Upper Wharfedale Field Society – Bulletin 2014

 

 

Richard Harland Lecture

President’s Report

General Secretary’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Richard Stuart Harland 1920-2103

 

Cover Competition

Dr Arthur Raistrick – The Man

Notes from the meeting on 1 March, 2010 at the Octagon, Grassington Town Hall, at which some 60 members of the Field Society were present. 

Dr Arthur Raistrick: an illustrated presentation by Les Bloom with a contribution from Richard Harland.

The main focus of the presentation was ‘Raistrick: the man’ as he was remembered by Les, Richard and other members of the Field Society who had known him.

Arthur Raistrick
Arthur Raistrick

Arthur Raistrick was born into a working class family in Saltaire where his father had been prominent in the Independent Labour Party. He was imprisoned during the First World War and his pacifist principles were reinforced through contact with Quakers in prison. He subsequently joined the Society of Friends. Although perhaps best known to members of the Field Society for his fieldwork and writing on archaeology and landscape, Raistrick was a professional geologist who had undertaken pioneering work on the microscopic analysis of pollen remains in coal deposits in order to correlate seams between mines. His academic career was disrupted during the Second World War by his work with the Pacifist Advisory Board but he was later awarded a fellowship at the Quaker College in Selly Oak, after which he was invited to set up a department of mining engineering at what was to become the University of Newcastle.

Raistrick played an important role in the Ramblers Association, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Youth Hostels Association, and the Holiday Fellowship. He was a founder member of the UWFS. As an influential WEA tutor he taught a popular annual residential course in field archaeology at Malham Tarn Field Centre. Among many other projects he applied his knowledge of mining to reconstructing the past workings of lead mines on Grassington Moor and in Swaledale. He was also instrumental in saving the archaeological heritage of Coalbrookdale.
It appears widely acknowledged that although Raistrick laboured tirelessly on many local projects and was held in very high esteem by those that worked with him, he could also be difficult. ‘He either took to you —or he didn’t’. Nevertheless, he was unostentatious, disliked privilege of all kinds and preferred not to be photographed. An inspiring and effective teacher at all levels, he was also meticulous and insisted that those who worked with him kept careful records.
In addition to receiving several prestigious awards both locally and nationally for his services to geology and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford, he was nominated Dalesman of the Millennium in 2000. He died in 1991 at the age of 94 and wished to be remembered principally as a socialist and Quaker.
Les acknowledged the assistance of several members of the Field Society, especially Alan Butterfield, who had made available a number of items of Raistrick memorabilia, Margaret Hartley and Philip Sugden for their help with technical aspects of the presentation. Les and Richard were warmly thanked by Michael Lovitt for their most stimulating talk on behalf of the Archaeology Section and the many other Field Society members who attended. Sally and Patrick Weigland

LtoR Richard Harland, John Busfield, Les Bloom, Alan Butterfield
LtoR Richard Harland, John Busfield, Les Bloom, Alan Butterfield

Archaeology

There is still persecution and yet the Copts do not seem to be short of money and are still building cathedrals. When our tour finished at Cairo with its marvellous Hanging Church, we had been made very finely aware of the industry, resilience, and creativity of the Copts. We still had time to go to the famous desert monastery of St. Antony with its massive library and where the laura system originated; here Shirley had lunch viewing the Gulf of Aden.
We were all very impressed by Shirley’s ability to survive all these visits on what was clearly a very demanding journey and our interest was further demonstrated by the many questions and discussions that followed.

A fortnight later Philip Sugden gave an illustrated talk on the archaeology of the Akrotiri peninsula in Cyprus. He emphasised that the island’s location had made it subject to multiple cultural and economic influences over a long period of time, giving the example of Kolossi castle which was a fortified Crusader stronghold as well as a centre for sugar production. Archaeological evidence at the site includes vats for making sugar from cane as well as pottery works for the manufacture of sugar containers.
Philip focussed on the Roman site at Kurion and discussed the range of public and private buildings excavated at and around the town.

