Plots and Plans

maps of Windhill 1584 - 1934

The Plans


Lordship of Idle – made in 1584 for the Cumberland Survey – adapted by Martin Bradley



Extract (edited) from A Plan of the Manor of Idle – made in 1813 by Jonathan Taylor, Leeds


The 1891 1:500 OS Plan was used as a baseline to check the dimensions of certain plots on maps printed in 1813, 1838 and 1847. Two reference points, which appear in all the maps, were chosen: the length of the old Water Pitts building west of the canal and the width of the Bradford Canal itself.  The frontages onto Bradford Road (Briggate) of all the plots from Taylor Road (later known as Water Lane) as far as the Methodist Mission Hall were measured.

The results show that all the maps are roughly in accord – to within 20%.

However, a Plan produced by Jonathan Taylor in 1813 for the Inclosure Notice places Taylor Road about 7 yards further to the N than the other maps. This, surely an error, was corrected in a map produced by Taylor in 1814 to accompany his Survey and Valuation of Idle.

The dimensions of Plot 215 (as measured on the 1813 Plan) correspond to the area (2 roods) given by the surveyors.

However, the length of its Briggate frontage (from the 1813 and 1814 Plans) is about 15% greater than on the 1891 Plan.



Extract (edited) from OS 1:10,560 Survey, 1847



Compilation from 1:2500 OS Sheet, 1934



Selected properties overlaid on 1:500 OS Plan, 1891



The Plots

Plot numbers are taken from the 1813 Idle Inclosure Notice and accompanying Plan

Where there was space on the 1813 Plan, the proposed enclosures show their areas in acres, roods and (square) perches

For the alphabetical references given below, refer to the 1891 OS Plan above


A, B & C (Plot 215)

The 1813 Plan shows that Joseph Bateson was allotted 3 small plots of land totalling just over half an acre between the Bradford Turnpike (later Briggate) and the Bradford Canal.  The largest, designated 215, was a rectangular plot of 2 roods (2420 sq yds or 1/2 acre) between the Bradford Road (Briggate) and the Bradford Canal. ‘Purchased of John Denby’, it was allotted to Joseph Bateson.


A - Wesleyan Mission and B - Burial Ground

In 1834-35 the first Wesleyan Mission Hall was constructed on the north-east section of the site.  It was a small one-room building with no vestry. The entrance was from the cemetery.

The deeds for the conveyance of the land to the Wesleyan Trustees were described in 1960 by J A Stevenson, author of a typescript entitled ‘Round About Windhill’. The documents were in the charge of the Wesleyan Superintendent Minister.  According to Stevenson, they state that on 6 Aug 1834 a plot of land in Bradford Road Windhill was leased from Mr Joseph Bateson for 1 year for a first payment of 5/- and a final payment of 1 peppercorn to be paid the day before the end of the Lease. This was standard conveyancing practice at the time. On 7 Aug 1834 the Lease was terminated and the land transferred to the Trustees for the purpose of building the Church. The Mission is thought to have opened its doors in 1835. Because the first burial took place in the south-west part of the site in November 1835, it is assumed that the area used for the Burial Ground was included in the deal.

Milton Hudson mentions 2 other conveyances connected with the Methodists. In 1837, he writes, the Trustees of the Methodist Chapel (Samuel Bradley, Thomas Jennings, Joshua Parker, Thomas Parker, John Peel and James Wilcock) conveyed land to the Rev James Wilson, the Superintendent Preacher.
This was probably associated with the Sabbath School, which was erected on the north-west corner of the site, on Plot 216. 
Just prior to this, an Indenture dated 11 October 1836 for 2 properties in Idle was written to provide funds for the School.   It mentioned, “
the Sabbath School lately erected by the Wesleyan Methodists”, suggesting a completion date in 1835.

The 1838 map shows a large, square building that may be the first Mission Hall – it was demolished in 1849 and a larger building erected. 


