Monday, 31 March 2014

Saturday 29th March 2014  

Today we finished the surveying of the walls along Water Lane, starting where we left off last week at the short stretch of wall built of particularly large stones, quite unlike any other wall we have seen so far. The top of Water Lane brought us to the back of the village of Eastby, where a fine old gatepost marked the lane’s end.
Gate post anoraks admiring a fine example of its kind!   (c)  Jane Lunnon
 From here we turned down the footpath which passes through Bower House Farmyard, and the path alongside Kempley Beck.

A bemused audience     (c) Jane Lunnon 
Here we found a substantial old wall against part of the embankment behind the farm yard, and further along the footpath, we stopped at the ford for our lunch break.

The footbridge here is very new – only a few years old – but the ford itself is probably very old. The path over the ford goes through what is now a small enclosure, and then up towards Eastby. The walls around the ford proved very interesting – with an old pedestrian gateway (now blocked), and adjacent ditch, bank and hedge line, indicating a very old boundary.

We continued along the footpath, walking alongside Kempley Beck, and soon came to the point where Priors Syke runs into the Beck. This traditionally marks the boundary between Eastby and Embsay Townships – although the series of ditches, banks and hedge lines to the east of Priors Syke suggest the possibility that the boundary between the two townships may originally have been further east than it is now.
Getting a closer look at Priors Syke where it joins Kempley Beck   (c) Jane Lunnon
At the footbridge we continued to follow the footpath as it veered right, heading towards Low Lane in Embsay. The wall on the right side of the field proved to be of great interest – an old ford lay at the end of it where it ran into Kempley Beck, and at at its other end it met with an old stone revetted bank – again indicating this field boundary was of great age. 

By the time we reached the old squeeze stile at Low Lane we were getting cold and headed back home for a hot cup of tea and a well deserved slice of cheesecake.

Jane Lunnon

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Saturday 22nd  March 2014

Having missed out on walls surveying last week due to the weather, we decided to brave it today despite ominous weather forecasts.

While Sue and Tony were busy with their involvement in the Embsay Churchyard project, 3 of us – Jane, Chris and David – made a good start on the walls along Water Lane, a farm track-cum-footpath which runs up from Low Lane in to Eastby.
Measuring a gateway on Water Lane  (c)  Jane Lunnon
Through our binoculars we caught sight of a fascinating old pole-gate post which got us ridiculously excited. We must find out who owns that field and see if the farmer will be kind enough to let us go and have a closer look. He’ll think we’re mad for being so interested in a gate post!!

At the end of our half-day’s survey we also came across a nice but short section of wall which stood out for its sturdy, bold construction with very large stones, in curious contrast to other walls along the lane.
Spring sunshine - half an hour before the rain came down  (c)  Jane Lunnon
We made good progress, and even had time to have lunch before the spring sunshine faded, the black clouds closed in, and the rain forced us to retreat home for coffee and carrot cake.

Jane Lunnon

Sunday, 9 March 2014

8th March 2014

It wasn’t quite the spring day we were promised but we stuck it out through the cold to venture out surveying. Today there were 5 of us (Sue, Tony, David, Chris and Jane), so we could divide into two recording teams. Again we are indebted to the local farmer for permission to go around another of his large fields – another whole day to survey just one field, even though we had two teams today – recording the enclosing walls. This time we were in a field neighbouring the one we surveyed last week.

"Are you sure?"   (c) Jane Lunnon

"Well, I think so..."   (c) Jane Lunnon
Lying to the south of the tofts and crofts of old Eastby, the walls around the large enclosure fields vary widely in character. In-between lies Garros Lane, a now disused wall-enclosed lane which formerly gave local farmers access to the outlying fields. The wall on the north side of this lane appears to be the original revetted wall marking the southern boundary of the old tofts and crofts, and is probably medieval.

For the second week running we enjoyed the sight of hares playing across the fields in their March madness.

Tony's immaculate boots & trousers  (c) Jane Lunnon 
The mud was just as thick as last week - yet Tony's boots and trousers remained pristine clean as always - while the rest of us were coated in mud within the first half hour.
Wall Anoraks !  (c) Jane Lunnon
Eventually we came out of the field at Water Lane, where bemused ramblers asked us what on earth we were doing. They seemed very interested in what we told them – but they probably thought we were a little mad!

At the top of Water Lane we found the farmer and had a good long chat with him about the walls and fields round about his farm. He was able to tell us some interesting little titbits about the history of some of the houses in Eastby. It was a good end to the day’s surveying.

We stopped off at the churchyard on the way back to Embsay, for a look round at some of the gravestones for some of the people in our genealogical database – the database is still growing every week. We recently passed the 12,000 names mark!

Then it was everyone back to our house for tea, cheesecake and natter.

Jane Lunnon.     

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Saturday 1st March 2014

With the kind permission of a local farmer, 4 of the Embsay Research Team enjoyed a good day out studying the wall of a large field in Eastby. The weather was kind despite the threat of rain, and we only really got cold while sitting still over our lunch break.
(c)  Jane Lunnon

The field proved to have a complicated wall structure with several different types and ages of drystone walling surrounding it, all of which adds to the growing picture of how the field systems in the parish developed through the centuries. The surviving gateposts were all fairly similar in character, matching some of those we find elsewhere in the parish, and indeed across the Dales.

The discovery of an old revetted wall down a now disused enclosed lane, running alongside one side of the field, proved very interesting – this is a feature which can also seen down Low Lane, and we know of another excellent example in the neighbouring parish of Halton East. These may be indicators of rights of way going back to at least the medieval period.
(c)  Jane Lunnon 
As ever, Tony’s trousers remained virtually pristine clean while the rest of us ended up with mud coating our trousers up to our knees! We returned home at the end of the day for a cuppa and a slice (or two!) for Sue’s excellent home-made chocolate cake. 

Jane Lunnon