The Mill Under the Reservoir

Embsay with Eastby parish in the south of the National Park has a significant industrial heritage, with the Industrial Revolution resulting in several mills being built here. One, Whitfield Syke Mill, had a long and varied history as a spinning mill, a ‘health resort’ and home to the Navvy Mission Society – until it was demolished and flooded by the construction of Embsay Reservoir. Continue reading “The Mill Under the Reservoir”

A legendary home, fit for a king?

The long history of Pendragon Castle – a fortified tower-house in Mallerstang, Cumbria, dating from the twelfth century – has meant that it is steeped in mystery.

According to legend, the original castle was built by Uther Pendragon, father of King Arthur, in the fifth century. It is rumoured to have been the site of Uther’s death – along with 100 of his men – when a well was poisoned by the Saxons.

It is said that Uther unsuccessfully tried to divert the river to provide the castle’s moat, and this is recalled in a well-known local couplet: “Let Uther Pendragon do what he can/ Eden will run where Eden ran”.

However, there is currently no evidence to support the legend that there was a castle here before the twelfth century.

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The Yorkshire Dales Remember

The First and Second World Wars left visible scars on the landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, ensuring that the people who live in this area will never forget the sacrifice made by our forefathers for our freedom today. We take a look at some of those sites that were used during the World Wars or that now commemorate them.

War memorials come in a variety of forms, and you can see many examples of these throughout the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The Second World War memorial plaque in Aysgarth

The War Memorial in Aysgarth was erected after the First World War when the villagers joined together to carry the blocks from the nearby quarry to the memorial site. Words around the top of the memorial read “They Live, Heard, Felt, Died”.


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October 2017: Roman Milestone, Middleton

The Roman Milestone at Middleton is cylindrical in shape, approximately 1.7m high and 0.45m in diameter. The East side has an inscription: “MP LIII” – Milia Passuum 53. It is believed to refer to 53 miles from Carlisle. Below this there is another inscription: “SOLO ERVTVM RESTITVIT GVL MOORE AN MDCCCXXXVI” – added by the historian Dr Lingard to commemorate its discovery and re-erection by W. Moore. It is believed that Moore found the milestone when ploughing his land in 1836. It was then relocated to the top of a nearby hill and this inscription was added. There are some diagonal scratch marks on the northwest facing side which were likely made by ploughing.

Roman milestones were generally stone pillars with Latin inscriptions erected when a road was first constructed or when it was repaired. The inscriptions usually give the distance to the next, named, town, as well as the name of the reigning emperor and the particular year of his reign in which the milestone was placed, which allows them to be accurately dated. This milestone is unusual as it does not record the full name and titles of the emperor who built or repaired the road.

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Reading Rooms and Literary Institutes #librariesweek

Reading rooms and literary institutes were important recreational spaces in the Yorkshire Dales in the 19th Century. They could be found in almost every village and hamlet in the Dales, and were sometimes the only public building. Many of these buildings were built as local initiatives, and their establishment would have involved a considerable effort for many small communities. It seems likely that patronage had a strong role to play for the volume in the Yorkshire Dales. They were in part supported due to the foreseen advantages to the moral and intellectual welfare of the populous, particularly in having their tenants and employees socialising in an environment other than the public house. These buildings coincided with the temperance movement. Nearly all of the reading rooms were non-sectarian, however many had rules which revealed a temperance bias. Continue reading “Reading Rooms and Literary Institutes #librariesweek”

September 2017: Crook Gill packhorse bridge

There is a single span packhorse bridge that crosses Crook Gill. This bridge lies on an old packhorse route from Bishopdale into Wharfedale. A packhorse bridge is intended to carry horses loaded with side-bags or panniers (a packhorse) across a river or stream. Packhorse routes were the trade routes that formed major transport arteries of Great Britain until the coming of the turnpike roads and canals in the 18th Century. The bridge is situated roughly halfway between the hamlets of Cray and Hubberholme. The bridge crosses Crook Gill just before its confluence with Cray Gill, and 700m downstream joins the River Wharfe. Continue reading “September 2017: Crook Gill packhorse bridge”

Geophysical Surveys of Bainbridge

We Dig Community is coming to an end in Bainbridge, but one last piece of fieldwork has been completed, a geophysical survey by Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group (SWAAG). Geophysical surveys (often referred to as ‘geophys’) are usually undertaken at the beginning of a project as they give you an overview of the site and can give you an indication of where to place your archaeological trenches. However, test pits, by their nature, should be a random snapshot of the archaeology of an area, so in this case the geophysical survey was being used to ensure that no large features were missed. Continue reading “Geophysical Surveys of Bainbridge”

Final Finds Processing and Identification Workshop

We are holding our final Finds Processing and Identification Workshop as we only have a few finds left to process now. The workshop will be on the 28th September, from 10am till 5pm at Bainbridge Temperance Hall. (You do not have to stay for the whole session.) Everybody is welcome and no experience is required. However, spaces are limited so if you would like to attend please contact Hannah Kingsbury at or 01969 652343.