Cozy Cottage, Holmfirth: Journalist researching history of her Yorkshire holiday cottage discovers it was location of Victorian murder-suicide

A Telegraph journalist who researched the history of the Yorkshire holiday cottage she stayed in got a grim surprise when it turned out to have been the scene of a Victorian murder.

Sally Howard and her family booked Cozy Cottage in Holmfirth and found out that in 1900, 43-year-old mother and wife Sarah Ramsden and her husband Jonas, 50, were both found dead at the small terraced property in the mill town.

Sarah had died from ammonia burns and asphyxiation, while her husband was hanging from the ceiling. The shocking tragedy was reported nationally in the press as a murder-suicide, with weaver Jonas described as ‘jealous’.

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An inquest was held, in which the coroner was told that the couple’s six-year-old daughter has heard her father threaten to kill both himself and his wife. Sarah, who had six children, had tried to leave her husband, but eventually returned and had consulted a solicitor over a separation. She was killed soon after.

Cozy Cottage is close to Sid's Cafe in HolmfirthCozy Cottage is close to Sid's Cafe in Holmfirth
Cozy Cottage is close to Sid's Cafe in Holmfirth

Sally, whose hobby is house history research, discovered the story about the holiday let, which is advertised on Airbnb, by chance. She has already completed projects on friends’ houses and transferred her interest to properties she had stayed in.

The two-storey cottage is close to Sid’s Cafe, which starred in Last of the Summer Wine, and is an ‘underdwelling’ – built into the hillside with another house above it. There are famously many examples of this type of dwelling in the Calder Valley town of Hebden Bridge.

She then traced the Ramsden children’s fates through later decades. By the 1939 census, the child who found her mother’s body was married to a lorry driver with two sons, a wool finisher and a solicitor’s clerk, and still lived in Holmfirth. Both sons served in World War Two.

The full article can be read here.

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