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Skipton Facts Updated for 2018

Sheer bliss

A History of Skipton

  • Skipton is Anglo Saxon for Sheep Town. There is still a Sheep Street and an aptly named pub on it called The Wooly Sheep Inn.
  • Full sized, ornamental, painted sheep are used to promote events around the town. Sheep day is held on the last Sunday in July.
  • Skipton Castle is a well preserved Norman castle built around 1090 and given to the Clifford family in 1310. (That is the year not the time on a 24 hour clock)
  • The castle was a Royalist stronghold until falling to Oliver Cromwell in 1645. It and the Clifford family took an active part in the War of the Roses.

Craven District

Not only is Skipton the self appointed ‘Gateway to the Dales’ but is the administrative center of |Craven District Council. They are looking for the public’s favourite object from a list of seven

  1. A Bronze Age jet earring
  2. A Roman amethyst intaglio
  3. Medieval floor tiles from Bolton Abbey
  4. Ribblesdale peat spade
  5. Timothy Crowther’s ‘Spell book’
  6. Richard Ryley’s Diary
  7. Dr Rowley’s research notes

Continue Reading →


Seamer Fascinating Facts

Book CoverSeamer in Recent History

  • Well  perhaps not so recent when in AD 1086 this village was known as as Semær,  Semare or more exotically Samara. The name may have been taken from Old English for ‘lake’ indeed there was a Lake Flixton at Starr Carr 10,000 years ago see oldest Yorkshireman‘.
  • In 1603 the plague raged  along  the northeast coast from Seamer, Whitby, Runswick Bay and Robin Hoods Bay. The Seamer population was decimated by this ‘Black Death’ but the village survived.
  • Six years later the King granted Seamer and the chapels of Cayton and East Ayton a market, a fair and the right to despatch immediate justice to criminals.
  •  Scarborough was not amused and a couple of years later managed to get the market closed.
  • In1644 a camp of Parliamentarian soldiers was stationed in Seamer. During the Civil War Scarborough castle switched allegiance from the Parliamentarians to the Royalists  only to be sieged by these parliamentarians.
  • By 1760 Seamer had nine inns soon to be followed by Primitive and Wesleyan chapels being erected. The wooden Saxon church had been replaced with a stone building with a tower centuries earlier.
  • Parish Council was formed in 1894.The economy of the parish was based on agriculture and there were 27 farmers recorded in 1913.
  • Since the establishment of the railway and  after the First World War the population explosion has seen an increase from 681 to now stand at 4,000and growing.
  • There is still a railway station and junction despite Dr Beeching. Trains go south towards Sheffield and westwasrd on the other line.

Burneston’s Wimbledon Winner

How often have you driven through a village without pausing to look at what is happening or consider its history? I was tempted to stop at the church in Burneston by the archway over the gate. I am glad I did stop and look around this village of about 250 people which serves a wider area in many different ways.
The Woodman Inn at Burneston dates back to the late 1600’s and is a traditional country inn with cask beers and excellent food which is locally sourced. Every Wednesday night Burneston Folk Club meet here at 8.30pm. It’s a lively club with a mix of traditional, acoustic and contemporary music. Everyone is welcome, whether it is to play, sing or just listen. they do not book guests, charge an entrance fee or hold a raffle they just enjoy the music.

The church of ST. Lambert consists of a chancel with a north vestry and a square west tower. The nave probably contains the stones of the 13th century or earlier but much of the internal masonry is of early 14th-15th century. In 1086 Burneston belonged to Count Alan. At the Dissolution in 1591 Queen Elizabeth granted this manor to Sir Richard Theakston. Theakston village is less than one mile away (although the family breweries are in Masham 5 miles or so distant).

To the north-west of the church are the Robinson Almshouses, founded in 1680 by Matthew Robinson, vicar of Burneston. They form a picturesque block two stories in height, and are built of red brick. The windows are stone mullioned and of two lights

The last Yorkshireman to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon may have been John Hartley from Burneston, near Bedale in 1879. Did he live here?


History and far more detail at

A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 1 Author  William Page

Parish Church home page

Burneston Folk Club

The Northern Echo library.


