Former High School teacher Roger tells story of The Holme

The Holme at Cliviger
The Holme at Cliviger

Roger Frost, former history teacher at Todmorden High School, entertained Todmorden Antiquarians with his presentation originally researched to raise funds for The Holme in Cliviger.

Roger’s grandfather lived opposite the St John’s Church.

His introduction highlighted features from historic maps of the area. The Anglo-Saxon ‘Long Causeway’ was then the main route from Lancashire into Yorkshire. Cliviger township had no nucleated village, but included three large estates and many small hamlets including Cornholme and Portsmouth before 1894.

The Holme name is derived from 14th century Scandinavian for an island, as it was built on raised land in the valley prone to flooding before drainage works around 1800. Dr T. D.Whitaker (1759-1821) was a well-educated academic, not expecting to inherit The Holme. He was a prolific writer, an ardent environmentalist, effectively the founder of local history studies, besides working as a Vicar to several parishes. Dr Whitaker planted 40,000+ trees and became the inspiration for the present-day Forest of Burnley. He was awarded by the Royal Society of Arts for his afforestation.

Thievely Scout escarpment was a popular geological destination when the Napoleonic Wars prevented continental travel. The rocks inspired revelations about glaciated valleys. The numerous waterfalls and rocky chasms along the hanging valleys also attracted tourists.

The Towneleys were once the richest non-noble family in England. Towneley Hall dates back to 14th century and was originally quadrangle shaped with a Chapel incorporated. The estate was a medieval hunting ground until sold to Burnley Corporation in 1901. Towneley is a well-loved visitor attraction today.

Roger concluded the informative evening showing a miscellany of pictures, some taken from early post-cards. These included the Whitaker’s fishponds, the miner’s terraced cottages by the colliery, a cotton mill, Cliviger’s own brewery and ice factory, the devastating rail crash of 1907 at Holme Station.

He looks forward to the long awaited restoration of The Holme.