Bill Foggitt Old Weather Guru

Malham Tarn Weather

For generations the Foggitt family have kept records of Yorkshire weather and Bill Foggitt one of 13 children turned quirky weather reporting into an art form.  Reporting as far back as the Yarm cloud burst and floods in November 1771 the maintenance of weather records in Wensleydale and Thirsk has remained a Foggitt tradition.

Great-grandfather of Bill was born during the last ‘Little Ice Age’ events that many believe come around every 200 years or so. In 1778 the Thames froze for nine weeks ‘solid’ and in 1814 the last ‘Frost Fare’ took place when elephants were able to walk on the frozen river. Bill had a  great interest and belief in the cyclical nature of these Little Ice Ages and believed a new one probably started at the turn of the 21st Century. Bill recounted  experience from his parents back in 1895 when the winter was one of the severest on record. ‘Water mains throughout Sheffield froze solid and emergency carts had to be used.’

Bill remembered 29th June 1927 when he waited for the total eclipse of the sun as  ‘an errie chill darkness came upon us. The bird’s shrill dawn corus abruptly ceased, recommencing a few minutes later….’   In August 1999 I was walking to Studley Royal when I experienced exactly those sensations but unlike Bill my meusings were never likely to be picked up by the media.

Bill Foggitt (1913-2004) was asked to do a nightly spot on Yorkshire Television in 1980 called Foggitt’s Forecast and he became a local celebrity with predictions often proving more accurate than those of the professionals. His observations of nature’s creatures in relation to the weather, included quirky folk law about the behaviour of seaweed that becomes slimy before rain and pine cones that close up when wet weather threatened, were ideal for the media of the time.
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Gods Own County Tulips

A great year for Tulips is about over in my garden until 2017. The white lily flowered bulbs were the most striking but the old fashioned Rembrandts were worth the investment.

The Wensleydale ‘Tulip festival’ may be finished but Constable Burton (above) still has a lot to commend itself.
The house by John Carr, sadly not open to the public, is set in beautiful countryside at the entrance to Wensleydale. Fine trees and woodland walks combine with an interesting collection of alpines and extensive shrubs and roses. Explore the stream garden with its large architectural plants and reflection ponds or take a walk in the adjoining Parkland.


A wide range of Tulips in all shapes and sizes were on show in May.
See other Tulips on Gardeners Tips


Constable Burton gardens and Parkland are not to be confused with Burton Constable Gardens Skirlaugh,
East Yorkshire HU11 4LN


Wars of the Roses – Towton Moor

Book Cover

Click to buy from Amazon

This Ballad records the bloody fight between the Yorkists and the Lancastrians on March 29 Palm Sunday 1461

Oh, the red and white rose
On Towton Moor grows
And red and white it blows
Upon the sward for evermore

In memorial of the slaughter
When red blood ran like water
And the victors gave no quarter
In the fight on Towton Moor.

The Battle
The Lancastrians occupied high ground with the Yorkists forced to advance uphill to attack them. The Yorkist archers had the wind behind them, and therefore outranged their Lancastrian opposite numbers, who were also blinded by the driving snow blowing in their faces.
When fighting at close-quarters began it was intense and lasted for several hours until John Howard, Duke of Norfolk arrived with reinforcements. The Lancastrians became outnumbered and outflanked, and the rout began.

The Rout

It is probable that more people lost their lives in the rout that followed the battle. Some Lancastrians tried to flee to Tadcaster but most of the Lancastrians were now pushed into Cock Beck where some of the worst slaughter was seen at Bloody Meadow.. The fleeing Lancastrians made easy targets for Yorkist horsemen and footsoldiers and despite a stand at Tadcaster they fled to York a beaten force.

Lord Dacre’s tomb is in Saxton All Saints Churchyard. The rumour he was buried standing upright alongside his horse was confirmed in the 19th Century when th e tomb was restored. Wars of the Roses site has details of 17 Battles including  Towton Moor where an estimated 76,000 troops fought only the day after Ferrybridge and upto 26,000 perished.

Even today over 550 years later bodies are still being discovered around Saxton, Towton and Tadcaster – Bradford University has a   Towton Mass grave project There is a 5 mile Battlefield walk from Saxton to Towton and back


The Towton Battlefield society are involved with the national project led by Shakespeare’s Globe theatre to produce and film the all plays of Shakespeare on location.


Illuminating Religion in Yorkshire

bradfordGod doesn’t believe in Atheists or rainbow warriors.