Roberttown – Robin Hood and Other Highlights

My first highlight was in the 1960’s when I did some courting in the pubs of Roberttown. It wasn’t only the romance but the Chicken and Chips in a basket that made the trip worth the effort. The only alternative food and beer combo was at Bernie Inns or posh eating places without the beer.
Roberttown has a long tradition for hospitality. Stage coaches stopped at the bar house on the turnpike road but the famous footpad and highwayman ‘Swift Nick’ Nevison lurked around the area.
In the 1840’s 250,000 Chartists met on the common to protest about the economic depression (not much different then).
The Roberttown races were held over three days in midsummer and the men of the turf were accommodated at the Star and in local cottages.

The Star, Roberttown

Robin Hood Prince of Robbers

The Yorkshire Robin Hood Society, have been campaigning since the 1980’s to allow public access to Robin Hood’s Grave on the Kirklees Estate. The grave at The Priory Garden Kirklees Park is only six hundred yards from the gatehouse but it was enclosed in iron railings in the nineteenth century. Today it is neglected, overgrown and little known to the general public with access aggressively prevented by the current owners. There is a fear of unsuitable redevelopment without taking this historic site into consideration. Read more from the fascinating site of The Yorkshire Robin Hood Society.

Churches and Religion in Roberttown

All Saints, Roberttown, Liversedge
John Wesley made many visits to Roberttown to support the poor and hard working spinners and weavers. To celebrate 100 years of methodism the chaple was built in 1830.
All Saints Church was the vision of the Reverend Hammond Roberson and was consecrated in 1845.

Outward Looking Roberttown

Hartshead Village from Roberttown Lane
Two hundred years ago Robertown was a hamlet in the township of Liversedge in the parish of Birstall.
The M62 made the village a commuter area for Manchester as well as Leeds and Bradford. This is still an issue for the Campaigners from ‘Keep Roberttown & Hartshead Rural’. (This is a campaign that should be supported and taken up in other similar Yorkshire commuter hotspots.)
Foreign beers (from Lancashire) are available at the annual Bobtown Beer Festival organised by the Roadrunners

Photo Credits under CC BY 2.0
The Star, Roberttown by Tim Green aka atoach
All Saints, Roberttown, Liversedge by Tim Green aka atoach
Hartshead Village from Roberttown Lane by Fraig



Read more about Highway men and Swift Nick


Wetherby Interesting and Unusual Facts

Wetherby is a small market town with a Royal Charter to hold a market since 1240 AD.
It has a big riverside frontage on the Wharfe which provides visitors with interesting riverside walks, picnic areas and a free car park.
Wetherby styles itself ‘Blooming Wetherby England’s Floral Town’.

Cog and Fish 2

The Wetherby Railway Path not surprisingly runs through Wetherby (that is more than the trains do since Dr Beeching took out his axe). Now starting in Spofforth it follows the old railway track through Kirk Deighton and the railway triangle to the town centre where it is joined by the West Yorkshire Cycle Route. By now it has been named The Harland Way after the late Lions Club president. Then it has been extended to Walton Gate and Thorp Arch Estate.

Sustrans invest in Cycle paths but this route is suitable for walkers, riders and horses. It will eventually be extended to Tadcaster and York whilst the West Yorkshire cycle route heads off south.

Wetherby ... willow bull.

Interesting and Unusual History of Wetherby

  1. From 1318 to 1319 the North of England suffered many raids from the Scots. After the battle of Bannockburn Wetherby was burned and many people taken and killed. It is said that Scott Lane is so named because it ran with blood.’
  2. At nearby Bramham Moor one of the first battles in the Wars of the Roses took place in 1408.
  3. During the World War II Tockwith airfield was renamed ‘Marston Moor Airfield’ to avoid confusion with Topcliffe Airfield. Clark Gable was stationed here. Part of the airfield is now used as a driver training centre and the old control tower is used as the offices but bits of the runways can still be seen.
  4. The bridge on the Old Great North Road is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade II listed structure. As a result of its situation a large number of coaching inns, now pubs, were established in Wetherby.

