Joseph Haigh Moss 1791-1861

  1. Joseph Haigh (Hague) Moss 1791-1861

Joseph was baptised at Cannon Street chapel. Manchester in 176. The chapel no longer exists but Jonathan Schofield has this description of its location and history: “After widening and damage in World War II, all trace of old Cannon Street was finally removed as the Arndale Centre emerged in the 1970s. The street had been built on what was previously open land from the middle of the eighteenth century and several Georgian period properties survived until 1907. Cannon Street Independent Chapel, one of the first buildings to arrive from 1760. At the rear of the building there were several tombs. The last interment had been that of Dugal Mann, tape manufacturer, in 1788. The building closed as chapel around 1860, by which its congregation had long disappeared from the city centre.”

This 1907 photo shows a man and child passing Cannon Street Chapel

Joseph’s mother (Mary Moss, nee Hague) died when he was 18 and 4 years later he married Jane Moorhouse in Halifax Minster. I’ve not been able  to find out anything about her. Within a year their first child was born and, keeping on the family tradition of giving the first son the surname of the mother as a Christian name, he was named Moorhouse Moss. They went on to have 10 more children, two of whom died in their first year and it’s possible a further 2 fell into this category. At the time of his marriage he was a fustian cutter, just like his father, but the next mention of him is as a schoolmaster, aged 50, at Calderside on the 1841 census. It’s the last entry in the census and appears after Hebble End but I haven’t been able to locate the building. The 1851 census route is Bridgegate, Toll House, Hebble End and Bridge Lanes. The Moss school is the only building listed at Hebble end.

The houses bottom right at Calder Bank now demolished and the field above them now the site of Riverside School which opened 1909. To its left across the river is Central Street School.

The only students listed are his own children. Perhaps this was Hebden Bridge’s first Home Schooling experiment! By 1851 He was running his own school and his wife, Jane   was named as the schoolmistress. They had 9 boarders from age 11-13 all born in Lancashire or Yorkshire.


Joseph Moss. 59. Schoolmaster. Manchester

Jane. w 58. Mistress. Wadsworth

Mary. d 35.  Wadsworth

Grace Fielding. 10. Scholar. Todmorden

Eliza Ann Brewer. 12.

Mary E. Tiffany. 10. Halifax.

John Chadwick. 13. Bacup.

John Worrall. 12. Cheshire.

James Hardman 11. Bacup.

Samuel Atherton. 10. Bacup

John Smith. 12. Pontefract.

William Firth. 1. Todmorden

Susannah Greenwood. 14. Servant, Heptonstall

However, by 1861 the school had moved to Slater bank and there are 26 students. So at this point I need to talk about the Moss Schools:


There’s a school listed at buttress bottom in the 1851 census run by Henry Bourne Smith , b. Heptonstall, and his wife Mary Ann, b Stansfield. Again, the only 4 listed scholars are their own children. I can’t find them on any other census or in marriage records. There is a Henry Smith on Bridgegate, a shoe maker and boot maker married to Mary on the 1861 census.

Before  the coming of the Board schools (ed. in 1870) there were several private schools in Hebden Bridge, attended by fee-­paying students, some of them boarders. When New Road was made in 1806 a schoolroom was demolished and rebuilt. George Mellor,  whose school it was, moving into Bridge Gate and Samuel Chambers taking over the new building. There was also a Mr. Moorhouse (ed. JH Moss married Jane Moorhouse. Any relation? Can’t find) who kept a school in part of the White Horse Inn, but the best known of these schools was Moss’s Academy. from Research done by Colin

Waterboard men at work in Lee’s Yard
Lee’s Yard – now the car park/market place

From M/S4/4 Sketches of Old Hebden Bridge and its people by Antiquarian 1882, chapter 2 (transcribed?) by  Ken Stott. The author was born in 1804 and this series of sketches was published in 1882 in Hebden Bridge Times and Calder Valley Gazette in installments between January and June.

In the minute book of the turnpike trustees for that time occur the following entries:

April 3rd. 1805. Meeting held at Wm Patchett’s, HB, the trustees treated with Patchett for land in the Holme, the Ing and the Brink, for 11p per yard. The trustees agreed to take down a building (ed. This must be the old school)  in Appleyard’s land, in the occupation of George Mellor, and rebuild it upon a convenient place thereby.

