Although we do not hold meetings during the
summer months, we have still had a busy period with members enjoying various
On Saturday 23rd of July we were delighted to play host to the Leeds Civic
Trust who had asked us to lead a walk around the Cross Gates area. Thirty
members of the Trust joined Jacki and Bob Lawrence for a three mile circuit
of our locality, accompanied by a commentary on the history of Cross Gates.
We began in the library heritage room with a short talk on the development
of the area and a brief history of the library.
Once outside we walked around such landmarks as the Barnbow Memorial,
the firstminer's cottages, and the railway station. During the walk we
visited Cross Gates Methodist Church and Manston St James, and we are
grateful to David Leeming for allowing access to the Methodist Church,
and Ann Hemsworth for her entertaining history of Manston Church.
After having a look at Austhorpe Hall, the area's only surviving manor
house, Bob gave
a short talk on John Smeaton, England's first civil engineer and Austhorpe's
most famous son. Then we returned to the library where our guests enjoyed
a welcome cup of tea and had the opportunity to purchase copies of the
Leeds History Journal and other publications.
This was a new initiative for us, but judging by the comments made by
Trust members, it was one which was well received.
On August 4th a small group of ELHAS members paid a visit
to the Mercer Gallery in Harrogate to see the Atkinson Grimshaw Exhibition.
As most of the paintings by this Leeds born Victorian artist are in private
ownership, the exhibition was unique in having so many of his works on
Grimshaw is best known for his atmospheric moonlight paintings, we had
the opportunity to view all aspects of his work, such as portraits and
landscapes. Also on show were several paintings by his children. Although
none became as famous as their father, their paintings were enjoyable
to see and showed a high degree of talent.
The exhibition also had information boards which clearly told Grimhaw's
life story. Following our visit to the gallery we had lunch in one Harrogate's
many hostelries Hales Bar. This is the oldest pub in the Yorkshire spa
town of Harrogate and dates back to the mid 17th century. The bar was
also featured in the Oscar-winning film, Chariots of Fire. This made a
lovely ending to an enjoyable outing.
The sun shone on our outing on Saturday 13th August when
17 ELHAS members walked the newly established Towton Battlefield Trail.
This year is the 550th anniversary of the battle of Towton, which took
place on Palm Sunday 1461.
commemorate the event, the Towton Battlefield Society and the Royal Armouries,
in cooperation with the landowner have developed a fenced off trail around
the site of the battle. Colourful fact filled information boards have
been erected at selected points round the trail. Our guide around the
trail was David Skillen of the T.B.S. David, whose other interest is the
American Civil War, provided us with an informative and interesting commentary
on the background to the Wars of the Roses and the progress of the battle.
His occasional flashes of humour heightened our enjoyment of the talk.
After the walk we visited the recently re-opened Rockingham Arms for lunch.
came the surprise of the day. We had intended to make a brief visit to
Saxton to view Lord Dacre's tomb, but were delighted to be told by David
that the T.B.S. were holding a display on the village green and we would
have the opportunity to see some members in costume demonstrating aspects
of life in medieval times. In fact, when we arrived, we found a village
gala in full swing. Not only were we offered free ice creams, but three
members of our group found themselves the recipients of raffle prizes.
All this, coupled with the chance to try out archery and watch demonstrations
such as different aspects of medieval society like weaving and sword fighting,
proved an irresistible draw to our members.
ourselves away from the delights of the gala we called in at Saxton church
yard to see Lord Dacre's tomb and the Towton memorial before making our
way to the church at Lead. This tiny church is the only remaining evidence
of the village of Lead. Built in the 12th century it is thought to be
the chapel to the manor house owned firstly by the Tyas family and subsequently
by the Scargill family. Our visit to this beautiful, peaceful church proved
a fitting ending to what had been a thoroughly enjoyable day out.