Wetherby parade ring.

Interesting and Unusual History of Wetherby

  1. Over the sticks Wetherby racecourse is Yorkshire’s premier National Hunt venue and home to some of the best races in the National Hunt Calendar. It boasts some of the best facilities in the North of England and has a fantastic atmosphere to rival any sporting occasion.
  2. The town centre is full of interesting small shops selling a wide variety of goods. Mary Portas would be pleased that there are not too many multi-nationals to force the locals into homogeneous shopping. Sadly the free car park by the river is quickly filled by workers and tourists.
  3. Near by Thorp Arch Retail Park is notable as it is set in semi-underground bunkers. The British library has a large storage facility in Thorpe Arch
  4. Tadcaster and Boston Spa lie to the south-east; other villages nearby renown for executive housing include Sicklinghall and Kirkby Overblow, and Linton.
  5. Under Wetherby Attractions on the Wetherby website there are no attractions except for a list of other Yorkshire towns and villages
  6. We of course are mightily attracted to the Wetherby Whaler the home of a chain of fish and chip shops par excellence

Wetherby ... Y709 HRN TRANSDEV in Harrogate bus.
Do not drink and drive around here.

Photo credits
Cog and Fish 2 by Tim Green aka atoach CC BY 2.0
Wetherby … willow bull. by BazzaDaRambler and Wetherby … Y709 HRN TRANSDEV in Harrogate bus. by BazzaDaRambler CC BY 2.0
Wetherby parade ring. by biltho CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Wetherby Bridge 1 by Tim Green aka atoach CC BY 2.0

Wetherby Bridge 1


Settle Interesting & Unusual Facts

Settle and dent

The North Yorkshire settlement of Settle may have been populated by Angles in the 6th century and there are prehistoric remains amongst the limestone hills nearby.

Interesting Facts

  1. Settle is well known for its position on the Settle to Carlisle railway, where steam trains still run on occasion, beware the station is well south of the town centre. The railway was opened in 1875 but Settle was connected to the rail network 25 years before that via a road link to Giggleswick station.
  2. Nearby the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct over Batty Moss was built by navvies in the 1870’s and has 24 arches
  3. .
  4. Long before railways and possibly even wheels, the land was inhabited by wild animals and our ancestors.  Victoria Cave contained remains of mammoth, bear, reindeer and hippopotamus as well as stones, flint, bone and other implements and ornaments.
  5. Set in the midst of great walking country, Settle is a bustling center for tourists and day trippers. For that reason there are numerous cafes, tea shops and pubs offering refreshment.
  6. The river Ribble provided the power for Settle’s former cotton and paper mills and now is a base for many walks. Try the three peaks if you want a tester.
  7. Overlooking the town is Castlebergh, an impressive 300 feet limestone crag which flies the flag even when England are not in the world cup.

Continue Reading →


Credit Crunch for Retail – Huddersfield

Mary Portas is called the Queen of Shops and publishes books and a newspaper column in the Daily Telegraph. For some reason she chose to take a side swipe at Huddersfield in her ‘Shop’ column. She said  ‘ New Street in Huddersfield epitomises my greatest fear for the British high street. there’s a Lidl, a Primark, Wilkinsons, a handful of frozen food shop, jewellery and homeware shops, a few vacant premises, plus Poundland and Poundworld. It felt desolate and desperate.’ Nah then lass that’s  great praise from a snooty, elitist fashionista from Watford.

I know Mary is retailer specific not location centric but some recognition of the other retailers in Huddersfield seems appropriate. The Kingsgate Centre, the main shopping mall in the city is home to more than thirty stores and half a dozen cafes and bars. It was very busy three weeks ago when I took a train trip to Huddersfield and went home ladened with books. Close by is The Packhorse Centre, comprising a dozen budget jewellery, clothes and gift stores. The Byram Arcade is a shopping and office complex, with units currently occupied by creative businesses, independent publishers and music, gift and art stores.

