Forest of Galtres Society

Author Archive

« Older Entries |

NEWS

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

Thursday 26th January 2023 is the Annual General Meeting of the Society

After the AGM we shall hear a lecture by Paul Thornley who can tell us about the project he is managing. Paul is Chair of Yorkshire Philosophical Society’s Geology Group and Yorkshire Philosophical Society has the project under its wing.

The lecture is entitled ‘A UNESCO Global Geopark for East Yorkshire’

As Paul says, UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

A Geopark is not a designated landscape and must put the local communities at the heart of everything, talking to landowners, local businesses and councils. While geology is important, it will not be a ‘geology park’, but one where natural and cultural heritage is linked to the landscape.

Have you ever wondered why some areas have brick houses and others have street after street of stone-built houses?  Why some places are on the flat, some have rolling hills. Some have rivers, some not. Some landscapes have trees aplenty; others are almost barren of trees, with only grass and stone-wall surrounded fields.

Some places have ‘hard’ water, others have ‘soft’ water from the tap and it is much nicer.  The big factor behind these and many other differences is that the geology beneath and nearby has a profound effect upon our daily lives. Paul is not likely to cover that topic, but he is certain to know what he and his team think is very special about the Yorkshire Wolds and the Global Geopark for which his team is currently putting together a claim for special UNESCO designation.

Easingwold Methodist Chapel, commencing at 7.30pm, Members £2,Guests £4 to attend.

 

Posted in Uncategorized, Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

NEWS

Sunday, August 28th, 2022

It is with great pleasure that I can tell you that we have arranged five winter Lecture meetings, 2022 – 2023, for the Society.

The venue for meetings is the Methodist Chapel, Chapel Street, Easingwold. The postcode, should you need it, is YO61 3AE. Please be seated for 7.25pm, and the lecture will commence at 7.30pm. We will hold a raffle. Gifts of prizes for the raffle are always welcome.

At the Methodist Chapel we shall welcome Members in the entrance vestibule to pay £2 entry each, and Guests pay £2 in addition, ie £4 each.

We also offer the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets. This time it will be £1 a ticket for the raffle, not for a strip of five tickets. This means less paper needs to be handled but the money handed over remains the same. Please bear with us as we may not hand over any wine bottle to the winner within the building.  A committee member will hand it to you at the door as you leave. Other prizes may be handed to the winner.

Locals will know where to park but for those coming from beyond Easingwold, there is a small amount of parking in front of the Chapel best kept available for those with mobility needs and our speaker for the day. There is some parking space just prior to reaching the Chapel, on the other side of Chapel Street. There is a Hambleton District Council carpark off Showfield Drive, and, of course, there is the market place.

The subscription payment of £10 per person is due in October. ,

We shall be happy to receive subscriptions at the meetings, or if you wish, via the Secretary’s home. Receipts will be issued.

We will benefit from comfortable seating and the IT equipment in our new venue. We shall bring the Society’s laptop and use the resident audio and screen.

It is with much pleasure that we invite Members and Guests to come to our lectures. We very much hope that you can support our events. We look forward to seeing you and sharing with you the winter lectures for which we have made preparation. 

Thank you               Frank Kirk, Chairman

Posted in News, Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

Stillington, A History

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

Mr Grahame Richardson, a Stillington resident, has kindly given us access to his book ‘The Peculiar History of Stillington’. Compiled after over 25 years of research, mainly through the Borthwick Institute and local sources, it is a comprehensive study of the area and can be read online or downloaded at the emboldened text above.

Posted in News | No Comments »

Our Good News!

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

We are delighted to inform members and all those interested in the Society that we now have a new president.  This is with effect from 12 January 2017.

We have, since the early 1990s, been honoured to have Dr Peter Addyman as our president.  With Peter wishing to relinquish that post we were set a massive task to find just the right person to take on the position.

It is with real pleasure from all concerned that we can announce that Professor Joann Fletcher, Visiting Professor in Archaeology at the University of York has graciously accepted our invitation and she has been elected president.

We were so pleased to welcome her personally at the Annual General Meeting last Thursday. We had a good attendance at the meeting, and more will be reported on the excellent academic lecture which we enjoyed after the business meeting.

Posted in News | No Comments »

Can you ride a horse safely under a canal bridge?

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Forest of Galtres Society members were delighted to welcome Peter McDonald to Yorkshire last Wednesday.  Plenty of technology to set up and off we went.  Peter had brought with him a series of films taken for television broadcast, and for these he had written the story and the commentary himself.  The films were professional and well photographed, and in them we saw many nice touches.

