Sunday, May 12, 2013

Part two

Today we went to Todmorden, down the Caldervale  valley, alongside the Calder River.  What to make of it, first visits means you have to take in a large amount.  Firstly the steepness of the valley, high ridges, but woods cling to the side with that disparity of colour that makes it all beautiful.  The flat land along by the river has villages and small towns, an untidy jumble of houses, dark and dour I must say, the grime of years past has gone but the colour of the stone is cold.  There is an industrial air along the road, where there once large mills, open spaces now predominate, you know that weaving took place in many of the houses because they have those glass panelled long windows on the first floor for light.  It was a dull day, so the sun did not enliven the scene, when we arrived at Todmorden, but it is a traditional Yorkshire town, pretty in places. There was an open air market, also a covered market as well but that was closed today.  We wandered along the canal path, and admired the beds of vegetables and herbs which you are invited to pick, the bed round the market was the best, gooseberry and currants already forming, how do you stop yourself from being greedy and picking the whole lot I wondered?  Good things are cheap houses, a very cheap meal and of course tea and chocolate cakes for the girls in the tiniest of tearooms surrounded by bits and pieces.  I could grow to like this corner of Yorkshire especially as my family are determined to live there but at the moment I feel lost like a piece of flotsam on the sea - too many changes recently.

Weaver windows in a typical house - Jonathan Long  @ Creative Commons

Just along the road from Todmorden is the Lancashire border and I must say that the countryside is weird, again fairly rough and wild but strange formations meet the eye,  I am sure a certain amount of the land must have been mined, along the valley there are the occasional tall brick chimney stack as well.  I have grown used to the moors of North Yorkshire, their brown bleakness offset by green valleys have a less closed in appearance, each landscape so different and yet part of the same county.

On Saturday we went to a lecture on the Saxon Princess at Street, Loftus, given by Dr.Sherlock, it was very well attended and the exhibition of the finds in the museum very well done. The Saxon burial ground with about 120 burials lined neatly round a square, was in actual fact on an earlier bronze age/neolithic age burial ground and also Iron Age huts just to add to the confusion of the excavation, so one must imagine that this was sacred ground. One of the other things was the fact that some of the jewellery was reused by the Saxons, Roman and prehistoric beads, glass and I think gold remade into different objects.
I need a link for this one...

or two; Loftus Saxon Princess Word Press

Street House Burial


  1. How beautiful and what a wonderful find! I would have love to have come with you, Thelma. How very interesting. I wonder who she was? Thank you for sharing your post with us.

  2. Hi Paula, Well amongst the exhibition notes on the wall, three people have speculated on which royal family she came from. She could have come from Kent for marriage perhaps and then been exiled as the tensions between Bernicia and Deira went up a notch. It's a Saxon burial ground on the cusp between pagan and christian burials; should buy the book but have enough expense in Whitby at the moment...

  3. A fascinating post about the archaeology (great link). With the palimpsest of use, it does sound to have been a very important site through the millennia, as is often the case.

    I loved hearing about your day out in Todmorden too. If your family are so intent on moving there, I guess you may well be seeing a lot more of it!

  4. Hi Jennie,
    Well the move will come about because they are having some difficulties and my son-in-law is not well. It is a very different landscape though round the Caldervale not sure I like it. ;)
    Think I will have to buy the book on the excavation because it is so fascinating.....

  5. I love those windows. Lovely post Thelma - thank you.