Thursday, 7 June 2018

Wednesday 6th June 2018 

It is with great sadness that we heard about the death of Ruth Spencer this week, a founder member of Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group, and an early member of the Embsay-with-Eastby Research Group. 
Ruth Spencer - greatly missed

She was such a wonderful lady - warm, kind, tactful, caring and always so welcoming, helpful and generous of spirit. She was the most delightful company, and we all loved her very much. Her enthusiasm for history and archaeology was boundless, and she contributed greatly to the success of both groups. She will be greatly missed by a large number of people. 

Since our last post on 4th May we have had a little bit of a quiet period, as we build up towards a busy summer.

We had a stand at the local heritage fair in Skipton Public Library in May 15th, and managed to talk to quite a few visitors about our Churchyard project and how we have used RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) to help us. The occasion was also an opportunity for us to talk to some of the other local history societies and other organisations from the Craven area, and for the Library to launch the new Rowley-Ellwood Collection website:  (although this is mostly focused on the history of the town of Skipton, we have an interest in it as one of our Embsay-with-Eastby group is a member of the library team involved in transcribing the Rowley research notebooks).  

We have also had two of our monthly meetings with the World War One Armistice Event village committee, and are busily researching for our display and presentation in November.

We are also turning our attention towards developing a database, with an authority file for analysing the gravestones in detail – looking at the structural and design elements in each. It’s still very experimental at this stage but seems to be coming together.

We also have our annual churchyard tour coming up in a couple of weeks, so David and I are putting together our scripts for that, which is taking up a lot of time, of course.
Dutifully gathered at the Fire Assembly Point in Silsden Churchyard.

And today, our little group was given a tour of Silsden churchyard by David Mason, of the local history group there. We spent a fascinating afternoon hearing about Silsden’s history, and making comparisons with Embsay churchyard.  

The back entrance and walkway favoured by the late Victorian Silsden Methodists
It was particularly interesting to see how the social and economic history affected the choice and style of gravestones. The Silsden examples are in general much more flamboyant, better quality (very few of the stones there are weathered or eroded), heavier and bigger than those in Embsay, probably reflecting the very different social structure of the much larger village of Silsden, which had a much later and longer industrial period than that in Embsay.

So our thanks to David for a really good afternoon.  

Jane Lunnon. 

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