which the raw wool is soaked in lant and then beaten or trampled in a trough of water to clean the wool, removing natural products such as waxes, or impurities such as oil and dirt, which have been introduced during processing.

The oil from the wool is used to make lanolin

Scouring stone
See Donkey stone

Used in place names – such as Hathershelf Scout, Reddishaw Scout, Stanclif Skoute, and Watty Scout, Todmorden - the element comes from the Norse word scuti and refers to a hill or a projecting or overhanging cragg or cliff

Originally, a means of mixing wool of different colours.

Later, it was the first stage of the mechanised carding process in which the fibres of wool were separated by cards carried on rollers. Water-powered scribbling mills appeared around 1775. This was often offered as a service to small producers.

In 1756, local newspapers published a petition signed by a number of woollen workers in Leeds – including Thomas Blackburn - who protested

against the increasing number of scribbling machines which was proliferating in the Leeds area

See Piecer

A small bag carried by monks and pilgrims

Tuberculosis of the lymphatic glands, also known as the king's evil, and thought to be curable by the king's touch. Can be transmitted in milk.

The adjective is scrofulous

A unit of weight equal to 20 grains

A disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Symptoms include spongy gums, loosening of the teeth, and bleeding into the skin and mucous membranes.

In 1593, Sir Richard Hawkins recommended drinking orange juice and lemon juice as a way of preventing scurvy in the Navy.

In 1753, the Scot, Dr James Lind, advocated the use of citrus fruit as a cure

Aka Shield tax.

A tax which was paid in lieu of military service in the field

In the linen industry, this is the process of beating the soaked stems of flax to separate the fibre from the central woody core.

The work was done by a scutcher.

The process was mechanised in the 18th century.

In the cotton industry, this is the process of beating the raw cotton to loosen the cotton and the seeds, leaves, stalks and other impurities – see batting and willeying.

In the silk industry, waste silk was scutched before further processing.

See Batting, Ginning, Edward Lord and Retting

Seal Bottle
A wine bottle with an applied glass medallion or a seal personalised with the owner's name, coat of arms or a date. These were produced from the early 17th to the mid 19th century when bottles were relatively expensive


See H. Lister

The process of tearing rags for the production of shoddy and mungo, so as to remove foreign matter.

See Garnetting

Second cousin

Secondary sources
Books, or articles, which attempt to interpret and analyse primary sources.

See Source

Secret societies
There have been – and still are – a number of closed and secret societies. They are mainly benevolent organisations, established for the benefit and welfare of their members

Seditious Societies Act [1799]
This was intended to suppress secret and unlawful societies, and required that the Freemasons should submit a list of the names and addresses of their members to the Quarter Sessions

A cloth made of cotton, rayon, or synthetics. The name comes from the Persian name for the cloth shirushaker, meaning milk and sugar. The cloth is used for summer suits for men, women, and children, coats, uniforms, trims, nightwear, sportswear, dresses, curtains, and bedspreads

Lordship, dominion

A mediæval term equivalent to freehold possession, or an object given as a token of such possession.

See Disseisin and Feoffment

The ethos of self-improvement was greatly encouraged by Scottish writer, Samuel Smiles [1812-1904] in his popular work Self Help [1859] which extolled the virtues of diligence, frugality, honesty, sobriety, and independence

The smallest unit of measurement – a fraction of a furlong or of an acre – for ploughing in the arable fields of the open field system The oxen ploughed the land in a circular motion, ending with a central ridge. The boundaries of selions were often marked with stones or balks. The name acre was also used for a selion. The word comes from the French sillon [a furrow].

See Dole, Ridge & furrow, Shot and Shutt

Selling house
A house – of normal appearance – which was essentially a small warehouse where buyers could view and buy pieces of cloth. These were used as an alternative to larger cloth halls and wool exchanges. They were preferred by merchants who wanted to protect their colours and designs

Aka Selvedge. The edge of a woven fabric – which is often made of different or heavier threads than the fabric and sometimes in a different weave – and serves to prevent unravelling

Semi-detached house
Semis appeared in the late 17th century, and were widespread by the early 19th century

Sending Details of Your Forebears

A steward or bailiff who was in charge of the estate of the lord of the manor in mediæval times

A plant of a genus Cassia, especially Cassia acutifolia and Cassia angustifolia. The dried pods are used as a laxative.

See Daffy's Elixir

An old term for a week – meaning seven nights.

Compare Fortnight

September Break
A long-weekend holiday held by Halifax industry and schools at the end of September. It was introduced in 1945, and was discontinued – along with Wakes week – in 1995/6.

There was much opposition to the changes. The Unison trade union said that at least two thirds of their members wanted the holiday to remain unchanged, and the Keep the Break campaign was popular in the upper Calder Valley where parents, schools and firms all wanted to preserve the traditional holiday

Burial, or a tomb or burial place

Also sequestrate To seize a debtor's property until legal claims are met or an order of the court is obeyed

A member of a class of agricultural labourers in a feudal society.

Serfs were bound in service to a lord, working the lord's land without pay for a number of days every week and paying a percentage of their annual produce to the lord.

Serfs also had to perform extra labour in busy seasons – such as the harvest – and in return they were allowed to cultivate a portion of the estate for their own benefit; they also served as soldiers in the event of emergency.

Although serfs could not be sold like slaves, they were the property of the lord and were not free to leave the estate without the lord's permission, and they were included if the ownership of the land was transferred. A serf could not become a parish priest.

In Britain, serfdom declined after the Norman Conquest and died out completely after the 14th century, but it lasted longer in other parts of Europe.

See Tenant at will

The status of peasants – serfs – under feudalism

A strong worsted cloth, a durable twilled cloth of wool or silk and wool. At one time, much of this was produced in Taunton in Somerset and Colchester in Essex. The cloth is used for coats, suits and sportswear.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1803.

See Long ell and Says

Originally a servant who accompanies his lord into battle feudalism

A form of feudal tenure which was conditional on rendering some specified personal service to the king

Service, in
Until the mid-20th century, many girls and young women went to work in service as a cook, a maid or a domestic servant in a private household.

