Archive | Yorkshire History and Heritage

What makes us what we are if not our history, heritage and heredity.

Seven or More Yorkshire Cathedrals and Minsters

Top Cathedrals for age and Architecture

1.York Minster Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter is the Mother church of the Province of York AD 627.

2. Ripon Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid AD 655.

Parish and modern Cathedrals

3. Bradford Cathedral Church of St Peter 15th century

4. Leeds Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Anne

5. Wakefield Cathedral Church of All Saints consecrated AD 1329

6. Sheffield Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Paul  + like Liverpool with a second cathedral the 7. Roman Catholic Cathedral Church of St Marie

8. Middlesbrough  Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic originally Cathedral Church of Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour

Minster Churches not Cathedral?

  1. Beverley Minster Parish church of St John and St Martin
  2. Dewsbury Minster All Saints Church
  3. Marsden St Bartholomew’s church
  4. Halifax Minster West Riding
  5. Howden Minster was owned by monks from Peterborough Abbey in Saxon times
  6. Leeds Minster and Parish Church of Saint Peter-at-Leeds
  7. All Saints Church, Rotherham, also known as Rotherham Minster,
  8. Doncaster Church of St George, Doncaster, also known as Doncaster Minster.

Significant or Greater Churches Network

Southwell Cathedral and Parish Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary prior to the dissolution of 1539  was a Minster in the diocese of York.

  • Bolton Abbey
  • Bridlington Priory
  • St Peter’s Church, Harrogate
  • Holy Trinity Church, Hull
  • Selby Abbey

The greater church network aims to help former monastic properties and others  large parish churches built at a time of great wealth. They have common problems of financing facilities for a large number of visitors and the specialist maintenance and repair of old or large buildings.

 

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Even Older Yorkshire Folk from the Stone Age

The first Yorkshire folk were from the Palaeolithic era over 10,000 years B.C. These 12,000 year old Fred Flintstone characters were able to cross from Europe as the glacial waters of the ice ages melted away and plant and animal life increased to feed the nomads. Evidence of inhabitation and exotic animal bones have been found at Victoria Cave near Settle and Kirkdale Cave near Kirkbymoorside in the Vale of Pickering. These cave dwellers were restricted to roughly shaped flint and stone tools and to date no evidence of permanent settlement has been discovered.

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Middle Stone Age Yorkshireman from the Mesolithic era visited via what is now the North Sea possibly from warmer Pyrenees or the Mediterranean about 7500 B.C. Evidence of a brushwood platform for Lake Dwelling  were found at Star Carr  near Seamer  and there was a camp at Marsden where many arrow shaft flints have been discovered. Flint axes have also been discovered in Calderdale, Blubberhouses, Glaisdale and Wharfedale and scattered on the Cleveland Hills and North Yorkshire Moors.

Neolithic man 3000 B.C. were the first farmers in Yorkshire with both cereal crops and small animal husbanding. Large trees in the fertile valleys were too difficult to clear so much of the farming was done on the tops and valley sides. There are Neolithic sites at Flamborough Head, Hartendale and Beacon Hill. Most evidence comes from the long barrows the burial mounds from Sleights to Kilburn and around Folkton. By 2000 B.C. Duggleby Howe round mound shows evidence of inhumation (interment) and cremation.

Bronze age man probably arrived from the Rhinelands about 1800 B.C. and have been named ‘Beaker Folk’ after the pots they were buried with. Burial mounds at Grassington, Baildon Moor and West Tanfield display an interest in gold and amber and the picture below demonstrates the find at Kellythorpe.

Further reading
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Are The Oldest Yorkshiremen 10,000 Years Old?

‘In July 1834 excavation of a barrow at Gristhorpe, near Scarborough, Yorkshire, recovered an intact, waterlogged, hollowed-out oak coffin containing a perfectly preserved Bronze Age skeleton that had been wrapped in an animal skin and buried with worked flints, a bronze dagger with a whalebone pommel, and a bark vessel apparently containing food residue……….’

