Final go-ahead for Coiners' museum

PLANS to rebuild a derelict barn and use it as a museum dedicated to the infamous Cragg Vale coiners have finally been approved.

Councillors gave Liz Smith and her husband Nathan support in principle in October for the new use of the barn at Bell House Farm, Cragg Vale

But it emerged that they had not taken into account an objection by Natural England about the effect on a nearby site of special scientific interest.

Calderdale Council Planning Committee this week approved the scheme but without a ground sourced heat pump and a wind turbine.

No cars will be allowed to drive to the site, making the museum accessible only by walkers and cyclists.

The couple have also agreed they may have to sign an agreement which states if their business fails, the barn will not be converted into a house.

The Coiners' leader, "King" David Hartley, who lived at Bell House Farm, was hanged at York on April 28 1770.

The Coiners – sometimes called the Yorkshire Coiners – were a band of counterfeiters based in Cragg Vale.

They produced fake coins in the late 18th century to supplement their small weaving incomes.

Removing the edges of a gold coin, they melted them down to make counterfeits.

"King" David who was born in Mytholmroyd, and his road to the gallows started in 1769, when William Dighton (or Deighton), a public official, investigating the possibilities of a counterfeiting gang, had Hartley arrested

To avenge Hartley's capture, coiners Matthew Normanton (or Normington) and Robert Thomas ambushed and killed Dighton.

But Charles Watson-Wentworth, the Marquess of Rockingham, was recruited to hunt down the killers and had 30 coiners arrested by Christmas Day.

His brother, Isaac, escaped the authorities and lived until 1815. Normanton was hanged on April 15, 1775 and Thomas was hanged on August 6, 1774.