Why there are Ghosts at Clifford’s Tower

The original wooden castle keep in York was destroyed by fire in 1069 by locals unhappy with William the Conqueror but it was rebuilt again also in wood.

A more bloody event took place 100 years later. According to the inscription on a commemorative tablet:-
‘On the night of Friday 16 March 1190 some 150 Jews and Jewesses of York having sought protection in the Royal Castle on this site from a mob incited by Richard Malebisse and others chose to die at each other’s hands rather than renounce their faith.’ As the few survivors exited the keep the following day they were set upon and killed by the besiegers and angry mob that they had feared. The protection the Jews had had from Henry ll was dramatically diminished under Richard l for whom they had to contribute ransom money.

In the thirteenth century the keep was rebuilt in stone and later became known as Clifford’s Tower after Roger de Clifford, who was executed by Edward II for treason in 1322. Clifford was reputedly hanged in chains from the walls of the tower until dead. Enough to create a ghastly ghost.

If you take one of the several ghost walks available then you will be regaled by further tales of the walls running red with blood on certain anniversaries. Charred wooden beams have been recovered from deep in the ground as evidence of the early death by fire and this also contributes to the ghost tellers tales. For 5 more ghost tales read Ghosts of York

Book Cover
The History of the Castle of York from Its Foundation to the Present Day, with an Account of the Building of Clifford’s Tower by Thomas Parso Cooper

This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923 and that seems to becoming a norm for republishing old books by digitisation,. There are many other books about ghosts at Clifford’s Castle and The Diaries of Lady Anne Clifford on amazon.


What They Teach in Bradford History Classes

Forster Square - Post Office & Cathedral

A good Yorkshire education began with a Bradford wool merchant and Member of Parliament for Bradford in 1861. William Edward Forster was the son of a Quaker who was active in the anti slavery movement.

W E Forster moved to Bradford into premises that were eventually to become Swan Arcade sadly demolished. The business at Waterloo mills employed over 500 at it’s peak and W E Forster organised reading facilities and education classes for his workers that included children aged eight. The workers even enjoyed a ‘works trip’ to London from Apperley Bridge railway station when W E F was elected as a Member of Parliament.
In 1850 with his partner he purchase two cotton mills at Burley in Wharfedale and converted Greenholme Mills into a worsted manufacturer also employing upwards of 500 people.

15a - Swan Arcade, Bradford

After the 1868 General Election, William Gladstone appointed Forster as Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education. Forster therefore had responsibility for carrying through the House of Commons the 1870 Education Act. This role had the responsibility of providing some form of education for the hordes of industrial towns children who were not catered for before the act came into force. He set up school boards who had to make provision for schools in their area. Thus he earned the right to be called the father of universal elementary education.
It is for education that W E Forster is best known and he had Braford’s Forster Square and subsequently the Midland railway station named in his honour.

01 - Forster Square & Richard Oastler statue, Bradford (1890s)

From 1880 he was chief secretary for Ireland, and worked tirelessly on the Compensation for Disturbance Bill a task was made more difficult by the agitation which arose in consequence. ‘During the gloomy autumn and winter of 1880-81 Forster’s energy and devotion in grappling with the situation in Ireland were indefatigable, his labor was enormous, and the personal risks he ran were many: but he enjoyed the Irish character in spite of all obstacles, and inspired genuine admiration in all his coadjutors. On the 24th of January 1881 he introduced a new Coercion Bill in the House of Commons, to deal with the growth of the Land League.’ Read more about Home Rule for Ireland and Forsters part in the process.

W E Forster died in 1886, on the eve of the introduction of the Home Rule Bill, to which he was stoutly opposed and is buried in God’s Little Acre at Burlay in Wharfedale.

Village Cemetery
‘This looks like it may be a Victorian municipal graveyard. Its name is “God’s Acre Cemetery” and it is situated just north of Menston. There are a couple of churches in the vicinity but nothing immediately nearby. It’s a very pretty place.’

