room would be lit by paraffin lamp, and before that by candles -
bought from Batty's of Dent, who did a weekly round. Before candles,
rushes would be dipped in animal fat and lit from a tinder-box to
give a dim, flickering light. Sometimes the darkness was broken
only by the embers of the peat fire. When extra light was needed,
the peat would be prodded to produce a shower of sparks! Coal from
mines up the 'coal road' at Cowgill eventually replaced peat.
parlour was also a workplace - as was every downstairs room. A
favourite occupation was making pegged rugs on a frame, but sewing,
crocheting, mending and patching would be done here. A few homes,
especially in Flintergill, would have hand-loom weaving frames.
But Dent was famous for its 'terrible knitters' - where 'terrible'
Until the early
19th century the dalesmen would knit, as well as the daleswomen
and children. By holding one needle or 'prick' in a wooden knitting
stick protruding from a belt, and the other in the right hand,
the left hand was free to do another job, such as churning the
butter or wrapping the cheeses. So knitting provided a welcome
second income. But when 'off-comers' began visiting the dale for
the novelty of seeing farmers knitting with one hand and milking
a cow with the other, the men became self-conscious - and left
knitting to their women-folk!
'Mother and Grannie
would trim the lights every night, saying "Well, we'll 'etta
leet up" - Fred Taylor,