Transcript of Dalesman Interviews - Part 1

Norman Swindlehurst, Full Transcript Part 1


Norman Swindlehurst (NS) of Keasden was interviewed by W.R. Mitchell (WRM) many times. In this interview he mentions many local personalities and their employments, including detailed descriptions of farming, weddings, cooking, sheep salving and social events.


[Start of interview. Side A - 00:00:23]

WRM: Good heavens, 1897...

NS: Aye.

WRM: Do you remember Richard Howson?

NS: Yes, I do, very well.

WRM: [Reading] ‘Joiner and Builder. Agent for Slate. Burlington Slate.’

NS: An’ the building yard which ‘e ‘ad is made into a house now.

WRM: Oh, which is it?

NS: When yer come out o’ t’top down Station Road it’s on yer right hand side. It’s a sort of a rounded buildin’.

WRM: Good heavens. Do you remember going to him there?

NS: I ‘ave, I’ve bin there, an’ I can tell you, John Wallbank at Ing Close before the 1914-18 war, he wanted a new cart. An’ it was cart and side boards and hay shilvings and turf cages, an’ it was twelve pound the lot.

WRM: Good heavens.

NS: You see, some of the prices they were paid then wa’n’t a big lot.

WRM: What sort of machinery did he have?

NS: There was no machinery; then it was nearly all hand work.

WRM: Was it?

NS: There was hardly any machinery then, yer know.

WRM: There was no water wheel of course?

NS: No.

WRM: What else did the joiner make for farmers in those days?

NS: Gates, he made all the gates. There was none of these iron gates in them days. They were all wooden gates.

WRM: And then if he made a wheel for a cart he’d have to roll it round to the blacksmith, would he?

NS: He’d to roll it round to the blacksmith. The blacksmith was there in Clapham, you know, not far off, and he got it hooped there.

WRM: Who was the blacksmith?

NS: Old Capstick.

WRM: Oh yes, what was Capstick’s first name?

NS: [Unclear 00:02:21] Capstick.

WRM: What sort of a chap was Richard Howson? Was he a tall man?

NS: A big, tall fella, an’ he was very serious. You never got a smile out of ‘im. Very serious. He was like always workin’, an’ that was all he seemed to think about.

WRM: And he had some apprentices, had he?

NS: He had only one apprentice, and then he had a son, Robert, what everybody called Bob: that was ol’ chap Richard.

WRM: What was the blacksmith like, Capstick?

NS: Well, he was Capstick. ‘e was a tremendous, big fella and stout an’ he was eighteen stones weight, an’ he used to draw teeth for yer as well.

WRM: Have you had teeth drawn by him?

NS: No, I haven’t, but I’ve seen fellas go there but I wouldn’t. He ‘ad an’ old couch an’ you sat on this couch an’ he got his knee on yer; an’ when he got ‘is knee on yer, you didn’t get away ‘til the tooth came out.

WRM: What did he pull them out with?

NS: Ee, just some pliers ‘e ‘ad, an’ ‘e give yer nothin’.

WRM: Good heavens. You didn’t have a drink of whisky to start with did you?

NS: No, nothing.

WRM: What did you do about toothache in those days, apart from going to Capstick?

NS: You put up with it, I’ve seen it nearly drive me mad but still I didn’t like going to Capstick.

WRM: Did people used to put stuff on their teeth?

NS: Yes, they did. They put whisky on their teeth to stop ‘em aching, and there’s something else they used to put on.

WRM: ‘Two men painting and putting up spouts...’ ‘Ten hours at 11s.8d.’

NS: Aye.

WRM: Good heavens… [Reading]

NS: I wondered if I’d shown yer it.

WRM: No, you hadn’t actually.

NS: Five pence an hour for the labour, he got.

WRM: Did he?

NS: An’ the joiner seven pence.

WRM: Good heavens, are these some more of your treasures?

NS: Yeah, the trade now asks what, five pound an hour not seven pence.

WRM: No.

NS: I know what I ‘ad in ‘ere...

WRM: Was it that joiner, by the way, who made sledges?

NS: Yes, and turf barrers. Oh, he made a lot of turf barrers.

WRM: He did?

NS: Yes, turf was in great demand in them days.

WRM: What were the turf barrows made of?

NS: Ash, they were mostly ash.

WRM: Were they?

NS: Yes.

WRM: And with the small wheel at the front, was that a wooden wheel?

NS: No, they only had one wheel. It was a biggish wheel and ever so wide because on the turf ground, you know, it was soft, an’ as soon as you got a weight on if it ‘ad bin a narrow wheel it would have sunk.

WRM: There was somebody wanted a turf barrow made by a local man and he said, ‘Oh, you go to so-and-so the joiner, and if the barrow runs as well as his water butts it’ll be a good ‘un.’

NS: He wouldn’t be able to get one.

WRM: What else did he used to make, apart from turf barrows?

