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BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

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Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:14 pm    Post subject: BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"  Reply with quote

BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

What is the origin of Bradford's coat of arms?
The inclusion of the boar's head and three bugle horns in Bradford's coat of arms was a result of a remarkable and unusual happening.

According to Camden, the sixteenth century historian, the significance and incorporation of horns into Bradford's crest came about on the following way:
"Bradforde belonged to John of Gaunt, who granted to John Northrop, of Manningham, and his heirs, three meesuages and six booates of land to cum to Bradford on the following blow of a horn on St. Martins day in winter, and wait on him and his heirs in their way form Blackburnshire, with a lance and a hunting dog for thirty days, to have for yeoman's board one penny for himself and halfpenny for his dog, etc., for going with the receiver or bailiff to conduct him safe to the castle of Pontefract."

A descendant of Northrop afterwards granted land in Horton to Rushworth of Horton, to hold the hound while Northrop's man blew the horn.
These are called Hornman or Hornblow lands, and the custom is still kept up.
A man coming into the market place with a horn, halbert and dog is sent by the owner of the lands in Horton.
After proclamation made, the former calls out aloud, " Heirs of Rushworth, come, hold me my hound while I blow three blasts of my horn, to pay my rent due to my sovereign lord the King."
He then delivers the string to the man from Horton, and winds his horn thrice. The horn is preserved though stripped of its silver ornaments.

With regard to the wild boar, the head of which forms part of the crest, we are indebted to a certain James Hartley, a schoolmaster, whose school was situated near the bottom of Kirgate two centuries ago, and who translated from ancient documents the following account :
"A ravenous boar of a most enormous size, haunted a certain place called the Cliffe wood, and at times very much infested the town (Bradford) and the neighbouring inhabitants thereof, so that a reward was offered by the government to any person or persons who would bring the head of this boar, which much excited some to attempt it.

Now the story runs thus, That this boar frequented a certain wood to drink, which to this day is called the 'Boar's Well,' that he was watched by a certain person who shot him dead there, took his tongue out of his head and immediately repaired to court to claim the promised reward.

Presently, after his departure from the well, another person came thither upon the same intention and, finding the beast dead, without any further examination, cuts off his head and away he hastes towards the same place, and in expectation of the reward as the former, and there arrives before him.

Being introduced to his majesty's presence, the head was examined but was found without a tongue, concerning which the man was interrogated could give no satisfactory account. Whilst this was held in suspense the other man was introduced with the tongue, claimed the promised reward and unfolded the riddle by informing his Majesty how and by what means he killed the beast, and thus received the following grant :
A certain place or portion of land lying at great Horton known as Hunt Yard and for the tenure of which he and his heirs for ever should annually attend in the market place at Bradford, on St. Martin's day, in the forenoon and there, by the name of the heir of Rushworth, hold a dog of the hunting kind whilst three blasts were blown on a gelder's horn, and these words, 'Come heir of Rushworth, etc.,' expressed aloud.

After changing hands many times the horn came into possession of Mr. Richard Fawcett, after whose death a century ago the relic was purchased by another Bradford gentleman, Mr. John Wright, who finally sold it to Mr. Charles Rhodes, who in turn disposed of it to an antiquarian, a Dr. Outhwaite.

The ancient instrument was repurchased by Mr. Rhodes who later presented it to Bradford Philosophical society. Finally, after having had many owners, the horn was preserved in the Cartwright Hall.

Two inns of old Bradford perpetuated the legend of the wild boar of Cliffe Wood, "The Boars Head" and the "Wild Boar."

Who was described as an "ornament of her age and country"?
Lady Anne Clifford, a member of that famous family and who was born in Skipton Castle in 1589.

She is best known for her work in restoring the home of her ancestors which had suffered great damage during the Civil War.

In addition, Lady Anne was responsible for the repair of seven churches as well as the rebuilding of the steeple of the church at Skipton.

Not long after the restoration of Skipton Castle, Lady Anne suffered the indignity of having troops quartered upon her, but nevertheless insisting upon living among her uninvited and unwelcome guests.

She died aged 87 at Brougham Castle in Westmoreland and was buried in the church of St. Lawrence at Appleby.

Which famous Yorkshireman was known as "Black Tom"?
Thomas Fairfax, who was born at Denton, lower Wharfedale, in 1612, the son of Ferdinando and Lady Mary Fairfax.

Fairfax married Mary Vere and settled at the family seat at Nun Appleton near York.

"Black Tom," whose nickname was given to him due to his dark hair and swarthy complexion, was one of the greatest Yorkshiremen of his age.

The outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 found Fairfax in the forefront in the struggle against the King.
He was in command during the seige of Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield and other towns, fought at Marston Moor and was wounded during a severe skirmish at Selby.

Oliver Cromwell served under Fairfax holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and whose ability General Fairfax was quick to recognise.

Black Tom accompanied Charles I as far as Holmby where the monarch was delivered up by the Scots in 1647, and when presiding over the judges who were to try the king, used his influence to avert the monarch's execution.

In quieter and more peaceful days Lord Fairfax retired to his home, Nun Appleton Hall, where he wrote his "Short Memorials."

As the weight of years descended upon old Black Tom he became crippled with gout and rheumatism and was confined to a mechanical chair.
This, with other Fairfax relics, is preserved in York museum.

The great old Yorkshireman, hater of kingly tyranny, died on the 12th of December, 1671, after reading the forty-second psalm.
His remains were buried in the Northern Chapel at Bilborough, near York, a black slab of marble bearing the following inscription :

"Here lye the bodies of the right Honble,
Thomas, Lord Fairfax, of Denton,
Baron of Cameron,
Why dyed November ye XII, 1671,
In the 60th yeare of his age,
And of Anne his wife, Daughter and co-heir of,
Horatio, Lord Vere,
Baron of Tilbury,
They had issue
Mary, Duchess of Buckingham,
And Elizabeth.

The memory of the Just is Blessed.

Where was a sexton paid half a crown for whipping dogs out of the church?
The custom of whipping dogs and ejecting them from church during service was common in many country churches.

Farmers at one time took their dogs to church by habit, and the resulting barking and snarling by rival canines may be imagined.
It was the sexton's duty to clear the church of the animals.

The following entry was made in the Parish books of Kildwick in 1746 :
" To same for half a year's wages for whipping the dogs 2/6."

What was a Tyburn ticket?
Tyburn tickets were certificates given to a prosecutor on the capital conviction of a criminal, and which exempted the prosecutor from all parish and ward offices within the Parish wherein such felony was committed.

By an act during the reign of William III the certificate could be transferred to a third party by simply endorsing it. The custom was abolished in 1818.

When have wives been publicly auctioned in Yorkshire?
This happened in several places.

In 1858, in a beer shop in Little Horton, Bradford, a certain Hartley Thompson publicly announced that his wife would be sold to the highest bidder, and even engaged a bell-man to acquaint citizens of the fact.

On February 4th, 1806, a man named George Gowthorpe sold his wife for 20 guineas in the market place at Hull, delivering her to a purchaser named Houseman with a halter around her neck.

In 1815 a husband at Pontefract, evidently weary of his spouse, held an auction several times in an attempt to sell his wife.
Offering the woman at a minimum bid of one shilling, she was finally knocked down for 11 shillings.

At Selby in 1862 a husband succeeded in selling his wife on the steps of the market cross for a pint of ale.

These transactions had, of course, no legal standing, and they serve to illustrate the ignorance of many I those times where the binding ties of marriage are concerned.

Which underground stream has a course which has many times been explored unsuccessfully?
Fell Beck, on the southern side of Ingleborough, which disappears into Gaping Ghyll.

Many have descended into this pothole in an attempt to trace the course of the Beck, the first being Martel, a well-known French speleologist, on Ausust 1st, 1896.

Where was the swastika, the emblem of German Nazis, carved on stones in Yorkshire hundreds of years ago?

On Ilkley Moor. The swastika was in the Iron Age the symbol and sign of fertility.

Where was a king's hat knocked from his head whilst travelling in Yorkshire?
At Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.

Charles I was being taken under escort for trial in London and when passing through a lane bordered by oaks lost his hat when struck by an overhanging branch.

A villager who owned the land upon which the tree stood at once rushed out, and in shame felled the tree to the ground.

Where is Robin Hoods well?
In Barnsdale, between Ferrybridge and Doncaster, though several villages have wells bearing the same name.

The above-mentioned well is situated where the two parishes of Kirkby Smeaton and Burghwallis meet.

Years ago at a nearby inn a leather bottle was preserved and the claim that it was originally the property of Robin Hood.

A building designed by Vanburgh and built in the early eighteenth century now covers the well.

This well, referred to in ancient documents, is situated on the eastern side of the Great North Road.

In 1487, Henry VII visited Pontefract Castle and was met by the earl of Northumberland with many Gentry and Nobles who were attached to the House of Lancaster, "between Pontefract and Doncaster a littell beyonde Robyn Haddes Well."

Where are to be seen ruts and grooves on the surface of an ancient highway made by Romans during their period of occupation?
On Blackstone Edge on the paved Roman road running between Ripponden and Littleborough.
The grooves, it is believed, were made by poles used as the brakes of vehicles.

What villages on the Yorkshire coast finally disappeared beneath the waves as a result of the incursions of the ocean?
Ravenspur and Ravenserodd at the mouth of the Humber.
The former at one time sent a member to Parliament.

Other villages which have fallen victims to the advance of the sea are Old Withernsea, Auburn, Old Kinsea, Old Albordinlington, Northorp, Hyde, Hornsea Burton, Orwithfleet and Sunthorp.

What was the Hand of Glory?
A grisly talisman and charm made use of by robbers.
It was composed of a hand hacked from a gibbetted criminal, pickled in brine and the fat of the dead man.

A candle placed in the hand was believed to shed a light which gave thieves immunity from arrest and caused others to fall into a dead sleep.

O hand of glory, shed thy light,
Direct us to our spoil tonight,
Flash out thy light, O skeleton hand,
And guide the feet of our trusty band.

What church has shops and other commercial premises built into its walls?
Holy Trinity at Richmond.

Who was Half Hanged Smith?
A native of Malton who was found guilty of burglary at York in 1705.
He was hanged at Knavesmire before a vast crowd of 40,000 spectators.

Fifteen minutes later a messenger dashed up to the gallows with a reprieve and Smith was cut down, bled and restored to conciousness.

Due to this extraordinary experience the unfortunate man earned the soubriquet of Half Hanged Smith.
He returned to prison soon afterwards but was released on lack of evidence.

A third time he was fortunate again for the prosecutor died before the trial could be held.

Who impersonates a patron saint and rides through a city on a white horse?
This is an annual custom at Ripon on the feast of St. Wilfrid.

A representative rides through the city streets on a white horse, wearing robes and mitre and preceded by a monk.

This custom is perpetuated in memory of St. Wilfrid who came to Ripon to found a church in the seventh century.

Who refused a gift of £1,000 from the king when in the depth of penury and want?
Andrew Marvell, the famous poet, who was born near Hull in 1621.

The poet became a friend of Milton and represented Hull as an M.P. for twenty years.

He was described as a pure-minded patriot in the most corrupt of times." He died in 1678.

Who were the original Darby and Joan?
An old couple who lived in Healaugh, near York.

The Marquis of Wharton called them " The happy couple."
They were buried together in the village churchyard.

On which hill was a monument erected in memory of a famous explorer?
A monument in the form of an Obelisk was erected on monument hill in Cleveland by a Whitby man, Robert Campion, in 1827.
It overlooks Marton where Captain Cook was born in 1728, and Great Ayton where he was at school.

Cook conducted extensive surveys of the Australian coast but he was killed by Hawiian natives in 1779.

Where was once known as " the smallest church in Yorkshire"?
A tiny church at Upleatham, near Redcar, which dated from Norman times.

Where were trousers forbidden in the pulpit?
At Bethel Chapel, Cambridge Street, Sheffield.

In 1820, at a time when breeches were universally worn and trousers considered vulgar, the following trust deed was drawn up for the aforementioned chapel:
"Under no circumstances whatever shall any preacher be allowed to occupy the pulpit who wears trousers."

Who was the innkeeper who was charged with the same crime on three occasions?
Tom Lee of Grassington, who in 1779 murdered Dr. Petty, a local physician, and threw the body into the river at Burnsall.
Lee was twice detained and charged but released for lack of evidence.

Finally he was arrested and sent to York to face trial and was hanged. His body was afterwards suspended in chains in Grass Wood.

Where did the opposing armies appear in the sky engaged in mortal combat?
At Hull in September, 1654, where a number of local citizens swore to having witnessed an extraordinary battle between phantom soldiers in the heavens between nine and ten in the evening.

The rival combatants formed a red and black army, the conflict being accompanied by all the dread clash of arms, explosions and cries of the wounded.

A similar phenomenon took place in October, 1658, and which was reported to have been heard forty miles away.

A local record of this strange fantasy stated :
"The country people were struck with such deep wonder and terror that they gave over their labour and ran home with fear, yea, some poor people gathering coals by the seaside were so frightened that they ran away, leaving their sacks behind them.
For forty miles this fearful noise of cannons, muskets and drums was heard all the country over."

Which Castle drew its water supply through the pipes made from the branches of elm trees?
Skipton Castle, which was supplied with water from a point three-quarters of a mile away.

Who was the eccentric young man who, when jilted, went home and spent the rest of his life in bed?
William Sharp of Worlds Farm near Laycock, Keighley.

His bride failing to turn up at church, Sharp, or "Three Laps" as he was familiarly known, returned home, went to bed in a tiny room and hid from the world until the day of his death almost fifty years later.
He died on March 7th, 1856, aged 79.

Who for a wager walked 1,000 miles in as many hours?
James Searle, alias Tigser, a native of Leeds, who in the Barclay match of November, 1843, succeeded in walking 1,000 miles on the stretch of road between the Shakespeare Inn, Meadow Lane, and the New Peacock Inn, Holbeck.

In what churchyard does the following curious epitaph appear on a tombstone?

"My stithy and my hammer I reclined,
my bellows too have lost their bind,
My fire's extinguished, and my forge decayed,
And in the silence dust my vice is laid,
My coal is spent, my stock of iron's gone,
My last nail driven and my work is done."

In the churchyard at Low Moor, near Bradford.
The epitaph refers to Christopher Barlow, a blacksmith of Raw Nook, who died on October 9th, 1824.

Who,according to legend and tradition, built Swinsty Hall on proceeds gained from robbing the dead?
An individual named Robinson who lived in the valley of the Washburn, a few miles from Otley, about the end of the sixteenth century.

The story tells us that Robinson departed for London at a time when the black plague raged there, and spent some time in that terror stricken city robbing the dead and looting houses which had been deserted by the owners.

As a result of his depredations the Yorkshireman became the possessor of a considerable quantity of gold, silver, jewellery and other valuables, which he transported to Yorkshire by means of a wagon and horses.

He found however, upon his arrival home, that all doors were closed against him, the stories of his activities having reached his neighbours' ears and the dread of infection isolating him from his fellows.

Robinson was obliged to seek shelter in a barn in the Washburn Valley, where he also carefully hid his ill-gotten gains, spending his days washing gold and silver in the Greenwell Spring.

In the course of time Robinson bought several acres of land in the Washburn and built Swinsty Hall, a monument to his pillaging expedition.

Who was the governor of a Yorkshire castle whose loyalty to a comrade cost him his life?
Colonel John Morrice, who with Cornet Blackburn was executed at York in 1649 for the murder of Colonel Robert Rainsborough.

Morrice was innocent of the charge, but at the surrender of Pontefract Castle, of which Morrice was governor, and whilst attempting to escape, the pair were caught and sent to York for trial.

However, an opportunity to escape presented itself in the form of a rope which both men descended, hoping to scale the wall and gain their freedom.

Unfortunately for Cornet Blackburn, and indeed for both men as things fell out, in his haste to reach the ground the soldier fell and broke his leg, rendering incapable of proceeding further.

The mishap cost both men their lives, for Colonel Morrice, loyal to the end, refused to desert his companion in misfortune and remained with the injured man until they were taken again and finally executed.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:27 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

Who was the hermit of Rombalds Moor?
A certain Job Senior, the illegitimate child of Ann Senior of Beckfoot, near Ilkley.

As a young man he worked as a labourer at Ilkley, later removing to Whitkirk where he forsook a sober and respectable life for that of which a hard drinker, losing regular employment and being obliged to exist as he might, later returning to his native parts and earning a livelihood by means of casual labour on farms at Burley Woodhead.

It was here he made the acquaintance of a widow who lived in a cottage of a widow who lived in a cottage at Coldstream Beck on the edge of Rombolds Moor and determined to marry her.

The lady in question was advanced in years, owned a cottage and garden, and in addition had managed to put a little money aside.
These assets Senior determined to possess by means of marriage, and finally succeeding in making the old crone his wife.

But although his aged spouse did not live long, Senior's plans came to naught, for one day during his absence her first husband's relations visited the cottage and pulled it down, leaving her husband and heir homeless, and his wife's savings, which he had secreted in the walls, either stolen or lost.