It was not uncommon for the young sons of the household to take advantage of the ladies

A mediæval unit of volume. It was commonly used for honey, when it was equivalent to 32 ounces

A container which was used to carry water from a well, pump, or other source, back to the house

A measure of the number of warp threads per inch

Also Set.

A sett is a small carved stone block – cuboid – used in road construction.

Setts are distinct from the naturally-shaped and rounded cobbles used in some parts of the country.

In the 19th century, granite setts were used to pave most of Halifax streets.

In the 1960s, many were replaced by a tarmac or covered by tarmac.

The residents protested that this spoilt the old-world appearance, and the setts were subsequently replaced.

See Magna and Resting stones

A wooden seat, usually with a high back. These were often to be found in pubs and inns. They may have arms, and a wooden box beneath the seat

The concept of belonging to a particular parish and thereby qualifying for poor relief from the parish. Children were settled in the parish where they were born. A woman was settled in her husband's parish on marriage. A person – such as a tradesman or an itinerant worker – who moved about, was required to carry a settlement certificate from his parish of origin to declare that, in the event of his falling upon charity, he would be received back into his parish of origin.

See Removal order and Act of Settlement [1662]

Settlement, Act of [1662]
After the Poor Laws of 1597-1601 required the parish to be responsible for the poor, this Act described how a poor person could claim to be settled – and therefore entitled to support from the parish – and avoid being returned to the place where they were legally settled The Act was repealed by the Poor Law Amendment Act [1834]

An old spelling of sugar

Sewing Machines

A unit of length. It was originally 6½ inches, but was changed to 6 inches in the 12th Century

A light, fine, woollen or worsted cloth often used for linings and for ladies' dresses. The name is derived from the Belgian town of Chalons-sur-Marne, and gives rise to the surname Challoner

Watson writes that:

The shalloon trade was introduced here about the beginning of the 17th century

White writes that:

The shalloons are woven chiefly for the Turkish market, and after being dyed a scarlet colour, are sent to the Levant, where they are mostly used for turbans

At the start of the 18th century, these superseded the coarser kerseys.

Records for Akroyd's mill show that they produced the fabric in 1803.

See Turkey red

A drink made with half beer and half lemonade

The words shay and shaw are related and are derived from the Old English sceaga [which means a copse, a wood, a thicket, woodland].

The element is used in place names & surnames – such as

  • Blackshaw = black copse
  • Bradshaw
  • Crawshaw = crawa-sceaga = crows' copse
  • Earnshaw = eagle copse
  • Henshaw = hethin-sceaga = copse by the heath
  • Kershaw
  • Ollerenshaw = alder copse

Shearing frame
A machine which did the work of the croppers.

Harmar's shearing frame was introduced in 1794 and could do the work of 3 croppers.

These – along with Enoch Taylor's perpetual shearing machine and the gig mill – were prime targets in the Luddites' demonstrations.

See William Cartwright

Shearmen's Company
A livery company originally for shearmen. In 1528, the company joined the Fullers' Company to form the Clothworkers' Company


The opening between the warp through which the shuttle is passed during weaving

Sheep Creep

Sheep farming
Monks from the Priory of Lewes were instrumental in introducing sheep farming to the district.

Cattle and sheep were – and still are – farmed throughout the district, although sheep farming was not widespread until the 19th century when newer breeds were suitable for the boggy, acid moorland.

In 1534, English farmers were forbidden to own more than 2000 sheep.

See Sam Holmes, Lonk, Pastoral farming and Salving bench

A crane or hoist for raising stone and other heavy loads

Used in place names – such as Shelf and Hathershelf - the element means a shelf of land.

This level shelf of land was typically used for farming.

See Hope

See Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds

The official who was responsible for imposing royal authority in a shire – the shire-reeve – after the Norman Conquest. He presided over the six-monthly county court.

The names scyre-man and schire-man were also used.

The office was known as Shrievalty.

See Tourn and High Sheriff of Yorkshire

A cudgel of oak or blackthorn, as carried by the stereotypical Irishman

Aka Bob. Unit of currency before decimalisation equivalent to 12d = 1s = 1/- = one shilling. For many centuries it was simply a unit of accounting and there was no actual shilling coin. The first silver coins – known as a testoon – portrayed an accurate likeness of the head of Henry VII and were introduced in 1504. After decimalisation, the coin was equivalent to 5p and remained in circulation until 1997. The symbols s and / come from Roman solidus

In 1644, Charles I introduced a three shillings coin, and a ten shillings coin in 1648. Around the same time, he introduced other unusual denominations, such as one shilling & one penny, one shilling & fourpence, one shilling & twopence, one shilling & threepence, one shilling & sixpence, one shilling & ninepence, two shillings & twopence, two shillings & fourpence, two shillings & tenpence, three shillings & fourpence, and five shillings & eightpence

See /, Florin and Penny

Ship money
In 1627, the French laid siege to the Protestant port of La Rochelle, and Charles I appealed for money to relieve the port.

In 1634, this became a general tax – ostensibly for defence – against pirates and Dutch and French ships – on all seaports and maritime counties, and this was extended to inland towns in 1635. Charles's attempts to levy it on the whole country without parliamentary consent and in time of peace, aroused strong opposition from John Hampden and others, who refused to pay. The people of Halifax – together with those of Leeds and Hull – were ordered to contribute towards the cost of three ships. 125 local people – including Robert Clay and Nathaniel Waterhouse – signed a petition refusing the order. Ship Money became a legal tax in 1637, but Parliament declared it illegal in 1641

See Composition

A cow-house, cattle-shed, byre

An older term for county.

The sheriff was responsible for imposing royal authority in a shire

A recovered wool product of better quality and longer fibre length than mungo, and reclaimed by grinding loosely-woven soft rags and unfelted materials. New wool was often added to the old material.

Shoddy-grinding – predominantly around Dewsbury – was mechanised from around 1809.

Arable farmers sometimes used shoddy as a fertiliser. It is used for growing forced rhubarb.

The name is also used for a cloth, often of inferior quality, manufactured wholly or partly from reclaimed wool. The cloth was used for making items such as funeral blankets.

