University of Manchester Archaeology under threat

CBA North West is campaigning against threatened cuts to the Archaeology Department at the University of Manchester. There are proposals to halve the eight posts within Archaeology, and also to close the department as an independent entity. This means the loss of archaeology modules for undergraduates and postgraduates.

CBA argues that these moves ignore the 100% satisfaction rating of the department’s students, and the growing skills shortage within the wider UK archaeology profession. They urge people to write to the university’s Vice Chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell, and/ or to sign an online petition here.



Latest on Claremont renovation

Passers-by will have noticed a lot of activity in and around Claremont over the summer. Building work was completed at the end of July, when designers and decorators moved in. Latest news is that the project is nearing completion, and everything should be finished by 8 September.

I’ll share news as soon as I can about any opportunity there might be to have a closer look. Lots of us are very curious!

Professor Bernard Jennings

Some more sad news, I’m afraid. The death has been announced of Professor Bernard Jennings, on 6 August. A memorial service will be held at All Saints, Kilham, Driffield, on Saturday 28 October at 3 pm.

Prof. Jennings was a long-standing member of YAHS and of the Medieval Section. He was a distinguished regional historian who produced histories of Nidderdale, Harrogate and Knaresborough, Calderdale, Swaledale and other places, many of these working with WEA groups of adult learners.

Dales Life and Tradition 2018

Marking the 50th anniversary of Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby’s classic work, Life and Tradition in the Yorkshire Dales, the Society is planning a year of Dales celebration in 2018.
The centrepiece is a new edition of the book, using some of Hartley’s own photographs from the YAHS collection. Paul White is preparing the text and images for publication, and the Society underwriting the printing costs. The volume, out of print for some time, is a fascinating account of domestic and social life, and of industries and working practices, which were dying out at the time Hartley and Ingilby recorded them. It has become an historical source in itself, and we hope will fascinate a new generation.

Kirsty McHugh, our former Collections Manager who returned to us as a very active volunteer, has planned a programme of events and activities, in partnership with the Dales Countryside Museum. The core elements are:

  • demonstrations of traditional skills and craft workshops e.g. dry-stone walling, making oatcakes, at the Dales Countryside Museum
  • An exhibition case exploring the researching and writing of Life and Tradition at the DCM. This will complement the HLF-funded Voices from the Land project exhibition which will run at the DCM from October 2017 to December 2018, and the newly redesigned Hartley and Ingilby gallery
  • Talks, walks and other activities exploring the landscape and buildings of the Dales.
We await the outcome of applications Kirsty has submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund and to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Sustainable Development Fund. If successful, there will be funds to cover costs of delivering many of the activities.
Because of Kirsty’s imminent move to Edinburgh, we do need volunteers to help manage and co-ordinate the project. Please contact if you think you could help with this.

Donald Haigh

We’re very sorry to hear of the death of Donald Haigh, a longstanding member of the Society, and of the Roman Antiquities Section, on Saturday 5 August 2017. Donald was known particularly for his extensive research on Roman roads.

The funeral is on 25 August at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland, at 11.15am.

The Yorkshire Dialect Dictionary

Our second major announcement of this week!

YAHS is proud and excited to announce a ground-breaking venture – collaborative and community-sourced, presenting the life’s work of one eminent member and celebrating the memory of another. The Yorkshire Dictionary will appear in two formats: as conventional volumes in the YAHS Record Series, and also online, interactive, inviting contributors to share information and sources.

Dr George Redmonds has worked on Yorkshire records for more than 60 years, collecting historical information about how words were used and what they meant. He is now editing and converting his index cards into machine-readable form. The work of developing open-source software and publishing the material online is to be funded by the Marc Fitch Fund, as a memorial to their former chairman, Professor David Hey, who was a good friend of George.

