Monday, August 31, 2015

Kirkdale grave yard - facing East

The photos that did not appear in the blog below, every stone facing into the deep, dark wood, and of course the Hodge Beck that must run through it.

A glimpse of 'eternity'!

The old venerable tree that greets you at the gate

Falling 'dangerous' gravestones. Perhaps these are our Georgian ancestors.  I found someone who was a 101 years old though.

Just by the church a 'prehistoric' stone perhaps?

Sectioned off, this is I think a war remembrance part.  Note the belt on the cross.

No acknowledgements on 10 of the similar graves, all just planted with I think perennial geraniums.

4 sheep are meant to keep the grave yard clear, not doing a particularly good job

A tangle of roots?

St.Gregory's Minster church at Kirkdale

I had been reading about the history of this part of Yorkshire  all morning yesterday and this church at Kirkdale had cropped up.  Situated between Helmsley and Kirkbymoorside, half a mile of the main road we visited it in the afternoon.  Set at the end of a lane, no houses around but surrounded by thick woods, it stands a place of peace and quiet.  It had quite a large cemetery around it, which gave it a slightly Gothic character.  Dedicated to St.Gregory it would have been a Saxon Minster, serving several parishes in the district 'was where the old, ruined, minster church had stood in days gone by, the ruined church whose cemetery was still used by the local people for the burial of their dead.'
The cemetery is still used today, there is a little war cemetery as well, fenced of, but eloquent in its setting.

In the walls of the old rebuilt church are the gravestone (These are gravestones of Anglo-Scandinavian design introduced to northern and eastern England by the Danes and Norwegians who settled here in the late ninth and early tenth centuries).  of the Anglo-Scandinavians that were buried at a later date, apart from the Saxon knot work above which can be found in the east wall, these large stone crosses lie in the south facing wall, there is a further one on the west wall......

What survives of Orm's church in the existing visible fabric appears to be the south, west, and what remains of the east walls of the nave; That quote of course needs some explaining, for in the front porch there is a sun dial, which gives fascinating detail of when the dial was made, its history can be found here and an interpretation of the words.  The sun dial sits above the church doorway,

What would we do without our Victorian ancestors who copied and wrote down everything in their everlasting curiosity about everything historic... the words are analysed in the link above.

To quote;  Short though it is, this inscription provides us with a surprising amount of information. Most important of all, it enables us to date the earliest phase of the existing fabric with some precision. Tostig, the son of Earl Godwin of Wessex and the brother of Harold II the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, was earl of Northumbria from 1055 to 1065. It was therefore during that decade that Orm the son of Gamel rebuilt St. Gregory's church, It is very rarely that we can date the construction of an early medieval church so precisely.  So there is even a date for this part of history, a rare and valuable truth.

Inside the church two finely decorated coffin slabs of an earlier date;

To quote on these tomb slabs;  Expert scholarly opinion would date these to the Anglian or pre-Scandinavian period (i.e. before c.870): one of them appears to be of the eighth century and the other of the ninth. On the strength of this dating the history of the church on this site may be caned back to c.750, conceivably even earlier. For their day they are very handsome pieces which display craftsmanship of a high order. Furthermore, certain features of their design strongly suggest that they originally stood inside a church, These indications show that the persons once buried beneath them were of great status and prestige. The church, which originally housed these tombs, may well have been an imposing one.    I suspect the stone 'tasselling' on the edge makes these tomb stones something to be found inside the church, and out of the weather.

Saxon quoins below.....

Saturday, August 29, 2015


The gardens in derelict state in 1990s

Helmsley Walled Garden History

It is hard to imagine the former state of the above garden, but it was this lady Alison Ticehurst who started the restoration we see today, turning a derelict market garden venture into a beautiful and productive garden from the 1990's.  There are many apple trees in the lower part of the garden, old Yorkshire names and old varieties jostle against each other, the apples are very prolific, no one has thinned them in the early part of summer, and they cluster like bunches of berries on the trees.
It seems a communal act of dedication to run the gardens, there is a small staff supplemented by volunteers.  The cafe has delicious looking cakes, we only sampled the scone and homemade jam, as did a few passing wasps, but insect life, especially bees are prolific in the garden.
Garden produce is sold, as are plants by the cafe, they go to an important part of the aims of the garden which is to use them for horticultural therapy of people dispossessed of life's bounty, in other words people who are miserable....