By the Iron Age around 500 B.C. the Celts and Parisi joined the Brigantes tribes bringing expertise in metal working and even chariot building. The British museum has an Iron tyre and nave hoop from the East Yorkshire Garton Station Iron Age cart burial. The tribal atmosphere led to the building of hill forts at Ingelton, Castleton Rigg, Boltb Scar and Dane’s Dyke amongst others. These were to fall to the Romans early in the next millennia.

So this quick gallop through 10,000 years of Yorkshire folk history establishes a background for the next 2017+ years. What we don’t know is how Yorkshire folk were fairing during the 4 Ice Ages before the Palaeolithic times.

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Are The Oldest Yorkshiremen 10,000 Years Old?

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 circa 7,500 B.C. by Early Mesolithic Yorkshiremen.
The location is Star Carr immediately after the bridge over the River Hertford on what was the edge of prehistoric Lake Flixton .

Starr Carr Mesolithic Settlement Site south of Seamer North Yorkshire.

  • The Mesolithic period was sandwiched between the old and new Stone Ages.
  • Some archaeologists estimate that Star Carr was founded in about 8770 BC and was occupied for at least 300 years.
  • The Mesolithic period saw the introduction of stone tools, agriculture and domesticated animals.
  • ‘The remains of 21 head-dresses made of red deer antler have been found at Starr Carr. Archaeologists think they may have been used as disguises when hunting or in rituals.’
  • Waterlogged soil in the area contains peat which has helped to preserve many objects found at Star Carr.
  • Evidence of several homes and a large wooden platform have been found at Star Carr. The inhabitants probably used turf, thatch or bark for the walls, and covered the floors in plants, moss or reeds.
  • The Star Carr site is a Scheduled Monument of archaeological importance.
  • The Oldest Yorkshiremen were dated to the Mesolithic era by pollen and radio carbon dating.
  • The Starr Carr 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 excavated from 1949-1951 by  Cambridge University and has been re-excavated several times since.

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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’.

 

Where to see the ‘Finds’

About 17,000 worked flints and 300 cutting tools called burins were found when the site was excavated.
Some of the finds were housed at the Scarborough Museum.
Other finds have been donated to the British museum and the University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Cambridge.

Cliffs End - flint knives 1
Modern Flints! Flint knives found in a group of tools and waste flakes in an Early Bronze Age grave circa 2000 B.C.

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.
The hard working folk created many tools in addition to the numerous flints. They used antlers to make spear like weapons, bark for net floats, a birch wood paddle for fishing and iron pyrites flints to strike a light.
About 9,000 years ago industrious Yorkshiremen were leading the way and we are fortunate that the discoveries and pollen dating can help us understand so much about our predecessors.

Photo credits
Sheep in a paddock (at Seamer) by thsutton CC BY-NC 2.0
Scarborough’s revamped Rotunda museum by Globalism Pictures CC BY 2.0
Cliffs End – flint knives 1 by Wessex ArchaeologyCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Further reading

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Oldest Yorkshire Folk from the Stone Age

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Holy Trinity Goodramgate & Charity

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A strange picture for an article on a medieval church but this church is where I bought the book ‘Bells and Bikes’.  Holy Trinity Goodramgate’s environment and a charity donation to Marie Curie encouraged me to part with some cash. I was not disappointed on either front.

As can be seen charity is nothing new at Holy Trinity. This wall mounted board records 17th century donations for bread to the poor.

The church is a marvel from 12th – 15th century worship that still has 3 services each year. It is now in the care of the historic Churches Conservation Trust.

‘The floors and arcades are charmingly uneven. Light filters through the windows, illuminating honey-coloured stone. The east window especially has marvellous stained glass that was donated in the early 1470s by the Reverend John Walker, rector of the church. On sunny days, transient gems of coloured light are scattered on the walls, and various medieval faces stare out from the windows.

The building dates chiefly from the fifteenth century, but has features from its foundation in the twelfth century right up to the nineteenth century. The box pews, unique in York, are exceptionally fine, and an interesting collection of monuments and memorials paint a picture of life in this busy city throughout the ages’.

