Yorkshire Archaeological Society News  


Kate Taylor

We regret to announce that Kate Taylor died on Tuesday 5 May following a short illness.

Kate was a person of deep interest and knowledge on the history of Wakefield, on which she wrote numerous books and articles. She was an active member of Wakefield Civic Society, and formerly also represented Wakefield Historical Society on the YAS Council.

Her contribution to the YAS Wakefield Court Rolls Section has been immense. She served on the committee for many years, and was instrumental in organising and publicising the popular dayschools and celebratory events which launched the published volumes. Her experience in journalism also enabled her to promote our publications with useful articles in the press. Her energy, and the pleasure of her company, will be sorely missed in the future.

Kate's funeral will be held at Westgate Unitarian Chapel on Friday 5 June at 12.30 pm, followed by interment at Sugar Lane Cemetery at 2 pm. The family would like to invite her friends to come and celebrate Kate's life, and then to join them for refreshments at Create, the café attached to the Library at Wakefield One.

A memorial celebration is planned for the Cathedral in the near future. Details to be confirmed.

If you wish to attend the funeral please contact admin@wakefield-cathedral.org.uk so they know how many to expect/cater for.





Access to YAS archive and library collections during 2015

We are currently preparing our archive collections for transfer to the University of Leeds Special Collections. Regrettably, we are not able to answer any enquiries, undertake research and copy orders, or provide archive appointments at present. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We plan that our archive collections will become accessible again in 2016 through the University of Leeds. Details of how to access YAS collections at the University of Leeds will be available later this year. Please check out website for updates.

The YAS Library is at present open by appointment only, pending its transfer on long-term loan to Leeds University Library. For details of the opening hours until 31 March see the Opening Hours page; from 1 April 2015 the YAS Library will be closed as preparations for the transfer are completed. The Library is expected to transfer to the University in September 2015. We regret that it is not at present clear how soon access to the Library will be available again. Full and Associate Members of the Society are, however, expected to be able to become members of Leeds University Library as part of their Society membership benefits, from October 2015.

Please address any queries to the Honorary General Secretary via yas.secretary@gmail.com



Consulting YAS Members

There was an excellent response to the online survey in December. Thanks to all the 195 YAS and section members who took part, and especially to those offering help and ideas.

The results have been examined with great interest by the Management Board and Promotions Working Group, and will continue to inform our future plans.

We will shortly be contacting members who said they may be able to assist in various ways. Not everyone has supplied contact details – if you are one such, please could you email yas.editor@gmail.com ? We would especially like to be in touch with the FCA; app developer; press release writer; person into One-Place Studies.

The society also has need of volunteers who can help in other ways:

  • A website content editor: to keep the website current by coordinating and writing content. No particular technical skills are needed as the site is maintained very efficiently by the webmaster, Sue Alexander.
  • A fundraiser
  • Further help with book-keeping and accounts at Claremont

But if you have other suggestions and would like to volunteer any kind of help, please do let us know.

A précis of the survey results, or a full breakdown if preferred, is available on request from yas.editor@gmail.com.



A New Volume in the Wakefield Court Rolls Series

Wakefield Court Roll Volume 17 1436-7The newly-published Volume 17 is an edition of the manorial court roll for 1436-7. The YAS’s Wakefield series is by far the longest- running edition of manorial records series ever published. It was established by the YAS forty years ago, to make as much as possible of this remarkable archive easily available to readers.

To commemorate this anniversary, the story of how the YAS came to own this remarkable archive, and how the society has promoted it from 1898 to the present is the subject of an essay in the new volume.

The manor of Wakefield was one of the largest in the country: over 100 square miles, compared to an typical size of only 6, and its records span a remarkable eight centuries, from 1274 to 1925. Their national importance was acknowledged in 2011 when the archive was inscribed on the UK register of UNESCO’s Memory of the World.

The series has published court rolls from all periods, from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century. There are four more volumes currently in progress, the work of our international network of scholars. The next volume, to appear later this year, is the court roll for 1658-9.

Individual volumes cost £20. You can subscribe to the series for £9 in the UK and, because of the alarming cost of postage, £13 if you live abroad. Volumes are published every other year.



Dr Lawrence Butler

It is with great regret that we report that our former President, Lawrence Butler, died on 10 December after a long illness.  Lawrence’s lifelong interest in churches led him to a career in medieval archaeology, first with the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments in Wales, and then at the Universities of Leeds and York.

As well as being our President from 1994 to 1998 he published numerous articles, and edited two volumes in the YAS Record Series: The Archdeaconry of Richmond in the Eighteenth Century: Bishop Gastrell’s ‘Notitia’, the Yorkshire Parishes 1714-1725 (YRS CXLVI, 1990) and The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874) (YRS CLIX, 2005-6).

Lawrence’s illness deprived us in recent times of the pleasure of his company at meetings, although he still kept in touch by email and post until the very end.  His support and care of the Society over so many years will not be forgotten, and we will remember him with the greatest respect and affection.

His funeral took place at Swaffham Bulbeck, near Cambridge, on 23 December.