Huddersfield Queensgate Market Hall, listed for its ornate roof design, is a huge indoor market, trading in clothes, food, electricals and more, with a cafe and hairdressers on site. There is also a thriving open market and specialist markets throughout the year despite the eponymous Tescos near by.




Skipton Gala & Pies


Skipton Gala Food
If you want Steak & Kidney Pie, Chips and Mushy Peas you will find it on the blackboards at the Dales Cottage Cafe behind Rackhams or more correctly on the plates inside.
Skipton and Settle based butcher Drake & Macefield’s traditional pork pie, ‘which has galloped away with a glut of awards in meat industry competitions’ will be available in Gala format on 13th June 2009. (My Uncle was a welder for British Rail in Skipton he used to put the top on Pork Pies.)
Copper Dragon Burgers are a temptingly on offer from the local brewery bar bistro. Washed down with Golden Pippin or Black Gold they are what your left arm is for whilst your right arm is busy.

Visitors Exercise

The Gala will be at Aireville Park from 1.00pm just at the left end of the map. In addition to the canal side walks Skipton is the base for many more good walks and forays.
An alternative to walking is to (Indian War) dance at the gala to ‘Custer’s Last Band’. The Lone Ranger will have his faithful side kick ‘Tonto’ jogging around the park throughout the Gala as he likes to keep his Injun’ running.


Whale Meet Again

Whale Watching

Whitby’s historical past is revealed in by the Abbey and the monuments that dominate Whitby’s east and west headlands above the harbour. For 84 years Whitby’s fishermen were engaged in whaling. The whale jaw bone arch on the West Cliff, pictured above, was presented to Whitby by Norway in 1963 (probably for having stopped Whaling and leaving it to Norwegians and the Japanese).

Whitby Whalers were doughty folk between 1757 and 1837 (when the last boat was sold). There is a full history ship by ship on Whitby Lad website.

Whitby Coastal Cruises now arrange whale watching trips and they claim ‘Minke whales are the main sightings but we have also seen humpback whales and an occasional pilot whale. Whales have been here for 1000’s of years, all that is new is that we are now taking the public out to see them.’

If you don’t mind queuing for Fish & Chips one of Whitby’s busiest restaurants is the Magpie Cafe but there are many excellent chippies around that offer great value for money. The ‘Whitby Whaler’ is now the eponymous name of fish and chip shops in Pudsey, Blubberhouses (why not) and other parts of the county.

Whale Watching by Nolleos CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Hebden Bridge a Weekend or 500 Years


Happy 507th Birthday to Hebden Bridge.

The packhorse bridge over Hebden Water  originated in 1510 and if you needed an excuse to visit this quirkly town in Calderdale the year long birthday celebrations may be what you were waiting for. It has just been awarded the best small market town. A well deserved award after the town pulled together after the 2015/16 Christmas floods.

When the Industrial Revolution descended on Hebden Bridge the hill sides were too steep for the area to loose its identity. The domestic activity of cloth manufacture and early ready made clothing thrived. This can still be seen in a row of houses called Machpelah, named after the Baptist minister, with special small windows for fustian cutting.
Fustian is a thick, twilled, short napped, cotton cloth used mainly for men’s wear. The active historical society at Hebden Bridge has an interesting article about a Fustian factory strike at the turn of the 20th century.

Hebden Bridge

Weekend Visit

  • There is a lot to see in the town but do not miss a trip up Hardcastle Crags a National Trust Property which they claim is a ‘Beautiful wooded valley with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its heart, an exemplar of sustainable energy’.
  • Heptonstall is linked to Hebden Bridge by the Buttress, a narrow pack-horse track paved with setts and as precipitous as any East cost village like Staithes, Robin Hood’s or Runswick Bays.
  • Midgehole is the start of several enjoyable walks and with a name like that who can resist.
  • In an evening there are many pubs including the White Lion dating from 1657 or the more modern art deco 1920’s Picture House.
  • Take a walk or evening stroll along the canal or alongside the river Calder.

Hebden Bridge

  • When you are tired of walking there are mountain bike trails and some great hill climbs for the avid cyclist. perhaps your bbike was bought or hired from this cycle shop.

Hebden Bridge


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