THE CRAGG VALE COINERS
He came up from Bromingham in the year of
He had spent is time there clipping merely
But informers they were talking, it was
time to get away,
Thus he arrived at Bell Hole that wild and
Where Ling and dry grass rustle brittle
stems outside the house,
Where wailing curlews circle, up clutter
Where the winds blow down through Bell
Hole across Erringden Moor,
He returned back to the Riding where he
had dwelt before.
His father and his brothers were weavers
there by trade,
Each week they took to Halifax the pieces
they had made,
Though times were hard and money scarce
they welcomed the traveller home,
And he told them how they coin as fast as
groats in Bromingham.
So carefully he laid his plans and talked
to eager ears,
Whilst supping in the ale house where
tongues are loose with beers,
And there he curried favour with neighbour
And also David Greenwood whose farm was at
King David had two brothers, Isaac and
Both of whom resided near the town of Old
And together with his father they formed a
All they needed now was gold, even
Portuguese would do.
With Greenwood and with Wilcox they plied
there new found trade,
Even rich and famous laughed that such
money could be made,
From mill owner to Runner all become
Whilst King Hartley and his merry men
simply devalued gold.
But they counted not on Parker so ruthless
Nor on William Deighton who rode the moors
For the first was a solicitor, whose
clients went bankrupt,
And the second was the exciseman they
never could corrupt.
Deighton sought informers and James
Broadbent came along,
And the whipping boy of the Hartley gang
sung his traitors song,
First it was John Sutcliffe, they caught
him tools in hand,
But Thomas Clayton fled his house, he'd
heard what had been planned.
King David was the ringleader whom
Deighton wanted most,
As often in the local inns he was heard to
brag and boast,
Deighton was determined when he heard
about the jibe,
And thus he offered Broadbent a hundred
They both went to the magistrate where
Broadbent he did swear,
That he had seen King David trim four
guineas whilst he was there,
He thought he'd earn a fortune, so what
could Broadbent lose?
But all that Deighton gave him was five
shillings and some shoes.
On the 14th of October Deighton strode
He knew that in the Old Cock Inn his
bailiff friends did wait,
And also there was Hartley, talking very
Buying drinks and boasting, the centre of
There Deighton did arrest him and carried
And they caught James Jagger too, or so
the papers say,
To York the pair were taken, though
Broadbent did retract,
And all this caused the blood to boil in
the mind of young Isaac.
Twas in the Dusty Miller they planned poor
A hundred guineas pledged from a whip
around the room,
Thomas and Normanton they were the chosen
For it rumoured they had killed before,
and might as well again.
A calm frosty November night they hid in
Bull Close Lane,
Deighton came home late that night and
it's there that he was slain,
They shot him and they kicked him, but
they knew they would be hung,
When Broadbent turned Kings evidence and
in York Castle they were slung.
Twas on the sixth of April at exactly half
They hung the King of Coiners for the
deeds that he did do,
The other coiners fled the land to save
their wretched souls,
Whilst in the walls of Mytholmroyd they
hid their forging tools.
Dead David he was taken back through
jeering cheering crowds,
To the church at Heptonstall where spire
To where the River Hebden flows o'er
Thus he was saved a limestone grave along
with other lags.
And in the Dusty Miller they sung a
Mytholmroyd and Castle Craggs were lit by
an Easter moon,
'Twas poverty that drove them that's what
the locals say,
'Twas poverty that drove them to clip
their lives away.
Stead - Fore Lane Music March 1996
eMail comments to me.
February 1996 this little epic tells the whole story of 'King' David
Hartley who, in 1765, returned to The West Riding of Yorkshire to
resume the practise of coining which he had learnt in Birmingham,
(known in those days to Yorkshire folk as Bromingham).
Coining/clipping (reducing gold coins in size to make new ones)
subsequently brought about the milling of coins to prevent
devaluation, forgery and defacing. The West Riding was an ideal
spot. Halifax was the centre of the wool trade and, as such was a
thriving centre of commerce, with new coins constantly in
circulation. The West Riding was also ideal as excise men could be
seen approaching from a distance and thus, capture of miscreants was
difficult. Three forms of currency were in constant use in Britain
at that time. The British guinea, The Spanish dollar and the
Portuguese moider. All were made of gold. All were suitable for
such abuse. The coiners tools can still to be found today hidden
away in the walls of houses in Mytholmroyd, Luddenden and Hebden
Bridge. The Dusty Miller pub is still in use and can be found on the
main Burnley Rd in Mytholmroyd. David Hartley was christened 'King
David' by the locals due to his rise in status which combined both
tyrannical and benevolent behaviour. His brothers were consequently
christened 'The Prince of Wales' and 'The Duke of York'.