Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town

Haggs Hill - A Local History by Alan L. Howe

The area now known as Haggs Hill is situated to the south east of Ossett town centre and  stands at the north eastern edge of the community once known as Ossett Low Common which derived its name from the “common lands” which were here prior to their enclosure in the early 1800’s.  Nowadays Haggs Hill is much smaller than it was once described and the area extends to not much more than 20 acres. It is bounded on the east by the M1 motorway, on the west by Teall Street to the south by Roundwood Road and to the north by Queens Drive. This history concentrates on this definition but includes reference to an adjacent area just to the north which includes  field names Haggs Close and Burton Hagg and is bounded by Street Haggs. Reference is also made to the nearby Roundwood, which stood at Haggs Lane End and which had a significant effect on the development of Haggs Hill.

Haggs Hill Location Map

An early reference to the area is contained in The Manor of Wakefield Court Rolls of 1337 when part of the area is known as Strethags and in 1407  when it goes by the name les hagges; an indication perhaps of the Norman influence. However the name itself probably originates even earlier and there are several schools of thought about how Haggs Hill came by its name. Hagi is old Norse for an enclosed field pasture and the Old English haga denotes a hedge, a wooded enclosure, a coppice or copse, the shelving margin of a stream.  The Old English form haga also translates as Haw (Hawthorn). Those who know the area will recognise the description for even today the undeveloped areas of Haggs Hill contain thick copses, including hawthorn, alongside a stream once known as Lights Beck.

There are other local areas known as “Haggs”,including at  Mirfield and Emley, but the Ossett Haggs appears on maps dating back to 1813 when Haggs Farm is referred to in  the Ossett Inclosure Order of that year.  Street Haggs was an 18th Century description of part of the Ossett Street section of the Wakefield to Halifax Turnpike Road (north of Spring Mill).  Over the years “Haggs” addresses have also appeared in censuses covering  Roundwood in the east, Cross Keys in the north, Teal Town Road (now Teall Street) in the east and Raynor Road (now Roundwood Road) in the south. Until about 1900 the Alverthorpe with Thornes Township boundary ran north to south through the land which now forms a part of Haggs Hill Farm.

The existence of these early references points to Haggs Hill at one time having one foot in Alverthorpe with Thornes and the other in Ossett. More particularly it reveals that the area known as Haggs covered a significantly larger area than it does today. The development and expansion of Roundwood Colliery (where The Holiday Inn now stands) and more particularly the construction of the M1 Motorway in the late 1960’s had much to do with a re-definition of the area. The M1 development in particular was significant in this regard as it cut directly across the north east to south west line of Haggs Hill Road and Haggs Lane and put an end to an ancient  route from Ossett  town to Wakefield via the Wakefield Road at The Malt Shovel.

This ancient route – Haggs Lane or Haggs Hill Road -  has existed for at least 200 years and, probably much longer. Branching westwards from The Malt Shovel on the Wakefield to Halifax Turnpike Road, towards Ossett, the route still crosses Spring Beck (Lights Beck) at Lights Bridge at the eastern end of Teall Court where it joins Haggs Hill Road. This provided the shortest route from Wakefield through Ossett Low Common to Ossett Town. Some local historians (1) believe that Lights Bridge was also an important crossing point for the north to south “High Road” which ran through Horbury and on to Leeds in the north. It is also thought that  Haggs Hill Road  ran along  part of the south west boundary of  the Lord of The Manor Wakefield’s New Park until the size of The Park was reduced in the early 18th Century (1)

Grazing rights in the New Park had existed from the 14th Century or before. In 1325 with the population growing to 400 or more in the township, and following a succession of poor weather, good land was becoming scarce. Five Gawthorpe families were given grazing rights for eighteen oxen for their four and a half ploughs and nine horses “for they have no pasture for their beasts except in the Park”. In 1337 this right was made permanent by decree of the Lord of The Manor for sixteen oxen for their ploughs and four horses for their carts.

In 1337 the steward (the Lord’s personal deputy) of the Manor was granted one carucate of waste land at Strethags in the New Park at a rent of 40s per year......In 1590 Sir George Savile of Thornhill had an allowance of land in the New Park worth 13s 4d which must have been a considerable acreage and included Humble Jumble field. It was obvious by the end of the 16th Century the park was gradually being tenanted heralding its future demise. However by the end of the century there were still over 300 deer and 820 trees worth between 3 and 5 shillings each in the New Park.

Medieval map

The above map is taken from Richard Glover’s book “ Medieval and Post Medieval Landscape of Ossett Township” (2008). At bottom right it shows Haggs Hill in Thornes with Haggs Lane to the south traversing Lights Brig and along the High Road to Woodkirk and Leeds. The Key suggests the possibility that the New Park boundary (park palings) pre 1711 may have been the line of  Haggs Lane.

All this points to the significance of the area in earlier times standing on important east to west and north to south trade routes. Not surprisingly therefore the housing that did exist in the area was built along these routes on Street Haggs, Haggs Lane and  to the east on Teal Town Road (which derived its name from the many families named Teal(le) who lived there in the 19th century). Indeed until the mid 1960’s the few remaining dwellings which there were on Haggs Hill were located along Haggs Lane/Haggs Hill Road and there is evidence of dwellings along this route from much earlier times.

Haggs Hill Farm
Over the years much of the land comprising Haggs Hill has been farmland and so the history is dominated by that associated with Haggs Hill Farm, or Haggs Farm as it was once known.  

In his Will, Robert Haigh (1696-1768), left  his daughter Ann a moiety (half share) of all that Farm or Estate commonly called Street Haggs late in my possession but now in the occupation or possession of my son in law John Raynor. Robert Haigh is described as a Tanner of Street Haggs and elsewhere as being of Haggs and Ossett Lights suggesting that his land ownerships covered much of the area now known as Haggs Hill.