NS: He med these hay sledges. That’s me Uncle, me Mother’s brother, he was Headmaster of a school in Manchester.

WRM: Oh. I’ll keep all these together for you. Then we can pop them all back in your bag.

NS: That’s a cousin of mine…

WRM: What were the weddings like in those days? Before the First World War, if you went to a wedding at Keasden Church?

NS: There wasn’t any at Keasden Church, it wasn’t licensed. You had to go to Clapham. I remember Bill Wallbank’s parents getting married, and his father was forty and his mother was twenty and they called her Florrie Smith. And so the gamekeeper lived, you know where the gamekeeper’s cottage was, near the guide post, and so ‘e put a post up each side of the road did the gamekeeper and he ‘ad a big ribbon across, ‘The Relief of Lady Smith’. An’ it was the same time as Ladysmith was relieved in the Boer War, so it worked two ways: ‘The Relief of Lady Smith’.

WRM: And where did he put that up, up Keasden?

NS: Just opposite yon cottage.

WRM: Ah yes?

NS: You see, they ‘ad to go past it. Lady Smith lived at Turnerford Cottage.

WRM: Oh, I see.

NS: Next to Ken Horn’s.

WRM: Did you go to that wedding?

NS: No, I didn’t, but me parents were there an’ it did suit ‘em when Tom Pritchard put this thing up. As I said, it worked two ways: ‘The Relief of Lady Smith’.

WRM: People getting married before the First World War, would they travel to the Church down from Keasden in a trap?

NS: They did, it’s the only way they ‘ad to do.

WRM: Yeah. Was the trap decorated at all?

NS: Yes, sometimes they would. Me eldest sister, she was married at Clapham, well, two sisters I ‘ad married at Clapham. An’ they both ‘ad to come in a ‘orse an’ trap. There was no motors.

WRM: No. And did they tie things on the back?

NS: They did: old shoes an’ all sorts of things a-jinglin’ away behind.

WRM: Was that going or coming back?

NS: Comin’ back. When they ‘ad ‘em in Church, then somebody was up to somethin’. [Rustling of paper]

WRM: They didn’t bother much with money bills, did they?

NS: No.

WRM: Sorry, was there something you wanted?

NS: I had some glasses somewhere, what did I do with them? Oh, let me settle down. I was just wonderin’ what that said.

WRM: Now what have you done with them?

NS: It’s Bowness-on-Windermere. I ‘ad them glasses…

WRM: Oh, they’re over here. There you are.

NS: I was just goin’ to see what that was before I threw it down. Thanks. I could read ‘Bowness-on-Windermere’.

WRM: I’ll just bring this round a little bit.

NS: Oh, that was me sister’s ‘ouse.

WRM: Where did they have the receptions?

NS: ‘The Flying Horseshoe’ mostly.

WRM: Did they? Who was there then before the First World War?

NS: Er, old Henry Coates.

WRM: Ah yes, what was he like?

NS: Oh, ‘e was quite a serious fella. But his daughter-in-law Mrs Henry, she’d married the eldest son and he died a young man, an’ she was the main body that did all the caterin’ an’ that. It was Mrs Henry.

WRM: What sort of a meal did you get on a wedding day?

NS: Ooh, there was a big splash made, in them days.

WRM: Was there?

NS: Oh, there was plenty of meat.

WRM: Was there? And what did people wear, these high-winged collars and things?

NS: I know the women had button boots and let’s see, they started ‘ere, an’ they twisted round. Not the fancy things they ‘ave now.

WRM: What did most women wear? They’d have long dresses, wouldn’t they?

NS: Oh yes, an’ they ‘ad ‘old of ‘em ‘ere carryin’ ‘em or they were sweepin’ the ground. Do you know anything of Emmanuel Johnson at Paley Green?

WRM: I know that Johnson at West Marton.

NS: No, he lives at Paley Green between Cross Streets and Giggleswick station.

WRM: Oh yes, I know the Johnson family, yes.

NS: Aye, that’s his wife. [Rustling of paper] That’s me sister’s card to a boyfriend of ‘ers, I don’t know who it is.

WRM: Where did they used to go for honeymoons if they could afford it?

NS: Morecambe an’ Blackpool.

WRM: And how would they get there?

NS: You ‘ad to go on the train. I went to Weston-super-Mare for mine.

WRM: Did everybody gather down at the station?

NS: Yes, and saw ‘em off with a great gusto.

WRM: Oh, did they throw confetti?

NS: Throw confetti? Yes. That’s me sister an’ her husband. They were in Holland then, at…

WRM: Oh, yes.

NS: That’s when they taught at Clapham School.

WRM: Mrs Macintosh was in the bank this dinner time.

NS: [WRM’s remark goes unheard] Oh, an’ that’s another sister. She was a dressmaker. Now I can tell you ‘ow little folk worked for. She started at what they called Ella Tomlinson’s (Mrs Burton she was later in life) an’ she worked from fourteen to twenty one without a penny. Our people paid ‘er lodgings and her fare to Settle on Monday morning, and back at Saturday dinner time for nothing. An’ then she started when she was twenty one at five shillings a week as an ‘improver’.

