(FROM A BOOK BY CYRIL T OXLEY)
PAGE ONE OF 10
"BELIEVE IT OR NOT"
What is the origin of Bradford's coat of arms?
The inclusion of the boar's head and three bugle horns in
Bradford's coat of arms was a result of a remarkable and unusual
According to Camden, the sixteenth century historian, the
significance and incorporation of horns into Bradford's crest
came about on the following way:
"Bradforde belonged to John of Gaunt, who granted to
John Northrop, of Manningham, and his heirs, three meesuages
and six booates of land to cum to Bradford on the following
blow of a horn on St. Martins day in winter, and wait on him
and his heirs in their way form Blackburnshire, with a lance
and a hunting dog for thirty days, to have for yeoman's board
one penny for himself and halfpenny for his dog, etc., for
going with the receiver or bailiff to conduct him safe to
the castle of Pontefract."
A descendant of Northrop afterwards granted land in Horton
to Rushworth of Horton, to hold the hound while Northrop's
man blew the horn.
These are called Hornman or Hornblow lands, and the custom
is still kept up.
A man coming into the market place with a horn, halbert and
dog is sent by the owner of the lands in Horton.
After proclamation made, the former calls out aloud, "
Heirs of Rushworth, come, hold me my hound while I blow three
blasts of my horn, to pay my rent due to my sovereign lord
He then delivers the string to the man from Horton, and winds
his horn thrice. The horn is preserved though stripped of
its silver ornaments.
With regard to the wild boar, the head of which forms part
of the crest, we are indebted to a certain James Hartley,
a schoolmaster, whose school was situated near the bottom
of Kirgate two centuries ago, and who translated from ancient
documents the following account :
"A ravenous boar of a most enormous size, haunted a certain
place called the Cliffe wood, and at times very much infested
the town (Bradford) and the neighbouring inhabitants thereof,
so that a reward was offered by the government to any person
or persons who would bring the head of this boar, which much
excited some to attempt it.
Now the story runs thus, That this boar frequented a certain
wood to drink, which to this day is called the 'Boar's Well,'
that he was watched by a certain person who shot him dead
there, took his tongue out of his head and immediately repaired
to court to claim the promised reward.
Presently, after his departure from the well, another person
came thither upon the same intention and, finding the beast
dead, without any further examination, cuts off his head and
away he hastes towards the same place, and in expectation
of the reward as the former, and there arrives before him.
Being introduced to his majesty's presence, the head was
examined but was found without a tongue, concerning which
the man was interrogated could give no satisfactory account.
Whilst this was held in suspense the other man was introduced
with the tongue, claimed the promised reward and unfolded
the riddle by informing his Majesty how and by what means
he killed the beast, and thus received the following grant
A certain place or portion of land lying at great Horton known
as Hunt Yard and for the tenure of which he and his heirs
for ever should annually attend in the market place at Bradford,
on St. Martin's day, in the forenoon and there, by the name
of the heir of Rushworth, hold a dog of the hunting kind whilst
three blasts were blown on a gelder's horn, and these words,
'Come heir of Rushworth, etc.,' expressed aloud.
After changing hands many times the horn came into possession
of Mr. Richard Fawcett, after whose death a century ago the
relic was purchased by another Bradford gentleman, Mr. John
Wright, who finally sold it to Mr. Charles Rhodes, who in
turn disposed of it to an antiquarian, a Dr. Outhwaite.
The ancient instrument was repurchased by Mr. Rhodes who
later presented it to Bradford Philosophical society. Finally,
after having had many owners, the horn was preserved in the
Two inns of old Bradford perpetuated the legend of the wild
boar of Cliffe Wood, "The Boars Head" and the "Wild
Who was described as an "ornament of her age and
Lady Anne Clifford, a member of that famous family and who
was born in Skipton Castle in 1589.
She is best known for her work in restoring the home of her
ancestors which had suffered great damage during the Civil
In addition, Lady Anne was responsible for the repair of
seven churches as well as the rebuilding of the steeple of
the church at Skipton.
Not long after the restoration of Skipton Castle, Lady Anne
suffered the indignity of having troops quartered upon her,
but nevertheless insisting upon living among her uninvited
and unwelcome guests.
She died aged 87 at Brougham Castle in Westmoreland and was
buried in the church of St. Lawrence at Appleby.
Which famous Yorkshireman was known as "Black
Thomas Fairfax, who was born at Denton, lower Wharfedale,
in 1612, the son of Ferdinando and Lady Mary Fairfax.
Fairfax married Mary Vere and settled at the family seat
at Nun Appleton near York.
"Black Tom," whose nickname was given to him due
to his dark hair and swarthy complexion, was one of the greatest
Yorkshiremen of his age.
The outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 found Fairfax in the
forefront in the struggle against the King.
He was in command during the seige of Bradford, Leeds, Wakefield
and other towns, fought at Marston Moor and was wounded during
a severe skirmish at Selby.
