Post Reply
User avatar
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 48196
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.


Post by Stanley » 15 Sep 2017, 06:40


It's a while since I touched on one of my favourite subjects, water. It has been important in Barlick for thousands of years. First as a resource venerated by our Pagan forebears who recognised it as important for life. This is the origin of 'holy' wells and in some parts of Derbyshire they still keep the tradition of well-dressing which is a direct descendant from Pagan practices. When Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine to the Isles in 595AD to persuade the inhabitants to convert from Paganism and also from the early forms of Christianity to allegiance to Rome he gave specific instructions that the old rituals should not be destroyed but converted to what was then the latest brand of religion. This why we have St Mary's Well at Calf Hall as a focus for worship as evidenced by the naming of the new abbey which later failed of course.
Our town wells were the main source of drinking water until the 19th century when mains water from the Whitemoor bore became the supply. In the interim the streams coming down from the moor were the power source for early industry and remained important after the advent of steam because the water was needed to cool the condensers on the engines that made them economic to run. Later in the 18th century the availability of water in the district dictated the route of the new Leeds to Liverpool Canal as it was needed to supply the summit level and make up for water lost in the locks. Water was also useful for disposing of waste. It's no accident that the old slaughter houses in Butts are on the edge of the beck. Even today management of water is essential as the becks provide drainage of surface water and treated water from the sewage plant at Greenberfield.
A consequence of the reliance on water was that the rights to use it, Riparian Rights, became an important legal matter. No study of local history in our area can avoid disputes over water and the use of water rights as a weapon in controlling the use of land. The Bracewell family in particular used water as a weapon in many instances. A troublesome tenant of a shop in Earby could be brought to heel by cutting his water off, a rival mill could be bankrupted by depriving it of water. I have proof that both these happened. The mills on County Brook were crippled by the Canal Company building Whitemoor reservoir and depriving them of a reliable flow, this is why they never developed like the other mills in the district and the opportunity for a thriving industry there was lost.
In July 1932 we got a lesson in water management when there was a cloudburst on the Moor and floods devastated the town. It is to be hoped that lessons have been learned and we never get a repetition in the present climate of extreme weather events. That's why I bang on about water so much!


Flood damage at Bancroft Shed in July 1932.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “Stanley's View”