EwE-HRG are a working group within the Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group (UWHG). Initially set up to support the Whitfield Syke Project in 2010, we continue to work on several aspects of the local history and historic landscape of Embsay-with-Eastby, near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales.
In addition, we are currently working with the St Mary's Embsay Churchyard Survey team, as well as the Friends of Raikes Burial Ground (Skipton) to survey the gravestones of Holy Trinity Church, Skipton.
Thursday, 8 August 2019
Tuesday 6th August 2019
Again the weather forecasters got it wrong – we expected to
be rained off by noon but although dark clouds threatened us, it never actually
rained and we managed to get quite a bit done.
Cleaning a memorial for photography, and measuring another
One of the things which has struck us is that in this
churchyard the unevenness of the ground, and the sloping down to the west has
created enormous problems with stabilising many of the gravestones. Modern
memorials in particular have succumbed to collapse – many have not been fixed
properly to begin with, and we have discovered several gravestones lying hidden
in the undergrowth.
Perhaps then it is not surprising that the most recent
burials tend to favour the local Wharfedale custom of using natural, undressed
limestone boulders instead of conventional memorial uprights. Yet even here
poor craftsmanship had led to the memorial plaques falling off and being lost on
some of them. Poor record-keeping in the past has meant we have a large number
of un-marked plots without any information on who was buried there – and where
the plaques are missing even a few graves marked with the limestone boulders
are as yet unknown. Hopefully we can find someone local who can remember who is
buried under those at least.
Natural limestone boulders used instead of standard kerbstones
Another local variant we have found here, on some of the
more recent grave plots, is the use of long limestone pieces, again undressed
and in their natural irregular shapes, used to form kerb surrounds.