The 1774 Valuation Survey of Ossett & Gawthorpe records two fields, Pear Tree Close and Stoney Pighill in the ownership of John Raynor. These fields formed the part of Haggs Farm located in Ossett; the remainder being located just over the Alverthorpe with Thornes  boundary. Further evidence of occupation is found in The Ossett Inclosure Order of 1813 which shows Haggs Farm as “now or lately belonging to Robert Raynor...and a plan in the Order shows Haggs Farm in the position now occupied by Haggs Hill Farm.

Robert Haigh may have come by Haggs Farm by inheritance from his parents. He was the son of James Haigh and Barbara Leeke of Horbury. James was the long serving Minister at Horbury St Peter’s Church and Barbara was of the very well connected Leeke family once of Horbury Hall. In the 1709 Manor Book both James Haigh and Thomas Leeke are recorded as freeholders of land in Horbury. The Leekes were related to the Grice and Savile families.

In 1571 a Commission was appointed by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to determine who was responsible for the repair of Wakefield Dam. Henry Grice of Sandal was one of those Commissioners and his work, with two other Commissioner colleagues, was to “thoroughly view and peruse the court rolls remaining at the Queen’s Castle at Sandal”. Plainly Henry Grice was in a position of some influence.

At the Great Court Leet of The Manor of Wakefield held on 2nd October 1573 Henry Grice was elected Grave of Stanley. In 1591 Henry’s widowed daughter Elizabeth married George Savile, a widower and the grandson of Thomas Savile of Lupset, a member of the great family which had been settled at Thornhill for many years. In 1569 the Queen had called for subscriptions to repel an intended rising of Catholic Lords in the north. Amongst others, Henry Grice of Wakefield was ordered to provide a corselet, a pike, a harquebus with a bow and a sheaf of arrows.

The following reference is taken from the Wakefield Court Roll of 1608... “ Grice Hen, for a mess &certain lands called Street Haggs being copyhold for which he pays rent to Bailiff of Fee of Wakefield (not to grave of Horbury) 17s 10d”

In the latter half of the 16th Century, the daughter of Thomas Grice, Ann Grice of Sandal, had married Ralph Blacker of Blacker Hall and two of their children were to marry into the Leake and Thornes families. Robert Haigh’s mother was Barbara Leeke and of course the Thornes family have long land owning connections in the vicinity of Haggs Hill farm. Also, interestingly, the great grand-daughter of Ralph Blacker, Elizabeth, was to marry Henry Reyner who went on to rent Blacker Hall and of course the Raynor family occupied Haggs Hill in the second half of the 18th Century. Later there is reference to ownership of the farm by the Wheatley family who were related to the Haighs and  in  the 1843 Tithe Award Timothy Wheatley is described as a devisee of the estate of Joseph Thornes.

There is sufficient information in these references to suggest that by the 16th Century Haggs Hill was owned by the Saville family and that it may have passed down through the Grice and Blacker families to the Haighs and the Raynors. Other references, above, to  Thornes, Lupset and Horbury reinforce the possibility that the Grice family once owned the land.. Neither were the Savilles strangers to landholdings in Ossett .The Saville branch that married into the Cardigan family had holdings on Ossett Common and in the New Park and as indicated above some local historians (1) believe that the Haggs Hill area may well have been a part of the Lord of the Manor’s hunting park – New Park -  before the 18th century.

In any event it is probable that Robert Haigh and his wife Sarah Wilson lived on Haggs Hill in the first half of the 18th century and that they were followed by their daughter, Ann, and her husband John Raynor. The 1795 Poor Law record shows the first entry as “Mr Rayner” and other names in the book adjacent to Rayner suggest that the record may begin at the Ossett boundary with Alverthorpe With Thornes. By 1813 the Ossett Inclosure Order records Robert Raynor  in occupation of Haggs Farm.  By 1844 the ownership of Haggs Farm had changed again and on 24 April 1844 the Leeds Mercury carried the following Notice for the sale of lands in the possession of the Trustees of the Estate of Timothy Wheatley of Hopton.

In the Ossett Tithe Award 1843 Timothy Wheatley is recorded as a devisee of Joseph Thornes Execs in relation to 5 acres 0 roods 37 perches of land with the field names Pear Tree Close and Stoney Pighill. These fields were the part of Haggs Hill Farm which was, at that time, in Ossett. The remainder of the Farm was in Thornes and it was only in 1900 that the whole of the Farm came to be Timothy Wheatley (1776-1829) was a merchant and one of six children, all boys, from Hopton. He was to become the father of five children, all girls, two of whom pre-deceased him. Following his death at Thornhill Lees, perhaps at Lees Hall which was previously occupied by his grandfather, on 27th May 1829 his estate was managed by his executors and trustees until 1844 when his land and property were sold to realise value for distribution to his beneficiaries.

The Colliery mentioned in the Auction Notice could be Roundwood (which stood at Haggs Lane End) or, perhaps more likely, Wheatley’s Colliery shown below in the 1850 map. It is known that Charles Wheatley owned the Farm by 1847(Thornes Tithe Award)  and it is likely he  bought the Farm and the colliery from Timothy’s estate.The1850 map shows Haggs Hill House as a substantial, perhaps a grand, house but it is not known if Timothy, or any other of the Wheatleys, ever lived there.

Haggs Hill in 1850
The Ordnance Survey map of 1850 shows Haggs Hill House in the south, the Wakefield & Halifax Turnpike Road and Upper Street in the north, Lights Bridge in the west and the Malt Shovel Public House in the east. This is  Haggs Hill as it was known in earlier times.  Haggs Lane runs east to west from Lights Bridge to the Malt Shovel. The Wakefield boundary line is shown running north/south adjacent to Haggs Hill House with Haggs Farm to the east of the boundary and to the west is a second farm between Haggs Hill House and Lights Bridge. Approximately 100 years later this farm, on the north side of Haggs Lane, was to be known as Queens Drive Dairy Farm. The 1850 configuration of buildings at Haggs Hill House is almost identical to that shown more than 100 years later in 1955.

