Soundpaths: Heptonstall

room 41 ECHOES

Hebden Bridge

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A song of lament for the thousands of long dead. A song that seems to emerge from the singing of birds in the trees, from the echoes sounding through cobbled streets and in empty churches, from the sounds of life in the village and from the tendrils of nature that encroach from the moor.

Put on your headphones, hit start and playback will begin. You can see yourself as a blue dot on the map below, and the audio zones are represented in purple. When you are standing in an audio zone it will start playing back. Wander around Heptonstall and the music will change to fit your location.

The piece uses 'Lyke Wake Dirge', an ancient funereal folk song, as its melodic basis. The music was created by Yonatan Collier. Vocals are by Hannah Ashcroft, fiddle was played by Luke Moller. The history of Heptonstall was used as inspiration for this composition.

Heptonstall is a small place with a rich history; the village being mentioned as far back as the Domesday Book in 1087. It is the final resting place of the poet Sylvia Plath, who was buried in the New Graveyard in 1963 following her suicide. In the adjoining Old Churchyard lies ‘King’ David Hartley, leader of notorious local counterfeiting gang, the Cragg Vale Coiners. Hartley was hanged in York in 1770 for forgery and diminishing the coin; people leave coins on his grave to this day. Legend has it that the Coiners were responsible for the torture and murder of labourer Abraham Ingham in The Cross Inn pub, just a few meters from the Old Graveyard. Ingham was supposedly burned alive in the fireplace of the pub, then known as The Union Cross, for threatening to implicate the Coiners in the murder of a local official. The fireplace in question was uncovered during the renovation of the pub in 2016.

Remarkably, the Old Churchyard alone is thought to contain more than one hundred thousand bodies. The numbers are so large as burials in the Upper Calder Valley could only take place in Halifax or Heptonstall until the 17th Century. The Old Churchyard is actually shared by two churches. St Thomas à Becket Church (more commonly known as Heptonstall Old Church), a striking ruin, dates back to the thirteenth century in places, while the newer Church of St Thomas the Apostle was completed in 1854. The village also has a Methodist chapel; the oldest in existence to have been continually in use since its inauguration. The Methodist leader, John Wesley, laid the foundation stone of the chapel, which was completed in 1764.

Yonatan Collier
Yonatan Collier



The Echoes

Instrumental Drone 1

Intro West

Church Street Dirge

Crow Drone 1

Grouse Bass

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