Hebden Township Historical Data

T. F. Hammond: 1932.

This is a transcription of a newspaper article from the Craven Herald, published on 1st January 1932, which contained the reminisces of Thomas Francis Hammond (1845-1934). Thomas Francis Hammond lived all his life in Hebden, and was a prominent member of both the lay and non-conformist community.

Hammond was the son of Francis Hammond and Rose Hannah (née Whitaker). In the 1851 census Francis described himself as a lead miner, grocer and draper, and a farmer of 12 acres employing 4 labourers, and by 1881 he was farming 150 acres, with his son running the grocery and drapery business. Thomas was an acute business man - in the late 1870s he obtained the contract to provide provisions to the canteen at the Barden reservoir construction site - transported from Hebden across cart tracks to the side of the reservoir using carts and pack-horses. One elderly gentleman in the village was told by his father that Hammond had a reputation for being ruthless in the conduct of his business.

Francis and Thomas between them built Green Terrace, Angle House, and the lower houses on Chapel Lane in the 1870s, and Thomas ran his business from the old Post Office. He probably built what are now Maryan Cottage and Rosanne Cottage for his own use, hence the initials on the wall over the centre (representing his and his wife's initials). The house may have been divided when he moved into Angle House.

Thomas Hammond, and his first wife Mary Ann, were both prominent members of the non-conformist community. Thomas preached on the local Primitive Methodist circuit, and often walked as many as 30 miles a day to fulfill his preaching commitments. He was also a very active member of the community, being on the committees of all the local charities, a representative on the Parish Council from its start and its clerk for many years, represented Hebden on the Skipton Rural District Council, and served on the Skipton Board of Guardians for 30 years.

His marriage to his fifth wife when he was 85 gave him fifteen minutes of fame when it was widely reported in the national newspapers.

Photograph of Thomas Francis Hammond (1845-1934) reading in his garden
Thomas Francis Hammond (1845-1934) reading in his garden.

The transcription below is from a photocopy of made available by Alan Stockdale, for which many thanks.

The article should be read with a degree of healthy sceptism. Hammond was elderly at this stage, and his memory although impressive, was not infallible.

Hammond had an even fuller account of his recollections published five years earlier.


Mr. Thomas F. Hammond, in notes forwarded to "The Craven Herald," reveals much hitherto unpublished information concerning the village of Hebden in which he has lived the whole of his life. He is now 80 years of age.

Although it bears for the most part an old-world aspect, Hebden (says Mr. Hammond) has been almost re-built within his memory. Mr. Hammond knows it practically stone by stone and in some such detail explains the change which the past decades have wrought.

There was no day school when I was a boy, he begins: the school I attended was the Primitive Methodist Chapel. Before the afternoon service began, we had reading, writing and arithmetic taught by a man named Tommy Howson, an old soldier who had lost a leg in action. The first day school — the only one I had the privilege of attending — was in charge of an aged person named John Brown, who had been disabled by the fumes from lead ore smelting and had set up a school. The school occupied the bedroom of two cottages converted into one and continued in existence until after 1857 when the Enclosure Commissioners awarded one rood of land to the Trustees of Hebden Day School, or to be exact, the overseers and churchwardens who were the people then in control.

The same Commissioners, relates Mr. Hammond, having "alloted" Hebden Moor or Common, the overseers and others, with a majority of the ratepayers, decided that the recreation ground should be fenced in from the main street and this was done. The herbage is let by public auction to the highest bidder once every three years. He remembers that the fencing of the land put an end to the open space being used as a sort of tip which, in warm weather, produced an insanitary stench and was accountable for "various kinds of disease."

Prior to 1860, water for drinking and other domestic purposes had to be carried nearly a quarter of a mile, and you might have noticed on a Saturday afternoon numbers of people carrying water ready for use on Monday morning.

In the year 1862 the men,of the village agreed that if the owners of property would pay the cost of a tank, pipe, and the laying of a main, they would do the digging and filling up free of cost. This was done, with the result that the village had a good and regular water supply, as a rule, all through the year. A few years ago the Rural District Council took over the supply and have since got an additional supply from the moor, and also laid a new main.


