Gargrave Divided – A Tale of Two manors

On 9 September 1452 Laurence Catterall of Little Mitton was attending a church service in St. Andrews, Gargrave, when he was suddenly seized, roughly dragged out of church and imprisoned by Sir Richard Percy.

Laurence Catterall was a Neville retainer and supported the Yorkists, the Percies were Lancastrians; on opposing sides in the bloody thirty year civil war that became known as the Wars of the Roses.

The rest of the tale is being uncovered.

Craven Golf Club 1893-1896 – Gargrave Times Past

Craven Golf Club 1893-1896

Golf Links Gargrave

By Dennis French

Gargrave had a golf club ?

Well yes it did way back in 1893. This old photograph (above) from my parents collection is simply entitled “Golf Links, Gargrave” and shows land known to older Gargravians as Stoney Butts. It is the area enclosed by the river Aire, the Leeds-Liverpool canal and the Anchor Road. The river bank on the left is now the gardens of houses on Riversway and the building in the distance on the right of the picture is that of Milton House.

The undulations of this site appear to owe more to the course of the old river bed rather than anything man made.

On April 25th 1893 the first inaugural meeting of the Craven Golf Club was held at the Victoria Hall, Gargrave. Mr R.B.Barret who resided at Skipton castle and was Lord Hothsfield’s agent, presided. Sir Mathew Wilson was elected as President; Mr C.J.Turner, Hon Secretary, and Mr J.H.Bramwell, Hon Treasurer.

The first committee consisted of Captain Preston, the Rev L.B.Morris, Mr R.B.Barrett, Mr A.H.Bracewell, Mr M. Amcotts Wilson and the Rev J.R.Leigh.

Preceding the meeting the course at Stoney Butts had been opened with an interesting exhibition of the game by prominent members of Ilkley Golf Club, including Tom Vardon, the professional. It was reported that there was a bright future for the club.

Subscriptions were one and a half guinieas for family members and one guinea for single members. The membership totalled 29 and the first year’s profit being over £9.

In March 1896 all was not well. The committee suggested a new course at Smipton. A decision influenced by the fact that the ground was not suitable for good golf, it was nearly impossible to play in summer and was not sufficiently central to the district.

On September 3rd 1896 the decision to transfer to Skipton was taken. The membership was then 60.

Why the change ? Well, membership was by invitation only and was made up by the titled and county families of the surrounding district. It has been suggested that the gentry invited to membership regarded the invitation to be one of honorary membership and that very few paid their subscriptions. Whatever the real reason it was the end of an era.

A century later, a walk over the old course shows no indication of tees or greens, but the setting on the banks of the River Aire must have been a pleasant one. And no doubt with coachman or footman as caddy, the members enjoyed the new pursuit.

Please note that this area is not on a public footpath

Fore some of the additional information I am indebted to Skipton Golf Club’s Centenary Brochure.

via – Gargrave Times Past.

Wooding – a memory of childhood

Wooding, a memory from childhood

(by Mrs Wyn French)

When the spring and summer weather came creeping into our midst, Mother and Mrs Bradley, Who was a good friend of our family, would set off up our road towards the open fields to go wooding. During the autumn and winter months if it had been very windy there would have been many loose branches dislodged from the great trees. These two good friends both pushed their prams in front of them with at least two children in each pram. If it was a very good day we sometimes took a bite to eat and a bottle of pop or failing that water. We could spend all day together out in the open air collecting wood for our fire. The children could spend their carefree time swinging on the low bough of a wonderful oak tree or picking flowers to take home. We didn’t have or need any fancy vase to put the flowers in when we got home. Mother always kept a good stock of jam jars. All too soon it was time to head back home. Our prams would groan under the weight of all the wood. We might have two or three long thick branches to be hooked around the pram handle and dragged along.

The smallest children could be given a lift on top of the wood in the pram, but not before we reached the gate onto the main road home. We didn’t like having to walk home because after playing out in the open air all day we were quite tired. We loved it when there was room for us on top of the pile of wood. When we got going along the road for home the first bit was quite flat and then everyone who could, would help to push the load up the hill to the canal and over the bridge we went. Then it was downhill all the way. When we got home Mother would get out the saw and set to work sawing up the thick branches. The logs were then stacked in our coalhouse all ready for the winter time. It only seemed to be the poorer families who went wooding. In the Autumn when there were horse chestnuts falling from the trees we loved to collect them. We called them conkers. At home we found some string and made a hole through the nuts to thread the string through. Then we had battles to see who had the strongest conker. Some people went to great lengths, even soaking their conkers in vinegar to help make them take the heaviest blow. They might go as far as putting the conkers in the oven or on the fire hearth to dry then out.

via Wooding – a memory of childhood.