Local firms involved in shoddy processing included Bamforth Binns, J. Booth & Son, William Brooke, J. W. Crossfield, Ely Garnett & Son Limited, George Henry Halstead, G. H. & J. Halstead, Ben Riley, William H. Riley, The Shoddy, Ripponden, Alfred Speak, Jeremiah Speak, Thomas Taylor and Whiteley & Pickard

See Garnet

Shoes & witchcraft
Shoes were often buried or hidden within the house in an attempt to deflect any evil spirits or curse which might be directed at the owner of the shoe

A mediæval name for the game of shove halfpenny.

In 1596, 2 men were accused of playing the game during evening prayers at Halifax Parish Church

Many 16th and 17th century houses – such as Howroyd, Barkisland and Fallingworth Hall – had a separate building for a shop, or an integral shop chamber, which was used as a workshop, for weaving or for storing cloth. Many houses have a top shop in the top storey.

The word was also used for a place where a process was carried out, as in spinning shop

Shop chamber
A part of the house which is used as a shop.

See Kilnhurst, Langfield

See Early-closing day and Late-night shopping

Shopping hours
In Victorian and Edwardian times, local shops opened at 8 am and close at 8pm (10pm on Saturdays). Shopworkers had one day's holiday a year – the first Thursday in July.

See Early-closing day and Wakes week

Short Hours Committee
Aka Short Time Committee. From 1831, the Evangelicals organised committees to campaign for a ten-hour working day in mills and factories. Richard Oastler started one in Huddersfield, and others followed in other parts of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Glasgow.

See Ten Hours Act [1847]

Short sixes
Bundles of six short candles

An alternative name for a selion

Shovel hat
A hat with a shallow crown and with a wide brim which curved up at the sides. Typically, these were worn by clergymen

The office of Sheriff

Shriving Bell
Aka Pancake Bell


See Buried in Woollen, Coffin and Winding sheet

Shrove Tuesday
The day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.

On this day, Christians traditionally eat their richer foods in preparation for the fasting of Lent. In Britain, the day is known as Pancake day.

In France, the day is known as Mardi Gras.

See Clipping and Pancake Bell

Aka Srub. A drink made from orange or lemon juice, sugar, and rum or brandy

A selion, or a number of strips of land in an open field

Device for holding the thread for weaving.

The process of sucking the thread into the eye of the shuttle was known as kissing the shuttle.

Shuttles were made from Persian Boxwood and later from West African Boxwood which was cheaper and had fewer knots, which meant that more blocks could be obtained from a single log.

In 1906, a medical report came up with the following findings

There have been many cases of illness amongst the workmen handling [West African boxwood] in the factories, and an impression has gone abroad that the sickness was due to some poison given off by the wood during the process of manufacture of shuttles. The symptoms complained of were headache, sleepiness, running at the nose and eyes, chronic sneezing, giddiness, faintness and weakness, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, nausea, etc. The patient also exhibited a pale yellowish or greenish colour on the face and body, accompanied by a particular camphor or turkey rhubarb odour from the breath and skin. After weeks of intermittent illness, these symptoms had, in two or three cases, culminated in pathological conditions which had resulted in death, the death certificate registering cardiac asthma or cardiac incompetence. I was also informed that the men who were affected had, in the course of their work, to stop, hold on to some support and gasp for breath

There were many local companies making shuttles, including John Crossley & Sons, Greenwood & Hargreaves, Greenwood & Ormerod, Bannister Halstead & Company, Handel Halstead & Sons, James, Bannister & Handel Halstead, James Harwood & Sons and Smith & Simpson.

See Flying shuttle and Spring shuttle

A general term for brothers and sisters.

The word originally meant a kinsman.

See Gossip

An abbreviation for the Latin phrase
sic erat scriptum

meaning thus was it written.

(sic) is used in the transcription of a piece of text when a word or phrase is shown exactly as written in the original text, in order to show that the word or phrase has been intentionally reproduced, not that it is an error in transcription. It is written inside brackets to show that it is not part of the original text

Siege money
Currency – made of any metal and in any shape – produced in emergency during the Civil War

An industrial disease in which the fibrous tissue of the lungs thickens as a consequence of inhalation of silica dusts by miners and masons, resulting in shortness of breath.

In 1927, a national scheme was set up for quarries which worked stone with a high silica content. All such quarries were required to join and contribute to the scheme. Funds were to be made available for workers who were disabled by silicosis, and their dependants. The local contribution was about 7d in the pound, based on the workers' wages.

See Abraham Hartley and Pneumoconiosis

Silk industry
Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire had an important silk industry. It arrived in Yorkshire with a silk mill at Sheffield in 1760.

Around 1836, several mills in Ovenden were refitted, and a new mill built, for the production of silk goods. Within 5 years, these had closed down.

The busiest period for the silk trade was around 1880 when there were 45 silk mills. Silk-spinning was a major employment in Brighouse, although there was a major decline at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1923, there was unemployment in the industry.

The production of artificial silk was introduced to Halifax around 1928

See Damask industry and Industry


A stone shelf upon which the upper lock gates rest. This is often below the water-line and the boat can capsize if the edge of the boat catches the sill as the water-level rises

Silver band
A group of musicians playing silver-plated / silver-coloured instruments. Drums and other percussion are often included.

See Brass bands

Silver War Badge
Awarded on an honourable discharge – from the Armed Services – due to wounds or illness.

See Bernard Behan

An event in which one or more choirs from local chapels & churches would gather for a choral performance.

Some examples were

The process of heating to remove the nap or lint from finished cloth. The task was achieved by passing the cloth over a flame or over heated rollers.

The process is done by a singer, someone who singes and not someone who sings

Pronunciation: Singer rhymes with ginger

See Gassing

An heraldic term meaning the left side of a coat of arms, from the bearer's point of view (that is, on the right as it is depicted).

See Dexter

A title given to knights.

In mediæval times, the title was also used for priests, such as Sir Alexander Emmott. In this context, it was an alternative to Reverend and Master

Fibres of the Mexican agave plant which are used in the manufacture of rope

See Tanner

Aka Servitor. A poor university student who acted as a servant to the richer undergraduates in order to support himself at college

Aka Slashing. The cloth-making process of dressing the yarns of the warp with starch or size – a weak glue – in order to strengthen it for weaving.