In the north east corner of the map the New Park is shown to the north of the Turnpike Road and it is believed by some that before 1700 the Park boundary was Haggs Lane. Other features of the 1850 Haggs Hill landscape include industrial activity in the shape of collieries, engines and a brewery and brick works at Roundwood at Haggs Lane End. Dwellings existed at places along Haggs Lane and on Low Common to the west. It is also fairly clear from the 1850 map that the house which then stood where Haggs Hill Farm is today was one of some significance. It is described in the map as “Haggs Hill House”. This is not the late 19th/early 20th Century house which stands there today though the remains of the adjacent barn do appear to have 18th Century origins.

To the east of Haggs Hill House situated on Haggs Lane, is a Black Engine which is most probably a steam powered pumping mechanism used to pump water from mine workings. (The later 1890 map shows a shaft in this position – in today’s landscape this would be situated at the foot of the M1 embankment)

The 1847  Thornes Tithe Award records Charles Wheatley as the owner and occupier of the Farm holding. Charles Wheatley (1785-1849), was Timothy’s brother, and it would be him, or Charles’ son, also Charles (1813-1900) who purchased the farm, land and colliery from Timothy’s estate. Either way Charles Wheatley junior, of Sands House in Hopton Mirfield was the owner of the farm holding at the time of his death in 1900. Charles was a bachelor and, apart from several legacies and charitable distributions he left the remainder of his £500,000 (approximately £30m in current values) estate to his great niece Eleanor Steele. It appears likely that it was around this time that Haggs Hill House was demolished and a newer, less substantial house was built.This is the house which stands there in 2010.

David Jesse Batley

Left: Jesse David Batley(III) at Haggs Hill Farm with Roundwood Colliery behind. Probably about 1930.

Between 1871 and 1901 Charles Wheatley let the Farm first to Robert Renshaw and later to his son John. Eleanor Steele continued to let the farm to tenant farmers and between 1901 and 1919 it was occupied by James Green and his wife Dinah, itinerant farmers and parents of seventeen children including three named Farewell, Harvest and Theresa Green. Following Eleanor Steele’s death in 1910  her estate was inherited by her children and much later in 1929 Haggs Hill Farm was sold by Eleanor’s son, Adam Rivers Steele, to Jesse David Batley. By this time the farm holding had been divided by the 1920’s built Queens Drive.

Jesse David Batley II was born in Saltaire in 1873. His father, also called Jesse David Batley I, worked for Titus Salt before becoming a confectioner at Boothroyd in Dewsbury. He later bought a small piece of land at the junction of Teal Town Road and Manor Road and by 1891 Jesse David Batley II was living here with his widowed mother, working the land, whilst also working at Roundwood Colliery as a coal hewer. In the 1920’s he moved to Haggs Hill Farm before buying it in1929.

Having bought the Farm in 1929 Jesse David Batley II set about making it work but by 1945 the Farm had become too much for him and his son (also Jesse David Batley III named after his father and grandfather) who lived on the nearby and newly constructed Queens Drive and in 1945 the 72 year old Jesse David II sold the land and property for £2000 to John Scholey Menmuir of West Ardsley who erected a substantial greenhouse on the land.

By the early 1950’s Mr Menmuir had sold the Farm to in two parts. Land to the south of Haggs Lane was sold to a Jack Scholefield and Millicent Collins in 1950. The remainder of Farm holding (now 16.5 acres) to the north of Haggs Lane was sold to the National Coal Board (NCB) in 1954 because the NCB had become tired of compensating the Menmuir family for the damage to their crops caused by burning pit waste at the adjacent Roundwood Colliery. By all accounts it turned the Greenhouse lettuce blue.

From thereon the NCB held the freehold of the Farm and rented to tenants. For most of the next 35 years Jeffrey Gill Wilby, was farm tenant until his death at the Farm in 1990. In Summer 1992 the NCB accepted a reported offer of £108,000 for the Farm and the associated land, approximately 9 acres to the south of Queens Drive. The remaining 4.4 acres or so of the Farm to the north of Queens Drive was retained by the NCB in the hope that a planning consent might be obtained for alternative use. When this failed they sold the land in the late 1990’s to a property company who currently (2010) rent the land. The remainder of Haggs Hill Farm, to the south of Queens Drive remains in the hands of the owners who purchased it in 1992.

David Batley

Above: David Batley (son of Jesse David Batley III) at Haggs Hill Farm with Roundwood in background.

Industrial Development
Whilst Haggs Hill Farm has dominated the history of the area there are other activities which have had an important part in its past. At the eastern end of Haggs Hill, at Haggs Lane End, stands Roundwood and by 1850 the establishment of a Brewery, a Colliery and Brickworks provided work for many. Inevitably dwellings followed to house workers and their families and many were built along the line of Haggs Lane including those within the Haggs Hill Farm holding. Little is known about Roundwood Brewery except that it was established by 1850 and it was once owned by the Ogden family who also had mining interests in the area.

Haggs Hill 1938

Above: Haggs Hill and surrounding area in 1938. Note the Cricket Field established during Mr Batley’s ownership (1929-1945)

The largest employer in the area was Old Roundwood Colliery, so named in 1901 to avoid confusion with another Roundwood Colliery that had opened in South Yorkshire, which had suffered financial difficulties. Roundwood was opened in 1847 and finally closed in 1966. Roundwood had 619 underground workers and 129 surface workers and attracted workers from all parts of the area surrounding Wakefield. Many miners from the Barnsley coalfields moved to Roundwood and settled in the Ossett Common area. Roundwood Colliery mined the Cannel, Haigh Moor, Lupset, and Silkstone (new Hards) seams. Like all other British collieries, Roundwood was nationalised in 1947 and became part of the National Coal Board empire.

