Just up the road from where I live there is a tiny yet stunning old church in a little place called Hartshead.
St Peter, Hartshead is beautifully placed atop a hill with incredible views of the local Yorkshire countryside. Not only is it old and pretty, it is also steeped heavily in local history. Not least, it boasts connections to Robin Hood and the Bronte family. Patrick Bronte was the vicar here from 1810 to 1815 and Charlotte Bronte (his daughter) wrote her novel “Shirley” which was largely based on the local area.
The church also has connections to the Luddite uprising. It is situated not too far from the ‘Dumb Steeple’ in Cooper Bridge. This is where the Luddites gathered before marching across Hartshead Moor towards William Cartwright’s Mill near Cleckheaton. Their express intention was to smash the looms and break all newly developed labour-replacing machinery.
In the churchyard on this windy hill top there stands an old dead yew tree. Robin hood is said to have cut his last arrow from this tree and local legend has it that this was the very arrow that he fired that came to mark the place where he is now buried.
I was walking with my daughter recently and decided to stop for a rest in the churchyard to eat our picnic and take in the stunning views. I have marvelled at the tree on numerous occasions before and on this particular occasion decided to take a few shots of its wonderfully contorted and gnarly form.
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