The work was carried out by a sizer in a sizing house.

In July 1871, there was concern about the quantities of kaolinChina clay – which was being added to the size when making calico and other cloth. Before the Cotton Famine, about 20% kaolin was added, but this increased to 60% or even 100%. To prevent the warps breaking in the dry conditions, the ventilation in the weaving sheds was shut down, and weavers in Todmorden expressed their worries to the Medical Department of the Privy Council about the effect inhalation of the dust had on their health

Sizing house
Factory or works where warps were sized

A measure of thread or yarn wound to a certain length on a reel. A skein of cotton is 80 turns of the thread. The standard varies with other fibres

Skeleton Army
A group founded in the 1880s which opposed and disrupted the open-air marches of the Salvation Army.

The group – originally comprising people who had a vested interest in the sale of beers, wines and spirits – attacked the members with missiles, disrupted Salvation Army meetings, made the Salvationists' processions and services difficult, and published scurrilous stories about the Army.

The riots continued until 1892

An outhouse

Skinners' Company of London
A livery company for those involved in the trade of skins and furs.

See Sir Richard Saltonstall and Sir Samuel Saltonstall

Halifax's first multi-storey flats opened at Great Albion Street on 25th April 1964. The Jumples housing opened in June 1965. By 1979, the flats at Mixenden were 70% empty

Used in place names – such as Catherine Slack and Heptonstall Slack - the word means a valley, a depression, or a hollow area between 2 higher points.

The word comes from the Old Norse slakki

Aka Sizing

In mediæval times, this was any man or woman who owed personal service to another. A slave was unable to move home or work, to change allegiance, to buy or to sell, without permission.

See Slave trade

Slave trade
During the 17th century, Britain transported many slaves from Africa to the Americas where they were forced to work on the sugar, tobacco and cotton plantations.

The Quakers were strongly against the practice from an early date. The Methodists were campaigning against it from around 1770.

In 1772, the courts ruled that slavery was unlawful in England.

Following campaigns by William Wilberforce and others, slavery was outlawed throughout the British Empire in 1807.

See Law Atkinson, Susannah Atkinson, Rev Dr Henry William Coulthurst, Dobroyd Castle, Todmorden, John Edwards, David Hartley, Samuel Hartley, Captain Francis Ingram, Louisa Ann Lister and Dr William Paley

Aka Sley, Sleigh.

A comb-like device which supports the shuttle and keeps the threads straight during weaving.

See Reed

Used in place names – such as Slead Syke – the word is Old English and means a wooded valley.

Pronunciation: The name is pronounced sledd

Sleepy sickness
Aka Encephalitis lethargica. Symptoms: headaches, double vision and drowsiness. In 1918, there was an outbreak which became epidemic in Britain – and Italy – in 1924.

On 8th May 1924 there were 2 fatal cases of sleepy sicknessencephalitis lethargica. Another case was reported at Holywell Green on 29th May 1924. The outbreak was believed to have been carried on fruit, such as bananas

Sleying hook
A small hook which is used to pull the warp ends through the reed

Slipper baths
At the time when few houses had a bathroom, the local authority provided slipper baths at the public baths. These were simply private bathrooms for public use

A rope-like string of parallel and untwisted fibres and threads of cotton or wool produced during carding.

The slivers were wound into a rolag

A small thickened section in yarn or thread. During the process of slubbing – which came between carding and spinning – the strands of wool were joined together into a continuous thread and knots were removed.

Gilling was a process similar to slubbing. A person who did this work was a slubber.

See Billy, Burl, Burling, Knop and Piecer

Slubbing dyeing
The process of dyeing combed wool for the production of worsted materials

Small beer
Weak beer which was made before the introduction of hops made the brewing of big beer possible

Small clothes
Knee breeches

Aka Putrid fever, Spotted fever. A disease common from the 17th/18th century. The symptoms were a fever and muscular pains, followed by haemorrhage and a rash which developed into closely packed pustules.

In October 1874, 32 people died in an epidemic in Todmorden. John Holmes died in April 1875.

In 1892, there was an epidemic in and around Brighouse.

On 11th February 1918, there was an outbreak of smallpox at Halifax Barracks.

See Belle Vue Smallpox Hospital, Cowpox, Halifax Smallpox Hospital, Hollins Hey Hospital, Stainland, Thomas Law, Dr Thomas Nettleton, Norland Smallpox Hospital and Vaccination

Smelling Salts
See Sal volatile

A blacksmith's workshop.

See Helm and Oliver

Smoke Penny
A Hearth Tax which was paid to the parish priest by his parishioners at Easter

Smoke Silver
See Hearth Tax

Smoke tax
See Hearth tax

Snake Bridge
Aka Roving bridge

Also Snydle. This element is found in several local place names – such as Snydal Farm, Southowram

The word may be related to the Icelandic placename snow valley

Soap Industry
Several local firms were involved in the production of soap, including

Henry Ambler
Atlas Soap Works, Elland

Bonegate Soap Works, Brighouse
Brighouse Soap Company Limited

W. L. Carter & Company

Dredger Soap Works, Halifax
Drury's Soap Works
J. H. Dyson & Sons
James Dyson & Company

Faucon, Rochette & Company
Samuel Simeon Fels

G. W. Goodwin & Son

Gledhill Hallas
J. A. Heaton
James Leonard

Soap Makers

Preston & Company

Smith & Company
William Sugden
Sutcliffe Brothers

William Teal & Company
John Turner

Victoria Soap Works, Boothtown

Whitley's Soap Works

The Zelova Soap Company

Aka Soccage. The tenure of land by service which is fixed and specific in nature and quality.

See Franklin, Socager, Socman and Sokeman

A tenant by socage

Also socage. Tenure of land by specific services or by rent. Such a tenant is known as a socager, socman, or sokeman.

See Franklin and Sac & soc

Society of Friends
Aka Quakers. A Christian Protestant sect founded by George Fox in the 17th century.

See Quaker dates, Quaker names, Slave trade and Sufferings

Society of Genealogists
Abbr: SoG. London.

Soft coal
A type of coal containing a high proportion of bitumen. It is of lower quality than hard coal.

