This is a short history of the area known as Haggs Hill situated in Ossett, West Yorkshire to the north west of the City of Wakefield. The area stands at the north eastern edge of the community once known as Ossett Low Common which derived its name from the common lands which were here prior to their enclosure in the early 1800s . There are several schools of thought about how Haggs Hill came by its name.
The Oxford Shorter E.D. tells us that; HAG - Old Norse. hagi, enclosed field pasture, rel. to Old English haga (See HAW) 1. a hedge; 2. a wooded enclosure, a coppice or copse. Also 1. a break, gap or chasm (in a crag or cliff); 2.moss-ground that has formerly been broken up; 3.the vertical margin of a peat cutting, the shelving margin of a stream.
HAW - Old English identical in form with haga, hedge. Haga - haguporn, hawthorn.
Other definitions of Haggs also include "an enclosure" and some say it derives from the word "hawthorn". Spring Beck runs north to south through Haggs Hill and the beck or stream was crossed at "Lights Bridge" situated in "Ossett Lights" at the western end of Haggs Hill. It is believed that "Lights" became its name from the time when the heavily wooded area was cleared and so provided a clearing or "light". You could conclude that this reconstructed scene, from several centuries ago, of a wooded enclosure or copse at the margin of a stream is precisely what it was. Perhaps, even, the copse was of hawthorn. Those who know the area today will know that Spring Beck still runs north to south and now parallel to, and to the east of Teall Street. It is possible to walk alongside the beck... through well established copses. So there you have it.
In any event it has long been Haggs and remains now with that name and, indeed, there is reference to "les hagges" early in the 1300s. "Haggs" is not unique to Ossett and other locations with the same name can be found elsewhere including at Mirfield and Emley.
The Ossett Haggs Hill appears on maps dating back to the 1850s and Haggs is referred to earlier in the Ossett Inclosure Order 1807-1813.Over the years "Haggs" addresses have appeared in censuses stretching from Roundwood and Cross Keys in the west and north to Teal Town Road in the east. Some of those properties have been recorded in Censuses for South Ossett whilst some are shown in the Alverthorpe or Wakefield Census record. Haggs Hill Farm itself stood just inside the the Alverthorpe Township boundary which, at this point, ran north to south through the land attached to the Farm.
Until the mid 1960s the few dwellings which existed in the area were located along the same right of way known variously over the years as Governor Road, Ogden Coal Road, Haggs Lane and Haggs Hill Road. This right of way has existed for at least 200 years and, probably much earlier, having its origins as a packhorse route. Branching westwards from "Ossett Street", or the Wakefield to Halifax Turnpike Road, towards Ossett, the route crossed Spring Beck at Lights Bridge [the eastern end of Haggs Hill Road] and provided the shortest route from Wakefield through Ossett Low Common to Ossett Town. In those early days then Haggs Lane ran from The Malt Shovel on the Wakefield Road at Lupset to Teal Town Road [now known as Teall Street].
The development of the Roundwood Pit in the second half of the 19th Century [in the area now occupied by The Holiday Inn at the top of Queens Drive] brought new life, and people, to Haggs Lane. It became a well used route for the several mining families living in Ossett Low Common, Teal Town and in the few dwellings around the current Haggs Hill Farm and Teall Court areas.
The construction of the north to south M1 Motorway in the mid to late 1960s cut directly across the roughly east to west Haggs Lane or Haggs Hill Road and put an end to the right of way as a through route to the Wakefield Road at The Malt Shovel. The closure of Roundwood Pit around the same time and the subsequent development of the Teall Court housing development in the early 1970s saw most of the few remaining dwellings and one of the Farms - Queens Drive Dairy Farm - demolished to make way for the forty or so houses on Teall Court.
Nowadays the area generally known as Haggs Hill extends to not much more than 20 acres and is bounded on the east by the M1 motorway and on the west by Teall Street. The area, where once there were two farms, a cricket field, six terraces each of three cottages, two detached and a pair of 18th century cottages is now dominated by the early 1970s housing development of Teall Court and the smaller 2008 development of Rushmead Court. Indeed the Teall Court development was to see building over the very line of the old Haggs Hill Road to the extent that it now exists in two short sections divided by Teall Court.
The history of Haggs Hill is dominated by that associated with Haggs Hill Farm and [what came to be known as] Queens Drive Dairy Farm and there is evidence as to the ownership of, at least, some of the land attached, or adjacent, to those Farms. . The Ossett Inclosure Order 1807 has the following references relating to the area in and around the Farms. The first is part of the description of the boundary of the Inclosure Act area. Because there were no accurate or detailed maps of decent scale 200 years ago the description of areas and boundaries had to suffice. The eastern boundary of the Act area was close to the Farms and the description reads as follows.
".... other ancient Inclosures now or late belonging to the said Robert Raynor and Alexander Johnson Esq called the Pear Tree Close, the Stoney Pighill, the Townend Close ... to Wakefield and Halifax Turnpike Road"
Pear Tree Close and Stoney Pighill were part of Haggs Hill Farm in the ownership of Charles Wheatley in 1900 so we can be certain that the Farm (or at the very least a part of it) was in the ownership of Raynor and Johnson 200 years ago .The 1807 Act also has descriptions of "Private Carriageways and Occupation Roads". One such description follows and it describes the road now known as Roundwood Road. In the last 200 years this road has been known as Haggs Road and Buck Trap Lane before becoming Roundwood Road. In 1807 it was known as Raynor Road.
"... one other private Carriage or Occupation Road of the breadth of 20ft branching out of Teal Town Road on Ossett Low Common at the south west corner of an Allotment awarded to Joseph Robinson and leading from thence in an Eastwardly direction between various Allotments herein awarded to the estate of Robert Raynor commonly called or known by the name of Haggs in the Township of Alverthorpe which I distinguish by the name Raynor Road and which said last mentioned Road I do expressly award order and declare I have set out and Appointed as last aforesaid as well for the use and benefit of the Tenants Occupier or Occupiers for the time being for ever of the whole or any part of the Ffarm Lands and Premises now or late in the occupation of the said Robert Raynor his undertenants or Assigns and commonly known by the name of Haggs Ffarm as for all and every other the Tenant or Tenants Occupier or Occupiers for the time being for ever of Lands and Premises adjoining the said Road called Raynor Road."
In the centre is Raynor Road (now Roundwood Road) leading from Teal Town Road, through Haggs Farm, into Thornes Township and Wakefield.
Whether this was the location of the Farm buildings (which would be to the south of the existing buildings) is not known. However, before the construction of Queens Drive in the 1920s, Raynor Road (or Haggs Road as it was then known) was the only vehicular access to the Farm. The old barn at the current Haggs Hill Farm shows signs of 18th Century construction and it seems likely that in 1807 the Farm was in the position it is today. The Farmhouse however is of newer construction.
The Parish of Horbury Church registers include several 18th Century references to Raynors including "Sally of Spring End" baptised in February 1773 and in May 1772 "Rayner Thomas, son of John of Haggs was baptised at Haggs by Mr Joshua Earnshaw Clerk and at his request was registered here, Haggs being in the Parish of Wakefield" This suggests the Rayners and Haggs Farm were here or hereabouts earlier than 1807.