Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

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janiekat
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Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by janiekat » 01 Nov 2015, 20:42

Hello - fascinated by the remoteness and dereliction of this place, can anyone shed any light on its history and more especially how it has come to be left to rack & ruin? Land Registry records are non-existent..............

Thanks,
Jane.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by PanBiker » 01 Nov 2015, 21:00

Hello Jane and welcome to the site, I'm fairly sure Wendy will have some information, she lives higher up the valley and am sure will find your post. I seem to remember some pictures she put up in the walking thread as this is one of her routes down into town.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by janiekat » 01 Nov 2015, 21:14

Thanks Ian for the welcome! Just seems so sad that when people breathe life into abandoned properties all over the place that this one is left alone, and seems to have been empty for years......
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Wendyf » 01 Nov 2015, 21:32

Hello Jane, welcome to the site. Fiddling Clough is a wonderful looking place isn't it? I get quite emotional every time I see it. It is in remarkably good condition to say it has been empty for so long...probably because it is so far off the beaten track. I imagine that the cost of putting in a track and electricity would be huge and that may be why it has been left empty. The Earby History Society has some good old photos from when it was lived in....some stories about the people who lived there as well, I will see what I can find tomorrow.

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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by janiekat » 01 Nov 2015, 22:04

Thanks Wendy. Oddly enough I haven't seen Fiddling Clough myself yet but my parents walked past it recently and have told me all about it. It's captured my interest mainly because it's derelict & is in such a beautiful place - the two don't add up! But I get what you mean about modern amenities. I've looked through the internet to find out what I can about it & I can't wait to see it when I'm back home. Would love to see pics of it when it was somebody's home & to know more about its history. Feels sad for it to be bereft.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Stanley » 02 Nov 2015, 04:28

Jane, I get the same feeling whenever I see an abandoned dwelling in the countryside. It has been a home and there is always a history. It is off my usual beat but I have a few snippets I have picked up during my research....
Craven Herald article 1944; Described as 'Fiddling Clough' the auithor says it is a pleasantly placed farm formerly occupied by Mr Sylvester Lowcock and more recently by Mr Richard Wilkinson.

Here's an excerpt from Earby Reminiscences which is on the site;

Scenes Above the Clough
Amid their deprivations the people occasionally made merry, and one of the most notable occasions was "the opening of 'John o' Ned's 'en 'oil." He was a queer character this John o'Ned's, but usually a quiet, harmless sort of man. He lived at 't' Fiddling Clough,' which was rather like a hospital (a refuge), where anybody without a home of their own could find lodging. He took it into his head to build a new 'en 'oil (hen cote) on the edge of Wentworth Moor. above the clough, and he had a lot of chaff to take; but he astounded all his mates by telling them there was going to be an "oppening," and a "reight good do." He actually got the consent of the village brass band to come, and some sports of a very primitive nature were arranged. The band led a motley procession through the streets of Earby, and there was no lack of spectators, who followed in their train. Some of the processionists were on ponies and donkeys, some had their trouser linings turned out, and there were others who carried strings of dumplings, and other eatables. Up the Mill Brow they went, over the Brigstones, up the Dark Lane, until they halted in a field on the edge of the moor. While the eatables were being prepared the donkey and pony races took place, to the unrestrained merriment of the crowd, and more than one rider was thrown over the head of the unwilling beast. Among the riders were two men, known as Bill and Harry "Coventry,” because they were mechanics who had come from the Midland town to set up machinery in the mill. Than there were two tailor brothers, "Priest" and "Needles" (Jack and Billy Briden).
Eating dry teacakes was a tame affair compared with what followed - eating hot dumplings from a greasy plate without knife and fork. Behind the 'en 'oil there was some rising ground, and the contestants stood behind the stone structure, and their plates rested on a stone ledge or shelf. The exhibition was in full view of the hilarious throng, and no modern forms of entertainment could provide such a "star turn."
In the fall of the evening dancing took place to the enlivening strains of the brass band, and actually at the close, someone struck up "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," because it was the beginning of a new life for "John o' Ned's." "It was a day!" said my informant, Mr. Edmondson, and he was there to see!
Craven Herald and Pioneer July 22nd 1938
Transcribed by Bob Abel, used with his permission.
These articles also appear on the Earby & District Local History Society web site
2654 words
April 17, 2005
jt

