A bridge named after the Battle of Waterloo and a Pork Pie Appreciation Society

St Bartholemew's Church
St Bartholemew's Church
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Ripponden village in Calderdale is steeped in history, some dating back centuries and some a little more recent.

A packhorse bridge which dates back to the 1700s crosses the River Ryburn which flows through the village and close by is the place where the village stocks used to stand.

The Old Bridge Inn

The Old Bridge Inn

But according to Lindsay Eaton Walker, landlady of the Old Bridge Inn, the bridge built in the 1700s is a relatively new addition.

The Old Bridge Inn has been in Mrs Eaton Walker’s family for three generations and has been in Ripponden since 1307.

“My grandfather bought the pub in 1962,” Mrs Eaton Walker said.

“He moved from Malham where he had owned The Buck Inn and bought what was then called The Waterloo, named after the war.”

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The packhorse bridge had also been called Waterloo Bridge but before that, Mrs Eaton Walker said, the river was forded and as the road through Ripponden was the main York to Chester Road it was an important coaching stop.

The Old Bridge is a popular pub with all generations in the local villages and is also home to the Pork Pie Appreciation Society.

Mrs Eaton Walker said it came about when the old schoolhouse had been converted into a gym. A group of friends would come into the pub for a drink afterwards and, as it didn’t serve food on Saturday and Sunday nights, asked for a snack and the society was born.

“They always used to sit at the same table and we have a plaque up there now,” Mrs Eaton Walker said. For more than two decades, the same group of friends ran the renowned annual pork pie competition, but decided to retire it after 25 years.

Community is a big part of Ripponden and its traditions. December sees a Christmas market which grows year on year and on Twelfth Night a traditional play ‘seeing out the old year and bringing in the new’ is performed, with the Christmas tree burnt in a brazier.

“It is a lovely village to live in,” said Mrs Eaton Walker, who runs the pub with her husband Timothy. “We always look out for each other.”

The Old Bridge Inn is overlooked by the church of St Bartholemew’s. The fourth village church to be built. The first in the 1400s fell into disrepair, the second in 1610, built near the packhorse road was flooded, with the story going that the font was claimed by the residents of the Old Bridge Inn who refused to give it back.

The third in 1736, had an unsafe roof and the fourth, built in 1868, is the building which is still in use today.

A community meeting place, the church is home to a number of groups and a community cafe. Its stained glass windows are a much admired feature.