The last of the Hinchliffes.

There were definitely Hinchliffes at Longley from the 17th Century and possibly even before. The Hinchliffe name, along with its many variants, is native to Holmfirth. In fact, even today, most of the Hinchliffes in the country live within a twenty mile radius. 

These people were described as "clothiers" and operated one or more handlooms in the upper chambers of their houses. This explains the very distinctive "weavers' windows", which are so typical of the region.  There was farming as well, but this was a minor activity alongside the serious business of weaving. The Hinchliffes prospered in this pre-industrial world until the mills in the valley bottoms became an an unbeatable source of competition. In 1855, the family described itself as being woollen manufacturers, but by 1861 they were purely farmers.

In 1845, Joseph Hinchliffe of Upper Longley had his first son , William Henry. By 1848, his wife Hannah had died and ten years later he was married again to Ann , with three more children following : Walter, Jonas and Mary Ann. Along with the birth of these children was also born a long running feud between William Henry and Jonas.

By marriage (to yet another Hinchliffe) William Henry took over at Lower Longley and prospered. Starting as a stone delver, he ran the house as a shop and progressed to owning several farms and cottages. Walter moved away and Jonas took over at Upper Longley, which gradually declined into debt.

William Henry had one son, Irvin, who never married and Jonas did not marry either. Upper Longley ran as an old-fashioned farm , whilst Lower Longley was a farm, a shop and had a milk round. Clearly there was friction between uncle and half-nephew; to the point that the local Sunday School at Choppards, when organising the annual school feast,  was careful to alternate its purchases of butter and bacon.

In 1948, when Jonas passed away, he left Upper Longley to the brothers, Joseph and Edgar Dickinson, whose grandmother was Jonas's sister, Mary Ann. To this day, we have not been able to find out what became of Walter and his family.  There were thirty acres of rough pasture, ten cows , a horse and a debt greater than the value of the legacy; but it was a start.

Irvin moved out of Lower Longley in 1952 to live in one of the cottages.  The farm was bought at auction and became home to Joseph, whilst Edgar carried on living at Upper Longley. 

Irvin passed away in 1958 and after at least three hundred years, there were no more Hinchliffes at Longley.

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