report from Wilfred E. Ball

After many hours of intense research, I find myself the extreme state of frustration that, many before me, on the same quest, must have experienced in the past. Indeed one must spare a thought for those poor souls who have tried to uncover, what must be one of the worlds best kept secrets of all time.


The history of the Pudsey Treacle goes back into time immemorial; back into the distant ages when the earth had just evolved from the swirling mists of archaic originations, aye before Genesis.

When fishes flew and forests walked, yes, even before the birth of Tubal Caine. In the very beginning it is certain that TREACLE was one of the vital ingredients in the formation of the earth; how it came to be missed from the list of basic elements known today, also remains a great mystery.

However, the source of the Pudsey Treacle Mines is still a closely guarded secret, known only to the chosen few who are born and bred within the confines of the Pudsey boundaries. Certain selected ‘Off-Cumdems’ may be admitted to that special group and let into the secret of the mines, but this is rare.

‘Off-Cumdens’ are Yorkshire born outsiders, who become domiciled there to live and work and who have been resident for a minimum of seventy years and have brought good service and wisdom onto the community.

From times past, numbered amongst these associates, were a select few from the famous and ancient Pudsey Settlement of the MORAVIANS, and as far as I can ascertain, were/are the latest known incumbents into Pudsey Treacle. They are know to have had close association with the Cistercian monks at the nearby KIRSTALL ABBEY and I suspect that there was a tributary of treacle from the main source at Pudsey running through the abbey. The monks developed the practice of
‘inspissation’ which gave a thicker viscosity to the treacle, thereby widening its utility which was of benefit to all, especially the poor; these were hard times and the charitable deeds of the Moravians was known far and wide.

The Moravians were founded in Bohemia, a province of Czechoslovakia. the Church of the United Brethren had been established in 1457 by the followers of one John Huss, a staunch Protestant, who was put to death for his beliefs by the Roman Catholics who condemned him as a heretic. He was arrested at the Council of Constance, tried and sentenced on July 15th 1415 and burned to death on the following day.

When the church was re-established and renewed in Saxony in 1722 under the leadership of Count Zizendorf, many of the early members were refugees from Moravia, hence the name. Missionaries were being sent out as early as 1732, hence their advent into Pudsey. They brought with them many customs and skills and I strongly suspect that the use of treacle, in their culinary skills, was paramount.

In 1743/44, Benjamin Ingham bought the twenty-two acre estate on the south of Pudsey, leasing it to the Moravians as a centre for their work in Yorkshire. Immediately, the set about building a traditional settlement centred around the church. I have a strong
belief that this was in close proximity to the entrance to the Treacle Mines, which must be somewhere between the school and Low-town. Therefore, by accident or design,
involvement in ‘treacle’ became inevitable, but true to their high moral code of living, strict confidentiality has always been maintained and the secret of the Treacle Mines remains sacrosanct to this very day.

In my research, I met with a reluctance to any hint of open publicity on the whereabouts of ancient treacle mines; indeed the clandestine atmosphere with which my questions were greeted, when people were approached, was
to say the least - masonic. One could well imagine an urgent gathering of the ‘The Royal & Ancient Order of Sticky Fellows’ with fresh candles in their billycocks, lit and mining tools akimbo; being convened before the Miner in Chief within minutes of my departure. I have
had some concern for my well being since embarking on this investigation and I now treat ‘treacle’ with a great deal more respect than before and when applying it to the daily portion of porridge, do so with great deference and ceremony.


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