Aug 7, 1805-paid $76 to  Appleyard for 1,562 yards at Hebden Bridge, and $52-10-0 for re-building the school-house, to John Butterworth, mason, and for railing off the ground $4-0-0. .

Upon the school-house being pulled down Mr Mellor seems to have removed his school near The Shoulder of Mutton where I remember it being: the school-house mentioned as being rebuilt is now the building converted into four cottages, at the bottom of New Road, opposite Mrs Appleyard’s house, and occupied by Stansfield Riley and others. A Mr Appleyard left in his will, dated 1826, many buildings in town, including the White Swan. There’s another William Appleyard 1768-1829 who was an innkeeper and yeoman. In 1881 his daughter Ann was living at Holme House, and she died there in 1884. This is directly across from the current florists and so this substantiates the idea of the florists being the old school. I have a plan for the sale of land for the erection of my building. The land was purchased from Dr Appleyard.

This row of old buildings may have been the 4 cottages opposite Mrs Appleyard’s house. ‘My’ bank is the building to its right.

Whether Mr Mellor ever went bank to the new school-house or not I cannot say positively but I remember a Mr Samuel Chambers keeping a school there. This building in my time was the only one on New Road, with the exception of those opposite Croft Terrace in New Road, one of which is occupied by Mr James Wheelhouse. 

Joseph Hague Moss, son of James Moss of Machpelah started a school about the year 1817 in a room in Lees Yard (the site of the present car park). It must have been successful as a few years later he moved into better premises at West End and then on to Hebble End. (Probably listed as Calder bank – or calderside???in 1851 census)

He was also involved with Salem Church and Sunday School, and he had the use of a room there as a classroom. [Calder House  Academy in Salem Sunday School 176 on roll  in 1851 Education  Census.]

Salem chapel – find out about the Academy.

Salem chapel
Salem chapel


1851 Census shows him, aged 58 and born in Manchester, living at Hebble End, next to the toll.. house, with his wife, Jane, aged 58 and born in Wadsworth, and nine boarders. 

Hebble End.

Joseph Moss. 59. Schoolmaster. Man.

Jane. w 58. Mistress. Wads.

Mary. d 35.  Wads.

Grace Fielding. 10. Scholar. Tod. 

Eliza Ann Brewer. 12. Brad. 

Mary E. Tiffany. 10. Hx.

John Chadwick. 13. Bacup.

John Worrall. 12. Cheshire.

James Hardman 11. Bacup.

Samuel Atherton. 10. Bacup

John Smith. 12. Pontefract.

William Firth. 1. Tod.

Susannah Greenwood. 14. Serv. Hpt. 

At the same time his son George Hague Moss was keeping a school at Slater Bank, aided by his sisters Ann (32), Esther (21) and brothers Alfred (19) and Edwin (17) and they had five boarders. In both schools the boarders were aged nine to 12 and lived fairly locally, the furthest away being Cheshire on one side and Pontefract on the other.

Joseph Moss died about 1860 (No) and George took over the two schools as “Moss’s Academy for Boarding and Day Students”. The building later used as the Masonic Hall was used as the school and the boarders lived at Slater Bank, and walked from there to Salem in procession every Sunday. The boys were known as “Moss’s Bulldogs” which suggests that they had occasional disputes with the local lads!

2. Mosses set up schools

1861- he’s now aged 70 they are living at Slater Bank with 26 students. There are 2 servants. -check. Apparently this was where the students boarded and they attended school in what is now the masonic hall on Hangingroyd Lane where I go to the Camera Club meetings. Joseph and his daughter Hannah  and son Edwin are school teachers and assistant schoolteacher is Oscar Cockcroft. Some students come from as far away as London. The school Act giving every child the right to free education was passed in 1870.

1863 book of poems published. “The Orphan Boy” was very popular and was printed and sold throughout the country. I’ve held a copy of his Miscellaneous Poems at Birchcliffe.

Bandmaster of Hebden Bridge Brass band? 

Lived with his son William at Lee Mill cottages.