Housing Development
The earliest map of the Haggs Hill area was made in 1850 and shows housing development along Haggs Lane. It is known that there were dwellings at Haggs Lane End near Roundwood Colliery and also along the Wakefield & Halifax Turnpike Road at Shepherds Hill and Upper Street Side. On the broadest definition of the area these localities have been described as Haggs or Street Haggs but here reference is only made to those dwellings built within the curtilage of Haggs Hill Farm and to those houses built to the  west of the Farm along Haggs Lane towards Low Common. An examination of the 1850 and 1955 maps reveals few differences in housing provision over 100 years.


Hags Hill 1955

Above: Houses in Haggs Hill circa 1955

In 1844, when Timothy Wheatley’s Trustees were selling the Farm the Auction Notice indicated that in addition to the Farm homestead there were  ten cottages or dwelling houses for sale and these were occupied by “Thomas Grace, William Hetherington, George Oakes and others”. To see the precise layout of these houses at the Farm, and others on Haggs Lane a map of 1955 is reproduced above. The 1850 and 1955 maps reveals few differences in housing provision over 100 years but where there were 10 cottages within the curtilage of the Farm in 1850 there are only eight in 1955. Noteworthy too is the large greenhouse built on the land in front of the Farm house.

The 1955 map records postal addresses as at that time. Reading from left to right (west to east) the first properties shown are numbers 7 and 9 Haggs Hill Road. These are 18th Century cottages built in the 1780’s by Joshua Haigh and occupied by the Pickard family. An earlier property probably stood here before 1780.The cottages still stand here in 2010 and their history is recorded elsewhere. Numbers 1, 3 and 5 stood to the left of 7 and 9 Haggs Hill Road (where now stand two council bungalows and a 1980’s house). Before their demolition between 1950/1955 the three dwellings, 18th Century cottages, were once owned by John Dickinson (1807) and Francis (Frank) Nettleton (1918). These dwellings only had a Haggs Hill Road address from 1901; prior to this their address was Low Common and later, South Parade because Teal Street stopped where it met South Parade and was only extended to meet Queens drive in the 1920s.

Odd number postal addresses continue to the north of Haggs Hill Road with number 11 (formerly Queens Drive Dairy Farm once owned by Wally Gill and later by Percy Wilby. Number 11 is now a detached house built in the early 1970s. To the east of the original number 11 was a terrace of three cottages numbered 13, 15 and 17. These stood opposite the present number 44 (“Cosy Cottage”) Haggs Hill Road and were  demolished between 1970 and 1972.

The remaining dwellings to the east are within the curtilage of the Farm and comprise eight of the ten cottages included in the Sale Notice of 1844 and it seems likely that two of these were demolished or collapsed before 1871. These eight cottages comprise the following. A row of three cottages (numbers 19 [3 rooms],21[2 rooms] and 23), at right angles to Haggs Hill Road. Further east is number 25, now Haggs Hill Farm House[5 rooms], and numbers 27[5 rooms] and 29[4 rooms] which were attached to the eastern gable of the farmhouse. In the front of the farmhouse stood three cottages, numbers 31[2 rooms],33[3 rooms] and 35[2 rooms]. All but number 25, the house which still stands at Haggs Hill Farm, were demolished between 1957 and 1966.

Dwellings with even numbers were to the south of Haggs Hill Road and working right to left (east to west) the first is number 16 [which had 2 rooms and became number 46 in 1960s]. This site appears to have had a chequered history, the land being subject to a statutory declaration in 1918.This house no longer exists and in its place stands a garage in the grounds of the current number 44. Next door, to the west stands the four-roomed number 14 (“Cosy Cottage – rebuilt in the 1970’s – and now number 44). To the west of this house is number 12, also with four rooms (until 2007 it was number 42) once the home of Watson Hirst, which stood in ¾ of an acre of land and was bought by Percy Wilby in 1960 after he sold Queens Drive Dairy Farm. It is now the site of seven houses built in 2007 and known as Rushmead Court (these new houses carry the addresses of 67 and 67a Teall Court, 42 Haggs Hill Road and 1-4 Rushmead Court). Further west stood a row of three cottages numbers 8 [3 rooms], 10 [3 rooms] and, oddly, 10a [28, 30 and 32 in 1960s] suggesting that numbers 8 and 10 were built earlier than 10a, which appears from the map to be detached from 8 and 10 (which shared a privy). Numbers 8 and 10 were bought and sold by Percy Wilby in the 1950’s These would be demolished between 1966 and 1970.

Slightly to the west was another terrace of three cottages numbers 2 [4 rooms],4 and 6 [2 rooms].These became numbers 22, 24 and 26 Haggs Hill Road in the 1960s. These too would be demolished in 1971. The addresses of the houses to the south of Haggs Hill Road appears to have changed in the 1960s. This was probably as a result of the construction of three pairs of bungalows at the Teall Street junction with Haggs Hill Road on land allotted to Joshua Haigh in 1807 and sold by David Pickard Harrop in about 1960. The addresses of these bungalows are 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. In the 1960s the next addresses along Haggs Hill Road were 22 to 32 and .then 42 to 46. When the properties were re-numbered, numbers 14 to 20 and 34 to 40 were omitted. Perhaps it was to accommodate other development proposals which never came to fruition, or perhaps the intention was that some of the Teall Court houses would carry a Haggs Hill Road address.

Of the houses on Haggs Hill in 1850, only two have remained undiminished by subsequent development and change. These are numbers 7 and 9 Haggs Hill Road known as “The Cottages” and the history of these dwellings is recorded elsewhere. Having established the location of dwellings on Haggs Hill Road from 1850 onwards the following analysis identifies the people who lived here. The  section records the families who lived in the ten dwellings (eight after 1861) at Haggs Hill Farm and the second section looks at the families who lived elsewhere on Haggs Lane.

