Archive | Yorkshire Facts – Interesting and Unusual

Information and facts about Yorkshire Towns and Cities that are worth a visit (and aren’t they all)

Interesting and Unusual Facts about Castleford

Navigate around the Plastic in the Aire & Calder

On the banks of the river at Castleford is a deluge of plastic and other litter waiting to be washed down stream to the sea. It may take some time waiting for the next storm and high flood but this sort of mess near the centre of town will surely drift to the sea. I wont go on in this report as it is about Castleford and I have covered several environmental issues recently.

Celebrate instead the  132-yard long S-shaped footbridge that was opened almost 10 years ago (how time and pigeons fly). Held to be a ‘really beautiful piece of architecture … there is a sense of real excitement and movement when you walk across the decks’. (). After a recent cup of tea in the old Queens mill I asked if a new bridge was near by? The waitress summed it up, ‘there is a bridge but it don’t take you anywhere fancy’. Never the less as a newcomer to the town I thought it looked fancy enough for the start of a regeneration of this very very old area.

 

Aire & Calder Navigation Book Cover

Leeds and Liverpool Canal – Foulridge to Leeds with the Aire and Calder and Calder and Hebble Navigations from Leeds to Knottingley and Castleford to Sowerby Bridge (Waterways Series) Map

Predominantly a leisure facility the Aire Calder Navigation around Castleford allows large loads of goods to be carried from the Humber ports. With the redeveloped waterfront area in Leeds it joins the Leeds Liverpool canal effectively running right across the county and country. It is also a popular leisure facility for boats, walkers, fishermen and cyclists.

The Navigation connects Wakefield,  to reach the Huddersfield and Rochdale Canals. The Selby Canal connection boats to the Ouse, from where they can travel upstream to reach York, Boroughbridge and Ripon, or downstream to the River Derwent. Beyond Goole are the Humber and hence Hull, Immingham, and the North Sea. The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation with the Don Navigation forms a links with Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield to the south. So in one sense Castleford is justifyably at the center of Yorkshire.

Chocolate And Allinsons Flour

  • Like Terrys at York, Castleford has a claim to be a provider of Yorkshire top chocolate treats. After Eight Mints were manufactured in Castleford from 1970 at a local Rowntrees factory until Nestles took over then closed it down.
  • Around Castleford  sweets and candies are called Spice and liquorice is known as Spanish.  Bellamy’s Chocolate covered Liquorice Allsorts were a local product and you can guess where Pontefract cakes come from.
  • Haribo,  produced theirfirst golden bear in 1960 and now has a new sweet factory in Castleford. The company also bought the owner of Pontefract Cakes and employs over 500 in Yorkshire.
  • Allisons stone ground wholegrain flower was milled in Castleford as one of 3 sites suppling bread makers since the 19th century.

Ancient and Modern Castleford Quirks And Facts

Book Cover

  • The book above did not include  Papa’s fish and chips  where I should have ordered the pensioners deal in this Castleford chippy. They also own the world’s largest fish and chip shop in Willerby and others in Hull and Cleethorpes and in 2017 won a BBC contest The Best of British Takeaways.
  • The station has a couple of confusing subway or tunnels to reach the southern side where the old platform is grassed over. Arriving by train from Leeds I expected the return journey to retrace my steps (or rails). On jumping on the train I was surprised and a little disconcerted when it went backward towards Sheffield again only to swing around in a loop to get back to Leeds.
  • Local celebrities include Henry Moore (1898-1986) the sculptor born in the town and Viv Nicholson (1936 – 2015)  of Spend, Spend, Spend and football pools fame.
  • 15,000 years ago nomad tribes used the Aire valley as an east- west crossing and a limestone ridge to move north south. As farming developed and the bronze age developed Henges  like the ferrybridge henge were developed as settlements.
  • In Roman time Castleford was called Lagentium.
  • Local entertainment can be found at Digger Land the JCB themed attraction, Snozone, Xscape and nature reserve Fairburn Ings.

 

Book Cover

Rugby League in Castleford

  • Classy Cas – A catch phrase for the rugby league team aka Castleford Tigers
  • John Joyner is a Tigers Hall Of Fame Inductee played over 600 games for Castleford and once scored 5 tries in one match in 1973.
  • Weldon Road or The Jungle’ has been the home ground since 1926. A new retail park and stadium called Five Towns retail park will become  the new stadium in 2020.
  • Largest home gate at Weldon road was 25,449 in 1935 against Hunslet.  They played in the 1969 challenge cup final in front of a crowd of 97,939
  • Daryl Powell has been head coach since 2013 with and Danny Orr and Ryan Sheridan as assistants.
Facebooktwitter
0

Witches Familiars in Yorkshire

Black cats or toads are well known as ‘familiars’ possessed by witches but there are also a range of other creatures and spirits with Yorkshire and witch connections. Rats, fowie ( a hideous looking person), dogs and imps are familiar familiars dating from the 15th century or even earlier. Imps are associated with the Devil from whom it is believed witches got their familiars, even today some young children are often called little imps after this mischievous devil or sprite.

