CLECKHEATON: STEEPED IN HISTORY.
Situated in the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees, right in the middle of the West Yorks Conurbation, with Leeds, Bradford and Halifax, Huddersfield and Dewsbury all approx the same short distance away. Affectionately known by the locals (and regular visitors) as just plain Clecky, the name is a corruption due to J.B. Priestley (1894-1984) and his writings, Clekywyke being the setting for “When we are married”.
THE SPEN VALLEY:
Inspiration to many writers including the Brontes who lived on Halifax Road, Hightown before moving to Haworth. Clough House, in which the parents first lived and in which Maria and Elizabeth were born while their father was curate at Hartshead Church, is still standing. The Red House (1660’s and now a museum) and Kirklees Hall are both mentioned in Charlotte’s writings, the Red House being “Briarmains” and Kirklees Hall being “Nunwood” in her book “Shirley”. Robin Hood is reputedly buried in Kirklees Park, where the Hall sits, just over the hill in Clifton.
WICKHAM CUP DANCE TROPHY
The Wickham Cup has been keenly contested at Cleckheaton since the turn of the century - to use a good old phrase. Each year, sides from all over the country gather to dance at various spots around the town to entertain the public but, more importantly, they come to take part in a dance competition open to any style in the Morris Dancers' range. The side which makes the best presentation in terms of intricacy of steps, rhythm, musicianship, costume and crowd pleasing ability are judged winners and hold the main trophy for a year and are presented with a replica to keep.
Previous winners of the competition have been:
2000 Rainbow Morris Dancers 2007 Wight Bells
2001 Instep Research Team 2008 Thieving Magpie
2002 Spen Valley Longswords 2009 (Stopped due to illness)
2003 Roll Back the Carpet 2010 Mortimer's Morris
2005 Ironmen and Severn Gilders 2011 Wayzgoose
2006 Spen Valley Longswords 2012 Dame's Rocket (from USA)
1812 LUDDITE DISTURBANCES;
Several protestors were shot by soldiers in 1812 in Huddersfield at the mill owner’s request in reprisal for the famous Luddite uprising. This originated in the East Midlands but was at it’s fiercest on the banks of the Spen Beck. In 1813 the rioters attacked Rawfold Mill in our town. As a result of plotting at a nearby public house, The Shears, they set out to wreck the power operated cropping machines. 1842 brought more civil disturbances with the Boiler Plug Riots. 5000 marched to Peg Mill to draw the plugs out of the steam boilers. One of our local folk clubs has kept the name alive of The Croppers (held every Friday eve except at Festival time), The Cropper Lads being their theme song telling the historical tale of events.
2012, being the centenary, remembered the history of the uprising at the festival with a play by the Hammer and Shears Company.