Photo credits
Forster Square – Post Office & Cathedral by Bradford Timeline CC BY-NC 2.0
15a – Swan Arcade, Bradford by Bradford Timeline
01 – Forster Square & Richard Oastler statue, Bradford (1890s) by Bradford Timeline all CC BY-NC 2.0
Village Cemetery by tj.blackwellCC BY-NC 2.0


Plane Crazy Kangaroos, Skuas, Sharks and Hawks in Brough

Red Arrows

Back in 1915 Robert Blackburn (RB) set up a base for the Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company in Brough. Amongst the aircraft made by the company were the early Kangaroos, Sharks, Skuas and the Swift.

Aeroplanes From Blackburn Aeroplane and Motor Company Brough

From 1916 the military commandeered the Brough site building 2 large extra hangers. The Kangaroo was then the first pure Blackburn plane to win type approval for military planes.
In 1920 the Air Ministry asked Blackburn to work with Napier to produce a torpedo plane called the Swift.
The royal airforce reserve training school was set up in Brough for piolts of sea and land planes using Blackburn Dart, Ripon and Velos planes.
Large flying boats were also built at Blackburns including the Iris, Perth and Sydney making inaugural flights from the Humber estuary.
The Blackburn built Skua was the only naval plane for dive bombing and was the first plane to shoot down an enemy aircraft in the second World War. The Shark and the more successful Swordfish were also built around the same time.
180 Botha, 635 Fairy Baracudas, the Firebrand and the Roc naval fighter were built during 1940’s. The Sunderland flying boat was built at Blackburns Dunbarton factory.
In 1948 Blackburns was taken over or amalgamated with General Aircraft and produced the Universal fighter.
The production of the Buccaneer (bottom) dominated output at Brough during the 1960’s.

Short Sunderland

Modern Brough

In 1960-65 Blackburns became Hawker Siddeley, Brough, and later part of the British Aerospace Kingston-Brough Division.
Arguably one of the company’s best known aircraft is the Hawk or T45. This is the jet trainer plane seen the world over as part of The Red Arrows RAF aerobatic display team.
The origins of the Harrier vertical/short take off and landing multi-role fighter can be traced back to Blackburns in Brough. The Harrier’s vertical take off was a stunning sight. On lookers were amazed to see 6 tonnes of fixed wing jet fighter hover, and even fly backwards.
Earlier this year 2012 BAE Systems announced it would be ending manufacturing at its site in Brough. This will mean 845 employees are redundant and our aeronautical heritage will be cut short.

Blackburns last

Photograph Credits
Red Arrows by Richard Towell CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Short Sunderland by Adelaide Archivist CC BY-NC 2.0 ‘Short Sunderland Mk.1 Flying Boat L2163 DA-G of No. 210 Squadron .
Photograph published in ‘The Royal Air Force in Pictures including aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm’, prepared by Major Oliver Stewart, 1941. Page 55.’
Blackburns last by Elsie esq CC BY 2.0 ‘A Buccaneer of the RAF. These aircraft had “wing blowing” a technique to artifically increase the lift of wings by ducting air from the engines over the top surface of the wing. This resulted in very high speed capability at very low altitude. Even today few modern strike aircraft can match the Buccaneers down-low performance’.
See air-ambulances-of-yorkshire

Read about Yorkshires Air Ambulances


York Footpath or Snickelway Map

Snickelways were recently nominated as one of York’s seven man made wonders. Snickleways often lead the walker to fantastic pubs or act as short cuts to other watering holes.

Book Cover
The Complete Snickelways of York  –  Mark W Jones

If you like maps then you will like this book. If you like quirky maps and routes you will love this book. If you like York, and who dosen’t, then you may have already got this book or one of the earlier editions. Written and published like the Alfred Wainwright’s  Coast to Coast  book in hand written text with drawn and sketched routes this book gives an exceptional insight in our York, past and present.

For quirky who would have thought that Arthur Gemmell’s stile maps couldn’t be beaten for content or detail of presentation but they are? All these three cartographers Gemmill, Wainwright and Jones put the Frank Wilkinson walking series to shame from a cartographic perspective.

So what on earth is a ‘Snickelway’? In Mark Jones eyes it is a cross or hybrid between a Snicket, a Ginnel and an Alleyway with the odd Court, Yard or Throughway thrown in for good measure. What is more he takes us on walks through 50 of them all within a quarter of a mile of ‘The Shambles.’  That would be 51+ Snickelways if you count the top of the wall. A complete walk would be in excess of 3 miles plus the wall if you choose to tackle it all in one go.  My favourite review of the book says   ‘ My wife and daughter set off after breakfast with a copy of Snickelways, and I am still waiting for them to get home to make my midday meal’.    Angry York resident at teatime.

