Echoes of the past: History of The Three Nuns at Cooper Bridge

The Old Three Nuns at Cooper Bridge
The Old Three Nuns at Cooper Bridge

The Three Nuns at Cooper Bridge, known since 2014 as Miller and Carter’s Steakhouse will be a familiar sight.

Especially to those travelling on Wakefield Road out of Brighouse, driving into Leeds Road, passing the Dumb Steeple and then at the junction almost with Huddersfield Road, there it is, on the left hand side. An impressive sight that dates back to 1939.

I am sure some readers will be thinking, ‘ I thought the old Three Nuns was older than that.’

Yes, you would be correct in thinking that. The original inn which at that time was old and described as being decrepit. This made the decision to demolish it as part of a road widening scheme a lot easier in 1939. The present building was built behind the old one.

As part of the old Kirklees estate, with its long traditions of Robin Hood and the old Priory, the old Three Nuns had a more than passing interest for many people.

The old inn was empty in 1938, when the ruins were inspected by local historians, and was said these dated back to the seventeenth century. It was however, also considered that the exterior of the building was much newer than some parts of the inside. Consideration was given that it might have been a timber framed building that at some stage had been encased in stone.

The old building was examined by George Hanson of Glendenning and Hanson the Halifax architects for the new inn on behalf of clients Ramsden’s. He was accompanied by Thomas Hanson the then president of the Halifax Antiquarian Society. They concluded it is said that parts of the internal structure could date back to the fifteenth century and possibly have been a guest house for visitors to the old nunnery.

There is a story that the three nuns were Cecilia Topclife, Joan Leverthorpe and Katherine Grace. According to local legend the nuns took refuge at a guesthouse of the nearby Kirklees Priory, which they went on to run as a hostelry after Henry VIIIs Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539.

Legend has it the building is haunted and it has appeared on ghost-hunting reality programmes. They all appear to have been filmed at night or in the dark, suggesting that ghosts only come out at

night !

The photo shows the old inn c1895.