Haggs Hill dwellings
The Auction Sale Notice of 1844 records 10 cottages for sale in addition to the Farm homestead. After 1861 it appears that the number of dwellings has fallen to nine including the Farm House. The layout of the dwellings within the Farm holding is shown in the above 1955 map. It seems likely that the two demolished or collapsed dwellings were once attached to numbers 19,21 and 23 to make a terrace of five dwellings. Elsewhere on Haggs Hill 13 dwellings were constructed along the line of Haggs Lane between Haggs Hill Farm in the east and Low Common in the west. 9 of these were on the south side of the Lane and only 4, including Queens Drive Dairy farm, to the north. It is not known for certain when these houses were built though it seems likely that most were here by the 1860’s and they survived until the 1960’s and this suggests:

  • 11 dwellings at Haggs Hill Farm (including the Farm House) Only the Farm House survives in 2010.
  • 13 dwellings to the west of the Farm. Only one survives in 2010. The remainder were demolished to make way for Teall court and the more recent Rushmead Court developments.
  • 5 dwellings with addresses 1-9 Haggs Hill Road. All these were built in the 1700’s. Three were demolished and are now replaced with two Council bungalows and a 1980’s detached house. Two of the original houses remain.

The census records reveal the following:

The 1841 Census records 19 dwellings:

In the 10 Haggs Hill Farm Cottages:
Thomas Grace and William Hetherington  (as they were at the time of the 1844 Auction Sale)  William Grace, Thomas Page, Robert Howgate, Jos Wild, John Wilcock, James Ward, Thos Butterfield, Charlotte Wilby, William Tresh and Joseph Gower. There are 13 families here suggesting some were living elsewhere on Haggs Lane.  Eight of the 13 families were miners. One was a blacksmith.

To the west of the Farm only 4 dwellings appear to exist:
Aaron Brummit (Brickmaker), Joshua Wilby (Boat owner!), and Nathan Brummit are shown living on the south side of the road. Only David Fothergill appears to be living to the north of Haggs Hill Road and probably working the Dairy Farm.

In the 5 cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a Low Common address)
 Joseph Pickard, Hannah Pickard, Mark Pickard, Robert Pickard, David Teale,. All were clothiers, most probably journeymen with their families working handlooms in the upstairs rooms.

In 1851:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages (9)
 George Oakes (Banksman), Thomas Grace (Miner), Joseph Ward (Miner), Charles Pollard (Blacksmith), James Archer (Farm Labourer), James Ward (Miner), Thomas Page (Miner), William Dougle (Miner) and Joshua Swallow (Miner). This suggests nine dwellings and seven of the families were engaged in coal mining. One was a blacksmith. Elsewhere on Haggs Hill:

 To the west of the Farm (5)
 the census has only Aaron Brummit (Clothier), William Hetherington (Carrier) and Mary Naylor (widow) living on the south side of the Lane. I suspect they were living in the detached cottages and that the terrace of three cottages occupied in later years had not been built until after 1851. Only Charles Hetherington and George Wilson are shown living on the north side.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a Low Common address)
Martha Pickard, Joseph Pickard, David Pickard, Robert Pickard, Isaac Pickard. All were weavers/spinners except Isaac who was a dealer in malt, flour etc.

In 1861:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages(10)
Ten families are living at the Farm cottages. William Dews (Miner)/Martha Scott (Burler), William Allsop (Agricultural Labourer), George Oakes (Book keeper), Thomas Grayson (Carter), Thomas Nightingale (Nail Manufacturer), George Alderson(Carpet Weaver),George Ramsden (Retired Miner), Harris Brown (Agricultural Labourer) and Nathan Brummit (Weaver). This suggests ten dwellings and the occupations of those living here in 1861 were significantly different to the mining presence some ten years earlier. Most of the cottages here were owned by the Wheatley family and it is probable that they were built to house miners working at Wheatley’s nearby Colliery. This closed, probably in the mid 1850’s and even though the nearby Roundwood Colliery was still working it seems likely that the change in the nature of the occupations of the Haggs Hill households was due to the closure of their landlord’s Colliery.

To the west of the Farm (7)
John Teale (Weaver) Aaron Brummit (weaver) Joshua Wilby (Retired Farmer) Amos Teale (Weaver) and William Bould (Weaver) were living on the south side and only James Durkin (Agricultural labourer) and George Wilson are shown living on the north side of Haggs Hill Road. The terrace shown on later maps on the north side of the road appears not to be shown in the 1854 map.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a Low Common address)
Mark Pickard, Joseph Pickard, Lydia Pickard, Robert Pickard, Isaac Pickard. All were weavers.

In 1871:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages(8);
Joseph Ramsden (Labourer), George Oakes (Coal Agent), William Allsop(Farm Labourer), Robert Pickard (Coal Miner), Thomas Crowther(Coal Miner), Edward Hudson (Coal Miner), Matthew Brummit (Clothier) and William Binns (Dyer).

To the west of the Farm (9)
 Rowland Teale(locomotive Engine driver), Aaron Brummit (Weaver) James Longley(Cloth Weaver) William Oakes(Engine Driver) and Henry Green(miner) To the north side were Emma Child and William Healey. George Wilson and Eliza Fothergill are also shown and they were probably living at the Dairy Farm.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a Low Common address)
Benjamin Fothergill (Weaver), John Dews (Engineer), Joshua Redfearn (Flock Grinder), Isaac Pickard (Weaver), Enoch Pickard (Weaver)

In 1881:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages(7)
Henry Dyson (Engine Wright), William Allsop(Farm Labourer), John Allsop (Carpet weaver),Walter Morton (Labourer at Iron works), George Hill Driver (Railway Plate Layer), William Renshaw (Labourer Farm), Fred Nettleton (Engine Fitter).

