Great North Road Facts

To some the Great North Road (GNR) goes from London to York. Others remember the Romans wanted to travel to Scotland and have the GNR ending in Edinburgh. Either way it has been a Yorkshire thoroughfare for centuries. It is now largely constrained by the A1.

Angel of the North

This large statue south of Newcastle but north of Yorkshire  on the Great North Road was conceived and designed by Anthony Gormley. His Angel of the North rises above the A1 north of Yorkshire but not surprisingly the steel and fabrication for its construction came from Hartlepool. Anthony Gormley attended Ampleforth College a Yorkshire Benedictine boarding school.

Extract with Yorkshire distances from London ….  ‘The
GREAT NORTH ROAD The Old Mail Road to Scotland’


Rossington Bridge (cross River Tome) 157¾
Tophall 158¾
Doncaster (cross River Don) 162¼
Bentley 164
Owston 167¾
Askerne (cross River Went) 169¼
Whitley (cross Knottingley and Goole Canal) 174
Whitley Bridge 175
Chapel Haddlesey (cross River Aire) 175½
Burn (cross Selby Canal) 179¼
p. xiiBrayton 180¾
Selby (cross River Ouse) 182¼
Barlby 183¾
Riccall 186
Escrick 189¼
Deighton 190½
Gate Fulford 195
York 196¾


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Amusing Yorkshire Lines

Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire.

Scarborough warning – A word and a blow, and the blow first.

Richard of York gained battle in vain

From Hull, Hell and Halifax lord deliver us

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Out, Out, Out.

“Leeds had been the dirtiest and most cynical team in the country in the late Sixties and early Seventies, and from my soap-box as manager of Derby and the best pundit on television I had said so on numerous occasions.’  After 44 days in the Leeds United managers job  Brian Clough was told you’re fired

Stop crying or i’ll gi thi summert to cry about!

They don’t have a Whipma-Whapma Gate in the Land of Green Ginger

‘I shall get well, I shall get well and I shall live for ever and ever and ever’ called to Mary Lennox by her Yorkshire cousin in ‘The Secret Garden’.

Last of the Summer Wine     ‘How do lads’.        Compo ‘Have you seen a canoe?’  ‘What colour?!’        ‘Oh yes, I can see all them jolly pirates singing their Yorkshire sea shanties: Yo ho ho, and a bottle of John Smiths’.                           Marina to Compo about Cleggy running away .”Where ‘s he off to in such a hurry ?” Compo….” He’s got a donkey to catch!”

‘….. then us’ll all ha’ etten thee’. QED quod erat demonstrandum as Constantine the Great used to say.

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Discovered Items – Yorkshire Poets

Born in Winestead Holderness Andrew Marvell,  a pupil from Hull Grammar school, was an English poet little published in his life time. After Cambridge university he became an MP representing Hull in the House of Commons for periods during 1659 and 1678.

I recently came across some of his work published after it was made available by his widow way back in October 1680. In addition to ‘Horation ode’ and ‘Appleton House’ I found these simple lines:

‘Through the hazels thick espy
The hatching throstle’s shining eye’

As a Metaphysical poet he has drawn me toward a philosophy what describes some of my weird activities by ‘yoking together of apparently unconnected ideas and things’. An apology of sorts for these ramblings.

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Found Items – Yorkshire Poets

Not a big surprise but I had never heard of a poetess called Trudy Blacker until I chanced on a neatly transcribed short poem. I put it in my found items collection.

Extract From ‘County Treasures’ by Trudy Blacker

A date upon a mellowed house
Initials side by side
Tell how some long dead Yorkshireman
Once built  it for his bride.

The treasure trail is endless
And he who seeks may find
The little things, the lovely things
That history left behind.

