Reports on 2008 Activities
following reports give a flavour of what took place in 2008:
|On 11th October
2008, a small but select band of Members gathered at Easthorpe for
a morning's walk which took in the quarries, bridge and kiln in Thackadale
and Hildenley, the "Holy Well" on the boundary of Hildenley and Easthorpe,
the "lost" Hildenley Hall (almost invisible in the undergrowth until
you are within a few feet of it) and the industrial landscape which
was remodelled by the "fox hunting squire", Sir Charles Strickland,
in the late nineteenth century. Richard Myerscough was our guide to
the very fine Hildenley limestone which was used from Roman to Victorian
times for lining, details and carving in forts, town walls, churches,
castles and farmhouses. Barbara Hickman showed us the exotic trees
which Sir Charles, also a well-known collector of orchids and geological
specimens, had planted over this beautiful, south facing hillside.
Tony Wright talked a little about the history of the estate.
Thanks are due to the Barran family
for their kind permission to visit sites away from the public footpath.
Richard has started a project to investigate
all aspects of this fascinating area: where the stone is used, how
it was quarried and by who and the ecology which has resulted. There
are also remains of brickworks lower down towards Huttons Ambo and
connections to the "stone quay" at Malton. Further details are on
Vernacular Building Materials Study Group website.
record number of twenty-four Members of Helmsley Archaeological
and Historical Society attended the 2½ hour tour and presentation
on "Ancient Trees in Duncombe Park, Helmsley", led by
Mr Tim Tollis, Forest Manager. A
BBC Open Country programme gives some useful background.
At an impulsive suggestion by our
Chairman, the Group immediately went off-piste and through-nettles
to find the old Ice House. This well-preserved building is shown
on the right, together with views of the domed, corbelled
ceiling, and its deep
pit in which ice, well-insulated with straw, would have been
preserved for use in the House.
Back on track, the Group learned
about vintage and ancient trees and their management (see below).
A trusted method for dating a tree
is "hugging"; a British standard hug from an adult with
arms outstretched is about 1.5 metres. This ancient oak - left
- works out at about 800 years old! A splendid view over
Helmsley and its Castle was to be had from Duncombe Park - see
The Group then climbed up to the Yew Walk, which sends out its
limbs in great arches over the path, and on to one of the the
tallest ash trees (148ft) in England. Further on were the Ionic
Temples, offering seats for the weary, and excellent views from
the Terrace over Helmsley, the Moors, and the River Rye 180ft
Conservatory, flanked by its massive twin Deodars, was to
be found in a tranquil clearing in the wood adjacent to the Terrace.
A further walk through the massive deciduous woodlands led to
a solitary, dead Spanish Chestnut (right) which - when it fell
over - had been reinstated in a bed of concrete!
The Group had an excellent, informative day in fine, warm sunshine.
Our thanks go to our guide, Tim Tollis.
Sixteen Members of Helmsley Archaeological
and Historical Society visited Cawood.
Margaret Brearley gave us an overview of Cawood over coffee in
the Ferry Inn.
This was followed by a visit to the Castle
Gatehouse and Banqueting Hall; members can be seen within
the Gatehouse, sheltering from the heavy rain!
Margaret guided us to Castle Garth, the Moat, the site of the
Mediaeval Garden and one of the fishponds, with the rain still
falling. One recurring topic was that of flooding, which has been
a regular occurrence in Cawood; it was not difficult to understand
The Group then made its way to All
Saints Church (left), where Sam Taylor gave us a short presentation
on the 12 - 15th century Church, and its features
of interest, including the Norman west doorway, the 13th century
chancel, and the strangely-positioned 15th century bell tower.
It had been intended that, after lunch,
Barbara Hickman would take us all to Paradise
Wood, near Ryther - a fine example of uncleared woodland. However,
the poor weather and the anticipated height of the undergrowth meant
that the visit was only for a few, hardy individuals (above right)
- with the intention of rescheduling a visit for Spring.
Our hearty thanks go to Keith Bellwood,
Margaret Brearley, Sam Taylor, Barbara Hickman and Mary Brill for
their hospitality, expert knowledge and organisational skills!
Members of the Society were taken on a two-hour conducted walk of
York. The theme was "1066 and All That, or What the Normans
did in York".
Led by John Oxley, the group can
be seen in front of Bootham Bar.
A most interesting and informative
presentation, given by an enthusiatic and knowledgeable guide.
Seventeen Members the Society undertook
a walk between Port Mulgrave and Runswick Bay looking at the remains
of jet mining and iron ore smelting.
Led by David Pybus, the Group can
here be seen examining the remains of jet (fossilised wood of
monkey puzzle trees) embedded in shale on the sea shore.
An excellent day, topped off by brilliant
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