Monday, 28 March 2016

23 March 2016

After the long cold, wet winter, outdoor work in the churchyard resumed today - The scaffolding is up around the church ready for work to begin on replacing roof tiles, which is good as the winter rain has been causing a great deal of damage to the interior walls. 
Carpets of snowdrops in St Mary's churchyard

While Alan and Tony worked on the fiddly job of RTI photographing the ledger stones in the garden of remembrance where ashes are interred, the rest of us measured in some locations of graves on the west side, using the good old-fashioned technique of triangulation. We're using specific corners of the church building and buttresses as fixed reference points. Sometimes intervening gravestones get in the way  which means the measuring tape has to be raised above them - and that's where a broom becomes a very handy tool!!

To explain - the broom handle provides a resting point to keep the tape on the same vertical plane as the location being measured. 

It was a bitingly cold day and we soon got numb fingers. After a warming cuppa at lunchtime Alan and Tony continued with the ledger stones while Sue and I recorded which graves are being attended - that is, are still visited by relatives. At this time of year the churchyard is a riot of colour as there are many bouquets and fresh cut flowers being brought for Easter 

We were also visited by a local cat - a very beautiful feline that often drops by to have a little look at what we're up to. 

So another good day's work was done by the team. 

Jane Lunnon

Monday, 7 March 2016

Update - March 2016 

Work on the project continues steadily. 

On 25th February Chris gave his presentation on the Embsay-with-Eastby boundary stones to the Skipton & Craven Historical Society. It seemed to go very well and there was a good audience which asked lots of interesting questions afterwards. 

He's virtually written up the paper for this project, and is currently setting up the appendices and drawings to go with it. 

Spring is almost here despite the snow a few days ago. And that means we must resume the walls surveying again soon. The weather is so unpredictable it's difficult to plan ahead but we will get out there again before the vegetation grow too high for us to see the walls.

We're still researching the lives of men from Embsay and Eastby who served in the First World War, and some of that research will be posted up on our project pages on the Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group website. David is working his way through the fascinating archives of the Parkers and Chippendales who had a long association with the villages. And of course, there are several queries arising from the churchyard project which we are investigating, leading us to some very interesting stories which we might use on our next graveyard tour. 

Our involvement with the St Mary's Church survey of the graveyard resumes again this week - hopefully the weather will hold out so we can start surveying the north side on Wednesday. Otherwise there's plenty of data to type up if it rains! 

Work on transcribing the school's archives also continues - there's a surprising amount of information to type up, but we're slowly getting through it, and the data is being entered into our genealogical database. A history of the British School (as opposed to the National School) is planned, but needs quite a bit more research.

A small group of us recently visited a local house which has always intrigued us - it has undergone many renovations and re-fits over the centuries but we suspected it was 17thC in origin. So with the help of vernacular buildings expert, Alison Armstrong, and at the kind invitation of the owners, we explored the wonderful roof beams and other clues dotted around the interior and exterior of the house. 

Indeed it does seem to have been built in the 17thC and some of the beams appear to be very high-quality oak of the monastic period - the question is, where did they come from? Did these cruck beams hold up a barn that perhaps stood on this site before the house was built - or were they pinched from the ruins of the old Embsay priory nearby? We are ridiculously excited about it. 

The Parish Council recently made their archives available to us - unfortunately these mostly relate to the 20th Century - no one seems to know where the 19th Century documents have gone. Nevetheless we can find some interesting history in these and will soon be looking at the earlier documents more closely. 

Jane Lunnon