The spotlight or more accurately the facebook stained glass

The Mosque at Drewton Street Bradford. No matter where I stood for the photograph one or more lights were always in the picture. The oldest mosque in Britain is in Liverpool on the ground floor of a 19th century grade II-listed building established in 1889 by Henry William Quilliam who converted to Islam after visiting Morocco. Al-Madina Jamia Mosque at 31 Brudenell Grove Leeds LS6 1HR is one of the historic mosques in Leeds, built in the 1970s by Leeds Muslim Council with the assistance of the whole Muslim community of Leeds it has recently been refurbished. There are many multi-faith trips and visits to Temples, Mosques, Synagogues and Churches.

The Gurdwara is the centre of worship for the Sikh faith and there is a 360° view of the central Sheffield Temple on the  BBC site. The GNNSJ Leeds Gurdwara was established in December 1986 when the Ringtons Tea Factory was purchased and converted to our Gurdwara. On the 5th January 1987 the first Sri Akhand Paath in the Gurdwara was held celebrating our Guru Gobind Singh.

Hindus worship at Radha Krishna Temple, Middlesbrough studying the Vedic scriptures which describe that prior to 3000 BC knowledge was passed down by word of mouth, a great sage Vyasadeva compiled a series of literature in Sanskrit. The Mahabharata describes the history of India 5000 years ago and its 100,000 verses make it the longest poem ever written.  At that time Hindus believe Lord Krishna was present on the earth.

The Synod of the Church of England has been meeting this weekend to discuss the disproportionately large number of expensive bishops now employed when compared to the diminishing numbers of stipendiary parish clergy. I would have more sympathy if there was clear moral leadership from the Bishops but they claim they are needed to ‘manage’ the Church  – ho hum sounds too much like our politicians.

Bradford Synagogue in Bowling was  first opened in 1881. The muslim community has been instrumental in saving the grade ll listed building. This place of Jewish worship is very distinctive, being Moorish in style  and unfortunately  is less used than in the hey day of German and migrant imigrants of the 19th and 20th centuries. See the excellent site A History of Jewish Bradford


Fireworks in Barnsley – 1868 Explosion

This is a sad tale from October 1868 when an explosion wrecked a Barnsley fireworks factory killing eleven men, women and children.

On Taylor Row there was a plot of land with a small detached building licensed for the making of fireworks and storing gunpowder. George Norris  a local hairdresser and business man owned the firework business employing over 30 people often young children. He extended the firework assembly into another unlicensed building divided into 4 sheds. On the morning of 8th October 1868 everything went !bang!


Maria Cooper was a trusted worker with firework experience gained in the midlands. On the fateful morning she complained that the ‘chemical mixture’ for filling the fireworks was too damp. Seemingly she spoke her intentions of drying the ‘composition’ of nitre, sulphur and charcoal over an open fire. The inevitable happened and firecrackers started to explode. Bodies were throw about and some escaped with clothes on fire only to die later. Up to 20 youngsters survived despite various burns and injuries.

At an inquest Maria Cooper was found to have died from her recklessness in placing ‘composition’ in a tin on a stove where it exploded. The verdict was manslaughter by Maria Cooper against the other 10 who died. Among the dead were the owner George Norris and Bill Bywater the foreman and children of 11, 12 and 14. Norris lived long enough to be taken home and make futile protests about the incident. The youngest fatality was 9 year old George Yates who had only worked at the factory for a few weeks.

Yorkshire Fireworks Suppliers
Fireworks by bayasaa CC BY 2.0


Grubs Up – Come and Get It

For those with a sweet tooth out table tennis club provided handsomely. The pork pies were an added bonus.

Table Tennis Lunch

If you want to keep up with local developments on all things foody check out some of these links

Hello Yorkshire

Eating isn’t cheating but beer may be

Them Apples

I also liked The Caked Crusader but it hails from London and involves DIY cooking.


Is that a quiche I see in the corner? – no its egg flan!

As Yorkshire folk know a flan should have a crust not be a sloppy mess – google take note



Bridge Over Untroubled Water

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Underneath the arches in Leeds usually means the Dark Arches with bridges over the Aire and railway bridges over both. This is the bridge to the Calls on the Calder Aire navigation link.

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A view of the Leeds bridge cast ironwork in full painted regalia. Not big enough to require a Forth Bridge paint job.

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The Leeds Liverpool canal at Dockfield in Shipley has a packhorse bridge where the old Bradford canal joined.

beamsley wharfe bridge

Walking from Addingham up to Beamsley Beacon I crossed this footbridge over the river Wharfe.


Yorkie Ware™ The Mugs

I am not over keen on the name ‘Yorkie’. It smacks of a dog and I do not think that is what Yorkie Ware™ have in mind from their Moorland Pottery.

