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The Cross

The Barwicker No. 24 December 1991

This fine postcard by Lillywhite Ltd. of Sowerby Bridge shows a familiar corner of Barwick earlier this century, when the village was traffic free and more peaceful. It may stir the memories of some Barwickers, who may be able to add to the observations below.

The picture dates from sometime after 1919 when the stump of the old cross, now in the churchyard, was replaced on its stepped plinth by the War Memorial, with its brass plate bearing the words:

'This ancient Village Cross was restored in 1919 to keep in memory the men of the village who took part in the Great War of 1914-1918 when nearly one hundred joined His Majesty's Forces amongst whom those whose names are recorded above laid down their lives' .

The 16 men killed in the war were:
  • George Dobson Acomb
  • Hubert Dennison Acomb
  • Derrick Francis Childe
  • Clifford Noble Corlett
  • John Hunter
  • George Albert Joynes
  • Harold Morritt
  • Fred Mosby
  • Fred Mouncey
  • George William Myers
  • William Reed
  • Charles Robshaw
  • Alfred Allan Sowry
  • Ernest Thorpe
  • George Edward Wall
  • Joe Wilson.

  • The list was later augmented by the names of the five villagers who died in the Second World War. The impressive double chains remained until this war when they were removed for scrap as part of the war effort. The picture was taken shortly after Armistice Day judging by the fresh appearance of the wreaths.

    Behind the memorial is the smartly painted maypole. The picture must have been taken after that on page 25 of 'Bygone Barwick' where no chains appear and the painted stripes on the maypole run in the opposite direction.

    On the left-hand side the rendering of the Gascoigne Arms looks very rough and there is no sign of the wide ground-floor windows and the impressive wooden canopy over them, which adorns the front of the modern building.

    At the back stands the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, opened in 1900 as a memorial to William Dawson, the well-known nineteenth century preacher from Barnbow. The building has changed little except that the small pinnacle-shaped ventilator in the centre of the roof ridge has disappeared. The conical top of this structure now decorates the bird table of an ex-official of the chapel who lives in a neighbouring village. A similar ventilator is still present on the schoolroom roof. The weather vane on the lofty pinnacle was removed in World War II at the request of the Observer Corps operating on Hall Tower Hill, who found the sound of the rotating vane interfered with their watch. The cross at the apex of the gable has since been changed to one of a more celtic pattern. The long (and long-neglected) history of the chapel is at present being researched and a publication will appear soon.

    The cottages just to the right of the war memorial are very old. On the door mantel of No.6 is the inscription 'G.M.H. Anno Domini 1679', but the origin of this and how authentic is the date we do not know. In the garden, a notice bears the words 'Cleveland Cafe'. This refers to a wooden structure behind the house which was used to supply refreshments to those in need, especially cyclists from Leeds and elsewhere. No.4. The Cross has recently been extensively renovated after years of neglect. Above its door is the inscription 'J.B. Anno Domini 1831' and again the origin is unknown to us.

    The sign post in the photograph is conveniently placed so that any driver of a horse-drawn wagon or car could pause there to find his way without causing any hold-up in the meagre traffic of the time. The south-pointing sign says 'To LEEDS, the west 'NO ROAD', the north 'POTTERTON' (which makes sense only after you have negotiated the next bend) and the east 'To ABERFORD'. When did this Barwick landmark disappear, we wonder?


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