Familiars were believed to be fed with the witch’s own blood by suckling them from a secret place. If a suspected witch had an unusual mark or protuberance it was denounced as a witch’s nipple and was a sign the owner was truly a witch. In 1604 it was declared a felony to ‘consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil or wicked spirit’.

Yorkshire Witch Trials

  1. In West Bowling Bradford  in 1649 Mary Sikes was tried as a witch. A witness ‘searched her body and found upon her side a red humppe about the bigness of a nutt, and when they wrung it with their fingers moisture came out like lee. And they found upon her left side near her arm a little lumpe like a wart and being pulled out it strecht for half an inch the like they never saw on any other woman’.
  2. In 1664 Alice Hudson of Burton Agnes was tried and found guilty of receiving payment of 10 shillings from the Devil. As punishment she was burnt to death at York.
  3. Edward Fairfax  from Fewston caused terror around Knaresborough accusing 6 women of bewitching children and causing them to have fits. Fairfax’s children claimed the women met at Timble Gill and feasted with the devil. However after the trial the Judge and jury acquitted five of the accused.
  4. Scarborough had many women searched for marks or spots in the 1650’s. It wouldn’t take a genius to find something on everyone. Strangely there are few reports of male witches suffering these sorts of trial.
  5. Pocklington woman, Isablela Billington, crucified her mother then sacrificed a calf and cock to Satan. She was tried in York and hanged then burnt in 1648

Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Facebooktwitter
0

Ripon 3 Interesting Buildings

‘When someone in the RAF family needs help, the charity they turn to is the Royal Air Forces Association’. This is an old photo of RAFA HQ in Ripon. Other local branches, amongst 400 UK wide include Thirsk, Bedale and Harrogate.

The old office of ginger beer manufacturer W Wells and Sons. In the window the Ripon race adverts are updated annually

The clock on Ripon Cathedral is always right – if you look at it from this position!

Facebooktwitter
0

Favourite York Churches to Discover

St Cuthberts

York St Cuthbert St Helen on the Walls and All Saints Peasholme is some mouthful of a name for a Church Administrative unit. Now working with St Michael le Belfrey, St Cuthbert’s is currently applying for planning permission to improve the external appearance of the surrounding grounds. Who said this Administrative unit was not in use today. Reputedly the oldest parish church in York it was reconstructed by Saxons using roman masonry.

Viking Dig

St Saviour’s Church, St Saviourgate which like many other churches in York has been re-purposed and is now put to a community and educational use. If you use a snickelway down the side of Fibbers in Stonebow you get an unusual view of St Saviour’s church demonstrating how in medieval times the church was built on a  hill.

St Michael le Belfry

St Michael’s le Belfrey was rebuilt between 1525 and 1537, during King Henry VIII’s break with Rome. John Forman, the Minster’s master mason was responsible for the Tudor gothic style with renaissance influence. It was, and still is, the largest parish church in the city, originally serving a wealthy community of merchants and craftsmen. Furnishings are nineteenth century, pews and reredos with 14th century glass in East window. Guy Fawkes was baptised at this church. It is within a few yards of The Minster.

Olaves Gate

This Marygate church, St Olave’s, was badly damaged during the Civil War. The font dates from 1673 and there is some medieval glass in the center of the east window

The Parish church of All Saints in North Street is my favourite church in York although there are many to choose from. All Saints is renown for it’s medieval stained glass windows that date from as early as 1330. The octagonal tower and spire were built around 1390 and is the second tallest in York after the minster. The 12 bells in the tower were used to ring 1260 changes in less than an hour in 2007 and this is commemorated in the bell ringers area.

To create your own tour of York churches you could also visit:

  • Holy Trinity Goodramgate,with box pews and an entrance through a small leafy garden in the heart of the city.
  • St Mary Castlegate for pre-conquest masonry,
  • Holy Trinity Micklegate part of a Benedictine priory church founded in 1089,
  • St Helen St Helen’s Square is named after the mother of Constantine the Great ,
  • St Martin-Le-Grand Coney Street which was badly bombed during the second world war.

