I HAVEN’T noticed this inscription before, on a stone on an old wall by the car park on Tithe Barn Street, Horbury. In my photograph of the wall (right), you can just make out the spire of St Peter’s Church in the background. The barn where the church tithes – traditionally one tenth of the village’s harvest – were gathered stood a little to the left of this photograph. Unfortunately the barn burnt down in the early years of the 20th century and all that remains of it are timbers built into a wall behind a brick-built house that stands on the site.
I wonder if the inscription ‘C C 1831’ could have been made to mark a boundary at the time that the common fields of the village were enclosed. The area now occupied by the car park was once Horbury’s cemetery, which I assume was established here at about the time of the enclosures. The original churchyard must have been full to capacity by then. As a schoolboy I remember that the wall extended around the area alongside the road (and had an opening to a urinal built into it). There were old headstones and table tombs in what was by then a rather overgrown cemetery. Many of the remains were re-interred in Horbury’s newer cemetery, opened in Victorian times on Hall Cliffe, a quarter of a mile to the north, when the red shale car park was made in the 1960s but I believe that some of our Horbury ancestors still rest in peace under the car park.
I don’t know what makes a noticeboard, the back of a monitor and a pile of bags so compelling but I find the view of the back of the reception desk in the health centre an enjoyably absorbing subject to draw.