Todmorden Lower Moor
Map Ref. SD912257
Notes from John Travis, 19th century historian:
The next farm is Roundfield, which before 1820 was occupied by James Ratcliffe, late of Hazelgreave on the Dulesgate side. He had a large family of hand-weavers and while here he developed a propensity for other classes of work, possessing mechanical instincts. He made a small dam to catch the water coming down from the moorside, and then made a waterwheel to turn the lathes or other machines used for cutting up wood into required shapes. Then he began making pickers, bobbins, shuttles and "broiches" (skewers) for cops, as the cops were spun large in those times. These and other things used by hand weavers many of whom had previously made their own he made very successfully. He carried on this work until Messrs. Fielden Bros., of Waterside Mill had erected their weaving shed to hold a thousand looms in 1828. His wife was Sarah Fielden of Bridge-end or Knowlwood, and some of his daughters became weavers, and his sons over-lookers. So we're brought down from the hills and became acquainted with the ways of valley life.
Notes evidenced by the baptism records of his children at
St. Mary’s in Todmorden.
James Ratcliffe was at Roundfield Farm sometime after 1813 and before 1824. In 1813 he was at the Ratcliffe family home, Woodfield farm, where he was a weaver. By 1824 he was at Bridge End in the Walsden Valley, working as an overlooker in a factory. In the 1841 and 1851 censuses he is a mechanic, still living near Bridge End. There is no documentary evidence that he was ever a shuttle maker.
His son Joseph, born 1815, was a shuttle and picker maker working in the valley in 1841, 1851 and 1861.