To the west of the Farm (12)
In 1881 the south side of Haggs Hill Road shows Rowland Teall (Engine Fitter Coal), Aaron Brummit (Gardener aged 80), Henry Matthews (Miner), Maria Sykes (widow) and Ann Green. The analysis shows only five residents suggesting that one of the terraces of three cottages was built after March 1881 and before March 1891. On the north side were Emma Child, Abraham Crossley, Walter Lightowler, Job Child, Amos Etherington and Alice Sampson. This shows six families where the map suggests there were homes for only three. It is possible that some shown on the north side of the road were living on the south. Eliza Fothergill is also shown but she was probably living at the Dairy Farm.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a South Parade address)
Unoccupied, George Hepworth (Plumber), Oliver Illingworth (Shopman), Isaac Pickard (Cow Keeper), Ellen Harrop (widow).

In 1891:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages(7)
Occupied by Alfred Killbourn  (Colliery Clerk), Wright Oakes (Blacksmith), Arthur Chappell (Coal Miner), Joseph Wilby (Coal Miner), Mary Reynolds (widow), Richard Reynolds (Coal Miner) and George Lodge (Coal Miner).

To the west of the Farm (12)
George Renshaw (miner), Owen Naylor(Rag Grinder),William Hallas (Miner), Sydney Ramsden( Miner), Joseph Ramsden(Miner), Henry Jackson (Farm Labourer), Samuel Richmond (General Labourer) and Ann Fothergill (living on own means). On the north side of Haggs Hill Road lived Emma Child (widow), Charles Asquith (Banksman), John Harrison(Tailor) and George Webster (Miner). The census also shows a George Stevens who  may have been living at the Dairy Farm.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road ((with a South Parade address)
Joseph Williamson in 3 roomed home (Carpet Designer),Thomas Hewitt in 2 roomed home (Wool Extractor), Hannah Dews  in 4 roomed home (Widow), Isaac Pickard (Farmer), Unoccupied.  Thomas and Margaret Hewitt had 8 children aged 1 year to 17 years old. The family were living in a two roomed home.

In 1901:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages(7)
The seven Farm cottages were  occupied by Alfred Kilburn (Colliery Weighman), Thomas Glover (Circular Sawyer), Isaac Hetherington (Coal Hewer), George Harrop (Coal Miner), Joseph Wilby (Colliery Labourer), Joe Stephenson (Coal Miner) and Arnold Blakely (Blacksmith).

The 1891 and 1901 Census reveals a re-emergence in the number of households once again working the local Colliery, which almost certainly this would be Roundwood. There is evidence that in 1900 Frank Nettleton was renting the 7 cottages and the Farm House from Charles Wheatley who was still the owner. Francis or Frank Nettleton was the Roundwood Colliery manager, himself living at nearby Mount Pleasant (at the top of Queens Drive). Frank Nettleton would be subletting the cottages to Roundwood miners.

Charles Wheatley's Will

Above: Schedule from Charles Wheatley's Will of 1900 in the Wakefield Court Rolls.

To the west of the Farm (13)
In 1901 the families living on the south side of Haggs Hill Road included Reuben Peace (living on his own means), Samuel Richmond (Gardener), Peter Blackburn (Coal Hewer), Joseph Kilburn (Coal Hewer), Ralph Crossland (Carpenter), Benjamin Teale (Colliery Railwayman) and Margaret Renshaw (widow). One of the cottages was empty. On the north side of Haggs Hill Road lived Emma Child (widow), Charles Asquith (Banksman), John Harrison(Tailor) and George Webster (Miner). The census also shows a George Stevens who may have been living at the Dairy Farm.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a  Haggs Hill Road address)
Friend Dews [3 rooms] (Coal Hewer), Thomas Hewitt [2 rooms] (Carter), Isaac Marsden [4 rooms](Coal Hewer), Joseph Summerscale [3 rooms] (Miner Colliery Deputy), Isaac Pickard [4rooms] (Market Gardener).

1911 Census:

In the Haggs Hill Farm Cottages(8)
Alfred Pashley [no. 19 Haggs Hill; 3 rooms](Coal Hewer)
Joe Stephenson [no.21; 2 rooms] (Hewer)
Joshua Wilby [no. 23; 2 rooms] (Colliery Labourer)
Sarah Kilburn [no.27; 5 rooms](widow)
Lister Child [no. 29; 4 rooms] (Colliery Official)
George Harrop [no.31; 2 rooms](Hewer)
Isaac Hetherington [no.33; 3 rooms] (at Home)
Thomas Glover [no. 35; 2 rooms] (Wood Sawyer)

Worthy of note is that in 1911 Joe Stephenson and his wife had eight children, all girls, and they lived in 2 rooms. Thomas Glover and his wife had three surviving children from 12 born to the couple.

To the west of the Farm (13)
South of Haggs Hill Road;
Lewis Shires no.2. 4 rooms Jobbing gardener
Unoccupied no.4. 2 rooms
Herbert Holmes no.6 . 2 rooms Coal Getter. 4 children (2 boys; 2 girls) The house has one bedroom.
Margaret Renshaw no.8. 3 rooms Widow
Thomas William Dews no.10  3 rooms Hewer
Peter Marsden no.12. 4 rooms Coal hewer (of 8 children to the couple only 2 survived to 1911)
S F Richmond no.14.  4 rooms (recorded as 2 rooms in 1901) Nurseryman
Reuben Peace no.16. 2 rooms Gentleman

North of Haggs Hill Road
Joshua Illingworth Morton no.11. 5 rooms Farmer. This is the dairy farm.
Fred Grace no.13. 2 rooms Miner Deputy
Walter Merryweather  no 15. 2 rooms Hewer
Ben Garside no. 17. 2 rooms Teamer.