Peter had decided to take a ride on horseback with a fellow surgeon (he had effected two gall bladder operations only that morning before setting out for Yorkshire and Easingwold) through part of Middle England (his home patch) and doing this while at the same time avoiding modern routes and the relentless rush of motorways.  Quite a challenge!

Horses can easily go lame, and that of his fellow surgeon did so, before many days of the fifteen day journey had passed.  The replacement, a pretty and reliable grey, was brought to them – by motor horsebox – surely the wrong method bearing in mind he was intending to avoid modern transport?  Taking the tow-path beside a canal presented the obstacle of going under a canal bridge with its restricted head space.  Also, how do you get a horse out of a canal if it is so foolish as to fall in?

The various episodes of the story continued, and we only had to stop because time was passing and Peter had to drive home.  Some CDs of the journey changed ownership, and we all appreciated the little stories of welcome and incident along his route.  What a different view, that from the saddle, with shoeing and the Civil War vie-ing for space on the film.  I thought it was just about right to see the two friends, each with a pint of best brew in their hand.  It showed how the gentler pace of walking a bridleway and cantering on the greensward give such a thrill to the lucky few.  It gave an appreciation of what it used to be like when turnpike roads saw horse-drawn carriages as the fast traffic of their age.

Summer beckons,  and we look forward to a full programme of outings and warm weather in which to enjoy them.

Posted in Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

Golden designs and royal graves

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

The story of Street House is curious, so unexpected, a tale of unimagined quality and associated with events which took place over fourteen hundred years ago. Forest of Galtres Society members gathered in surprisingly large number (given the piles of snow still heaped up at the roadsides) for the January 2010 AGM and to hear the subsequent lecture. At the AGM members were told how the new Awards for All funded equipment is being used and they were again able to experience for themselves the greatly improved sound quality, and the beautiful digitally projected images.

The finds we saw on screen, and which Steve’s team uncovered over several years of digging, are of such quality. Steve shared with us the fantastic thrill of scraping away the soil and there, before one’s eyes, the yellow shining glint of gold appearing. Steve had had an idea there had been some round Iron Age huts on the bleak hillside. Aerial photography confirmed there was something worth investigating. The growing crops could be hiding some round house ditches. For those of you who remember the archaeological dig which took place before the Easingwold bypass was built, the YAT archaeologists found various roundhouse ditches and channels and hearths. But Steve had much greater luck at Street House.

When Iron Age folk were creating their building footprints for us to find now as cropmarks, they were making an enclosure surrounding round houses. Anglo-Saxon folk later took it over and now, on top of the Iron Age site, there are many graves, with grave goods, and centrally something very special for the burial of two very wealthy people. There are no bones at all, they have disappeared in the acidic conditions. The graves have a very regular ‘footprint’, only visible when the topsoil has been removed. In the centre of the approximately rectangular area of graves there are two differently placed grave hollows and signs of some different rectangular buildings too. The two special graves held goods which are definitely associated with female burials of persons of great wealth and status. Who would be buried with their best jewellery on a barren hillside unless the place has special meaning and special resonance in the local community? Glass beads of great variety and detailed colour and spiralling zigzag designs, carefully crafted goldwork of the finest intricacy and delicacy of design and making these graves to be most certainly out of the ordinary run of things.

Did you know Anglo-Saxons had wooden beds? We learnt that, for Steve showed us the metal cleats which held together the side planking and the struts for each side of the bedhead. Bedhead? Yes, this princess had a wooden bed with twisted metal straps to each side to hold the bedhead vertical. Her beads were draped across her long-gone shoulders, her gold was where the archaeologists expected a female body to wear a gold pendant, and now these pieces have been brought once more into the light.

The cleats and the struts on the long-gone wooden bed had had a previous use – a resourceful metalworker had divided up and pieced together bits of a metal bucket to make them and the sharp-eyed archaeologist could interpret this ancient re-use. What things a trained eye can spot, which you and I would miss entirely!

Steve Sherlock contends that St Hilda of Whitby very possibly knew the royal persons buried in the cemetery he has been uncovering, and that for once, archaeology from so far back can be closely associated with certain specific individuals. The royal Northumbrian family would travel by boat down the coast, their A1, to Whitby to meet with St Hilda. Dying at the age of about 28 for women and about 32 for men, there would regularly be new dead to bury and their status to be marked by appropriate grave goods. Stephen Sherlock came and enthused about a totally unexpected site, and we were lucky enough to be treated to a story of generous farmers and helpful local people. It was a right royal treat for us, on a snowy evening, to hear all about it.