The Fitch grant of £67,500 will employ a researcher and a web developer at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, starting in autumn 2017. Chris Webb, Keeper of Archives at the Borthwick, who is also general editor of YAHSRS, secured this funding on behalf of the partners (Dr Redmonds, YAHSRS and the Borthwick) and will oversee the project. The University of York is providing facilities and support, and longer term web-hosting. YAHS has committed to funding publication of the YAHS Record Series volumes.

This is a taster of the kind of entry we’ll be seeing:

Calgarth Literally ‘cabbage yard’, although the evidence suggests that it may have been more generally ‘garden’. The word is dealt with very briefly in the OED and yet in Yorkshire it was widely distributed and significant enough to give rise to a surname and several place-names: c.1270 Roger del Calgarth, Drax (YRS12/124); 1349 Thoma del Calgarth, Ripon (SS74/141): c.1290 cum quadam cultura que vocatur Kalegarth, Appletreewick (YRS160/90); 1346 ‘of the acres two … lay in Hughcalgarth in the same field’, Kirby Knowle (YRS65/86). As a lexical item it survived into the early eighteenth century at least: 1518 one place in Esholte with the callgarthe thereto belongynge (YAJ9/324); 1575 j old calgarth spade, Burton in Bishopdale (SS26/255); 1621 I will that Jane Metcalffe shall have … one calgarth during her natural life, Askrigg (YRS130/43); 1693 the Great Calgarth or garden on one side of Hebden farm (EG88). See GRYD8-10

Extensive media coverage is expected when the researcher starts work, which we hope will be early in October. We should brace ourselves for considerable eeh-bah-gumming.



The morning after…

We didn’t quite break the internet, but news of YAJ going online caused a storm. In just a day, almost 2,000 people picked up on our Facebook post, 21 shared it with other groups and friends, and we had a lovely message from a medieval artefact researcher whose husband works in conservation:

Thank you very much to everyone involved, for the time taken and generosity to do this… We really appreciate being able to have access to journals like these to help us.

The enthusiasm generated is, I think, good indication that we are on the right track… We are planning more digitisation, and soon.

Meanwhile, another equally exciting announcement is being held back, as I don’t want to steal YAJ’s online thunder. All I can say is, watch this space.

Pre-2011 YAJs now free online

I’m very happy to announce news of one of YAHS’s major projects. Scanning has been completed of all 82 Yorkshire Archaeological Journal volumes published up to 2010. They are now online, searchable, and available free of charge to everyone.

Thanks to the Marc Fitch Fund and to Wade’s Charity for their generous support of this project. We are very grateful to the working group of members who oversaw the process: Brian Barber, Morag Fyfe and Paul White, who investigated the complicated range of possibilities; Paul, for dealing with the painstaking task of checking and preparing the volumes for digitisation; and David Asquith for fundraising and continuing the liaison with Internet Archive. A big thank you to Spencer Carter for entrusting to us a number of early volumes which were not fully present in the society’s own set.

Please share the news, and try out the site. If you encounter any apparent errors please let David Asquith know as soon as possible: David is still carrying out background work with IA to improve searchability. He also advises:

– when looking at the Collections page via the above link use to ‘Sort by Title’ function to see the volumes arranged in numerical order

– to view a foldout it is usually necessary to use the ‘full screen view’ function

Remembering Gordon Forster

A moving, dignified and thoughtful service of thanksgiving, in the beautiful setting of one of Yorkshire’s finest ancient churches, was a most fitting remembrance of Gordon Forster. St John the Baptist, Adel, was packed with family and friends, including members of organisations with which he was closely associated: colleagues from the School of History in Leeds University, representatives of the Thoresby Society, of the Ransome reading group to which Gordon had belonged for 55 years, and of course of YAHS, which he joined in 1951, serving with dedication and distinction in many guises, including a term as president. The order of service was decorated with the white rose of Yorkshire.

The School of History, to which Gordon was recruited in 1955 as lecturer by a new professor, Asa Briggs, plans another tribute. We hope to join this, and are considering further suggestions by YAHS members about an appropriate memorial.



Geograph © Copyright Malcolm Morris