Spring 2024 Newsletter
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Spring 2024 Newsletter

Above: Riders getting ready to go down to the start of the race

This issue of the newsletter kicks off with a piece about horse racing. It’s important in Yorkshire as there are more racecourses here than any other UK county (Beverley, Catterick, Doncaster, Pontefract, Redcar, Ripon, Thirsk, Wetherby, York (9 of the 59 official UK racecourses). Yorkshire has been and still is home to many successful breeders and trainers and also home to The Darley Arabian, one of the three founding stallions of the English Thoroughbred. We met his life sized portrait at Aldby Park on a YWHT visit a few years back. Thomas Darley, the younger brother of Richard Darley at Aldby was the British Consul in Aleppo and bought the colt from the Bedouins in 1704. How the colt eventually arrived at Aldby and poor Thomas Darley’s demise is quite a story which we might hear about on another visit to Aldby sometime.

Study of an Ordinance Survey map will reveal a number of training gallops on the Wolds — ideal country for the purpose.

The Kiplingcotes Derby

England’s oldest horse race (365 years older than the Grand National) will be held on Thursday 21st March this year (weather permitting - it has to be run to comply with the original organisers’ stipulations—otherwise the race must never be run again). Other quirky details are that anyone can enter by 11am on the day so no one ever knows how many runners there will be, or even what sort of mounts they will have. And apart from holding a fine silver trophy for a year the winner receives a smaller prize than the runner up because first prize is based on the interest on an investment of 16 Guineas by the original organisers — a lot of money back then, but now the runner-up’s prize, based on the remainder of the entry fees is considerably more.

It is quite a gruelling race: 4 miles uphill from Enthorpe near Kiplingcotes, across the main A614 coast road (traffic stopped by a police patrolman) to Londesborough Wold Farm.

The race is normally completed in ten minutes, but in the hard winter of 1947 there were no runners willing to risk the race so a local farmer led one of his farm horses along the course. It took them an hour and twenty minutes, having to dig their way through 4ft deep snowdrifts in places. The race also had to be walked by one horse due to flooding, foot and mouth and Covid. So ‘technically’ an unbroken run of 505 years.

It is recorded that a 60 year old woman riding side-saddle in 1926 was leading for most of the race although women were not officially allowed to take part until 1933.

The race was founded by 49 gentlemen including the Earl of Burlington, Lord Langdale, Lord Clifford, Sir Francis Boynton, Sir John Hotham, Sir William Strickland, and Sir Marmaduke Constable. 1519 is largely accepted as the first running of the race, a time of historic international change. Henry VIII aged 28 and a very healthy sportsman had been King for ten years, but it’s very unlikely that he stood on the side of the course where spectators stand now. He and his chief advisor (Cardinal Wolsey) were heavily involved in European political machinations — plus ça change? (the Treaty of Universal Peace, the preparations for the celebrations at the Field of Cloth of Gold near Calais, elections for the new Holy Roman Emperor all that year).

Maybe also unlikely, because his mistress Elizabeth Blount gave birth to their son Henry Fitzroy, who was Henry’s only illegitimate son to be acknowledged in order to prove that it was not his fault that his wife, Catherine of Aragon was unable to have a healthy son, and therefore a good reason for a separation. Well, it saved her from losing her head.

Henry VIII is recorded as visiting this area on two occasions later on and cripplingly overweight. In 1540 he made a private visit to Ellerker Manor House at Risby to see the development of Sir Ralf Ellerker’s Cellar Heads deer park. Risby Hall was built on the same site in the 1680s with amazing terraced grounds. Although the Hall got burned down and was demolished, the remains of the gardens and park including a folly are well worth a YWHT guided visit sometime with refreshments at the Folly Lake Cafe.

In 1541, accompanied by his fifth wife Catherine Howard, he made a lavish progress from York which included Market Weighton (no mention of the Kiplingcotes Derby).

So, back to the race: (the 506th) on 21st March. Hoping the weather is fine and Stuart Stephenson is there with his burgers.