WRM: Oh, gosh.

NS: There wasn’t much money.

WRM: There wasn’t. Yet it was considered a good job, was it?

NS: Yes. [Pause]

WRM: I popped down to see Frank Harrison near Clitheroe, at Chatburn.

NS: I hear he’s a postman, in’t ‘e? He’ll be retired now.

WRM: Yeah. [Pause]

NS: Yes. I wonder how many o’ that family is livin’? Lizzie’s dead.

WRM: Well, there’s Walter, he’s still living.

NS: Yes, and John.

WRM: Yeah.

NS: Mary’s dead, an’ Dora’s dead. Dora died a young woman, she was a nurse. And I don’t know, Maggie was in Morecambe last I ‘eard of ‘er. And Edith, Edith is somewhere or other Gisburn side if she’s livin’.

WRM: Right.

NS: Richard, he married a joiner’s daughter from Austwick.

WRM: Can you tell me a bit about this cobbler?

NS: His father was t’schoolmaster down at the Temperance Hall. Do you know where t’Temperance Hall is?

WRM: Yes.

NS: An’ the kids took so many coppers a week, I can’t tell you how much, to pay ‘im. That’s what he got for teaching ‘em.

WRM: What was his father’s name?

NS: Isaac.

WRM: Ah, yes.

NS: And he got rather wrong with the drink sometimes, an’ he used to sing. I don’t know if he had much tune or not but he used to sing Isaac, King, the King of all Kings. [Laughs]

WRM: Gosh.

NS: Oh, yeah.

WRM: You don’t remember that school?

NS: Yes. No, I don’t remember that school, but I know the Temperance alright.

WRM: The Temperance Hall is where they had all the socials, down near the Farraday’s old house. Clapham Wood Hall, is that it?

NS: No, I don’t remember him teaching there, but I knew Tom King well enough and then his son Bob.

WRM: What was Tom King like, was he a big chap?

NS: A tallish fella, an’ slender. But he was very full of fun. So was Bob King. Now Bob’s son, Thomas, he’s soon to be signed to be a blacksmith. He works for Joe Wynn at Middleton.

WRM: Ah, yes.

NS: Yes.

WRM: What was this old cobbler like then? What did he used to make?

NS: He made new shoes, and he used to make quite a bit of harness. A pair of new shoes, made to measure, all hand stitched, were a guinea.

WRM: Good Lord. And did he make clogs?

NS: Yes, ooh yes, lots of clogs. An’ he used to make the clog blocks, where they had their stand and they used to lift ‘em up as it were in their ‘and, then the big knife came down. I used to watch afraid every moment his fingers would go off because it was a big heavy knife, but they didn’t.

WRM: Did he used to cut the wood himself?

NS: He cut the wood ‘imself. ‘e used to buy the trees, an’ fell ‘em. He liked alder or birch. And he cut a lot up at Ing Close, yer’ll not know where that is. I was goin’ to school when ‘e felled that lot. And ‘e ‘ad some men came an’ they’d cut blocks for ‘im then an’ they stamped them in rings round, like this, a great big height to dry. They stood there for weeks drying out before they carted them away.

WRM: Where did they take them to?

NS: Down to his place.

WRM: Oh, he didn’t sell them to Lancashire?

NS: No, it’s what ‘e used. But there was a lot of clog blocks went into Lancashire and different parts. From Wray, you know, Wray was a great place for clog blocks. Since I remember they were mekin ‘em there. Dickie Siemenson was making clog blocks an’ then he ‘ad a manservant ‘e started called Chester, they were all clog block makers.

WRM: Did you wear clogs?

NS: Yes.

WRM: Did they make clogs for children?

NS: Yes, for little tiny tots an’ for grown-ups, all sorts o’ clogs.

WRM: Were there different colours for kids?

NS: He’d made some coloured ones, red ones and blue ones, but grown up folks were all… women’s were all clasp clogs. You never see clasp clogs now, do you?

WRM: And the men’s tied up did they?

NS: Yes, the men’s all laced.

WRM: And where did he get his leather from?

NS: I don’t know. He went away an’ bought this leather. It was ready to ‘andle when ‘e got it.

WRM: Was it just a little place, his workshop?

NS: Well, there was just room for ‘im an’ ‘is son. He sat at the far end an’ ‘is son just in at the door. ‘is son served ‘is time with ‘is father but he didn’t care for, he didn’t like it and so he took a farm. Well he bought a farm, Low Birks, going towards Eldroth. An’ it was about fifty acre an’ he bought it for eight hundred pounds, so things weren’t so dear then. Now you can’t get an acre for that!

WRM: No. What do remember about the little workroom?

