Norland Orthostatic Vaccary Walling


by Brian Howcroft

It was during the course of a RVHS walk from Allen House, Sowerby Bridge, to Norland in May 2011 that I saw the ancient walling for the first time. Considering that I have lived in the area all my life, I was amazed to be shown this important vestige of our Medieval heritage. The location of the walling is on the edge of the terrace way overlooking the Calder Valley and is not visible from Norland Town.

I returned the day after the walk to take photographs of the orthostatic walling.

I forwarded the photos to Jason Dodds (Historic Environment Records (HER officer)) and he replied stating that he had checked the HER database and found no record of the vaccary walling.

The walling was recorded on to the HER on the 27 July 2011 under PRN 10836.

Jason suggested that a full survey and photographic record of the walling should be carried out and subsequently permission was given by the landowner for the survey to be carried out. A tape and offset survey was carried out by Dr David Shepherd and myself on the 22nd August 2011.The drawings were then digitised by our colleague Frank Jolley and forwarded to WYAAS (West Yorkshire Advisory Service) and English Heritage in York.

English Heritage have acknowledged that this rare survival of our Medieval past justified Grade II status. Listing was eventually carried out by English Heritage in February 2013.

Members of the Norland History Group realized that the walling was at risk due to erosion and animals rubbing up against the orthostats. 

A number of the orthostats had been laid horizontal several years ago prior to the survey.

It is the wish of the Norland History Group to reinstate and conserve the vaccary walling and re-erect the endangered orthostats. They are aware that planning consent will be required now that the walling is a Grade II listed monument.