Dealing with the property in the village, Mr. Hammond remarks that the farmhouse at the top of the village, occupied by Mr. D. Bowdin, remains unaltered from his earliest recollections of it. The next property, owned by Mr. Moon, is in the form of "two respectable residences" that have sprung from two cottages. A croft close at hand in which stand two empty cottages marks the beginning of a public road leading to Grassington which has been in disuse for over 40 years. Then comes a farmhouse where lived one Martin Lambert, succeeded by his son, George, and on Town Hill are four cottages, formerly two cottages and a blacksmith's shop, that belonged to Wm. Waddilove. Little changed is "Rotten Row," one of which houses was formerly a small grocer's shop tenanted by Horatio and Sabina Joy. The old Clarendon Inn, says Mr. Hammond, is how occupied partly as a grocer's warehouse. The other part was pulled down and on its site stands the premises occupied by Messrs. T. and A. Stockdale. Their predecessor was Mr. R. Bowdin, who succeeded the Joys, they being preceded by one Nancy Hudson.

The Reading Room, or Institute, was built a few years ago from accumulated money left in other days by a person named Ibbotson as a fund from which "to put out apprentices to trade." At that date a bounty, say of from £2 to £5 had to be paid„ and the apprentices had to serve for two years without wages. As time passed, no one would be bound, or pay a bounty, but instead required wages. Hence the accumulated moneys. These, with subscriptions, were employed to meet the cost of building the Institute, with the sanction of the Charity Commissioners.

A short time since, J. Stockdale, Esq., late of Harrogate, left by Will £100 for the upkeep of the Institute. This money is invested in Government securities.

The next property, owned by Mr. Hammond himself, is occupied by George Joy, previous tenants being Francis Harrison and Jonathan Hebden, the latter being in possession for 42 years. Facing his property in the writer's early days was a malt kiln. Later, it was converted into four respectable cottages, at present owned by Mrs. Hargrave.


Mr. Hammond refers also to farm property on the site of which stands the present post office and a grocer's shop and warehouse occupied by W. Waddilove. A reference to property, owned by himself, leads the writer to mention the erection of "a respectable street" in old Chapel Lane, most of the old property in which thoroughfare was owned by a family of the name of Brown.

The "front street" of the village also comes under review. Close to the barn and mistal were two cottages (now one) used as a farm-house and occupied by Mrs. Kitching. The residence of Mr. T. P. Perks was formerly a farm-house. Mr. F. Stockdale's property was at one time occupied by a widow named Mary Birch; the house next to the Wesleyan Chapel was formerly a farmhouse, occupied, with adjoining land, by one James Whitaker. The old Wesleyan Chapel, with its galleried interior, stood with its gable to the road. The farmhouse owned by Mrs. Herd, and formerly by John Lupton, is a survival of earlier days.

In a final reference to old property — he also alludes to certain new and ornate residences — Mr. Hammond mentions Hebden Mill which flourished in the cereal-growing days. Two brothers named John and Edward Cundal milled corn for the local farmers. The mill is a respectable dwelling house.

Formerly there was no way across the River Wharfe except stepping stones, and if the river was swollen there was no crossing at all. Now there is an adequate foot-bridge. It is 40 or more years since the writer and Rev. C. H. Carlisle were the means of a foot-bridge being built, but it became unsafe, hence the new bridge erected by the District Council.


Referring to the Hebden Town Lands, Mr. Hammond says the ratepayers and inhabitants reap certain benefits from rents received yearly from land owned by the township and now under the control of the Parish Council. The land is mostly on the right and left of the road rising up the hill leading to Pateley Bridge. One pasture, called by name High Bank Side, measures about 5a. 2r. 39p., Low Bank Side about 3 acres, Whygill Gap 2a. 3r. 6p., Allan Garth la. 2r. 28p., Stripe 3r. 21p., Standard Garth 2r. 7p., and an allotment on Hebden Moor 51s. 0r. 10p. In connection with the allotment, there are shooting rights for grouse shooting, which are let. The whole of the rents of the land are set apart to relieve the Poor Rate.

The township boasts several charities. One called Becketts Charity is a rent of £20 a year and shooting rent of £2 per year, alloted as a rule by trustees on December 20th and distributed on the 21st of December amongst the poor people of Hebden.

Another Charity called Ibbotson's Widows and Widowers' Charity — £2 per year to be given to four widows or widowers. The money is paid out of rents on Knowles Land and is distributed on the same day as Beckette Charity.

The Apprentices' Charity, left by a person named Ibbotson, is half the rent of a field (£8) of a field in Cracoe Raikes and now, as stated above, is applied to the maintenance of the Reading Room.