In anger and desperation, Job Senior built from the ruins a home, or rather a kind of dog-kennel, just large enough to admit his body and into which he would drag himself and live in filth and squalor.

He lived on a diet consisting almost entirely of potatoes, which he roasted on a fire of peat, having with foresight planted almost all the cottage garden with this vegetable.

In appearance he cut a strange figure, his coat being a mass of patches of various colours as were his trousers, which were held in a position by means of a Hempen belt.
Upon his head he wore a tattered old hat of antique shape, the brim of which had been missing for many years.
His legs and feet were bandaged with straw, the pair of clogs he wore being stuffed with the same material.

Since he never bathed, his general condition may be imagined.
He never sought the services of a barber and his heavy, greasy locks fell about his shoulders, whilst his matted and grizzled beard covered his chest.

His one inseparable companion was an old tobacco pipe which he carried suspended from his hat.
A pair of crooked sticks aided him in his progress around the countryside, and no doubt as a result of his way of life he knew the tortures of rheumatism.

Blessed with self-discipline and common sense the odd fellow might have enjoyed a career as a singer, since he possessed a remarkable voice-treble, alto, tenor and bass-singing in adjacent villages and also at theatres in Leeds and Bradford.
His favourite songs were sacred ones and which he would render with much feeling and expression.
The singer's general condition, however, was such that few would extend hospitality on these occasions, and he was perforce obliged to seek shelter in any outhouse, blacksmith's shop or odd corner he could find.

The end came as the result of a visit to Silsden where Job had made an appearance as a singer.
He was attacked by a serious bout of cholera but managed to struggle back to Ilkley, where he sought the warmth and comfort of a barn belonging to the Wheat Sheaf Inn.
He was removed to Carlton Workhouse, where he died a few days later at the age of seventy-seven.

This odd character, who became known as the hermit of Rombalds Moor, was interred in the churchyard at Burley-in-Wharfedale.

Which church dignitary gave a banquet of staggering proportions and in the preparation of which 2,000 people were employed, and which has been described as the greatest feast in English history?
George Neville, brother of the famous Earl of Warwick, the king maker.

Elevated to the see of York in 1464 the new Archbishop entertained his noble friends at Cawood and gave a feast of gargantuan size.
The menu contained the following items:
"104 oxen, 1,000 sheep, over 500 stags, bucks and does, 400 swans, 2,000 geese, 1,000 capons, 200 pheasants, 500 partridges, 400 woodcocks, 100 curlew, 400 plovers, 2,000 chickens, 4,000 mallards and teals, 400 pigeons, 1,500 hot pasties of venison, 4,000 cold ditto, 2,000 hot custards, 3,000 cold ditto, besides some hundreds of tons of ales and wine with spices and delicacies, etc."

Neville later suffered the confiscation of all his estates, was arrested and thrown into prison and where no doubt he had time to reflect upon his former life of luxury.

In the porch of which church did a man struggle to the death with a cat?
At Barnborough, near Barnsley. Sir Percival Cresacre five hundred years ago was attacked by a huge wild cat when returning home.

According to the legend man and animal struggled for several hours, Sir Percival retreating towards the shelter of the church where the contestants collapsed and died of wounds and exhaustion.

The church contains an old wooden effigy of Sir Percival and on the tower may be seen the carving of a cat.
The flagstones in the porch bear a certain stain which, it is claimed, no amount of scrubbing will efface.

Where is the supposed grave of Robin Hood?
At Kirklees Priory, where according to tradition he was betrayed and treacherously bled to death by the prioress.

The dying outlaw is supposed to have shot an arrow supplied by his old comrade, Little John, the site where it fell marking the spot where his grave was to be dug.
The date is supposed to have been 1247.

Where is the supposed tomb of Oliver Cromwell?
At Newburgh Priory.

The story goes that Mary, a daughter of the protector and who had married one of the Fauconbergs of Newburgh in 1657 and her father's headless body secretly exhumed from the grave beneath Tyburn Tree and conveyed to Newburgh.

The tomb at the priory has never been opened and the facts of the story verified.

What and where is the Strid?
A narrow channel of the Wharfe close to Bolton Abbey which rushes between the banks at great speed.

There is a legend which tells of a boy named Egremond who was drowned whilst attempting to leap from bank to bank.
According to the legend the sorrow-stricken parents built Bolton Abbey as a memorial to their son.

Many lives have been lost by those daring enough to risk a leap across the treacherous waters.

Which Yorkshire town possesses a town hall of which the tower is a copy of a famous Italian building?

The town hall tower is a copy of the Pallazzo Vecchio, Florence.

Where is Hades?
It is a small village near Holmfirth.

When and by whom were the curative waters discovered at Harrogate?
In 1571 by William Slingsby who found a steel spring.

At the present time there are 87 springs, 32 of which are in the Bog's field.

Where and in what river were 10,000 people baptised in a single day?
In the Swale, the waters of which were regarded as sacred by the English long ago.

Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York, is said to have baptised 10,000 men, women and children in this river in a single day.

Which part of a Yorkshire city has a lake which commemorates a famous battle?
Roundhay Park, Leeds, which contains the Waterloo Lake formed in 1818 to perpetuate the memory of Waterloo and the defeat of Napolean.
Its formation took two years to complete.

What and where are the buttertubs?
They are great holes, naturally found in the limestone, about three miles from Muker, between Wensleydale and Swaledale.
Their depth varies from 50 feet to 100 feet.

Which are the highest hills and mountains in Yorkshire?
Mickle Fell 2,592 ft Whernside 2,414 ft
Ingleborough 2,373 ft Great Shunner Fell 2,340 ft
High Seat (Mallerstang) 2,328 ft Great Whernside 2,310 ft
Buckden Pike 2,302 ft Pen - Y - ghent 2,273 ft
Great Coum 2,250 ft The Calf 2,220 ft
Baugh Fell 2,216 ft Lovely Seat 2,213 ft

What and where are the twelve apostles?
Twelve stones placed in a circle on Ilkley Moor on the site of a pre-christian burial ground.

Which is and where is to be found the highest public house in Yorkshire?
Tan Hill Inn, Upper Swaledale, which stands at an altitude of 1,732 feet.

Where can be found a milestone considered to be 1,000 years old?
On the North Riding moors. It is the Lilla Cross.

In which rectory were arrangements made for the coronation of Elizabeth I?
Part of the arrangements for the coronation were made in a small room in the rectory at Newton Kyme, near Tadcaster, by Owen Oglethorpe, the rector, who became Bishop of Carlisle and who crowned Elizabeth I, and Lord Cecil who was squire of Newton Kyme.

A valuable old commentary is preserved at the rectory which was printed in 1534 and signed by Elizabeth after her coronation in 1559.

Where did a tenant farmer pay his rent with snow and roses?
At Langsett, where the tenant paid his rent in the form of a snowball on Midsummer Day and a red rose at Christmas.

Who was the curate who kept a public house and entertained his parishioners by playing the fiddle?
Jeremiah Carter, who was the curate of Lastingham during the early years of the eighteenth century.

As well as his parish duties he kept an ale-house where he regaled his parishioners with airs on his fiddle, in addition to selling liquor as a means of augmenting a very meagre stipend.

Who rode to hounds on a bull?
Jemmy Hirst of Rawcliffe, one of Yorkshire's most eccentric characters.

In addition, he made a vehicle equipped with sails and a carriage of wicker-work which housed his bed and was drawn by Andalusian mules.

In this vehicle the odd fellow visited the king, drawing huge crowds en route.
His costume consisted of a huge hat of lambskin, a coat of lambskin and ducks' necks, breeches of blue, yellow and black, and red and white stockings.

He constructed his own coffin which had windows and shelves.

Jemmy died in 1829, aged 91, and left £12 to be paid to a dozen old maids who were to follow his coffin.
Two musicians were engaged, a fiddler and a piper, who, as a final salute, played "O'er the hills and far away."

Who was known as "The Railway King"?
George Hudson who was born in 1800 and who became a draper in York.

Upon inheriting some £30,000, he began to speculate in the new form of travel, the railway.

He became a promoter of railway-routes and met with immense success.

He was three times Lord Mayor of York and from obscurity rose to wealth and fame.
However, his career came to a complete showdown.
He was accused of faking the accounts and paying dividends from capital.
His fortune was lost and he became again a poor man.

Which famous Yorkshire apple is of French origin?
The Ribston Pippin, which originated in three apple pips sent to Sir Henry Goodricke from an orchard at Rouen in Normandy.

Though two of the pips failed to germinate, the third gave us the famous Ribston Pippin, now known throughout England.

Who possessed second sight and the power to foretell future events?
An individual named Wrightston, a native of Stokesley, who died early in the last century.

He was a man of no education but what he lacked in learning he seemed to possess in the form of extraordinary powers of discernment, beyond the range of perception and knowledge.

Wrightston was consulted by many as to the whereabouts of missing and stolen property, and often the loyalty of an absent lover.
His forecasts were rarely at fault.

Who claimed to be a prophet with divine power and commanded the water of Aire to divide?
John Wroe, who was born at Bowling, Bradford, in 1782.

As a young man, Wroe was employed by his father but later set up on his own account.

He became ill and suffered from epilepsy, wandered alone and finally conceived the notion that he had been sent on earth as a saviour.

Wroe visited France, Italy, Spain and Austria, preached to Catholics and Jews, and was on several occasions fortunate to escape unharmed.

In February 1824, Wroe announced his intention of receiving baptism in the Aire at Appleby Bridge, and that he would divide the waters by divine command.
But due to some hesitation on the part of Wroe, possibly due to the coldness of the water, the large crowd which had assembled chased the "prophet" and his friends with sticks and stones.

In 1854, Wroe bought land near Wakefield and had a mansion built there costing some £2,000 ; built, said Wroe, "to belong to the members of the house of Israel" and which extravagance caused a good deal of uneasiness among the faithful.

The extraordinary man visited the U.S on four occasions and also Australia,

He publicly declared he would live forever but nevertheless died at Fitzroy, Australia, in 1863.
His companion took to the heels, leaving debts amounting to several hundred pounds.

So ended the career of one of Yorkshire's most curious characters.

In which village was kept a parish coffin for the common use of all?
At Easingwold, where the coffin is still kept in a chamber of the church as a relic.

In former times it was made use of by all but those in a position to provide this essential receptacle for the remains of a dead relative.

The coffin was used to convey the corpse from the place of death to the church and thence to the grave, after which it was returned to the church.

Where did monks fight a battle to settle a dispute?
A battle was fought in 1260 on the banks of Hornsea Mere between the monks of St. Mary's York, and those of Meaux.

The object was to settle a dispute which had arisen as to fishing rights. The contending parties had the right of choice between trial by jury or physical combat.
They chose the latter method of settling the matter and fought all day with staves.
The monks of York were the victors.

Who is said to have lived to the age of 138 and to have married an illegitimate daughter of Oliver Cromwell?
Jonathon Hartop, a native of Aldborough, near Boroughbridge.

Some accounts give his age at death as 146, but he seems, at all events, to have stood the strains of life well enough to outlive his first four wives, taking as a fifth spouse an illegintimate daughter of the Protector, Oliver Cromwell.

Hartop's parents had lived in London and perished in the plague, and their son, who lived until 1791, clearly remembered the great conflagration which ravaged and destroyed a large part of the city in 1666.

Hartop possessed a fine oil painting of Cromwell and was offered no less than £500 for it, which the old man refused.

He knew Milton well and on one occasion leant him £50 when the poet's circumstances were at a low ebb.

Hartop was throughout his life abstemious, clean-living and active in his habits, and thought nothing of walking to York and back.

He left seven children, twenty-six grandchildren, seventy-four great grandchildren and 140 great great grandchildren.

Who covered his clothing with money in order to win a bet?
One of two rivals who competed in a contest in York in the eighteenth century, the object being to exhibit a most original and unusual costume.

The contest was held in the castle Yard, one of the rivals appearing in a coat trimmed with bank notes, ten guinea notes forming the lapels and pocket flaps whilst five guinea notes covered the collar and waistband.
The brim of the hat was trimmed with notes and ornamented with gold coins.
A sheet of paper pinned on the back of the coat bore the words "John Bull."

The dress of the other competitor was equally odd, half of his costume being that of a female with petticoat, silk stocking and slipper, and the other booted and spurred.
The competitor's face was divided, one half being as black as a negro's and the other rouged, powdered and patched.

The former competitor of the banknotes was adjudged the winner.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

Who used a potter's crate as a bed in the company of ducks, geese, a fox and other animals?
A citizen of York named Lumley Kettlewell, the son of a Mr. Richard Kettlewell, a prosperous farmer of Bolton Percy.

He was born at Clementhorpe in 1741, and although given education, culture and the material means to provide a life of ease and tastes of a gentleman, chose an existence which was not only eccentric but squalid, sordid and degrading.

Kettlewell was a man of delicate build and was gentle and refined in manner, yet although in possession of the qualities and means which might have given him admission to the drawing-room and fashionable salon, Kettlewell sought a way of life which was, to say the least, extraordinary.

He eschewed the costume of the conventional and respectable, appearing on the streets of York in a tattered ballroom coat, a fur cap and hussar boots, or wearing a high-crowned hat and old oilskin coat.

Throughout his life Kettlewell kept fine bloodstock horses and game-dogs, the poor creatures usually starving to death as a result of neglect.

His house, the front door of which he kept strongly barred, was entered by means of a ladder which gave entrance to the first floor.
His living quarters consisted of one room in which he passed the hours of slumber in a potter's crate stuffed with hay.
The chamber was shared with dogs, a fox, muscovy ducks and a Maltese ass, which poor creatures usually terminated their existence as a result of neglect and starvation.

Kettlewell in spite of his very meagre existence, was careless of his money, leaving it in any odd corner and littered over the window seats, much of it, being in the form of banknotes, being devoured by the rats which overran the place.

In spite of a seeming difference in the way of fellows, Kettlewell had a strong sense of humour and was regarded as a man whose word was his bond.
He never indulged in a quarrel or calumny and never broke a promise.

Nothing delighted him more than an intellectual discussion, particularly concerning natural history and chemistry.
He never received visitors, which is hardly surprising, but would spend hours in the houses of educated and thoughtful persons, discussing scientific and philosophical subjects for hours on end.

In warm weather, Kettlewell would carry a large sponge on his person, dipping it occasionally in water and placing it on the top of his head, remarking that such a method of cooling oneself was the equal of food and drink.

His diet was a curious one and he regarded the heads of cocks as a particular delicacy.
Unfortunately for the creatures in his care, his dietetic theories did not prove beneficial to them and he wrote of his favourite horse, "As soon as the beast grew accustomed to living without food, it died."

Kettlewell died in 1819 in conditions of poverty and degredation, and having left his mark as one of the oddest characters Yorkshire has ever known.

Who presented a king with a tankard of gold?
A wealthy Leeds citizen, John Harrison, a benefactor who founded and built St. Johns church. Harrison was an ardent royalist and devoted to that cause during the civil war.

When Charles I was brought to Leeds in the hands of the Scots and detained as a prisoner in Red Hall, Harrison pleaded that he might offer the monarch a tankard of ale.
His wish being granted, Harrison carried to the King's chamber a tankard which, falling upon one knee, he begged Charles to accept.
The king, thanked his well-wisher, drank the ale with relish and retained the tankard, most of which was filled with gold pieces.

Who hired five poor men to act as his mourners on the day of his death?
Richard Turpin, the notorious robber and highwayman who was hanged in 1739.

The day before his execution on York Knavesmire, Turpin engaged five men in indigent circumstances to follow the cart to the gallows.

The mourners received a payment of ten shillings each.

What and where are the Dalton Parlours?
The site of a Roman villa at Collingham, discovered in 1854.

What village, though situated in central Yorkshire, was once part of Durham?
Crayke, near Easingwold, once part of the see of Durham, but became part of the North Riding a century ago.

Dean Inge was born there.

Which Yorkshire city has been known by three different names during the past 650 years?

It was first called Wyke-upon-Hull, then under Edward I became Kingston- upon-Hull, and is at present simply Hull.

Which famous Yorkshire school stands upon land which was once the property of Guy Fawkes?
St. Peters School, York, where five members of the famous Gunpowder Plot were educated.

A school has occupied the site for 1,300 years.

What is the individual length of Yorkshires chief rivers?
The following list gives an approximate length in miles and includes the diversions and irregularities.