NS: [Laughs] The little seat where he sat, you would think somebody ‘ad sat on it hundreds of years it seemed to be near sat away. ‘an he would ‘ave sat at one end looking out o’ t’winder, an’ he had the light comin’ on, an’ then ‘is son sat at the other end with the other winder. I wonder what it’s like now, if it’s been pulled down or what’s happened.

WRM: And if anything went wrong with your clogs he could repair while you waited could he?

NS: Oh yes, he used to repair many a bit while you were waitin’. I tell you somethin’ what ‘appened, Bob King the son, he was full of devilment. An’ Robbie Wilshire from nex’ to Cassons, ‘e was always comin’ at night when they were goin’ to near give up an’ go in for their supper. An’ so Bob thought he would stop ‘im comin’ that late at night, an’ so when he thought it were gettin’ to t’time when Robbie would be thinkin’ about goin’ ‘ome, Bob slipped out o’ t’workshop an’ he went in t’house an’ got a tablecloth. An’ he went in to t’churchyard and put this over ‘is ‘ead, an’ then ‘e waited while Robbie did turn out, an’ Bob came out o’ t’churchyard. There was a stile an’ he came o’er this stile; but ‘e came out just a shade too soon because if he’d let Robbie get a bit further he would have bolted away, but he shot back an’ in t’Kings’ ‘ouse, an’ they couldn’t get ‘im to go ‘ome. Bob ‘ad to tek ‘im all the way ‘ome. [Laughs] Robbie wouldn’t go.

WRM: No. What’s the next farm down the hill from that little farm?

NS: Reeby’s.

WRM: Who lived there?

NS: Well, James Winrey was there first, yer may remember ‘im, an’ then William Hargreaves was there. An’ Willie Hargreaves used to go to see Tom King’s daughter Polly, when Mrs King was dead. He went to see ‘er an’ then ‘e gave up an’ then the two went again a bit, so she got fed up of ‘im. So she wrote a letter an’ told ‘im. He’d either to go right or not at all, the way he was doin’ ‘e was keepin’ other men away. An’ he showed me this letter, did Willie Hargreaves. So she sharpened him up an’ he went right an’ he married ‘er.

WRM: Good heavens.

NS: So there’s all sorts o’ ways o’ doin’.

WRM: Yeah. What sort of a farm was Reeby’s?

NS: It’s only a place of about fifty acres. There’s a good lot of wood on it.

WRM: What’s the next one further down?

NS: Clapham Wood Hall. Now then, who is it that lives now? First I remember livin’ there, Mrs Casson’s parents lived there. She was a widder and she was there. Well, it’s had a few since and who is it now? It’s an air pilot that ‘as it now, but most o’ t’land is sold off. He just ‘as about four acres, an’ his wife keeps two or three sheep.

WRM: Is it that stretch of the beck where they bring out all these great pieces of stone, special stone, with bits sticking out of them? Nodules or something they call them, do they?

NS: Yes, there are some down there.

WRM: Yes, I went round to Casson’s recently, as I say, and they were showing me quite a few of those bits of stone.

NS: It’s what they got out o’ the beck.

WRM: Yes. Which is the next farm from Keasden Church going off down towards Clapham station?

NS: Dubgarth.

WRM: Dubgarth, is it?

NS: It’s not a farm on its own now. Burns’s, down nearer the station ‘ave the land, an’ their daughter’s married an’ lives in the house. She’s married a man that works at Angus’s.

WRM: Dubgarth?

NS: Yes, Dubgarth.

WRM: That was a farm though, wasn’t it?

NS: It used to be a farm.

WRM: Yeah. Who farmed that?

NS: People called Frankland farmed it.

WRM: Oh, yes?

NS: And their son was killed in the 1914-1918 war.

WRM: What was his first name?

NS: Thurston.

WRM: Thurston Frankland?

NS: Thurston Frankland.

WRM: Ah, yes. Who did he marry?

NS: He married... well, Thurston Frankland never married anybody.

WRM: No?

NS: No, he was killed as a young man.

WRM: And what was the father called?

NS: John Frankland.

WRM: Ah, yes.

NS: He came o’er from Tosside side there.

WRM: And then would he retire on this farm further down?

NS: He was when I went t’school.

WRM: What’s that one called?

NS: Wenning Side.

WRM: Yeah.

NS: And now it’s t’Cornthwaite’s.

WRM: Where does Hubert Townley live? Nutta, is it?

NS: No, Ernest lives at Nutta. Hubert’s the one that’s a squeaky voice.

WRM: That’s him.

NS: Well, he lives not far from me. When you get to Bradford House, turn back to right and it’s the second on yer left, on there.

WRM: Because he used to live up from Clapham station, didn’t he?

NS: He did, at Giffords.

WRM: Giffords, ah...

NS: Well, he’s been ‘ad up a time or two for reckless drivin’, an’ somebody said he wants licence tekkin off him not bein’ ‘ad up for reckless drivin’. He ‘ad the cattle trailer one day, an’ he threw that over goin’ round the corners.

WRM: What’s Giffords like as a farm?

