The dated buildings of Bentham

Sylvia Harrop

It is sixteen years since the Trust published its first book on Horton-in- Ribblesdale (Horton in Ribblesdale: The Story of an Upland Parish). With this journal there is a flyer about our second publication, The Dated Buildings of Bentham, compiled by Emmeline Garnett and Margaret Green-Hughes. Many members will have heard Emmeline Garnett lecture on the importance and fascination of the dated plaques to be found on many buildings in the north-west of England. Emmeline has already published the results of her research on the dated buildings just over the border into Lancashire (Dated Buildings of North Lonsdale) which has just been republished by the Centre for North-West Regional Studies at Lancaster University. Now, with the help of Margaret Green-Hughes, she has turned her attention to the neighbouring parish of Bentham, including High Bentham, Low Bentham, Mewith and Graystonegill. Painstaking detective work has recorded 135 examples in the area, almost all of which are illustrated in this book. Each date stone is given its location, the initials on it are identified, and the people concerned described in as much detail as it has been possible to discover. It is amazing how much can be learnt about the history of the area just by reading through the entries for all the date stones. If, however, the reader wants to look for somewhere or someone in particular, the book has two indexes, of place and family names.

The committee agreed to underwrite the publication of this book because it was felt to be an important contribution to the history of the area. It is most attractively produced, and is a size that can easily be carried around by those who want to look at the date stones for themselves. Members of the Trust can buy the book at a special rate, and we do hope that most members will do so. The flyer gives the details.

As anyone who has heard Emmeline Garnett on the subject will know, she would like to see a practical outcome to the book, in the recording of date stones over a wider area. She would be delighted to give advice to anyone who would be interested in carrying out such a project, even on a small scale. Some members may already be recording these stones: if so, it would be helpful to know what is being done. Please either write to the editor of the journal or contact our Chairman, Roy Gudgeon, if you are involved in such research, or have any information on local date stones.