Tees 95 Aire 87 Wharfe 75 1/4
Derwent 72 Swale 71 3/4 Don 68
Ure 61 1/4 Ribble 61 Nidd 55
Calder 47 Humber 38 Hull 28 3/4
Dearne 26 Hodder 25 1/4 Rye 25

Which and where are Yorkshire's steepest roads and thoroughfares? (The location is given in brackets.)
Rosedale Chimney (North Riding) 1 in 3;
Staithes Hill (North Riding) 1 in 3.5;
Sutton Bank (Hambledon Hills) 1 in 3.8;
Park Rath (Kettlewell, Wharfedale) 1 in 4;
Wass Bank (Hambledon Hills)1 in 4.2;
Greenhow Hill (Pateley Bridge to Grassington) 1 in 4.5;
Blue Bank (Sleights) 1 in 5; Leathley Bank (Sleights) 1 in 5;
Lythe Bank (Saltburn to Whitby) 1 in 5.5;
Kidstone Pass (Buckden to Aysgarth) 1 in 6;
Jolly Sailor (Whitby to Guisborough) 1 in 6;
Ampleforth Beacon (Whitby to Guisborough) 1 in 6;
Cowley Hill (Rotherham to Penistone) 1 in 6;
Hopper Hill (Skipton to Harrogate) 1 in 6;
Ruswarp Bank (Whitby to Pickering) 1 in 6;
Garrowby Hill (York to Bridilington) 1 in 6.

Where in Yorkshire, according to legend, is a raven said to stand guard over a treasure chest?
Beneath the ruins of Guisborough Priory.

Here in a secret passage a raven is said to watch over a chest of gold.

It is related that on one occasion a daring character of the neighbourhood entered the passage and approached the chest and its guardian.
The bird instantly changed into the Devil, to the terror of the would-be-looter who fled in panic.

What and where is the dropping well?
The dropping well is constantly flowing sheet of water, which running down the face of a cliff flows into the Nidd at Knaresborough.

For a small fee objects may be hung under the stream of water in order, so it is believed, to turn them into stone.

In actual fact they are not petrified but receive a coating of calcium. Mother Shipton's cave is close by.

Where was tobacco grown on a large scale in Yorkshire?
During the 18th century tobacco was cultivated with success in the Vale of Pickering.

It came to an end as a result of government prohibition due to a loss of revenue.
The growers, for a time, ignored the government ban but at a length they were imprisoned and the crops were burned.
In addition heavy fines were imposed, totalling over £30,000.

Where is the Merrie city?
Wakefield, due to its citizens' love of sport and amusement.

Where can we find a lighthouse in the middle of the street?
At Withernsea, where the houses were built round the tower.

Where in Yorkshire stands a church erected in memory of someone murdered by brigands?
In the village of Skelton, four miles from Ripon.

The man was Fredrick Grantham Vyner of Newby Hall, who was captured by a party of brigands in Greece in April, 1870.
Other captives were set at liberty but Vyner was held on a ransom of £50,000, his capturers having learned something of his status.

The government, having refused a free pardon and sent a strong force of police to apprehend the free-booters, the prisoner was murdered before the arrival of the ransom money.

The church of Christ the Consoler was built by the murdered man's family in memory of their unfortunate son.

Where and what is the street of tombs?
It is part of the highway between York and Tadcaster and was once a Roman burial ground.

What and where is the Devil's punchbowl?
The valley on Saltersgate moor.

Legend has it that the Devil in removing earth and boulders for the construction of Blakely topping left the depression in the ground.

The real cause is due to underground springs.

Who rose from the humble office of stable-boy to that of Prime Minister?
Thomas Ward, who was born at Howley in 1809 and the son of a stud-groom.

In 1823 Ward was sent to Vienna to deliver some horses to the stables of Aloys Von Lichenstein and whose service the Yorkshire lad entered.

Being noticed by the Duke of Lucca he became valet de chambre to that gentleman in 1830 and quickly won his master's confidence as an astute and reliable servant.

So ably did Ward execute the missions entrusted to him that he was eventually offered a portfolio in the ducal service.
This honour Ward declined out of modesty, but later accepted an appointment as Minister of Finance, which office he filled with outstanding success.

Ward was finally made Prime Minister but in 1854, on the death of the Duke, Ward was banished by the nobleman's widow and returned to his native Yorkshire.

In spite of his rise in fortune, Ward remained simple, modest and direct. He died in 1858, aged 49.

Which Yorkshire village is associated with Indian love-songs?
Hampsthwaite, near Harrogate, where Amy Woodforde Finden, the well-known composer of the Indian love lyrics, was buried.

The church contains a beautifully-executed effigy of the composer in marble.

What famous naval engagement was fought near Flamborough?
An encounter in 1778 between Paul Jones, a Scot by birth and known as the founder of the American Navy, and two armed British vessels, the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough.

The battle lasted three hours until Jones' ship, the Bonhomme Richard, came off the victor, seized the Serapis and took it to France.

The Americans lost 300 men in the engagement.

Who advertised for a wife and as a result was made the vicim of a matrimonial hoax?
A Mr. Winter, a Leeds gentleman, who in 1852 was made the victim of a clever hoax.

The gentleman received a perfumed billet-doux, supposedly penned by a coy maiden, a certain Miss Bailey, but actually contrived by a couple of jokers.

A correspondence resulted and a meeting was arranged to take place at the Bull and Mouth where an amazing scene was staged.

Mr. Winter was entirely deceived by the male impersonator in female attire, who was accompanied by a number of supposed relatives, brothers, uncles, cousins and a host of others.

The hoax having gone far enough, Mr. Winter was acquainted with the cold and brutal truth, after which, as a good-humoured ex-lover and sportsman, he entertained the entire party of hoaxers at his own expense.

Who pleaded poverty yet lived surrounded by stolen wealth?
Jonathon Clayton of Wistow, Selby, who died in 1850.

When a boy, Clayton had the misfortune to lose an arm in a gun accident and which, no doubt, due to some feeling of inferiority among his fellows, produced extreme eccentricity in his make-up.

Having inherited a little money on the death of a relative, Clayton opened a small school at Hambleton, four miles from Wistow, to which he walked each morning and returned by the same means at night.

He developed an extraordinary mania for collecting practically anything, and filled his home with such an odd miscellaneous collection as to have scarce room enough to find his bed.

After his death a vast amount of collected material was found in his house, most of which had been purloined during his nocturnal and predatory rambles.
The following list contains some of the articles stored in Clayton's home and which amounted to two large wagon loads :
A large quantity of hay, two tons of coal, two wagon loads of wood, 20 boys' whips, 50 brooms, a large number of mop sticks, six hatchets, 12 hammers, 60 pocket knives, a quantity of iron hoops and stables, a sackful of cow ties and halters, some gate posts, a pair of harrows, ploughshares, a cart wheel, posts, rails, a guide post, children's apparel, a bushel and a half of candles, fifty brooms, several spades, a quantity of linen, tops, balls, marbles, 18 farmers' whips, 18 plough harness, rakes and forks, 1 roll of silk, 5 rolls of cotton thread, a loaded pistol, dozens of old shoes, hundreds of scissors and thimbles, a set of china, soap, bottles of wine, rum, gin and brandy.

In addition Clayton had hoarded a considerable sum of cash in the form of sovereigns, spade sovereigns and seven shilling pieces.
The entire hoard of money amounted to £650.

Clayton had always posed as the poorest of men and told his neighbours that he feared the workhouse.
He left a letter, most of which was an expression of his sorrow at being rejected by a local maiden.

Who was the Yorkshire divine who readily forgave the thief who had stolen his plate?
Dr. Bentley, who was a native of Oulton, Leeds.

He possessed a stern but at the same time gentle character and was called familiarly "Slashing Bentley with his desperate hook."

A thief, having stolen Dr. Bentley's plate, was hauled before the council of the college and commissary Greaves expatiated at great length on the evil of the culprit's character.
He was interrupted by Dr. Bentley who remarked, "why tell the man he is a thief?" and addressing the offender said, " Hark ye, fellow. Thou seest the trade thou hast taken up is an unprofitable trade, say aside an occupation by which thou canst gain nothing but a halter, and follow that by which thou may'st earn an honest livelihood."

Dr. Bentley, against the wishes of all present, ordered the thief to be set at liberty, saying, "Go in piece and sin no more."

Who was the old lady who at 92, as an accomplishment, walked from Greenock to Truro, Cornwall?
A Mrs. Auston of Sheffield, who successfully walked at the age of 92 from Greenock, Scotland, to Truro in Cornwall.

She undertook a number of walks, some of which rivalled those of Foster Powell of Horsforth.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

What legend is attached to an old stone in the churchyard at Kellington?
The story concerns a local shepherd, his dog and a serpent.

Centuries ago the reptile was greatly feared by the inhabitants of Kellington near Pontefract, and which caused great havoc among the flocks of sheep in the neighbourhood.

At length a shepherd named Armroyd, having more courage than his fellows, who feared the monster to be satan in disguise, determined to do battle with the marauder, and after a savage struggle slew his enemy with his crook, losing his life in the contest, as did his dog.

A stone upon which had been cut a cross, a man with clasped hands, a dog and rough marks which may have represented a serpent, was discovered in Kellington churchyard, and which, perhaps, at one time served as a coffin lid, thus giving some credence to the story.

A field in the vicinity bears the same name of Armroyd close and is said to have been presented to the hero's descendants of gratitude to his neighbours.

Who was publicly hanged and buried yet lived to tell the tale?
John Bartendale, a piper and citizen of York, who was found guilty of felony.

He was hanged on Knavesmire on March 27th, 1643, and after suspension for the best part of an hour was cut down and interred on the spot.
A little while afterwards a Mr. Vavasour, riding past the spot, saw the earth move and instructed his servant to procure a spade and release the unfortunate wretch.

Bartedndale was revived, sat up and enquired where he was, equally amazed as the spectators.

He was again tried at York castle and gained his livelihood as an ostler. Drunken Barnaby in his "Book of travels," comments as follows :

"Here a piper apprehended,
Was found guilty and suspended,
Being led to fatal gallows,
Boys did cry 'Where is thy bellows?'
Ever must though cease thy turning,
Aswered he for all thy cunning,
You may fail in your prediction.
Which did happen without fiction
For cut down and quick interred,
Earth rejected which was buried,
Half alive and dead he rises,
Got a pardon next assizes,
And in York continued blowing-
Yet a sense of goodness showing."

Whose ghost was said to haunt Old Hall, Wakefield?
That of Lady Mary Bolles who died in 1662.

The Hall, which was a good example of the Elizabethan period of architecture, was built for John Kaye of Dalton, and after passing through the hands of successive owners became the residence of Thomas Bolles, of Osberton, Nottinghamshire, whose widow, Lady Mary, inherited the property and where she lived in great style.

She was a woman who entertained lavishly and exhibited great eccentricity, giving orders in her will that her remains were to remain above ground for six weeks before interment.

She left £120 for the entertainment of guests before the funeral and £200 to be expended in the erection of her tomb, £700 to be spent on mourning and a further £400 for overall funeral expenses.

A tradition told of a breach of faith, and a room which Lady Bolles had caused to be walled up on account of large sums having being gambled away in it was later opened.
Another story tells of failure to carry out instructions in her will. However, for many years her restless spirit was said to glide through the corridors of the old house, and at dusk flit along the coach road.

Heath Old Hall is no more.
It was demolished in 1961 and with its passing Yorkshire became poorer and lost yet another historical old mansion.

What are Brimham Rocks?

A number of curiously shaped stones near Pately-bridge whose odd shapes have been fashioned by wind and weather.

They cover an area of about 60 acres and the largest is estimated to weigh 100 tonnes.

Their names are singular : Baboon Rock, the Yoke of Oxen, the Druid's Writing Desk, the Wishing Rock, the Idol Rock, the Turtles and the Dancing Bear.

Where were church bells rung at the bottom of a coal pit shaft?
On Saturday, March 5th, 1904, in response to an invitation the ringers of St. James' church, Bolton, Bradford, visited Horserigg Colliery, Gildersome, and were conducted through a tour of the workings.

At the conclusion of the visit a course of Grandsire Caters was rung on handbells at the bottom of the shaft, the first time church bells had been heard in a coal mine.

Where is Blubberhouses?
Blubberhouses is a small township near Fewston, seven miles from Otley.

There are many theories as to the origin of this peculiar name, one being that it is derived from the Norse Blaaber Hus - the house of bilberry. Another attributes it to Blue Boar, an inn so named at Blubberhouses long ago.

Grainge, in his history of Knaresborough, states the name to have most likely have originated in whortleberry, which theory may contain some truth.

Ancient documents refer to the place as Blueburgh, Blueborrow, and Blubberhouse.

When during the present century was a woman accused of witchcraft?
At Scarborough 1904, a woman being charged in court with wilfully neglecting her child, an infant of 17 months.

The woman named Cooper, and who lived in Ewart Street, emphatically denied the charge, insisting that the child had been deliberately bewitched to death by a neighbour named Marshall.

The jury found that the child had died as a result of convulsions.

What was described as the Pharasalia of England?
The name applies to the famous battle of Towton which was fought on Palm Sunday, March 29th, 1461.

One hundred thousand warriors were engaged, composed of the rival forces of York and Lancaster.

More than 37,000 were slain during a frightful struggle in which no prisoners were taken and quarter neither asked for or given.

Where is the Land of Green Ginger?
The name applies to a street in Hull where long ago a conserve was made from lemons and ginger.

The name was used by Winifred Holtby as the title of one of her novels.

What and where is whip-ma whop-ma gate?
It is an interesting but short street in York built in the middle ages.

In past times on the day preceding the Apostolic Fair the tenants of the street, by custom, whipped every dog out of the thoroughfare.

What is the Danes Dyke?
It is an ancient entrenchment about three miles long near Flamborough.

What and where is the White Horse?
It is the figure of a horse cut in the turf of the Hambleton Hills, visible for many miles around and known as the White Horse of Kilburn.

The figure was formed in 1837 by Mr. Thomas Taylor, a native of Kilburn, and on land given by Mr. Dresser of Kilburn Hall.

The figure's dimensions are as follows: length 180 feet, height 80 feet, land area 3 roods.

Six tons of lime were used to whiten the figure and the entire process engaged 33 men.

Where and what is Dotheboys Hall?
A building at Bowes near Barnard Castle, and over a century ago of the notorious Yorkshire schools.

Dickens, who visited Bowes in 1838, used Dotheboys Hall in his "Nicholas Nickelby" as an illustration of the cruelty and exploitation of children boarded at these so-called academies.

At that time Dotheboys Hall was owned by a brutal character named Shaw, who according to Dickens thrashed and starved his pupils unmercifully.

Dickens' character, Squeers, was in reality the one and same person and whose harshness has been hotly denied by certain of his descendants.

The former school is now a café and roadhouse.

Where can be found the shortest river in England?
In Wensleydale. The River Bain is approximately only a mile in length.

Where in Yorkshire can one find underground lakes?
Under Ingleborough, where White Scar cavern, which is composed of a series of passages, contains lakes, a waterfall, stalactites and stalagmites.

Where is the lake which has neither feeder or outlet?
Lake Gormire, near Whitestone Cliff, in the Hambledon Hills.

What and where are the Devil's Arrows?
They are huge rough columns of gritstone, several tons in weight and standing upright between Boroughbridge and Aldborough.

Legend tells us that the Devil, surprised during an attempt to hurl these missiles at Aldborough church, failed in his object, the stones falling short of the target.

It is generally believed that the stones were used by the Druids for religious rites. Their date has been placed around 1,000 B.C.

Where did a servant girl offer her help to a king in order to save his life?
At Red Hall, Leeds, where Charles I was held prisoner by the Roundheads during his journey to London.

The girl, who was a sympathiser and loyal to the king, was filled with compassion for the prisoner and offered him female attire, saying she could escort him safely in the dark to an alley which led to Lands Lane and the house of loyal friends.

The king declined with gratitude and presented the girl with a token which she later brought to the notice of Charles II after the restoration.

As a result her husband was appointed Chief Baliff of Yorkshire.
It was he who built Crosby House in the Heathrow.

Where are the remains of a windmill wherein a miracle is supposed to have been performed?
At Aberford, between Hook Moor and the southern end of the village.

It is still related locally how Sammy Hick, a blacksmith and local preacher of Micklefield, prayed earnestly for wind at the mill during a long spell of calm, still weather.
The prayer was answered, the sails began to turn and the millstones to grind, the flour was forthcoming and there was ample for the lovefeast seed bread the following Sunday.

Strangely enough, many who carried corn to the mill were disappointed, the sails would not move an inch for those whose faith was apparently a matter of convenience.

Sammy Hick was buried near the south wall of Aberford church which contains a stained glass window to his memory.

Who was the Luddite who became a beadle?
Joseph Radcliffe, who was born at Halifax in 1791 and whose father deserted his family and fought in the Napoleonic wars.

Ratcliffe was apprenticed to a wool-cropper and as a young man joined the Luddites whom he helped in the smashing of mill machinery.
He was one of several hundred who on the night of April 11th, 1812, attacked Cartwright's mill, but evading arrest became a law-abiding citizen and turned informer, by which office he profited at the expense of those with whom he had once conspired.

In 1846 Ratcliffe became a beadle at Halifax and later mace-bearer to the first mayor of the town.

He died in 1867.

Where was a lizard found inside a solid block of coal 150 feet below the surface of the earth?
At William Fenton's mine at Outwood, Wakefield, in 1818.

The reptile was discovered in a solid block of coal and was five inches long.

Upon being exposed to the air the creature died immediately.