This is found in certain eastern parts of the district, including: Fenny Farm, Hipperholme, Limed House Soft Bed Colliery, Northowram and Soft Bed Pit, Siddal.

Land – often large areas – which were attached to the manor for the payment of dues and for judicial purposes. The Soke of Peterborough was an example.

The name is used in the Danelaw and comes from the Old English socn meaning prosecution.

See Jurisdiction, Soke mill and Sokeman

Soke Mill
The mill where the inhabitants of a soke were obliged to grind their corn and pay the appropriate fees.

See Manorial corn mill

A silver coin equivalent to 12 deniers.

The name later became sou

A Roman coin.

See Shilling

The word was often used to mean son-in-law. The term son-in-law was often used to mean stepson

A process in cloth-making when the raw wool is sorted into batches of different qualities. This was done by a woolstapler

Early name for the Sol

Aka sow. A drainage tunnel in a coal mine. These were used until pumps and mechanised drainage was possible. The element is used in several local place names – such as Sougholme, Shibden.

Flat Field, Shibden has one of the earliest mentions of a pump being used in a coal mine [1755].

In 1775,

Horrocks, a Lancashire workman

was engaged in erecting waterwheels at Mytholm, Shibden

keep the colliery established there by Jeremy Lister clear of water

at a cost of around £1,000

Soul cakes
Small square cakes made of bread and currants. On All Souls' Day, people would walk around the town souling, that is, begging for soul cakes. In return, the beggars would say prayers for the souls of dead relatives of the donors

Soup kitchen
A canteen set up – often by charitable organisations – to feed to poor during times of hardship. Some are recorded in February 1902, when severe frosts brought hardship to many outdoor workers

A book or document which is used to provide information or evidence in research.

See Primary source and Secondary source

The process of bleaching with buttermilk or other mild acid

South African Wars
[1879-1915] A number of conflicts between Britain and the English and Dutch settlers and the Zulus in South Africa.

Significant were

  • The Anglo-Zulu War [1879]
  • The Boer Wars

    • The First Boer War / First South African War [1880-1881]
    • The Second Boer War / Second South African War [1899-1902]

  • The First Matabele War [1896-1897]
  • The Second Ndebele Matabele War [1896-1897]

The list of men & women who served / fell in the Wars includes

F. Aaron
Harry Ashton
Thomas Roger Ashworth
John William Ault

Edward Lawrence Baddeley
Harold Knowles Bean
Bernard Behan
Walter Binns
Albert Thomas Bird
J. Bland
James Edward Blezzard
Alfred Bottomley
Joe Leonard Bottomley
Joseph Bowker
Jesse Boyd
J. Broadbent
Edward Vanrenen Ingham Brooke
Smith Brown
Ernest Buckley
Frederick William Bull
Walter George Bush
Alfred Butterworth

Ernest Carey
Thomas Edward Carney
C. Clarke
Major Edward Feetham Coates
W. Coates
J. Conlan
J. Connolly
Harry Crossley
Sir Savile Brinton Crossley
Alexander Crossley Cunningham

Henry King Dawson

J. C. Foley
Rev C. Foskett
George William Fuller

Theodore Senior Gardiner
A. Gibson
Walter Gledhill
Samuel Greenhalgh
J. H. Greenwood
R. Greenwood
Sydney Greenwood
Thomas Greenwood

J. E. Haggerty
General Sir Richard Cyril Byrne Haking
Heath Hamer
Albert Harrington
Fred Harrison
J. Hart
Robert Hayton
Joshua Hemingway
H. Heppenstall
George Herbert
Thomas Hinchcliffe
Thomas Hinchliffe
W. A. Holden
Alfred James Holmes
M. H. Holmes
William Holt
Geoffrey Knowles Humphreys

Samuel Ingham

Morton Jayes
E. A. Johnson
P. Joyce

Willie Kenyon
Ernest Kershaw
James Hatton Kershaw
P. Kilgallon
John King

Edgar Lighting
Albert Longbottom

Colonel Frederick F. Mackenzie
T. McDermott
F. McGovern
Thomas Mercer
Fred Mitchell
James William Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell

Abner Oddy
Robert Edwin Oldfield
T. Oldfield
E. Oldham
Thomas Overend
J. Owen

Younger Sykes Parkinson
John Pickles
Rupert Henry Pickles
William Pickles
J. Pollard

Richard Quick

E. Robinson
John Ross
Edgar Louis Rushworth
Joseph Ryan

W. Schofield
Percy Scott
Fred Shipley
Charles Smith
Thomas Smith
George South
Patrick Swift

Preston Tasker
James Henry Taylor

Edward Bertram West Symes
Sam Wilkinson
Joseph Edgar Wilson 


See 1st Volunteer Battalion Duke of Wellington's West Riding Regiment, 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, Duke of Wellington's, Halifax Parish Church War Memorial, Hebden Bridge War Memorial and West View Park War Memorial

South American Railways
There are a couple of local people who are recorded as being investors in South American Railways.

  • The Lima Railway Company Limited of Peru: Samuel Watkinson of Priestley Green was a director [1899].

    From 1st January 1933, it became a subsidiary of Lima Light & Power

  • La Guaira & Caracas Railway Company Limited of Venezuela: Samuel Watkinson of Shelf Hall was a director [1908, 1935, 1939]. Alfred Watkinson was a director in place of Samuel [1939]

    In August 1939, the La Guaira & Caracas Railway was having difficulties and sought to extend a moratorium on payments of interest on its 5% Debentures for a period of 3 years through to 1st September 1942.

    The Company was still in existence in 1949

  • The Puerto Cabello & Valencia Railway Company Limited of Venezuela: Registered in 1895. Samuel Watkinson of Shelf Hall was a director [1935, 1939] Alfred Watkinson was a director in place of Samuel [1939]

Unit of currency before decimalisation equivalent to £1 = 20 shillings. Henry VII made a radical change to the monetary system by introducing the sovereign (1489), a pound coin, and double sovereign (1485) and treble sovereigns (1485) were struck but probably not for general use. Henry VIII introduced a half sovereign worth 10/- in 1544. Edward VI issued a fine sovereign coin worth 30/- in 1550. The sovereign was discontinued in the 17th century, and reappeared on 5th July 1817. The coin fell into disuse in 1917

Spa Sunday
Aka Spaw Sunday. The first Sunday in May when people visited local spas and wells, such as Hudsonites, Jerusalem Farm, Praying Hole, Simm Carr, Shibden and Cragg Vale Spa.

