Shoulder of Mutton

Footpath to Slaithwaite HallMarsden Lane follows another ancient trackway which linked Marsden with Halifax and beyond. The old track roughly followed the present Marsden Lane until it was interrupted by the building of the railway.

The original road, shown in this photograph, ran up the hillside towards Slaithwaite Hall and so on towards Stainland and Halifax.

Travellers on this road were catered for by an inn at Smithy Holme called the Shoulder of Mutton and bearing a 1739 date stone with the initials WH LH indicating that William Houlroyd (the original spelling of William’s surname) built the property which exists today although the name SSmithy Holme.jpgmithy Holme was first recorded in 1670. Holroyds continued to live at Smithy Holme until at least 1900 but were recorded as being farmers.

In 1785 Joseph Holroyd the elder “clothier and farmer of Grange House, Smithy Holme” had brewing vessels and one barrel listed in his inventory of assets attached to his will and Joseph Holroyd, “keeper if the Shoulder of Mutton at Smithy Holme” listed brewing vessels in his 1836 will. The inn closed for business around 1845.

Marsden Lane entered the village centre via what we now call Warehouse Hill and, before Snail Horn Bridge was built in 1798, access to Argyle Street and Towngate was by wading across the river at a place called Cocklip which is most probably a dialect spelling of Cock Leap.

Waters Road and Station Road did not exist until the mid 1800s and consequently the stone bed of the River Colne provided the only access to Eastergate. It was entered onto at The Green and provided a ‘watercourse’ road as far as Hey Green where the existing pathway leads to the packhorse bridge at Eastergate.