Trust Events for 2024

Friday 15th March

AGM at Rowley Manor – a fine Grade II listed house built as the rectory for the Rev Ezekiel Rodgers in 1621. He was suspended due to his non-conformist puritan beliefs, and sailed from Hull, along with 20 parishioners and their families to America colonising land inhabited by the Agawam people and establishing the town of Rowley, on the coast of Massachusetts.

The guest speaker at this event will be Paula Ware MA FSA MCIfA, Managing Director of MAP Archaeological Practice near Malton. Entitled “A Tale of Three Chariots”, Paula will describe the discoveries of the Iron Age chariots and new ideas about life in the Iron Age.

Friday 13th May

Evening walk (5.30pm meet) for a 1 1/2 hr walk with well known local naturalist John Killingbeck at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve of Cliffe Woods near Market Weighton.

Friday 14th June

10.30am Guided tour of RSPB reserve, Bempton Cliffs, one of the UK’s top wildlife spectacles. Around half a million seabirds gather here between March and August to raise a family on the towering chalk cliffs that overlook the North Sea. June is the prime time to see puffins at Bempton Cliffs when they regularly fly in with beaks full of small fish to feed their young in their burrows.

Friday 12th July

Country House Visit: Wassand Hall, near Hornsea. Home of the same family since1520. A private guided tour of the house and grounds. The Hall is a large Regency country house with walled gardens, woodland walks and parkland with views to rolling countryside and Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire’s largest freshwater lake.

Friday 27th September

The Annual Sledmere Lecture. The Wolds Waggoners’ Reserve and visit to the Waggoners’ Museum at Sledmere with Curator Martin Watts.

Heritage Summit

Hull Minster 11th and 12th May

The third Yorkshire Heritage Summit, following successful events in Halifax and Pontefract.

Sat 11th Heritage exhibition and symposium at Hull Minster including a presentation of the Harry Gration History Prize.

Sunday 12th Heritage events organised by Hull Civic Society and local organisations.

A farmers’ market outside Hull Minster

Sewerby Hall

The house and zoo are open with many new or re-vamped exhibits, self guided trails using phone apps and a varied provision of entertainment including outdoor film shows in the summer.

”Mortimer” is the title of an exhibition in Sewerby’s west wing gallery until 14th April. John Robert Mortimer, born in Fimber, created the first purpose built museum in the county in Driffield (now known as the Masonic Hall in Lockwood Street), to exhibit his vast collection of finds from his excavations on the Wolds.

Exceptional images of the natural world will be exhibited in “Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2024” from the 4th May to the 14th July.

Contact: t: 01262 673769

e: sewerby.hall@eastriding.gov.uk

Talks for Wolds Villages

One of our members,who is the secretary of the East Riding Village Hall Network, brought our committee a very interesting proposition some months ago. ‘What about a database of tutors, demonstrators, etc who would be available to give talks etc to local village communities?’ The committee has discussed the idea, and being aware of quite a number of speakers, consider that it fits the aims in our constitution admirably. If readers know of anyone who might like to join our database and the details of their field(s) of interest we would be delighted to add them to the list. The Trust would be very happy to contribute to the cost of some of the expenses of a meeting.

Well, quite a lot. Large international companies have found that they change their logo at their peril. Esso which stands for Standard Oil (S-O) decided following several mergers to change the name to Exxon. Depending on where in the World you live this name replaced Esso. In many places including UK it reverted to Esso because long running advertising meant that people knew the name better than Exxon.

The Trust’s logo was designed by a local artist and Trust member from Hayton, Neil Willis, back in 1991 with a representation of Warter Church. The then Trust Chairman Doreen Morgan and members of Pocklington Arts Society had been instrumental in saving and establishing Warter Church as a heritage centre when it was made redundant.

When the UNESCO Geosite group were considering a logo, they had a lot of discussion about the ‘strength’ of the image. How does it represent the defined area, and is the name obvious? Is it simple and easily recognised? Is it ‘modern’ and clear even if printed monotone?

So, have we just taken the YWHT logo for granted, very happy to have Neil’s nice design which was clearly appropriate when Trust members were involved before Warter Church became a separate organisation? Perhaps the church image suggests an ecclesiastical institution and what does YWHT stand for? Good questions.

