I'm working away at a huge pile of stories which people have drawn my attention to about various places in the Yorkshire Dales for my exhibition at Wensley Church later this year. I'm gradually creating images for the tales as I go - this one's of Aysgarth Church where the screen from Jervaulx Abbey ended up. (if you want to know more about that have a look at this great blog on Pip's Patch.
I'm trying to find out about another story at Aysgarth: the legend that Garibaldi - the liberator and unifier of modern Italy - had his soldiers famous red shirts made at Aysgarth. The story goes that the mill had a surplus of seven thousand worsted jerseys that it couldn't shift but managed to sell them to the Italian leader after dyeing them red.
Does anyone out there know the truth of the story?
Here's a little tale that I've been writing up recently about a body that turned up near Masham a few years ago. I'm indebted to the archives of the Northern Echo for the details.
The Colsterdale Man of Mystery
The Dales are a strange combination of cosy villages, rambling roads that thread through the valleys and bleak empty moorland. Walking the moors is one of my greatest pleasures but the remoteness these open spaces, studded with old coal pits, lime kilns, grouse butts and prehistoric earthworks, is sometimes brought home with a story like this one:
The gamekeeper had noticed traces of bone flecking the peat for about four years as he passed the ditch on Thorny Grange Moor, but he thought they were the remains of a long-dead sheep. When he finally had a closer look the grisly truth became apparent. The remains were of a man who would have been about sixty when he died, the time of death being around twenty-five years earlier, in 1977.
The decased was dressed in a grey suit, a white shirt, a brown and orange tie and a pair of shoes by the George Ward Boot Company. In his pockets he carried a 1958 shilling, a 1971 penny, a mortice key in a tin, and a Cadaux 600 transistor radio. At some time in the distant past he had fractured his left collar bone, two ribs, both heels and suffered from mild arthritis.
Despite all this information, a facial reconstruction and a lot of publicitythe Colsterdale Man was never identified. In one of the most pathetic press releases ever written a spokesman said: “A tooth has been retained for DNA comparisons.”
Paintings and Stories of the Yorkshire Dales
by Ian Scott Massie
Holy Trinity Church, Wensley, N Yorks.With kind permission of the Churches Conservation Trust
27 July – 11 August 2013
A major exhibition of new paintings based on stories from the Yorkshire Dales collected over the last two years. In addition to artwork the exhibition sees the launch of a book for children: The Penhill Giant, which is an illustrated retelling of events which took place on the hill overlooking the exhibition location. The exhibition will also see the launch of a book illustrated with new paintings created for the exhibition work which will also include a collection of Dales stories, many of which will be appearing in print for the first time.