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YORKSHIRE ARCHAEOLOGICAL JOURNAL

Volume 72 (2000)
CONTENTS


Antiquities From Yorkshire In West Midlands Museums by P.J. Watson et al
This note is a result of a survey of archaeological collections in West Midlands museums carried out by the West Midlands Archaeological Collections Research Unit. All museums in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire were included in the survey, except private collections or material under study at Field Units. One of the aims of the project was to make the collections more widely known, especially artefacts of non-local origin, through a series of short notes in relevant county and specialist journals. This method of disseminating information was thought preferable to the compilation of a single catalogue which would be so disparate as to be of little appeal to researchers.

The survey found that nine West Midlands museums have antiquities from Yorkshire.

Wall-Paintings Of The Town-House In The Vicus Outside The Roman Fort Of Malton, North Yorkshire by D. Smith
It had been supposed that Malton, North Yorkshire was the site of a Roman Fort but it was not until the excavations of Kirk and Corder in Orchard Field in 1928 to 1930 that it was proved beyond all possible doubt. The author had conducted a rescue dig on the supposed vicus immediately south-east of the fort and leading to the River Derwent. The excavations took place during 1949 to 1952. The County Council had proposed building on the lower part of Orchard Field, which might have been the site of a vicus attached to the fort. There was also much evidence of Roman occupation on the south side of the river. The author was assisted by Noel Mitchelson who wrote the main report in the YAJ 1964.

In 1949 a considerable amount of broken wall-plaster had been collected from the ‘mosaic room’ of what was assumed to be a ‘town house’ about a hundred yards from the fort rampart. This plaster was eventually stored in the Old Fulling Mill Museum atDurham University, In 1993 the author visited the Museum to examine the wall-plaster. From then the author has reassembled as many pieces of broken wall-plaster as possible and assessing the significance of the paintings on them. The article relates some of the findings.

Romanesque Doorway At Fishlake by R. Wood
At the end of a recent article on the Romanesque doorways of Yorkshire a few brief notes were added which require a fuller explanation. The present paper will describe the display at Fishlake, South Yorkshire, suggest an interpretation of it and briefly relate the scheme to its immediate sources.

Monastic Industry At Wether Cote, Bilsdale West Side by J. Stopforth
John Weatherill, an archaeologist working in North Yorkshire in the first half of the twentieth century, recorded finds of medieval decorated floor tiles from the Chapel Garth at Wether Cote, Bilsdale. Further finds were collected by the tenant farmer and published with a short discussion of the site by Dennis Proudman, another field archaeologist, who had undertaken a survey of potash kiln sites in the area. Proudman noted that the fields north of Wether Cote farm were known as Kilfields or Kiln Fields and that they included a good deal of abraded ceramic in their walls. He suggested that this could have been the site of a medieval tile works.

Wether Cote lies on land granted to Rievaulx Abbey, confirmed by Roger de Mowbray in c. 1145. Immediately to the east of the Kilfields is a stone quarry used as a source of building stone for the Abbey. The site therefore provides an opportunity for further study of industry in relation to a Cistercian community. In 1994-95 a geophysical survey of the area, a count of ceramic fragments in the stone walls and a further study of finds from the site were undertaken in an attempt to establish the scale, range and time span of medieval activity. The finds were included in a study of all the medieval floor tiles in the north of England, funded by English Heritage, and in a programme of scientific fabric analysis carried out by Dr M. J. Hughes of the British Museum. The results were analysed in relation to maps and other literature and the project brought to publication.

Conservation Of A Pewter Chalice From The Priory Of St Mary Magdalene Of Monk Bretton, South Yorkshire by E. Baldi
In the spring of 1994 Mrs Gillian Spencer from Wakefield Cathedral, , contacted the York Archaeological Trust conservation laboratories about a medieval pewter chalice from the display at the Cathedral Treasury. The chalice had been discovered at Monk Bretton Priory, and suffered damage due to attempted theft.

The chalice was excavated at the Priory between 1923 and 1926. Newspaper articles relate the evidence of a grave slab ‘with an incised figure of a chalice cup [in which] less that a yard from the surface, a male skeleton was found grasping a leaden chalice to his breast’. J. W. Walker, the director of the excavation, describes that the skeleton ‘lay resting on his back with hands folded across the chest, clasping a small pewter chalice’.

It is possible that the chalice may have been deposited at the Cathedral by J. W. Walker. As Wakefield had no museum at the time the Cathedral could have been regarded as the best place for its safety.

Death In Medieval Scarborough by D. Crouch
The later Middle Ages has a reputation for a deep obsession with death and its consequences, physical and spiritual. Although the assumption that this obsession was exclusive to this period has recently been challenged, nonetheless medieval Scarborough provides plenty of examples of every medieval death ritual. Dying in medieval Scarborough was something that, as elsewhere, was done with preparation and with ritual. Comparison between dates of testaments and dates of probate demonstrate that in the large majority of cases, testaments were written out on the deathbed, once death was judged to be imminent. The intestate deaths are fewer in number, but demonstrate that some people ― although a minority ― simply left it too late.