Members may feel that we should not fall into the “Esso” trap, wasting a lot of time on change for change’s sake only to find that an old friend has been lost.

How do you feel about it? Retain Neil’s logo or look for something new, and if so what? Below are some ideas drawn by people with graphic and communication experience. The two swifts depicted could represent the natural aspect of heritage but might they just suggest ornithology?

Preferences, ideas, doodles all gratefully accepted.

A numbered selection of logo ideas for the Yorkshire Wolds Heritage Trust

Two local leisure and tourism organisations:

Enjoy local food and drink in East Yorkshire and the surrounding area:

Local food and drink producers and processors and the wide range of exciting local food and drink experiences available in the area, including farmers’ markets with an interactive map showing where to find the businesses. Their free 2024 guide will be available in a matter of days:


Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY)

East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council work together, as the VHEY tourism partnership, to develop and promote tourism in our area. They also have a well illustrated and informative brochure.

Official designation for the Wolds

You will be aware of recent talk about statutory designation for the Wolds. Could they bacome an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) like the Lincolnshire Wolds, or part of a UNESCO Geopark? It is a largely overlooked or forgotten fact that the Wolds are already designated by Natural England in a report published in 2012: The Yorkshire Wolds NCA (National Character Area) - No. 27 of 159. Each NCA is defined by a unique combination of landscape, biodiversity, geodiversity, history, and cultural and economic activity. Their boundaries follow natural lines in the landscape rather than administrative boundaries. Each profile contains details of the areas:

  • Geology and soils,
  • Rivers and coastal features
  • Trees and woodland
  • Field patterns and boundary features
  • Agricultural uses
  • Semi-natural habitats
  • Species closely associated with the area
  • History of the area
  • Settlement and development patterns
  • Roads, railways and rights of way
  • Commonly used building materials and building design
  • Tranquility and remoteness.

The information can be used in forming planning policies and taking planning decisions, land management plans, minerals planning, access and rights of way improvement plans, monitoring change .

NCAs come with ‘Statements of Environmental Opportunity’ (SEOs) eg: ‘Improve opportunities to enhance people’s enjoyment of the area while protecting high levels of tranquillity by conserving extensive views and intimate, steep-sided valleys which contribute to sense of place, and by protecting and promoting the extensive historic evidence of past human settlement, landscape change and designed landscapes’.

Is there any kind of protection for these NCAs? Well, the last two paragraphs would suggest yes. But in fact, they are only descriptive and advisory. Nationally there are several local designations such as Area of High Landscape Value. The names vary a little in different counties. They are not national designations like AONB (now rebranded as National Landscapes) that have the same recognition as National Parks. These are identified because of their nationally important contribution to protection from climate change, nature depletion, the wellbeing crisis and creating understanding of the work that they do, but Areas of High Landscape Value and NCAs do not.

It’s tempting to suggest that as the AONB designation has been abandoned, and if nothing comes of UNESCO Geopark or National Landscape designation for the Wolds, maybe the AONB title could be adopted for the Yorkshire Wolds, or put and ‘S’ infront of NCA (Special National Character Area) to give a bit of official recognition but not be of National Park status with all the problems for the local inhabitants that that might bring. - just a suggestion. for debate.

Poetry Corner

This issue started with the Kiplingcotes Derby, so these few lines from a much missed local poet, who loved the Wolds, would seem appropriate. Chris Boxall sadly is no longer with us, but her words live on:


Stale winter coats are clipped and cast away.
Keen as March breeze, fidgeting on the hill,
Horses’ heads nod, acknowledge Derby day:

Saddlecloths shiver on their flanks. The thrill
of Kiplingcotes returns, carried along
at a swift gallop, up time-honoured tracks
striking new sparks from flints formed long
before the horses came, or men upon their backs.

Now, on the homeward straight, they reappear
contesting valiantly the old prize
along the border of a Roman road. A cheer
greets the approaching horses, as turf flies,
and almost stride for stride, in sweat and foam,
the winner, and the second horse, race home.

Opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and may not neccessarily exactly reflect the Trust’s concensus views. Readers’ comments will be gratefully accepted and considered for future inclusion.