2 March 2008

Leaders - Mary and Mike Slater

On a blustery day we started from the beginning of Stockdale Lane and turned off on the track up towards Sugar Loaf Hill and Attermire Scar. There is a limekiln by the side of the track reminding us of the land improvements of the 18th century based on better understanding of plant nutrition. Reference was made to the Manor boundaries and an early charter, describing the gift by Richard de Moreville to Sallay Abbey of Stockdale land c. 1164-1175 … namely Authulnesmire and then Wlfvesdalals and beyond the land extending to Settle, and from the other side to the boundary of Langcliffe up to the boundary of Airton, set free and absolved from all secular service … (YAS RS 1934 vol. 90 vol. 2 no. 676 )

A later document of uncertain date but pre-16th century says Here the division between Settle and Langcliffe one may see a great stone which is between these towns, ascend so as to large stones lying marking out as far as to Rumegaite and from as far as to the Blapott, and from Blapott as far as the Nowelthorne and as far as to a great stone above Somerake Bank and from Somerrake bank as far as to the Groves and thus as formerly by the Groves as far as the rydeknottes and thus as far as to Symondby and from here as far as the Dryryghende and from there as far as to the Foxholes.

It is a puzzle to know where these places might be, apart perhaps from Dryrygende?

We proceeded further to the remains of the Attermire Rifle Range, set up in 1860, well-described by Jim Nelson in the 1998 Journal. The large holes in the iron plates were made by armour piercing shells during World War II. The track continues eastwards under Attermire Cave, the history of which can be found in the Out of Oblivion website. The cave was used from Neolithic to Roman times, with a variety of interesting finds from excavations. Further along one can identify the site where a photograph of the Scar was taken by one of the Horners in Victorian days, with every stone to be seen in the wall still in place today. Further along still there are remains of a settlement site on the hillside, perhaps of the Bronze Age.

The party then walked along the road towards Stockdale Farm, which is an ancient farmstead but with no remains of early buildings. We have the will of Hugh Iveson of Stockdale in 1547 and thereafter a series of wills of the Somerscales family (1557 to 1616) in Stockdale which are full of interest. They were relatively wealthy merchants and farmers, and sent sons to school, university and apprenticeships in London. Crutching Close under Rye Loaf Hill perhaps refers to a nearby burial site and indeed there is a cairn on top of Rye Loaf. Winskill similarly has a Crutchin Close and a burial mound.

We returned along the road thinking that the dale has not changed much in a millennium of occupation.