Oliver Cromwell served under Fairfax holding the rank of
Lieutenant Colonel, and whose ability General Fairfax was
quick to recognise.
Black Tom accompanied Charles I as far as Holmby where the
monarch was delivered up by the Scots in 1647, and when presiding
over the judges who were to try the king, used his influence
to avert the monarch's execution.
In quieter and more peaceful days Lord Fairfax retired to
his home, Nun Appleton Hall, where he wrote his "Short
As the weight of years descended upon old Black Tom he became
crippled with gout and rheumatism and was confined to a mechanical
This, with other Fairfax relics, is preserved in York museum.
The great old Yorkshireman, hater of kingly tyranny, died
on the 12th of December, 1671, after reading the forty-second
His remains were buried in the Northern Chapel at Bilborough,
near York, a black slab of marble bearing the following inscription
"Here lye the bodies of the right Honble,
Thomas, Lord Fairfax, of Denton,
Baron of Cameron,
Why dyed November ye XII, 1671,
In the 60th yeare of his age,
And of Anne his wife, Daughter and co-heir of,
Horatio, Lord Vere,
Baron of Tilbury,
They had issue
Mary, Duchess of Buckingham,
The memory of the Just is Blessed.
Where was a sexton paid half a crown for whipping dogs out
of the church?
The custom of whipping dogs and ejecting them from church
during service was common in many country churches.
Farmers at one time took their dogs to church by habit, and
the resulting barking and snarling by rival canines may be
It was the sexton's duty to clear the church of the animals.
The following entry was made in the Parish books of Kildwick
in 1746 :
" To same for half a year's wages for whipping the dogs
What was a Tyburn ticket?
Tyburn tickets were certificates given to a prosecutor on
the capital conviction of a criminal, and which exempted the
prosecutor from all parish and ward offices within the Parish
wherein such felony was committed.
By an act during the reign of William III the certificate
could be transferred to a third party by simply endorsing
it. The custom was abolished in 1818.
When have wives been publicly auctioned in Yorkshire?
This happened in several places.
In 1858, in a beer shop in Little Horton, Bradford, a certain
Hartley Thompson publicly announced that his wife would be
sold to the highest bidder, and even engaged a bell-man to
acquaint citizens of the fact.
On February 4th, 1806, a man named George Gowthorpe sold
his wife for 20 guineas in the market place at Hull, delivering
her to a purchaser named Houseman with a halter around her
In 1815 a husband at Pontefract, evidently weary of his spouse,
held an auction several times in an attempt to sell his wife.
Offering the woman at a minimum bid of one shilling, she was
finally knocked down for 11 shillings.
At Selby in 1862 a husband succeeded in selling his wife
on the steps of the market cross for a pint of ale.
These transactions had, of course, no legal standing, and
they serve to illustrate the ignorance of many I those times
where the binding ties of marriage are concerned.
Which underground stream has a course which has many times
been explored unsuccessfully?
Fell Beck, on the southern side of Ingleborough, which disappears
into Gaping Ghyll.
Many have descended into this pothole in an attempt to trace
the course of the Beck, the first being Martel, a well-known
French speleologist, on Ausust 1st, 1896.
Where was the swastika, the emblem of German
Nazis, carved on stones in Yorkshire hundreds of years ago?
On Ilkley Moor. The swastika was in the Iron Age the symbol
and sign of fertility.
Where was a king's hat knocked from his head
whilst travelling in Yorkshire?
At Burn Bridge, near Harrogate.
Charles I was being taken under escort for trial in London
and when passing through a lane bordered by oaks lost his
hat when struck by an overhanging branch.
A villager who owned the land upon which the tree stood at
once rushed out, and in shame felled the tree to the ground.
Where is Robin Hoods well?
In Barnsdale, between Ferrybridge and Doncaster, though
several villages have wells bearing the same name.
The above-mentioned well is situated where the two parishes
of Kirkby Smeaton and Burghwallis meet.
Years ago at a nearby inn a leather bottle was preserved
and the claim that it was originally the property of Robin
A building designed by Vanburgh and built in the early eighteenth
century now covers the well.
This well, referred to in ancient documents, is situated
on the eastern side of the Great North Road.
In 1487, Henry VII visited Pontefract Castle and was met
by the earl of Northumberland with many Gentry and Nobles
who were attached to the House of Lancaster, "between
Pontefract and Doncaster a littell beyonde Robyn Haddes Well."
Where are to be seen ruts and grooves on the surface of
an ancient highway made by Romans during their period of
On Blackstone Edge on the paved Roman road running between
Ripponden and Littleborough.
The grooves, it is believed, were made by poles used as the
brakes of vehicles.
What villages on the Yorkshire coast finally disappeared
beneath the waves as a result of the incursions of the ocean?
Ravenspur and Ravenserodd at the mouth of the Humber.
The former at one time sent a member to Parliament.
