Green, Hannah – The Ling Bob Witch, c1765 – 1810

Ling Bob Inn Undated

Title Hannah Green
Date c1765 – 1810
Location Wilsden, Nr. Bradford & Yeadon
Photo ID V880
Comment An undated image of the Ling Bob Inn, Wilsden, Bradford, built on the site of the previous hostelry the Brown Cow Inn, in 1836. Hannah Green the so-called Ling Bob Witch, resided in the hamlet some 12 miles from Yeadon, where she lived in a cottage next door to The Brown Cow Inn. The cottage next to the Inn may well have been the home of Hannah Green as the description of her home having a large chimney stack is evident in this photograph. The cottage was subsequently demolished, though it is not known when, to make way for a small car park for the Inn.
Ling Bob Inn c1960s

V881 – The Ling Bob Inn, Wilsden, c1960s.

The Ling Bob Inn – c1960s

The word ‘Ling Bob’ is apparently of local dialect and means ‘Heather End’. In this image, Hannah’s cottage is no longer having been demolished to form a small car park for the Ling Bob Inn.

It was from her cottage that she practiced her art of fortune telling and to ensure her customers knew where she lived, she had the very large chimney stack of her home painted white. She became very well known for her prophesying and reading of tea leaves for those wishing to know of events to come and what the future held for them as well as providing cures and potions for the ill.  She is reputed to have foretell the French Revolution.

Novia Farm 1920

B934 – Novia Farm, 1920.

Novia Farm – 1920

It is not known why she left Wilsden for Yeadon with her husband, a Miller, and daughter also named Hannah, but circa 1785, they took up residence at Novia House which later became Novia Farm, located on Cemetery Road between Yeadon and Carlton and where she died on 12th May 1810. 

During her life Hannah Green is said to have accumulated more than £1,000, from her profession, a very tidy and considerable sum in those days.

It is not known what Hannah succumbed to, but legend has it that she used to amuse herself by assuming the form of a hare and running around the countryside at night, however, she had the bad luck of being shot by a poacher and expired with horrible screams.

Subsequently, her daughter (Hannah Spence) continued her mother’s business along with running a Dame School from a house she built on Albert Square which subsequently became known locally as ‘Penny Fool Hill’ as she like her mother still managed to part the foolish with their money, though not as successfully as her mother had been.

Editor’s Note – A Dame School was an early form of a private elementary school often found in areas of poverty. They were usually taught by women and were often located in the home of the teacher. Dame schools were quite varied and some of them were little more than day care facilities while others provided their pupils with a good foundation in the basics.

To view Albert Square (Penny Fool Hill) please – Click Here.

To view Cemetery Road, Please – Click Here.

Hannah Green's spectacles c1765 - 1810

PU181 – Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810

A pair of spectacles which belonged to Hannah Green, the Ling Bob Witch.

She was said to have operated around Albert Square which became known as Penny Fool Hill meaning the place fools parted with their pennies for Hannah’s cures and potions.

Donated by Jane Blake.

Hannah Green c1785 - 1810

PU181A – Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810

A typed note outlining a brief history of the spectacles from the current owner Jane Blake.

Hannah Green c1785 - 1810

PU185 – Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810

Supporting facts from Alan Cockson, FACBS.

Hannah Green c1785 - 1810

PU185A – Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810


Hannah Green c1785 - 1810

PU185B- Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810

As above.

Hannah Green c1785 - 1810

PU185C – Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810


Hannah Green c1785 - 1810

PU186- Hannah Green, c1785 – 1810.

Hannah Green, The Ling Bob Witch, c1785 – 1810

In Grandmother’s Kitchen

By “Ingle-Nook.”

It was a sad day when grandmother had to admit that she could no longer see well enough to repair the fine lace of her collars and cuffs or recognise a neighbour across the road.  It meant she must buy a pair of spectacles.

