In the Domesday book of 1086 Thurstonland was mentioned as Tostenland or ‘Thorstein’s Land’ then in 1541 Henry VIII granted “to John Storthes of Storthes Hall, gentleman” the manor of Thurstonland and other lands that had been the property of Roche Abbey until its dissolution. The township stretched from the River Holme in the west to Thunderbridge Dike in the east.
This Viking village is built on a hilly ridge stretching from Sheffield to Castle Hill, Huddersfield, only seven miles from the Pennines and the inhabitants of around 150 houses enjoy stunning views. Here is a map of all footpaths around the village.
Surprisingly, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the area around the dam was very heavily industrialised. As well as a brickworks, up Top O’ The Bank, the immediate area had at least three coal mine shafts and many “day holes”. Water from “The Dam” was culverted and used to power a reciprocating saw that cut stone from the large quarry nearby.
This well-constructed path is known as a plateway because it is constructed not only with cobbles for traction for horses but ‘plates’- smooth flagstones to reduce friction for cart wheels. It was used to transport coal and bricks. Look out for the Thurstonland Brick built into the wall.
The railway line through the tunnel was originally owned by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway and is now part of the busy Penistone Line linking Huddersfield and Sheffield. Opened 1st July, 1850, the inaugural train stalled in the 1631 yard-long tunnel. During the tunnel’s construction, several men lost their lives or limbs, including a man later called Bill Bah’t ‘Ands!
‘The Tipping’ with its air-shaft tunnel, is the spoil brought up from the construction of the tunnel beneath it
In 1851 the pub was one of three in the village: – The Druids, a beer house at the bottom of Town Moor; The New Inn, at № 60, The Village; and the Rose & Crown, The Druids was a beer house at the bottom of Town Moor and the New Inn was at № 60 The Village. The Rose & Crown is the only surviving pub, and at 828’ above sea level, the high point of the village! Several houses behind the pub and across the road date from the mid-17th Century.
Before weaving became a factory industry, nearly every house would have been involved in the production of cloth. The long rows of windows in many of the village’s houses provided maximum light for the weaver’s loom in the upstairs room. The woollen cloth ‘pieces’ would be carried, often by donkey, to be sold in Almondbury churchyard before the growth of Huddersfield and its Piece Hall. № 50, in The Village has a store at road level known as “t’ donkey ‘ole”.
The stoop, or waymarker at Farnley Moor End dates from 1738 and is one of the best-preserved examples in the district, hence its Grade 2* listing. Parliament in 1698 said that “Stoops must be sett up in Crosse Highways” and in 1733 they had to be set up in remote areas – “Moor and Commons where intelligence was difficult to be had”!!
Marsh Hall is one of the oldest houses in the village and although 1596 is carved over the door, internal structures date it even earlier. Do look at the front of the house to see the drip stones above the door and windows.
The cricket club was founded in 1874 and the land for the cricket pitch and recreation ground was donated by Thomas Norton in 1928. Before 1805 the land was part of the village common, the “Town Moor”.
In 1763, Ann Ludlam bequeathed £300 and the residue of her estate to establish the school and provide a salary for the schoolmaster. Although partially rebuilt, Ann Ludlam’s plaque can still be seen in the school house wall. Thurstonland First School is now a primary school for children up to the age of ten.
St Thomas’s, built in 1870, is an Arts and Crafts building in Gothic Revival style. The total height of the tower and spire is 109 feet (33 m) – as a landmark it can be seen from several miles away. The nave contains an arch-braced hammerbeam roof.
A memorial stone behind the churchyard commemorates the 2,000 graves of patients who died at the nearby Storthes Hall psychiatric hospital (1904–1991).
The present chapel was built in 1837 after the Wesleyans left the Chapel of Ease. It closed in 1978 and is now a house. The area was once called Sinking Yard which indicates coal mining occurred in the area. Below it was a Sunday School, now also a private house.
THE BANK END COINERS
The three old cottages at Bank End Knowl (a hamlet half way down Thurstonland Bank Road) replaced a “large ancient dwelling house” that was demolished after the conviction of the vicar of Holmfirth, the Rev. Edmund Robinson, for “clipping & coining” in 1688. He was caught working in a large cellar under the house and hanged at York, but his son, Ben, was acquitted (he was only 18) and, it is said, subsequently went to work successfully at the Royal Mint where he “acquired an ample fortune”!
MANOR HOUSE FARM
The Manor House was built in 1661 by John Walker, whose ancestors owned a considerable amount of land around the village and who had acquired the Lordship of Thurstonland. It is situated on the watershed of the village as were almost all buildings contemporary with it (most of Upper Fold and Lower Fold), and the few which pre-existed it (the small cruck barn of Upper Fold). Many of them boast their own well below the house, a great advantage in the days before modern piped water.