What famous rebel and conspirator rang the church bells at Cowthorpe?
Guy Fawkes, whose father owned a small estate there and where Fawkes spent some time as a boy.

What is known as the Thieve's litany?
The following doggerel verse which in times past was no doubt familiar to many members of the brotherhood of crime.

"There is a Proverbe, and a prayer withall,
That we may not to these strange places fall,
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, 'tis thus,
From all these three, good Lord, deliver us,
This praying proverbe's meaning to set down,
Men doe not wish deliverance from the towne,
The towne's named Kingston, Hull's the famous river,
And from Hull's dangers, I say, Lord deliver,
That who so more than thirteen pence doth steale,
They have a tyn that wonderous quick and well,
Send thieves all headless unto Heav'n or Hell,
From Hell each man says, Lord, deliver me,
Because from Hell can no redemption be,
Men may escape from Hull and Halifax,
But sure in Hell there is a heavier Taxe,
Let each one for themselves in this agree,
And pray, from Hell, good Lord, deliver me."

From which prison did twenty prisoners succeed in escaping?
From York Castle in 1761 when twenty French prisoners of war succeeded in escaping after filing the bars of their cell.

Though six were taken the remainder got clear away and no doubt with the assistance of English sympathisers made their way to the coast and freedom.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

Which Yorkshire village has two wells, one associated with a saint and the other with the death of a drummer boy?
The village of Harpham, in the East Riding, and where St. John of Beverley was born in the seventeenth century. It has two wells, one associated with the local boy who became Bishop of York, and the other, known as the drummer boy's well, so named due to the legend which tells of the tragic death of a little drummer boy who fell down the deep shaft during archery practice by soldiers. Both wells are credited with strange powers and it has long been believed that the ghost of the drummer boy sounds a roll on his drum prior to the death of a member of the St. Quintin family.

Who was known as old boots?
An employee of the Unicorn Inn, Ripon, named Thomas Spence. Spence lost his teeth somewhat before he might and developed a remarkable facility. He was able, being blessed with an abnormally long nose and slightly upturned chin, to hold a coin between the two points of his physiognomy. Curiosity seekers travelled far to see him. He received the distinction after death of being the last to be buried in the Minster Yard.

Who was the schoolmaster and brilliant intellectual who was hanged for murder in 1759?
Eugene Aram, born at Ramsgill, near Pateley Bridge, in 1704, and the son of a gardener. As a boy he showed extraordinary intellectual gifts and by the age of sixteen had mastered the Latin, Greek and Hebrew tongues. He grew into an intensely studious man who appeared to prefer a life devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and culture than a normal association with his fellows. In 1734 Aram opened a school at Knaresborough and for some years led a respectable life. But a few years later he made the acquaintance of three men of utterly different calibre, Richard Houseman, Henry Terry and Daniel Clarke, men of shady and suspicious character. In 1744 Clarke disappeared, and although numerous enquiries were made and searches set afoot, his whereabouts remained a mystery. Shortly afterwards Aram vanished from his neighbourhood and was not heard of again for several years until in 1758 some bones, believed to be those of Clarke, were discovered. Houseman, who was suspected as a murderer, broke down under examination and named Aram as Clarkes assassin, and as a result a search for the schoolmaster began. He was at length discovered at Lynn, Norfolk, was apprehended by constables and brought to York. In August 1759, Aram and Houseman faced trial in York castle, charged with the murder of Clarke, Houseman turned king's evidence and blackened Aram's character by every means he could use. The schoolmaster was found guilty and on very circumstantial evidence, and in our own time he would certainly have been acquitted. He conducted his own defence and read a long, carefully reasoned and ingenious statement to the judge. It was, however, and unfortunately for the wretched schoolmaster, not considered strong enough to prove his innocence. The night before his death, Aram attempted suicide by means of a razor, but was revived and conveyed to the gallows on York Knavesmire. A paper was discovered in his cell and on which the Knaresborough schoolmaster had penned the following :

"Come pleasing rest ! Eternal slumber fall !
Seal mine, that once must seal the eyes of all,
Calm and composed, my soul her journey takes,
~No guilt that troubles, and no heart that aches,
Adieu, thou sun ! all bright, like her arise,
Adieu, fair friends ! and all that's good and wise."

Where was built a bridge for the sake of love?
A bridge was constructed near Glaisdale by a certain Tom Ferris to span the Esk. He had loved and courted a local freeman's daughter though the father forbade the association and swore he would never permit the girl to marry a beggar. There being no bridge across the river at the time, Tom was obliged to swim across the Esk to see his sweetheart and vowed that when he became rich he would build one for others. He kept his word, married the girl of his heart and carved his initials and the date 1619 on the parapet of the bridge.

Where is the holy well supposed to be that was associated with the death of a king?
At Bardsey. Wilfar's well is believed to be connected with the death of king Oswin.

Where are the remains of an old oak tree considered to be 1,000 years old?
At Cowthorpe, near Wetherby. Of Cowthorpe Oak, Dugdale, in his "Antiquities of England," wrote : "At this village may be seen the famous oak, exceeding in size even the Greendale oak at Welbeck in Nottinghamshire. The principal branch was rent off in 1718 in a storm, and being accurately measured was found to contain upwards of five tons of timber. Its present circumference at the ground is 60 feet, its principal limb extends 45 feet from the trunk, and its shadow is said to cover half an acre." The tree is now a mere skeleton.

At what Yorkshire inn did the landlord lose his licence for harbouring thieves and vagabonds on his premises?
The landlord of the ancient Blue Bell at Wentbridge 350 years ago lost his licence as a result of encouraging criminals and unlawful characters on his premises. The licence was however, restored in 1633 and until recent times the old sign was preserved by the landlord who retained it for curious sightseers, a much-battered and worn relic bearing the crude painting of a bell and the date 1633.

Where did a witty innkeeper warn his customers in verse?
At an inn in Silkstone where the following notice, placed on the mantelpiece, may be read by all :

"Customers came and I did trust 'em,
I lost my money and my custom,
To lose them both it grieved me sore,
So I'm resolved to trust no more.
Chalk is good, say what you will,
But chalk ne'er paid the maltser's bill,
I'll strive to keep a decent tap,
For ready money, but - no strap."

Which old hall was once haunted by a skull?
Burton Agnes Hall, near Bridlington. The disturbances were the result of a broken promise made by two surviving sisters at the death bed of the third, Anne Boynton. The dying woman had begged that her head be severed from her body after death and buried within the precincts of the home she loved so well. Her sisters, however, either regarding the request as something emanating from a confused mind on the brink of eternity, or recoiling at the execution of such a task, broke their promise. The result was nights of disturbance and terror for both sisters and servants, until at length the promise was honoured and the skull of Anne taken into the house, after which peace and tranquillity were restored.

Which catholic place of worship remained free and unmolested during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I?
The chapel, dedicated to St. Leonard, which adjoins Hazelwood castle near Tadcaster, and founded in 1286 by Sir William Vavasour, the first baron. The chapel, a venerable building, never suffered despoliation and closure, nor its worshippers prosecution during the stormy periods of religious intolerance during the 16th and 17th centuries. This was perhaps due to the fact that one of the Vavasours supplied timber from his estate for the building of a fleet to meet the Armada of Spain. Stone was also given for the construction of York minster by Robert Le Vavasour. The chapel contains some fine 16th century marble tombs and statues of members of this ancient family.

Which theatre is haunted by the apparition of a nun?
The Theatre Royal at York, which is tenanted by a ghost known as the grey lady. The building occupies the site upon which St. Leonards Hospital stood in ancient times and where a nun is believed to have been walled up in her cell, a section of which now forms part of the Dress Circle coffee lounge. Several people claim to have seen the restless lady whose appearance is always accompanied by a sharp fall in temperature.

Who claimed to have invented the first straw hat?
Isobel Denton of Beeston, Leeds. She produced the first model in the reign of Charles I, having as a spouse a wastrel husband which necessitated her labour to provide for several children. The new mode met with great success and soon involved a very large turnover.

What and where is Cromwell Gap?
A gap in the hedge on Clump Hill on the southern edge of Marston Moor battlefield. The vacant space is now filled by a gate and tradition tells us that on July 2nd, 1644, the royalists, hotly pursued by the forces of Cromwell's Iron-sides, fled in panic through the opening. It is claimed that since the event nothing will grow on the spot.

Which Yorkshire mansions are reputedly haunted by female apparitions?
Temple Newsam and Newburgh priory. In the former instance the Blue Damsak Bedroom is haunted by the ghost of a lady dressed in blue and wearing a beautiful lace shawl. She has been seen by many, including the late Lord Halifax. The old mansion houses other phantoms, including a little boy who steps out of a cupboard and a malevolent-looking monk. At Newburgh priory the ghost of a lady in crinoline is seen on rare occasions. Her visits are by tradition a warning of the owner's death. The priory contains a room which according to legend, is cursed. It is known as the Unfinished room, and many attempts have been made to complete it without success.

Where was a gold ring found in the heart of a turnip many years after it was lost?
At Northallerton in 1798 when the cook of a Mrs. Metcalf, in cutting open a turnip, found in its heart a gold ring which had been lost during weeding twelve years previously.

Who was "The Factory King" who laboured for the abortion of child exploitation in industry?
Richard Oastler, who was born in Leeds in 1789, and who with others campaigned vigorously on behalf of children in mills and factories who in his day were literally worked to death. A humane and sensitive man, Oastler, who was the son of a Thirsk linen merchant, had been much influenced by John Wesley and agitated unceasingly to ameliorate conditions for factory children. He died in Harrogate in 1861 and was buried in Kirkstall Curchyard. A statue to his memory was erected in Bradford.

Where has a fire supposed to have burned continuously for 300 years?
At the Falcon Inn on the Scarborough-Whitby road.

Who was the Leeds goldsmith who made the city's mace and was later hanged for coining?
Arthur Mountjoy of Briggate who was paid £60-11-0 for his work on the mace. Two years later he was found guilty of coining and hanged at York.

Who spent 43 years in prison for refusing to answer a question?
John Dunfreni, a Leeds merchant, who was sent to prison in 1813 for refusing to answer a question under commission of bankruptcy taken out against him. He died in 1856, having spent 43 years in gaol.

Who exhibited what was described as a "magic stove"?
A certain Monsieur Soyer who demonstrated his stove at the warehouse of Beecroft, Butler and Co., Leeds. It was claimed that the stove was capable of cooking six mutton chops a minute. The food consumed by visitors at the demonstration included 150 pounds of meat, 570 eggs and several bottles of wine.

Where did an ass drive a preacher from his pulpit?
At Luddenden Dean Wesleyan Chapel one Sunday in August, 1830. As the minister announced the text, "and the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said into the Balaam. . ."he suddenly dropped his bible and in horror fled from the building through a side door. To the astonishment of the congregation an ass quietly walked up the aisle towards the empty pulpit, evidently driven by a swarm of bees which covered the animal, to seek refuge in the building at a most inappropriate moment.

Who was the bishop who wrote a poem denouncing the evils of war and which was quoted in the House of Lords?
Bishop Porteus, who was born at York in 1731. His poem was quoted by a noble lord during a debate in the House of Lords.

"One murder makes a villain,
Millions a hero ! Princes are privileged
To kill, and numbers sanctify the crime.
Ah ! will Kings forget that they are men?
And men that they are brethren? Why delight
In human sacrifice ? Why burst the ties
Of nature, that should knit their souls
In one soft bond of amity and love ?
They yet still breathe destruction, still go on,
Inhumanely ingenious to find out
New pains for life, new terrors for the grave.
Artificers of death ! Still monarchs dream
Of universal empire, growing up
From universal ruin. Blast the design,
Unpitied victims at Ambition's Shrine."
Great God of Hosts ! Nor let thy creatures fall

Who was confined as a prisoner in his father's cellar for fifteen years?  
Benjamin Storr, a young man of thirty, who was discovered in the year 1819 chained to the wall in the cellar of his father's house in Leeds. Storr had been forcibly kept in these distressing circumstances over a period of fifteen years. A few stacks and a heap of straw represented his bed, whilst the wretched rations he had been provided with had reduced his physical condition to that little better than a skeleton. He had not been washed for several years and was so emaciated that his bones in several places had penetrated the skin. He died thirteen days after removal to the workhouse.

Who was known as "Blind Jack?"
John Metcalf, who was born at Knaresborough in 1717 and was remarkable for his achievements. He lost his sight as the result of smallpox when a child of six, but which misfortune did not prevent his engaging in a number of enterprises. He soon became well-known as a swimmer, hunter, racer, fiddler, card player, cock fighter and a reliable guide to travellers. Metcalf seemed to know the countryside by heart and would travel between Skipton and Knaresborough without difficulty. In one occasion he travelled alone and on foot from London to Knaresborough. He was accustomed to visit the coast, being in the fish trade, and once rode from Knaresborough to Newcastle in a day, a distance of 74 miles. Metcalf eloped with a Miss Benson, whose parents kept an inn at Harrogate and where the young lady was to marry a rival. The couple lived in great happiness for 39 years. In 1745, in the days of the Scottish pretender, the blind man marched away to Scotland with local volunteers, his beloved fiddle on his back, later returning to Knaresborough unscathed, where in 1754 he opened a stage wagon service between York and Knaresborough. Metcalf later became a contractor and constructor of highways, undertaking work all over the country. Some examples of his work are the turnpike road between Harrogate and Boroughbridge, Harrogate to Harewood bridge, Chapletown to Leeds, two miles of Burley road, the road between Huddersfield and Wakefield and that between Huddersfield and Halifax. He also undertook the lengthening of Sheepscar Bridge. Metcalf finally retired to Spofforth, having lost his wife in 1778, and lived for the rest of his life with his daughter. He died in 1810 in his ninety-third year, leaving four children, twenty grandchildren and ninety great and great great grandchildren. His remains lie in the old churchyard at Spofforth on the north side of the church, the headstone of the grave bearing the following epitaph :

"Here lies John Metcalf, on whose infant sight
Fell the dark pressure of an endless night,
Yet such the fervour of his dauntless mind
His limbs full strength, his spirit unconfined,
That ere yet life's border years began
His sightless efforts mark'd the aspiring man.
Nor marked in vain-high deed his manhood dared
And commerce, travel, both his ardour shar'd
'Twas his, a guide's unerring aid to lend,
O'er trackless wastes to bid new roads extend.
And when rebellion reared her giant size
'Twas his to burn with patriot enterprise,
For parting wife and babes one pang to feel,
When welcome the danger for his country's weal.
Reader, like him adore the bounteous hand of heaven."
The supernatural & paranormal is out there.

(ADMIN) madmart

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:06 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

In what historic building did hundreds of Jews die in tragic circumstances?
In Clifford's Tower, York in 1190. A large number of the Jewish community, seeking refuge from an incensed mob led by frantics, barricaded themselves in the tower, and fearing a treacherous plot refused the governor admission. The result was an assault upon the place by force of arms, and the mob, taking advantage, seized the opportunity and took the law into their own hands. The Jews, terrified and driven to a final extremity, cut the throats of their wives and children, then killed themselves.

What is Leeming Lane?
It is part of the great northern highway and a section of the old Roman road known as Watling Street which runs northwards from York. Leeming Lane, which covers twenty-six miles from Boroughbridge to Scotch Corner, is practically a straight line and almost completely level. It is one of the finest stretches of road in the country, has many old inns dating back to the heyday of coaching and was in past times the haunt of highwaymen and footpads.

Who was Joe Rogue?
A miser who died in 1790 at Rigton, near Otley. His real name was Joseph Holmes and he died worth £550, a considerable sum in those times. Holmes boasted that he had never done a day's work in his life nor never spent a single farthing on food and clothing, succeeding in begging all the necessities of existence.

In what Yorkshire city did the plague infect the locality so severely as to cause birds to fall from the air?
In Leeds in 1644. Dr Whitaker wrote: " The air in June when the greatest number died, was very warm, and so infectious that dogs and cats, mice and rats died, also several birds in flight over the town dropped down dead." In that year 1,335 persons died of plague.

What and where is Nevison's Leap? It is a deep chasm through which now runs a modern highway on the outskirts of Pontefract. Nevison, the Yorkshire highwayman, when hotly pursued by constables, put his mount to the jump and made a desperate but successful escape. He thus eluded his would-be captors who in fear turned back. The spot has borne his name ever since.

Where did a thunderstorm coat candle-snuffers with gold?
At Harewood in 1787 and due to the extraordinary effect of lightning. Scratchard wrote of the affairs that follows: "A very worthy person, one George Fawcett, a hatter of Birstall, whom I well knew, especially as an excellent singer, happened to call at Harewood for payment of a bill when a thunderstorm came on. A number of sovereigns were laid, with notes, upon a table, when an awful flash alarmed the reckoners and caused them to retire. Upon re-approaching the money it was discovered that a guinea or a sovereign was gone, and it occasioned some explanation, Fawcett denying that he had touched the cash, and his customer averring that he had counted it out and left it. The former, I believe, with his usual generosity, good temper and forbearance, gave up the point, and the other had no qualm of conscience for, on reaching down the candle-snuffers, the same evening, which hung upon a nail, the good housewife discovered them to be almost as finely gilded as though working a goldsmith had done the job. These snuffers are, I understand, still shown at Harewood. An equal astonishment was once excited at Horsforth but I forget the particulars."

