WELCOME TO MIDGLEY VILLAGE

 

We are a highly active community running many regular village events, a community volunteer ran shop and we are in the process of completing refurbishment of a new community shop.

 

Midgley owes its existence mainly to a pair of quite spectacular geological events. At the onset of the first one, some 280 million years ago, tectonic plate movement caused the land to rear up into a mountain chain some 12,000 to 14,000 ft high. Subsequently, erosion by wind and water reduced the height of the hills, the Pennines, which above Midgley at about 1,250 ft. forms part of a vast moorland. Then at the end of the last ice age a dramatic event to the West occurred when a vast ice cap melted and the resultant flood water crashed through the floor of a shallow valley to form the steep sided valley which lies below Midgley. Thus it was that a South facing, gently sloping terrace above the steep slope and below the upland moors became an ideal location for human dwelling, the very name being thought to mean 'large pasture' from the Anglo Saxon 'migge ley'.It was this terrace, at roughly 700ft. above sea level, running East-West which connected to others and formed the line of an ancient track through the Pennines providing a trade route from the North Sea to the Irish Sea. Although this route is shown as a Roman road on the Ordnance Survey maps it was in use long before the Romans arrived, indeed some Neolithic and Bronze Age flint artefacts dating back 3,000 to 5,000 years and even earlier have been found along its length.

 



Just when Midgley became a permanent dwelling place is open to question but Bronze Age sites have been discovered on the moor above the village which gives the possib  ility of occupation from about 3,000 years ago. Such signs of early settlement have not been found in and around the village, but this is probably due to later cultivation obliterating the e v idence. Another consequence of the geological past is the underlying coarse sandstone k nown as Millstone Grit from which many of the houses in the area have been built. These often replaced timber framed houses the oak beams from which were used in the construction of the stone houses and can be seen in almost all the older buildings. Due to the endurin g nature of such thick stone walls the whole area is remarkably rich in vernacular architecture and has given rise to many academic surveys. The whole fascinating history of the village and its surroundings can be seen in 'Pennine Perspectives' published in 2007, a book written by members of the local history group.

 

But what of present day Midgley? Well, at the time of writing Spring has arrived in all its energy and excitement, with the trees freshly green, carpets of springtime flowers  in all directions, new born lambs appearing every day and a chorus of bird song with every dawn.  Most of the migratory birds have arrived, the larks are rising, the wheatears giving a splash of colour and perhaps that most evocative of calls over the moor, the curlews with their lonely 'curlee' cry. Also it is clear and sunny, a situation which we can be certain will change tomorrow or the day after and looking out across the valley the distant views will disappear behind a curtain of mist and rain which adds another dimension to the many changing faces of the area. Given its history and location it should come as no surprise that life in the village reflects the diversity of visitors in the past and a certain character which has developed within the confines of solid stone walls. For instance the grim realities of life as a result of the industrial revolution led amongst many things to the formation of Friendly Societies the contributions into which were used to alleviate suffering whenever possible. Such village groupings for the benefit of the community can be seen today albeit in considerably more benign circumstances. 

 

The last remaining shop and Post Office closed down in 2003. In an astonishing burst of creative energy several villagers brought into being a shop run by volunteers at a time when village shops were closing down all over the country, an event which made it into the national as well as the local press. The new shop opened the doos for the first time on the 6th of September 2003. Not only has it been commercially successful but it also provides a daily meeting point for anyone who wishes to catch up on village news, have a chat or better still, get involved in the numerous community activities all of which are reported monthly in the village newsletter a copy of which goes to every household, over 300 of them. At the same time a room above the shop was made into a community room and again has been a great success. All kinds of events take place, nearly always oversubscribed.

Freque nt quiz nights, the annual Burns Supper, a toddlers group, a cooking club, specia list speaker talks, etc., etc., and that's just indoors. Not surprisingly given its position the outdoor scenes are also many and varied. The local football team has just about finished the season just as the cricket team i s about to start. At Easter an egg hunt and the an cient Pace Egg play attracted many people, the gardening club goes into a new season, a ladies walking group makes full use of the surrounding countryside and the village fete will take place in June. The village junior school sometimes provides the venue for village meetings and also the annual junior fell race, a popular event in which children together with some of the parents race round part of  Midgley Moor. Due to the terrain the whole area is popular amongst fell runners there being several races throughout the year and we even have some people who have moved into the village to take advantage of the local fell running scene.  

 

What of the future? No one knows, but if history, long past and more recent, is anything to go by then Midgley will continue to fascinate.