C  - Crag Cottage

The Methodists used about 30% of Plot 215 for their chapel and 45% for the burial ground. 

The remaining 25% was conveyed to William Peel for the construction of Crag Cottage.  The house was probably built in 1837 on the southern part of the Plot.  

A Memorial of a Lease and Release written on 11 and 12 August 1834 describes the conveyance in the following terms: “Lease & Release between Joseph Bateson of Windhill Cragg, Cloth Maker and William Peel, clothmaker of and concerning all that plot piece or parcel of ground as the same is now stated out of and from a certain Allotment situate lying and being at Windhill Cragg aforesaid and adjoining on the North East side thereof to a plot of ground lately sold by the said Joseph Bateson to the Trustees of the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel intended to be erected thereon ”.  This almost certainly refers to the southernmost part of Plot 215 bounded, “on the South West side thereof to the remaining Stripe of such Allotment”.
In other words, a strip of land adjacent to Plot 214 was not sold to the Methodists but was conveyed to William Peel.

Being a summary of the original Lease and Release, no details of monetary considerations or time scales were noted in the Memorial and the purpose of the conveyance was not revealed.
It may be, for example, that the land was conveyed for the purpose of raising a mortgage.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that Joseph Bateson still owned the plot as well as the house - Crag Cottage - that was being built upon it when he wrote his Will on 19 December 1837.
In that document, he bequeathed the house to his granddaughter Henrietta Maria Peel, declaring that should she pre-decease her father, Peel could purchase it from the executors for £150.  This Peel did, on 2 December 1863, just 2 weeks after his daughter’s untimely death.

That the house was Crag Cottage was confirmed in an Indenture made in late 1865 when Peel conveyed all his properties to William and James Bateson: “all that dwellinghouse situated at Windhill .. formerly in the occupation of .. William Peel and the house under the same .. formerly occupied by one William Naylor, with the workshops and premises .. in the occupation of John Verity“.

Crag Cottage was probably demolished in 1964 or 1965 - it appears on the 1960 1:2500 OS Plan and was the subject of a purchase order by Shipley Urban District Council in early 1964.


D - Plot 214

Plot 214, of 8 perches, was allotted to John Pitts in 1813.

By the time of the 1814 Survey and Valuation Joseph Bateson owned the ground, which extended from Briggate to the Bradford Canal.


E - Plot 213

Plot 213, of 11 perches, was allotted to Richard Bate or Bates in 1813. Bates was a boatbuilder.

By 1814 the plot was in Joseph Bateson’s possession, though no deeds of sale have been found.


F - Plot 212

Plot 212, of 5 perches, was allotted to Thomas Tillotson in 1813.

By 1814 it was in Joseph Bateson’s possession, though no deeds of sale have been found.

In 1814 William Long was the tenant of a cottage and shop that presumably fronted onto Briggate.

In 1814 William Peel occupied a house and grounds amounting to 5 perches.  A further house was unoccupied.


G - Plot 211

Plot 211, of 6 perches, was allotted to David Lee in 1813.

William Long was the tenant in 1814.

William Peel purchased the plot, probably in the 1830s.  Peel erected a warehouse, cottage and up to 5 houses on the site and let them to tenants who included Joseph Wood, Joshua Burnley, Thomas Laycock and Rachel Rhodes.  In 1861 some of their houses were numbered 40 to 44 Briggate.  In 1866, when the land and buildings were sold to William & James Bateson, the deed noted that it was originally designated Plot 211.


H - Plot 210

Plot 210, together with a previously-enclosed plot, comprised 2 cottages and a shop amounting to 10 perches.  In 1814 the properties were let by their owner, Timothy Skirrow, to William Slingsby and John Skirrow.


J - existing enclosure in 1813

Consisting of 36 perches, this Ancient Inclosure with a frontage onto the Bradford Canal was owned in 1814 by Thomas Bulcock and occupied by Thomas Oldfield, William Ellison and Joseph Pitts.