Who was the hangman who became a rigid opponent of capital punishment?
James Berry, who lived in Bradford and who carried out 130 executions in the period 1884-1892. He described himself as "Executioner of England." Berry made efforts to make the hanging of criminals a more speedy and humane affair, and which was written about in "The Reluctant Hangman" by Justin Atholl. In spite of the hardening effect of his office, Berry, upon retiring, embarked upon a campaign which urged the abolition of hanging, and gave many lectures upon the subject. He also became a fervent Methodist. His neighbours, however, did not relish his presence, and one by one vacated the row of houses, one of which was occupied by Berry. The latter solved the problem by buying the lot and letting them to new tenants.

Where is a house believed to have been given as a reward for murder?
"Broadgates," Barnard Castle, an interesting old Tudor building on the hill and dating from about 1483, though the kitchen, dining hall and dungeon are much older. The house is believe to have been a gift from Richard III to one of the murderers of the Princes in the tower. The cellars are 80 feet below ground, the dungeon being hewn out of solid rock and which once contained a torture chamber. Until recently, "Broadgates" was a museum and housed a fine collection of furniture of the Elizabethan and Stuart periods. After Marston Moor, Cromwell, on his way to Richmond, spent a night there.

Who was the Yorkshireman described as "the morning star of the reformation"?
John Wycliffe, the great reformer, who was born at Hipswell near Richmond and who became a leader of the religious sect known as Lollards. Wycliffe did much to carry his message to lowly and simple folk; he was a man of deep faith, great courage and character, and was unswerving in his opposition of the Papacy. Fuller wrote of Wycliffe : " His enemies thought that by burning his bones and scattering them in the swift, they should destroy his name and doctrine. But no! The swift carried them into the Avon, the Avon into the Severn, the Severn into the ocean and the ocean round the world." Wycliffe died in 1384, struck down with Palsy whilst preaching. His remains suffered the indignity of exhumation thirteen years later and were scattered upon a dunghill.

Where was the first mental hospital founded for the humane treatment of the criminally insane?
At York in the eighteenth century by William Tuke, a Quaker, and out of compassion for the mentally impaired who were brutally treated in this day. Tuke founded the Retreat with the aid of other friends, and which made such an impression that in 1815 the government were moved to appoint a committee to enquire into the conduct of madhouses.

What great cathedral was set on fire by a lunatic?
The minster at York was fired in 1829 by Jonathon Martin, a native of Hexham. Martin, who hated the form and ritual of the established church, laboured under a delusion and believed himself divinely appointed to burn down the minster. Damage to the extent of £70,000 was done and several fire engines were necessary to bring the conflagration under control. A reward of £100 was offered for the name of the culprit, who was finally apprehended and found to be insane. Martin had previously threatened to shoot the Bishop of Oxford.

Who was the Swaledale doctor who spent his life striving for the welfare of mankind?
Doctor John Fothergill, a Quaker. The doctor threw his energies into such causes as the anti-slavery movement, prison reform, cleaner air, and advocated vaccination to prevent smallpox. Fothergill campaigned for peace during the war of independence and did much to found medical schools in America. He was a famous botanist and a great student and healer. He bought an old Ackworth hospital and with the great help of other friends found the Ackworth friends' school. During his life the doctor gave away considerable sums in support of healthy and humane causes and possessed but a modest fortune at the end of his life.

Where is the house on the rock?
At Knaresborough and which was built by Sir Thomas Hill in 1770. Sixteen years were spent in the construction of this unusual house which is hewn out of solid rock on the cliff face, the material removed being used for the construction of the frontage. Fort Montague, by which name it is known, has stood for two centuries in what appears to be a precarious position, but without serious mishap. Thousands of visitors and tourists visit the place each year.

What and where is Wainright's Folly?
A tower situated on Skircoat Green, Halifax. It was built by the owner of the dye works who chose the elevated site in order to obtain a strong draught for the fires. However, as a result of a disagreement with the owner of the land, Wainwright did not complete the work, and placed on the summit of the chimney a decorative pediment, intending the structure to mock and annoy the landowner and overlook the estate. The chimney's height is 240 feet and its cost was £2,000.

Where is Shandy Hall?
At Coxwold in the Hambledon Hills. Laurence Sterne, who was an incumbent of Coxwold, lived here during the eighteenth century and where he wrote "Tristam Shandy" and "The Sentimental Journey." Shandy Hall, a fine example of Tudor architecture, is set in delightful old-world surroundings.

Where is the effigy of an archbishop with a stolen fiddle?
The effigy is in the crypt of York Minster and that is of Archbishop Blackburne (1658-1743). He is supposed to have had a rather exciting and romantic career as a young man and Horace Walpole wrote of him : "The jolly old Archbishop of York had all the manners of a man of quality though he had been a buccaneer, and was a clergyman, though he retained nothing of his first profession except his seraglio." Blackburne, whose name, according to the story told of him, was Ruggins, ran away from Cambridge when a young man with a stolen fiddle and played his way to London. After many adventures he became a pirate in the West Indes, but later entered the church and was finally enthroned as Archbishop of York. Here his conscience pricked him and caused him to return the fiddle to its rightful owner in a beautiful case.

Where did Oliver Cromwell sit all night under the pistols of a woman?
At Ripley Castle after Marston Moor. Cromwell was an unwanted guest and intruder, and Lady Ingilby, whose Royalist husband was absent with the Kings forces, had the deepest hatred and mistrust for the parliamentary general. With a brace of pistols in her apron-strings her Ladyship sat out the night at one end of a long refrectory table whilst her husbands enemy sat at the other.

What Yorkshire industry brought forth a curse from the Pope?
The alum industry, started at Guisborough by Sir Thomas Chaloner in the late sixteenth century. Sir Thomas, during a visit to Italy, became interested in the production of alum and decided to found a similar works on his estate in Yorkshire. The production of alum was at the time an Italian monopoly, and in addition to setting up as a rival, Sir Thomas had persuaded a number of the Popes skilled workmen to came to Yorkshire. The result was a curse from his holiness on Sir Thomas and all his works.

Who was the oldest Yorkshireman?
So far as it is known, the oldest Yorkshireman, and in all probability the oldest Englishman on record was Henry Jenkins, who claimed to have been born at Borton on Swale in 1501, and who died in 1670. Born in humble circumstances, Jenkins earned a living as a labourer and fisherman, and according to himself enjoyed good health all his life. Though births were not registered in his time, Jenkins lived to a great age, several very old men and women speaking of him as being an age man in the days of their childhood. An obelisk was raised to his memory in the churchyard at Bolton in 1743.

Where did the theft of dripping result in a serious public disturbance?
At Leeds in February 1865. A woman, having stole a small quantity of dripping from her employer, was charged with the theft and imprisoned. As a result, popular feeling ran riot and a large crowd of incensed citizens collected outside the goal and demanded her release. So great did the gathering become and so ugly was the mood of the sympathisers that the city authorities became seriously alarmed. Additional police were sent from Bradford and a strong body of cavalry from York. Charges were made against the demonstrators and which resulted in one man being trampled to death and many injured, including the chief constable.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:10 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

At whose funeral were a thousand sixpence's and loaves distributed among the poor?
This was done, according to the annual register for August, 1760, at the funeral of farmer Keld at Whitby. The menu at the funeral feast which followed the interment including the following items : "One hundred penny loaves, eight large hams, eight legs of veal, twenty stone of beef, sixteen stone of mutton, fifteen stone of Cheshire cheese and thirty ankers of ale."

What is the York cap of maintenance?
The headgear worn by custom on the head of the swordbearer on ceremonial occasions. It is removed only in the presence of the King or Queen and remains on the swordbearers head during divine service and the playing of the national anthem. The trimming of ermine on the present cap was cut from the robes of King George V.

Which inn held the reputation of being the best in the north?
The Swan at Ferrybridge, which in spite of its rivals, the Angel, the Golden Lion and the Greyhound, was not only the best coaching inn in the neighbourhood but the most luxurious in the north. Scott wrote : " in 1737 and since, the best inn upon the great northern road."

Which church claimed to be the longest in Yorkshire?
That at Warmsworth, the steeple being half a mile from the rest of the building and due to the fact that both portions were built separately.

Where and when did a mob parade an effigy of an Archbishop through the streets of York?
On May 16th, 1832, when an excited crowd carried an effigy and caricature of the Archbishop on a pole through the city's streets and marched to the palace at Bishopthorpe. Here a number of the wildest spirits seriously damaged the clock at the lodge, forced the gates which were locked against them, tore up the plants and young trees in the grounds and smashed a number of windows in the palace. A large force of military were sent to quell the disturbance and the mob, having burned the effigy, dispersed.

What and where was the Bill O' Jacks?
It was a wayside tavern in the Vale of Greenfield, near Huddersfield, and where on April 2nd, 1832, William Bradbury, the landlord, and his son were found to have been mysteriously murdered. Though a number of individuals were examined and their movements carefully checked, the affair remained a complete mystery. The remains of the two victims were buried in Saddleworth churchyard.

Where was a man buried ten years after his leg had been interred?
In the churchyard at Richmond. Robert Willance, a local merchant, when riding home met with an accident which necessitated the amputation of a leg. This was buried in the churchyard and followed by the rest of the owners body after his death. Curiously enough, Willance erected memorial stones where his horse had taken leaps on Whitcliffe Scar at the time of the accident.

What was the Halifax gibbet law?
"The inhabitants within the forest of Hardwick had a custom," wrote Bentley, in his history of Halifax, "from the time immemorial that if a felon was taken within their Liberty, with goods, stolen out or within the liberty of the said forest, either hand-habend, back-berand, or confessed any commodity of the value of thirteen pence halfpenny, he should after three market days or meeting days, within the town of Halifax, next after such apprehension, and being condemned, be taken to the Gibbet, and have his head cut off from his body." The Halifax gibbet, which was a forerunner of the instrument perfected by Dr. Guillotine in France for the humane execution of felons, was fifteen feet high and erected on a stone platform. This platform, which was reached by a number of steps, is preserved on its original site at Halifax, in Gibbet Street. Gibbet law was in force from 1541 to 1650, and during that period the dread instrument claimed 49 victims.

Who was the Yorkshire Dalesman who though of humble origin became Lord Mayor of London?
Sir William Craven, who was born at Appletreewick in 1548 and who walked to London to seek his fortune, becoming a draper there and amassing considerable wealth. Never forgetting his place of birth and the Yorkshire folk at home, Sir William endowed a grammar school at Appletreewick and renovated and improved the church at Burnsall. He died in 1618.

In which Yorkshire castle did the murderers of Thomas-a-Beckett seek refuge?
In the castle at Knaresborough. The four knights who murdered the Archbishop in 1170 fled to Yorkshire after the crime and hid in the castle. They later received a pardon on condition of their performing a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Who suffered death by hanging after prophesying the downfall of King John?
Peter of Pomfret (Pontefract) who in 1213 foretold that the king would lose his crown later that year. He was arrested on the king's orders and imprisoned in Corfe Castle, afterwards being dragged behind horses to Warham where he was hanged with his son.

Which Yorkshire castles served as prisons for an English Queen in the sixteenth century?
The castles of Bolton and Sheffield. Mary Queen of Scots spent two years in Bolton Castle, 1568-1569, and was from there removed to Sheffield Castle where the ill-fated queen spent fourteen years.

Which Yorkshire City founded and built a chapel on one of its bridges?
Wakefield, where in 1356 a chapel was erected on one of the City's bridges. Leland in his "Tour," commented as follows: "The first bridge of stone of nine arches under which runneth the Calder, and on the east side of this bridge is a right goodly chapel of our lady, and two chantry priests founded in it, of the foundation of the Townsmen as some say, but the Dukes of York were taken as founders for obtaining the mortmain." In 1847 the west front was rebuilt and the window traceries renewed.

Who was the Shepherd Lord?
Henry Clifford, a son of Lord John de Clifford of Skipton Castle, also known as Butcher Clifford, a Lancastrian leader killed at Towton. After the victory of the Yorkists, Henry, a lad seven years old, was taken by his mother to her family's estate at Londesborough, as a means of protecting the boy from his father's enemies. There the boy lived, disguised as a shepherd, denied education and the refinements of culture. In 1466 he was secretly removed to Cumberland where he remained, knowing nothing but a life of the rustic until 1485. In that year the defeat of the Yorkists and the crowning of Henry VII restored the estates to the Cliffords. Henry Clifford returned to Skipton as a young man and resided at Barden Tower where his time was divided between study under the guidance of the canons of Bolton, hunting, and the study of natural history. He died in 1523 after distinguishing himself at the battle of Flodden.

Which Yorkshire mansion is connected with the founding of an American state?
Kiplin Hall in the North Riding, designed by Inigo Jones and built in 1620. Many members of a party of 300 colonists left here in 1633 for the New World and founded the state of Maryland, name after Henrietta Maria, Queen of Charles I.

Where are kept the oldest fire engine in England and a chest with nine locks?
In Knaresborough castle. The engine is worked by hand-operated levers and is almost entirely wooden. The chest, which is Norman, could not be opened unless the nine individuals, each responsible for a lock, were present.

Who was the miser who wrecked his own property for love of money? Sir John Cutler who acquired Harewood Castle from the Wentworths. Every removable piece of timber was sold by the old miser, in the process of which he reduced the stately pile to a mere ruin.

Where did a scroll of paper assume the form of a monkey and then that of a Turkey Cock?
At York castle in March, 1687. The story comes from the pen of Sir John Reresby who in his memoirs recorded the following extraordinary occurrence "An old woman was condemned for a witch, those who were more credulous, in points of this nature than myself, conceived the evidence to be very strong against her. The boy she was said to have bewitched fell down on a sudden before the court when he saw her, and then would as suddenly return to himself again, and very distinctly relate the several injuries she had done him. But in all this, the boy, it was observed, was free from any distortion, that he did not foam at the mouth, and that his fits did not leave him, so that on the whole, the judge thought it proper to reprieve her, in which he seemed to act the part of a wise man. But though such is my private opinion, I cannot help continuing my story. One of my soldiers being on guard, about eleven in the night, at the gate of Clifford Tower, the very night after the witch was arraigned, he heard a great noise at the castle, and going to the porch he there saw a scroll of paper creep under the door, which as he imagined in the moonshine, turned first into the shape of a monkey, and thence assumed the shape of a Turkey Cock, which passed to and fro by him. Surprised at this, he went to the prison and called the under-keeper, who came and saw the scroll dance up and down, and creep under the door, where there was scarce an opening of the thickness of half a crown. This extraordinary story I had from the mouth of the one and the other, and now leave it to be believed, as the reader may be inclined, this way or that."

Who was Mary of Romanby?
A serving-maid employed at a large house in the village of Romanby, near Northallerton, early in the eighteenth century. Mary's employer was a man of local repute and position but was secretly the leader of a gang of coiners. A chance discovery by Mary of the hidden den wherein her master and his fellow-coiners operated proved to be fateful for the girl. She made the mistake of communicating this knowledge to a third party which before long reached the ears of her master. One Sunday Mary received an urgent message to the effect that her mother was dying, and the girl, leaving her master's house at once, left her bible open at the page she had been reading. A passage which she had marked and which unhappily was only too significant was Job 7, verse 21 : "For now I shall sleep in the dust, and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be." Mary Ward was never seen again. She disappeared during her journey home. Tradition says she was murdered near Morton Bridge, a spot at which her restless spirit in the past has been seen by many.

"For Mary's spirit wanders there,
In snowy robe array'd,
To tell each trembling villager,
Where sleeps the murdered maid."