The River Aire at Gargrave – Gargrave Times Past

The River Aire at Gargrave

Gargrave high green Pre 1968

The river and the village greens have always been Gargrave’s pride and joy and a great attraction to the many visitors who come to enjoy its amenities.

Few villages can boast unlimited access to a major river along almost 90% of its course through the village. It has always been a playground for the young where parents could sit back and watch the kids paddle to their hearts content. Sadly with the exception of the area around River Place, this is no longer the case.

Gargrave river bridge 1998

Access on the High Green this summer has been limited to a couple of yards around the stepping stones, the rest of the river bank being a forest of wild rhubarb and long grass labelled by some as “wildlife areas”. Similarly the area below the bridge is also inaccessible due to the wilderness. Far from being scenic these days it is an eyesore.

Not only that but by effectively raising the river bed on either side of the central stream by up to a metre the risk of severe flooding is now a serious concern. The right hand arch looking east is virtually half blocked by silt and vegetation. The river bed has narrowed to half its original width below the bridge, it used to run alongside the walls of the old stone ford but they now sit in splendid isolation.

Gargrave river flood to plantain wall october 98

The floods of 1998 and 2000 were probably the highest for many years, at one stage the water was level with the top of the plantain wall. Another few feet and the village could have problems.

An abortive attempt was made more recently to deepen the river bed above the bridge but the stones removed were deposited a hundred metres upstream and promptly returned on the next flood.

Gargrave river flood above bridge october 98

The Environmental Agency, on their flood risk map, do not appear to worry about this part of the village but they do add that in these days of climate change there is always the chance that the next flood will be higher than the last. It was not always like this.

Gargrave river bridge and duck island in middle arch pre 1968

Prior to 1968 the river ran through two arches on a shallow flat bed. A small stone area above the bridge deflected the main flow through the centre arch but in practise this had no effect. The only problem was that by using two arches a narrow island, particularly after a flood, gradually built up behind the central pillar of the bridge extending half way down to the ford at the Gofa Mill. Affectionately known as the “duck island” for obvious reasons, it did get untidy but was removed on the odd occasion. The river banks however remained tidy and accessible.

Gargrave river bridge 1970 just after reworking

The Parish Council in their wisdom, in conjunction with the River Board decided in 1968 to channel the stream through the centre arch “to minimise the risk of flooding and to enhance the scenic amenity of the village.”

Where the risk of flooding came in is difficult to visualise but the result was that 500 tons of limestone were used to guide the water through the centre arch. Top soil was added to the banks to level the build up but within weeks most of this had gone downstream with the first flood. Many of the stone blocks have also followed.

Gargrave high green flood 1998

Thirty odd years on the result is exactly the opposite. The risk of flooding is now a possibility, nature has taken its course and sadly our greatest asset is no longer an attraction to villager or visitor alike.

Dennis French. Nov 3 2005.

via The River Aire at Gargrave – Gargrave Times Past.

Anne Greene – The Gargrave Witch – Gargrave Times Past


Anne Greene – The Gargrave Witch


Extract from “Witchcraft in Yorkshire” by Patricia Crowther

One case in Yorkshire shows how a white witch, or wise woman, tried to do good and landed herself into trouble.

This was Anne Greene of Gargrave who was examined by John Asheton and Roger Coats in 1853.

John Tatterson testified, and this is how the clerk of the court reported it.

Being disabled in body he, was troubled with ill spirits. He asked Anne’s advice for pain in the ear. She told him that black wool was good for it, whereupon she crossed his left ear three times with her garter and got some hair out of his neck without his consent. When he got home he suffered more pain than before, and returned to her and said “ to look to it or he would look to her”.

Having crossed his ear three times again, she said it would mend, and, with corruptible matter running out, it did.

The accused herself explained that she, knowing a charm for curing earache, twice used it on Tatterson by crossing her garter over his ear and saying *Boate help” (this was the name of an old god). For a pain in the head she required the patients water and a lock of hair, which she boiled together, and threw into the fire.

The verdict of the jury of life and death was not guilty.

