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Charting the history of Askrigg

Posted by Jonathan Broom on 27 September 2018
Related property: Lodge Yard, Askrigg
Charting the history of Askrigg

It would be easy to label Askrigg (above), where Lodge Yard is located, as an archetypically beautiful, sleepy Yorkshire Dales village; but that would be to airbrush an illustrious and sometimes tumultuous past – as a local historian will tell you, should you be holidaying there in October.

More than six decades since Joan Ingilby and Marie Hartley charted the history of Askrigg in their acclaimed book Yorkshire Village, academic historian Christine Hallas is producing a new history of the thriving Wensleydale hamlet.

Since the early 1950s, when Hartley and Ingilby’s beautifully illustrated book was published, many more documents have been unearthed, says Dr Hallas, who had previously spent a decade researching the social and economic life of Swaledale and Wensleydale, between 1780 and 1920.

“That gave me a head start,” Dr Hallas says. “I had to research down to the level of parishes in order to produce the overall picture, so I already had a profile of Askrigg for that period.”

For nigh on the past two years she has been looking into the parish of Low Abbotside, and Askrigg at its southern tip, from its historic beginnings: there are signs of human habitation in the parish from the Mesolithic period, around 3000BC.

Abbotside Common: 5,000 years of human habitation

“It’s a history from a little acorn to a huge tree,” she says. “The village really began to take off in the 1400s to 1500s, and then blossomed through the centuries. As the lovely Yorkshire Village was published over 60 years ago I felt that now was the time to revisit a history of Askrigg.”

Askrigg High Street: time moves slowly...

Householders in the parish have loaned documents going back to the 1600s, and in addition Dr Hallas has consulted formal documents in the record office, together with transcriptions and facsimiles from the Domesday Book and the Abbotside Wills.

She has evidence of the 1757 Bread Riots in Worton, just over a mile south of Askrigg, when a crowd revolting against the high price of bread entered the village, demanding money with menaces. One hundred horsemen reportedly caught 10 of the rioters and two of the ringleaders were put to death. In 1935 – rather later, but within the living memory of older residents – Worton’s Old Hall burnt to the ground.

“Throughout the ages Askrigg folk took their part in wars and other great crises,” says Dr Hallas.

Joan Ingilby died in 2000 aged 89 and Marie Hartley in 2006 aged 100. They shared a home in Askrigg.

Dr Hallas hopes eventually to publish a book from her research, and in the meantime is to give the second of two lectures at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes, just over five miles west of Askrigg via the A684. Short notice: but the lecture takes place on Friday 19th October at 8:30pm, and covers the period between 1880 and 1950.

Entrance to A History of Askrigg is free, though donations will be welcome. The Dales Countryside Museum is at Station Yard, Hawes, DL8 3NT. For information visit the website by clicking here, or call 01969 666210.

Jonathan Broom

Jonathan Broom

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