In the (5) cottages 1-9 Haggs Hill Road (with a Haggs Hill Road address)
Isaac Marsden [no. 1 Haggs Hill Road; 4 rooms] (Dealer in old iron)
Margaret Hewitt [no. 3; 2 rooms](widow)
Friend Dews [no5 Haggs Hill Road; 3 rooms]
James Thompson [no.7; 3 rooms](miner)
Isaac Pickard [no. 9; 4 rooms] (Market Gardener)

Haggs Hill 1970

Above: Haggs Hill circa 1971 with the Teall Court development superimposed on the older map.

Haggs Hill 1970

Above: 1970 map of Haggs Hill prior to development

The Grace Famil of Hags Hill circa 1900

Above: The Grace Family of Haggs Hill circa 1900 (see R.H. sidebar for more information)

Back row: Maria (born 1869) Richard (1872) Ann (1867) Thomas (1865)

Seated:  Ralph (1884)  Sarah (1875) Jane (mother nee Pickard born 1844) with Emma (1890) on her lap,  Alfred (father born 1841), Mary (1877)  Fred (1882)


Alan L. Howe
Alan Howe is a native of Ravensthorpe, and was educated at Mirfield and Tadcaster Grammar Schools after his family moved to live in Tadcaster when he was 13. Alan was employed by Leeds City Council in a senior accountancy and management role before retiring recently. He and his wife Pat moved to Ossett in 1974 and have one daughter Emma and one grandson Jack. They have lived in the Haggs Hill and Teal Street area of Ossett since moving here.

A keen local historian, Alan has done much detailed research on Ossett Spa, Haggs Hill, Ossett Common and other little-known corners of the town. Alan is one of the few people I know who can very easily navigate the frightfully complex West Yorkshire Archive Service records in Wakefield. This amazing skill has allowed him to unearth many previously unknown nuggets of local Ossett historical information, which Alan has been kind enough to share.

As if this wasn't enough to keep him busy, Alan and his wife have extensive stables and about four acres of land at Runtlings in Ossett where they keep horses, chickens and manage a wildlife pond.

Queens Drive Dairy Farm
In addition to Haggs Hill Farm a second farm stood just to the west. After Queens Drive was built in the 1920’s the farm went by the name of Queens Drive Dairy Farm; the postal address was 11 Haggs Hill Road. The farm was small and appears never to have exceeded about 13 acres.

The origins of the Farm are unknown but the 1850 map shows the buildings just to the north of Haggs Hill Road. In  the 1843 Ossett Tithe Award the land to the north of the buildings is owned by the Governors of Wakefield Free Grammar School explaining the description in the 1813 Ossett Inclosure Order  of  Haggs Hill Road as Governor Road. The 1843 Tithe Award records the occupier of the land ( i.e. the tenant) as Francis Fothergill.

Tenants of the land between that time and 1920  included the Fothergill family (David, Frank, Eliza and relation George Wilson) until sometime between 1881 and 1891. George Stevens took over the tenancy from that time until sometime between 1901 and 1911 when the farm is occupied by Joshua Illingworth Morton perhaps, until 1920. Most of the tenants also had other work to supplement the earnings from the relatively small farm holding.

In April 1920 the Governors of Wakefield  Grammar School sold the land to Jesse Birkinshaw. Within two months, on 30 June 1920, he sold the land on to William Burton Etherington and on 10 April 1924 he was to sell the holding to Walter (Wally) Gill. By 1942 Wally Gill has moved to Batley Carr and is a Grocer and Provision Merchant..Part of the landholding has been sold  to Frederick Brook and Bennett Brook of Sowood Farm. The remainder, about 4 acres and including the farmhouse, outbuildings and premises was sold for £1000 to Percy Wilby in 1946. By this time Wally Gill is described in one Deed as a Dairyman of Hollies Farm Teall Street Ossett and in another as a grocer and provisions merchant of Manor Road.

Even though the farm was owned by Wally Gill it seems likely that Percy Wilby was working the land at least since 1933. In 1944 Percy buys 3 cottages ( numbers 13,15 and 17)  on Haggs Hill Road adjacent to the Dairy Farm which he buys from Wally Gill in 1946. In 1959 he also purchases number 12 Haggs Hill Road, a dwelling and approximately  ¾  acre into which he was to retire in 1960 when he sold the Farm and the 4 acres of land  to Peter Birkinshaw.

In 1971 Mr Birkinshaw sells the land and property to Tay Developments for the building of the 60 unit residential development and the Farm and the row of cottages to the east are demolished around this time. Meanwhile Percy’s son, Jeffrey Gill Wilby was just about to take the lease of the nearby Haggs Hill Farm. Jeff Wilby died in 1990 bringing to end  60 to 70 years of farming by Percy and Jeff Wilby on Haggs Hill.


The Batley Family of Haggs Hill Farm 1929-1945
Mention was made of three generations of Jesse David Batley and the family’s ownership of Haggs Hill Farm between 1929 and 1945. The fourth generation of the Batley family was represented by David and Alan Batley both born in Ossett in the 1920’s. David is sadly no longer with us but he and his brother would spend many hours at their Grandfather’s  Haggs Hill Farm where they would help their father and grandfather with the stock and milkround.
They recall being told that Granddad, David Jessie Batley (born 1873) was a miner working at Roundwood Pit Ossett (previously Greaves Pit) but by 1914 he also farmed some land at the junction of Manor Road and Teal Street where he also lived. This was a livestock farm and so in addition to his work at the pit (long days and early mornings) he also had to raise stock, including beef and poultry, and include regular milkings in his routine. So after early morning milkings he would walk up Teall Street to Junction Lane and take the old Haggs Road (now Roundwood Road) to Haggs Lane and on up to the Pit near the Malt Shovel Public House. Part of this road had a “buck trap” and the brothers described this as being a metalled (i.e. metal sheets) in the tracks to provide support to the weight of carts traveling along those roads and preventing the road and vehicles sinking into the mud.