Some time before 1828 a Christopher Moorhouse sold a house and garden in the centre of the plot amounting to 32 perches.


K - Plots 208 & 209

Plot 208 was a narrow strip of 4 perches (121 sq yds) bordering the Bradford Road.

In 1814 Joseph Bateson was listed as the owner of the plot together with some existing enclosed land that contained buildings.  The total size of the plot was 29 perches.

Four houses were listed on the plot, occupied by John Hall, Edward Rangeley (Joseph’s nephew), William Hartley and John Peel.  A fifth house and a shop were occupied by Joseph himself.


Plot 209 was a square plot of 10 perches (302 sq yds) on the corner of the Bradford Road and Taylor Road (known as a ‘cottage road’ and later renamed Water Lane, it lay directly west of the present-day Block 34-50 on Crag Road).

Joseph Bateson purchased the plot ‘of Joshua Taylor’ just prior to the 1813 Inclosure Award.  It is likely that he already owned the existing buildings.


A gap between the two plots would later provide access to steps leading down to a yard called Bateson Fold, which had a canal frontage.


Joseph sold the entire piece of ground (K) to Samuel Forrest and John Jennings in 1832.


L & M - Plots 207 & 205

Plot 207 was a square of land of 6 perches on the SE corner of Denbigh Road and Bradford Road. Comprising a house, stable and garden, it was owned and occupied by Benjamin Harrison, a local clothier, in 1814.


Plot 205 was a smaller square of land on the SW corner of Denbigh Road and Bradford Road.  Amounting to 3 perches, it was allotted to Benjamin Harrison in 1813.  The following year it was described as an Allotment, with no buildings.


In December 1820, Harrison sold a messuage (land with a cottage) to John Peel and Joseph Bateson.  The Indenture does not clearly identify the location but does state that Harrison was the occupier. It also says that it adjoined property in the possession of Joseph Bateson.  These facts make it likely to be Plot 207.  Since one of the parties was John Peel, whose wife Elizabeth Bateson was later to become the Innkeeper at the Foresters’ Arms, it is also likely that the conveyance included Plot 205, the future site of the Inn.

When the Foresters’ Arms was sold to John Peel’s son Charles in 1864, it was described as “a cottage in the occupation of William Helliwell, formerly belonging to Benjamin Harrison and by him sold to John Peel”.


N - Plots 204 & 206

Plot 204, of 3 perches, was allotted to Benjamin Thomas in 1813.  It was not assigned an owner on the 1814 Plan and so may have been combined with a neighbouring plot.


Plot 206, with 5 perches bordering the Canal, was allotted to John Denbigh in 1813.  No information was given on the 1814 Plan.


The ground between these 2 plots was an existing enclosure that was owned by Wm Greenwood in 1814.


P - Plot 196

Plot 196, of 19 perches, was allotted to Benjamin Thomas in 1813.

In 1814 Absolam Rangeley (or Rawnsley, a brother-in-law of Joseph Bateson) was the tenant.


Q - Plot 197

Plot 197, of 5 or 8 perches in 1813 (both figures were given), was allotted to Henry Wright Dawson, who owned a considerable amount of land in Idle.

In a Lease and Release dated 11 and 12 January 1813 the plot was “Lately enclosed from the Commons & Waste Grounds & allotted to Henry Wright Dawson in respect of his ancient rights within the said township of Idle and contains by estimation 8 perches”.

The Deed noted a “Tenement lately erected upon the said piece or parcel of ground and now used as a School”.  The conveyance was to a consortium of 5 men: Samuel Cowling, Thomas Stead, Joshua Taylor, Benjamin Harrison and Joseph Bateson.

These gentlemen were the Trustees of Windhill School, one of the earliest to be established in Windhill itself.

According to Cudworth, the School was built in 1811 and opened in March 1812.  The first schoolmaster is not known but Moses Henry Lee, a returning Idle native, arrived to take up the post between 1814 and 1816, followed by Matthew Thompson and John Clough.


