Tunnel at Farnley Tyas

It really does not matter from which direction you approach the splendid little village of Farnley Tyas, you are going to be in for a treat. Country roads, open fields, and for those with keen eyes, a folly or two are some of the things you may see. And, that is not to mention the other wee settlements spread amongst the hills that you may pass. The name of this village alone has a unique quality that has always captured my imagination, and while it is a little area, it has a long history.

Recorded as Fereleia in William the Conqueror’s 1086 Doomsday Book, Tyas was added later and is said to have been adopted from a family of local landowners around the thirteenth century (Farnleytyas.com, 2015). Historian Caroline Page speculates that the word Farnley is potentially derived from the Old English for ‘fern’ (Farn) and ‘meadow’ (Leah) (Hirst, 2015).

By the late fourteenth century, the Kaye Family had firmly established their seat in Farnley Tyas, in the comforts of Woodsome Hall. A loyalist family during the English Civil War 1642-1651, the Kayes were prominent Huddersfield landowners. Yet, in the early eighteenth century, Woodsome Hall became the home of a new lord (Minter & Minter, 1993).

In 1730, William Legge, the First Earl of Dartmouth moved into the former Kaye home and over the next century, his family stuck around to see the little village grow to record size (Minter & Minter, 1993). Funded by the Fourth Earl of Dartmouth and consecrated in 1840 is one of the highlights of these hills, St Lucius Church. Dedicated to the first Christian monarch, this R.D. Chantrell designed house of God is a good reason to visit Farnley Tyas (Pattern, 2018). The stained glass alone is worth the journey. There had been a much shorter-lived church in the area, built in 1885 near Woodsome Hall, but this was demolished in the 1970s (Beatlestone, 2010).

While I will not linger, it may not surprise some – given my previous articles – that I first became interested in Farnley Tyas via rumours of a legendary tunnel. And where might this tunnel lead? Well, you guessed it, Castle Hill. Rarely an article goes by when there is not a subterranean passageway leading to our town’s sizable natural monument. However, this is not the only improbable legend linked with the hill. Another tells of a water system that existed in the late Middle Ages, that ran from Farnley Tyas to the castle that once sat on the hill. This was the speculated source of water for the castle’s moat. The logistics that would be required for this make little sense for the time period (Ahier, 1946).

In 1910, Elizabeth Legge, the last residing Dartmouth, reluctantly vacated Woodsome Hall, marking the end of an era for the village (Minter & Minter, 1993). And, while the population of Farnley Tyas rose during the height of the cloth-making industries of the nineteenth century, the village feels like it has retained a much older charm. Farnley Tyas has much more to offer in the way of history, with a pub that is purported to have walls that date back over four hundred years (Visitor UK, 2018) and an ancient drinking trough, this flower-lined village is a testament to itself, and old Huddersfield. 

Ahier, P. (1946). Story of Castle Hill Huddersfield throughout the centuries : Bc 200-ad 1945. The Advertiser Press Limited.
Beatlestone, P. (2010). Holmfirth Methodist Circuit Bicentenary 1810-2010.
Farnleytyas.com. (2015). History of Farnley Tyas. Farnley-Tyas. https://www.farnleytyas.com/history
Hirst, A. (2015, December 2). First ever book on history of Farnley Tyas. YorkshireLive. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/first-ever-book-history-farnley-10531053
Minter, G., & Minter, E. (1993). Discovering Old Huddersfield Part One. Huddersfield Local History Society.
Pattern, D. (2018). St. Lucius’s Church, Birks Lane, Farnley Tyas – Huddersfield Exposed: Exploring the History of the Huddersfield Area. Huddersfield.Exposed. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/St._Lucius%27s_Church,_Birks_Lane,_Farnley_Tyas#cite_note-1
Visitor UK. (2018). Towns and Villages Around Huddersfield | Farnley Tyas. Www.visitoruk.com. http://www.visitoruk.com/Huddersfield/farnley-tyas-C592-V11703.html

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