Local History Group

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Wonderful old pictures on display 

This newly unearthed picture of Bishop Monkton's old mill, believed to date from 1910, was among a selection of fascinating old pictures of the village which went on view at the meeting of the Local History Group which took place on Wednesday, October 11 at the Village Hall. 


Why Bishop Monkton avoided the ravages of the Black Death



Members of Bishop Monkton Local History Group were updated at an earlier meeting this year held at the Village Hall on the progress that had been made on four research projects which have been undertaken.

They heard details of the progress of research into the village shops, the village pubs and the early history of the village.

One of the most surprising findings was how Bishop Monkton largely escaped the ravages of The Black Death which struck in 1347 and which within 20 years had led to the death of 20 million people, a third of the total population of Europe at the time.

Margaret Mason, who carried out the research, said it was believed the reason for the fortuitous avoidance of the worst of the dreaded disease was due to the fact that the Bishop  was visiting the village at the time the plague struck, and some form of cordon was thrown around it, which had the effect of fending off the disease.

Many details were also revealed about the village's old shops and old pubs in research carried out by David Banks and helpers.

In the fourth project to be undertaken, Richard Field reported on the progress he has made in his 'Down Memory Lane' series in which he met and talked to many of the village's longest term residents . He said he had held eight meetings involving over 40 villagers who had related many fascinating memories. 

The oldest person interviewed was 98-year-old Netta Park, who had memories dating back to the years immediately after the First World War.

Group Leader David Banks announced that a new research project was to be started - about the history of Bishop Monkton Cricket Club which dates back over 100 years.  Martin Minett volunteered to lead this research and he will be assisted by present day members of the club.

David thanked the project leaders, and others who helped organise and run the update meeting.

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Last man will never live this down!

Martin Minett, newly-appointed leader of a project to trace the history of Bishop Monkton Cricket Club, has already stumbled on a gem from the early records.

An entry for a match in1893 reads

Knaresborough 2nds had a narrow win  against Bishop Monkton.  Knaresborough totalled 58 and won the match by 4 runs.  Bishop Monkton, chasing the 58, were undone because their last batsman had left for Ripon when his services were required and this undoubtedly assisted  Knaresborough.  L Lee ( 17) and J W Hymas (9) had tried to knock off the runs but  were not successful and the match was lost since their last man was missing!  

The last man will never live that down!


Memories are made of this .....

GROUP ONE in session. Seen, from left, are Angie Archbold (host), Margaret Simpson, Margaret Lodge, Elizabeth Wilkinson and Florence Bowes.

GROUP of long-time residents of Bishop Monkton sat down together today and spent the next hour reminiscing about the old days.

They are one of about 10 groups which will meet during the coming weeks to share memories of times gone by. In each case their conversations will be recorded, and later turned into discs which will form part of the new Village Archive planned by the newly-formed Bishop Monkton Local History Group.

The first group, hosted by Angie Archbold at her home, comprised Florence Bowes, Margaret Simpson, Margaret Lodge and Elizabeth Wilkinson.

Margaret Simpson has been in the village for 76 years, Florence Bowes for 71 years, Margaret Lodge for 52 years and Elizabeth Wilkinson 38 years, - so together they have an unrivalled knowledge of village history.

The four were asked many questions, such as their earliest memories of the village, what they knew about the former Paper Mill, Corn Mill, the old WI Hall and the Mechanics' Insitute, what were their most  vivid memories of events over the years and asked to mention villagers, no longer with us who had made an impact on village life.

They remembered Miss Goss, Miss Garner, Nurse Roberts, Mr Park (the blacksmith), Ken Morland, Eddie Bowes, Doreen Willis (Head Teacher), John and Jean Burney and Rene Cusworth among many others.

They were able to list a number of shops which once traded in the village, and most of the village pubs (although none actually frequented them!)

The conversations provided a wealth of new information about the village which will be invaluable to those members of the Group doing various research projects and able to draw on what has been said.

Richard Field, who led the interviews, said that the hour-long recording from this meeting would be edited, illustrations and perhaps music added providing what should be very watchable and listenable. At a later stage it is hoped that these recordings will be replayed at special village events.

MORE MEETINGS involving long-time residents are planned on April 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 and 11 with more still to have dates finalised.


Four separate projects on the go

Four separate projects are already on the go as the Local History Group gets down to creating the basis of a new Village Archive.

Recording the past

The first project, led by Richard Field, it to track down residents who have lived in the village 30,40,50 or more years and to invite them to join little get togethers to chat about the old days.  The voices will be recorded, and after editing the content will be turned into discs which will then be preserved for posterity.  The idea is that future generations will be able to play them back in future years and learn first hand about the village years ago.

Richard  has already held seven group meetings involving some 35 villagers, and has at least four more meetings planned after Easter. 

Contact: Richard Field  by e-mail at editorbmtoday@aol.com or tel 677795

How many old pubs?

                            The Star Inn

Group Leader David Banks is currently working on a project to discover more about the village's old pubs.

Did the village once have seven pubs (or was it six)? Were they all open at the same time, or were they operating at different periods? Are any of the people who ran these pubs still around?

David is keen to hear from anyone who has information about any of the old pubs, and also if anyone has any old photos.

Is there anyone who frequented one of the now closed pubs, and what are their memories?

And how many shops?

 Central Stores

David is also pulling together information about old shops in the village. Sadly, of course, we lost our last shop here with the closure of the Village Stores, run for many years by the late Bernard and Mary Knowles.

But over the years there must have been dozens of other shops at different times - bakers, butchers, drapery shops, post offices, a garage, a blacksmith, etc.

If you live in a house which was formerly one of these David would like to hear from you.

He's also like to hear from anyone who has any information about any of them, and also from anyone who has any old photos.

Contact: David by e-mail: bmlocalhistory@gmail.com or tel 677906.

Early history of the village

Margaret Mason is currently working finding more details about the early history of this village.  This will include facts already published (with reference to the source)  as well as new information discovered.

Contact: Margaret Mason via e-mail: bmlocalhistory@gmail.com.

Old photos

                WI group in old WI Hall

As part of the Village Archive we hope to pull together a large number of old photographs of the village.

These pictures will be filed under appropriate headings (by street or subject, etc) with caption information about each. Please advise the date the photo was taken and any other information, if you know it.

Contact: David Banks by e-mail: bmlocalhistory@gmail.com  or  tel.677906. Photos will be scanned and returned. m

Other developments......

  • The Village Hall is kindly making space in a room at the Village Hall to locate a metal cabinet (yet to be acquired) where physical archive material will be stored, and which in time be available to access.

  • Talks are taking place to decide how we can create an old-line archive. This could be in the form of another website or, more likely, a drop box where people can submit items which will then be catalogued and, at at later stage accessible to villagers who log on to the site.

  • Preliminary research is taking place into the village's old POW camps.

  • The village website (bishopmonktontoday) will continue to publish news about the Local History Group as it happens. 

  • We are grateful to Chris O'Gorman who has passed on items relating to Alec Renton for safekeeping. Also to Martin Minett who has provided a copy of old maps. one dating from 1771 and two from the 1840s. Also to Ashley Horner for sending a picture he drew of the Old Central Stores when he was at the primary school aged 10. Anyone else with items they would like to donate to be added to the Village Archive should contact David via bmlocalhistory@gmail.com or tel. 677906.

CENTRAL STORES drawn by Ashley Horner, when  a pupil at the village primary school, aged 10.