Gomersal

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Coordinates: 53°44′10″N 1°41′18″W / 53.73623°N 1.68824°W / 53.73623; -1.68824

Gomersal is a village in the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England. It is south of Bradford, east of Cleckheaton, and north of Heckmondwike and close to the River Spen.

Gomersal was originally 'Great Gomersal' according to historical maps – neighbouring village Little Gomersal has, however, retained its diminutive.[citation needed]

Contents

History

Gomersal is known for the Luddite uprising of 1812 when rioters protested against the power looms. Many rioters were injured or killed and the ring leaders executed at York.

The riots provided Charlotte Brontë with material for her novel Shirley. Gomersal was the hometown of her friend Mary Taylor, who lived at the Red House which is called Briarmains in the novel. The house is now Red House Museum.[1]

The Taylor Family also went on to live in Spen Hall, a former chemical works, which is a residence in the Lower Spen area of Gomersal on Spen Lane. Spen Hall is now split into several houses but still has many original features, such as a 16th century mullioned window, the original tennis lawn and a water spring which, according to myth, is a tunnel (now flooded) leading to the Old Saw public house cellar, further up Spen Lane. This cellar was apparently used to hide priests fleeing persecution and the public house has now been refurbished as bistro/bar and renamed 'The Saw'). The Old Saw itself used to be on further down Spen Lane (labelled on an Ordnance Survey map as 'Heygate'), which was renovated by its current owner due to instability of the property.

Clay pipes were found in the earlier Old Saw premises in the walls and chimneys but, once exhumed, disintegrated. A glazed drinking cup found in the foundations survives after being carefully reassembled and preserved by Harry King, the former owner of the cottage. The cup still requires dating. A hand-made brick-lined pit 2 feet (0.61 m) deep was also discovered on the site. Its uses are disputed, with suggestions that it was a cock fighting pit or meat storage vessel.

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