See also Gods own County top ten West Riding Churches and top North Riding Churches

Facebooktwitter
1

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.
Facebooktwitter
0

Fascinating Facts about Filey

‘Keep Filey litter free’ by using one of the patriotic Yorkshire rose emblemed litter bins. It seems to work as returning day trippers remarked to me how clean the town was. I couldn’t see the state of the beach as the tide was on its way to being ‘well in’ but I also got a good impression.

Historic Facts about Filey

  • The surrounding North Yorkshire moors have been inhabited for an estimated 3,000 years and the local museum has artifacts to back this up. Arrow heads and flint stones have been found locally that date from the era.
  • The Romans made it to nearby Wolds village Rudston that has a monolith in the church yard that was sacred to first pagan then christian.
  • On Filey Brigg the romans built a coastal signaling station that was excavated in the 1923.
  • Filey Brigg is a partially submerged ridge of Oolite rock that has caused many shipping mishaps including in 1932 the trawler ‘James Lay’.
  • Filey Town council was granted it’s coat of arms in 1952
  • On the promenade is a drinking fountain erected by James Varley, (hotelier), for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897

 

Fun Facts about Filey

  • Filey boasts (probably quite loudly) to feature the musicians the ‘Filey Ramshackle Shanty Men’ Watch out for this group, so you can avoid them!
  • Greyhounds named after Filey have run in the national track championship and are bred and eventually re-homed in the town.
  • The small Filey Museum is located in a domestic home built in 1696. It pays a leashold rent of one sea shell  per annum which due to its shape is called the Devils toenail.  The shell of  ‘Gryphaea an extinct oysters’ is donated back to the museum each year . Devilish cunning way to pay the rent next year and provide a talking point in the museum.
  • I lost count of how many ‘fish and chip’ shops and cafes there were. Unlike my home chippy the fish were fried with the skin on – still waste not want not tha knows.
  • The book I was reading on my journey featured a home called ‘Sea for Miles’  rather adapt I thought.
  • Bye names similar to nicknames but handed on have been used for fishermen and include, Chutney, Brittner, Awd Sled, Codge, Wempow and Quaft as well as more recognisable sobriquets.

Fast upon the problems with the Cleethorpes life boat that was sold on ebay and the cash stolen I hope this vessel remains in Filey. It should do as a lifeboat was first stationed here in 1804. The RNLI station is on Coble Landing.

The railway station has trains to Brid and on to Sheffield or to Seamer for York or Scarborough. It is a popular location for starting or finishing walks along the Cleveland Way from the Brigg to Helmsely 110ml or the Yorkshire Wolds Way from Filey to Hessel near Hull 79ml.

The Declaration of Yorkshire Integrity

Read annually at Filey

This declaration is read at four of York’s Bars on every 1st August Yorkshire Day and at many other events around the county.
‘Your attention please:
I (Reader’s Name) being a native of of Yorkshire declare:
That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York with these boundaries of 1141 years standing’
That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire’,
That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshire men and women,
That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status.
These declarations made this Yorkshire day 2016.
Yorkshire Forever!
God Save the Queen!’
(…. followed by three cheers and alcoholic beverages).

Facebooktwitter
0

Fascinating Facts about the River Nidd

Old Stone Bridge

Geographic Facts

  • The river Nidd is about 50 miles long rising on Great Whernside and flowing to become a tributary of the Ouse near the site of the battle of Marston Moor. It is the fourth longest of Yorkshires nine rivers
  • The Nidd flows through Pateley Bridge, Glasshouses, Knaresborough, Summerbridge and Ripley crossing the A1 at Walshford. It is no surprise the villages and towns often include the word ‘bridge’ or ‘ford’
  • The upper valley of Nidderdale is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • The Nidd feeds three notable reservoirs, Angram, Scar House and Gouthwaite Reservoir.
  • In dry weather the Nidd can disappear underground into the sink hole known as Manchester Hole returning at Goyden Pot.
  • The Nidd Gorge  stretches from the  Nidd viaduct at Bilton to Grimbald Bridge, just south of Knaresborough. It is noted for being home to many birds, butterflies and several species of Ladybirds.

