Publications List     


Volume 68 (1996)

Excavations Along The Caythorpe Gas Pipeline, North Humberside by P. Abramson

The Caythorpe gas pipeline corridor ran for 4.5km across an area of the Yorkshire Wolds recognised for its archaeological importance. Intensive aerial photographic survey has demonstrated the density and diversity of crop marks within the study area and the excavation of the corridor provided a rare opportunity to place excavated features into the wider context of landscape development. Early prehistoric features recorded within the corridor included pit groups of Neolithic and Bronze Age date, many of which produced significant pottery assemblages, and two hitherto unrecorded round barrows. Five linear pit alignment and ditch boundaries were also investigated. This paper considers three hitherto unknown sites in the Gypsey Race valley that wer excavated and recorded; an Iron Age square barrow cemetery, a Romano-British settlement and an Anglian settlement.


Early Roads To The Swaledale Lead Mines by A. Fleming

This paper reconstructs the routes of two roads, one Roman and medieval, the other medieval, which approached Swaledale from the south, and which led to the Marrick Moor area. The existence of these early roads emphasises the importance of this zone as a primary lead-producing area, and underlines the significance of the Ure as a riverine route along which lead could be taken to Aldborough/Boroughbridge for onward transport by water or road.


The Hackness Cross Cryptic Inscriptions by R. Sermon

The author came across the Hackness cross in 1987 when digging with Terry Manby on his excavations at Thwing near Bridlington. This led to an ongoing fascination with the problems surrounding the cross and its inscriptions.

The monument consists of two damaged stone fragments from an eighth to ninth century Anglian cross, presently located on the south aisle of St Peter’s church at Hackness in North Yorkshire. The fragments are from the top and the bottom of the cross shaft, and together stand to a height of 1.5 metres. However, the original height of the monument would have been something like 4.5 metres. The stones are decorated in relief with vine scroll, interlacing, the feet of two beasts, and what is presumably the head of Jesus. In its original form the Hackness cross would have been equal to the famous examples from Bewcastle and Ruthwell. The cross also bears five inscriptions considered in this paper; two coded or cryptic inscriptions, and three in Latin.


The Fourteenth-Century Monuments In The Saltmarshe Chapel At Howden, Yorkshire: Their History And Context by S. Badham & B. Gittos

Opening off the south transept of the Collegiate Church of St Peter and St Paul, Howden in the East Riding of Yorkshire is a chapel which has long been associated with the families of Metham and Saltmarshe. Various members of these families were buried there and a number of important mediaeval monuments to them remain. In parallel with the chequered history of the building these monuments have suffered from many confusing alterations and re-arrangements. In this article the author has adopted a multi-disciplinary approach in order to understand the monuments and their context.


A Reinterpretation Of The St. William Window In York Minster by B. Nilson

The St William Window in the north choir aisle of York Minster is not only one of the most famous works of medieval stained-glass in the country, but its one hundred painted panels depicting the life and miracles of St William of York are also a rich source for the study of pilgrimage and the cult of saints. The window was produced by the John Thornton workshop, which had recently completed the Great East Window, sometime near the year 1414. By that time William’s cult had existed in a modest way at York for over 250 years. Since 1414 the individual panels have been re-ordered, probably during re-leading and probably several times. In the early 1950s the Minster glaziers undertook a further restoration. As well as making repairs on the physical state of the glass they and previous restorers attempted to return the panels to their original positions and thereby revive the story and message that the window was created to tell. The author aims to show that the original order and identification of individual panels are still misunderstood.


Sir John Savile, Steward Of Wakefield 1482, d. 1505 by H. Wayment

The Savile Chapel in the North Aisle of Thornhill Church contains a wooden altar tomb with three effigies generally identified as those of Sir John Savile, who died in 1505, and his two wives Alice (Vernon), who died in 1493, and Elizabeth (Paston), who was a second cousin of King Henry VII. Sir John’s head has a gaunt impersonal look, and is obviously far from being a portrait; the epitaph is unusual:

“Bonys among stonys lye here ful styl,

Quilst the sowle wanders what God wyl.” This article examines aspects of Sir John’s life.


Enterprise And Experiment In The Elizabethan Iron Industry: The Career Of Thomas Procter by C. Collinson

The sixteenth century saw a great expansion in the mining and manufacture of iron. As the entrepreneurial spirit blossomed, landowners and others tried their hands at making iron. Many of these undertakings did not last long and of some, and the men who ran them, little or no trace has survived, either in written records or on the ground. Thomas Procter is not one of these. He has secured a place, albeit a small one, in the history of the industry by receiving, along with one William Peterson, a patent for making iron, steel or lead with ‘earthcoal, seacoal, turf, peat or some of them’, the first patent for using mineral coal in iron-smelting. Despite this, little has been written about Thomas Procter’s actual career in iron. This paper attempts to rectify this.