The only published work by Trudy that I could find was ‘Where Fields Are Green’ Published by The Ridings Publishing Co, Driffield, 1969
She also had a published item in ‘This England winter 1975   Stilton Cheese Fairs’ by Trudy Blacker

My Pathetic Scansion free Poetic attempt

I have a small collection of found items that I keep for no reason at all
None have shown any use or purpose but these travails are really so small
Opening a prewar Yorkshire book acquired from a charity shop
I found within, a hand written poem that caught me on the hop.

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Do Not Level Up Yorkshire

Boris, thanks but no thanks, keep you gerrymandering and  self serving for the so called social and political elite. Yorkshire doesn’t need leveling up we are already at a terrific pinnacle and have been for many centuries. We would rather have engineering rather than social engineering and old fashioned tinkers rather than political tinkering and the leveling up agenda is talking down to Yorkshire folk.

 Reasons not To Level Up

  • We don’t want swarms of ‘devouring, tax eating  southerners’ buying up our homes as buy to let properties to make quick capital gains
  • Keep the 3 peaks peaky!  Cut bureaucracy down to size, do not take a slice off the top off our hills and dales.
  • If you level up land including our national parks our great rivers will flood (Some already do ed). We don’t want to be level and boring and end up like a flat Netherlands.
  • Leave the leveling up party in Downing Street. They are not saving our breweries, we can do that on our own.
  • We want to ‘keep us heads level’ as they always were and still are.
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Bacon and Egg Butties

I set a mission to champion the best of post lock down sandwiches and started to focus on Yorkshires ‘bacon and egg butties’. So far I have gained another couple of inches and a renewed taste for this morsel. Today at the Refresh Cafe Manor Row Bradford  I had a great butty with 3 slices of bacon, a perfectly fried egg in a simple tea cake with no extraneous grease, fat or dripping. Still it was an 8.7 on my unctuousness scale.

A previous effort in Baildon was less well received with a thicker and dry bread cake which I am scoring 5.8 for effort rather than unctuousness. The best cafes are those catering for building and outdoor workers who know a good thing when they are served it. Lower Baildon has such a cafe and I have returned a couple of times so it must have been alright.

Top of my favourites is where the bacon is slightly over cooked so the fat seems to be slightly caramelised but the meat remains dry and of good substance. A slight crunch adds a new texture to go with unctuousness.The worst sarnie is ‘assembled’ from bacon that has been precooked and kept warm creating a cardboard effect that even a free range egg can’t correct. Cafes in supermarkets and M&S suffer from this 3.0 score.

I prefer a sit down cafe so I can have a cuppa and read any free paper. It is no fun outdoors in the cold with yoke running down your chin.

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A Different York Pub Crawl

From Leeds to York it is only 22 minutes on the train and the near-by Maltings awaits the thirst traveler. On Tuesday 20th July train enthusiasts steamed in for a quick lunch before a trip back north on the  LNER Peppercorn Class  60163 Tornado a 4-6-2 steam locomotive. They filled the pub but the Scottish accents failed to put me off my pint.

The day before I had been on a walking tour of 15 or so of York’s historic pubs. At £6 a head it was good value (less than a glass of over priced wine for my wife in a trendy bar) and all money raised  goes to support Keep Your Pet, a charity scheme run by Age UK York a project which helps older people look after their pets at times of ill health or other difficulties.

The walk was led by a knowledgeable guide who knew all about the age, historical links and ghosts of the various hostelries we saw. Regrettably we didn’t have time for much sampling so when we got to my favourite watering hole I dropped off and dropped in to the Blue Bell on Fossgate. A small but great pub with all Edwardian features including hatches to serve the beer through and a chatty atmosphere enhanced by your proximity to other drinkers. The beer selection is second to none but because it was so hot I settled for cooling cider.

We stayed over for a couple of nights but on a less successful evening we ventured up Micklegate not enjoying the Artful Dodger and found only Wetherspoon’s Punch Bowl was serving food at 8.30 but no grills. Still walking one section of the wall then down to the Golden Ball welcome us with fiddle music 3 pale ales but sadly no singing this Sunday pre- freedom day. Sam Smith came to the rescue as the Kings Arms were relieved to serve us at the bar and had abandoned table service ( that would have been impossible on such a hot day).

