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The link below shows ALL TENANTS at each farm between 1572 to 1841+ on a copy of 1851 map


     The years of the mid-17th century were most difficult for Britain and it's people. Political and religious unrest led to the Civil Wars 1642-1651 and the following uncertain years of The Commonwealth under Cromwell. For the first time ordinary folk were involved in fighting for a cause, often splitting families, but many just remained loyal to their overlord. Many ordinary people tried to avoid the conflict but were overrun successively by Royalists then Parliamentarians.

civilwar soldier2

The archives

    All the lists are separated into two sections;

                                                                         first, 'At will' tenants; they COULDN'T own their own lands and throughout the whole period there were approximately 25 of them ; the number hardly changed over the period because most 'tenants rights' were passed within the family.  The rents were fixed from Medieval years and couldn't be changed, however, they WERE increased from 1680 on.  

                                                                         second, 'Free' tenants; they COULD own their own property but often chose to rent additional land; throughout the period there were approximately 70 of them. Some expanded their holdings by intaking new lands from the common and/or taking new lands from families which had 'died out'.


 In the rental amounts there are occasional 'anomalies' which have possible explanations; tenants were not able to pay the full amount? the clerk was occasionally making errors? the amount of land occupied changed? Similarly the names of tenants have 'anomalies', occasionally reverting to a previous name, perhaps because the clerk was used to a long-standing tenant and always associated that name with the property? Sometimes the 'inheritance' of tenants rights was under dispute and/or awaiting probate


    The number of Shackleton names, circa 12, hardly changed throughout the 17th century. Overall among the 'At will' list there were approximately 10 Shackletons –about half the total. There were only 3/4, a small proportion, in the 'Free list'.


  By the 1680's there were 6 Shackleton names amongst the 'At will' list, 2 at Widdop and 4 at Walshaw. There were 6 amongst the 'Free list', 1 at Good Greave, 1 at Alcomden, 1 with a part-share at Widdop-- others uncertain!  



    site of Lower Houses  Little Green & Sandy Fields



History of



     The Upper Calderdale area was principally for Parliament, after all, the weavers especially were part of the aspiring, independent, ''middle class'', yet there's little evidence of them being much affected by the wars. The House of Uttley book [Eileen and John Huckle; Jade Pub. Ltd.] recounts a 'story' in which Michael Uttley of Raistrick Greave, Widdop, gets drawn into the approaching battle of Heptonstall in November 1643 by helping the Roundheads but clearly just wanted to get on with his life. A brother, John, meanwhile, is an ardent Royalist and loses his life at Marston Moor in 1644.

     By the middle of the 17th century widespread starvation was a thing of the past though there had been difficult periods; high food prices 1622-1623 coinciding with depression in the wool industry resulted in high death rates; the woollen districts also suffered in 1643-1645.

      The woollen weaving industry began to steadily thrive manufacturing cheaper cloth for the increasing population of poorer classes. The hardwork and industry of the moorland weavers was to 'erupt' into the textile boom of the 18th century.

The local context

Analysis of archives

The national context

17th century


     site of Higher Houses           Widdop 1 & Widdop 2 farms 

one barn remaining


Fieldwalking  in [2013] on the northern shoreline of the reservoir has discovered 'Blackware' potsherds, pictured below,dated anywhere between 17th and 18th cent.

Archaeological finds


    I must express thanks to Ann Bennett for sending me images of many Savile rentals for Wadsworth which she had taken at Kirklees Archives Office which had escaped my attention. These I have 'transcribed' onto the spreadsheets included in the adjacent links; THERE ARE GAPS IN THE LISTS COVERING WADSWORTH but I've now completed going through all the available archives.

    Of the adjacent 3 links---

                                                1.this link covers 1625-1675 in which I've tried to track progression of the tenancies throughout the whole period;


                                                2.the 1680-1750 [tenants are in a different order!]


                                                3.the 'Widdop tenants 1680-1699' link specifically detailing Widdop is compiled from the previous one which names the different hamlets


    Trying to follow progression of tenancies has been difficult due to the clerk/s not always keeping to the previous order and/or their difficulty of listing new tenants. Quite often the clerks were not up to date and left the names of deceased tenants on for longer and/or there may have been disputes awaiting decision. Wadsworth was a large 'township' containing a number of hamlets and scattered farms; only occasionally is a hamlet specifically mentioned though the 1680-1737 list DOES more which helps considerably!


  The link above [repeated on 'My Shackletons of Widdop' page]is my attempt to track continuation of ALL Shackleton tenancies within ALL of Wadsworth including Widdop.

   I've started from the  tenancies of 1572-1610 and then looked at those  between 1625- 1680. The 15 years gap between 1610 and 1625  was initially a problem but fortunately----

                              A/  the rental amounts did not alter,                  

                              B/most surnames continued --and thus by the process of elimination the only 'anomaly' was solved.


  There is a gap between 1675 and 1680 which has caused difficulty. I have not been able to prove ALL progressions due to --

       a. changes in rental amounts

       b. lack of information on farm names        

       c. the number of 'new' tenaments from 1680 onwards

   -- HOWEVER, from 1680 ONWARDS the progressions ARE accurate.

  All available sources have been used;  Savile rental lists, Wadsworth Court Rolls,  leases, all available wills.

     [Insert boxes show Court Rolls information]

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