Places to visit enroute

  • Stump Cross Caverns are noted limestone caves containing formations of stalactites and stalagmites
  • How Stean Gorge is a good base for outdoor activities.
  • Brimham Rocks is an amazing collection of natural rock formations managed by the National Trust in the Nidderdale area of ONB.
  • Beningbrough Hall near the river Ouse  is home to more than 100 portraits and has extensive grounds.
  • Ripley Castle near Knaresborough is on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park with a historic garden in a neat village.
  • Mother Shiptons at Knaresborough is the former home of the famous prophetess and the petrifying well . It first started charging vistors in 1630 but I bet prices have change  over almost 5oo years.
  • Moor Monkton and Nun Monkton have historic importance rather than natural or man made beauty but are worth a visit
  • The River is reputed to be good to fly fish for brown trout and grayling.
  • See Knaresborough viaduct

Cattal Bridge

Before reaching Nun Monkton and joining the Ouse, the river Nidd at Cattal is deep and quite still. This is in contrast to the crossing the Romans developed lower down stream where it was shallower and wider. This is probably where the thirteenth century ford existed.
The present bridge is just over 200 year old with 3 segmental arches with pointed cutwaters which rise to the top of the parapets.
Twice in the last 150 years large blocks of ice were brought down with spring flood water. The ice weighed over a ton and in one instance destroyed the bridge one mile up stream at Hunsingore. The Cattal bridge survived the ice which was broken up by the local blacksmith.

DSCF3617

Cattal in History

The Roman road that goes through Cattal runs between Tadcaster and Boroughbridge.
Cattal Bridge is one of the few places to cross the River Nidd.
In the 18th century Colonel Thornton a local landowner raised the Yorkshire Blues against the Young Pretender with the help of Blind Jack of Knaresborough. Blind Jack lost his sight after contracting smallpox aged six but became a hunter,local musician and road builder of some renown. Blind Jack was a military musician and recruiting sergeant for Colonel Thornton who led the Yorkshire Blues at Culloden.
Despite being a small village it is served by Cattal railway station, just to the north, on the Harrogate line.

Credits

Dave Bunnell showing the most common speleothems.  CC BY-SA 2.5

Old Stone Bridge by tj.blackwell CC BY-NC 2.0
DSCF3617 by Chris Parker, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Facebooktwitter
0

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

Facebooktwitter
0

Leeds City Centre Photos

Leeds
New for old and vice versa – even as we speak new buildings are reflecting the changes on Boar Lane with the new Trinity shopping centre.

leeds

Leeds Station is one of the UK’s biggest and busiest train stations. Leeds now  has only one major train station and  over 18 platforms. It has recently been refurbished to increase capacity and you know it was needed when you see the streams of weekend clubbers arriving for a night out.

leeds

Victoria Arcade. The posher part of Yorkshire Continue Reading →

Facebooktwitter
2

York’s Unusual Cold War Bunker Museum

York Cold War Nuclear Bunker

At the height of the cold war the Royal Observer Corp No 20 opened it’s bunker in Acomb York. In 1961 it was the a time of concern and international political unrest with serious fears about the Russian intentions.
The fear of nuclear attack was exacerbated by the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962. From the 1960’s until the 1990’s it was the job of the Royal Observer Corp working with the Home Office to monitor, gather data and report on any nuclear activity via a series of bunkers and remote monitoring stations.

Telephone operators desks

The bunker is located under several feet of soil and was designed to withstand all but a direct hit by a thermo-nuclear device. It was capable of housing 60 staff of both men and women and was linked to over 40 smaller 3 person cold war stations around Yorkshire.
The facilities include services such as canteen, ablutions, dormitories and a telephone exchange but TV and radio connection to the outside world was not allowed. The operations room, decontamination rooms, aerosol filter chambers are displayed along with an ejector room to pump away sewage and maintain a positive air-pressure.

The York bunker was ‘stood down’ in September 1991 and closed six months later. It has since been restored and opened as a modern and successful museum piece by English Heritage.
There is a tour by knowledgeable guides who add to the atmosphere and the film show that complements your visit.

Cold War Quotes

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” Winston Churchill (5th March 1946)
“The Cold War isn’t thawing; it is burning with a deadly heat. Communism isn’t sleeping; it is, as always, plotting, scheming, working, fighting.” Richard M Nixon
“With the development of increasingly terrifying weapons of mass destruction, every individual faces the ever-present possibility of annihilation should the conflict enter the phase of total war.” National Security Council 1950
“It shall be the policy of this nation, to regard any nuclear missile, launched from Cuba on any state in the western hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union” John F Kennedy October 22 1962.

Book Cover

Books on Underground Structures of the Cold War are available from Amazon

Photo Credits
York Cold War Nuclear Bunker by Ulleskelf CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Telephone operators desks by IanVisits CC BY-NC 2.0

Facebooktwitter
0

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes

drupal stats