What is considered to be the finest example of a fortified medieval manor house in the North of England?
Markenfield Hall, which stands about a mile west of the Harrogate-Ripon road and dates from the fourteenth century. Although the old hall has in modern times become a farm, it still retains an atmosphere of old times. The drawbridge has gone and been replaced by a stone bridge which leads to a gatehouse, but the moat, upon which the ducks now sail happily, is still there, as are the battlements, the old courtyard and domestic buildings. The hall contains a fine old banqueting hall, a chapel and a turret, from which no doubt in unsettled times a look-out scanned the countryside. The building is a gem of its kind and period and one hopes its ancient walls will weather many long years into the distant future. Its builder was John de Markenfield, who chose the site for his house in 1310. The Markenfields were great warriors and from the old hall Sir Thomas rode away to support Bolinbroke who had landed at Ravenspur. Sir Ninian with his tenants fought at Flodden in 1513 "in armour cote of cunynge work." In 1536 a Markenfield took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace and another participated in the Rising of the North. The last event brought to an end in the Halls ownership by the Markenfields. Elizabeth, as a punishment, took it from their hands and presented it to Lord Egerton. Since then proud old Markenfield has had many owners, its present one being Lord Grantley.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:17 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

Where was a funeral held and a wife buried who returned alive to her home the same evening?
At Halifax in the 1770's. The wife of a local citizen, who lived at Lower Shaw Hill, Halifax, having died, a funeral was held at the parish church and a coffin lowered into a vault. The sexton, however, to whom fell the task of filling in the grave, was not an individual with the strongest of scruples, and having noticed some valuable rings on the fingers of the corpse decided to complete the task the following day. Under cover of darkness the grave digger returned, and by the light of the lantern lifted the lid of the coffin in anticipation of enriching himself with several valuable rings. To his horror, upon her rings being touched, the supposedly dead woman sat upright and stared the fellow full in the face, the fresh air having revived the woman who was not dead but in a trance. The sexton fleeing, the now much alive body arose and made for her home, draped in a shroud and to all appearances like some dread phantom. Knocking upon the window of her home in a peremptory manner, the door was at length opened by a sleepy-eyed maidservant who was greeted by her mistress with " Let me in, I am your mistress." "Nay," replied the girl, "My mistress was buried today," and forthwith acquainted the master of the house with the astonishing facts, who was overjoyed to welcome back a dear wife he had presumed dead. No action was taken where the sexton was concerned, both husband and wife no doubt considering themselves much in his debt. Mr. E. S. Walker, who was editor of the "Halifax Guardian" made careful research and checked records relating to the astonishing event. These he found to be completely reliable. The story was related in the parish church magazine in 1881.

Which was the first regular newspaper established in Yorkshire?
"The Leeds Mercury" which was founded in 1718 and published weekly on Tuesday by John Hirst "over against Kirkgate-end." In its early days the paper consisted of twelve small quarto pages, the first of which bore the impression of a rude woodcut representing the Golden Fleece, and a corpulent old postman wearing a low-crowned, broad-brimmed hat and blowing a horn as he galloped on an old nag. The paper ceased to appear in 1755 but was again published in 1767.

Where was discovered a cave which served as a residence for a savage?
A contemporary report in 1779 gives us the following : "About this time, a man passing by Hathershelf Scout, observed his dog enter a narrow aperture, supposing him to have caught the scent of a fox, he pursued and found the opening gradually expand into a small cave, where he found not a fox but savage, who barred all further approach by a pistol. The astonished discoverer withdrew, but quickly returned with some assistants, one of whom boldly entered and secured the inhabitant of the cave. The reason for his choice of the unknown retirement now appeared. It was a repository of stolen goods, among which were two surplices taken from the parish church of Rochdale, with a scarlet hood of a doctor of divinity. The plate stolen at the same time had been previously discovered in another place. The cave was not large enough for the reception of living oxen, but it was copiously stored with slaughtered animal food, properly cured for a long concealment. The ruffian thus extricated from his lurking-place was transported for life."

Where was found a subterranean prison beneath a public house?
In York in 1816 where, demolishing an old inn named the "Hole In The Wall", workmen broke through into an underground chamber a few feet below the ground surface. A flight of stone steps led down to a pair of heavy oaken doors, each five inches thick, and beyond which was discovered a dungeon thirty-two feet long and nine feet in breadth. In the wall were narrow and sloping windows and in the masonry the remains of iron staples. Further examination the following year exposed a stone bearing a rude carving bearing saxon characters and representing a man in the agonies of death surrounded by demons.

Who was buried in his own field?

Jonathon Walsh who died in Halifax in 1823. Walsh, in accordance with his will, was buried in his on field, as far as possible, as had been his wish, from the grave of his wife who had four years previously was buried in the opposite corner. Walsh, who owned Coldwell Hill Farm, was a rough and eccentric character and no stranger to the use of obscene language and, moreover, had a passion for the property of others which frequently landed him in court actions. It was said of him that he would rather spend a pound on law than a penny on ale. His court actions cost him over a hundred pounds. He had a fondness for riding a mule on local journeys and was not averse to making use of his hunting crop upon those who crossed his path. On one occasion Walsh rode to Leeds in an old chaise loaded with bricks and a dirty old sett-pan. He left his land to the six year old son of his daughter.

Where did a girl's dress save her from death?
At Almscliffe in Wharfedale. A young maiden, having quarrelled with her lover, determined on suicide and leapt from the top of Almscliffe Crag. Fortunately, her crinoline filling rapidly with air, the girl was carried gently to the ground as though borne by a parachute, and no doubt profited by the experience.

Who became a household word in furniture due to his fine craftsmanship?
Thomas Chippendale, who was born in Otley in 1718, and as a result of the fine furniture he produced became famous as the finest maker of English furniture of his age. He was engaged to make furniture for Harewood House at the time of its building. Chippendale died in 1779 and was buried in the church of St. Martins-in-the-Fields.

Who was known as "The Gigantic Child"?
Isaac Butterfield, who was born in Keighley in 1782. At the age of 20 months he was three feet in height and weighed almost eight stone. He was exhibited as a gigantic child at Spring Gardens, London, where he died in February, 1783.

Who was the fox-hunter who attended meetings when a hundred years old?
George Kirkton of Oxhop Hall, Thornton, Bradford, who was born in 1644 and lived to the age of 125. He was known as an eccentric character and a most enthusiastic fox-hunter, following the chase until he was eighty and during the next forty-five years attending in a wheelchair.

Who though once wealthy and affluent, was reduced to beggary and lunacy through speculation in "The South Sea Bubble"?
Thomas Hudson, a native of Leeds, who began life as a clerk in a government office with slender prospects of material advancement. Upon the death of a wealthy aunt, Hudson inherited a large sum of money which he at once invested in the fatal "South Sea bubble." Upon the failure of the scheme and loss of his fortune Hudson left his country seat in Staffordshire where he had just buried an affectionate wife and, with a mind unhinged, travelled to London where he lead the life of a wandering mendicant, becoming a familiar figure in the fields of Chelsea where he would wander wrapped in a rug, without shoes on his feet and leaning upon a crutch. He gave himself a nickname and was known as "Tom of Ten Thousand." Hudson died in 1767.

Who described the people of Huddersfield as the wildest he had ever seen?
John Wesley, who in his journal wrote in 1757 : "I rode over the mountains to Huddersfield. A wilder people I never saw in England, the men, women and children filled the streets as we rode along and appeared just ready to devour us. They were, however, tolerably quiet while I preached, only a few pieces of dirt were thrown."

Who by traditional custom were carried to the place of burial by torchlight?
The members of the Kitchenman family who resided at Allerton Hall, Chapeltown, Leeds, for 400 years. The Hall was the largest and most ancient mansion in the district and contained sixty rooms. For upwards of four centuries the Kitchenmans were carried from the Hall after death by torchlight and interred in the choir of St. Peters Church in Leeds. A huge chandelier of thirty-six branches was by custom lit on such occasions, the chamber hung with black velvet. The entire company was supplied with gloves and scarves, biscuits and sack generously distributed. Fifty pounds was given to the poor. There is a tradition that Charles I lay concealed in the house before going to Leeds.

What great chronographer and maker of maps is supposed to have been a native of Leeds?
Christopher Saxton. Thoresby wrote of him : "As long as that celebrated author is owned the Prince of our English antiquaries, and his Brittanica whereat our modern writers lighted their torches, the fame of Saxton will survive."

When did wolves roam in the neighbourhood of Leeds?
It was recorded that the last wolf of Leeds was killed during a hunt held by the Duke of Lancaster in 1306. A wayside inn was built upon the spot and named the "John O' Gaunt" in memory of the event. The inn stood on the main Leeds and Pontefract road, three miles from the latter town.

What body was refused burial at a Leeds church and lay exposed in the churchyard for ten days?
Richard Lumbye of Chapletown. An entry in the register of burials gives the following details : "1584, Dec. Rychard Lumbye, of the Chippletowne, being a Papist, not comyng to the church the space of xig years, being indyted at the gen'all and peace sessions vpo the statue, pscuted as the … of Papists, axcommunycated, Dyed at Chippletowne the third day of December, and was by hys kynsfolk and neighbours brought towards the churche to be buryed, but at the church yerd stopped by the vicar and churchwardeners, the corps remained till the tenthe day of the same month at night, and hys friends could not gett lycens to burye hym, going to York for yt purpose, hys said corps was in the night conveyed to the south east side of the church, and thrown over the wall among th enettles, and buryed."

Who was the goldsmith who set fire to his house and hanged himself in the flames?
An Irishman named Richard Commons who lived in Halifax in 1623 and who was described as " a common drunkard and blasphemer of God's holy word." Commons, having spent all he possessed in riotous living, and in a drunken state, set alight some straw in the house, and hanged himself in the midst of the flames. He was buried at the crossroads a little above the town and now known as"Goldsmith's Grave." His house, which was saved from destruction, later became the Angel Inn.

Who upon being shown his fathers skull collapsed and died? The son of a certain Captain Lister, whose father, an officer in the parliamentary army, was killed during a battle at Tadcaster in 1642. The son, when passing through Tadcaster, asked the sexton to show him his fathers grave. The man replied by showing the man a skull he had just dug up and contained a bullet. This, insisted the sexton, was the skull of Captain Lister. So overcome was the beholder at the sight that he collapsed on the spot and died shortly afterwards.

Who came back when supposed dead, bought his wife and sold her again?
A contemporary report of this curious affair gives the following details : "October 1st, 1827. Mr. Saml Lumb, sen. Of Sowerby, 83 years of age, was married at Halifax, to Mrs. Rachel Heap, to whom he had been previously married about 25 years before. Her first husband had entered into the army, and was at the time of her first marriage to Mr. Lumb, supposed to be dead. In a few years, however, he returned, and demanded his wife, whom he found living with Mr. Lumb, and by whom she had three children. But, after some negotiation, Heap agreed to sell her, and Mr. Lumb bought here, and she was actually delivered to him in a halter at Halifax cross. At her last marriage she was given away at the altar by Mr. Lumb's grandson. Her first husband had died the April before."

Where did a quarrel between a husband and wife provoke a serious riot and the destruction of their home?
At Sheffield, in January, 1835. A man and his wife, caretakers at the medical school, indulging in a violent quarrel which ended by the husband turning his wife into the street, resulted into the assembly of a large crowd. Cries of "Murder!" arose, which brought the police to the scene, who arrested the husband and took him to gaol. As a result of wild rumours, a huge crowd collected outside the husbands home the following morning, smashing doors and window frames and pitching into the street every article of furniture upon which they could lay their hands. The mob then set the house on fire and consigned to the flames every articles in the house which was moveable. The efforts of the police being unavailing, the military were called upon to assist in clearing the neighbourhood of the unruly mob. The house with its contents was burned to the ground, but what became of the quarrelsome couple was not reported.

Who walked a distance of 248 miles in five days and nights in a town hall?
A Miss Sykes who on a Monday evening in November, 1878, began, for no apparent reason, an endurance test involving a 248 mile walk in the town hall, Brighouse. Miss Sykes commenced to walk at 6 p.m. on the Monday evening and continued with occasional breaks until the following Saturday night, having during the first half of the walk averaged half a mile each quarter of an hour. At the conclusion of the feat a collection was taken on her behalf, a huge crowd of spectators having gathered to see the finish.

Who slept during the day and went hunting by torchlight at night?
The Duke of Bolton (Marquis of Winchester) who suffered from some mental derangement and was an odd character, to say the least of it. It was said that his peculiarities of habit and temperament dated form 1680 when he was entangled in some political troubles. A favourite indulgence of his Lordship was to hunt with his friends at night and by torchlight, sleeping off his fatigue during the day. He was famous for his dinners which frequently lasted up to twelve hours and often proved a great trial to the assembled guests, though his Lordship was indulgent enough to permit his friends to sleep in their chairs if they so desired. On no account, however, was anyone present permitted to leave the table until the host himself had risen.

Who was Hezekiah Briggs?
A Sexton and bellringer of Bingley who was buried in the churchyard in 1844. Briggs attended no fewer than seven thousand funerals and the following rather amusing epitaph appears on his own tombstone :

"Here lies an old ringer beneath the cold clay,
Who has rung many peals for serious and gay,
Bob majors and trebles with ease he could bang,
Till death called a 'bob' which brought the last clang."

Where was Brearley Hall School?
An old time private school which issued to parents the following notice which is undated :

"At Brearley Hall, Midgley, near Halifax,
A very pleasant and healthy situation,
Are genteely boarded and trained up,
With diligence and fidelity
With care and several branches
Of literature necessary for
Civil and active life by
J. Fawcett and Assistants

Board and tutorage if under 15
Years of age £15 per annum, if
Above, 16 guineas.
Entrance half a guinea and a pair of sheets.
Washing 5 shillings a quarter."

Dr Fawcett died in 1817 at Ewood Hall, Halifax.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:26 pm    Post subject: MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire" Reply with quote

MORE BELIEVE IT OR NOT facts / legends of yorkshire"

Who were the terrible knitters of Dent?
The title was given to the residents of Dent on account of a local industry - that of knitting woollen garments. It was said in past times that the folk of Dent were born knitting, and knitted their way from cradle to grave. Children knitted to and from school, their elders knitted as they went about their business and needles clicked even during their service in church.

Who was Yorkshire's most famous witch and prophetess?
Familiarly known as Mother Shipton and born near the Dropping Well, Knaresborough. She was born, according to popular tradition, in 1488, her maiden name being Ursula Southill. Much doubt has been cast on the truth of her alleged prophecies which were first published in 1641. The famous prophetess is supposed to have forecast the downfall and death of Cardinal Wolsey and many other important historical events which subsequently took place. Her best known prophecies are perhaps the following :

"Carriages without horses will go,
And accidents fill the world with woe,
Primrose in London shall be,
And in its centre Bishop's see.
Around the world thoughts shall fly,
In the twinkling of an eye.
Waters yet more wonders do,
How strange, yet shall be true.
The world upside down shall be,
And gold found at the foot of a tree.
Through hills men shall ride,
And no horse or ass be by their side.
Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride, shall sleep, shall talk.
In the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black, and in green.
A great man shall come and go
Three times shall lovely France
Be led to play a bloody dance
Before her people shall be free
Three tyrant rulers she shall see,
Three times the peoples hope is gone,
Three rulers in succession see,
Each springing from different dynasty.
Then shall the worser fight be done,
England and France shall be as one
The British olive next shall twine
In marriage with the German vine.
Men shall walk over rivers and under rivers.
Iron in the water shall float,
As easy as a wooden boat."

Over the entrance to an old inn, the Mother Shipton at Knaresborough, hangs an ancient sign bearing the following inscription painted on copper : "Near this petrifying well, I first drew breath, as records tell." This famous prophetess died in 1561, and accounts of her tell us that some time before the end of her life she foretold the day and the hour which would be her last on earth. On her last day the woman took leave of her friends, retired to her bed and awaited the call of her maker. She died age 73. A memorial stone was erected at Clifton, near York, to perpetuate her memory. It bears the following inscription : "Here lies she who never ly'd, Whose skill so often has been try'd. Her prophesies shall still survive, And ever keep her name alive."

Who bought an old desk for half a crown and discovered a fortune in it?
Dr. George Leigh, vicar of Halifax, having died in 1775, his effects were put up for auction and which included a fine old escritoire. This was sold for sixteen shillings and later resold by the purchaser to a farrier for half a crown. The new owner, intent upon making a thorough examination of the escritoire, discovered a secret cavity behind a drawer. The contents, which had no doubt been hidden for many years, comprised gold rings, silver coins, medals, three gold girdles set with brilliants, a casket of jewels and other valuable items. The total value of this treasure amounted to £5,000.

Which was the first mill to be powered by steam?
That owned by Ramsbotham, Swaine and Murgatroyd in 1798 in which was installed an engine supplying fifteen horsepower. There was at the time a very strong local prejudice against the factories, a feeling which embraced all classes and which on more than one occasion was shown forcibly by local citizens. In the case of the aforementioned mill, a man had been engaged to convey stone to the site upon which the structure was to be erected. This so incensed the onlookers as to provoke them to forceful measures, several barring the way and others seizing the horses bridal. Only the intervention of one of the partners terminated the interruption, who stripping his coat struck out at several members of the crowd, causing the gathering to disperse.

Who almost succeeded in escaping from prisons by means of a hooked nail and a piece of tin?
Thomas Wilton, alias Mountain, who was found guilty of the murder of George de Walton, Abbot of St. Mary's York, on the 30th July, 1570. Wilson, during his confinement, showed both ingenuity and a strong determination to escape from prison, succeeding in making a hole in a brick and a half partition large enough to pass through into the chapel gallery. From there he ascended ten feet, carrying fetters fifty pounds in weight and so designed as to prevent one foot moving more than a foot before the other. Here he broke through a plaster partition, and so climbed over the brick ceiling of the cells and thence over the roof of the buildings where the guards heard and detected him. The sole means at the disposal of Wilson in making the astonishing breakout were two crude handmade tools which he had fashioned secretly : a bit of tin and a hooked nail. The tin had been given ground to give a keen edge and which was used to cut up the canvas of his bed. This material he intended to use in descent from the outer wall. He was afterwards confined in a dungeon where he exhibited a great deal of rage and frustration. His last words were "God save the Queen."