Mark Jones should be an honourary memeber of the International Cartographers Society or you yourself may wish to be a member of the Map Collectors Circle. I doubt the Roadmap Collectors Association have discovered Snickelways yet.

Look out for more humourous slogans on the snickleways of York. Opposite the Bluebell there is a T shirt shop with some great captions in the window. Try Too Beer or not two Beer’ Shakesbeer.


North Yorkshire’s Notorious Smugglers

The Yorkshire coast is just 200 miles from the Continent across the North Sea. Ships taking our 16th and 17th century exports abroad often returned loaded with gin, brandy and even tea that was destined to avoid the ‘preventives’ and revenue duty.
The principal smuggling ports were Staithes, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay. Large gangs of workers building sea walls or working in the alum mines helped ‘professional smugglers’ to unload and also provided extra local customers.

Staithes at Dawn
This image of Staithes takes your imagination back to the notorious smugglers of previous centuries.

The section of the coast between Saltburn and Redcar is almost as notorious as Whitby as a location for smugglers.
John Andrew was a well to do smuggler with a high profile he was known as ‘The King of the Smugglers’. John was the landlord of the Ship Inn at Saltburn a centre of ‘Free Trade’ for the region. Local houses were allegedly connected to the tavern by tunnels. John Andrew also owned a cutter called the ‘Morgan Rattler’ and the White House and stables in Saltburn. He served at least one jail sentence at Hornsea but was personally well connected with what passed for law enforcement around Saltburn.

Book Cover
Watch the Wall my Darling: The Story of the Smuggler King by Richard Swale
‘This story is based loosely on the lives of the author’s great, great, great, grandfathers, John Andrew and James Law. Both were well known smugglers in the late 18th and early 19th Century, and operated at the same time on the north Yorkshire coast between Scarborough and the Tees estuary.’

Whitby Boat Trip

Whitby women were adept at aiding the smuggling effort. Large ships hovered off the coast and local cobles, fishing boats or luggers ‘ran’ the goods ashore where women waited in loose fitting clothes. When the women returned there buttons were bursting with contraband. Mrs Gaskell a Whitby resident remarked ‘Whitby women applied themselves to smuggling with more tricks, impudence and energy than any man. The whole town supported free-trade even two local Quakers.’

Image Credits
Staithes at Dawn by Chris J Parker Photographer CC BY-ND 2.0 ‘View of Staithes fishing village taken at dawn from top of cliff. Manipulated image.’
Whitby Boat Trip by Bluecowboy2002 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Whitby at Night by TGIGreeny, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Too much light would be shed on old fashioned night time smuggling as this illuminating photo shows.
Of course there is still a lot of smuggling, of illegal and heavily taxed products, through airports and our North Yorkshire coast line.


Jowett the Yorkshire Javelin Ahead of Time

Jowett Cars

The two seater soft top Jowett Jupiter was developed from the success of the Javelin in 1950. The streamlined shape implied speed and was a well engineered car with stronger brakes and new features. It had a steel tube frame and a drop-head coupe body of aluminium. For three successive years Jowett won the Le Mans 24 Grand Prix race 1950-1952.

ind museum Jowett van

The Bradford Van shown here in the old colours of the local paper the Telegraph and Argus (T&A). It had an engine size of 1005 cc and was first registered in 1953.

The oldest car club in the world is dedicated to Jowett vehicles they also  have a second web site. There aim is ‘To celebrate classic British cars made in Bradford from 1906 to 1954 namely- Jupiter, Javelin, Bradford, Jason, Black Prince, Curlew, Kestrel, Weasel, Flying Fox, Falcon, Long Four, Focus, Blackbird, Kingfisher, Black Prince, Wren, Grey Knight, Silverdale, Chummy, 7cwt Van, Short Two’. I like the idea of a car called a ‘Weasel’ and it reminds me of a pub with that name in Pudsey now a bomb site.

