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28 October 2014
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West Yorkshire in 360°!
Inside the ruins of Heptonstall Church
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If there is one memory the visitor will take away from the Calderdale village of Heptonstall, it's an image of the churchyard which must be one of the most fascinating in the country. Not only is it supposed to hold the remains of possibly more than 100,000 people, with the visible gravestones representing just some of those buried there, but it also contains two churches!

The ruined church which you can clearly see here is St Thomas a Becket, named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered on the order of the King not long before building started on the Church. After it was damaged by a gale in 1847 it was decided to build a new church across the yard - which you can just see facing the door of the ruin.

Heptonstall itself has no cinemas, no clubs and little in the way of shops and yet it can be said to be one of West Yorkshire's best kept secrets.
It's a wonderfully preseved village with a main street that has changed very little in the last 200 years.


Getting there...

By car, from Hebden Bridge follow Bridge Lane (signposted towards Todmorden) for a very short distance until you reach a turning circle just outside the town. Follow the turning circle round and re-trace your route - again for a very short distance - before taking a left up Heptonstall Road. A steep hill follows, but Heptonstall itself is the reward!

By bus, regular route from Hebden Bridge centre to Heptonstall.

On foot, follow Bridge Lane out of Hebden Bridge towards then turn right up Heptonstall Road and follow the road up the steep hill. This is only recommended for truly fit and able, this hill is steep!

The Lowdown...

You'll probably need to step across the pavement of gravestones to get between the two churches...but you'll be following in the footsteps of many others!

Go to the porch of the old church and look closely at the surrounding gravestones to find that of David Hartley. Known as the King of the Cragg Vale Coiners, he was hanged in York in 1770 "for unlawfuly stamping and clipping a public coin." Around this time counterfeiting the coinage was something of a cottage industry in nearby Cragg Vale and lost has been written about this in both fact and fiction.

More 360° Views: Bradford
More 360° Views: Wakefield
More 360° Views: Calderdale
More 360° Views: Kirklees
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