Who was the rector of Foston famous for ready wit and repartee?
Sydney Smith, who was rector of Foston during the years 1809-1829. He became well-known as a wit and on occasion could be particularly outspoken. One Sunday, a church remarked, "I have said that Englishmen were known for their love of their species. I should have said love of specie." Sidney Smith, like Bernard Shaw, was never lost for an answer, and then engaged in a furious argument with a country squire who had retorted "If I had a son who was an idiot, by Jove, I'd make him a parson," Smith coolly replied "Very probably but I see your father was of a different opinion." A cobbler, who was repairing a pair of shoes for Smith, was greeted with the remark "My friend you remind me of the sacred ordinance of matrimony." "How so?" asked the cobbler, surprised at such a remark."Why, my friend," answered Smith, "because you bind two soles together." Sydney Smith died in 1845, aged 76. A memorial tablet in his church bears the following inscription : " The faithful friend and the counsellor of his parishioners, a fearless advocate of civil and religious freedom, a seeker and ensuer of peace, a wit who used his powers to delight and not wound. One of the founders and first editor of the Edinburgh review. Born 1771-died 1845."

Who was the Wakefield doctor who was carried by force to the bed of a patient?
The celebrated Dr. John Radcliffe who was born near Wakefield in 1650. It happened that the doctor was one evening drinking in a local tavern at the end of a rather fatiguing day and happy to relax for an hour before a comforting blaze. Suddenly a young gentleman rushed in upon him and in great urgency cried out "Doctor my wife is at the point of death. Come with me at once." "Not until I have finished my bottle, my friend," was the laconic reply of the doctor, who continued to drink his wine. At this the young gentleman, who was a powerfully-built individual, lifted Dr. Radcliffe bodily out of his chair and bore him in his arms to the bedside of his sick wife. The lady was not in such bad case as her husband had feared and after a curstory examination the physician calmly turned to the young man and said, "Now, you rascal, I'll cure you're wife in revenge."

Who was the sailor's wife whose dream revealed the whereabouts of her dead husband's body?
The wife of Richard Richardson, whose husband, a poor sailor, put to sea at Filey in 1799 in a violent storm and was drowned. His wife, who was certain she would find his body one day, spent her nights for many weeks wandering over sands and rocks in her melancholy search, telling her neighbours "I shall find him later." Months after the tragedy the widow had a vivid dream in which she saw her husband's body in the Brig, and arising from her bed hastened to the spot, where she discovered the corpse, almost naked and much disfigured. A stone was erected on the sailor's grave and which is inscribed as follows :

"By sudden wind and boisterous sea,
The lord did take my life from me,
But he to shore my body brought,
Found my wife for who it sought,
And here it rests in mother-clay,
Until the resurrection-day."
Also of Elizabeth, wife of the above, who died January 19th 1833, aged 89 years.

Who was the deputy constable of Halifax, arrested and detained for coining and clipping?
Joseph Hanson, who was deputy Constable of Halifax in 1769.

When apprehended on a charge of defacing coinage, Hanson, who was the tenant of the Upper George Inn, begged leave to attend to a pressing affair in his house before accompanying the law officer, a request which was granted and of which Hanson took full advantage.

Once within the inn a crony and a partner in crime beckoned the Bailiff on one side, stating that he had very important information to impart, thus giving Hanson the opportunity he desired.

The Deputy Constable at once slipped out of a side door and was not seen again.

"The Leeds Mercury" published a description of Hanson and a reward of twenty guineas for his apprehension.

In which Parish church is a brass plate bearing the following inscription?
"Here lies the father's eldest son,
Whose name was Edward Waddington,
Close by his grandfather, John Thwaites,
Both snacht away by cruel fates,
Whom God above (wee hope) has blest,
To live with him in endless rest.
Buried the 2nd Janvarie, 1674."

Leeds Parish Church.

Who was the Yorkshire woman who was the first to advocate cremation as a means of disposal after death?
Honoretta Pratt, a daughter of Sir John Brookes of York.

Her remains were cremated after her death in 1769 and a stone bearing the following inscription erected in St. George's burial ground, Hanover Square, London :
"This worthy woman believed that the vapours arising from graves in church yards in populous cities must prove hurtful to the inhabitants and resolving to extend to future times, as far as she was able, that charity and benevolence which distinguished her through her life, ordered that her body should be burnt in the hope that others would follow the example, a thing too hastily censured by those who did not enquire the motive

Where is Tom Bells cave?
In Hardcastle Valley, Halifax, and believed to have once been used by a highwayman of that name.

Early in the last century an ex-collier determined to explore the cave and in which he discovered a skull, and a rock bearing the date 1817.

ollowing this, three gentlemen equipped with candles and tapers penetrated forty yards in and sixty feet down, but so weird and ghostly did they find the chambers and passages to be glad to abandon their investigations.

Where were 300 mourners and guests entertained royally at a funeral repast?
After the funeral of Joshua Dearden of Wood Lane Hall, Halifax, who died in 1672.

The Dearden family were noted for pomp, ceremony and lavish catering on these mournful occasions.

The main items were as follows : "A leg, a loin and a shoulder of mutton, two quarters of lamb, two crops of beef, a leg of veal, thirty dozen of bread, twenty-four pounds of brisketts, four great cakes, pastries and tarts. Ten gallons of claret, four canary."

Who was the witch of Bolling?
Mary Sykes, a widow, who faced an accusation of witchcraft made by Mrs. Dorothy Rhodes, before Mr. Henry Tempest, a justice of the peace, in March, 1650.

Mrs. Rhodes stated in her evidence that while in bed one night with her daughter Sarah, the latter awakened suddenly and cried out that Sykes had been on the bed and attempted to choke her, and admitted that when touched by Sykes in the street she had been rendered speechless.

Henry Cordingley of Tonge also gave evidence against the accused woman and stated that one night upon going to foster his horses he saw Mrs. Sykes riding upon the back of one of his cows.
At this he attempted to strike the woman who at once flew out of a window.

Cordingley was convinced that Sykes had bewitched his stock, for a black horse worth £4 16s. became ill with a "dithering and quakeing" and died a few days later.
Another animal had also been taken ill in a similar way but at once recovered upon Sykes being searched.

Sykes was thereupon examined by a body of matrons, appointed for the purpose by the court, and who "found upon the side of her seat a red lump about the bigness of a nut, being wet, and that when they rung it with their fingers, moisture came out of it like Lee.
And they found upon her left side, near her arm, a little lump like a wart, and being pulled out it stretched about half an inch.
And they further say that they never saw the like upon any other woman."

After hearing the evidence against Sykes the court committed her for trial at the Assizes.
She was fortunate to gain acquittal.

Who was hanged from a Gibbet 35 feet high?
Robert Aske of Aughton, who was leader of the ill-fated Pilgrimage of Grace in 1537.

Aske was beheaded on York Pavement, where he died with a smile on his face, his body afterwards being taken to Heworth moor and suspended from a Gibbet 35 feet high.

Aske was a man of high courage and deep faith and, like many of his followers, died a victim of religious intolerance in an age of brutality.

Who for a wager undertook to cover the 200 miles between London and York on horseback on six consecutive days?
John Lepton of York of whom, from "Fuller's worthies," we learn the following :
"John Lepton, of York, Esquire, servant to King James, made himself remarkable for performing a piece of exercise so violent in its kind as not to be equalled before or since.
For a considerable wager he undertook to ride six days together betwixt York and London, being 200 measured miles, and performed accordingly.
He first set out from Aldersgate, May 20th, 1606, and accomplished his journey every day before it was dark, to the greater praise of his strength in acting rather than his discretion in undertaking it."

What was known as the Farnley Wood Plot?
A conspiracy engaged in by a number of old parliamentary soldiers in 1622 who sought "to redeem themselves from the excise and all subsides, to establish a gospel magistracy and ministry, to restore the Long Parliament and to perform all orders and degrees of men, especially the lawyers and clergy."

They published a declaration and mustered a large number of armed persons in Farnley Wood, at Farnley, which is just south of Leeds, near Morley & Gildersome.

The leaders were surprised, arrested and placed on trial for treason. Eighteen were executed in January, 1663, two being quartered and their heads set on the gates of York.

Who was the giant of Market Weighton?
An exceptionally tall man named Bradley who, according to Ross's "Celebrities of the Yorkshire wolds," was born at Market Weighton in 1787.

Bradley was one of thirteen children, all of whom were of average height, but the giant at eleven years weighed eleven stone and at nineteen twenty seven stone, having grown to a height of seven feet six inches, after which he grew another inch.
His shoes were fifteen inches long and his stockings three feet nine inches.

Bradley exhibited himself at fairs in London and provincial towns.

He enjoyed good health though he became lame and was obliged to use a walking stick and later a crutch.

He died in 1811 and was buried in a coffin which measured nine feet by three feet.

Curiously enough, in the neighbouring village of Shipton, a dwarf named Edwin Calvert was born in 1842 whose height never exceeded thirty-six inches.

He died in 1859 at the age of 17, mainly due to an excessive love of the bottle.

Where was the mass said daily and prayers offered for the safety of travellers?
In a chapel which stood on the bridge which spans the Swale at Catterick.

Prayers for the safety of travellers were said here daily by monks from Essby Abbey.

The chapel later fell into decay and 150 years ago served the adjoining inn as a storage place for coal.

What town has been famous for brewing ale since the Middle Ages?
Tadcaster, where there are several breweries.

The local water is particularly suitable for the purpose, being naturally rich in sulphate of lime.

Which is Yorkshires oldest industry?
The production of Whitby jet, which is found in deposits in the cliffs.

At one time there was great demand for the ornaments made of Whitby jet and as many as 2,000 people were employed.

The industry has almost died out.

Which Queen risked her life under shot and shell to rescue her pet dog?
Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I.

The queen had returned form Holland in 1643 where she had been to sell her jewellery to raise money to help the King in his struggle against parliament.

She landed at Bridlington in February and whilst her trunks were being brought ashore, ships of the parliament opened fire.
The Queen fled to the fields and took refuge in a ditch where she remembered her pet dog, left behind in her lodgings at Bridlington and which was under fire of the enemy's vessels.

In spite of advice and warnings, Henrietta Maria turned back, found her dog and fled over the wolds to Boynton Hall and safety.

Who translated the first complete English bible?
Miles Coverdale, who was named after the village of his birth.

During the reign of Queen Mary, Coverdale was ejected from the sea of Exeter and thrown into prison, being later released at the request of the King of Denmark.

He died in 1657 at the age of 81.

Where was a cave discovered in 1721 containing the bones of 18 different species of animal?
At Kirkdale in a remarkable cave where the antidiluvian bones of the following creatures were found : the hyena, tiger, bear, wolf, fox, weasel, elephant, rhinocerus, hippopotamus, horse, ox, three species of deer, hare, rabbit, water rat and mouse, together with bones form the following birds : the raven, pigeon, lark, small duck.

After the burning of which famous cathedral were snuff-boxes made form timbers?
After a burning of a large part of York Minster by the insane incendiary Jonathon Martin in 1829, the charred timbers were sold to local craftsmen who made use of them in the production of snuff-boxes, book-holders, egg-cups, etc.

A snuff-box made form the old timbers, beautifully fashioned and finished, bore the following inscription :

Me for what I have been,
From a sprightly plant I was
Advanced to the sovereignty of the
Forest, the birds of the air were happy
Under my shadow, and afforded me their sweetest
Notes for my protection. After filling a respectable
Situation and living to a good old age,
I was cut down, stript of natures robes,and
Became a pillar in the church, where I
Screened alike the saint and the sinner from the
Stormy blast, and after a faithful servitude of
467 years I have become in every convivial
circle a ready token of friendship-part of my
Remains made a snuff-box, and had it
Not been for a vile Incendiary I might
Have held that station to the present day.
* * * York Minster

Ignited Feb 2nd, 1829, byJonathon Martin.

Who threatened to burn a Lord Mayors house to the ground?
The citizens of York in 1777 as a result of the activities of press gangs.

So incensed were many citizens of York at the activities of these gangs that a letter was sent to the Lord Mayor and to the effect that "if those men were not removed from the city on or before the 28th, his Lordship's own dwelling and the mansion house also should be burned to the ground.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:12 pm    Post subject: more facts about yorkshire Reply with quote

The Gibbet Street Triangle

In the course of my researches into psychic phenomena and mysteries in Calderdale I noticed a cluster of violent deaths in a small area of Halifax. These violent deaths comprised two murders, a fatal bomb attack in World War 11, and the Halifax Gibbet, a guillotine which was used in Halifax up until the seventeenth century, in despatching summary justice to criminals.
I shall deal with each incident in order.

The Murder of Mary Hackett of Lister Lane, 1953

Mary was a six years old Irish girl who had recently moved to Halifax with her family . Mary , a pupil of St Mary’s Roman Catholic School ,went out to play on the afternoon of August 12 1953 but did not return home. The police were alerted. The area around Lister Lane was full of narrow streets and yards. Nearby were the grounds of a local college , a Congregational church on the adjoining Francis Street , the local library and an old, overgrown Victorian cemetery. The family thought she had gone to play in the sandpit in the college grounds. It subsequently transpired that she had met the church caretaker, George Albert Hall. Albert Hall would not have got through the vetting measures, we would hope, set up these days, as he had a dubious past and had recently been an in-patient in a psychiatric hospital. Mary had wandered into the church grounds and had been lured into the cellar by Hall, who had killed her there. She was found buried in a corner of the crypt, forty days later. Hall was hanged in Leeds in 1954. Mary is buried in a corner of Stoney Royd Cemetery, the Catholic burial ground of Halifax.

The Murder of Emily Pye

Three years later and a few hundred yards away, the body of Emily Pye aged eighty , was discovered murdered in her sweet shop in Gibbet Street. Today Emily’s shop, on the corner of Rhodes Street and almost next door to the mosque, is a curry shop . It was Emily’s relatives who, in 1957 , found their aunt’s body on the floor, covered by a rug , and the whole situation became a dramatic and high profile investigation. Nevertheless the mystery was never solved and Emily’s murderer--if he is still alive--walks free today. No one is any the wiser as to why Emily was murdered, whether it was an opportunist burglar , who had not in the end found Emily's “nest egg” which was well hidden away, or whether it was a more sinister scenario involving a one-time close friend of Emily’s. Like Mary Hackett, this was again a heartless and brutal killing of a vulnerable and defenceless victim, but unlike Mary, and despite the media frenzy that followed, Emily’s killer was never brought to justice , and unless we question whether Albert Hall was actually guilty of Mary’s murder,( which some people have begun to do,) then the two murders are unconnected other than by location.

The Hanson Lane Bomb 1940

The Hanson Lane Bomb fell at the top of Hanson Lane and Crossley Street where today Crossley Gardens exist and a complex of flats line the roadside where the bombed houses were struck. A small memorial park at the opposite side of the road commemorates the tragedy which killed eleven people.   looking at the street map, a straight line runs from Francis Lane to the top of Hanson Lane. These two locations converge diagonally with Emily Pye’s shop which terminate in a point at the Halifax Gibbet. This has led me to wonder if there is anything in this area attracting dark forces.

BELOW :=View of Hanson Lane, Halifax, West Yorkshire, showing where a World War II bomb landed.

Location: Halifax  
Format: Photograph - Mono
Document ID: 101977
Library ID:  

In November 1940, a German bomb destroyed a block of shops which stood where the grassed area is in the foreground of the photograph. The property lower down the street was badly damaged by the blast, whilst shops, houses and a public house across the road were subsequently demolished.

While West Yorkshire’s towns never experienced bombing on the scale of other parts of the country, the area’s factories were fully engaged in war production and few peoples’ lives were untouched by the war.  

Many Bradford children were evacuated to Nelson in Lancashire or to other West Riding towns like Mirfield and Harrogate. For the Jewish children arriving at a Manningham hostel in 1939, Bradford was itself a place of refuge.

The realities of war were brought home to one Huddersfield schoolboy when sleeping soldiers, evacuated from the beaches at Dunkirk in 1940, had to be carried into houses in Trinity Street. Following the German occupation of the Channel Islands there were also refugees from Jersey.

Many West Riding people, seeing or hearing the Blitz on Sheffield in December 1941, must have wondered if their turn would be next. On that night, five people died when bombs fell on a house in Dewsbury and at Shaw Cross Colliery in Batley.

Between August 1940 and summer 1941, various parts of the county experienced bombing incidents. A single bomb in Hanson Lane, Halifax on 22 November killed 11 people. Six died and many houses were destroyed when two large bombs fell on Thornes Road, Wakefield, on 14 March.

In Bradford, most damage was done on the night of 31 August 31 1940, when 120 high explosive bombs fell on the city. Lingard’s department store was destroyed, and 10,000 windows shattered. Although 100 people were injured there was only one fatality. Luckily the audience had just left the Odeon cinema when a bomb landed in the stalls. Another bomb in Tyrrel Street just missed people waiting for a tram.

