Halton Gill

Halton Gill

Meaning a farmstead in a narrow valley, haugh and gill both mean narrow valley.

In the early 17th Century the Fawcett family who had farmed Upper Heselden since the days of the monks gave money for the support of a curate to serve Halton Gill chapel.

Two served with great distinction. Miles Wilson, a Cambridge scholar and owner of an impressive library, served from 1737 to his death in 1776. He taught the village children and his two sons and daughter. He wrote a story about a cobbler who journeyed to the moon, via Penyghent, and from there toured the solar system. This fun form seems a very modern way to teach what was known of astronomy. His two sons went on to Cambridge. The elder, Edward, became tutor to William Pitt who became Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24, resigned in 1801 and served again from 1804-6 – a time of huge upheaval in Europe. Edward Wilson became a Canon at Windsor, talked with George III and Queen Charlotte and wrote of this to his sister, Jane who had married one of the Knowles family in Halton Gill. He adds that he would be delighted to have access to peat like his sister since the price of coal was ‘higher than I have ever known’. Miles Wilson was succeeded by Thomas Lindley who had no university education but was very well read and served from 1777 to 1847 – 70 years! He was well respected for his devotion to duty. He became curate of Hubberholme too and walked over Horse Head every Sunday for years. A Hubberholme woman once greeted him with: ‘Mr Lindley why do you fash yourself to come on such a day as this?’ Said he: ‘Duty must be done.’ On one Sunday in Halton Gill there was only one young girl in the congregation but he continued with the service nonetheless. He dutifully taught at the school in Halton Gill too for all those years.