Sunday, 22 December 2013

Memories of Sheep Shearing high above Ullswater

A shearer’s assistant for the day,
High on Cumberland heights,
“Dadd-y-ing" * sheep along their way,
To each shearer’s delight,

Or carrying chalk to shearer’s shouts,
If nicked a sheep to stop the bleed,
And taking ale or juice at regular bouts,
Throughout that “magical” day”.

The day’s finish was signalled to all,
And to the barn we did retreat,
Laid out was a meal fit for a King,
Home killed, homemade, homebrewed!

It was a Saturday morning when we set off and I remember us catching the 244 Ribble bus which at that time went over the Haslingden Hud Hey and through Blackburn to Preston.  Then at Preston we changed buses onto a old double decker Ribble bus that took us all the way to Eamont Bridge near Penrith. And little did I know then, that the week was going to throw up some great experiences, but the main memory was of becoming a “Sheep shearer’s helper for a day.

The summers then (1959/1960 period) were generally sunny and very hot on most days especially during July. We had arrived on summer vacation to my friend Malcolm’s relation who fortunately for us just happened to be the River Bailiff on the River Eamont near Penrith. It was great to stay here in his family home which was built on the banks of that fast flowing river. As the week went on we would try our hand at fishing on most days and also had the pleasure of slipping the bank and accidentally ending up within the river. On another day we visited the fabulous waterfall named Aira Force.

But still the best had to come, and that was the day we went along to help (or I wonder if we hindered) with the sheep shearing at a farm which was so high up in the monstrous heights somewhere overlooking the great lake of Ullswater. The account of that very special day as I remember it went as follows:

“The day had been previously arranged for us, and can only think that perhaps our host farmer was some relation or close friend of Jims, the River Bailiff at Eamont Bridge where we were staying.  

We certainly didnt complain about
"Peripheral Vascular Disease" those days
We set off peddling those bicycles, it was hard work climbing the ascent to the farm which seemed to us at the time, the highest building on the planet. The long road ascension seemed to go on and on and on with such painful leg challenging work as I remember, but at the tender age of 12 you would never have considered complaining of things like “Peripheal vascular disease” . Everything was a new challenge and we were young and active and filled with excitement of the unknown!

Eventually we arrived at the farm, and I remember that just looking back to Ullswater below and the long twisting road we had come up looked so small, set within that far bigger picture. And that “pain peddling” achievement was now so well rewarded by the beautiful feeling of being on top of the whole wide World in front of you. It did not stop at that, much more was on offer as well with that farmhouse set out in such a picturesque setting of oldy, worldy. It seemed idyllic even before the eyes of a sprouting (almost) teen.  With local stone flags and cobbles as well set out in true “westmorland/cumberland style”, and the buildings were well aged with weather worn stone which you immediately thought could date back to the “arc”, there was character all around with lots of small windows which were very narrow and tall, which today I understand would be called “mullion” windows, and the door to the farm was very old and very thick and heavy, in fact you wondered how on earth did those hinges support such a weight, but they did and had done for probably decades.  All the tops of the surrounding walls were covered in a thick most beautiful green coloured moss which lay there perfect and looked like the whole area had been fitted into a green velvet garment.

All around the farmyard there were several wooden chairs which had seen better days, forming a poor shaped circle, and these were to house the buttocks of the dozen or so “shearers”, who were the local collection of neighbouring farmers who had come today to carry out the annual sheep shearing duties. They all helped one another at this very busy time, moving around from one farm to the other, until all the farms in the neighbouring collective had been completed. What a beautiful way of doing things and I wonder if this is still the practice today.

Prior to this most spectacular of days, lots of preparatory work had obviously taken place with the farmer and his family members or their appointed shepherds together with their agile working dogs gathering the sheep, and driving them down from positions higher up on the fell sides, and down to the few noticeable enclosures dotted around the farm, and near to where we were stood. 
So the working day began!  And we were quickly shown our duties, one of us was to carry the sheep out from the enclosure to the shearer, whilst the other was to “run with the chalk”.  After a hour or two we would swap over jobs.  If you was the carrier you had to quickly get the knack of sort of getting the sheep into position by a sort of twisting movement, then to perform the art of what we called “dadd-y-ing”* the sheep whilst upright and between your legs and with your hands holding the sheep under its front legs and taking them towards the shearer where he would then take the sheep from you and re adjust the sheep into a more comfortable position, before he carried out his shearing duties.  The shearing was carried out with specially designed “shears” which were made from a springy metal.
The other person who carried the chalk, was to run to the shearer as soon as he shouted for the chalk.  It meant he must have “nicked” the flesh of the sheep whilst shearing and the white ground up chalk powder rubbed into the wound seemed to quell the small amount of blood and dry up the wound almost immediately.