Nobody counts it much of a blow nowadays, partly because modern spectacles are so light and comfortable, but chiefly because so many others share the affliction.  But in grandmother’s youth the spectacle makers turned out cumbersome instruments, often with heavy braqss frames, and the lenses must have been less accurate – and therefore painful to use-because diagnosis of eye trouble would be less certain.

Here is a pair just over 100 years old: a little too remote in themselves to be associated with a grandmother of 1935, but no very great improvement was made for a long time after.  This pair has a very special history.  They belonged to the notorious Lingbob witch of Wilsden and Yeadon.

Lingbob was the name given to the southern terminus of the mile-long main street of Wilsden, and it was there that Hannah Green, the Lingbob witch, indulged in her occult practices.

Her fame spread and rich and poor from far and near came to consult the witch.  She died in 1810 at Nova House, near Carlton, having amassed a fortune of £1,000 by her craft.

She had a daughter, also named Hannah, who continued the business, but although the witch’s daughter had a large custom (and kept a school besides!) she never acquired quite as much fame as her mother.  The second Hannah, who died in 1830 at the age of 42, had built a house with part of her gains on the open green at Yeadon known as Penny Fool’s Hill. Her first husband, a man named Roberts, is believed to have been killed by the heavy French fire which raked the decks of the Victory, at the battle of Trafalgar.

She married again, and must have had a daughter, for although I can find no records of the family after the second Hannah, this pair of spectacles was given byb the grand-daughter of the Lingbob witch to the late Mrs Alfred Chippendale, (Chippindale) of Yeadon.

They now belong to her son, Mr Ben Chippendale, (Chippindale) of Harrogate, an archite in Bradford.  Mrs Chippendale (Chippindale) well rememberd the second Hannah, and used to tell how great numbers of people came to Yeadon, driving up to house with carriage and pair – wealthy folk from Bradford and neighbouring towns-and unashamedly seek her advice on matters of health and fortune.

The glasses through which her famous mother pretended to peep into the future are framed in brass, beatifully hinged at the front and in a loop.

[We shall be pleased to photograph for reproduction in this column interesting relics readers may care to send.]

Previous Comments:

val ryan
My relations the Moorhouse family had LING BOB FARM which is off Scotland Lane Horsforth, it is now a stables and listed building does anyone know if there is a connection as this is an unusual name?
30 September 2018.

In answer to your question Val – Could it be the original owner of Ling Bob Farm had some links with the Wilsden area? Ling Bob meaning locally in Wilsden as ‘Heather End’, which we could interpret as an area of heather/gorse? or could there be a supernatural link as if you look at a map with Wilsden, Novia Farm and Ling Bob Farm on, you can see a tri-angle. Novia Farm is at one end of the Leeds, Bradford Airport runway, Ling Bob Farm at the other end of the airport runway and all linked in a tri-angle to Wilsden.
You have to wonder if Hannah Green had something to do with it…or could I have joined the ‘Penny Fool Hill’ brigade. I suppose we may never know. 16 Dec 21.

Consolidated and further researched by Jack Brayshaw. 30 October 2021.
Last updated: 09 June 22 – Photo ID: PU185, PU185A, PU185B, PU185C, PU186. 16 December 2021 – Photo ID: V880 & V881.

1 thought on “Green, Hannah – The Ling Bob Witch, c1765 – 1810”

  1. Hi Jack That is such an interesting article and possible explanation for the naming of my aunt’s old farm LING BOB SCOTLAND LANE HORSFORTH and the triangle that this forms, fascinating bit of local history.. The farm was very old in 1950s when I used to go there and I think partially demolished now and the remaining barn (I think) is Grade 11 listed and been developed into housing. I really love going there as I am from farming stock and happy when wallowing in muck and with animals! My cousin and I would always play in the barn where there were huge rats and where premature or sickly farm animals used to be housed and bottle fed! I can recall not long after the war there were sacks of chocolate offcuts and rejects and they were bought from Rowntrees/Terrys York and part of the cattle feed……… needless to say as two young kids a bit of nibbling went on in the barn too! Thank you for the update and all your good work on behalf of AHS and us all and future generations

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