The First Settlement

The first reference to Scapegoat Hill, or Slipcote Hill as it was then known - see the page about the change of name - is in the records of Huddersfield Parish Church from 1638 when the burial of an unnamed child of William Aneley is recorded on 30th May. The same source shows that by 1667 there were also families named Hirst, Haigh and Walker living here. It is likely that at least one of the heads of these families was a clothier, i.e. they combined agriculture with the production of woollen cloth.

Scapegoat Hill might seem an unlikely place to establish a settlement, at a height of over 300m above sea level, exposed to the full force of the wind across the Pennines, without a stream and, today, without trees for wood. However, anyone looking at the area would have seen Nettleton, which was in existence at least from 1581. Anyone approaching the village after heavy rain will notice how water teems from the hillside, a good indication that wells were likely to be productive. A well still in existence has water at a depth of 7m. The very name 'Hollin Hall' indicates that holly trees grew in the vicinity.

The one benefit definitely provided by the location was light, essential for weaving. Overlooking the Colne Valley, the view is unimpeded to the south, maximising the hours of daylight for the weaver.