There was also another job that day, but we were were not allowed to take part directly in this particular job, which was to carry around a large white jug of ale to each of the shearers every now and again and when they had worked up a sweat. But guess what, every so often we did manage to get the odd glass spilling over our way.

"Everything you could think of"
Another memory is at the end of the sheep shearing day, probably around tea time we were all invited into the barn of the farm, where in the middle of the barn surrounded by wooden benches stretched this very old large timber oblong table and it was absolutely full up with home killed meats, homemade foods and lots of homebrew to swill it all down. They had their own butter and it tasted so good, I can still remember the taste today, I have never tasted butter like that since, they had their own peanut butter, their own cream, milk, cheeses, jams and chutneys and lots and lots of other home produce. The meat had been a product from their own fields. All this good food had to be swilled down with some good beverage and although the orange juice was OK it seemed far better at the time to manage to quietly squeeze yet another “jill”* or two of ale.

Now it was almost time to leave that farm to return back to Eamont Bridge.  We could see Ullswater lying in the distant bottom.  So on our bikes in our semi inebriated one eye open and one eye shut state we began to freewheel all the way down that bendy road to the bottom.

What a very special day that was, and one that has stayed within my memory now for well over 50 years.

 (* Dadd-y-ing is probably a Lancashire slang word for the motion of moving a large oversize object (similar to a flag),
whereby you would  rock it from side to side whilst at the same time edging one of the corners forward and then edge the other corner even  more further forward. I suppose it is not unlike the “waddle”  motion of a duck.) 

(* Gill pronounced Jill is a measure of ale between a quarter of a pint, or a third of a pint and as in our case was a half pint measure) 

It is with much sadness I have in the last couple of days learnt of the death of my friend Malcolm (Birtwell) who is mentioned in this article  posted: Bryan Yorke 19th Nov 2016

Monday, 16 December 2013

Haslingden, Edenfield and Goodshaw Gravestone Photos

I have been asked on regular occasions for information regarding local gravestones, usually by relatives who live afar and also by others researching families etc. So I have decided to publish the photos I have on file since 2003 with the hope they will help anyone in their searches.

I do have more gravestone photos somewhere in the archives especially of the old grane area which I will try and find later and add to these. 

Gravestone Index: (These links take you to my photobucket hosting site which is on a external link, so just when finished press the back button to resume). Most of the photos have been loaded in "original" full resolution and will therefore allow you to enlarge to extralarge and also even larger to the original, once loaded go to bottom right hand corner of photo and click the + sign, and click yet again if necessary. 

