Margaret MacKinder reports on the latest activities of the Local History Group:
We have been out and about in October looking at lumps and bumps in the open spaces around Slingsby to try to identify what they are, and record them before memories fade. The first outing was thwarted by heavy rain so we worked on maps in The Grapes and marked on the features which Peter Smithson could remember or had heard talked about when he was a boy, but which have now disappeared. It was followed up a week later by a walk around the castle / sports field and moat with Peter and Stephen Prest. Many thanks to Stephen for letting us in to investigate the part of the moat which belongs to Castle Farm.
The heavy limestone walls are more visible on the west side of the moat. Are these the outer walls / ramparts of the original medieval castle? There are also the remains of other walls, now almost buried to the south west of the moat, which enclose another large area of land to the west. We intend to find out more about this and have a talk next spring from an expert in this field.
We walked along the northern part of the sports field and observed the very uneven land just south of the Wath Beck and tracked the line of the original gutter which took water to the moat and ran along the western side of the sports field and bowling green. This has now mainly disappeared. It is difficult now to imagine how this worked as at first glance the levels are misleading. The potential lower level of the ditch only becomes apparent as you walk westwards on the sports field along the edge of the beck.
Peter Smithson also showed us where the communal village sheep wash was. Years ago all the farmers washed their sheep in the stream near to the lawns bridge at a specially constructed platform which they had built. If you look westwards from The Lawns Bridge upstream towards Fryton, you will see a concrete platform on the banks which looks like the remnant of a bridge. The concrete blocks supported a temporary bridge under which the sheep had to be pushed to completely submerge them. A man stood on an alcove dug out of the north bank just beyond the concrete and pulled them round on to dry land on the north side of the beck. If you look carefully in the water you may just be able to see the worn pathway in the bed of the stream. The sheep were then collected up on the field where the Mowbray Oak tree is located.
Our visit to Malton Museum: The group made a special evening visit to Malton Museum in October to hear about their plans and learn about the outreach work they do, and to look at the small, but very informative permanent and temporary displays they have about Malton history. The work done by the volunteers to catalogue the museum’s extensive collections is now about complete and is truly impressive. We hope to be able to forge closer links with them and make use, if possible, of some of their collection in our own local history events. Very many thanks to Margaret Shaw for hosting a very interesting evening for us. The displays are open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibitions change and there are also special events and workshops form time to time. The Friends of Malton Museum also run a series of interesting monthly evening talks on history subject relevant to the area.
Forthcoming Slingsby Local History Group meetings can be found here
Malton (and Helmsley) history lectures are here