‘The church is of interest for the evidence it retains of a complicated, piecemeal development, but it is chiefly remarkable as the best surviving example, little altered, of pre-Tractarian arrangements to provide an auditory setting for Anglican worship with three liturgical centres contrived within a mediaeval church. It has suffered badly from decay but has been restored without loss of character. Among the fittings, the mediaeval glass and the surviving woodwork of the 18th-century ordering or reordering are of particular interest.’ British History online

Church & Charity

More importantly linking the church to the book, Holy Trinity Goodramgate has a large bell suspended near the entrance that children take delight in banging with a tethered clapper. The author is a keen campanologist, native Yorkshire man and cycling obsessive. Rod Ismay is also endorsed by the post office as a superhero for Children in Need in recognition of his many cycling related fund raising activities.

Rod is quite keen on bell-ringing, charity fund raising and cycling so the book provided an opportunity to link all three. ‘ Why not get all the bells ringing along the Tour route, why not organise countless events, countless meetings, why not drag in churches far and wide, why not involve your employer, your friends, your family….’ as the amazon blurb has it.

 

One of several other historic  plaques on the church wall.

Friends Of Holy Trinity Goodramgate York registered charity no. 1096369 over the last five years has spent more than three times its annual income to finance ways of making visits to holy trinity church more pleasurable. Casting bread on waters perhaps.

See also Charity Chit Chat

It seems a shame the Bell Ringers and York Minster politicos can’t demonstrate a more effective charitable spirit and resolve the dispute that is currently keeping the Minster bells silent.

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Wonderful but Ruined Abbeys of Yorkshire

What did Henry VIII ever do for Yorkshire’s Abbeys?
In our series of seven man made wonders of Yorkshire our great Abbeys did not always get full recognition. This goes some way to highlight the 12th Century and subsequent buildings that Yorkshire now proudly displays as tourist attractions with added tudor history!

Fountain Abbey

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey
Walking through the landscaped Georgian water garden of Studley Royal, complete with neo-classical statues, follies and breathtaking views the magnificent 12th-century abbey ruins will enrapture the first time visitor.
A dispute and riot at St Mary’s Abbey in York during the late 11th century led to the founding of Fountains Abbey by the River Skell in 1132. After pleading unsuccessfully to return to the early 6th century Rule of St Benedict, 13 monks were exiled and taken into the protection of Thurstan, Archbishop of York and the austere Cistercian Order.

Other features to include on your visit to this World Heritage site include Victorian St Mary’s church and the Reading Room in Elizabethan Fountains Hall. Studely park has picnic facilities and herds of deer to watch in this idylic environment.
For more on the seven man made wonder that is Fountains Abbey

Byland Abbey
Byland Abbey
Byland Abbey was one of the greatest monasteries in England and it inspired the design of church buildings throughout the North of England. The early gothic architecture, particularly the west front, with its ruined great rose window, inspired the design of the famous York Minster rose window.

Thw abbey is situated in a quiet spot between Thirsk and Helmsley. There is now a museum that displays colourful visitor information panels together with archaeological finds from the site. Continue Reading →

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The Shepherd Lord Fact or Fiction

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A Bank holiday read or a book for Fathers Day, this Faction is an interesting cross between fact and fiction. The historical embellishments are entertaining.

Product Description from Amazon
‘Young Henry Clifford, heir to vast estates in the North of England, is spirited away after the Battle of Towton for fear that the Yorkists will take his life in reprisal against his father’s actions. He is brought up as a simple shepherd boy so that his noble background does not betray his true identity. Narrated by the shepherd that raised him until it was safe to reveal his true identity and reclaim his birthright, this is a riveting tale contrasting a life on the run against an idyllic pastoral backdrop. It is a tale of identity, roots and nurture one of an unbreakable and everlasting bond that develops between two people from very different backgrounds. A true story, that has been all but ignored for centuries and is now bursting to be told.’

From the Publisher
The Shepherd Lord is a fascinating, but largely forgotten episode from medieval English history, rummaged from the shadows of two dusty poems and brought back to life. Set in the 15th century, against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, it is the story of Henry Clifford, the aristocrat who was raised as a shepherd.

