Sunday 14th April 2019

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal Comes to Skipton - a walk led by Mike Clarke

details here


Thursday, 2nd May

Monks, Knights and Others

a Walk led by
 Dr. David Johnson

details here

2019 Programme of

 walks and talks

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To find out about and participate in our current projects

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Kilnsey Project

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Site last updated
05 April, 2019

Embsay Research Group – Update, Spring 2018

Talks, presentations, and other activities given by members of the group, include:

  • February 2017 – Friends of the Craven Museum: A talk, “All life is here”, by Sue & Jane providing an overview of the Churchyard project.
  • March 2017 – Skipton Historical Society: A talk “Pomegranates & weeping maidens” by Jane on churchyard iconography.
  • January & November 2017 : RTI photography at Kettlewell on behalf of YDNPA
  • June 2017 – National Cherishing Your Churchyard Week: Churchyard History Tours given by David Turner and Jane Lunnon, at St Mary’s Church, Embsay.
  • October 2017 – Sue & Tony Stearn, Chris and Jane Lunnon delivered a 2-day workshop on RTI photography and churchyard surveying to the Lavant History Group in West Sussex.
  • November 2017 – CBA (Yorkshire) Autumn Showcase, York: ERG set up a display on the project, and Sue gave a talk on the St Mary the Virgin Embsay-with-Eastby Churchyard Project.
  • November 2017 - RTI photography at Raikes Road burial ground
  • January 2018 - Sue gave a talk to the Embsay Women’s Institute on the history of St Mary’s Church and churchyard, Embsay
  • January 2018 - RTI photography at Ilkley Manor House Museum











Churchyard project:

This project is a joint project by the Embsay Research Group in partnership with St Mary-the -Virgin’s Church, Embsay-with-Embsay, and we are extremely grateful for their support for our churchyard survey. Sue, Tony, and Jennifer Stearn, Eileen Webb, and Jane Lunnon continue to develop the data collected from the churchyard survey work over previous years; Interest in our project has resulted in several enquiries from family historians, some of whom have visited us in person, so additional research on behalf of these enquirers has been also done by Sue & Jennifer Stearn, David Turner, and Jane Lunnon.
Happily “Storm Doris” did minimal damage in March, despite the collapse of a large tree into the churchyard, which toppled one of the gravestones.

Drs Gareth and Nicole Beale, of the University of York, have written a chapter in “Participatory Heritage”, a book of essays by an international group of academics on community heritage and public engagement. The chapter focuses on the St Mary’s Embsay project as a case study of a successful collaborative partnership between a community heritage group and academics in the development of digital technology to support field work in the field of burial site studies.
A complimentary copy of the book is now available for UWHG members to borrow from the UWHG library.

We continue to work in partnership with them as they launch their “Discovering England’s Burial Spaces” [DEBS] project, designed as a pilot scheme to assess the feasibility of developing a national standard for archaeological and historical churchyard surveys by local community groups. Embsay-with-Eastby is one of 6 case studies across the north of England which will be the subjects of this project. This will involve the group in testing mobile apps for surveys “in the field”, developing authority files and database models, and a training/resource pack for other groups. The DEBS project is supported by Historic England, the Council for British Archaeology, the Church of England, and other national heritage bodies.

Sue Stearn’s presentation on the Embsay Churchyard Project at the Council for British Archaeology (Yorkshire)’s inaugural Autumn Showcase, held in November 2017, was very well received, attracting a great deal of interest from other community heritage groups across Yorkshire. We consider the encouragement and mentoring of other groups to undertake similar studies to be a very important part of our remit.

We have lent our services in RTI photography to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Ilkley Manor House Museum, and Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground; and provided advice on setting up a churchyard project to the Long Preston Heritage Group. We also delivered a weekend workshop to a local history group in West Sussex – they are now eagerly following this up with their own churchyard survey based on our guidelines.
To keep up to date with the Embsay churchyard project, have a look at our blog :

Embsay Village History

Talks and presentations:
David Turner has given a talk to Skipton and Craven Historical Society, on “Quakers, Radicals and Mill-owners; the Baynes Family of Embsay Kirk”, and in February 2018, a talk to the Hetton, Rylstone & Cracoe History Group entitled “Come Thou Vilest Sinner; Primitive Methodism in Embsay and Skipton, 1821-1932.”