Commemoration In The Parish Church: Identity And Social Class In Late Medieval York by C.M. Barnett
Out of the 46 parish churches which existed in York during the Middle Ages, only 19 remain. In these remaining churches, many of whose fabrics have been reduced in size by the modern need for wider roads, 73 medieval windows (of which 47 contain fragments from more than one window) and 28 monuments survive.

In medieval times, however, the churches possessed a much greater number of memorials, whose existence can be partly retrieved by looking at a group of manuscripts and books compiled between 1584 and 1785. This antiquarian evidence can be combined with medieval testamentary and other documentary evidence to build a picture of the people who chose to have themselves commemorated in windows and monuments in the parish churches of York between the late thirteenth century and the Reformation.

William Middleton: Innocent Abroad Or Government Spy? By J. Bosworth et al
This paper is the first of a series to be written about the fortunes of the Middleton family in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as a result of research into the extensive Middleton archive held by the Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society. Initially our attention was caught by the letters William Middleton wrote to the trustees of his estate between 1578 and 1583 when he had absented himself from his Yorkshire estate. Further light was thrown on this period by the account book kept for the same period by his steward, Thomas Robinson. The authors discovered a letter in the Calendar of State Papers Foreign which indicated that Middleton’s outward travels had terminated in a Naples gaol. This episode was explored more fully to try to determine from known details of his early life the motives that might have prompted his sojourn abroad which extended beyond the three years permitted by his licence and which culminated in his arrest for suspected espionage.

Vavasours Of Copmanthorpe And The Court Of Elizabeth I by J. Kaner
The Vavasour family have been part of the Yorkshire scene since before 1086 as they were recorded as tenants of the Percy Fee in the Domesday Book holding land at Hazlewood. By the fifteenth century one of the junior branches of the family had become known as ‘of Weston’. The branches of the family mentioned in this article are descended from a younger son of these Weston Vavasours.

Eight Generations Of A Keighley Yeoman Family by P. Holmes
Between 1694 and 1944, Utley House, in the hamlet of Low Utley, parish of Keighley, was occupied by eight generations of a family called Clapham. I hope in this paper to give an account of their domestic and business life, concentrating largely on those who lived in the house especially in the first 200 years, but also looking occasionally at their close relations who moved away.

A History Of The Architecture Of Bretton Hall Near Wakefield by S.J. Wright
The grandeur of the Bretton Mansion when viewed from the south is created mainly by its situation. It stands on a platform half-way up the steep northern slope of a relatively narrow valley, looking south to the broad sweep of Longside rising to the skyline nearly a mile away. This effect is enhanced by the splendidly proportioned bow-front to the southern elevation of the Mansion. Similarly, if it could still be viewed as a whole, the eastern face of the building would present a certain classical coherence even if it is the work of at least three, possibly four, architects. Even the bow, so much a feature of the southern facade, was created more than seventy years after the main block was built.

In fact, when viewed from any other angle than south or south-east, Bretton Hall is an architectural muddle. The basic reason for this disorder is simple: the Mansion that survives today was created over a period of more than 130 years by at least six architectural entities not to mention the sporadic interventions of various jobbing masonry firms.

Yorkshire Schools In The First Half Of The Nineteenth Century by J. Roach
Nineteenth-century Englishmen devoted a great deal of thought and energy to the reform of charitable trusts. The most important pioneer was Henry Brougham. His House of Commons motion for a select committee on the education of the poor in the metropolis (1816) broadened out into a national enquiry into endowed charities which lasted for over 20 years and produced a series of bulky reports covering all the counties of England and Wales. These volumes are baffling in their size and complexity, but the student is greatly helped by the Analytical Digest compiled in 1840 and issued a few years later. The original remit of the commissioners had been restricted to educational charities, though this was later extended. They computed the total income for educational purposes in England and Wales at about £312,500. The Digest of Schools and Charities for Education (1842) gives a summary of the endowments, county by county. These varied enormously in size from wealthy grammar school foundations to small sums of one or two pounds per annum devoted to teaching one or two poor children to read.

The purpose of this article is to look at the endowed schools in England’s largest county, Yorkshire, principally as seen through the enquiries of the commissioners in the period 1820 to 1840.

Sledmere Cross by P.A.J. Banbury
In Sledmere, a few miles north west of Driffield, an Eleanor Cross stands by a road junction near the gates to Sledmere church. Memorial brasses fixed to each of the eight faces of the lower tier of the cross show that it is a memorial to members of the 5th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment who were killed in the First World War. It is tempting to accept it as a single work which stands alone and which conforms to the guidelines set out by the authorities close to the end of, and immediately after the war. This sought to ensure that war memorials were appropriate for the purpose for which they were designed. The lead authority was the Royal Academy which, in July 1918, had established a committee to give guidance on the design of memorials. Following this, articles appeared in the Architectural Review which gave examples of the sort of works which might be suitable including the Eleanor Cross in particular.

The Sledmere Cross is not, however, one work but two. The cross itself was built for Sir Tatton Sykes by Temple Moore and completed in 1899. The memorial brasses were addedin 1918. As a war memorial it therefore owes little to the committee established by the Royal Academy and even less to the suggestions of those who commented on the designs of memorials later. Its inspiration lies elsewhere. The purpose of this essay is to place the Sledmere Cross in its art-historical setting.

Dr R.T. Spence (1927-1999) [obituary]

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