Research by RE Kirkbright.

via The River Aire at Gargrave – Gargrave Times Past.



The following quote is taken from

Relating to Offences Committed in
in the Seventeenth Century’

Published by the Surtees Society in 1861.

(The spelling is that used in the document.)

Feb. 16, 1653-4. Before John Assheton and Roger Coats, Esqrs. John Tatterson, of Gargreave, saith, that, about a forthnight after Christmas last, he was disabled in body; and one night in his father’s house hee was troubled with ill spiretts, who would have advised him to worshippt the enemye.  Whereof all were invisable, saveinge Ann Greene.  Butt this informant replied, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh awaye, blessed bee His name.” for he would give noe waye to their perswasions, though they tormented him att least foure times. Whereuppon this informant went to the said Ann, tellinge her that hee was perswaded thatshe could helpe him, beeinge pained in his eare. The which disease shee told him that blacke wooll was good for itt, but he said that that was not the matter. AVhcreuppon she loosed the garter from her legg, and crossed his left eare 3 times therewith, and gott some heire outt of his necke, without his consent. And he askeinge her what she would doe therewith, shee tould him what matter was that to him, shee would use it att her pleasure; goe his waye home and care nott. But, goeinge home, hee was more pained then beefore, and returneinge to her he told her to looke to itt or hee would looke to her. Where uppon shee crost his eare 3 times againe, and promised hee should mend. And, accordingely, hee did, some corruptible matter runinge outt of his eare as itt did amend.

Jenett Hudson, of Gargreave, saith, that Ann Greene told her that Thomas Tatterson was overgone with ill tongues, and that hee should have one side taken from him.

Margaret Wade saith, that her doughter Elizabeth, beeinge laid uppon her bedd, fell a loughinge, and this informant runeinge to her took her upp, and she said that she saw a great bitch with a dish in her mouth, haveinge two feete, and that she sate one the bedstoope. And afterwards she said shee saw three doggs that came and scrapt aboute her bed, and said that Ann Greene was one of them, and Mary Nunweeke the other.

Ann Greene saith, that she sometimes useth a charme for cureing the heart each, and used itt twice in one night unto John Tatterson of Gargreave, by crosseinge a garter over his eare and sayeinge these words, “Boate, a God’s name,” 9 times over. Likewise for paines in the head she requires their water and a locke of their heire, the which she boyles together, and afterwards throwes them in the fire and burnes them ; and medles nott with any other diseases.

Anne Greene was not the first  woman from the North of England to be accused of witch craft.  Jennet Preston of Gisburne is allegedly the first unfortunate. One of the well known Pendle Witches, she was the only one to be held in York Castle and tried in York.  At the time Gisburne was in the county of Yorkshire. The rest of the so called witches were tried in Lancaster.  Of the twelve who were accused of  practising witchcraft one died in prison, ten were hanged and only one found not guilty.

Woodcut from Thomas Potts’s
“The Wonderfull Discovery Of Witches In The County Of Lancashire


For a detailed account of the Pendle Witches trial, consult “Thomas Potts’s DISCOVERY OF WITCHES  in the County of Lancashire….”  Thomas Potts was was an associate clerk on the Northern Assize Circuit in the summer of 1612, when the Lancashire witch trials took place.  A digital copy of Potts’s pamphlet can be accessed here.



Bostock and Woombwell’s Menagerie – Gargrave Times Past

Photograph taken in 1912 by Tom Airton whose studio was at what is now 6 High Street (Hidden behind the wagon).

Bostock and Wombwell's Menagerie

Original photograph loaned by Mrs Dorothy Hudson. The three boys on the left are Walter Hudson, Maurice Hudson and Rufus Bradley though the correct order is not known.

Bostock and Wombwells In Action

People rarely ventured far from home in those days and relied on entertainment being brought to them by travelling shows. Often for one night only in the smaller towns. Bostock and Wombwell’s Menagerie was probably one of the best known and travelled the length and breadth of the country giving many people their first glimpse of wild animals at their “Wild Beast Show”. They had lions, tigers elephants, camels and giraffes amongst their twenty nine different animals. One of the favorites being Billy the Pelican. Star of the show was Captain Fred Wombwell, one of the most famous animal trainers of all time.

Bostock and Wombwells on the move The other heavier wagons would be drawn by up to six horses depending on the loads. The one pictured being used purely for publicity purposes.   via Bostock and Woombwell’s Menagerie – Gargrave Times Past.


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