R - Plots 216 & 217

Plot 216, of 17 perches, was allotted to Joseph Naylor in 1813.


Plot 217, of 16 perches, was allotted to William Naylor.


Around 1837 some of this ground was donated or sold to the Wesleyans for the construction of a Sunday School, with an access road, next to their Mission Hall.


S - part of Plot 201

Plot 201, a long strip of land of over 2 acres bordering the east side of Briggate, was allotted to Jeremiah Kitson in 1813.  In 1814 it was known only as an Allotment at Windhill.  Kitson must have conveyed his property to his son-in-law Sammy Cowling, because in an Indenture dated 17 March 1842 Cowling was able to convey around 10 acres of land on the east side of Briggate to William Peel.  There were 3 allotments: Briery Close, Broad Close and Dog Standard Close (the last two were also known as George Close and Old Pasture).  Only Briery Close and Old Pasture have been positively identified – these were both on the steep ground between Windhill Crag and Wrose and did not have a frontage onto Briggate. 

The nature of the conveyance is unclear (it is recorded only as a Memorial at Wakefield Registry of Deeds). 5 years later, when the Idle Tithe Plan was published at the end of 1847, Samuel Cowling was still listed as the owner and occupier of both Briery Field and Old Pasture.  What’s more, not one of the later deeds executed by Peel, his trustees or the Official Liquidator mentions these fields. 

The northern part of Plot 201 was the location of Peel's Roman Church, with its clock tower, and the adjacent Vicarage.

On 7 December 1869, when several plots on the east side of Briggate were offered for sale, parts of those noted on the auctioneer's plan as being opposite the Wesleyan Methodist Burial Ground would have been the site of the Peel buildings.
In the auction notice, however, the plots were described as Building Land: there was no mention of any existing structures.
On the plan, the owner of the adjacent plot of land to the south, possibly the site of the Observatory, was noted as James Bateson. This land had been bequeathed to James in 1838 by his father Joseph. It was described in the latter's Will as “
situate lying and being on the north east side of the house”, the house that he bequeathed to Henrietta Maria Peel; in other words, it was to the NE of Crag Cottage, and roughly where the Observatory would have been built.


T - part of Plot 201

When Shipley UDC bought Crag Cottage from Peel's grand-nephew, Charles Stancliffe, in 1964, a 140 square yard plot on the east side of Briggate just south of a footpath leading to Peel Place (where Owlet Nursery now stands) was included. William Peel may have once owned this piece of ground.



Enclosure was the process by which open fields, common grazing land and areas of waste ground were marked off and made into 'closes'.   The ostensible reason was often to improve the land and so help to feed an expanding population.  Sometimes the less explicit reason was to exploit, and profit from, mineral resources such as coal, although there is no evidence that this was the case in Windhill.  Enclosure could also be a means of getting rid of burdensome tithes.  Occasionally, an allocation would be given in lieu of certain rights such as a right to tithes. 
Waste and common land was generally divided among existing freeholders in proportion to the value of their holdings, provided they had appropriate deeds. 
This meant that those who depended on their right to graze animals on common land suddenly found their survival threatened unless they were able to pay to rent grazing on the new fields.
In return for their allocation, the new landowners were obliged to provide and maintain roadways, hedges, walls and fences as well as waterways and wells.  They also had to pay the fees of surveyors, solicitors, the Inclosure Commissioners and for getting a Bill through Parliament.  The average cost of enclosure in England was less than £1 per acre.  The costs for Windhill are not known though in neighbouring Guiseley they came to nearly £3 per acre.


The minute books of the meetings of the Idle Inclosure Commissioners, which might have given details of negotiations, objections, sales and exchanges of land, do not appear to have survived.

