older brother James of Calf Lee took to joinery as well as farming,
and passed the trade of joinery onto his sons. He and his brother
Abraham married two sisters, Sally and Martha Fielden, who were
daughters of John Fielden the Quaker of BOTTOMLEY. He died before
his mother at the age of 63. The night before he died he was at
the School attending evening service.
youngest of the three brothers was Abraham of Knowltop. He concerned
himself with the farm work, but more importantly he became a stonemason.
His name appears in the various trade directories of the time and
he was responsible for building 4 cottages at Clough Holme, later
known as Thistle Hall. Ten years before he died, Abraham was involved
in a nasty accident with his cart. He ran over a child, a young
son of Joseph Crowther of Newbridge. The child died and Abraham
would have been distraught. He and his wife had no children of their
own and were said to be uncle and aunt to almost half the younger
generation in Walsden. When they died it is reported that over 500
people benefited from their estate. In one case the executor had
to travel to a place beyond Huddersfield to pay out a share to a
third generation family. The amount paid to them was a mere 2 shillings
and eight pence each.
Old Dame's daughters all married Walsden men, including her namesake
and youngest child Betty, who had been a toddler when her father
died. In 1813 Betty junior married William Woodhead of Allescholes across the valley.
wouldn't have remembered her father but would have been the apple
of the eye of her older brothers, especially Abraham the stonemason.
She, too, was a devout Methodist and was used to life on an isolated
farm high on top of the Walsden Moor. She would have known only
farming and weaving and the regular visits to the School for worship.
But things were changing in this rural spot. Cotton had arrived
in the valley some 30 years previously and entrepreneurs had seen
the potential. Old corn mills and other redundant buildings had
been converted to the spinning of cotton. Great water wheels were
everywhere there was water to drive them. The Masters paid people
to work in these spinning mills, enticing the younger generation
down from the hill tops and into the valley, whilst the very young,
the elderly and the less mobile stayed on the farms, employed shepherds
to care for the flocks, and wove the spun cotton in their homes.
This, too, was well-paid work especially for those with large families
when all but the babies could lend a hand. The coming of the mills
meant more work for those disillusioned or disinterested in farming,
not just inside doing the spinning, but outdoors as well. Raw materials
had to be carried, roads had to be maintained, and mechanics were
needed to keep the wheels turning.
Woodhead was a young man who preferred the outdoor life. He was
a carter, probably working for one of the new spinning mills in
Walsden. He didn't have the luxury of inheriting family held land,
as had the Scholfield sons, so he and Betty lived in the valley
in the old hamlet of Bottoms. This area is probably the oldest part
of Walsden. There were a few houses dotted about around the old
Waggon and Horses Public House, which at that time was run by Thomas
Hill late of Knowlwood. With the coming of the mills and the additional
workforce, new houses were needed. These were built around the old
ones, making one larger hamlet out of Moverley and Bottoms. It was
still pretty isolated and rural in character. Steam power had not
yet arrived. There were no tall chimneys and belching black smoke.
There was much open space where the villagers could keep livestock
and grow crops. The lanes were narrow and winding, just about suitable
for horses and carts, and the houses were built with the gable ends
to the lanes rather than the fronts as became later fashion. Shopkeepers
moved in to sell groceries, tea, and other much needed goods, thus
saving the trek into Todmorden, and Bottoms began to thrive.
canal had already been operational for some 15 years when Betty
and William married. It followed the course of the valley more or
less parallel to the ribbon-like River Calder and the turnpike road.
The canal climbed upwards, demanding many locks on its route. Bridges
had been built by each lock as well as in between them, enabling
those still on the farms to cross over to the road and make use
of the facilities of the valley.