James Parker of Great Horton published his book, alternatively entitled Illustrated History from Hipperholme to Tong, in 1904. In it he covered Bradford and the villages to the south of the city, including Coley, Norwood Green, Bailiff Bridge, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe. He had read the notable histories which include our area – Watson, Jacobs, Crabtree, Horsfall Turner - but obviously conducted much research of wills and land sales, as well as talking to local people and taking many photographs,
Parker liked all that he saw and heard, and the reproduction of ancient documents is interspersed with his impressions of each locality. Of Norwood Green he wrote that the ‘district cannot here be done justice to; it must be visited and seen to enjoy its charms, its quietness, its prospective scenery, its clean and trim cottages, and the tidiness and good manners of its inhabitants’. The illustration above shows the Lane End Inn, now a private house, at the end of Sowden Lane at the top of the village.
Lightcliffe was ‘most pleasantly situated, the whole place has an aspect of gentility, affluence and comfort about it and those who desire to live in peace and quietness cannot do better than build a modest mansion and reside there’. ‘The great charm of … Coley … is the moral feeling that seems to pervade it. It is associated in the mind with the ideas of order, of quiet, of sober, well-established principles, of hoary usage and reverend custom. Everything seems to be the growth of ages of regular and peaceful existence.’
He mentions that the manor court of Hipperholme was once held under a thorn tree. Although, he says, the last court of which there is a record was in 1701, the tree, in 1904, ‘is now in existence in the grounds of Hipperholme Grammar School House, a splendid specimen of a Thorn Tree.’ Twenty years ago, there was still an ancient thorn tree, the variety with pink rather than white flowers, in those grounds, but it no longer exists. What became of it?