NS: It’s a bit o’ good land but there’s not much of it. In the days I remember it, old Henry Coates farmed it with ‘The Flying Horseshoe’. He ‘ad ‘The Flying Horseshoe’ and they had Nutta, and Giffords.

WRM: Gosh. He’d be in a big way then, would he?

NS: He was in a big way was ol’ Henry Coates.

WRM: Aye. Do you remember cattle coming down from Scotland?

NS: No.

WRM: Was there anybody…? I was having a chat last week with a lady up near Hawes whose father used to go up buying cattle up in Scotland.

NS: And walkin’ them back.

WRM: Well, he used to... this drover business, I always had the idea that the drovers used to be Scottish drovers who brought the cattle all the way down, but they didn’t. They used to bring them a certain distance and then some others would take over.

NS: Then they would meet up.

WRM: That’s right.

NS: Yes.

WRM: And this lady at Hawes said she used to run up the English drovers to meet the Scottish ones at Alston.

NS: The ones comin’ down?

WRM: Yeah. There was none of that round here was there?

NS: Well, me brother-in-law, the first o’ me rememberin’ he used to buy cattle in big droves off the Irishmen, and they sent them over with a drover with them to deliver them.

WRM: What was your brother-in-law called?

NS: John Bargh.

WRM: Ah, yes, where did he live?

NS: At Overton. ‘Long John’ he was mostly called, he was about six foot four and if you said to anybody about John Birch, ‘Oh, you mean Long John.’

WRM: And did he used to bring them through here?

NS: No, they came off at Heysham, yer see?

WRM: Yes. And they had the Irish drovers with them?

NS: They ‘ad Irish drovers came with them.

WRM: And where did he sell them then?

NS: He summered them. He ‘ad a big lot of land an’ he summered them and they went beef.

WRM: Oh, I see.

NS: And the Irishmen went back.

WRM: So the cattle that came into this area came through the Fairs, did they?

NS: Yes, mostly.

WRM: Most of the farms would be independent though, wouldn’t they? I mean, they’d have a surplus rather than be wanting to buy in?

NS: Yes, well you see, Ingleton Fair: I’ve been to Ingleton Fair when you couldn’t get up the street for cattle, an’ folk couldn’t get out of their ‘ouses. It was on the 17th November. An’ I’ve been to Clapham Fair, the 27th September, an’ they had pens. Farmers used to tek hurdles and mek bits of pens agen folks’ doors an’ folk were fast in their ‘ouses. An’ there was an old woman came from Crooklands. You’ll know where Crooklands is?

WRM: Yes.

NS: She was a dealer, and it suited me when I was a lad. She used to examine them tups, ‘And what sort of a gitter is ‘e?’ I thought it was comical this woman asking these questions.

WRM: What was she called?

NS: Moore.

WRM: What was her first name?

NS: I don’t know.

WRM: Was she a Mrs Moore?

NS: Yes, she was Mrs Moore; her husband were dead ever from me knowin’ ‘er.

WRM: And what sort of a woman was she? Was she a bit excitable?

NS: A bit mannish, like. [Laughs] She had to be, the questions she used to ask fellas about ‘em.

WRM: What did she do with them?

NS: Well, she would sell them again. She was tradin’ in ‘em. She was a dealer.

WRM: Good heavens. What was it like down Clapham, Fair Day?

NS: It was bedlam. You couldn’t stir all day an’ then when it got to night the folk started clearing off with the sheep they’d bought an’ that, and by, you couldn’t go out in the streets for muck. There was some cleanin’ up.

WRM: What would they do about refreshments?

NS: Oh, there was plenty o’ places. You could get as much as you wanted to eat for a shilling.

WRM: Where at?

NS: In any o’ t’houses were making refreshments. It was a common thing, was that.

WRM: And was the pub of course open?

NS: Yes, t’pub was open.

WRM: ‘The New Inn’?

NS: ‘The New Inn’.

WRM: Who had ‘The New Inn’ before the First World War?

NS: Harry Boyes, if you’ve ever ‘eard tell of ‘im.

WRM: No.

NS: It’s had a few since I remember, but Harry Boyes is the far’est back I remember.

WRM: That was before the First World War?

NS: Yes.

WRM: What sort of a chap was he?

NS: A tallish, thinnish fella, I can tell yer that but I can’t remember really a big lot about ‘im.

WRM: What did the Farrers say about all this mess?

NS: Oh, they let it go on.

WRM: Did they?

NS: Yes. Ol’Mrs Farrer used to come down an’ walk around the Fair, an’ she had a little poodle on ‘er arm, one o’ them little Pinkanese. She thought it was great to come round the Fair.

WRM: Because her house was far enough away, wasn’t it?

NS: Yes, alreet, she was out o’ t’way. [Laughs]

WRM: Was she the one who reared Jacob sheep?

NS: No, it would be t’next generation that reared Jacob sheep, wouldn’t it? Sidney’s wife.

