PRAYERS have been said for the forgiveness of a 19th century clergyman on the site of a historic uprising.
Local religious leaders joined the developers of the Luddite Way Business Park at Rawfolds, Cleckheaton, in remembrance of lives lost during the Luddite attack more than 200 years ago.
Rev Brunel James and Rev Richard Burge met with Carl Barnes, managing director of Barnes (Construction) Ltd and his team to say prayers for the forgiveness of the harsh stance taken by Rev Hammond Robeson against the Luddites in April 1812.
Following months of unrest locally a band of 150 Luddites, whose livelihoods were put at risk by increasing mechanisation, attacked Cartwright Mill with hammers and axes on April 12, 1812.
They were seen as dangerous industrial terrorists and the Government sent hundreds of soldiers into the area to suppress them.
Two men were shot and the attack was repulsed.
A friend of mill-owner William Cartwight, Rev Hammond Robeson was involved in the search for the ringleaders and had soldiers who had been sent to control the uprising billeted in his own home, which infuriated local people.
Rev James said: “The church of England has ‘unfinished business’ with the Luddites in the Spen Valley.
“One of the local clergymen, Rev Robeson, became involved in the repression of the Luddites.
“That was conduct unbecoming a clergyman by any standards.
“So we wanted to come and pray on this site, which is so close to where the traumatic events of 200 years ago took place.
“It seems appropriate that it will now become a place that offers employment to local people.”
Prayers were also said for the forthcoming Luddite Way Business Park to become a valuable place for employment and enterprise.
A total of 22 units will stand on the historic site. The development will be completed by early 2018 and several businesses are already committed to moving in.
“We are proud to be able to contribute towards the generation of jobs in Spenborough,” said Carl Barnes.