Their father however had never been a well man and by 1945 or so it was becoming too much for 73 year old Granddad to run with his poorly son and so the Farm was sold.  By then both David and Alan had been called up to the armed services (David was in the Royal Vet Corps and Alan in the Royal Engineers) and even though their mother had written to David to tell him about the move David never received the letter and arrived at the Farm expecting to be welcomed by Granddad only to find that they didn’t live there anymore. Instead he was met by the Menmuir family who had bought the Farm from Granddad earlier that year!

The brothers recall two Cottages which were attached to the eastern elevation of the existing Haggs Hill Farm house, two cottages opposite the northern elevation and four more further along Haggs Lane towards what is now Teall Court. It was David’s job of a Saturday afternoon from the mid/late 1930’s to collect the rent and rates from the tenants in the eight cottages.

Around this time Queens Drive was being built and it is believed that Grandfather constructed the track or drive joining the Farm to Queens Drive. Until then there were only two accesses to the Farm from the west (i.e. Ossett direction). The first of these was by foot along Haggs Lane back towards Isaac Pickards( now 7 and 9 Haggs Hill Road to the west of the Farm) and along ‘Ikey Pickard’s Passage’ up to Ossett on the footpath adjacent to Isaac’s holding called Wheatley Crofts or Closes. In parts, and certainly alongside 9 Haggs Hill Road, the footpath had hawthorn hedging to either side but as one approached the Farm (in the area which is now Teall Court) the Lane narrowed, with dry stone walls either side, to the width of a bicycle handlebars. Alan remembers the skinned knuckles from rides along here! The only vehicular access was fairly circuitous especially if coming from the Ossett direction for this would require  one having to go down Teall Street in the direction of  Horbury turning east along Haggs Road (now Roundwood Road) to the point where it joined Haggs Lane then turning west back along Haggs Lane until reaching the Farm. The track joining the new Queens Drive must have saved a lot of time and effort!
The brothers tell of Nine Acre field at one time being a cricket field (close to where the motorway now runs) and we were able to show them some video of haymaking and farm animals at the Farm.
They also recall that as children in the 1930’s they would deliver milk to homes in the area. But this wasn’t milk delivery like we were used to but rather it was milk from the cattle kept at Haggs Hill Farm and delivered often twice a day  and rather than being in bottles it would be decanted into jugs in the houses which the brother visited.

David recalled Isaac or Ikey Pickard living in one of the Cottages which still stand at the western end of Haggs Hill Road (see Ossett Houses) and recalls “Aye, but Ikey didn’t like kids” It seems that this conclusion was drawn from the fact that Isaac would chase them away when they were pinching his peas and other vegetables from his market garden land behind the Cottages. This would be accessed up a public footpath, now a private drive, on land owned by Isaac, which ran adjacent to number 9 Haggs Hill Road and up towards Ossett bordering his land at the Wheatleys. This footpath, which David and Alan recalled was edged with hawthorn hedges, was known as “Ikey Pickard’s Passage”. It was closed in the early eighties when land behind number 9 was sold for the development of a house 170a Queens Drive.

David Batley had farming and animals in his blood and his first love was horses. His final journey was in their company.

The Grace Family Of Haggs Hill
Coal Miner Alfred Grace and his wife Jane (nee Pickard) lived on Haggs Hill towards the end of the 19th Century. Alfred was born in Ossett and lived most of his in the vicinity of Low Common. He married local girl Jane Pickard also of Low Common in 1864. Jane was the cousin of Isaac Pickard who lived at 9 Haggs Hill Road. In 1841 and 1851 Thomas Grace, possibly Alfred’s great uncle is living in one of the cottages at Haggs Hill Farm. In 1911 Fred Grace (seated right), son of Alfred is living at 13 Haggs Hill Road. There is no Census record of Richard living on Haggs Hill Road and it is likely that he lived there between the 1891 Census and his service in South Africa in late 1900.

In 1901 Alfred and Jane’s son Richard (back row 2nd left in the picture on the main page) died, aged 28, whilst serving with the St John’s Ambulance Brigade in the South African (Boer) War. The record reads;

"Private Richard Grace 1408 Dewsbury Corps. Died of disease 19 January 1901) He lived at Hagg's Hill, Ossett, near Wakefield."

Soon after the onset of the South African War on 11 October 1899, it became obvious to the British authorities that the Royal Army Medical Corps would not be able to cope with the numbers of casualties from battle and disease. A call went out for volunteers from the St John Ambulance Brigade to serve for six month tours in South Africa; these personnel would mainly be posted to base hospitals, thus freeing RAMC members for service at the front.

Volunteers came forward in large numbers and, after being equipped at the headquarters in Cripplegate, London, the first batch of 23 St John Ambulance Brigade members sailed for South Africa on 3 November 1899 aboard the HMS Princess of Wales.(5) Thereafter groups of SJABs (or 'Johnnies' as they were known) were mobilised for South Africa, and approximately 1800 served during the period 1899-1902. About 60 of these young men died in South Africa, the majority from enteric (typhoid) fever, which they contracted from their patients. This number is imprecise, as some members lost their lives while serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps, or with other units, during second tours of duty or following discharge in South Africa.

Boer War Medal

The SJABs who served in South Africa were awarded a bronze medal which bore the uncrowned head of Edward VII. Their service numbers, ranks, initials, names and units were engraved on the rim in large block letters. The silver Queen's South Africa Medal was also awarded with details impressed on the rim and the unit shown as 'St John Ambulance Brigade'. Both medals were awarded posthumously and a few examples, which were awarded to casualties, have appeared in medal dealers' catalogues during the last decade.