Continue Reading →


The Oldest Yorkshiremen from 9,000 Years Ago

Sheep in a paddock

On the road from Scarborough to Malton is Seamer, at the easterly end of the Vale of Pickering. It is here that pollen analysis and radio carbon dating have identified a site occupied 7,500 B.C. by Mesolithic Yorkshiremen.
The location is Star Carr immediately after the bridge over the River Hertford.
It is the only known site of it’s age in Britain and to the best of our knowledge Europe. Similar sites in Denmark at Maglemose on the Island of Zealand are from a similar culture but Star Carr antedates them. The Mesolithic period is sandwiched between the old and new Stone Ages.

The site was discovered in 1947 by a local archaeologist John Moore who found the first flint blade sticking out from a dyke. The site was then excavated from 1949-1951 by Professor Grahame Clark of Cambridge University, who retain some of the finds. Star Carr has been re-excavated several times since.

Book Cover
Excavations At Star Carr: An Early Mesolithic Site at Seamer Near Scarborough, Yorkshire by J. G. D. Clark
‘Grahame Clark’s excavations at Star Carr from 1949 to 1951 have long been regarded as a model of how archaeological investigation should be conducted. In addition to this, the importance of the site itself has established for this report on the excavations a permanent place in all archaeological libraries’.

What do We Know About The Oldest Yorkshiremen

There is little to see other than featureless farmland as the site was buried 9 feet deep, about a foot for every thousand years! It is still worth visiting to picture the activities of our ancestors.
The seasonally occupied homes at Star Carr were used by families of hunter fisher folk.
It was a period of mildish winters and the bones of many animals included deer, ox, elk, hare, pine martins and beaver were excavated. Continue Reading →


Terry’s of York – A Bite of History

Chocolate Orange
Can you see what it is yet? Yes you probably guessed it is a mug!

Some History of Terry’s of York

What do an apothecary, confectioner and citrus peel importer have in common? When one of them was Joseph Terry you may make the connection to Terry and Berry the forerunner to Terry’s of York. Joseph Terry married into the partnership that had worked from 1767 and brought his Apothecary skills to the business with a factory in Brearley Yard and a shop next to the Mansion House.
Early products included candied peel, marmalade and medicated lozenges as wel as cakes and confections. In the early 19th century the conversation lozenges bore messages a bit like modern day Love Hearts such as ‘Can you Polka’ and the racy ‘Do you flirt’. After the arrival of the railway to York Terry was selling his Coltsfoot Rock, Jujubes, Gum balls and Acid drops to many towns throughout the country. (Price 52/- per cwt Mmmm a sweet price).
Joseph Terry was born in Pocklington in 1793 the son of a local baker. He grew up in the town before moving to York and starting out in business as an apothecary, then switching to making cakes and confectioneries.
Joseph Terry died in 1850 but his 3 sons including Joseph jnr took the business forward building a Chocolate factory in Clementhorpe in 1887. The business grew through two world wars and remained in family ownership and management until 1960. It then passed through various corporate hands including Forte, Colgate Palmolive, United Biscuits, Philip Morris, Kraft and Suchards.
The family were civic minded and Joseph Terry jnr was Lord Mayor of York during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. The war office recognised the value of chocolate for the troops before the first world war as being of benefit ‘…..on the march, at manoeuvers or any occasion when staying power is needed’. Between the wars new products were created including Spartan and All Gold.

Pocklington is obviously proud of Joseph Terry and wrote a longer biopic on it’s web site From the son of a Pocklington baker to founding one of the greatest of York’s businesses – Terry’s of York

Terry's Chocolate Works, York
Terry’s Chocolate Works York

Contemporary History of Terry’s of York

Sadly in 2004 the production at York was stopped and transferred to Europe bringing an end to a proud Yorkshire food manufacturing operation. The old factory isn’t Terry’s anymore it’s For Sale as The Press report

Other products you may remember include Neapolitans, Twighlight, Spartan, Waifa, and York Fruits. I am not sure the other fruit product below were quite the success of the Chocolate Orange that goes right back to the companies origins as peel importers. In fact I never saw a Chocolate Banana or the Chocolate Apple for that matter.

