Driving back from our Yorkshire-based family holiday in the summer, we encountered a terrible motorway gridlock. After some swift map reading and re-routing we ended up by chance driving past a village called Hanging Heaton. According to Wikipedia, the ‘Hanging’ refers to a steep hillside hanging above lower ground (not the ‘hanging’ I had wrongly assumed) and ‘Heaton’ refers to a high farm or settlement.
In fact (with minimum research) I found lots of Heatons: Lancashire is blessed with Heaton-under-Horwich, Heaton with Oxcliffe, Great Heaton, and Little Heaton. Capheaton and Kirkheaton are in Northumberland, and Cleckheaton and another Kirkheaton (along with the aforementioned Hanging Heaton), are in Yorkshire. There’s a Heaton in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and a rather fancy area called Heaton, in Bolton. Closer to home we’ve previously run a feature by MOOR’s history writer Phil Page, revealing that Reddish was once known as Heaton Reddish!
Hanging Heaton is the oldest named Heaton, being mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, and from my family’s brief encounter with it, I can tell you we thought it looked quite nice – and that’s from a car full of grumpy, post-holiday, just-want-to-get-homers. And there’s the crux of it. All these other Heatons, but ultimately none as good as home.
So, as always, whichever is your Heaton, keep supporting it. It’s not just the big national retailers that are suffering due to the change in shopping patterns and online purchasing – our local shops and traders do really need and value your support.
Happy autumn everyone.