Judy North 1795-1870


The present name of 'Judy Woods' comes from Judy North or “Gurt Judy”, who lived in a cottage near Horse Close Bridge in the 1850s and 60s. She was the second wife of Joseph North whose family had tended the “pleasure gardens” on the hillside by the bridge since the early 1800’s. Following Joseph’s death in 1850, first Judy herself and then John Barraclough, Judy’s son by her first marriage took over as gardener. In the 1861 census Judy is described as “seller of sweet meats” no doubt to the visitors to the gardens. 

James Parker mentioned Judy in his books, notably “Rambles from Hipperholme to Tong,” published 1904. In them he included several images of Judy and her son John O’Judy’s and related how she sold parkin pigs, sticks of spice and ginger beer. He calls the woods Royds Hall Woods and the bridge Horse Close Bridge.
It seems that Parker’s books, written over thirty years after her death, popularised the woods with a new generation who delighted in their shady paths and took to calling the bridge, Judy Brig and soon the woods were grouped together collectively as Judy Woods.

Judy was born somewhere in the neighbourhood of Royds Hall in 1795 and baptised Judith Stocks. She married her first husband Joseph Barraclough in 1819. They had five children. When Joseph died she married Isaac Jowett in 1833. They had no children. Widowed again, she married Joseph North of Horse Close Bridge in 1847. He was 57 and she was 52. Sadly Joseph died 3 years later and she took over the pleasure gardens which had been run by his family and her son John O'Judy's ran a greengrocery business from the gardens.

Judy North Postcard
Judy North in old age

James Parker in his book "Rambles from Hipperholme to Tong" says that Judy North was known as Gurt Judy - because she was a big woman.  In the images we have she doesn't look very large, although her son John Barraclough - locally called John O'Judy's does have a large frame!

On her death certificate it says she died of "Softening of the brain - paralysis 6 years".  Perhaps she had a stroke and suffered from dementia which resulted in weight loss.


Judy armed

Ambrotype of Judy and companion - armed!

Judy' customers

Ambrotype of Judy's customers

John O'Judy

Judy's son John with friends at their cottage


If you want to know more about Judy see the download page where there is a copy of an article Mary Twentyman wrote for The Bradford Antiquary - Third Series - Volume 8, 2003

Notes on the pictures.

The two ambrotypes were submitted to Practical Family History Magazine for dating and they said they were totally consistent with being taken in the late 1860's. The men's clothing, particularly the bold checked fabrics of some of the men's suits and the "muffin" hat of the man on the left were popular at the time.

Judy and Man photo.  Note that they are both holding guns. The man could be one of the game keepers which we know the Low Moor Company employed on the the Royds Hall Estate.

Judy Customers Parker tells us Judy sold parkin and ginger beer to her customers. This photo show glasses and jugs of ginger beer or lemonade. The man standing is holding a cut piece of gingerbread or parkin. On the table is a pile of round flat cakes; one has a piece missing.

Studio portrait This came from a set of slides from the late Charlie Sharp of Wibsey - he must have borrowed it from someone in the area in the 1970's, but we have no idea of it's whereabouts now. We think this shot is earlier than the others as Judy looks a a bit fatter. According to Parker she was known as "Gurt Judy" - because she was a big woman! (courtesy of John Sharp)

Post Card  From the Graham Hall Archive. Posted in 1906. Judy enjoyed new fame as a result of the books of James Parker published a few years before and it seems that the use of the Judy Woods was popularised around this time.