Thursday, 27 August 2009

Friday, 21 August 2009

Gluten and Wheat Free Ale

Thanks to Market Town Taverns a trial run of gluten and wheat free ales will soon take place at Bar t'at in Ilkley. I for one will welcome this as cider has not the flavour nor drinkability of a good ale.

If you have problems with gluten and/or wheat based foods and drinks, or know someone who does, please support this local trial. Tell your friends too.

Everyone should be able to enjoy a glass of decent ale.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


“There was an old well at which I used to drink when I was a boy......,” so Robert Collyer told the folk of Boston USA, in a lecture. Ilkley, the Olicana of Ptolemy and Ylcanley of Saxon times. Some form of population has inhabited this area for over five millennia. Each tribe leaving their mark. None more so than the Victorians and the present crew! Rombalds Moor, of which Ilkley Moor is but a small part, covers an area from Hawkesworth in the east to nearly Skipton in the west, with the Dales of Wharfe and Aire being north and south, respectively.

The Town, on the other hand, has been in existence as we see it today only a comparatively short time. In the year 1800, it was nothing more than a mucky little hole with a beck running through it. A population of about three hundred (give or take the odd dying wretch), and not much else. Apart from a cold spring high on the Moor. A few years earlier, the then Squire Myddleton, converted a building on t'moor into one this Country's first Spaw Baths. At least that is what it became later. One might call it a 'Sauna in reverse'.

So it was these small buildings became the foundation of modern Ilkley. Over a passage of time the 'Well' or 'Bath' house became known as White Wells. The taking of the 'spring' water which brought about such change to this part of Wharfedale and it's effects on the local countryside, must have been astronomical. More so than the long proposed by-pass!

Imagine spending all your life in a thatched cottage by a babbling brook, when in the next instance, some bod called Hamer Stansfeld, from a place he calls Headingley near Leeds, reckons he's going to put Wheatley and Ilkley on the map! Ten to one you've never heard of Headingley, let alone seen a map.

Yet this is exactly what Hamer and his mates did. One might say they turned "water into wine" or, as they say in Yorkshire, "water into brass". Large Hydropathic establishments grew from the virgin earth, such was the demand for this remarkable substance. There then followed the rest of the attendant services and crew. Also, about this time a railway wandered into the valley.

The first of many mill owners, industrialists and their families moved to the countryside for fresh air without fumes. I wonder what they would make of present day Ilkley? Not only had Ilkley become a fashionable water hole, it was now a commuter town.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Tenants of Jenny’s Cottage, Beacon Hill, Otley

1799. John Tillotson. Beacon Keeper.

1830. Jenny Myers, wife of hind, John Myers, shepherd for John Hartley.

1860. Jenny Lee, wife of John Lee, hind or shepherd for John Hartley, corn merchant, in part of Garnett’s Mill, Otley.

1877. Jenny Miller. The road leading from East Chevin Road to Beacon Hill was named after her. Miller Lane. ( I’m not sure where this fits in with the rest ).

1883. Mr Veale from York. He enlarged the cottage from two rooms and a dairy to “Refreshment Rooms”. Built “Teapot Row” on Leeds Road (?) from the profits.

1908. Mr E Kirk, wheelwright, Yeadon.

1910. Senior Blackburn, Butcher, New Market Street, Otley. Lived in cottage till October 23rd 1934. Senior is the chap seen walking across Bond Gate with a pig, in old photographs of Otley.

1934. John Blackburn, son of Senior.

1947. Mrs Laurence Jackson, daughter of the above.

1958. Reg Marston, farmer, till 1972. Fred Atkinson leased the catering rights from 1969-71.

1972. Sam Chippendale Foundation bought the cottage, Beacon Hill and 84 acres.

1976. Jenny’s Cottage was demolished and some stone used to build an extension to Hilton Grange Children’s Home, Bramhope. The remaining stone was used to build flower Fund Homes at Guiseley.

1977. Leeds City Council bought the whole of Beacon Hill plus the White House plantation.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The Largest Prehistoric Sacred Landscape in Britain


It has just been brought to my attention how gravel extraction is threatening part of The Largest Prehistoric Sacred Landscape in Britain. Yes you read that right.

The Largest Prehistoric Sacred Landscape in Britain

A site few know exists. I didn’t and I only live a few miles down the road. Please help the Friends of Thornborough to save this most historic part of Britain’s Heritage. Join The Campaign to Save The Stonehenge of the North.

Quarries whether it be hills or gravel pits are doing irreparable damage to our island. Anyone travelling through Yorkshire’s Dales cannot fail to notice how hills vanish over the years. While understanding quarrying gives local communities much needed employment, there comes a time when one has to ask

'Do we really need stone in this modern day and age'