1788 will of John Shackleton of Pasture House, gent. (Barrowford)
To daughter Mary the messuage called Fiddling Clough in Thornton, also £1000.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Wendyf » 02 Nov 2015, 10:35

Fiddling Clough Laithe is an outbarn belonging to the farm Jane, though the position of the writing on maps makes it easy to confuse the two.

This is a bit about the farm from Stephanie Carter's book "A Look Back at Farming in Earby"

"Located below Dodgsons, at the top of Dark Lane, in Thornton Parish. It was once owned by Thornton Church and purchased in 1919 by Amos Nelson of the Gledstone Estate. Tom Jaques rented it from Amos Nelson and my grandfather Amos Holden managed the farm for him in the 1920's and 30's. Other tenants have included the Lowcocks; John Wilkinson or John o' Neds who had the spectacular opening of his hen hoil on the moor; a Mrs Bailey who had regular prayer meetings; Fred Waddington who mended boots and clogs; Arthur and Frank Waddington who were members of the brass band. In 1949 the farm was sold by Amos Nelson to Tom Lumb who had the paper mill at Skipton. The last tenant was Group Captain Hartley from Liverpool. The house still stands but is derelict and David Wood of Oakslack owns the land."

The early history of the farm is covered in Dennis Cairns " Marlfield Papers" which I have attached as a pdf.
marlfield papers (1).pdf
Stephanie Carter one of our history society members, wrote these articles about life at Fiddling Clough for the Earby Chronicles in 2004/5.