The waters were flavoured with liquorice to make them more palatable

Aka Black Spanish. A sweet made from liquorice.

It was made into a drink – Spanish water – which was drunk on Spanish Sunday

Spanish Armada
Following the disagreement between Henry VII and the Church of Rome, Catholic France and Spain were encouraged to attack England.

The Armada was the Catholic invasion fleet of 130 ships – galleons, merchant ships, and cargo ships – which set sail from Lisbon on 19th May 1588 in an attempt by King Philip II of Spain to invade England

Spanish Civil War
[1936-1939] The conflict began when a group of generals of the Spanish Army staged a coup to overthrow the Second Spanish Republican government. It ended with the establishment of General Franco's dictatorship

Many people from all parts of Europe – known as the International Brigade – joined the Republicans to fight against fascism.

See Ralph Fox and William Holt

Spanish dollar
A Spanish coin which replaced the moidore as currency in England at the end of the 18th century.

The coin bore the head of the Spanish king, and this was over-stamped with the head of the English king, giving rise to a popular rhyme:

The Bank to make their Spanish dollars pass
stamped the head of a fool on the head of an ass
See Foreign coins

Spanish Flu
The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 was known as Spanish Flu because it was first publicised in Spain

Spar shop
A souvenir shop. So-called because they often sold spar – minerals – which had been fashioned into ornaments

A bed canopy

An alternative spelling – and pronunciation – of the word spa

Speaker of the House of Commons
The presiding officer of the House of Commons.

J. H. Whitley held the post [1921-1928]

Special Bastard
A child born before the marriage of parents who afterwards marry. In England, unlike in Scotland, this is not legitimised by the subsequent marriage

Special constable
Aka Specials. A voluntary, part-time policeman. In 1831, an Act of Parliament gave Justices of the Peace the power to appoint special constables in times of emergency. During the General Strike of 1926, 340 specials were enrolled in Halifax for the duration of the emergency. They were also recruited during the Second World War. These were usually older men who were exempt from military service. A Police Auxiliary Messenger Service was established for boys under the age of 18 who were too young for call-up to the armed forces. From 1964, Special Constables were a permanent feature of the police service.

See Constable and Halifax Special Constabulary Band

A drug or medicine which offers a specific remedial effect on a disease, rather than a general cure

See Knur & spell and the dialect word spell

Spell & Trap
Aka Knur & spell

A vest or jacket

Spencer's Buildings, Hipperholme
Recorded in 1891

Sperm oil
Oil from the cachalot or sperm whale. The bottle-nose whale yields a similar product.

This was used in lamps. It does not readily become rancid, and is a valuable lubricant

A measure of cotton equivalent to 18 hanks.

See Spindle

A thin stick about 10 inches in length which was used with the distaff during spinning. The heavy whorl at the lower end gave the spindle momentum.

The term was retained when spinning was mechanised.

The number of spindles operated was used as a measure of the capacity of a mill.

See Spindle measure

A stage in cloth-making when the fibres and slivers of wool were drawn out, twisted, and spun into yarn. This was done with a distaff and spindle from the earliest times, and was replaced by the spinning wheel – or hand-wheel – in the 14th century. The task was often done by women and children.

Before the appearance of the flying shuttle, it took about 5 spinners to produce the yarn for one weaver.

The equivalent stage in silk processing is known as throwing.

See Piecer, Ring spinning, Roller-spinning machine, Roving, Spinning jenny, Mule Spinning, Spinning mule and Swift

Spinning jenny
The introduction of Kay's flying shuttle had increased the weavers' demand for yarn, and this was solved by the spinning jenny invented in 1763 by James Hargreaves. The machine worked with eight threads – then 18, then 40, and many more in later models – instead of the single thread and greatly accelerates cotton-spinning and yarn production. The early models were operated by hand, and it could be worked easily by children. The jenny could produce enough yarn to support 2 weavers. Hargreaves did not promote the machine commercially, and it did not completely replace the spinning wheel in cotton manufacturing – and was itself overtaken by Richard Arkwright's water frame and Samuel Crompton's mule – but, for woollen textiles, the jenny could be used to make both the warp and the weft. The name is a corruption of spinning engine.

The spinning jenny came to the Calderdale district about 1776.

See Billy

Spinning mule
A spinning device – combining Hargreaves's spinning jenny and Arkwright's water-frame – which was invented by Samuel Crompton in 1779.

Mule-spinners risked cancer of the scrotum and other forms skin cancer, through contact with mineral lubricating oils,.

In the early 20th century, this method was supersede by ring spinning

Belief system which was established around 1845.

See Mrs Hannah Longbottom Batie, John Culpan, Edith May Dempster, Hannah, wife of Elijah James Gray, William Greenwood, Halifax Spiritualist Society, Hebden Bridge Spiritualist Lyceum, Hebden Bridge Spiritualist Society, Hanson Gledhill Hey, Lyceum Assembly Rooms, Halifax, National Spiritualist Church, Brighouse, National Spiritualist Church, Sowerby Bridge, Raven Street Progressive Spiritualists' Society, Spiritualist Hall, Todmorden, Spiritualist National Union Limited, Halifax, Spiritualist Progressive Lyceum, Sowerby Bridge, Spiritualists' Lyceum, Brighouse, Spiritualists' Lyceum, Greetland, Theosophical Society, Todmorden Spiritualists' Temple, Percy Wilson and Edward Wood

Spital house
Another name for an almshouse

A 19th century temporary debtors' prison

Spontaneous human combustion
See Kirby family

Spotted fever
The name was used for smallpox, typhus and purples

Spring shuttle
See Flying shuttle

Spruce girl
An 18th century term for a woman who bears an illegitimate child

Spur Ryal
A coin worth 15/- issued by James I in 1604

See Ryal

A word used to denote an Illegitimate child

Square foot
A unit of area equivalent to 929·03 square cms.