The most serious incident happened not as a result of enemy action but because of a smouldering pipe left in a pocket, which caused a fire that destroyed Booth’s Mill in Huddersfield in October 1941. A memorial in Edgerton Cemetery marks the grave of 44 of the 49 workers, mostly women and girls, who died in the blaze.

Lives were also lost through planes crashing into houses. Four people were killed when a German bomber hit a row of cottages in Idle, five died when their home in Darrington was destroyed by an RAF plane, and in 1944 a plane with a local pilot crashed in Central Avenue, Fartown, killing four.

The county’s looms were working at full capacity making cloth for uniforms or other war purposes - Lister’s giant mill in Manningham made material for parachutes. In Meltham, David Brown’s was for a time the sole manufacturer of Spitfire gears. Broadbent’s in Huddersfield made midget submarines and Jowett’s in Bradford expanded its factory four-fold, many of the new workforce being women.

The AVRO factory in Yeadon offered what was sometimes considered ‘glamorous’ factory work - building bombers for the war effort. But not all war work was glamorous. At the ICI factory, workers were sometimes accidentally gassed while manufacturing chemicals, and had to be taken to moors above the Colne Valley until they recovered.

One in ten of those conscripted were sent down the pit and like Jimmy Savile, who worked at South Kirby, became Bevin Boys. Essential war production of another kind was carried on in Holmfirth, where Bamforth’s boosted morale by adapting their saucy seaside postcards to wartime themes.

For those in the armed forces, war meant travel. Those at home waited and worried. One woman recalls children in the playground with ‘eyes red from crying’, their fathers reported missing. The regimental chapel in Halifax Parish Church is dedicated to the 1,200 soldiers from the local Duke of Wellington’s Regiment who lost their lives.

The dead are also commemorated in war memorials and by the many military graves in the county’s churchyards. On the moors above Holmfirth, aircraft wrecks can still be found while above Ripponden the remains of a decoy bombing target can be seen.

VE Day meant street parties and specially decorated buses, quickly followed by the closure of factory nurseries as women were laid off. When Churchill visited Huddersfield during the election campaign of June 1945, thousands turned out. But attitudes were changing. Churchill was about to lose the election. One woman in the crowd perhaps summed up the popular feeling when she remarked: ‘He hasn’t had to queue for potatoes.’

A permanent exhibition can be found at the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regimental Museum at Bankfield Museum in Halifax, although most of West Yorkshire’s museums do include artefacts relating to World War Two.

Most of the county’s main library services have extensive photographic collections showing how the area appeared in the 1940s, and copies of local papers.

Bradford Industrial Museum houses the Bradford Heritage Recording Unit while the Kirklees Sound Archive, together with the Bamforth Postcard Collection, is available in Huddersfield Local History Library. Original papers from both organisations and individuals can be found at the district offices of the West Yorkshire Archives Service.

The Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds aims to collect, document, preserve, exhibit and encourage access to the surviving material evidence and associated information of the men and women who participated in the war in whatever capacity whether military, civilian or conscientious objector.


I am presently looking into the possibility that a ley line runs through the Gibbet Stree area, but this make take a little while as old maps have to be consulted. One line of research suggests to me a connection with the mysterious Castle Carr Estate at Wainstalls, about which it is exceedingly difficult to obtain information or access, and the correspondingly unco-operative Kirklees Estate, the site of Robin Hood’s Grave in Brighouse.

Last edited by san4uzel on Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:30 pm    Post subject: More about the halifax gibbet Reply with quote

The 'privilege' (right) of a gibbet is believed to have been vested in Halifax around the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, although the earliest reference to it dates from 1280. At that time, there were said to be one hundred other places in Yorkshire that similarly enjoyed this distinctive honour. In the case of Halifax, however, its notoriety stemmed from the fact that the custom of the Gibbet Law continued long after it had been abandoned elsewhere.

The Laws of Halifax were administered from the Moot Hall (demolished 1957) which stood on a site near the Parish Church in Nelson Street. It was from here that the Lords of the Manor held their court and imposed fines and punishment for a wide variety of offences. Early records show that John de Warren, Earl of Surrey, held court here in 1286. In the same year, the Earls of Warren were granted by the Crown the 'Royalty' to execute thieves and other criminals, from which the Halifax Gibbet Law developed. It was in that first year that John of Dalton was decapitated, the first known victim of the Halifax Gibbet, although formal records of victims did not begin until 1541.

Up to the arrival of the Tudor dynasty in the late fifteenth century, Halifax was little more than a hamlet consisting of some fifteen cottages. However, its strategic position and abundance of clear spring water, made it an ideal location for the fast developing cloth trade. By 1556 the hamlet had grown to more than 500 households, all thanks to cloth manufacture. At that time, the newly manufactured cloth was delivered weekly to the town where it was washed and stretched out on wooden tenterframes and left to dry in the open air. Considering the size of the Halifax trade, the surrounding hillsides would have been covered by row upon row of these frames, leaving exposed and vulnerable the valuable pieces of cloth. And with the cloth reaching high prices, delivery of the bolts became a more and more dangerous occupation. Alarmed at the increase in thefts and at the number that went unpunished, local traders were fearful that the unchecked crime wave could lead to economic damage.

Evidence of the arrival of the gibbet is recorded in Thomas Deloney's "Thomas, of Reading", a romantic and racy ballad in which 'Hodgskins, of Halifax, and his fellow clothiers are represented as having obtained the valuable privilege of the gibbet from the Crown, for the purpose of punishing those who filched their cloth from the tenters.' Local legend goes onto tell of how the good gentlemen of Halifax found it impossible to take on the role of hangman, but that eventually 'a "feat friar" came to the rescue of the tender consciences of the townsfolk, by the timely invention of a "gin" [engine] which was capable of cutting off the heads of "valiant rogues" without the direct intervention of human hands.'

By today's standards, the use of the gibbet was harsh, often being deployed for the punishment of both minor and major offences. Local Gibbet Law dictated that 'If a felon be taken within the liberty of Halifax...either hand-habend (caught with the stolen goods in his hand or in the act of stealing), back-berand (caught carrying stolen goods on his back), or confessand (having confessed to the crime), to the value of thirteen pence half-penny, he shall after three taken to the Gibbet and there have his head cut off from his body'. While the sum may sound paltry by today's standards, English Common Law at that time permitted the death penalty for thefts to the value of twelve pence and above.

When a thief was caught, he was placed in the custody of the Lord of the Manor's Bailiff. The Bailiff was an important official in that he kept the gaol, the gibbet-axe, and occasionally acted as executioner. Four constables of the Township then met to assess the value of the contraband. If the consensus was that it exceeded the minimum threshold, the Bailiff summoned a jury of sixteen men, usually selected from those who the manor held to be the 'most wealthy and best reputed for honesty and understanding.' Jurors were not put on oath, although their duties hardly required it as they were far from onerous. Their primary responsibility was to identify the goods and confirm its value, and ascertain the means by which the thief (hand-habend, back-berand or confessand). At this point the thief was confronted by the evidence. If he was then acquitted, he was set free after having paid the court fees; if he was condemned, arrangements were made for the execution. Markets occurred on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays: the main market was held on Saturday. These were busy affairs and the spectacle of a decapitation - all beheadings took place at the Saturday market - added to the numbers attending.

After conviction, the felon's fate depended on which day of the week he had been tried. If it took place on a Saturday, he was immediately led to the market place and beheaded. If it was a Monday, he would be kept for three market-days and then beheaded at the next Saturday market. During the intervening days, the prisoner was placed back in the care of the Manor Bailiff and held in gaol. Each day he was taken out and placed in the stocks as a public display of justice being served and as a deterrent to others, often with the contraband placed around him: the stolen cloth would be draped around his shoulders, while stolen animals would be tethered about him.

A curious note on the act of beheading is recorded by the Halifax historian Wright, in which he tells of a country woman on horseback who passed the gibbet while an execution was taking place. At her sides were large wicker baskets, and when the head of the victim was dispatched, the force of the descending axe caused it to bounce a considerable distance "into one of the hampers, or, as others say, seized her apron with its teeth, and there stuck for some time."

A considerably longer description of a decapitation was recorded in Daniel Defoe's account of Halifax in his work "A Tour through the whole Island of Great Britain" (1724-1727). In it he says that 'I must not quit Halifax till I give you some account of the famous course of justice anciently executed here, to prevent the stealing of cloth. Modern accounts pretend to say it was for all sorts of felonies, but I am well assured it was first erected purely, or at least principally, for such thieves as were apprehended stealing cloth from the tenters; and it seems very reasonable to think it was so, because of the conditions of the trial.'

The case to which he alludes was 'the erecting of the woollen manufacture here was about the year 1485 when King Henry VII, by giving encouragement to foreigners to settle in England, and to set up woollen manufactures, caused an Act to pass prohibiting the exportation of wool into foreign parts unwrought, and to encourage foreigners to come and settle here. Of these, several coming over settled the manufactures of various kinds of cloth in different parts of the kingdom, as they found the people tractable and as the country best suited them; as, for instance, the cloth named bays at Colchester; the says at Sudbury; the broadcloth in Wilts and other counties, and the trade of kersies and narrow cloth at this place [Halifax] and other adjacent towns.

When this trade began to settle nothing was more frequent than for young workmen to leave their cloths out all night upon the tenters; and the idle fellows would come in upon them, and tearing it off without notice, steal the cloth. Now, as it was absolutely necessary to preserve the trade in its infancy, this severe law was made, giving the power of life and death so far into the hands of the magistrates of Halifax, as to see the law executed upon them. But the power was not given unless in one of these three plain cases, namely, hand-having, back-bearing, or tongue-confessing.

This being the case, if the criminal was taken he was brought before the magistrate of the town, and those who were to judge and sentence and execute the offender, or to clear him, within so many days. Then there were frithborghs (or jurors) also to judge of the fact, who were to be good and sober men, and by the magistrates of the town to be approved as such. If these acquitted him he was immediately discharged; if those censured (convicted) him nobody could reprieve him but the town. The manner of execution was very remarkable; the engine, indeed, is carried away, but the scaffold on which it stood is there to this time (1727), and may continue for many ages, being not a frame of wood but a square building of stone, with stone steps to go up, and the engine itself was made in the following manner.

The execution was performed by means of an engine called a gibbet, which was raised upon a platform four feet high and thirteen feet square, faced on every side with stone, and ascended by a flight of steps. In the middle of this platform were placed two upright pieces of timber, fifteen feet high, joined at the top by a transverse beam. Within these was a square block of wood four and a half feet long, which moved up and down by
means of grooves made for that purpose; and to the lower part of this sliding block was fastened a sharp iron axe of the weight of seven pounds twelve ounces.

The axe thus fixed was drawn up to the top of the grooves by a cord and pulley. At the end of the cord was a pin, which, being fixed to the block, kept it suspended till the moment of execution, when the culprit, having placed his head on the block, the pin was withdrawn, the axe fell suddenly and violently on the criminal's neck, and his head was instantly severed from his body.' Defoe continued that the force was 'so strong, the head of the axe being loaded with a weight of lead to make it fall heavy, and the execution so secure, that it takes away all possibility of its failing to cut off the head.'

The small number of recorded victims testifies to the success of the deterrent. William Camden's "Descriptions of Britain" (published 1722) records that 'Halifax is becoming famous among the multitude by the reason of a law whereby they behead straightways whosoever are taken stealing'. Its notoriety grew further with the publication of John Taylor's poem of 1622, in which the famous Beggar's Litany 'From Hell, Hull and Halifax, Good Lord deliver us' referred to the notorious strictness of the law enforcers at Hull, the horrors of Hell, and the formidable Gibbet Law at Halifax. Taylor's poem continues:

"At Halifax, the Law so sharpe doth deale,
That whoso more than thirteen pence doth steale,
They have a jyn [engine] that wondrous quicke and well
Sends Thieves all headless unto Heav'n or Hell".

Between 1541 and 1650, the official records show that some 53 recorded persons (men and women) were executed by the Halifax Gibbet.

1286 John of Dalton
15th January 1539 Charles Haworth
20th March 1541 Richard Beverley of Sowerby
1st January 1542 Unidentified stranger
16th September 1544 John Brigg of Heptonstall
31st March 1545 John Ecoppe of Elland
5th December 1545 Thomas Waite of Northowram
6th March 1568 Richard Sharpe of Northowram
ditto John Learoyd of Northowram
9th October 1572 Will Cockere
9th January 1572 John Atkinson
ditto Nicholas Frear
ditto Richard Garnet
19th May 1574 Richard Stopforth
12th February 1574 James Smith of Sowerby
3rd November 1576 Henry Hunt
6th February 1576 Robert Bairstow alias Fearnside
6th January 1578 John Dickenson of Bradford
16th March 1578 John Waters
15th October 1580 Bryan Casson
19th February 1581 John Appleyard of Halifax
7th February 1582 John Sladen
17th January 1585 Arthur Firth
4th October 1586 John Duckworth
27th May 1587 Nicholas Hewitt of Northowram
ditto Thomas Mason (Vagrant)
13th July 1588 The wife of Thomas Roberts of Halifax
5th April 1589 Robert Wilson of Halifax
21st December 1591 Peter Crabtree of Sowerby
6th January 1591 Bernard Sutcliffe of Northowram
23rd September 1602 Abraham Stancliffe of Halifax
22nd February 1602 The wife of Peter Harrison of Bradford
29th December 1610 Christopher Cosin
10th April 1611 Thomas Brigg
19th July 1623 [?] Sutcliffe
23rd December 1623 George Fairbank
ditto Anna Fairbank, daughter of George Fairbank
29th January 1623 John Lacy of Halifax (He escaped from the execution, but returned 7 years later where he was caught and executed immediately)
8th April 1624 Edmund Ogden of Lancashire
13th April 1624 Richard Midgley of Midgley
5th July 1627 The wife of John Wilson of Northowram
8th December 1627 Sarah Lum of Halifax
14th May 1629 John Sutcliffe of Skircote
20th October 1629 Richard Hoyle of Heptonstall
28th August 1630 Henry Hudson
ditto The wife of Samuel Ettall
14th April 1632 Jeremy Bowcock of Warley
22nd September 1632 John Crabtree of Sowerby
21st May 1636 Abraham Clegg of Norland
7th October 1641 Isaac Illingworthof Ogden
7th June 1645 Jer. Kaye Taylor of Lancashire
30th December 1648 Jo. Wilkinson of Sowerby
ditto Anthony Mitchell

The only way that a condemned person could escape the Gibbet was to withdraw his or her head before the blade fell, and then escape across the parish boundary over the Hebble Brook (*-mile away). The felon could then go free provided that he or she did not return. At least one culprit escaped this way: a man named Dinnis managed the feat, and on his way out of the area was asked by several people if Dinnis was to be beheaded on that day. To his own humour, and the bemusement of the passers-by, Dinnis is said to have replied "I trow not", an expression that is still used by long-term residents of the area. John Lacy also achieved the feat on 29th January 1623, but foolishly returned to Halifax seven years later believing that having made it across Hebble Brook, he was pardoned of his crime that
in any event would have been forgotten. Unfortunately for Lacy, neither assumption was correct and he was duly executed by the gibbet without further trial. The public house "The Running Man" celebrates Lacy's temporary reprieve.

The last recorded victims were the Sowerby men Anthony Mitchell and John Wilkinson. Both men were found guilty of stealing on 19th April 1650, sixteen yards of russet-coloured Kersey from tenterframes owned by Samuel Colbeck of Warley (valued at one shilling per yard) and for stealing two colt horses from John Cusforth of Durker (in the Sandal parish near Wakefield) on 17th April 1650: their total haul was valued at £5.8s. John Wilkinson was additionally convicted of stealing a piece of Kersey from tenterframes at Brearley Hall. As they were found guilty on a Saturday, they were immediately put to death.

After the execution of Mitchell and Wilkinson, the Gibbet was dismantled and the base fell into ruin. There has been speculation that the demise of the device owed much to the public reaction to the beheading of King Charles I during the year before (1649).

The remains of the gibbet base were rediscovered in June 1839, several years after workmen clearing the area had found the skeletons of two men with severed heads - it is assumed that these were the remains of Mitchell and Wilkinson. The Halifax Guardian of the time commented that: 'To the townspeople of Halifax, this relic of more turbulent times will possess many attractions and will no doubt be justly valued by them. As Halifax is the only town in Great Britain rendered famous by such a custom; and since its gibbet is the only one now in existence; this, together with its local association, and the fact that it is the only antique in the town worthy of notice (the parish church excepted) will no doubt ensure its preservation from further decay.'

In 1974 a 4.600 metre high non-working replica was reconstructed on the site. Work was completed on 22nd February of that year, and included a casting taken from the original blade, now preserved in the Pre-Industrial Museum in the glorious Piece Hall. The original weighs seven pounds twelve ounces, and measures almost 260mm in length and 225mm in width.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are very interesting and thanks for the information too.  Scary or what, lol.

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