LIFE AT FIDDLING CLOUGH IN THE 1920’S AND 30’S By Stephanie Carter .
In 1921 Amos Holden and his family moved from Lothersdale to manage Fiddling Clough for Tom Jacques of Thornton Hall. In fact the farm was owned by Sir Amos Nelson, rented by Mr Jacques and managed by Amos Holden. Tom Jacques was a good and generous man, a bachelor, who walked to the Clough each Sunday, in light coloured boots and a collar and tie. He would look round the stock, pay Amos his wage and spend a little time with Rachel in the house, often taking Bluebird toffees for the children. Cattle and sheep were walked to and from Thomton Hall and Fiddling Clough up Wysick. Originally from the Hubberholme area, when Tom Jacques left Thomton, he returned to manage the pub at Cray. Amos and Rachel already had 5 children Ralph (b 1911), Marian (b 1912), Edith my mother (b 1915), Kenneth (b 1917) and Harriet (b 1920); with Maurice(b 1922), Mary(b 1925) and Doreen (b 1928) being born at Fiddling Clough. It was a small farm of just over 30 acres and the neighbours were Rushtons at Windlefield, Proctors at Marlfield,, Parkers at High Gate a n d Chapmans at Oak Slack - beyond Chapmans was the Mount. Fiddling Clough, Oak Slack, Marlfield, Lower and Higher Vargus, Dodgsons and Windlefield were all standing in the 18 h century. There was no electricity and no mains water. There was a big low living room, kitchen, cellar and three bedrooms. The meadow attached to Windlefield at the top of Dark Lane on the way to Fiddling Clough was arable land at one time and is still called the cornfield. In the 1920s and 30s Dark Lane was passable for horses and carts. It is now overgrown and impassable. At the bottom of Dark Lane is the Brigstones and waterfalls, a once very popular beauty spot. Sometimes the children walked down the lane for shelter, but mostly down the fields. Clogs were hidden in the wall at the bottom for the return j joumey . As they grew up and went dancing at the Parish Rooms, the girls would go in long dresses tucked up with elastic, carrying their shoes under their arms. At the Brigstones they changed out of their clogs, put them in the wall, changed into shoes and let out the elastic from their dresses. At the top of Dark Lane going down to the Clough was the football field, where a team from Earby used to play. The children played football and cricket here, the boys making their own bats. Fiddling Clough is set in a deep ghyll near the edge of the moor and there were two ways in and out - from Earby up Dark Lane and from Lothersdale left at Dodgsons Lane. Once a year a motor rally would make its way down Dodgsons Lane, across the moor and down Dark Lane. The coal man used to deliver coal by the ton down Dodgsons Lane; it came in big lumps and had to be broken with a hammer. At one time on a Monday a greengrocer, Mr Lowcock, visited the farm with a horse and cart. At the Clough there were two out barns, or laithes, where young cattle and pigs were kept at opposite ends of the land. There were rats there, and sometimes tramps would sleep there. On the moor where the grass was poor, Amos built a pig hut and the pigs were taken to the top laithe in winter. 1 00 pigs were kept on the moor at one time, often having litters of up to 16. They were fed up and taken to market down Dark Lane. The Tempests at Kelbrook had a wagon and they moved them to market from the Brigstones. Sometimes on a Monday Amos would take the horse and float to Skipton with a load of pigs with a net over them. Cattle were kept in the low barn. Looking at the front of the house from across the ghyll, it seems to be split into three sections.At the Earby end of the building was a stable for two horses with bawkes up above with hay for the horses. Under the horse stable there was a cellar, where the salted pig killed for Christmas was kept. Outside were some steps up to the middle section of the building where the Holdens lived. There was an empty house at the top, where an Irishman slept in summer. The Holdens had the same man, Michael for many years, to be followed by one of his relatives. They were staunch Catholics and walked down into Earby every Sunday. After mass at 12 o'clock they went for a pint or two before returning to work in the afternoon. Downstairs in the top house was storage for various things including coal, proven bins and corn for animal feed. Large 12 stone bags of flour were delivered by the proven merchant. At the Earby end there was a place for the pigs, a cart house for the float and two carts and kennels for the dogs There was an outside bucket toilet with a wooden seat and newspaper hung on a string behind the door. It was such a long way to go when it was dark, and the children went in twos, with either a paraffin lamp or a jar with a candle in. There was one seat and Amos had to empty it. Kenneth kept hens and ducks in little stone huts, two on each side of the beck, and bought two huts for the three cornered field. He used to take the eggs to sell down Earby and had his regular customers, including Eddie Broughton's shop opposite the Conservative Club. He also bred pigeons and built a hut in the upstairs window of the place next door. In front of the house was a garden with lupins, rhubarb and currant bushes. Amos was a jack of all trades and a real horse man. He kept pigs, horses, young and laying off cattle and sheep; the sheep being dipped in the stream more towards the moor, and the last job was to throw the dog in. On one occasion a group of scouts from Liverpool came to camp down the ghyll. They got their water out of the beck - it wasn't very clean, after being used for sheep dip. There were lots of trees down the steep sided ghyll, with magpies and crow's nests and the children played for hours climbing them, and raced up and down on one wheeled bikes and go-karts, sledges in winter. Cows were hand milked and the milk used by the family; the shippon was towards Marlfield. Haytime was hard with all hands on deck. Amos was very crafty when turning the swathes - he was in front, then the children and the Irishman at the back - they had to keep up; there was no messing about. My mother Edith helped outside - she was at the end of the row before Marian reached the middle. A barrel of beer and a barrel of ginger beer were kept in the cellar at haytime, and large jugs of tea and a picnic basket were taken to the hay field. Winters were often harsh and brought a lot of snow, when sheep had to be rescued from the drifts. When the snow drifted up the walls, the sheep got under the walls and the children had to look for them; when they saw a small hole, the sheep would be below and Amos would come to dig it out. The snow was up to the top of the door on many an occasion and the children walked on top of the frozen snow, wall high, to school. On occasions they couldn't get down to school and Grundy the school bobby was sent up from Alder Hill to give Amos a rollicking. It was here at Fiddling Clough that the family of eight children grew up and all harboured fond memories of their childhood all their lives.
To be continued in the next edition