See Foot

Square motion
Wool-combing machine invented by Sir Isaac Holden and Samuel Cunliffe Lister

A squire who was also a priest/parson. The term was used in the 18th/19th century

Aka Hagioscope. A small, angled opening in a wall to give a view of the altar from outside the sanctuary. This may have been provided for the sick to observe the church service

The major landowner in a parish. He served as a Justice of the Peace and was involved in local affairs.

In the 18th century, his younger son was often the rector or vicar.

See Esquire

See Shrub

Staircase lock
Aka Riser. A sequence – or flight – of locks in which the top gate of one lock is the bottom gate of the lock above. These are used when the land is very steep. There is a famous five-rise lock on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Bingley which raises boats through a height of about 60 ft

Aka Staithe. The end of a rail which is laid for loading material into a canal boat. The term comes from the Old English word staeth [a bank]

Used in place names – such as Wainstalls – the element means a place – or pasture – for cattle.

See Tunstall

A rent or tax paid for the privilege of setting up a stall at a market or a fair. This was not paid by hawkers or peddlers

One of the 4 legs of a loom

A wooden beam or post.

See Riding the stang

This element, with forms Stannary and Stannery, is used in a couple of local place names – such as Stannary, Halifax and Stannery End, Sowerby.

It seems unlikely that it had any connection with tin or tin-mining, as is the case in many parts of Britain. It has been suggested that it is a corruption of stony on account of the quarrying which took place in the area

The fibre or thread of wool as it is obtained and before processing. A single fleece comprised many different staples and grades of wool. Worsted and stuff are made from wool with long staples, whilst wool with shorter staples is used for making cloth. Wool with longer staples came from Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

See Woolstapler

Starfish Sites

A type of narrow boat used on the Bridgewater canal and on underground waterways. The name comes from the skeletal appearance of the distinctive, ribbed construction

Stattis fair
Aka Statute fair

Statute Fair
Aka Stattis fair.

See Hiring Fair

Statute of Labourers [1351]
After the Black Death, the shortage of agricultural labourers led to higher wages.

This Act attempted to return wages to their levels before the plague and demanded that no man was to take higher wages after the Black Death than he had received before.

See Hiring Fair

Statute of Mortmain [1279]
Legislation which limited or prohibited mortmain, the giving of property to religious houses

This element occurs in several local place names and may be derived from steps, stepping-stones, or stoop

Steam power
After James Watt and Matthew Boulton built the first steam engines, these were used to drive spinning machines in Nottinghamshire in 1775, and in the Calderdale area by 1790. Steam engines were able to drive larger machines than water power.

When steam power began to replace water power about 1820, some of the smaller water-powered mills were abandoned, and others were converted to steam.

In the 1820s, James Akroyd & Son were the first mill to use steam-powered machinery.

With steam power came an increased demand for coal. To enable coal to be brought to the mills, new mills were built in the valleys and near major roads, and no longer had to be sited near streams and rivers.

The workers' fear that the introduction of steam power would put them out of work led to the Plug Riots

Also steaner and stainder.

The debris – stones and gravel – which are left after a river has flooded.

George Redmonds records a conveyance in 1581 by which Thomas Pilkington sold to Mr Armytage

one parcel of land and water containing ... one acre of thereabouts, commonly called a steanor, adjoining and lying along the south side of the Calder

The element is used in certain place names, such as Steanor Bottom, Todmorden

Steeple Tax
The Quaker name for the Church rate

An archaic term for ladders

A step – or a set of steps – which are provided to allow pedestrians to cross a wall or a fence, but to prevent access by sheep and cattle.

Some of these also take the form of a swing-gate set within a vertical cylindrical frame

A type of beer

To limit someone's rights of pasture

Stipendiary magistrate
A paid magistrate appointed by the Home Office. He was appointed in municipal boroughs and in places of 25,000 population, and had all the powers of two Justices. Under the Municipal Corporations Act 1882, he is required to be a barrister of 7 years' standing

A young cow or ox, heifer or bullock.

See Stirk Bridge, Sowerby Bridge

A close-fitting cloth worn around the neck

A unit of weight equal to 14 pounds = 6·35 kilogram. 2 stones = 1 quarter.

See Quarter

Stone Age
See Palæolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic

Stone casing
Most mediæval houses were built with timber frames.

By the mid-16th century, more stone was being used for building, and, from about 1580, there was a fashion – a great rebuilding – during which many timber-framed houses were cased in stone. This was more likely to be done as family fortunes increased.

The Savile family were some of the first to indulge in this fashion – see the Old Cock, Halifax.

By the 17th century, houses were being built entirely of stone

Stone quarrying
There have been stone quarries in the district since the 14th century.

See Southowram's Quarries, Delves & Mines

Stone square method of brewing
A method of brewing beer in square stone vats. This allows high levels of carbon dioxide to build up in the beer, giving it a unique smoothness and flavour. The method was by Timothy Bentley around 1800. The stone from Elland was used in Bentley's original design

The style and form of stonework can be diagnostic when trying to determine the age of a building and/or the date of its construction.

The images show some examples of domestic and industrial stonework with (where known) an approximate date of the building

Question: Please email me if you can add any other examples to this collection


See Dates of some local buildings

A beer which is an extra-strong, darker and sweeter version of the alcoholic drink porter. Made with roasted malt and a relatively high percentage of hops. Usually served with a thick foaming head

The many different grades are obtained by varying the grist and the hops, and the temperatures of mashing and sparging. The alcohol content is between 4% and 7.5%. Many brewers produce their own special brands, such as Invalid Stout, Dandelion Stout, or Oatmeal Stout

A term which was used in records from the 17th century to denote a coloured person, such as might have come from Africa or India

Used in place names, the word means a difficult path and uses a form of the element sty

A urinary infection

Street names
The Foldout looks at some aspects of local street names.

See Names

A place where yarn was stretched on a frame by means of hooks fixed to a post.

