Wakefield Courts Rolls free online

The news that volumes 1-15 of the Wakefield Court Rolls have been digitised and are now available free online has been greeted with enthusiasm. To access them see here

YAHS has been publishing editions of the Wakefield manorial court rolls for over a century, and has owned the Wakefield manorial archive since 1944. The court rolls from 1274-1331, issued in five volumes in the society’s Record Series between 1901 and 1945, were republished by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

A committee of the society was established in 1975 to relaunch the publication of the Wakefield court rolls and the series has now produced 19 volumes over forty years. A new volume is published every two years – volume 19 appeared in 2017. If you’d like to support the WCR series as a subscriber, it’s only £9 a year if you are in the UK – see the YAHS website.

Fifty-one Wakefield court rolls have now been edited, spanning a wide range of years from a period of more than six hundred years from the late 13th to the early 19th century. It is the longest-running series of its kind ever to be published.

David Hey memorial conference: Call for papers

The British Agricultural History Society, together with the British Association for Local History and the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society is convening a meeting in memory of Professor David Hey and in celebration of his research. This will take place in Sheffield on 23 June 2018. David was a man of wide interests and made a contribution to the discipline of local history as a whole, but his research was also strongly rooted in the history of Yorkshire and the north Midlands. The conference will feature contributions from a number of historians who knew and were associated with David, but we also invite contributions from historians, especially younger members of the profession, who have been inspired and stimulated by his work and can offer papers on subjects in which David took an interest, and which, should he still be with us, he would enjoy hearing. Papers on the landscape, economy and society of the Pennines, south Yorkshire and Sheffield are particularly welcome.

It is hoped that arrangements can be made for the publication of a memorial volume.

Proposals (including a title and 100 word abstract of the proposed paper) should be sent to Professor Richard Hoyle at editor@bahs.org.uk by Monday 11 December 2017.

Fish-eating in the Middle Ages

Medieval Section lecture this coming Saturday, 2pm at Swarthmore: Iona McCleery of the University of Leeds will speak about fish eating in the Middle Ages. More details here. Iona’s summary:
‘Medieval people seem to have started to eat a lot of fish from the 11th century onwards (what archaeologists call the ‘fish event horizon’). This is usually explained as widespread adoption of strict Christian dietary rules and/or the development of deep sea fishing technology. However, from around the same time medieval medical writings began to view fish as unhealthy foodstuffs. This talk will explore the ambiguous role of fish in medieval culture, drawing in particular on medieval miracle narratives as sources for the complex relationships between medicine, spirituality and daily life.’
Also at Saturday’s meeting: Peter Lacey is also going to say something about the proposals to commemorate Saint Robert of Knaresborough in 2018.

Back to the Bronze Age

The lecture on Must Farm by Dr David Gibson (first in a planned series of annual collaborations between our Prehistory Research Section and The Prehistoric Society) was for me a highlight of the year. Five pile dwellings, roundhouses within a palisade with internal walkway, reached by a timber causeway or bridge, were destroyed by fire less than a year after they were built, in c. 100-800 BC. Except that they were not destroyed: a combination of timbers being carbonised and waterlogged set up perfect conditions for preservation. As a result, the dwellings can be reconstructed, and their contents (organic materials and all) studied as never before. The textiles that survived are said to be as good as anything found in Egypt.

Confessing my prior ignorance of the Bronze Age after the talk, it turned out that people far more knowledgable were also staggered. More on the project website here.

Information on other Bronze Age hoards here, including Lancaster and Morecambe.

Day school on Leeds industries

Save the date: 10 March 2018. A day at Armley Mills, a collaboration between YAHS Industrial History Section and Leeds Industrial Museum. More details will follow soon. Topics include the leather industry and local engineering.

(Meanwhile, apologies that YAHS social media has been off the boil lately. I’m preoccupied with proofs and indexing. Normal service will resume very soon.)

Archaeological events coming up in York

Two big events in York, in which YAHS is joining:

Arras 200 – Celebrating the Iron Age

In partnership with the University of Hull and Yorkshire Museum and in association with Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society and East Riding Archaeological Society. Conference runs from 17 to 19 November, at the Yorkshire Museum in York. Further details here.

CBA Yorkshire Autumn Showcase: Celebrating Community Archaeology

4 November – a range of talks and workshops. Book here.

• Community Archaeology South of Leeds Mike Turpin
• Throwing light upon the past: St Mary the Virgin Embsay with Eastby Churchyard project in partnership with Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group and University of York Susan Stearn
• Tinsley Time and Travel: Heeley City Farm Sally Rodgers
• Hagg Farm Excavation: Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeological Group Philip Bastow
• Raincliffe Woods survey: Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society Martin Bland
• FFWAP – Fridaythorpe, Fimber and Wetwang Archaeology Project Alison Spencer
• PONTARC 60; sixty years of archaeology in and around Pontefract Eric Houlder
• Finding Fryston: Discovering our heritage from the Monks to the Victorians – 2016 Ray Newton
• The work of the North Duffield Archaeological Society Brian Elsey
• The Fewston Assemblage: Churchyard Secrets Revealed Sally Robinson
• Conisbrough Castle Community Project John Buglass
• Stank Hall and Barn restoration and research Susan Ottley-Hughes


• PROJECT DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Jon Kenny Community Archaeologist
• USING LIDAR FOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL MAPPING AND LANDSCAPE MODELLING Stephen Eastmead Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeological Group
• USE OF DRONES IN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND RECORDING Tony Hunt Yorkshire Archaeological Aerial Mapping

National Archives help with family history searching

The latest National Archives newsletter is packed with information about sources for family history (and for more general research about individuals). This includes Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills and probate documents, 1384-1858, now available to download.

(I think, though, that for most northern probate records you’d need to contact the Borthwick Institute – northerners registered at the Canterbury court only if property-owners in the south.)

Read it here.

Norse influences on northern English vocabulary

A real treat this coming Saturday: YAHS Medieval Section joins the Yorkshire Dialect Society in presenting a lecture by Richard Dance and Brittany Schorn from the University of Cambridge. Its title is ‘Tykes and Vikings: Looking for the Old Norse Influence on Northern English Vocabulary’ – much more on the section blog here.

At the Swarthmore Centre, 2pm, 14 October.