Sugar mill Kolossi
Sugar mill, Kolossi

These include several large basilicas, the forum and the nearby Sanctuary of Apollo Hylaton, Prestigious houses with high quality mosaics (often depicting Christian motifs) include the House of Eustoliosand the House of the Gladiators. The so-called Earthquake House was found to contain the remains of family trapped by the earthquake and a tethered donkey.

Philip then described his involvement at a dig further south at Katalymmata ton Plakoton where a very large basilica of the late 6th/early 7th century AD has been uncovered. The site has yielded architectural fragments including revetments of Proconnesian marble and mosaics depicting deer, crosses and Solomon’s knots. The building was apparently destroyed by a severe earthquake in the middle of the 7th century AD. The site is well within the British Sovereign Base and close to a Nature Reserve. Philip described the environmental and military tensions resulting from its location. A fascinating evening.

 

Philip Sugden will be taking over from me in September. I have very much enjoyed my time as Chairman and thank all those who have helped me to build up a flourishing section, in particular Roland, Sally and Patrick for their recording and Philip for his excellent technical support.

Michael Lovitt

Botany

The group had an interesting and enjoyable season, recording 263 different species at 10 different sites.

Netherside Hall Grounds — 21st April

Following on from a Field Society lecture by the headmaster of Netherside, Maurice Charlton, a plant survey of the grounds was undertaken. There are several different habitats:- open grassland, an old walled garden, a rockery gone wild, woodland and riverbank. We were particularly pleased to have access to the latter, as usually it is only seen from the opposite bank in Lower Grass Wood. Twelve of us met for the first meeting of the season, in good spirits and in sunshine and having the advantage of Phyl Abbott our Vice County Botany Recorder with us, should our recognition skills be found wanting!

Herb Paris - Paris Quadrifolia
Herb Paris – Paris Quadrifolia

In April, not so many plants are yet in flower, but amongst others, we saw Primroses Primula vulgaris, Wood Anemones Anemone nemorosa, Moschatel or Town Hall Clock Adoxa moschatellina, Ramsoms Allium ursinum, Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, Barren Strawberry Potentilla sterilis, Celandine Ranunculus ficaria, Slender and Germander Speedwell Veronica chamaedrys & filiformis. In fact the common species we would have expected to see.

Not expected but very good to see were the leaves of Herb Paris Paris quadrifolia and Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula. It is quite usual in the Botany Group for members to pore over clumps of leaves and be undecided and even in dispute(!) as to what the plant is. Our meeting at Netherside was no exception when we came across a group of large leaves in the old walled garden, growing in what appeared to be a rubbish tip, opinions were divided and no conclusion reached. Over 100 species were recorded on the day and I kept popping back during the summer to note the later flowering plants that hadn’t even been showing their leaves in April, bringing the total to 140. Particularly lovely later on was the Melancholy Thistle Cirsium heterophyllum, but the mystery plant did not reveal any further clues.

Melancholy Thistle - Cirsium heterophyllum
Melancholy Thistle – Cirsium heterophyllum

Geology

Local History and Vernacular Buildings

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Members Articles

Walks: The Dales Highway and Other Walks

Pg Date Location
p67 20 Apr 13 Dales Highway: 1. Saltaire to Ilkley
p68  1 Jun 13 Dales Highway: 2. Ilkley to Draughton
p69 15 Jun 13 Dales Highway: 3. Draughton to Sharpaw
p69 20 Jul 13 Dales Highway: 4. Sharpaw to Gordale Scar
p70 17 Aug 13 Dales Highway: 5. Gordale Scar to Settle
p71 21 Sep 13 Dales Highway: 6. Settle to Feizor
p73 19 Oct 13 Appletreewick & Trollers Gill
p74 16 Nov 13 Hellifield
p74 21 Dec 13 Yarnbury
p75 22 Feb 14 Simon’s Seat
p76 15 Mar 14 Kettlewell to Grassington
p77 26 Apr 14 Hackfall Wood
p78 17 May 14 Buckden – Yockenthwaite – Hubberholme