Service held to mark deaths of local Luddites

PRAYERS: Local clergy joined staff from Barnes Construction Ltd at the Luddite Way Business Park to remember the woollen workers.
PRAYERS: Local clergy joined staff from Barnes Construction Ltd at the Luddite Way Business Park to remember the woollen workers.

A special memorial service to mark the deaths of local woollen workers has taken place at the new Luddite Way Business Park at Rawfolds, Cleckheaton.

Reverend Brunel James and Rev Richard Burge joined Carl Barnes, MD of Barnes Construction Ltd and his team in remembrance of lives lost at the site on Rawfolds during a Luddite uprising of the workers more than 200 years ago.

Prayers were said for the forgiveness of the militant stance against the Luddites taken by the Revd Hammond Robeson, who was the vicar at the time of the crisis.

Prayers were also delivered for the forthcoming Luddite Way Business Park to become a valuable place for employment and enterprise and provide many local people with the opportunity of ‘an honest day’s work’.

The development will be completed by early 2018 and already has several clients committed to moving onto site.

Rev James said: “The church of England has ‘Unfinished Business’ with the Luddites in the Spen Valley.

“One of the local clergymen, the Revd Hammond Robeson, became ‘hands on’ involved in the repression of the Luddites uprising.

“That was ‘conduct unbecoming a clergyman’ by any standards, so we wanted to come and pray on this site, which is so close to where the traumatic events of 200 years ago took place.

“It seems appropriate that it will now become a place that offers employment to local people.”

Mr Barnes said: “We are proud to be able to contribute towards the generation of jobs in Spenborough.

“It is important to maintain skills, manufacturing and quality services.”