LIFE AT FIDDLING CLOUGH IN THE 1920’SAND 30’S (PART 2) by Stephanie Carter
Rachel Holden had a hard life at Fiddling Clough but she enjoyed her family of 8 surviving children who had a great time living at the farm on the edge of the moor. She was a placid and remarkable person. Downstairs, in the middle section of the farm building where the family lived, was a big kitchen and pantry with stone slabs. The living room had low ceilings and there were two tables. Many hours were spent cutting up old coats, dresses and cloths to make rugs for the flags. Rachel had a hook to make wonderful patterns. Knitting and embroidery were favourite evening pastimes. Up the wooden stairs Amos and Rachel slept in the first room; there was a gap at the top of a partition separating it from the next room. You had to go through this room to get to the middle room, in which were three beds and a fireplace. Top coats were put on the beds for eiderdowns and on the floor at the sides of the beds to get out on to. Fires were lit only when someone was poorly, and the children sometimes slept three in a bed, short side on if there were visitors. Originally the middle room was for the girls, but when the boys went into farm service, Marian and Edith moved into the end room, from where a door led into the house next door; this had a bar across and the children used to dream of someone coming through. The children all had jobs to do inside as well as out. The lads got in the coal and chopped the wood. The girls washed up in stone sinks, which were difficult to keep clean. There was a big churn to make butter, and all took their turn to twine the machine handle. This churn had a glass on top, and if it was clear the butter was being made - sometimes it took up to two hours. Lamps had to be filled and the glasses cleaned. Monday was washing day. Rachel would put on the set pan in the corner of the kitchen, make a fire underneath to bring the water to boiling point and fill the pan with buckets of water. There were two dolly tubs - in one would be soap cut up in little pieces and the other had dolly blue in it. Tablecloths, whites and towels were boiled in the set pan. There was a pole to fish them out and they were always as white as snow. Then the clothes had to be twined through the mangle - sheets had to be folded straight first. Rachel was washing from the time the children went to school to them returning home - all day long. Clothes were passed down and Rachel did plenty of patching, mending and darning. Tuesday was ironing day. There was a rack and at the front were all the pillow cases and tablecloths; the knickers and vests were at the back; it was on a pulley to let it down. Wednesday was cleaning upstairs. Rachel used to write a note out for Amos when he went shopping and often he turned up late and didn't bring half the ingredients - he used to cross half of it off. Amos carried up potatoes, paraffin and heavy goods on the float. On Mondays he went to Skipton and sometimes Keighley to see his relatives. He would bring haslet from the market and sausages from Prestons of Colne or John Willie Smith in Earby. There was always a roast on Sundays, warm up on Monday, potato ash the next day - a joint of meat lasted a long time. A pig was always killed for Christmas: Jim Parker from Highgate, with the help of three or four men to hold it down would kill it on a three legged bench. Nothing was wasted; it was cut up and put on slabs in the cellar and Amos was an expert at rolling bacon and hams. Saltpetre used to be rubbed into the bones, and as there were no fridges, four hams were hung up in the house. The meat went green on the outside, but it was beautiful inside. The blood drained from the pig was used to make black puddings. Thursday was baking day. Bread was baked for the whole week; it was kneaded and put in front of the fire to rise. One and a half pounds was then weighed out and put in a loaf tin and left to rise again. 8 loaves were put in the oven at once. Rachel baked 20 pounds at once, twice a week in haytime. She also made currant teacakes. Then she made pastry for onion and potato pasties - this was for tea every baking day. She made sad cakes cut into eights, custards, rock buns, and parkins which the children had at night. When she had finished there were two tables and the window bottom full of things she had made. The oven was by the fire with big chunks of wood underneath. The children collected dead wood down the ghyll and the fire was started with coal, then wood. There was no temperature gauge and it was marvellous what Rachel could do. Friday was cleaning downstairs. It was also bath night, when the set pan was put on and the bath filled; two girls got in at once; the water was tipped out and filled again for the lads. The bath was hung up in the old house next door and brought into the main room in front of the fire. 8 o'clock was bed time. Sometimes in summer the children would go to their aunt's house in Keighley- it was quite an experience; there were trams to take them to all parts of the town, the market to explore and Aunt Harriet would make the girls new dresses. Also in summer lots of friends from Earby and relatives from Lothersdale and Colne used to walk up to the Clough, often taking sweets for the children, and they had a great time. On Sundays everyone got dressed up, as this was the principal day for visitors. Sometimes on a Wednesday Rachel would go to Jew's Alley below the old market hall in Colne, where goods were cheaper. Whit Monday was walking day and the family went to Skipton in their Sunday best. The bus went from the Red Lion to Skipton. Amos would go drinking - beer was 2d a pint - and the others watched the procession - it was a day out. On one occasion they went from Fiddling Clough on a day out to Blackpool. Rachel went to a fortune teller there; she told her her husband would live longer than her. When she got back home, she stopped paying insurance on Amos' life! At Christmas the children would hang up their stockings, and would get some nuts, an apple and an orange. The family made their own fun. A Christmas tree was put up and paper chains glued together. Geese were kept on the farm and one was roasted for Christmas. The goose grease was put on the children's chests on a piece of flannel when they had a cold. The doctor was rarely called, as Rachel nursed the children herself. Doctor Niven had to be taken up in the horse and cart when one of the children was born. All the children left school at 14; the boys going into farm service and the older girls into weaving at Watson's shed. The family left Fiddling Clough in 1936 and lived in Cowgill Street; electric lights, running water and other modern conveniences must have seemed like paradise.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by PanBiker » 02 Nov 2015, 10:43

