In the 1870-72 Gazetteer of England, Briestfield was described as a hamlet in Lower Whitley, situated on the edge of Thornhill parish in West Yorkshire. Also known at various times as Briestwell and Briestwistle, records show that in 1150 it was known as Brerethuisel, meaning “common or waste overgrown with briars in the confluence of two rivers”. Flint stones found nearby hark back to a much earlier occupancy and cannon balls found in the vicinity were a legacy of the Civil War bombardment of nearby Thornhill Hall. The villagers were won over to Wesleyan Methodism and a chapel was built in 1875. It is a place with which I had…
Early years I grew up knowing about Tom Kilburn. He was born at 111 Town Street, Earlsheaton, Dewsbury, on 11th August 1921, just round the corner from where I was brought up. Tom’s father was a clerk at Mark Oldroyd’s woollen mill and later became Company Secretary. An intelligent boy, Tom was educated at the Wheelwright Boys Grammar School (WBGS), but in those early years, nobody could have predicted the enormous role that he would play in the world of wartime and post war technology. In the late 1930’s he was just another football-mad teenage boy who enjoyed stamp collecting, dancing and playing the piano, which he did rather well.…
Searching for Martha Arnold, who married Mirfield-born Thomas Sheard, turned up echoes of the Luddite uprising in West Yorkshire and a possible family connection.