Holmville, No. 11, Little Church Lane
This house is the largest house on Little Church Lane. (No. 9, which is attached to it, for many years shared the same front gate.) It was built 1844-46 and soon after its erection was occupied by Mr. John Holmes, hence the name of the house. The Methley Community Archive has a copy of the Deeds of this house.
John Holmes was born in Sheffield but his parents were natives of Oulton and he returned to this area. He had several drapers shops, including one in Rothwell, a small shop at first but then he moved to larger premises in Commercial Street. Here with his brother-in-law, Samuel Batty, he established a prosperous business.
The Batty family is that of John Batty, who wrote a History of Rothwell. Holmes built rows of small cottages in Rothwell, where Marsh Street carpark is now.
He was a great social worker, also a political worker and a great traveller. He had other commercial interests too. He was a great collector of antiques and Holmville was the resort of antiquarians and connoisseurs, who delighted to inspect the valuable and curious articles collected by Mr. Holmes from lands near and far. Holmville had to be extended to accommodate them all.
Later, in ill health, he planned to go and live abroad though never did) and he sold all his collection to the then Leeds City Corporation at half their estimated value, and they became the nucleus of the city museum.
John Holmes also owned land in Main Street, Mickletown, eg Holmes yard, where he built 14 houses and he sold land to members of the United Methodist Church for building their chapel in 1863. He also owned a large shop and dwelling at the top of Holmes Yard – the upper front window bears a plaque each side, the left hand bears the initials J.I.H. and the right hand side the date 1863.
Little Church Lane postcard
This old postcard show the view near the top of Church Lane, almost in front of the large houses. There were iron railings on top of the low brick wall. The wall is still there but the railings were removed to aid the war effort in the 1939-45 war.
The wooden fence around cricket field perimeter encircled the entire cricket field. The small swing gate in the right foreground gave an entrance to the cricket field from here. A few pence were paid to enter the field and watch if a match was in progress. The money was often collected in a clothes basket.
In the background is the Rose and Crown Inn and Old Rose and Crown (later Churchside Farm), just visible through the mist.
Methley Cricket Field
View over Methley Cricket Field in 1984 taken from Church Lane. A match is in progress. The houses of Little Church Lane, the cricket pavilion and trees hide the Infant School.
The boundary of the cricket area used to be marked by a fence, and benches were outside the fence.
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