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Views of High Sunderland, the Old Cock Inn, the White Horse Inn and the Old Talbot

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Views of High Sunderland, the Old Cock Inn, the White Horse Inn and the Old Talbot

Old photographs taken from "Halifax As It Was."

Author: Arthur Porritt
Date: 1973
Location: Halifax
Format: Book Illustration
Document ID: 101249
Library ID: 34767437

"May the Almighty grant that the race of Sunderland may quietly inhabit this seat, and maintain the rights of their ancestors free from strife, until an ant drink up the waters of the sea, and a tortoise walk round the whole world." So read the inscription above the front window of one of the most impressive homesteads in the local area. Its name was High Sunderland and it stood on a plateau at Horley Green, overlooking the Shibden Valley.

In John Crabtree's "History of Halifax", the author states that the house was built by Richard Sunderland about 1587, although there are suggestions that his son Abraham was responsible for the house being constructed in 1629. There can be no doubt, however, that this gabled, timber framed house, with its ornate carvings, was a sight to behold.

The front of the property was very imposing, with its decorative mullioned windows and high gateway depicting the coats of arms of the Sunderland and Rishworth families. It is thought that the name derives from the fact that the land was sundered or divided from lands surrounding it, with the "high" referring to its elevated position.

Bronte experts have conceded that Lockwood's description of his first visit to Wuthering Heights fits that of High Sunderland. The inscriptions are fictional but the carvings are real. The interior of "Wuthering Heights" also corresponds with the house plan to a great extent.

Emily Bronte would have been familiar with High Sunderland having spent some time at Law Hill School in Southowram. It is thought she used the house as "Wuthering Heights" but located it to Top Withens on Haworth Moor.

Over the years the house was divided into separate dwellings and occupied by several different families. By the late 1940s it was reported that the building was derelict and unsafe. The owner of the building at that time, a Mrs Holden of Harrogate, offered it first to Halifax Corporation and then to the Bronte Society. However, the high cost of repair meant that both offers were turned down. High Sunderland was finally demolished in the early 1950s.

Further information on High Sunderland can be found in the Halifax Antiquarian Society Transactions for 1907 and the Calderdale Archives Department.

Page 2 is a shot of the old mantel-piece from the main room of the Old Cock Inn, dated 1581. Above the fireplace is the Savile arms indicating the early owners. It was in this room that "King" David Hartley leader of the Yorkshire Coiners was arrested in 1746. In 1852 the Halifax Building Society was formed within this room.

Still standing 2003.

The White Horse Inn and the Old Talbot were former pubs in Woolshops, both have since been demolished. The Talbot was replaced with another building but was again demolished to make way for the Woolshops shopping complex in the early 1980s.

For other related pages of Arthur Porritt's 1973 "Halifax As It Was", see documents:











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