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The idea of creating this selection of short stories came about partly because of the generous feedback from my previous publications concerning the family history of the Heaton family, something I had hoped for and made the project worthwhile. In the process of research I had also accumulated a number of stories and period photographs about other members of the Heaton family who share my own ancestors but not necessarily the exact ancestral line as myself. I value the importance of recording these stories for posterity so that future generations can benefit from the rich history they provide. It is these stories that eventually become folklore.
Perhaps the most enlightening feedback I have had was to learn of the exploits of William and Esther Heaton as Mormon missionaries in Utah. Whilst I had been aware that they went to America and my new-found friends in Utah were aware he came from Yorkshire, I have now been able to piece together their connection with the Worth Valley and William’s relationship with the original Wilfred Heton. I happily invite those new-found friends to visit their ancestral home and hope these stories stimulate you to make the effort.
A rich source of stories comes from the Heaton family’s connection with the Bronte family. As close friends and neighbours the Heaton and Bronte paths crossed on many occasions. Due to the extensive research carried out by Bronte archivists many of these stories have been unearthed because of the existence of original deeds, documents, parish registers and wills that have information shared by both families.
I also have another motive for this venture. That is to raise awareness of the plight of the Dockroyd graveyard in Oakworth, an important resting place for many Heaton family members. The last decade has seen its condition deteriorate to such an extent that it is no longer accessible to the public due to overgrown trees, bushes and ivy. Within this book I have highlighted the stories concerning a few of the occupants of the graveyard. My stories only cover a very small proportion of more than 2450 men, women and children buried there. My hope is that this publicity will bring forward many more stories and photographs of these families before they are forgotten for ever. I ask you to support my attempts to right this wrong in any way you think you can help. I will keep my website updated with any new developments.

Yet another reason for publishing this book is the hope of solving a mystery within my family tree. My father’s great grandmother, Elizabeth Heaton, was baptised by Rev. Patrick Bronte and buried in the Dockroyd graveyard along with her father and many other close relatives. Elizabeth became pregnant out of wedlock and had to seek poor relief in the Keighley Workhouse where her son Enoch was born. As the child’s father was never declared, he took his mother’s surname. So if the truth was known, I would not be called Heaton. I hope someone who reads this may be able to unlock the puzzle and tell me what my surname should be!
When the original Wilfred Heton, as I have referred to him throughout the book, first came to Oldsnap, he was without doubt categorised as a small yeomen. But as times went on, his family grew in wealth and importance, buying farms here and there, both near at hand and at considerable distances away, becoming substantial landowners. In addition they were large growers and buyers of wool, the staple agricultural product of the farmland around them. They developed an extensive wool combing business, and gave out spinning and weaving to the small farmers and cottagers. In the 16th and 17th centuries, nearly all landowners who kept their lands in their own hands, both great and small, engaged very largely in wool production.
During the 18th century there was a rapid increase in population, supported by the building of small, water-powered, textile mills at Ponden and elsewhere.

Whilst many Heatons were involved with enterprise, commerce and industry, helping create the landscape of the Worth Valley over many hundreds of years, others were quite satisfied to live their lives as honest citizens and good neighbours, selflessly sharing their religious beliefs, their love of music and their devotion to education. Their efforts have left a powerful legacy in places and events within the Worth Valley which are still popular today and the links with the Heaton family deserve recording for prosperity.
Over the centuries, the Heaton family has played its part in the history of the Worth Valley and much further afield, without hitting the headlines or the popular history books, but never the less noted. The Old Snap line in particular, those descendants of the original Wilfred Heton, whilst being aware of and preserving its history, has never felt the urge or need to make it public property. They have earned a reputation for loyalty, trust, integrity and fair dealing – a heritage they can be justly proud of. Now is the time to share their stories and their values.

Wilfred Heton of Old Snap … Heatons of Ponden … Heatons and the Brontes … Andrew Heaton – Royalist Cavalier … Joseph Heaton – stonemason … Miss Elizabeth’s family turmoil … Martha Heaton’s family life … The “Clockies of Dollymoor” … Cowling Heaton’s Café … The Heaton Library at Ponden Hall … John Heaton’s Brass Band … Crow Hill Bog Burst … Heaton Cotton Mills … Harehills Free School … “White Windows” … Heatons at Scar Top Brewery … The “quack” of Rush Isles … “Pudding” Heaton … Samuel Heaton at “The Grouse” … The Sutcliffe Heatons … Heaton War Heroes … Ellis W Heaton – Headmaster … Dockroyd Graveyard … Heatons at Scar Top Chapel … Heatons of Stubbing Hill … William Heaton – Mormon Missionary


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All Copyright Reserved to Andrew Heaton 2017