A Rage Of Plowing: The Reclamation Of The Yorkshire Wolds by A. Harris

Between the middle years of the eighteenth century and the early decades of the nineteenth many thousands of acres of the Yorkshire Wolds were brought into cultivation from sheep-walk and rough pasture. By the 1830s about 70 per cent of the agricultural area consisted of arable land (tillage and temporary grass) and permanent pasture had become largely confined to steep slopes, home paddocks and a handful of unimproved estates. The transformation was accompanied by controversy, echoes of which were still to be heard long after the grasslands themselves had largely disappeared. J. H. Tiffen, a land agent, was to record in 1884 that he had met farmers who believed the condition of the Wolds to be ‘not so good as when the land was first brought into cultivation after years of pasturing’ during the Napoleonic wars. Fears that some soils might be exhausted by excessive cropping were certainly well publicised during the wars, when the margins of permanent cultivation on the Wolds were considerably extended and the newly-ploughed land was made to yield two or three crops of corn in successive years. The author shows that it is likely that it was the scale of the problem at this time, rather than its emergence, which served to arouse disquiet, for neither the ploughing of old grassland nor fears that the land might subsequently be ruined by injudicious cropping were then new.


Yorkshire And The Great Pyramid by P. Atkins

A unique headstone in a quiet country churchyard provides an enduring reminder of an obscure but once curiously strong three-fold literal connection between England’s largest county, and the largest building in the ancient world.

In the churchyard of St John’s Sharow, one mile north east of Ripon, North Yorkshire, lie Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) and his wife Jessie, beneath a stone pyramid. It is a representation of the Great Pyramid of the pharaoh Khufu or Cheops, to the study of which Smyth devoted much of his life, thereby tarnishing an otherwise eminent scientific career. Born in Naples the son of British admiral, William Smyth (1788-1865), Charles Smyth’s distinctive middle name was taken from his godfather, the Sicilian priest and astronomer who was the first to discover an asteroid. The latter’s wish that the infant should devote his life to astronomy was certainly fulfilled, for from 1845 until his resignation in 1888 Smyth held the post of Astronomer Royal for Scotland. In 1886 he had purchased a villa in Ripon for his impending retirement. This article examines Smyth’s interests as illustrated by his headstone.


A Fragment Of Decorated Later Neolithic Pottery From West Great Close, Malham, North Yorkshire by J.A. Gilks & T.C. Lord

The fragment of pottery which forms the subject of this note was found by one of the authors whilst walking around the north-eastern edge of Malham Tarn, North Yorkshire, in 1987. The find-spot, a molehill, was c. 190 m from the Tarn itself and within a roughly triangular area of open ground, its boundary defined by a public footpath on the south, a wood on the west, and on the north by a section of path, possibly part of the ancient trackway known as Monk’s Road.


A Flint Axe From Aldro, East Yorkshire C. Hayfield & T.G. Manby

An edge-polished flint axe was recovered in 1991 from the ploughed surface of a field on the High Wolds at Aldro, East Yorkshire, as part of the field-walking programme of the Wharram Research Project. Apart from its considerable intrinsic interest, the axe is significant in having been recovered from the soil directly over the remains of a plough-damaged round barrow. Although the Wold barrows have produced an impressive array of worked flint objects, flint axes appear to be a rarity. J. R. Mortimer complained that of the many barrows he had excavated, he had come across just three such axes, only one of which (found amongst the Towthorpe Group) compares with the quality of this ‘Aldro Axe’.

The field lies along a major boundary alignment and supposed prehistoric trackway that runs from Aldro Farm, close to the north-western escarpment of the Chalk, eastwards past Sledmere towards the coast. It is an area rich in the remains of round barrows, and this field contains the ploughed out remains of seven tumuli along with the impressive earthworks of ‘Aldro Rath’, one of the best surviving round barrows on the High Wolds. All eight barrows were investigated by Mortimer in the late nineteenth century and this axe, which is the subject of this paper, was recovered from the shallow slopes of one of them.

Yorkshire And The Gododdin Poem by C. Cessford

The Gododdin poem consists mainly of a series of elegies commemorating warriors from the kingdom of Gododdin in south-east Scotland which was based at Eidyn (Edinburgh). Though supposedly composed in the late sixth or early seventh centuries by the poet Aneirin it is in fact much more complex, being a compilation of many different elegies and containing a number of other poems and later interpolations. In addition, the Gododdin only survives in a single thirteenth century Welsh manuscript. The mechanisms by which it was transmitted from Scotland to Wales and how it survived for over six centuries prior to being written down in this manuscript are poorly understood. Nonetheless, it appears that the poem possesses a genuine historic core and is a valid source of evidence for the early Medieval period despite presenting numerous difficulties. Although the Gododdin poem mainly honours warriors from the kingdom of Gododdin it does contain material relevant to Yorkshire, which is examined in this paper. In particular it seems to mention Catterick and the kingdoms of Deira and Elmet, all of which are located in Yorkshire.


A Renaissance Intaglio From Wakefield, West Yorkshire by M. Henig & M. Hall

An intaglio which for over 30 years had been assumed to be Roman has been assigned to the late Medieval – early Post Medieval period, thanks to its examination by Dr Martin Henig, of the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford. The intaglio is cut from a mottled stone: opaque, pale green in colour with black inclusions and is a slightly convex ovoid in shape.

The intaglio, described here, was found in 1958 by Mr H. Speak, of the Wakefield Historical Society ‘In the gravels near the Pugneys’ south of Wakefield.


An Anglo-Saxon Site On The Yorkshire Wolds: A Further Note

William Harwood Long [obituary]


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