Early Days 1725-1802

When did ropemaking begin in Hawes?

Askrigg parish records describe John Brenkley of Setbusk (Sedbusk, near Hawes) as a ropemaker at the time of his death in 1725.

The surviving records of Hawes church include detailed accounts for the years 1726 -1802. The church's expenditure on bell ropes and related work has been extracted from these records.

In 76 years, Hawes church bought 39 bell ropes and two ropes for the font. Cord was purchased on four occasions and in 1757 and 1798 payment was made for hanging and putting up the new bell rope. Work done included mending the bell wheel (1/- in 1734), work "about the steeple" (11/9d in 1765) and " Repairs at Bell and Clapper" (2/- in 1800).

In 1765 Isaac Metcalfe was paid 4/6d for a new Bell Wheel - a substantial figure at that date when two men's board for 29 days whilst working cost the "chappell wardens" 16/6d (82½p).

Most tantalizing are the names in the church records, mentioned only occasionally in connection with bell ropes, though often in the case of builders, joiners and other workmen. The following people are known, from the records, to have been paid for supplying ropes:

These men may have been ropemakers in Hawes or district, or merchants who dealt in rope. When did ropemaking begin in Hawes? Perhaps information from local sources may yet come to light to provide an answer.