Mrs Halliwell Sutcliffe and Children on Donkey cart in Grassington



Halliwell Sutcliffe was born at Thackley, Bradford on the 25th of April 1870 at the house of a relative, the family home at that time being Lees House, near Crossroads on the outskirts of Haworth. He was the son of John Sutcliffe, the local schoolmaster, and in 1873, aged three, moved with the faOnmily to the old schoolhouse by the church at Bingley on his father’s appointment as headmaster of Bingley Grammar School. The father held this post until his retirement in 1901 and his son was educated at this school.

In 1889 he took an exhibition to King’s College, Cambridge, where he enjoyed the intellectual atmosphere, obtaining a BA degree in mathematics. On leaving Cambridge in 1893, he spent some time in teaching but soon decided it was not the career he wanted.

He then worked in London as a tutor or coach and lived precariously by also writing freelance articles, sketches and poems for various magazines and papers such as Vanity Fair, Westminster Gazette and the Windsor Magazine. His real intentions from the first, however, were to make a career in literary work. He had written short sketches and articles about the moors, life and scenery about him, even before going to Cambridge, and some of these had appeared in local Yorkshire newspapers.

His first two books, possibly written while he was in London, were not a success. In the end the call of the North was too strong and he left London and returned to Bingley. The next book “The Eleventh Commandment”, published in 1896, enjoyed some popularity – and notoriety – and this was followed by the very successful “A Man of the Moors”, “Ricroft of Withens” and “Shameless Wayne”. His career as an author was now established, with new books appearing regularly thereafter.

When his father retired, the family moved a short distance to Castlefields House, Crossflats, near Bingley, where the garden finds portrayal in two very charming and popular novels “A Bachelor in Arcady” and “A Benedick in Arcady”.

 In 1904 he was married at St. Stephen’s Church, East Twickenham to Miss Mabel Cottrell, who became a devoted wife, throwing herself wholeheartedly into the new life of a countrywoman. They first lived at the Manor House, Embsay near Skipton, for some eighteen months until he purchased Troutbeck at Linton, a beautiful pre-Elizabethan house formerly used as a grange by the monks of Fountains Abbey. At that time it was named White Abbey and the Author reverted to the old name. He lived there for the rest of his life.