WHEN the preacher John Wesley rode into Huddersfield, he was famously taken aback by the so-called savage nature of its inhabitants.
He found an exception though in the people of Golcar, who he described as ‘gentle as lilies’.
The hill village may have a strong connection to the Methodist preacher, but one house holds more meaning than most.
An imposing rock dominating the grounds of Kevin Hirst’s Mount Pleasant home is believed to be the place where Wesley once delivered one of his famous sermons.
The whole property is pretty unusual, but Kevin says he is particularly proud that he can lay claim to his home being routed in one of the village’s notorious tales.
He says: “It’s a very special house and nice to know that it has this real connection to the village’s history.
“The massive rock is part of the foundations of the house and, needless to say, a real talking point when people come to visit!”
Born in 1703 Wesley was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian.
He is largely credited, alongside his brother Charles, with founding the English Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching.
Wesley is documented as visiting Huddersfield in 1757, when he wrote: “I rode over the mountains to Huddersfield. A wilder people I never saw in England.
“The men, women and children filled the streets and seemed just ready to devour us.”
However, Wesley seemed a little more impressed when he arrived in Golcar, where he commented he found the villagers to be: “Gentle as lilies when compared with the uncouth and ignorant peoples of Bolster Moor and Scapegoat Hill.”
The weaver’s cottage Kevin shares with his family was built on top of a huge rock looking out across stunning views of Holme Moss and beyond.
The property wasn’t built until the mid-1800s, but the jagged landscape would have proved a dominant sight when Wesley brought his open-air sermons to the area.
Kevin, 40, said: “The rock was there for many years before the house was built and would have been quite imposing when Wesley visited in the mid-1700s.
“We know from local literature that he preached from a rock in Golcar and it’s believed that ours is the one he stood at.
“It’s fascinating to think that our home has played an important part in history.
“It is at this time that Wesley is thought to have described the people of Golcar as having the complexion of a lily and that’s where the famous name comes from.”
Kevin’s home was built a century later, taking the rock as part of its foundations.
Originally two weavers’ cottages, they were knocked together to form one home in the 1940s, with a kitchen extension built on at a later date.
Despite its transformation many of the original features remained, including striking beams running through the rooms and original fireplace in the living room.
Kevin and his partner Janet Morton bought the house 10 years ago after falling in love with its rural location.
Says Kevin: “We absolutely loved the area. The views are absolutely stunning and it’s a great place for walking, which we’re both really in to.
“It had a wonderful sense of community spirit, with events like the Golcar Lily Day festival.
“It’s nice to be part of a rural community and we felt it would be a great place to live and bring up our son Thomas, who’s now nine.”
For the couple the three-storey house had a wonderful sense of character.
Says Kevin: “It’s such an unusual house. You come in upstairs and the way the living accommodation is arranged really makes the most of the views.”
The couple did a huge amount of work to make the house their own, overhauling the dated decor and restoring features like the beautiful living room fireplace which had been covered over.
Kevin explains: “When we moved in we had a two-month-old so we had to do everything gradually.
“The place was looking very dated and we put in things like a new kitchen and family bathroom, but while we went a bit more modern it was also important to ensure everything was in keeping with the cottage.
“We went for things like pine furnishings and a lovely grandfather clock, it was made in the 1830s which is the perfect time for the house.”
But the real crowd pleaser has to be the garden space, which comes complete with that dominant rock.
Kevin says: “It’s a great place for spending time and having people over for barbecues.
“You can’t miss the rock and it is a real talking point – when people first see it their reaction is ‘wow’!”
After a decade of happy memories there the couple have decided the time is right to move on and sell their home.
The move is partly fuelled by Kevin’s love of classic cars due to a lifetime in the motor trade.
He said: “We have both decided it’s time for a change, although I am looking for somewhere with a big garage for my collection of classic cars and a little bit more land.
“But we are selling it with a bit of a heavy heart. The house is so quirky and its history is a big appeal.”
Mount Pleasant, Golcar is on the market for £205,950 and a part-exchange would be considered. To arrange a viewing call Mr Hirst on 07970 540315.
Former weaver’s cottage with original features including beams and fireplace.
Three double bedrooms
Unusual feature rock in the garden
Lovely far-reaching views towards Holme Moss.