Posted in Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

Books on demand

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Books appeared from bags, parcels and some from tiny envelopes last Thursday. Books had been taken from their library shelves, and brought in an astonishing variety to be laid out on tables where all of us could see them. Richard Hodgson, our Forest of Galtres Society speaker last Thursday, had also brought a crate of books with him on one of his own favourite themes, that of animals in books. There were books about paintings, books on old farm vehicles, books about animal husbandry, books in old bindings, modern jacketed books; a huge variety.

Richard explained how he had always been interested in books, and how that interest changed from part-time to full-time when dairy farming ceased to offer adequate reward. Good bookdealer friends instructed him in how to become a bookdealer, and he took up that new line of business. Careful not to compete with his friends in his chosen speciality, he now takes stands at particular book fairs in widely dispersed parts of the country.

Our table of trophies came under his careful scrutiny. The beautiful quality of the illustrations, often coloured by hand in the more expensive editions – cheaper editions being left uncoloured – was explained. The bindings were discussed. The bookplates stuck by some collectors into their books. The pretty little prize labels personalised for young children and pasted into Sunday School ‘improving’ texts. The very fancy Victorian book cover decorations. The glorious handmade paper, often with uncut folds and deckle edges remaining. The spectacular printed images of specialist publishing houses working to provide beautiful books to niche markets. The lovely soft leather on the tiny pocket book. The question whether to rebind or leave the broken spine un-mended. The issue as to whether value is in the book, or the actual pages because of the illustrations which they carry.

Tooling work on leather binding is skilled work, but these days no-one has time to just do lettering or only fancy scrolls; the bindery worker must practice every skill and produce the whole finished binding with little ancillary skill provided by other people. Good work is still done, but of course, the modern book will have a paper book jacket with pretty pictures. This is a different element of modern books, for the dustwrapper, if in pristine condition and unfaded, adds considerable value to a good first edition of something produced in a smallish print run.

Lots of questions popped up. Richard Hodgson answered them genially, resolved curiosities and opened our eyes to the quality of books. Afterwards, looking through his books and with a carefully held cup of tea, we exchanged thoughts about books and realised that so many of us in this computer age really do get so much enjoyment out of books. There is a good future in books, for they will always work, even when the power is switched off.

Posted in Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

What an arresting cover!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Next Thursday Forest of Galtres Society will be doing a bit of handling, that is, handling books. Real books, old ones, pretty ones, some with terrible covers, others which one goes back to, time and again.

Richard Hodgson will bring his book dealer skills into play to tell us more about the physical book itself and how it is that some books fall apart on first reading and others last hundreds of years. The paper? The binding? The printing process?

Have you something on the bookshelf which merits study and which you would bring with you to our meeting on 12th November? We do hope so, for seeing what people bring with them and describing the story of those books will make our evening fascinating and different. History with a cover. Come along and see; see our advert for this event elsewhere in the Advertiser.

Posted in Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

Sand dunes and sharks’ teeth

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Forest of Galtres Society members were joined by Royal Geographical Society members last Thursday for a fascinating evening learning about the Sahara Desert, from Sam Watson, Head of Science at Terrington School and the regional RGS Secretary.

Sam Watson had spent some time living in Cairo and in Marrakech, and this had enabled him to visit the desert and explore it. As he came to understand the many different sorts of desert, their landforms, their beauty, their dangers, their wildlife, their peoples, their opportunities, he also appreciated all that deserts have to show to westerners used to comfort and prolific supplies of water.

Water, and wind. These two have influenced the shape of deserts and their appearance. Sand dunes; these are the mobile element of the natural geology, and the wind shapes them and erodes them. Clearly, a suitable off-road vehicle is necessary for deserts, and Sam’s was there too, for us to see. He had brought his navigational equipment, a sun compass, maps of part of the Sahara where even now it says ‘not surveyed’. Sam and his oil exploration colleague would spent weekends in the desert, camping, sleeping in the open under a sky so full of stars as to be nearly beyond belief. The tiny footprints alongside them in the morning told them which desert animals had hopped close to sniff at them as they slept, and hopped off too.