WRM: Oh, yeah. Was she mad on her Jacob sheep?

NS: Well, she ‘ad some, I don’t know whether...

WRM: Was she keen on farming?

NS: Yes, she was keen on farmin’, and keen on shootin’. I was once beating grouse on Burn Moor and I liked to come into ‘er because she would say, ‘I’ve so many birds down’, and it wasn’t many minutes before she’d show you where each bird was. I remember comin’ in to ‘er an’ she said, ‘I’ve twenty two down’. An’ I wasn’t many minutes pickin’ them. And you know, you could go into a man an’ he said, ‘I don’t know, there might be one down over there, an’ there might be one over there’. I knew ‘e ‘adn’t any down. ‘e couldn’t ‘it ‘em.

WRM: That wasn’t Violet Farrer, was it?

NS: Sidney’s wife.

WRM: Yes, Violet. Round-faced?

NS: Yes.

WRM: A red face? She lived in Newby Court.

NS: Yes, and she went into Kent at t’finish. She could shoot. I remember two men came shootin’ once, oop Keasden moor that was, and one was shootin’ an’ the other was standin’ watchin’. And the one who was shootin’ said, ‘There’s two birds comin’.’ An’ he said, ‘I let go of first, an’ they were ‘appen about fifteen yards apart.’ An’ he said, ‘I killed t’second as dead as a hammer.’ An’ he said, ‘Me mate shouted, ‘Well done, John’.’ He said, ‘I didn’t tell ‘im that wasn’t what I shot at.’ He said, ‘He give me some idea as to how too low I was.’ Because they are travellin’, you know, are grouse.

WRM: Did the Farrers own a lot of Keasden?

NS: They owned it all once over.

WRM: Before the First World War?

NS: Yes, an’ then they started… as death duties came on they started sellin’ it an’ sellin’ it ‘til they don’t own much now.

WRM: When did they start selling it? After the war?

NS: After t’war they started sellin’ it.

WRM: So any farmer up at Keasden before the First World War...?

NS: They were practically all Farrers’ tenants. I don’t think there was any were not.

WRM: Who was the agent?

NS: Mr Bateman.

WRM: Ah, yes. What was his first name?

NS: I can’t tell you. Mr Bateman. He was the agent before Barton. You’ll ‘ave ‘eard of Barton?

WRM: Yes.

NS: An’ this Bateman was t’agent before that.

WRM: What sort of a chap was he?

NS: Ooh, second one, Barton, was a big, bombastic sort of a fella.

WRM: What was Bateman like?

NS: He was a quieter chap; but this Barton, if anybody went to ask for any repairs he nearly threw [stuff] at ‘em, and tried to terrify ‘em to death to get ‘em to go away without gettin’ anything done.

WRM: How did Mr Bateman travel about? With a horse and trap?

NS: With a horse an’ trap. And Dick Burns… you know Dick Burns? His father, ol’ Harry Burns, was coachman for Mr Bateman.

WRM: So he was driven around, was he?

NS: ‘e was driven around wi’ a horse an’ trap.

WRM: Where did he live?

NS: He lived in Clapham. An’ then when they wanted to farm, Farrers let him Reeby’s.

WRM: Do you remember the Estate Office in those days?

NS: Yes.

WRM: What sort of a place was that?

NS: Well, there was many, many in it, I can’t tell you much about ‘em.

WRM: All on these big high chairs?

NS: An’ sittin’ round, all lookin’ important.

WRM: What sort of a rent did people pay in those days?

NS: Well, the rents weren’t so big. I’ll just open, beyond high up there that box. [Pause] They could write in those days, an’ it was good paper.

WRM: [Reading] ‘1889: On letting Bracken Garth Farm. The Tenant to pay all rates and tithes and to keep all fences and water courses in good repair, and to drain at his own expense yard drains not more than six yards between and what he drains in the high coppy [clock strikes]... bone?’

NS: ‘Bone’, yes. Raw bones are they? Or quarter inch bones, what does it say?

WRM: ‘At the rate of ten cwt per acre’?

NS: Yes.

WRM: ‘And the Tenant to consume all the produce on the premises and when his tenancy expires to give up the land on the 5th day of April and the house and the outbuildings on the 12th day of May. The rent is £38 per year except the first year it is £1 less. The Tenant to pay it by two instalments, namely on the 21st day of December and Holy Thursday. The Landlord reserves for himself or his agent the right to come on the premises to view the same when he thinks proper, and the tenancy will expire any year by either Tenant or Landlord giving notice on or before the 12th day of August.’

NS: Now that’s John Harrison. That’s great uncle to Frank Harrison you were tellin’ me about.

WRM: Oh yes. ‘To pay all rates and tithes’. Rates wouldn’t be much, would they?

NS: No, rates were little in them days, but there was rates on the land in them days, and then they did away with them after.

WRM: How about tithes?

NS: There was a tithe, and then it was bought out.

WRM: Who bought it out?

