Savile Park, Halifax



Savile Park, - aka Skircoat Moor, Halifax Moor, Skircoat Common, and The Moor - is an open space of about 73 acres lying just east of Crossley-Heath School. It was originally farmland.

In 1478, a skirmish in the Savile-Pilkington Feud took place here.

There was horse-racing here from around 1738.

On 4th October 1819, a radical reform meeting was held and Joseph Mitchell was subsequently charged for incitement and for using seditious language.

In August 1842, during the Plug Riots, there was a large meeting here.

The Moor was the scene of large Chartist meetings – some having smuggled their leaflets to the town in a coffin, met at the Standard of Freedom.

In November 1847, thousands of unemployed people gathered on the Moor demanding relief. The following month, Halifax Town trustees gave £1,000 for land in Gibbet Street for the construction of the Victoria Reservoir to provide employment.

On Good Friday 1848, Joseph Barker, Ben Rushton, Christopher Shackleton, and others spoke to a crowd of around 20,000 Chartists who met on The Moor. 500 special constables were on duty at the meeting.

Sunday band concerts began on 22nd June 1856 when the Mixenden Band played, though

the performances were anything but smart

There were heavy showers of rain until 4:00 pm. When the weather cleared, the crowd then grew from 200 to around 1,200.

The bands in Halifax resolved not to play for the Sunday Music Movement. The following Sunday, Black Dike Mills Brass Band played, and the following Sunday, there was no band.

Rev Enoch Mellor protested against the concerts

In the name of God and of the religion which we in common profess, I conjure you, young and old, to set your faces and your hearts against this atheistical desecration, with an atheist at the head of it, which is seeking to be introduced into the town in which we live

The following week, the Black Dike Mills Band performed before an even larger crowd which was augmented by the Methodists who had gathered to celebrate Thump Sunday.

The land was acquired from Henry Savile and the Savile family in March 1866 for £100 to be set apart as a recreation ground and to be called the Savile Park, on condition that ...

it remain unenclosed for perpetuity, and that the council do something about smoke abatement

On 26th September 1867, the freeholders of Skircoat, who had manorial and common rights to the Moor, agreed to relinquish their rights on payment of £201. Earlier, they had demanded £12,320, and Halifax Corporation had offered £200.

In 1869, the Thorp Fountain was erected.

In 1879, it was decided to build a lodge on the Moor for use as a refreshment house. Local freeholders objected, on the grounds that it was against the principles governing Savile Park, but they backed down and the building was constructed in 1880.

In October 1942, it was ploughed up to grow food as a part of the national Dig for Victory campaign.

In December 1958, plans to enclose park of the land were withdrawn

It is used for the annual Halifax Agricultural Show, school games, and Saturday morning football practice



© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 20:26 /14th September 2018 / mms126 / 7098

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