AN inquiry into land rights has turned into a fascinating genealogical journey for architect Steve Sellars.
Steve, perhaps best known in this area for his work in creating the woodland and wildlife haven the 12-acre Birdsedge Nature Reserve, has a project involving land behind the Victoria Inn on Woodhead Road, Holmfirth.
“The area I am interested in used to be called Prickleden Bank Wood,” said Steve. “I was and still am trying to establish who owns the land now, with a view to either buying it or getting permission to run drains through it.
“In trying to track this information down, I found that the owner in the early part of last century was one Florence Dyson.
“I am trying now to trace the descendants of Florence, who lived in Lane House, Holmfirth, in the late 1800s and early 1920s. She was born in 1895.
“In 1926, Florence sold the Victoria Inn to the brewers, Seth Senior and Sons of Shepley. By this time she was living at The Haven, Alderton, Northampton.
“I have established that her father was William Dyson and she had four aunts – Emily, Ellen Eastwood, Sarah Jane, Maud Dyson, and another Florence, all spinsters.”
Steve has discovered from records that ‘aunt’ Emily owned the land in 1910 and everything she owned was passed down to her sisters and then to Florence.
But Florence disappeared from records after the 1901 Census, and Steve speculated that she might have been a suffragette, joining the thousands of women refusing to fill in Census forms in 1911.
There may or may not be a clue in the fact that opposite the woods, on the other side of Woodhead Road, stood Dyson’s Mill.
“This may be a coincidence but I would welcome any information on the history of the mill or the Dysons who owned it,” said Steve.
“Another part of the story, and possibly another clue in the hunt for Florence’s dependents, is that her grandparents were Thomas and Jane Dyson, who were living in Lane House, Holmfirth, in 1851.
“1851 probate records show a death registration for a Joseph Dyson, of Lane House, so that doesn’t tally. But it’s possible Lane House was two dwellings,” said Steve.
“Or did Joseph die earlier and his death not recorded immediately? Are there two Lane Houses in Holmfirth?
“I have spent days on this research and can’t get to the bottom of it, so any further help your readers can offer would be greatly appreciated,” he added.
Steve is on 01484 684797.