There is a packaging display at York’s Castle Museum and more information from York history
For those interested in Confectionery there is a great American blog
By the time of Joseph Terry’s death in 1850 his firm, Terry’s of York, was the city second biggest employer, and under successive generations of the family it became a world famous chocolate manufacturer that is still renowned to this day for such delicacies as ‘Terry’s Chocolate Orange’ and ‘Terry’s All Gold’. Sadly it fell into the hands of the American food giant Kraft in 1992and the factory was closed in 2005.

Terry's All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates

Photo Credits
Chocolate Orange by jovike CC BY-NC 2.0
Terry’s Chocolate Works, York by True British Metal CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Terry’s All Gold Imagine Milk Chocolates by hemanth.hm CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Welcome to Saltaire – BD18

Aire I saw elba

As a UNESCO World Heritage site a visit to Saltaire is a must. This is due to the present amenities and  Saltaire’s extremely interesting past. Set alongside the river Aire from which it gets part of its name Saltaire also has the Leeds Liverpool canal running through it’s heart.

  1. Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian mill owner, built  Saltaire as a model town and endowed it with many employee friendly features. Workers cottages  built and named after Salt family members, Alma,  Ada, Mary, Constance , Helen,  Fanny, Grace Streets are now occupied by West Yorkshire commuters. I guess the  names seemed modern  in the 19th century. Sir Titus built his mill on the river Aire to clean the Alpaca wool he imported from Peru.
  2. The former mill now houses a small museum, retail emporium, art gallery, 3 eating establishments and workspace.
  3. Shipley glen tramway is just across the river and canal bridges and runs up to picturesque Shipley Glen. Even if the tram is not running the glen is a good place to take children with rocks to climb, woods to explore, Brackenhall Countryside Centre to visit and a tea house.
  4. Roberts Park is squeezed between the river and the canal and has 2 cricket pitches  to deposit balls into either waterway.
  5. “1853 Gallery” which houses a collection of the works of the famous local artist David Hockney.
  6. Victoria hall and exhibition   premises hold a range of events. the Antiques Road Show was fillemed here last month..
  7. The United Reform round church based on Italian architecture and built by Titus Salt in 1859. His mausoleum is situated below the lead dome with sunbursts in round arches.
  8. The old tramsheds are now a restaurant and entertainment venue but it is easy to see where the old Trolley buses stopped when they reached their Saltaire destination. Another licensed and thus irreverent location is called Don’t Tell Titus.
  9. Walks include paths on the ‘Dalesway Bradford Link’  that lead up to Dick Hudsons and over Ilkley moor to the official start.
  10. Salts Walks is a demonstration of the local enterprise culture which keeps the community spirit live and thriving.

Black Diamonds Built Wentworth Castle

Wentworth Castle at Stainborough near Barnsley has fine gardens and parkland to walk around.
Now-a-days Wentworth Castle buildings are used as a college of further education known as The Northern College. Access into the house is therefore strictly by pre-booked tour only.

Wentworth Castle 122

Old History

‘In 1695, Thomas Wentworth expected to inherit the landed estate and vast wealth at Wentworth Woodhouse, some 7 miles to the south of Stainborough, when the 2nd Earl of Strafford died childless in 1695. Unexpectedly the estate was left to Thomas Wentworth’s cousin Thomas Watson.
Although Thomas Wentworth went on to command high positions as a soldier and diplomat in the service of King William III and Queen Anne, he remained determined to re-establish his claim to the title of Earl Strafford’.
In 1727, Thomas began to build a mock castle on the highest point of the estate. He called this Stainborough Castle, and on its completion in 1731 he renamed the house and estate Wentworth Castle.

20th Century History

For a full account of the fall of the dynasty from 1902 you could do worse than read ‘Black Diamonds’ by Catherine Bailey.
At that time Wentworth was surrounded by 70 collieries employing tens of thousands of men. The battle between the varying attitudes of mine owners and miners during the first half of the twentieth century is coupled with detail of the lives of the miners & their families.
Black Diamonds tells the story of Wentworth’s demise where family feuds, forbidden love, class war, madness and a tragic and violent death played their part. Coal is one of the most emotive issues in twentieth century British politics and this well written book sheds more than a miners lamp on the issues and social activity from two distinct points of view.

Book Cover

Wentworth Castle 122 Continue Reading →


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