The Society organises a winter programme from September to March
From generation to generation, people pass on their own ways of doing things to families, friends, colleagues and anyone they spend time with. These fragments of their culture can include all sorts of information - how to dress, games and rhymes, customs to keep around the house or community, what seasonal festivals to observe and how, sayings and expressions and much more.

This body of acquired knowledge can be thought of as cultural tradition, and varies from place to place, helping to foster a sense of identity from family to village to school or larger unit, such as a country. It is more widely known under the name of folklore.

In the following pages, with the help of John Billingsley, we hope to give you a flavour of the stories that are still told in Calderdale communities in the surrounding areas.

What is folklore - A look at the cultural tradition of Upper Calderdale

Collective Amnesia: How far and how long can we trust the memory of a people? John Billingsley stirs the forgetfulness of a West Yorkshire village

Could Climbers be the downfall of the Bride? Todmorden may lose its most spectacular natural landmark and an important folklore site unless steps are taken now to preserve it.

Slack Thinking - Dave Weldrake reviews recent Arthurian speculation concerning a minor Roman site in Yorkshire

The Last Road - corpse roads were the customary routes followed by funeral processions from outlying districts to the burial church.

The Warley Maypole - The earliest may pole in the township of which there is any reference, is for the year 1814 and which appears in a newspaper report of 1863, when it was being proposed to erect a new maypole to commemorate the visit to Halifax of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Rushbearing: References to Rushbearing in Calderdale in the period 1592 to 1846

Folklore Links

Traditional events

What is the Pace-Egg Play? Mumming plays, like so much of British folklore, have been subject to questionable assumptions as to their age and meaning, but today research has shed a clearer light on their origins and functions, as Eddie Cass describes.

The Pace-Egg: Notes for a History of Doggerel Michael Haslam muses on the Easter mumming play

John BillingsleyJohn Billingsley, long serving member of the Local History Committee, is a familiar face in the Calder Valley. He is the author of several booksand is also a guided walk leader for Calderdale Heritage Walks and speaker for societies across the North.

For over twenty years he has been editor of the earth mysteries magazine Northern Earth. www.northernearth.co.uk.


Autumn 2021 newsletter

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Family History

The group runs a popular programme of workshops and drop-in sessions at the Birchcliffe Centre

Churn Milk Joan

Upper Calderdale's suitability for the preservation of local cultural tradition is nowhere shown as strongly as in its wealth of folk tales about places, many of which are still being passed on by word of mouth.

Midgley Moor

For some years now a small group of friends has been exploring the evidence for prehistoric activity in the South Pennines.