Much of the content of this web site has been the result of detailed research by others. I have been lucky that Ossett historians such as Joan P. Smith, Alan Howe, Neville Ashby, and Richard D. Glover have been kind enough to share their work and allow me to use extracts on these Ossett website pages. Their work deserves a wider audience and I have made available downloads of some of their original work in an unabridged format as PDF files.
Each document has a small description and a link. If you click on the link, the PDF file will download either as a saved file to your Downloads directory, or alternatively it will open up in Adobe Acrobat Reader if your computer is so configured.
Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free download and will run on any Windows or Mac computer. If your computer has not got a copy of Adobe Reader, you can download a copy from this site:
Alan Howe's detailed history of Scott's Yard, Manor Road, Ossett. (2MB PDF)
A comprehensive 96-page history of Ossett Spa written by Alan Howe in August 2010. (7 MB PDF).
Another detailed history prepared by Alan Howe on the history of Owlers Farm, Flushdyke. (3.5MB PDF)
A shortened version of the history of Haggs Hill, Ossett researched by Alan Howe. (2MB PDF)
Neville Ashby's account of the Roundhouse at Ossett Spa, the probable site of a Newcomen atmospheric steam engine in the late 18th century at Naylor's Pit possibly also known as Lights's Pit. (270K PDF)
Richard Glover's detailed history of Gedham Mill, which was established by his grandfather John Henry Glover and Walter Ellis in the early 1900s after being built by originally by Robert Elston Phillips circa 1898. With this study Richard has tried to bring the technical side of the business of mungo manufacturing together with references to the people involved running the company and their episodes during their lifetime, particularly around the First World War and its aftermath. How it affected not only the Glover family but the prosperity, or otherwise, of the town of Ossett and the people connected with it, reminiscent of the whole Heavy Woollen District.
A description of Gedham Mill, Ossett by the Royal Concession of the Historical Monuments of England, Yorkshire Textile History dated December 1986 and provided by Richard D. Glover, owner and proprietor of Gedham Mill until closure. (100K PDF)
A detailed history of Bleak Cottage, Manor Road, Ossett by Alan Howe. You can also download the front page of Alan's document with a picture of Bleak Cottage. (2MB PDF)
Joan P. Smith's original and very detailed history of Highfield House in South Ossett, which was presented as an edited version in the Ossett Houses page on this website. Joan's version contains much more background information and additional graphics. (2MB PDF)
The next part of Joan P. Smith's trilogy of grand South Ossett's houses is a detailed history of Clarendon Villas available for download by clicking ont the link above (5MB PDF)
"Whilst researching the material for my first ‘House History’ project, ‘Highfield House & Sowood House’, (2010), I collected a great deal of information concerning other neighbouring land and buildings. After a great deal of thought I decided it was a shame not to make use of this material. The result of this decision was the production of two more Local/House History publications.
My second project ‘The History of the South Ossett Triangle’ is a potted history of the land shaped like a triangle, bordered by three roads, now called Horbury Road, Manor Road and Sowood Lane. On this land was built the Parish Church, the Vicarage and the two Schools. This third project I have called ‘The History of Clarendon Villas and Greystones House’.
These two new books (along with the Highfield and Sowood House one) complete a Trilogy of publications covering all the large houses as well as the Ecclesiastical Buildings on this area of land, built in the 19th Century. Clarendon Villas, is situated on Horbury Road, up the next driveway to Highfield House & Cottage. (Access is now from Vicar Lane)
Joan P. Smith, 2012"
The final part of Joan P. Smith's detailed house histories is this history of Greystones, available for download by clicking on the link above (5MB PDF)
This work is part of a much larger publication entitled “The South Ossett Triangle”: copies of which have been deposited in the West Yorks Archives, Newstead Rd., Wakefield; Christ Church South Ossett Parish Centre; Ossett Library and Wakefield & District Family History Society.
Neville Ashby's account of our walk along the Calder & Hebble canal to Millbank Lock at Thornhill on the quest for relics of our local history. (500K PDF)
Neville Ashby's account of our local history walk around Ossett Common. (500K PDF)
Another walkabout at Ossett Common looking at Ossett's rich local history by Neville Ashby. (800K PDF)
Neville Ashby's article describing our follow-up walk to Millbank, Thornhill along the banks of the Calder & Hebble canal from Healey, Ossett to look for evidence of the reputed underground canal linking Thornhill Combs colliery to the canal. We then explored the site of the long-forgotten hamlet of Millbank, which existed in the 19th century and the even earlier remnants of the Millbank stone quarry and steam crane that made up the landscape alongside the Calder & Hebble canal during the period of the Industrial Revolution in the reign of Queen Victoria. (370K PDF)
Neville Ashby's write-up of our wander around South Ossett on the lookout for historical remnants of Ossett's rich and varied past. (750K PDF)
Neville Ashby's excellent write-up described our latest Ossett walk along the ancient High Road through Ossett, which was used in medieval times for herding cattle from place-to-place.