NS: Me Father bought it out.

WRM: ‘And to keep all fences and water courses in good repair’. That was dry stone walls mainly was it?

NS: Dry stone walls and fences. Where the hedges wanted laying they had to lay them.

WRM: ‘And to drain at his own expense yard drains not more than six yards between’.

NS: In between.

WRM: What did that mean?

NS: Well, you see, six yards, and that’s why I place to mark that couch, an’ then they would drain it.

[Man enters]

Visitor Na then!

WRM: Oh-h!

[Interruption in tape]

NS: Talk about getting warmed up, well, you’d ‘ave got warmed up.

WRM: Who was that?

NS: Thomas Airton.

WRM: Where did he live?

NS: High Birks, where Edgar Rudsen is now, and then he went from there to Stainforth.

WRM: And he played for bands, did he?

NS: He did. He would sooner do that then work on t’farm.

Visitor He played the fiddle, didn’t ‘e?

NS: What?

Visitor He played the fiddle.

NS: Yes. Aye, the fiddle. When lads were at that dance he fair warmed ‘em up.

WRM: Was that at Keasden Hall, did they go there?

NS: Yes, at Keasden Hall, and the houses. They used to go round and have dances at the houses.

WRM: That was before the First World War then?

NS: Yes. There was a ‘Shepherds’ Ball’ out of Wood Gill every year.

WRM: Which was Wood Gill?

NS: It’s next to Bracken Garth.

WRM: Oh yes. And have you been to the ‘Shepherds’ Ball’?

NS: Yes.

WRM: Who had the farm in those days?

NS: Dick Wallbank, and then he went from there to Fleet Farm at Cowling.

WRM: And what were these ‘Shepherds’ Balls’ like?

NS: Well, there were a good dance, that’s what it was, an’ any amount to eat.

WRM: Where did they dance?

NS: They danced in the living room. They cleared all the furniture out and had a good dance. And at Wood Gill, some o’ them went to play cards. They went across into the old house an’ they called that ‘Monte Carlo’, and carded there.

WRM: This dance then, were they on stone floors?

NS: On stone floors, yes. That didn’t matter. [Laughs]

WRM: How many people turned up for it?

NS: Oh, thirty or forty of ‘em.

WRM: Yeah.

NS: You had to tek your turns at dancin’ because there wasn’t room for ‘em to get up at once.

WRM: Good heavens. And what sort of a meal did you have?

NS: Oh, a good many. But I know there was plenty of meat, and some good tuck-ins. Well, ol’ Will Wallbank, Bill’s father, he was at Keasden Head an’ he walked over the fell into Tatham an’ danced all night. He took an’ ol’ lantern with him an’ a bit of candle in it an’ went over the fell, danced all night an’ then as he came back past some of the outbarns, for them folks over the top he would feed the cattle for them in the mornin’ as he came back, and then they could stop in bed so much longer.

WRM: What was this bone stuff on this…?

NS: It was raw bones, ground up, and it nearly lasts forever does raw bones. But they won’t allow them to put it on now for fear of some complaint, yer see? Anthrax or one thing o’ another o’ them.

WRM: But you used to buy it in bags, did you?

NS: We bought it in bags, quarter inch bones.

WRM: Oh. It was all powdered up though, was it?

NS: It wasn’t.

WRM: Wasn’t it?

NS: No, that’s why they were called quarter inch bones. That was why it lasted so long, you see. Where it’s powdered it doesn’t last as long.

WRM: No. It gets leached out, does it?

NS: Yes.

WRM: What did you spread it with?

NS: Yer spread it with a spade, after you took it in t’cart an’ then spread it out o’ t’cart.

WRM: And this was a regular thing in those days?

NS: Yes, but as I say, you can’t get ‘em now, because for fear of any disease they won’t sell raw bones.

WRM: And did the bone come in bags?

NS: They came in bags, and if they stopped long in the bag they used to heat up. They did get hot.

WRM: Where did you get them from?

NS: Mattinson’s at Austwick was the main man, ol’ Freddie Mattinson. An’ then his son Willie followed on. Now there isn’t a Mattinson. Well, that shop at Settle carries on as Mattinson, but there isn’t a Mattinson left.

WRM: There’s just Kathleen, isn’t there?

NS: Oh, yes, there is Kathleen.

WRM: And a brother, or did her brother die?

NS: Oh...

WRM: Can’t remember.

NS: What the tool was it?

WRM: He was a bit of a sharp one.

NS: [Laughs] Yeah, I know! I’m tryin’ to think of ‘is name.

WRM: Yeah. [Reads] ‘And the Tenant to consume all the produce on the premises.’

NS: Well, you weren’t allowed to sell any hay off, you see?

WRM: I see.

NS: I say, they could write in them days, couldn’t they?

WRM: They could. Why was that, so that they wouldn’t use the land too much?

NS: And then they weren’t pushin’ it too ‘ard. If yer pushed it ‘ard yer could sell a lot off, yer see; it was to stop that.

