The lower part of the valley was part of the Otley Circuit whose records are housed at Leeds Archives.
Isaac Atkinson is credited with starting Methodism in Castley around 1820, although a record of a chapel can only be gleaned from the name Chapel Hill Lane. He was a tenant of Castley Hall farm and Castley Manor Farm. I understand Chapel Hill Lane was diverted when the railway came, so possibly the chapel was pulled down at the time. In 1851 the chapel census was signed by John Adamson.
First published in the Wharfedale Newsletter September 1993
The recent report in
the Wharfedale (Wharfedale &
Airedale Observer) concerning a proposal
to build houses in Castley Lane brought memories flooding in. The house in Castley Lane – each with a
piece of land going down to the river – were originally built by the West
Riding County Council. The land was made
available by Squire Fawkes as smallholdings for ex- servicemen a few years
after the end of the 1914-18 war. My
parents were among the first tenants. At
number one the sign read:
SEPTIMUS GARDENERMaker of Gardens – Seedsman – FloristClosed on Sundays
These were the GARDENERs, members of the Methodist Church in which Mr Gardener was a local
I forget the name of the original family at number two. They were followed by the LONGBOTTOMs, who were there for many
years before moving to Pool. The BLANDs were at number three then the PODMORE family at number four. Mr Podmore, who was disabled, did
hairdressing and I believe, insurance collecting.
Next were the DENTONs,
(still there I think), and at number six were the O’HALLORANs with a poultry farm.
They lived opposite “the big tree”, a landmark known to all. At number seven were Mr and Mrs JAGGER and at number eight the LEACH family. Mr Leach was a remote figure, working
permanently on the night shift at Pool Paper Mill, so when playing there we had
to be quiet.
Number nine bore the
DOBBYJoiner, Painter & Poultryman
I remember helping their lively,
high-spirited grand-daughter Myra, who lived with them, to turn the handle of
the small mill which kibbled the whole grains into the right size for the
chickens. Mrs Dobby and next door’s Mrs STONEHOUSE – (I believe the WHITEHEADs lived there first) – used to
catch the bus at the end of the lane to Bradford with baskets of eggs to sell
there to regular customers.
At number eleven (where the son’s
widow still lives) were the KITSONs,
next door to us at number twelve. Their
daughter, Joyce and I being of an age, grew up together, until Mother (then widowed)
decided to move to Otley, after the river had flooded twice. One year it stopped level with our front
doorstep and the next time came into the house.
The family of Norman HUDSON,
a motor mechanic with a false leg, were at number thirteen. He built up a small haulage business. The GLOVERs
were at number fourteen. Mrs Glover
worked part-time as a cashier at the cinema in Otley. At number fifteen were the LUPTONs and at number sixteen the WEDGE family.
Most of these families had children
around the ages of my sister and me. We
all walked to Pool school together and played hopscotch, skipping, whip and top
and marbles in the road outside our houses or ranged through each others’
houses and gardens at hide and seek or bobbies and thieves. As well as calling at each others houses
people would meet when out walking. How
we walked! It was a recreation and a
necessity and visitors were always taken for walks. Only Mr Hudson and later the farmers, had
motor vehicles and people would often walk down the lane from the bus stop
together after having been to Otley. I
remember on summer Saturday nights, with the bedroom window open, hearing the
farm men passing by, singing Nellie Dean. All the men who didn’t have businesses were
in work, some at the mill, some on farms and others in trades. All had large gardens, most kept hens and
some had a pig or two.
My father, William (Billy) Lupton DENISON, being from a family of
butchers, used to kill the pigs for people.
When I think back it is surprising, with
the size of the families, how many also had lodgers, sometimes unmarried
brothers or sisters. Castley Lane
supported many people.
I don’t know the lane now, or if you
could call it a settlement but originally it was a community which didn’t draw
its skirts aside from neighbours but shared their lives with them. I am truly glad I grew up a Castley Laner.
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