This is Alison Ticehurst garden's created by her mother. Alison died in 1999, five years after starting the project

After the gardens we went in search of Nunnington Hall, LS had followed a route (on Google) and swore we could get to it through the country lanes.  We did not. But arrived eventually, not going in, another day out, but it is very imposing, set by the river.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Just photos -Helmsley Walled Garden

Luscious flowers in the orchid house, no orchids though

coleus foliage plants

Flowerbeds and walls


Settling in. that is what we are doing.  The hens have settled beautifully, always wanting to come out of the run, not yet, they must wait for the garden to be fenced.  Three eggs are produced daily, so there are too many and I shall have to think about giving them away, egg boxes are ordered and I noticed an apple press for sale, but no apples!

Two rooms still in disarray, boxes to be unpacked; curtain hanging complete, pictures to go on walls and perhaps a couple of prints to buy.  The humdrum of one's life has settled in.  The endless noise of chatter on the radio, everyone seems to be navel gazing on these programmes.  We are skewered by our own thoughts, unable to get out of a continuous chain of thinking, mostly to do with the utilitarian act of living.

Seventy bodies have been found rotting in a lorry in Austria, how can that be?  There is an enormous immigration crisis slowly unfolding, and there are no answers, only the scum who would get rich on the back of anything, taking money from these poor people and then allowing them to die whether at sea or on land; hell is here and we have no answers.

Images of children playing at the dockside in Greece, the worried faces of the parents as they must haggle their way across Europe - and what happens in this country? Well a few more lords get elected, for goodness knows what, honour for 'doing' something for their country, £300 quid a day expenses, not bad if you can get it.  The House of Lords overfull; our political system is in a mess, we have daily dollops of the Labour Party's four individuals for leadership.  Many in the country back Jeremy Corbyn for his left thinking, but how can one man change a whole system of government I wonder.

Well we are going to Helmsley after coffee, there is nothing any of us can do but leave it in the hands of others, we  allow the dark walls to close in on us, the festering happening of worldly affairs.   History is being rewritten, a few wrong moves in the past has brought us to this part of time, the time we live in.  Lives are being tossed around, movement of people across countries, and all I note from the window in the evening is the great machines going to and fro with the harvest and now with the harrowing machines, manure to feed the fields for next year's crop, a cycle of the year, just as war is.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Eric Ravilious - The Cornfield 1918
Gone, gone again,
May, June, July,
And August gone,
Again gone by,

   Edward Thomas's poem, not quite true at the moment, August is still with us, the harvest
   still being collected, but the feeling that summer has passed, its useful productivity stored in barns and the ripening apples and blackberries are there for the picking and apple pies made for the table.  Ravilious's paintings depicts the old 'stooks', sheaves gathered together, today the great baling machines produce giant bales, and the fields stretch for miles, golden toned whether cut or uncut,  the soil waiting to be turned into brown furrows.
A strange summer, warm and beautiful days with just that hint of cold winds, rain that falls like 'cats and dogs', wonder where that expression came from, changeable weather and now even the Met office is being given the sack by the BBC.  Times are definitely changing.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday walks

Cawthorn Practice Camps taken from North York Moors; Landscape Heritage;

Our walk yesterday took us round the Roman Practice Camps, covered in heather and bilberry bushes.  Thick woods with a tangle of undergrowth surround these Roman camps, did some Roman architect in York pull out a drawing or two, and command his soldiers to go build and see what you come up with.  One of them is is the 'playing card' proper camp, this is 'D' as you can see from the above photo. Double banked, entrances aligned. another camp sits alongside trapezoidal shaped 'C';  'A' and 'B' much further away.  A mystery, even more so from the ground view.  There are words here on Pastscape of early excavations, but the puzzle is not really solved.  They stand on a scarp, overlooking the surrounding countryside, and the Brigantes tribe is the main Northern tribe that the Romans had to overcome, though overall the Brigantes were friendly towards the Romans.  One of the problems about the site is that there is little water, it has to be collected from below the ridge in a small beck.  There are tumuli in the woods, but heavy undergrowth would obliterate most signs of these barrows.  Cawthorn relationship as a defensive Roman barrier of forts that ran between Leas Rigg and Malton forts is probably the more rational explanation, its defenses would stem from the York main fort.
I tried the small black berries, not knowing what they were, but surmised (correctly) that they must be bilberries, later on we met met people armed with plastic boxes for collection of these tiny berries. 

heather and bilberries

The next photos are of a drive we went later on, through the village of Butterwick, though I would call it a hamlet, as there are only about 15 houses there. The river Rye runs through the village, a large river which joins up with our river Seven further on towards Malton.