Sand dunes can create an almost impenetrable barrier, but they provide a fine vantage point to photograph the surroundings as Sam has done, and show oases, green in their verdant, sometimes inhabited, places. Water is wealth in the desert, and water from wells is usually free to passers’ by. Water from wells is being drawn from deep, fossil, water stored in aquifers below deserts. By exploiting this scarce commodity on a massive scale, some governments are actually taking from their neighbours. The water finds its own level, and does not stay under a careful country but moves to favour the country drawing more water from deep bores holes to spray over circular farmland patches and grow crops. This exploitation will cause some countries great damage as their wells dry up and the nomadic tribes can no longer find water and food for their goats to eat. There is also the serious risk that this will lead to conflict.

The River Nile is a source of water which has long been exploited to enable local agriculture to flourish. The Fayoum Basin, shown to us in an aerial photograph, is supplied by a canal from the Nile, and this canal was built by the Romans. Around one side of the Fayoum Basin there is an escarpment with three distinct stone outcrops. Sam Watson had enjoyed the journey by Landrover down these three levels, and the scouting on foot necessary to ensure the route ahead was passable all the way down. He explored the nearby fossil bearing strata. Bones from aeons ago lying in the sun with maybe just a rope to keep people from trampling it. The marine fossil animals come from one stratigraphic level, and the hills protruding present land animal fossils as that land lay above water when the animals were breathing.

Sharks’ teeth. These are genuine teeth from sharks and they are the only part of a shark to survive, as the animal is otherwise made of soft tissue. Sharks’ teeth are now a true curiosity, but they had been so different to anything known about in previous historic eras, that they were favoured and acquired by potentates to put in their Cabinets de Curiositées. Sharks’ teeth had great esoteric value in Baroque decoration and were placed alongside gems of real value as decorations for fabulously exuberant creations from goldsmiths’ workshops. Think of the Green Vaults in Dresden and the wonderful pieces created and collected by the Habsburg Princes.

Sam’s talk held our attention and many questions were asked afterwards. It was also the first occasion for using our brand-new Awards For All equipment at lectures.

Posted in Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

Cannon Hall; Barnsley Borough’s jewel

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Sitting in the farm café in August 2009 eating lunch, totally surrounded by so many family groups and on a wonderful sunny day, we wondered why we had never before been to Cannon Hall.

Cannon Hall is a fine stone-built country house, built for the Spencer family in the eighteenth century. The family had made its money from iron, and as the family grew (some generations had fifteen children so more bedrooms were urgently needed) they extended the house.

York Architect John Carr had made interior alterations. He installed the pillars and the cornice and decorative scheme in the entrance hall. He decorated the dining room and the other south front rooms, now used to display furniture and paintings. His elegantly proportioned rooms with their fine decorative detail well set off the collection put together by Barnsley Council after they purchased the empty house from the last remaining lady of the family. War deaths and death duties had taken their toll and changes had to follow.

Latterly the family name had been Spencer-Stanhope and that name should ring bells for followers of the Pre-Raphaelite Circle. Roddam Spencer-Stanhope’s painting of the Ladies at the Well, very recently purchased, now adorns the library wall. It is incongruous, but strangely not out of place amongst Hepplewhite mahogany furniture.

The secretary had organised a guided tour for Forest of Galtres Society members, and Shaun, our guide, gave us very full value. We heard about the Spencer family who built and enlarged the house, and whose connection with the house has lasted for several centuries. We looked around and marvelled at the paintings and furniture, the Moorcroft pottery, and the enthusiasm of the curatorial staff carried us happily along. Upstairs there is a military gallery and an infantry museum commemorating a local regiment. Cannon Hall clearly gathers local people around it in very large numbers, but it was not crowded and we had time to savour it fully under Shaun’s guidance.

The gallery with its paintings from the National Loan Collection has some super loan pieces for the summer exhibition, well worth a special visit. Most provincial museums would be delighted to have such a collection, and this collection is entirely newly gathered since the house was purchased. Quite an achievement!

After lunch we walked in the extensive grounds, and visited the garden centre – every wish is catered for. We saw the house’s walled kitchen garden with its numerous pear and apple trees well laden with ripening fruit grown espalier-fashion, on the garden’s brick walls. Only children may eat the fruit. An unusual exhortation, but so many children were enjoying their day out in the warm sunshine, that was of no consequence. Cannon Hall is a place we ought to visit again.

Posted in Visits/Lectures | No Comments »

« Older Entries |

Funded by the National Lottery through Awards for All