Aitken - Edenfield Parish Church
Aitken, Thomas - Edenfield Parish Church
Ashton and Turner Memorial - St. Thomas Musbury
Ashworth, John - Mftr of Springhill, Musbury - St. Thomas Musbury
Ashworth, John of Ramsbottom - St. James Parish Church, Haslingden
Ashworth, Major - King Street Methodist
Ashworth, Zacharias of Torside - St. James Parish Church, Haslingden.
Ashworth, - Edenfield Parish
Ashworth and Nuttall of Helmcroft Farm - St. Thomas Musbury
Ashworth, Henry of Bury Road, Haslingden - St. James Parish Church
Ashworth, Private - Edenfield Parish
Barcroft, Henry of Henfield - Goodshaw Chapel
Barlow, George - St. John Shuttleworth
Barlow, George Haworth of Park Hse - St Thomas Musbury
Barnes, Henry - King Street Methodist
Barnes, Richard of Sykeside - King Street Methodist
Barnes, John of Hud Hey - St. James Parish Church, Haslingden
Bell, Rev James of Goodshaw St. Marys
Beswick, John - St John, Shuttleworth
Beswick, John - St. John, Shuttleworth
Bilsborrow- Haslingden Congregational
Birtwistle, Richard - St. Thomas Musbury
Blackledge, Thomas - Goodshaw St. Marys
Bridge, Robert - St John, Shuttleworth
Buck, Edenfield Parish
Butterworth, John - King Street Methodist
Chattwood, Edmund - St James, Haslingden
Christie, Father James of St. Marys Haslingden - Cemetary
Clare, William - King Street Methodist Church
Clarkson of Rose Cottage - St. James, Haslingden 
Clegg, Wm Turner, School Founder - St. James, Haslingden
Clegg, Wm Turner of Chapel House - St. James, Haslingden 
Clitheroe, James - St. Johns, Ramsbottom
Cockerill, William of Hud Hey - St. James, Haslingden 
Collinge, Joseph of Rosehill - St. James, Haslingden 
Cordingley, James - St. James, Haslingden 
Cordingley, John Stancliff - St. James, Haslingden 
Cowpe, James of Flaxmoss - King Street Methodist
Cronshaw Wm of Cribden Farm - St. James, Haslingden 
Cross, Rev Thos - Wesleyan Minister - St Thomas Musbury
Davenport, James of Irwell Vale - Edenfield Parish
Dewhurst Eli of Edenfield - Edenfield Parish
Downham - St. Stephens, Grane
Duckworth, John of Syke - King Street Methodist
Duckworth, Thomas - Goodshaw St. Marys
Duckworth, Joshua of Park Ln Vw - St. Stephens, Grane
Dyson, Edwin, Vicar of Shuttleworth - St John, Shuttleworth
Elton of Edenfield - Edenfield Parish
Entwistle, St. Stephens, Grane
Entwistle, James of Chapel Hse, Haslingden - Grane Methodist
Entwistle of Todd Hall, Carrs - St. James, Haslingden
Fallshaw, Wm MD of Ramsbottom - St Johns, Ramsbottom
Fearfull, Richard of Carrs - St. Johns, Ramsbottom
Firth, Alan of Bentgate - King Street Methodist
Goodshaw Chapel
Goodshaw St. Marys
Goodshaw St. Marys Graveyard
Grane Methodist Chapel Graveyard
Grane Methodist Chapel Sign
Gregory, Daniel of Flaxmoss - King Street Methodist
Grime - St Johns Shuttleworth
Hargreaves, David Edward of Flip Rd H'den - St John, Shuttleworth
Hargreaves, Haworth - Goodshaw St. Marys
Hargreaves, Joshua - Goodshaw St. Marys
Harrison, William Sandilands Lt Col - St. James Haslingden
Harrison- Atkinson, Jonathan MD and JP - St. James, Haslingden. 
Hartley - St Johns Shuttleworth
Hartley - St Johns Shuttleworth
Hartley, William of Bridge End - St. Thomas Musbury
Haslingden Baptist War Memorial
Haworth, Richard of Market Place - St James, Haslingden 
Haworth - St Stephens, Grane
Haworth of Union Street - St. Stephens, Grane
He John - Goodshaw Chapel
Heap, Henry - Goodshaw Chapel
Higson, Richard of Lodge Mill, - St Johns Shuttleworth
Hill, Edward, St. John Shuttleworth
Hindle, George Edward - St James, Haslingden
Hindle, Richard of Hud Hey Road - St. James, Haslingden 
Holden, John of Top O'the Bank Cottage - St James, Haslingden 
Holden, Richard of Higher Tanpits, Musbury - King St Methodist
Holden, - Grane Methodist Chapel
Holden, - Grane Methodist Chapel
Holden, - St. Stephens, Grane
Holt - A local JP - Goodshaw St Marys
Horrocks - St. Stephens, Grane
Hothersall, Richard of the Duke of Buccleugh - St James, Haslingden
Howorth James, of the Griffin Inn - St James, Haslingden
Hudson, Richard - Goodshaw Chapel
Kay, John of Goodshawfold - King Street Methodist, Haslingden
Kay, Jonathan of Moorside - St John Shuttleworth
Kay - Edenfield Parish
Kershaw, Squire Hoyle - St Thomas Musbury
Kershaw, Thomas of Bankside, Edenfield - Edenfield Parish
King, James of the Woolpack Inn - St Thomas Musbury