I have moved this topic here into the Local History thread, I just realised it was in the Practice Posting thread which gets automatically purged of posts. Too much information to lose. I will PM the original poster so she can find it.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Wendyf » 02 Nov 2015, 11:43

An early photo of the farm.

Image

And later...

Image

I took these last year;

Image

Image

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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Stanley » 02 Nov 2015, 15:31

Love the pics and also Stephanie's articles. So much from the 1930s that I recognise.....
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by janiekat » 02 Nov 2015, 20:10

Thank you Wendy for all of the fascinating information and the pictures, it's really kind of you to have dug it all out. I'll share it with my parents too who have lived locally since the 1940's - they'll be really interested in lots of the info. It sounds like Fiddling Clough was a busy household, and it looks so big and in good condition really, so it makes it more sad that it's empty now. I look forward to seeing it later this month.Thank you again.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by janiekat » 02 Nov 2015, 20:11

PanBiker wrote:I have moved this topic here into the Local History thread, I just realised it was in the Practice Posting thread which gets automatically purged of posts. Too much information to lose. I will PM the original poster so she can find it.
Thank you.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Wendyf » 03 Nov 2015, 08:28

No trouble Jane, it's always good to get an excuse to draw information together into one place. Stephanie's account of life at Fiddling Clough in the 1920's and 30's must apply to most small farms in the area.

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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Moh » 03 Nov 2015, 14:43

What a shame, it looks a good building.
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Stanley » 04 Nov 2015, 04:36

You're right Moh and Wendy, it applies to other places outside the local area. When I was at Whatcote in Warwickshire we had no mains services, the outside earth lavatory and the bath in the kitchen. My first job in the morning after 5AM milking was to pump the water for the day from the well into a large tank above the kitchen, half an our on the semi-rotary pump in the wash house while Mrs Gleed cooked breakfast.....
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by PanBiker » 18 Dec 2017, 15:17

I have just updated the image links in this post and read through Stephanies notes, a good read.

One question, did Rachel's decision to cancel the life insurance on Amos pay off?
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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by Wendyf » 18 Dec 2017, 17:03

I've just had a look Ian and it looks like Rachel died about 20 years before Amos.

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Re: Fiddlers Clough Laithe, Earby/Thornton

Post by PanBiker » 18 Dec 2017, 18:14

An astute woman then Wendy. :extrawink:
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