The Feud between Sir Henry Edwards & J. E. Wainhouse
Sir Henry Edwards and J. E. Wainhouse were neighbours and owned
much land and property in the King Cross and Pye Nest areas of
Wainhouse – who was described as intellectual and
literary – was Chairman of the Skircoat Board of
Surveyors with responsibility for the highways in the district.
Starting around 1874, there were several examples of rivalry and
disagreement between the two men, a situation which the Halifax
Guardian described as an uncivil war
Wainhouse was a noted pamphleteer and wrote several pamphlets
criticising Edwards and his family
In his pamphlet entitled The Only County Family,
Wainhouse questioned Edwards's use of his Coat of Arms, claiming that
he – and his brother, J. P. Edwards – had used the Arms before he
was created Baronet
Wainhouse accused Edwards of interfering with a public well in
Darcey Hey Lane
In 1876, the Cockett Stream, Darcey Hey Lane was blocked.
The hessian sacking which caused the obstruction was found to be
marked with Edwards's trade mark.
Wainhouse lampooned Edwards over the incident in a verse
entitled Cockett and his Ghost
In return, Edwards prosecuted Wainhouse and the Skircoat Surveyors
for obstructing the highway.
Wainhouse said that, as a JP and Chairman of the Court, Edwards
should retire from the room.
Edwards refused and an unpleasant scene ensued
At one point, Edwards feared for his life and said
I may have to take out a Peace Warrant.
I have long considered my life in danger and especially since
[Wainhouse's] attitude in Court
Edwards was against pollution – see Canal Mills, Sowerby Bridge.
Wainhouse accused Edwards of reporting Henry Mossman to the
Inspector of West Riding Smoke Prevention Association
for the emission of smoke from the Washer Lane Dye Works
The Surveyor of Skircoat, John Collinge, accused Edwards
of having undermined and destroyed a water course and began to dig in
search of the water.
Edwards believed the Surveyor's excavations were illegal and began a
suit in Chancery.
The verdict went against Edwards who then presented Collinge with a
bill for £420 legal fees
The Surveyors of Skircoat asked Edwards to prune some trees which
were causing a nuisance.
Edwards refused until he was ready to do the work.
Wainhouse took legal action to enforce the pruning
Edwards published a handbill stating
These trees as far as Willowfield Lodge, as well as those on the
right hand side of the road in Washer Lane, part of the Pye Nest
Estate, facing the dye-works and cottages (in course of erection)
have been marked under the Superintendent of the working Surveyor of
Skircoat, by order of J. E. Wainhouse, chairman of the Board of
Surveyors, as being an annoyance to the public.
Any person found destroying this Bill will be prosecuted. Dated
November 25th 1876
Wainhouse was reported to have defaced and destroyed one of the bills
and Edwards took legal action against him.
Wainhouse was ordered to pay 1d damages and 8/7d costs, or to be
imprisoned at Wakefield for 10 days
The two men appear to have become reconciled before their deaths
Malcolm Bull 2017 /
Revised 14:52 on 4th February 2017 / e28_2 / 7