This is a work of fiction but set on a firm basis of well-researched historical fact. The important issue in this type of novel is how well the author has rendered the tale as a dramatic adventure. The answer, in this case, is very well indeed. It’s an involving and deeply human story of danger, companionship, high emotions and all the other elements required of a gripping tale.

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Clog Almanacs

Before the invention of printing, uneducated people in England used wooden calendars to keep track of the seasons and of the religious festivals. These calendars were known as clog almanacs. This booklet describes some of the clog almanacs that survive today and explains some of the medieval Christian symbols used on them. It is illustrated with drawings and photographs and has a useful bibliography for those who would like to know more about this fascinating subject

English Clog Almanacs: An Introduction: Volume 1 Paperback – 16 Jun 2012

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The origin of these runic or clog-calendars was Danish and were more prominent in the North. No runic calendar or Clog Almanac  has  yet been found in any Saxon or German province

Runic inscriptions recorded special dates for example saints days such as June 8th for St William Archbishop of York 1144 a.d.  or May 7th St John Beverley from 721 a.d.

 

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Cockersdale and Keith Marsden Doin’ the Manch

Doin’ the manch is the title and first song on a re-released album of songs from Cockersdale and the pen and fertile mind of Keith Marsden. Hopefully this song is playing as a tribute to Keith who died in 1991.
The Manch is Manchester Road in Bradford which contained a record number of pubs most of which get mentioned by Keith in his humorous manner. There was also a serious side to Keiths songs about social conditions in the Yorkshire mines and mills and Cockerdale still sing many of them on the 3 CD’s and in live performances. The live show entitled ‘Picking Sooty Blackberries ‘ is pure Keith but Cockersdale performed ‘Lest we Forget’ the songs of Rudyard Kipling and Peter Bellamy at the Whitby Festival 2008.
Cockersdale Top Ten

Bring Us a Barrel
Follow me Home
Hills of Mullaghbawn
Lost at 21
Three Cheers for Booze
Will Ye Go Te Flanders?
Cholera Camp
Raglan Road
St Aubin sur Mer
Left, Left, Right, Steady
Morley Main =
Home Lads Home

I originally penned this comment in 2009 and went on to watch the reformed Cockersdale at Whitby. The music pathos and humour are still as evocative as the early days with Keith and Cockerdale. Been Around For Years one of 4 LP’s is still available from Fellside

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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.

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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

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Hawes Interesting and Unusual

The picture shows Hawes Church rebuilt during Queen Victoria’s reign. It is dedicated to St Margaret of Antioch.

Interesting and Unusual Facts about Hawes

The railway is gone and you can only get to the Museum by bus as Hawes railway station was been converted into the Folk Museum. Well, since Dr Beeching zapped the Dales, you can take shank’s pony and walk or even take the car if you want to pay for parking.

The cultural museum was inspired by Marie Hartley and Joan Ingleby, the prodigious authors of Yorkshire sociology and history. The museum covers all you could want to see about life in the dales from the ice age forward and explains a lot about the Yorkshire psyche. There are lots of interactive activities to keep the young and old amused and kids get in for free!

The Wensleydale Vintage Bus service uses two buses from the 1940’s (named Dorothy and Edith) and Bessie from 1961 to run between Ripon and Hawes, Garsdale and Redmire. Bus passes accepted! In summer this links to the Wensleydale Railway.

Recently in the news is the Hawes bookshop that charges you to go inside. Bloomingdales or blooming cheek where  customers who enter the shop and browse are charged 50p entry fee. This has given  folk something to complain about but don’t let that put you off as you may find the book of your dreams and get the 50p back into the bargain.

A good walk from the village will take you through fields to The Green Dragon. Dating from 13th century this pub is home to the famous Hardraw Force, England’s highest single drop waterfall. Access to the waterfall is only through the pub and a paying turnstyle.

Hawes had its own ropeworks and nearby is the village of Gayle famous for its cotton mill.

Gayle Beck

Gayle Beck and Ford


Aims and Objectives of the Friends of the Dales Countryside Museum

* To promote the improvement of the museum
* To raise funds to help in maintaining and enlarging the collection. (Registered Charity No. 519 546)
* To arrange events for the interest and education of the Friends

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