Changes to opening hours in 2015

Claremont will be open for lectures only:

Sat 11 & Sat 18 April

Sat 9 & Sat 16 May

Sat 13 June



Latest eNewsletter available

See our eNewsletter page for the December 2014 eNewsletter.



Sad news

The Society received the sad news last week that our long standing member and volunteer Dorothy Payne died on 27th October at the age of 88, after a long illness. Dorothy started helping the Society as a volunteer back in the 1960s. Initially interested mainly in archaeology, she did a tremendous amount to encourage interest in the Society. She was Lectures Secretary for many years, participated actively in the mounting of exhibitions and campaigns, such as the Wakefield Court Rolls appeal, and was the person who, as a result of her interest in the history of Claremont, tracked down and secured the diaries of Dr John Heaton, its Victorian owner, which she subsequently donated to the Society. She was a person of boundless enthusiasm and energy, and she was sadly missed when she was no longer able to come to Claremont. The YAS owes her a great debt of gratitude.

Dorothy will be cremated at Rawdon Crematorium on Wednesday the 12th of November at 10:20 am.



Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 86 2014

A reminder that the 2014 volume of the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal is available for purchase from Maney Publishing. For a list of contents please see the Journal section of the website.

One of the many articles of interest in the 2014 volume, particularly for those who attended the successful exhibition held at the Folly in Settle last year as part of the Society’s 150th anniversary celebrations, is by Professor Richard Hoyle on the Shambles in Settle Marketplace. This is one of Settle’s most familiar and iconic buildings of which there has long been a mystery about its construction. Professor Hoyle’s research has identified why the Shambles has the particular form it has, the dates when it was erected and has also identified the builder. Until the end of December 2014 there is an opportunity to have free direct access to the full article by clicking on the following this link


Explore Dr Heaton's Leeds online

The Heaton Map Project is a collaboration between the Centre for Culture and Arts at Leeds Beckett University, the Yorkshire Archaeological Society and the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield.

It takes an innovative approach to exploring and communicating the urban heritage of Leeds, using the journals of nineteenth-century physician Dr John Deakin Heaton to map his public activities across the city.  This map is be available as an app and website for mobile phones and PCs. You can discover more at www.heatonmap.mobi



Outcome of the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society held on Saturday 12th July 2014

As previously notified, an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Society was held on 12th July 2014. The meeting took place at the St Georges Centre, in Great George Street, Leeds, as the number of members attending was too great to accommodate at Claremont. 98 members attended the EGM; 38 members gave their apologies.

The President (Mrs Sylvia Thomas) welcomed members and expressed her gratitude for the interest shown, which was a reflection of the importance of the matters for discussion. In introductory remarks, she and the Honorary Treasurer (Dr Brian Barber) explained the rationale for the proposal by the Society’s Management Board to transfer the Society’s Archive and Library collections on long-term loan to the University Library at the University of Leeds, and the importance of doing this to ensure the future of the Society.

There was an extended and wide-ranging discussion of the Management Board’s proposal and the issues it raised. Comments and queries were made by many of the members present, with responses being provided by the President or the Honorary Treasurer. Issues touched on included:

the future ownership of the Society’s materials – this would remain with the Society;

the fact that members would have access to all the books and collections of the University Library – it was also noted that the Society’s books and other materials would not be disposed of in the future without the Society’s consent;

the fact that there were inevitably some points of detail that had yet to be finalised, such as the question of access to material by section-only members;

the Management Board’s plans to acquire through purchase or rent suitable new premises to support the Society’s activities, and that members’ suggestions as to the parameters for such premises were sought;

the possibilities of fund-raising, but also the difficulties previously encountered in this regard, and the problem of raising substantial funds in a restricted timescale;

the concern of some members as to the amount of information it had been possible to make available, which they felt inhibited their ability to judge the proposal;

the possibilities for a strong continuing role for volunteers working on the Society’s materials.

In the concluding part of the meeting members were asked to vote to indicate whether they felt able to support the Board’s recovery plan, which involved:

the transfer on loan under the terms of an appropriate partnership agreement of the Society’s Library and Historical Document Collections to the Brotherton Library of the University of Leeds, and the sale of Claremont and the acquisition either through purchase or rent of suitable premises to support the full range of the Society’s activities in the future.

Members voted by a show of hands. The results were as follows:

FOR the motion – 72

AGAINST the motion – 13


The motion was therefore carried.

The Society’s Officers and the Management Board will now proceed to work further in collaboration with Leeds University Library to put into effect the proposals endorsed by the EGM. A further report will be made to members at the Society’s Annual General Meeting, which will be held later in the year.

If any members have further queries at this stage, please contact the Honorary General Secretary, David Buck, preferably via email at yas.secretary@gmail.com.



The International Medieval Congress in association with the YAS presented: Celts, Saxons, and Vikings: The 'Great War' of 937 and the Battle of Brunanburh by Michael Wood


IMC lecture 9/7/14














From the left : Axel Müller - Director International Medieval Congress & Chairman of the YAS Medieval Section, Sylvia Thomas - President of the YAS and Michael Wood

More to follow



Journal articles

For details of how to submit articles for consideration for the YAJ, please contact the YAS Secretary by email or post.