ELHAS Visit to Hebden Bridge & Heptonstall

On 9th August, a group of ELHAS members braved atrocious weather conditions to enjoy a visit to the fascinating Pennine towns of Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall. Taking the train from Cross Gates we alighted at Hebden Bridge and walked beside the Rochdale canal before catching the bus up to Heptonstall.

Once there, we visited the ruins of the 13th century church dedicated to St Thomas a' Becket. This church was destroyed by a fierce storm in the mid 19th century and was replaced by the Victorian parish church of St Thomas the Apostle, which we subsequently visited. We were surprised by the interior of this Victorian church which was extensively and sympathetically remodelled in the mid 1960's, and were particularly impressed by the beautiful stained glass windows.

Moving on to the oldest Methodist chapel still in use we passed the entrance to Whitehall Farm whose lintel bears the date 1578, and the New House, dating from 1736 and thought to be a Quaker house. We then took in other historical sites such as the Cloth Hall, the site of the former Cock Pit, and the village stocks. To complete our tour of Heptonstall we visited the village museum, housed in the former Grammar School, which contains items from the Victorian period, the English Civil war and archaeological items found in the area dating back to the Iron and Bronze Ages.

We then caught the bus up to Blackshaw Head before descending back down into Hebden Bridge to enjoy lunch in one of the many attractive eating places there. After lunch we explored the town looking at the unusual shops and buildings and spending ime admiring the ducks on the river.

In spite of the weather, everyone agreed it had been a thoroughly enjoyable day. It was only during our train journey back to Cross Gates in the late afternoon that the weather finally improved.