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Wait for Old Yorkshire Music

Royal courts may have had their fools and jesters, Robin Hood had the  wandering minstrel Alan-a-Dale  and Yorkshire’s mayors had their ‘City Waits’.

What was a Wait

  • From medieval times groups of musicians were sometimes organised as waits. The York Wait is one of the best documented dating back 9 centuries.
  • As professional musicians their purpose was to play music at civic entertainment, ceremonies, parades and city related events. They also had duties as night-watch an early neighborhood watch. In York the Wait  also augmented the Minster choir.
  • They used instruments  including flute or oboe like Shawms, Curtal, Saggbut, bagge pype and by the 18th century oboes Cornetts even trumpets and drums.
  • In 1829  at the Spotted House Bradford they elected municipal bandsmen including 4 blind players led by Sam Smith ( a good name for a man elected in a pub).
  • By 1836 politics and a history of ‘begging badly’ brought about the demise of these publicly funded waits. The 1836 Municipal Corporations and Reform Act couldn’t wait to change our Waits. The Christmas tradition of musical busking still continued in many areas.

Spelling of Wait

  • There are many spellings  and versions of Wait some of which predate most written records.
  • The most common alternative name is  Waites or Waite and Wayte, Waytes
  • International Waits included in Holland where they were called stadspijpers, in Germany Stadtpfeifer and in Italy pifferi ( wikipedia)

Acknowledgement and thanks s to James Merryweather and his ‘York Music The Story of a City’s Music from 1304- 1896’

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Yorkshire Before 1066

Yorkshire folk are a hardy species with a long and fascinating historical past these are just some indicative seminal times.

  • Jurassic period 140 million years ago between the Mesozoic era, Triassic and the Cretaceous period with marine conditions in Yorkshire but no human life.
  • Paleolithic man      10000 BC  some indications in Victoria caves Settle
  • Mesolithic man         7500 BC Stone-age possibly spreading around Pickering
  • Neolithic man            3000 BC      farming in the Wolds and potentially elsewhere
  • Bronze age                  1800 BC     ‘beaker folk’ nicknamed for the first pottery. Baildon Grassington and henges near Boroughbridge
  • Iron Age              500 BC Celts around the coast at Hunmanby and near Scarborough
  • Romans                80 AD came north to quell the local Brigantes and Parisi tribes fighting on North York moors,  Stanwick, & Scotch Corner as a protection from the Scots. Constantine       306 AD Emperor of York during the development of many religions and the introduction of Christianity. Withdrawal of Romans to defend Rome
  • Synod of Whitby    664 AD.  Saxons and Angles arriving from Germany and Denmark named villages with suffixes ham, ton, ley.
  • Viking Invasion     866 AD York and villages in the dales with names ending in thorpe, kirk, wick and by.
  • Stamford bridge  1066 AD King Harold Godwinson led English army in a battle against invading Vikings whilst William was conquering.
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Tykes Don’t Talk Daft – New Culture

I am self identifying as having micro-aggression over woke wonkery and would like to exercise white privileged before returning to traditional old tyke speak.

I am partnered with a gender fluid Karen from the snowflake generation who is gas lighted as a QAnon & XR supporter.

Due to cultural appropriation the trope of a typical Yorkshireman or Womxn ignores my birth cisgender.

Before I am decentered and no platformed under cancel culture for manspreading I will succumb to ghosting as a hot airblower.

The Infodemic has led to victimology for my chumocracy that is part of a generation Z…….. sufferer to say nothing of an incel terrorist.

Fat-shaming of a tyke wont work for it is he ‘who eat all the pies’   #octothorpe #

In the fake-news land of USA a try hard, Donald Trump, believes he is entitled as a  purveyor of doxing so becoming a meme and covidiot. He needs defunding and humility in defeat ‘Gotcha’.

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