Tilting at Yorkshire Windmills

Firstly we exclude the modern wind farms, wind turbines and their ilk designed for energy production and despoiling  the landscape. Windmill has the clue in the name, a mill that uses wind!

Which area of the county has the greatest number of watermills and a tradition of maintaining them? In York there are 23, Beverly 19,  and the surprise Hull with 29. There are fewer in the West Riding but do not ignore 4 at Aberford and Barwick in Elmet. Information from Watermill World

Perhaps Hull is not so surprising with its port and connections with Holland. Maud Foster Mill, notionally in Lincolnshire is an English tower mill was built in 1819 for the Reckitt brithers who at the time were corn factors. Their milling and baking then launched the Hull based business of Reckitt and Coleman as suppliers of starch.

Every organisation or interest group seems to have a national day and Windmills have coined two days in 2018 to promote their preservation. National Mills Weekend will be on 13 May 2023 and includes watermills. Part of The charity ‘Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) reg no. 1113753.


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Windmills Of Yorkshire


  • The first written record from 1185 is of a Yorkshire windmill near South Cave in Weedley. The land was owned by the Knights Templar who may have been copying a 9th Century Iranian design.
  • The 13th century saw an increase in mills for example in Stillingfleet, Drax, Easington and Colton.
  • Medieval mills were designed on a central massive upright post supported by cross bars of timber.
  • Under ‘Soke law’ medieval rights to collect payments led in the 19th century to a number of ‘Union Mill’ and cooperative ventures to be established.
  • The golden age of mills in Yorkshire was the 19th century from when the oldest surviving example date.
  • Since 1880 the number of surviving mills has been in decline


  • It is no surprise that there was a concentration of mills on the east of the county eg Hull, Beverley, Bridlington and York.
  • There are good databases of former locations but the best indicator may be in addresses. Windhill is an large area of Bradford/Shipley and in Leeds there is a Windmill Hotel.
  • Many street names still retain the link to a former wind mill within the name.
  • Repurposed mills have produced some innovative renovations and designs including a dwelling at Scott Hall road Leeds.
  • Skidby Windmill (below) is a Grade II* listed windmill at Skidby near Beverley, in the East Riding. Originally built in 1821, the mill was further extended to its current 5 stories in 1870 and in 2022 is currently being refurbished. It is powered by 4 sails, 11 metres in length, and was in commercial use until 1966. Wikipedia

thanks to Alan Whitworth and ‘Yorkshire Windmills’ for background information that is far more detailed in this MTD Publication

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Hose Pipe Ban 2022 Not Enough Sunshine

So here we are again time to visit Burnt Yates or see the fields on fire at Burns-all.

‘Do you remember 1995 when Yorkshire Water excelled itself during the last severe drought and water shortages.Water rationing, bans and tankering fresh water supplies only partially alleviated the problem for the most hated water company in what Ofwat described as a “failure to deliver the standards required to consumers”. (If your memory fails seek out a super folk record by Peter Coe ‘The PR Man from Hell’ on his CD Long Company)

Sarcastically I predicted it would be happening again after   recent light drizzle (aka floods galore) in late September and early October 2019.

  • Hose pipe bans will accompany the flood reparations in the dales.
  • Empty reservoirs will be created by the York flood defense work.
  • Bathing with a friend never really stopped in Yorkshire ‘cos we will save owt but once again it may become compulsory.
  • Yorkshire Tea and Harrogate water will be endangered products.
  • There will be no high water at our East Coast seaside.’


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Yorkshire Day and Days

Yorkshire Day 1st of August can’t come soon enough so here are some extra Yorkshire Days to be getting on with:-

Yorkshire D Day for all veterans

Yorkshire Doris Day for all exiles in North Dakota

Yorkshire Dayo Dayo if you think I came on a banana boat

Yorkshire Davy Crockett for those on the wild frontier near Lancashire

Yorkshire Daysies for those pulling up the roots

Yorkshire Day and Night so you can keep on drinking good Yorkshire beer

Yorkshire Robin Day to show the BBC what journalism and reporting should be like

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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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