Baildon Green Walk

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BAILDON LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY

BAILDON GREEN WALK Monday 12 July 2010

Baildon Green is the newest of Bradford’s Conservation Areas. It does not contain any listed buildings but the Church on the Green and The Cricketer’s Arms, together with several private residences are designated ‘key unlisted buildings.’ Midgely Farm is a Grade ii listed building but lies just outside of the actual Conservation Area.

One of the attractions of the hamlet is that it still shows signs of how it has developed ,with houses and paths at angles, suggesting that an attempt was made to keep the encroachment onto the adjacent Common Lands,

In addition local stone has been used for the houses and roofs, and local builders used vernacular styles.

It is thought that the hamlet is essentially late medieval, being part of the spread out farming community of Baildon . The buildings we see today are generally mid to late nineteenth century, with some twentieth century alterations and one ‘new build’

The hamlet grew first as a farming community, with a possible reference to ‘a Grene House in Baildon’, recorded in 1546. The textile industry developed in the area leading to growth in wealth and population.What is certain is that in 1678 as recorded on a gravestone in St John’s Churchyard, Robert Leach of Bayldon Grene, clothier, died in his eightieth year. To have a well decorated grave slab at that time indicates considerable wealth.

The walk starts on the green where goats graze, the water supply is from one of two springs in the hamlet, Crutch Well, the other being Sheep Dyke.

Looking across to 2 Lower Green, this was built in the late C17 as a farm and barn. It is possible that the barn became a malt kiln known to be in the village, to be later converted into a cottage and finally both made into one dwelling in the 1990s.

Part of Knoll View, built in the first half of the nineteenth century, with number 4 added later, was The Smiling Mule public house. The licence was transferred to the newly built Cricketer’s Arms n 1899.

Number 16 Lower Green is a significant building, part of which was purchased in 1845 for use as a Methodist Chapel. By 1885 regular services ceased but was occasionally used until it was sold in 192partial blocked archway which suggests use as a barn and a blocked taking in door with a window

We walk along the track towards Midgley Farm. There was a brick works on the uneven land, where ganister from Baildon Moor was mixed with local clays to produce fire bricks. These were used in local mills and houses. It was operated by Yorkshire Ganister Company and the chimney was demolished in 1908 (photo)

Midgley Farm itself is an interesting building, as c1800 a single cell 2-storey loom shop was added. This marks the move away from a truly domestic textile industry where processing was done in living accommodation to a separate processing only system, originally there was no internal connection with the house and a provided a well lit area for weaving. The taking in door is typical of those spread about Baildon. The first free standing loom shops in the area were built at Addingham in 1797 which was the next stage of development.

At the corner of field are two houses built on Common Land. This was the site of St Mary’s Mission Church built in 1872. It was closed in 1924. It was also used as a school up to the time of its closure.

The Church on the Green was created from three cottages in 1858 at a cost of £15. It was given to the people of Baildon Green ‘to be used as a place of religious instruction for the youth of both sexes of parents residing in Baildon Green for ever’. It was run by trustees who were required to live within a mile of it. The minister was unpaid, the first two being a chair maker and a foreman engineer. At one time over 70 scholars attended the Sunday school.

One big feature of life on the Green were the open air services or ‘stand ups ‘held every June until the 1930s. One held in 1880 to celebrate the century of the Sunday School movement had 1600 attended. These were Anglican 456,

Charlestown Wesleyan 241, Baildon Primitive Methodists 220,Baildon Wesleyan 208,Moravians 172,Baildon Green Wesleyan and Christian Brethren 132,Charlestown Baptists 92 and Moorside Primitive Methodists 81.

The building itself is attractively designed in an Italianate Style. In 1988 the Telegraph & Argus reported that the 69 year old minister, Florence Greenhalgh often preached to two people, the whole congregation being five. They were the last of the Independent Methodists .It closed for a while and now fortunately found new life as The Church On The Green.

The mill is Baildon Green Mill, or Clough Mill. It was probably built around 1840 by James Clough. In 1868 it was shared by Cyrus Brook and Co , worsted manufacturer who also had a mill in Halifax and Messrs Brearley who were steam engine manufacturers.

Baildon Green was also famous for its Gypsy gatherings. Held in June up to 5,000 people were said to attend in 1881. However the tradition did not last into the twentieth century. It was revived in 1929 to raise money for the Baildon Hospital fund. This was a mixture of true Romanies and Baildon people dressed as Gypsies. They were undoubtedly lively occasions, but were not restarted after the Second world war.

The stones around the Green were placed there c 1979 to prevent encampment.

It is notable that unlike most of Baildon centre and the moorland hamlets., little demolition occurred in the 1960s. However the area where the garages are had 11 cottages called Greenside which were demolished.

M C Lawson 12/07/10