Work continued steadily on a number of document sources; In particular:

School records – a large proportion of the log books and admissions registers of both the National and the British Schools in Embsay have now been transcribed by John Weatherill & Ruth Spencer, although there is still quite a bit more work to do to analyse the information they provide. It is planned to deposit copies of the transcripts with the local library, along with the analysis, when completed.

Newspapers – Jane has been combing through local, provincial and national newspaper archives for references to Embsay-with-Eastby. The articles are being typed up for easy access and further research. The focus at the moment is on newspapers of the First World War period.

Parker Family Archives – David Turner’s work continues on this wonderful private family collection of diaries, letters and account books of a local mill-owning family.

The William Metcalfe Read Collection – A collection of ephemera relating to Embsay’s history, mostly in the inter-war period, has very kindly been donated by a relative. We have been digitizing this interesting collection of postcards, grocer’s invoices, souvenir programmes, etc. and have catalogued them ready for deposit in an archive.
The Embsay Brotherhood - David has also been working recently on research into “The Embsay Brotherhood, 1928-1935” based on another private collection of papers kindly provided by a local resident, relating to a village men’s debating and social club of the inter-war period, which was part of a larger, national network. This research is now available to consult at the branch library in Embsay Village Hall.

Bolton Priory Compotus – Chris Lunnon has finished translating Priory accounts which have been printed in medieval Latin and is working on an analysis of the references to Embsay-with-Eastby. He is now extending his study to provide a wider historical context to the accounts, in a bid to understand the impact on medieval Embsay of the catastrophic events of the 14th century upon the social, economic and landscape history of the area. In the light of this further research he decided to delay publication of his paper, but hopes to do so later this year.

All of these “mini-projects” are part of a long-term Embsay History project which is expected to take several (many!) years. The data from these is also being collated and entered into the village family history database.
Unfortunately, the work on them has meant there is a lack of resources to continue the Walls Survey around the parish – this has sadly had to be put on hold for the time being, unless new volunteers can be found to carry out the work.

Genealogical database

David Turner and Jane Lunnon work continuously on creating a genealogical history of the village, and are adding data on a weekly basis. The total number of individual records is increasing at a much slower rate these days, having now reached 13,600+; but many of those individual records are growing in size as many more facts and biographical details are entered about individuals. The current focus is on people mentioned in the Parker archives, in newspapers of the Great War period, and on people buried at St Mary’s Church. This provides a close overlap between this project, the Churchyard project, and the Armistice Commemoration Event.
Armistice Commemoration 2018
Since 2014, Jane has been researching the lives of Embsay-with-Eastby soldiers who died in the Great War; Several articles on these men have been published on the UWHG website. She is also researching some of the people who were prominent in village life during the war, as well as soldiers who survived and returned to the parish.
Embsay Research Group is part of a village committee working on plans for a weekend of events commemorating the Armistice of 1918. Among events offered by other groups, the Embsay Research Group will be prepare an exhibition, and a presentation of readings, music and images.

Current Members of ERG:
Chris Lunnon
Jane Lunnon – Research co-ordinator
Ruth Spencer
Jennifer Stearn
Sue Stearn – Churchyard Project co-ordinator
Tony Stearn
David Turner
John Weatherill
Alan Williams – Lead RTI photographer
Eileen Webb

Upper Wharfedale Community Archive Project
This is an exciting new venture based at Grassington, which is still in its very earliest stages. It has not yet been officially launched, but volunteers to join the project will be sought soon.
The aim is to produce a centralised “Union” catalogue to provide everyone with easy access to documents relating to the area – this will be a one-stop website enabling everyone to know what documents are available relating to the history of area, and where these documents are held, be they in libraries, museums or archives across the county, and indeed the country. In cases where documents are currently in private hands, it is hoped that these may be digitized with the owners’ permission, and thus made available to the general public.
Village history societies are being encouraged to join the project and upload digital copies of primary documents that they hold; so far, the following have expressed interest: Grassington, Linton-in-Craven, Threshfield, Hebden, Buckden, Hetton-Cracoe-Rylstone, Burnsall, Kettlewell and Buckden.
This is an independent project, but Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group is represented on the Steering Committee by Jane Lunnon, and the plan is to make much of ERG’s research available via this platform.

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