RMP214 Birchcliffe 1812

Handwritten letter from Joseph Hague Moss to Mr Edward Ramsden – Jumples,  Mixenden. This is likely to be the Rev Edward Ramsden, 1791-1853, son of John Ramsden

Ramsden, Rev EdwardRef 56-R115

[He was educated at St John’s College Cambridge [1813], ordained Deacon (Chester for Lichfield) [5th April 1817], and appointed Perpetual Curate of Lower Darwen, Lancashire [1829-1839] before becoming Perpetual Curate of St John’s Church, Ovenden [1838], the first incumbent of Bradshaw [1839-1853], and Curate of Illingworth [1841]. He wrote a number of collections of verse including The Christian Minister [1842] and Christ the Foundation [1844]. The family lived at
Jumples House which was demolished in 1961.

Jumples, Mixenden in the process of demolition in 1961 to be replaced by high rise flats.

Dear Sir, Having frequently seen your poetical productions in the Wakefield Paper I have  long waited for an opportunity to make myself known to you. Being roughly the same age with yourself I have ___ the muse but with far less success than you appear to have done. For only a few days ago I was mightily pleased with a small pamphlet that fell into my hands entitled the Practicing Woman but lo! When I got to the end I found the following lines inscribed on the back – they seem to be the production of no mean pen- and perhaps the writer may be an offended methodist. Let that be as it may the cause of truth has nothing to fear- even from a more extensive satire if the foolish writer should determine to persevere. However, I will present you with a faithful transcript of what I have seen and believe me to be a friend desirous of your interesting correspondence – Joseph

I’ve read this book and sure enough

It is a lump of labored stuff

Which. Bit by bit at various times

Has all been moulded into rhymes

Most of the lines from bad to worse

Would make for b better prose than verse

For if one smoother word be found

To suit another is the sound

It must be shifter to the end

The broken parts of rhyme to mend

And yet poor thin g in thoughts so deep

He may have lost some nights of sleep

And doubtless may have had to seek

Full oft a quarter of a week

For words well suited to explain

The needless nonsense of his brain.

But after all for pity’s sake

We must some small compassion take

And do him justice in advance

He is a Poet born by Chance.


1813 Letter from J.H. Moss to Ramsden

Dear friend, March 5, 1813

Includes a letter he wrote ‘just as it stands’ in my 17th year

Oh love! Fond tempter – could I find in thee

That blest alliance to each virtuous aim;

That truth unrivaled, formed alike to know

A bliss in sorrow and a hope in woe;

With morbid pleasure would I grace thy name

And give myself they suppliant boast to be.

But ah! Too oft with formal joy elate

Th’unwary victims proudly meet their fate;

While long delay and hope derived at last,

Misplaced the future and revenged the past.

Ah! Then no more with joy the bosom warms

Ot trusts tomorrow hopeful of its charms.

But black despair, fast brooding drinks that quivering breath

And spreads a gloom on every avenue but Death.

I am now about 21 years of age, the oldest in a numerous family of motherless children who are continually  pouring out their little prattling invectives against my singularity of action and appearance. 

1 Comment

  1. Ann bennett

    Just to add to your blog, some information about the girl pupils.
    1861 Calder House
    Entry no76 (Yorkshire Heptonstall All Dist 14h)
    Calder House (betw Salem Mill & Bridge Lanes entries)
    Jane Moss Wife Mar 69 Schoolmistress Yorks Wadsworth
    [husband Joseph Moss
    George Haigh Son Un 44 Schoolmaster do do
    Ann do Dau Un 42 Schoolmaster’s dau do do
    Mary Jane Riley Pupil 14 Scholar do Greetland
    Mary Taylor do 14 do Lancs Facit
    Sarah H Ashworth do 13 do Yorks Stansfield
    Caroline Greaves do 11 do Lancs Bacup
    Jane E Carr do 10 do Yorks York
    Emma J Bagnall do 10 do Lancs Manchester
    Jane Hoyle do 14 do Lancs Bacup
    next page
    Dent Hoyle (male) do 6 do Lancs Bacup
    Susannah Greenwood Serv 24 House Servant Yorks Wadsworth
    BARBARA Wadsworth Serv 10 do do do

    Cheers Ann

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