University of Tasmania Family History course - Writing Family History
Week 2 e-tivity - Painting a picture
In this exercise we were asked to write 'evocative description' and to particularly pay attention to different senses. I chose to write about a settlement near Todmorden on the Yorkshire / Lancashire border around 1780. E-tivities are restricted to no more than 250 words.
The occasional bleating of sheep resounds through the quiet English
On top of one of the many green hills surrounding the small village of
Todmorden, four stone cottages house the families who own and look after the
sheep grazing on this hill. The green of the lush grass is the predominant
colour though grey stone fences, forming enclosures near the cottages and
sheds, also weave a pattern on the hill slopes. From the top of the hill rivers
can be seen flowing through the valleys below.
It is 1780 and nine year old Simeon lives with his parents and four brothers
and two sisters in one of the cottages. The cottages don’t just provide shelter
for the families living in them. They also provide a workspace for the spinning
and weaving of yarn, a cottage industry essential to the livelihood of people
in this region.
The sound of laughter can be heard as Simeon’s older sister, Mary, looks
after the younger children who are playing with a lamb in a small field near
Inside the cottage a number of women, assisted by some of the children,
weave woollen or the new cotton cloth. Next day a packhorse will carry the
finished cloth along the narrow path winding through the fields to the market
The smell of soup and freshly cooked bread comes from the cottage stove.
Shortly Simeon’s father and older brother will join the family for dinner after
spending the day tending the sheep.
Todmorden and Walsden website
Also posts mentioning Todmorden on this blog
The Fielden Trail: a ramble through Todmorden's past by Jim Jarratt, 1988
Fieldens of Todmorden: a nineteenth century business dynasty by Brian R Law, 1995