Emblematically Speaking - Barnoldswick Town

Tue 22nd August 2017 | Barnoldswick Town
By Stewart Taylor

Barnoldswick Town FC

As befits a football club emblem, this one contains many aspects which relate to the history of the town and, also, makes clear reference to the football club.

Barnoldswick Town FC was formed in 1972 and students of English history will recognise this year as being very significant in the shaping of the geo-political scene we have in this country today.

1972 was the year of publication of the Local Government Act which was enacted on 1st April 1974 (no references to All Fool’s Day please!).

Its pattern of two-tier metropolitan and non-metropolitan county and district councils remains in use today in large parts of England, although the metropolitan county councils were abolished in 1986.

Both county and district councils were replaced with unitary authorities in many areas in the 1990s.

The significance for Barnoldswick is that the town “moved counties” and that is reflected in the incorporation into the emblem of the white rose of Yorkshire and the red rose of Lancashire.

This was meant as a peace offering. The 1972 Act abolished the ancient Ridings of Yorkshire and redrew the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire in this area which had stood since Viking times.

To say that it was controversial in Barnoldswick would be a massive understatement.

Whereas previously the boundary into Lancashire was about 2 miles to the west, it was now re-drawn right through the Ghyll Golf Club, putting Barnoldswick about a mile in to Lancashire.

To this day it is impossible for the local authority to put up Lancashire signs on the way in to Barnoldswick without them being removed never to be found again.

The church depicted on the emblem is Ghyll Church which is dedicated to St. Mary. The church was founded by Cistercian monks who left Barnoldswick to establish Kirkstall Abbey.

Externally, the wonderful roof, 16th century tower and quiet graveyard merit attention. The interior, with elegant Jacobean box pews facing a magnificent 3-decker pulpit, reflects an age when the preaching of the gospel was all important.

The 14th century font is a delightful addition to the interior. The oldest tombstone in the graveyard records the date 1609 but burials have taken place here since the 12th century.

The three swords depicted on the emblem provide another link to Kirkstall Abbey in that three swords pointing downwards were the Abbey’s coat of arms. Kirkstall Abbey is a ruined Cistercian monastery in Kirkstall, north-west of Leeds city centre.

It is set in a public park on the north bank of the River Aire. The Abbey was founded 1152 by Henry de Lacy, baron of Pontefract on land associated with the Peitivin family. It was disestablished in 1538 during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.

The ruins of the abbey, Grade 1 listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, are a popular tourist site.

And just to complete the link, this three sword motif is carved into the credence table, which is sited near the north wall in the sanctuary at Ghyll Church.

The pre-dominant blue background colour of the emblem reflects the club playing colours.

(Our thanks to John Heaton of Barnoldswick for his help in compiling this article)

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