King Street Methodist Burial Yard
Kirby, William of Higher Ormerod - St Stephens Grane
Knowles, John - Goodshaw St Marys
Law, Hindle of Haslingden - Haslingden Cemetary
Law, Hindle of Haslingden - Haslingden Cemetary
Law, John  - St James Haslingden
Law, John - Haslingden Cemetary
Law Memorials - Haslingden Cemetary
Lawson, Hannah - Goodshaw St. Marys
Lawson, St. Stephens Grane
Lord, Jeremiah Jerry, JP - St Thomas Musbury
Maden, Robert of Sherfin - Goodshaw St Marys
Margison - Haslingden Congregational
Marshall, Ferrow - Officer Of Excise - Goodshaw St. Marys
Maxwell, Thomas of John Street - St James, Haslingden
Maxwell - St Stephens, Grane
Maxwell - St Stephens, Grane
Moore, Benita MBE - St Johns Stonefold at Rising Bridge
Notterdam, Father Peter of St. Marys Haslingden - Cemetary
Nuttall, Edward of Turn - St John Shuttleworth
Nuttall, Frank - St John Shuttleworth
Nuttall, Isaac of Cribden End - St. James, Haslingden 
Nuttall, James - St John Shuttleworth
Nuttall, John - Goodshaw Chapel
Nuttall, Parker of Edenfield - St John Shuttleworth
Nuttall, Richard - St John, Shuttleworth
Nuttall - Edenfield Parish
Nuttall - St John, Shuttleworth
Nuttall - St John, Shuttleworth
Nuttall 4 - St John, Shuttleworth
Old Gas Lamp - St Thomas, Musbury
Old Grave from 1736 - Goodshaw St Marys
Paley, Robert of Bridge End Inn - St Thomas, Musbury
Parkinson, James - Farmer of Higher Hud Hey Farm - St. James, Haslingden
Parkinson, Thomas of Goodshaw Chapel
Patberg Casper - Goodshaw St Marys
Pickup, Doctor - St James, Haslingden
Pickup, John of Ewood Bridge - St Thomas, Musbury
Pilling, Jon - Goodshaw St Marys
Pinder, William of Hindle's Buildings - St James, Haslingden 
Place, Robert - Goodshaw St Marys
Pollard, Martha - Goodshaw St Marys
Porritt, Samuel of Ramsbottom - St Thomas, Musbury
Preston of Regent Street - St James, Haslingden 
Purcell, Father Peter of St. Marys Haslingden - Cemetary
Radcliffe, Richard - Goodshaw Chapel
Ramsbottom, James - Edenfield Parish
Ramsbottom, Squire - St Johns Shuttleworth
Ratcliffe, Henry of the Star Inn Burnley - Goodshaw St Marys
Rev. John from 1779 - St James, Haslingden
Richardson, Father Robert Trevor of St. Marys Haslingden - Cemetary
Rostron - Edenfield Parish
Rushton, Dorothy of Stonefold - St. Johns Stonefold - Rising Bridge
Sanderson, Dicky - Goodshaw St Marys
Schofield, Doctor of Rising Bridge - St Johns Stonefold
Smith, Thomas of Flaxmoss - King Street Methodist
Smith, William Henry of Turfcote - St Thomas Musbury
Spencer, Lucy of The Vicarage - Goodshaw St Marys
Southerst, Jonas - Grane Methodist Chapel
St. John's Ramsbottom - War Memorial
St. Stephens Church Grane - Marker
St. Stephens Church Grane
Stott, John of Flaxmoss - King Street Methodist
Stuart of Holden Hall - St. Stephens Grane
Swire, John, - King Street Methodist
Tasker, Hud Terrace - St Johns Stonefold
Tattersall, John, Joiner and Builder - St. James Haslingden
Taylor - St Stephens Church Grane
Taylor 2 - St Stephens Church Grane
Taylor of Rothwell Fold, Grane - St Stephens Church Grane
Thomson, Robert - Vicar of St Thomas, Musbury
Titherington, - Grane Methodist
Townsend of Slate Pits Farm - St Stephens Church Grane
Townsend, Richard JP of Bentgate House - St Thomas Musbury
Turnbill - Edenfield Parish
Turnbill 2 - Edenfield Parish
Turner, William - Mill Owner - St Thomas Musbury
Turner, William 2 - Mill Owner - St Thomas Musbury
Waddington, Robert Sir - St Johns Stonefold - Rising Bridge
Warburton, John of Greenfield - St Thomas Musbury
Warburton, John of Waterfoot - St Thomas Musbury
Warburton, Wm of Albion Hse Deardengate - St James, Haslingden
Warburton - Grane Methodist
Ward - St John Shuttleworth
Watson, Chris of Sunnyside - Goodshaw St. Marys
Wellock William of Rakefoot Farm - St James, Haslingden 
Whitaker - Edenfield Parish
Whittaker, James of Scout Barns - St John Shuttleworth
Whittaker, John of High House, Hud Rake - St James, Haslingden
Whittaker, Laurence - St. Thomas Musbury
Whittaker, Lawrence of Park Villas - St. Thomas Musbury
Whittaker, Robert of Scout Barns - St Johns Shuttleworth
Whittaker, Rostron - St James, Haslingden
Whittenbury of Square Lodge - St James, Ramsbottom
Wild, Leonard of Shuttleworth - St James Shuttleworth
Wood, James - Farmer of Swineherdlaw - St James, Haslingden
Worsley, Nicholas - Mill Owner - St James, Haslingden