All that is known is that the process began with an invitation to interested parties to attend a public meeting at the White Bear Inn on the last day of 1808; it continued with a meeting at the Manor House in 1809 “for the purpose of reading over, settling and signing the Consent Bill to be presented to Parliament for the Division and Inclosure of the Commons and Waste Grounds; a meeting at the White Bear on 14 May 1810 was called to allow people to make objections to the Commissioners’ proposals for roads and footpaths; the process ended on 12 May 1814 at the Red Lion, when the Award was read out.


To accompany the Award, the Commissioners produced a plan of the manor, the western part of which is reproduced here. The Plan shows that their allocations for west Windhill, shaded grey, were in a narrow band following the line of the Bradford Canal. Further east, the allotments encircled Wrose village, covering the steep flank of Gaisby Hill, the quarries above Carr Lane and the Wrose Brow woodlands. Everywhere else in Windhill was blank on the Plan and was labelled 'Ancient Inclosures'. This tells us that the process of enclosure in Idle began much earlier, in medieval times: by the end of the 16th century, most of the Manor, including some of the common grazings, had been enclosed, the exceptions being Gawcliffe Crag, parts of Idle Moor and Wrose. The 1813 Inclosure Award concluded the process by enclosing the steepest, roughest and least productive land.  


Joseph Bateson received an allotment of 3 enclosures in 1813. 

The Commissioners seldom gave reasons for their allocations but one that was noted was an award to a Henry Ovington “in right of his own fee simple estate.  Presumably, Joseph Bateson and others received their allocations for similar reasons. 

This means that Joseph was probably an existing freeholder, though the location and nature of his holdings are uncertain. 

What is known is that in 1804 and 1811 he bought cottages and land in Windhill from John Thornton and George Wright respectively.

Of the three enclosures allotted to Joseph, two (Plots 209 and 215) were apparently purchased from previous owners (Joshua Taylor and John Denby respectively). 

In the case of the former, the commissioners wrote: “..all that other allotment, piece or parcel of ground purchased by the said Joseph Bateson of Joshua Taylor situate at Windhill Crag and marked on the said Plan with the Number 209..” (my italics).

It is assumed that Joshua Taylor learned he was to be allocated Plot 209 but decided he did not want it. Before the Inclosure Award was written up and published, he sold it on to Joseph Bateson, who thus became the allotted owner of the plot, with all the associated responsibilities.

The disposal of allocated land before formal notification may have been a fairly common occurrence in Idle: John Bakes, John Hornby, John Pitts and Abraham Stansfield were other purchasers of land that was originally allotted to someone else.  

By this means, small parcels of low quality or inconveniently located land could be sold on and amalgamated into larger, more efficient holdings.  



* Deeds referred to are available as Memorials at Wakefield Registry of Deeds

* The Will of Joseph Bateson is at the Borthwick Institute

* A Plan of the Manor of Idle drawn up between 1810 and 1813 by Jonathan Taylor (one of the Inclosure Commissioners, the other being Jonathan Teal) - in West Yorkshire Archive

* A Survey and Valuation of the Township of Idle by Jonathan Taylor, 1814 - in West Yorkshire Archive

* Advertisements were placed by the Commissioners in the Leeds Mercury in 1808, 1809, 1810 and 1814

* A Plan of the Township of Idle, Copied and Enlarged from a Map made by the late Jonathan Taylor in AD 1814 with the Alterations to December 1838 by Lister & Ingle - in West Yorkshire Archive

* 1584 Map of the Lordship of Idle, adapted by Martin Bradley

* 1847 1:10560 OS map

* 1891 1:500 OS Plan

* 1934 1:2500 OS map

* J A Stevenson: ‘Round About Windhill’, 1960 - a typescript seen at West Yorkshire Archive, Bradford

* Milton Hudson: 1834-1919 Windhill Wesleyan Mission - Its 19th Century Origins in 'Windhill Wesleyan Mission 1835-1961' by Arthur Costigan, published by NE Windhill Community Association 1989





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