Joan P. Smith has very kindly provided this shortened web version of the history of the formation of Christ Church, South Ossett 1851-1964. Please read this detailed account of how the new South Ossett parish and church were founded and the amazing work of the Reverend Denis Neary who by the sheer force of his character and willpower breathed life into the new parish and church. There are also some truly fascinating extracts from the vicar's log book begun by the Reverend John H. Ward and then continued by other incumbents that give us a real insight into life in Ossett in the 19th and early 20th century. (3.5MB PDF file, 27 pages with many illustrations)
This work is part of a much larger publication entitled “The South Ossett Triangle”: copies of which have been deposited in the West Yorks Archives, Newstead Rd., Wakefield; Christ Church South Ossett Parish Centre; Ossett Library and Wakefield & District Family History Society. A separate publication, containing more detailed information entitled “Christ Church South Ossett, Extracts from the Vicars Log Book", is available from the Society.
Alan Howe has recently done extensive research on the history of Sowood Manor (2.5MB PDF), Sowood Farm(6.5 MB PDF), the origins of Matty Marsden Lane (800K PDF) and Rock Cottages (400K PDF). A summary of Alan's work is included in the Sowood page of the web site. The full text of Alan's research is presented here as PDF files in much greater detail than is available on the web site and is well worth downloading. There is much original research and Alan has probably discovered the derivation of Matty Marsden Lane, just over the Ossett boundary in Horbury, but relevant to this study.
Sowood Farm is probably the oldest building in Ossett and now has listed status. Alan Howe has researched the history of the farm from the earliest recorded time when the Marsden family owned and built the farmhouse. Read about the people buried at Sowood Farm who died from the Black Death.
A question often asked is how did Matty Marsden Lane get so named? There never was a Mathew Marsden as many people believe, but Alan Howe has probably solved the perennial conundrum and Matty Marsden was most likely Martha Marsden (nee Kershaw) who had married Frank Marsden in 1778 and by 1797 was widowed with nine children.
Rock Cottages or more simply "The Rocks" date back to the 1760s when William Marsden (1733 - 1777) married local girl Sarah Firth and built a home for his new wife and future family. William had been left a three-acre parcel of land after the death of his father John Marsden in 1742. Rock Cottages have an interesting history and Alan Howe has done extensive research on the history of the cottages right up to their 250th anniversary in 2013.
Alan Howe has done and extensive history of the house (now demolished) known as Rock Cottage, Horbury, which is not to be confused with Rock Cottages or the Rocks, which were located nearby.
Alan L. Howe
Alan Howe is a native of Ravensthorpe, and was educated at Mirfield and Tadcaster Grammar Schools after his family moved to live in Tadcaster when he was 13. Alan was employed by Leeds City Council in a senior accountancy and management role before retiring recently. He and his wife Pat moved to Ossett in 1974 and have one daughter Emma and one grandson Jack. They have lived in the Haggs Hill and Teal Street area of Ossett since moving here.
A keen local historian, Alan has done much detailed research on Ossett Spa, Haggs Hill, Ossett Common and other little-known corners of the town. Alan is one of the few people I know who can very easily navigate the frightfully complex West Yorkshire Archive Service records in Wakefield. This amazing skill has allowed him to unearth many previously unknown nuggets of local Ossett historical information, which Alan has been kind enough to share.
As if this wasn't enough to keep him busy, Alan and his wife have extensive stables and about four acres of land at Runtlings in Ossett where they keep horses, chickens and manage a wildlife pond.
Neville Ashby has been interested in Ossett history since he was very young. He has spent many hours gathering information from local history books, Ossett Library, the internet and other resources. He has been searching local fields with his metal detector and digging for antique bottles for 30 years. He maintains an extensive collection of local artifacts and ephemera. Neville, who was educated at Ossett School, is 45 years of age and works in ceramic tile & bathroom sales. He lives with partner Denise and their daughter Eloise in Ossett. He is also a skilled stained glass artist. Neville runs an Ossett History Forum on the internet.