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View of Heptonstall across the Hebden valley with Stoodley Pike in the distance
View of Heptonstall across the Hebden valley

Heptonstall (West Yorkshire)

Heptonstall shown within West Yorkshire
Population 1,500
OS grid reference SD975285
Metropolitan borough Calderdale
Metropolitan county West Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HX7
Dialling code 01422
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
European Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Calder Valley
List of places: UKEnglandYorkshire

Coordinates: 53°45'11?N 2°02'14?W? / ?53.75309, -2.03716

Heptonstall is a small village within the Calderdale borough of West Yorkshire, England. The population of Heptonstall, including the hamlets of Colden and Slack, is about 1,500. The popular town of Hebden Bridge lies directly to the southeast.


[edit] History

Historically a centre for weaving, it was also the site of a battle in 1643 during the early part of the English Civil War. The foundation stone of its octagonal Methodist chapel, the oldest still in continued use, was laid by John Wesley in 1764.

Heptonstall cottages and terraced houses were characterised by their large first floor windows to maximise the light for weaving.

The older churchyard claims "King" David Hartley amongst notable graves there. Hartley was founder of the Cragg Coiners and lived as a rogue in the Calderdale area until he was hanged at Tyburn near York in 1774.

The American poet Sylvia Plath, who was married to Ted Hughes from nearby Mytholmroyd, is buried in the new St. Thomas a' Beckett's churchyard. Plath's headstone is regularly vandalised by removing Ted Hughes's name from the memorial, because some feminists believe he was responsible for her death. Other members of Hughes's family are buried in this graveyard including his mother and father and his uncle, Richard Arthur Uttley. Uttley was known by the local 'by-name' of Dick Straightup and Hughes composed a poem about him of that title which appears in the collection Lupercal.

Another poet buried here is the American expatriate Asa Benveniste, also notable as the founding publisher of the Trigram Press.

The village is a popular day trip destination for tourists and walkers, especially in the warmer summer months, although there are few facilities other than two pubs "The Cross" and "The White Lion" and a small Post Office (the original Post Office, on Smithwell Lane, is now a residential property) to cater for this regular influx of seasonal visitors.

A small local history museum [1]is based in what was once the village grammar school.

Adjacent to Heptonstall lies the National Trust woodlands Hardcastle Crags [2]where there are miles of walks and a restored 19th century mill. One half mile out of the village is Lumb Bank, the first of the Arvon Foundation's residential centres for writers [3].

In the mid 1980s the paved road through Heptonstall was torn up, revealing the original stone setts. Although the plan was to remove these, protests by some concerned villagers convinced the council to restore them instead. At the same time the existing concrete street lights were replaced with a quainter alternative which resemble cast-iron gas lamps from the late 19th century. This was not only a nod towards tourism but it also acted as a traffic calming measure.

[edit] Local Attractions

In Heptonstall, there is a local park that many children take part in sport on - and a playground for the younger children. Many walking routes are available to use around Heptonstall along with popular biking routes.

[edit] History of Heptonstall Church

Heptonstall's church was founded circa 1260 and was altered and added to over several centuries. It became difficult to maintain the building fabric and after it was struck by lightning in a storm a new church was built in the same churchyard. The ruin is now carefully maintained and occasionally open air services are conducted there. It featured as a location in the 1993 television drama series, Mr Wroe's Virgins.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

(Source: Wikipedia)
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