Friday, 27 November 2015

Fascinating history of Holden Park and a gripping 17th century court case over rival corn mills

Above: Upper Holden photographed from Spring Crag Wood with the Leeds-Liverpool canal and the Silsden township beyond. The history of Holden Park is told by Tom Steel in an absorbing study, which he completed in 1979 and can now be viewed online.  
Above: Farm buildings at Upper Holden viewed from near Holden Bridge in Holden Lane. Mr Steel has traced the history of the farms and farmers in Holden Park since the early 1600s. The farms include Howden House and Low Holden.
Above: Mr Steel reveals that these farm buildings are on the site of Holden Beck corn mill, which, built by Lady Anne Clifford and completed in 1653, was the subject of a 15-year court case. Lady Clifford built the mill because the sole Silsden corn mill, dating back to 1122 (on what is now the site of Myers building supplies in Keighley Road), allegedly had a defective water supply and was inadequate for the needs of the increasing population. The court ruling forbade the use of the Holden Mill and led to closure and ruin.
Above: another of the farm buildings at Upper Holden, which is now the home of renowned poultry supplier Edward Boothman.
Above: this photograph shows the same building around 1930 when Upper Holden was partly farmed by the Gill family. The Gill name is on the board over the door advertising teas and refreshments, which were popular with walkers on the route from Utley to Silsden. Mr Steel's major study can be viewed online by following the links at