Dr E M Buckle

Dr E M Buckle, Vice President of the North Craven Heritage Trust, died at the age of 91 on January 16th 1996. She was born in Hampstead and educated in London, graduating from Royal Holloway College of London University with a First Class Honours degree, gaining her doctorate in French Literature two years later.

At Settle Girls' High School she taught French and Latin for 38 years where she was held in respect and affection by all. Her versatility, sense of humour and her wide vision of education of the whole child involved her in a variety of extra curricular activities including drama, senior musical society, Scottish dancing and the League of Nations. She taught many girls to swim, in the river, just below Queen's Rock!

Always a great lover of the Dales, nature and the countryside generally, she was very interested in local and social history. Writing for the NCHT 21st Anniversary of "The Changing Countryside" she wrote, "It is true that the landscape of Britain is the product of our history. Our countryside was made by man to suit the desires and profit of those able to exercise power. So the Norman kings preserved great tracts of country as hunting forests, the great landowners of the 17th and 18th centuries not only farmed their estates and introduced new ideas for crops and stock but landscaped their parks and planted trees and shrubs of special interest, thus leaving an impression on the countryside which still delights us. We are left, in fact, with a sort of patchwork from the past. There is in this country on the whole a protective attitude towards living creatures, and we should do well to cherish and encourage this instinctive attitude for it may one day be our safeguard against the destruction of our environment." Let us hope that in about the year 2010 in North Craven there will still be "wide stretches of open country, that the wild flowers of the limestone areas will still be there in all their charm and variety and that the curlews will still be coming over the fells each year to proclaim the Spring."

Thirty years ago she went blind, taught herself to touch-type and began to write articles on the Changing Countryside, some of which were published by NCHT. In the 70's she spoke on Radio 4 campaigning that roadside verges should not be attacked with flail mowers and herbicides to tidy them up in early summer but be left until after the wild flowers had set their seed in order to conserve them for future generations. She began to write poetry and won a national BBC competition, writing the conservation poem "Tomorrow's Child" for the NCHT in aid of the Trust's Museum appeal. She published two books of poetry, "Stone Wall Country" and "Summer's End". In 1989 Ted Watson of the Royal Shakespearean Company discovered some of Dr Buckle's work in a bookshop in Newcastle and asked her if he might set some of them to music. He and actors from the RSC performed the work at the Ingleborough Community Centre. It was recorded by Yorkshire Television and later Dr Buckle was the subject of a radio documentary by Nigel Forde.

Mr Ted Watson was at her funeral, gave the address and played a tape of her speaking the poem "Blackberry Days" from one of her books, "Summer's End". A wonderful lady with an active mind.

Phyllis Houlton.