T pot

Another beef, but a minor one, is the super mug I got for Christmas said God’s Own Country which Yorkshire obviously is although I like God’s Own County for personal reasons. (What can they be? ed.)

The biggest beef is that the Pottery is in the Potteries or Burslem Stock on Trent to be exact and that aint in Yorkshire. Further exploration shows how naff some of their ‘Yorkshire sayings are: Yorkshire Born And Bred, Yorkshire Lad, Yorkshire Lass I’m a Yorkshire Yummie, Eeby Gum, The Lass Out Of Yorkshire, The Lad Out Of Yorkshire, Trouble At Mill ,On Ilkley Moor Baht ‘ At, Grandad can fix Out?’ (surely ‘Owt’)

Still I am not vindictive and will help promote Yorkshire themed branded businesses. If there is an interesting brand story let us know.

York Boats

Lendle bridge is a good place to go boat spotting.  Boaty McBoatyface in red and blue livery – be careful not to get marooned!

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Wisden on Yorkshire and Yorkshire on Wisden

Book Cover

Yorkshire lad Duncan Hamilton has produced a tour-de-force for Wisden and a compilation about all that is great about Yorkshire Cricket.
This season is shaping up to be great year too so expect another edition soon but buy a first edition from Amazon

  • The blurb on the book undersells the county a bit……’Yorkshire County Cricket Club is by far the most successful county cricket club in history.’
  • The facts are made to speak for themselves……’Since the County Championship was constituted in 1890, Yorkshire has in addition to one shared Championship, won it outright on 30 occasions and Yorkshire cricket supporters take great pride in the county’s cricketing history’.
  • The characters get a reasonable billing……….’As well as the club’s successes, there have been 42 Yorkshire players chosen as Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Many have been world-class cricketers such as Wilfred Rhodes, Len Hutton, Fred Trueman and Geoffrey Boycott, with distinguished England careers.’ Do not forget Yorkshire man Jim Laker who never played for his home county.
  • Yorkshire cricket seems to have helped to keep Wisden in business…………..’Many thousands of Wisden pages have been filled with Yorkshire cricket, Yorkshire cricketers and Tests in Yorkshire.’

What is the book about? ‘Wisden on Yorkshire is a fascinating journey mixing great matches, personalities, feats, controversies and unusual occurrences. Presenting the best Yorkshire information from the Almanack archives,

  • Focus on the iconic Yorkshire players, such as Truman and Boycott
  • Cricketers of the Year and Obituaries.
  • The County’s history, highlighting significant years and extracts from reviews of those years.
  • Fascinating stories of both the highs and lows in the club’s history.
  • Colour plate section containing superb classic images.
  • Detailed records, match reports and scorecards.

We also recommend reading Slipless In Settle: A Slow Turn Around Northern Cricket by Harry Pearson is a book on Yorkshire Village and League cricket that will give you a wry smile or three.

Book Cover
‘A witty rumination on Yorkshire cricketers and the nature of manliness … very good indeed … offers some chucklesome insights into the personalities involved’ — We’ll Get Them in Sequins traces the style & ups & downs of Yorkshire cricket through seven cricketers from George Hirst (1871 – 1954) through Sutcliffe, Verity, Trueman, Boycott, and Gough to Michael Vaughan (1974 – ) using this to illustrate changes in the ideas of manliness through that time.


Boozy Flowers of the Dales


Flowers can make fine wines. Try Dandelion or Elderberry flowers for starters.
My preferred beverage is Nettle beer (if real ale is not available of course).

If you do not want to grow and brew your own then why not go for a walk. I don’t mean to be funny but the Flowers of the Dales Festival is arranging a ‘Boozy Flower Walk from Ingleborough as part of a large programme of events. Start and finish at the Tan Hill Inn! What could be better.
During Ingleton folk festival the Tan Hill Inn hosts the comic song competition. Worth a visit if you can get in it is generally packed.

The Festival for the Flowers of the Dales 2016 is running from March to October with 100’s of events.

Bat walks, photography classes, Keasden flowers, Hackfall bluebells, and painting flowers at Malham are just some of the events.

I have just discovered other Boozy walks planed for 21 May in Swaledale, 11 June in Austwick, 16 July Wharfedale and 20 August in Wensleydale

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You probably wont see these flowers on your boozy walks but you can drink in the colour from this photograph.


If you visit the Welcome to Yorkshire web site and search for boozy walks you get a list, the top 4 of which are in LANCASTER. Have we moved the boundaries at last. If not why are we wasting Yorkshire promotional brass on foreign places. Don’t bother linking


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