WRM: What did they used to pay the rent in, sovereigns?

NS: Sovereigns, yes.

WRM: And you went on rent day; all the farmers would go would they?

NS: They all went.

WRM: And were they dressed up?

NS: They were all dressed up, and they gave them as much as they could eat an’ drink. That was like for free.

WRM: And where did they have all this eat and drink?

NS: At the Estate Office at Clapham. [Pause]

WRM: And there was quite a bit of boozing in those days, wasn’t there?

NS: Oh, yes. I remember one man, it was after he got his false teeth an’ ‘e was a man that never did booze, but when at the rent day an’ it were for nothin’ ‘e ‘ad to keep drinkin’ it. Then he lost his false teeth, an’ ‘e found ‘em a day or two after on t’roadside where he’d been sick.

WRM: [Laughs]

NS: Such carry-ons.

WRM: What was he called?

NS: Woodhouse.

WRM: Where did he farm?

NS: Well, last I knew o’ ‘im at Wray, Backsbottom Farm at Wray.

WRM: Yeah. Barton was here after the First World War then?

NS: Yes, ‘e followed Bateman. It was funny, ‘Bateman’ and then ‘Barton’.

WRM: Yes. Do you remember the first car to go up Keasden?

NS: Aye.

WRM: Who owned that?

NS: Mrs Farrer, and Teddy Harrison was drivin’ it. I ‘ave a photo of it somewhere with Teddy drivin’ it.

WRM: He’d be quite a sensation, would he?

NS: He went to London to learn to drive a car, an’ it was terribly talked about. Mrs Farrer had sent… it was always Mrs Farrer, nobody said owt about Mr, he sort o’ took a back seat almost. Mrs Farrer had sent Teddy Harrison to London to learn to drive a car.

WRM: And you remember it coming up Keasden?

NS: I remember it comin’. And it stood up like that. It was away up, not like the cars of today.

WRM: What sort of a road was it then?

NS: Well, it was a roughish track. I remember goin’ wi’ a horse an’ cart to Clapham station for some proven and an’ old man from Newby was the roadman an’ he said to me, ‘Don’t go in the same places twice, you make tracks’, an’ ‘e was diggin’ sods out o’ the side and throwin’ ‘em into these, fillin’ these tracks up. An’ then they gradually went on and they covered it wi’ sandstone, an’ then after that they started with limestone and soil an’ rolled it, and water. Kept waterin’ it and rollin’ it. That was before they got to the tarmac job.

WRM: Gosh. One thing that does fascinate me is this sheep sarving.

NS: Yes, well, I’d be about the last man who can tell you about doin’ it. I were doin’ it before the 1914-1918 war.

WRM: Now what was the first job, to buy the sarve? Or make the tar?

NS: Well, you bought the grease, ‘Brown Jack’, an’ then you bought some cheap butter. Anybody who ‘ad butter that wasn’t good quality it got sold fer t’sheep sarve, and then tar. There was black tar and white tar. The black tar made yer ‘ands somethin’ awful black, I don’ know if you’ve seen anybody or not, an’ white tar didn’t. But they said black tar was better at turnin’ the weather.

WRM: Now the first thing is the grease. What was it, ‘Brown Jack’?

NS: Yes.

WRM: Where did you get that from?

NS: A man called Sedgwick used to come round from Sedbergh, ‘e travelled. He used to come on t’train to Clapham station wi’ tubs o’ it an’ then we ‘ad it to cart up. Then we ‘ad a fire outside and melted the grease, an’ then we got it all melted up an’ then we turned the tar into it, an’ then wi’ a big stick an’ kept stirrin’ it up ‘til we got it absolutely well mixed up.

WRM: So you put the grease in first?

NS: Yes, an’ then the tar into it.

WRM: What sort of proportion?

NS: Two-thirds of grease to one o’ tar.

WRM: Did he have it outside because it was a bit inflammable?

NS: Well, we had it outside because it was smelly inside anywhere. It was awful smelly.

WRM: What sort of a cauldron had you got to warm it up in?

NS: A big, iron thing. We ‘ad a thing built o’ bricks an’ it was a big, iron pan we ‘ad it in. Then when we’d got it melted we’d tip it into a tub an’ then keep on stirrin’, an’ then they’d be ‘avin’ another lot warmin’ up to melt.

WRM: How many tubs would you have?

NS: Oh, Will Wallbank would have seven or eight tubs of it. He ‘ad to keep mixin’ because ‘e’d got ‘appen half a dozen men sarvin’ an’ they were usin’ it, about a pound of sarve onto every sheep.

WRM: Now when did sarving time start?

NS: October. You did the hogs first. Yer said beginnin’ of October you’d start hogs so as they were sarved to go away to winter. An’ we paid five shillings a piece for ‘em to winter, an’ you know what they pay now?

WRM: No?

NS: Ten pound.

WRM: And where did they winter?

NS: Lower down farms.


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