Whilst the Upper Calder Valley is rich in documented folklore, the lower stretches of the dale have been relatively neglected. Arguably this is because they are less ingrained in the tradition of the area and as such, are of less historical interest, mere apocrypha in the scheme of folkloric research.
However, hours of trawling through the archives of the Brighouse Echo and other topographical guides have produced a substantial yield of local ghost stories and miscellaneous customs which it seems wise to collect and record for the interest of inhabitants of the region and anybody curious about such matters generally.
As many of the stories are slight, they did not seem to justify a printed work and hence the internet was the best place to collect this information. Some entries will reflect this relative paucity of detail, whilst others will expand on it by seeking to place the story in its wider folkloric context.
For the purposes of the blog, the “Lower Calder Valley” is a loosely defined area but roughly speaking it the watershed below where the Hebble Brook joins the River Calder at Salterhebble and above where the Calder joins the River Colne at Cooper Bridge, beyond which the local landscape arguably ceases to resemble a valley in any meaningful sense.
Most of the places mentioned will be located within the boundaries of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale but as this is an arbitrary, administrative entity which only came into existence in 1974, it will not be used as a definitive guide and areas lying just across the border with Bradford or Kirklees will not be exempt.
Hence, Brighouse, Elland, Southowram, Hipperholme, Northowram, Shibden, Rastrick, Coley, Clifton, Hartshead, Bailiff Bridge, Greetland, Stainland and Exley all fall clearly within the remit. Meanwhile, some outlying areas which have strong historical connections with these districts will also be considered such as Hightown, Fixby and Bradley.