See Stretchgate Lane, Pellon and Tenter

A unit of capacity and volume equal to 2 bushels

General Strike
In the 1920s, a royal commission recommended a cut in wages for coal miners. Mine-owners also wanted longer hours. After talks broke down, the TUC called a national general strike from midnight on 3rd May 1926. The miners were quickly joined by workers from other industries. There were numerous marches and demonstrations by – and for – the strikers. After 9 days, the TUC ended the strike, but the miners stayed on strike until November.

See Hebble Bus Company

A cow which has not calved since last Easter

A general name for cloth or any woven textile, but especially woollen cloths without a nap.

The term is often used as a synonym for worsted textiles, which are distinguished by being woven from wool with long staples.

A stuff merchant dealt in such cloth.

As with worsted textiles, stuff was the major concern of manufacturers in Bradford and Halifax

Sturdy rogues
See Vagrants

Also Stigh, steigh. Used in place names, the word means a steep path and ascent.

Another form of the element is also used in Strangstry

The lord of a large manor might subdivide the manor into several smaller sub-manors and grant the right to hold courts within these divisions. These evolved into smaller independent entities with their own manor house and deer park. The manor of Wakefield had several such sub-manors, including Halifax, Heptonstall, Brighouse

Subsidy Roll
A record of the taxes paid by individuals in a township.

These were recorded from the 12th century.

GENUKI has many examples

See Subsidy Rolls [1379]

Sudan Campaign
[1881-1899] The British actions in the Anglo-Sudan War or the Mahdist Revolt.

The Siege of Khartoum [1884-1885] was an important incident in the Campaign.

See James Pratt

Any punishment or penalty – such as fines, imprisonment, seizure of goods or property, and beatings - imposed on a Quaker on account of their beliefs

Meetings were asked to send in their own lists of sufferings, and then Joseph Besse compiled these into 2 volumes with the title

A collection of the sufferings of the people called Quakers, for the testimony of a good conscience from the time of their being first distinguished by that name in the year 1650 to the time of the act commonly called the Act of Toleration granted to Protestant dissenters in the first year of the reign of King William the Third and Queen Mary in the year 1689

A supporter of the movement for women to be allowed to vote in elections in the UK.

Many suffragettes either refused to appear on the 1911 census or defaced the forms.

Many local links to the movement have included Mary Alice Barker, Lizzie Berkly, Lillian Cobbe, Mrs Dinah Connelly, Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, Lavinia Saltonstall and Mrs Laura Willson

Suit of mill
The obligation to go to have corn ground at the mill of the lord of the manor

A measurement of land – used outside the Danelaw – and equal to 2 hides.

See Yoke

Summit level
The highest pound in a canal into which the main supply of water is fed to maintain the level in the canal

A packhorse

Sumptuary Law
A law which was intended to restrict personal expenditures with a view to curtailing and discouraging extravagance and luxury. They apply to consumption and use of food, drink, dress, furniture, and possessions, and were imposed on religious or moral grounds, and for the good of the state. Some laws simply controlled prices and wages, whilst others legislated about specifically what could and could not be done:

  • The quantity and value of clothing which could be bought was controlled

  • The poor were not allowed to wear wide sleeves

  • The poor were not allowed to wear coloured or patterned clothing

  • The poor were not allowed to ride in carriages

  • The number of courses which could be served at a meal was controlled; the Roman lex Orchia of 181 BC

  • The number of minstrels which could perform at a wedding was controlled

Edward III and Henry VII introduced sumptuary laws

Sunday-school treat
An event when the scholars at a Sunday school were given a party. This was usually in the open air and involved light refreshments and some form of entertainment. It was often the anniversary of foundation of the Sunday School

The Foldout collects the entries for some of the sundials which are to be found in the district

A ritual performed in some local mills, in which a new male employee had his trousers pulled down by one of the female workers

Sunrise & sunset
The Foldout presents a table showing the times of sunrise and sunset at Halifax, West Yorkshire

Sunshine Club
A social club for elderly people. There were – and still are – many of these in various parts of the district


An official or substitute who is appointed by ecclesiastical judges. They must by canon law be grave ministers and graduates, licensed preachers, or bachelors of law or masters of arts. Under the Marriage Act 1823, a surrogate for marriage licences must enter into a bond of £100 with the Bishop to perform his duties properly

A double-breasted, close-bodied suit

Suvla Bay, Gallipoli
The landing at the Bay [6th August 1915] was an unsuccessful attempt to break the deadlock of the Gallipoli Campaign

A farm-worker, a herdsman

Swan's neck
A curved bar at the stern of a canal boat

Sweating sickness
Aka the English disease.

A fatal, violent inflammatory fever which was epidemic in England and Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries – possibly a virulent form of influenza. The symptoms began with shivers and giddiness, followed by pains and sweating. Any victim who lived longer than 3 hours after onset was considered to be safe.

Outbreaks appeared in London in 1507, 1518, 1528, and 1551.

Possibly brought back by visitors to St Bartholomew's Cloth Fair in London, the disease reached the Halifax district in August and September 1551, and about 45 people died

A metal frame, rather like an umbrella, which was used for domestic wool-winding

Swing Riots
Demonstrations by agricultural workers protesting against the tithe and the introduction of farming machinery. They also demanded higher wages.

The riots were mainly in the south and eastern counties of England, and began in Kent in June 1830 and ended in December 1830. The protesters damaged barns, hay stacks, threshing machines and sent threatening letters signed by Captain Swing, the Kent rick-burner. The riots spread throughout England and 19 people were executed, 481 transported and 644 imprisoned

Used in place names – such as Hellewell Syke and Slead Syke – the word is of Old English origin and means a small brook, often one flowing through flat or marshy ground.

The name is often used with the sense of a water spout, rather than simply a water source.

It is a source for the surname Sykes.

The word may be related to the Icelandic siki [a rill flowing through marshy ground]?

A venereal disease known as French Pox, or the great pox, as distinct from smallpox. The disease is caused by the organism Treponema pallidum and was brought from the new world by Columbus's crew. In the early period, it was simply a contagious disease without the sexual connotations.

The name bad blood was also use for the disease.

In the 19th century, 25% of all European men were syphilitic.

See General Paralysis of the Insane


© Malcolm Bull 2017 / [email protected]
Revised 21:26 on 7th December 2017 / b113_s / 144