Other villages which have fallen victims to the advance of
the sea are Old Withernsea, Auburn, Old Kinsea, Old Albordinlington,
Northorp, Hyde, Hornsea Burton, Orwithfleet and Sunthorp.
What was the Hand of Glory?
A grisly talisman and charm made use of by robbers.
It was composed of a hand hacked from a gibbetted criminal,
pickled in brine and the fat of the dead man.
A candle placed in the hand was believed to shed a light
which gave thieves immunity from arrest and caused others
to fall into a dead sleep.
O hand of glory, shed thy light,
Direct us to our spoil tonight,
Flash out thy light, O skeleton hand,
And guide the feet of our trusty band.
What church has shops and other commercial premises built
into its walls?
Holy Trinity at Richmond.
Who was Half Hanged Smith?
A native of Malton who was found guilty of burglary at York
He was hanged at Knavesmire before a vast crowd of 40,000
Fifteen minutes later a messenger dashed up to the gallows
with a reprieve and Smith was cut down, bled and restored
Due to this extraordinary experience the unfortunate man
earned the soubriquet of Half Hanged Smith.
He returned to prison soon afterwards but was released on
lack of evidence.
A third time he was fortunate again for the prosecutor died
before the trial could be held.
Who impersonates a patron saint and rides through a city
on a white horse?
This is an annual custom at Ripon on the feast of St. Wilfrid.
A representative rides through the city streets on a white
horse, wearing robes and mitre and preceded by a monk.
This custom is perpetuated in memory of St. Wilfrid who came
to Ripon to found a church in the seventh century.
Who refused a gift of £1,000 from the king when in
the depth of penury and want?
Andrew Marvell, the famous poet, who was born near Hull
The poet became a friend of Milton and represented Hull
as an M.P. for twenty years.
He was described as a pure-minded patriot in the most corrupt
of times." He died in 1678.
Who were the original Darby and Joan?
An old couple who lived in Healaugh, near York.
The Marquis of Wharton called them " The happy couple."
They were buried together in the village churchyard.
On which hill was a monument erected in memory of a famous
A monument in the form of an Obelisk was erected on monument
hill in Cleveland by a Whitby man, Robert Campion, in 1827.
It overlooks Marton where Captain Cook was born in 1728, and
Great Ayton where he was at school.
Cook conducted extensive surveys of the Australian coast but he
was killed by Hawiian natives in 1779.
Where was once known as " the smallest church in Yorkshire"?
A tiny church at Upleatham, near Redcar, which dated from
Where were trousers forbidden in the pulpit?
At Bethel Chapel, Cambridge Street, Sheffield.
In 1820, at a time when breeches were universally worn and
trousers considered vulgar, the following trust deed was drawn
up for the aforementioned chapel:
"Under no circumstances whatever shall any preacher be
allowed to occupy the pulpit who wears trousers."
Who was the innkeeper who was charged with the same crime
on three occasions?
Tom Lee of Grassington, who in 1779 murdered Dr. Petty,
a local physician, and threw the body into the river at Burnsall.
Lee was twice detained and charged but released for lack of
Finally he was arrested and sent to York to face trial and
was hanged. His body was afterwards suspended in chains in
Where did the opposing armies appear in the sky engaged
in mortal combat?
At Hull in September, 1654, where a number of local citizens
swore to having witnessed an extraordinary battle between
phantom soldiers in the heavens between nine and ten in the
The rival combatants formed a red and black army, the conflict
being accompanied by all the dread clash of arms, explosions
and cries of the wounded.
A similar phenomenon took place in October, 1658, and which
was reported to have been heard forty miles away.
A local record of this strange fantasy stated :
"The country people were struck with such deep wonder
and terror that they gave over their labour and ran home with
fear, yea, some poor people gathering coals by the seaside
were so frightened that they ran away, leaving their sacks
For forty miles this fearful noise of cannons, muskets and
drums was heard all the country over."
Which Castle drew its water supply through the pipes made
from the branches of elm trees?
Skipton Castle, which was supplied with water from a point
three-quarters of a mile away.
Who was the eccentric young man who, when jilted, went home
and spent the rest of his life in bed?
William Sharp of Worlds Farm near Laycock, Keighley.
His bride failing to turn up at church, Sharp, or "Three
Laps" as he was familiarly known, returned home, went
to bed in a tiny room and hid from the world until the day
of his death almost fifty years later.
He died on March 7th, 1856, aged 79.
Who for a wager walked 1,000 miles in as many hours?
James Searle, alias Tigser, a native of Leeds, who in the
Barclay match of November, 1843, succeeded in walking 1,000
miles on the stretch of road between the Shakespeare Inn,
Meadow Lane, and the New Peacock Inn, Holbeck.
In what churchyard does the following curious epitaph appear
on a tombstone?
"My stithy and my hammer I reclined,
my bellows too have lost their bind,
My fire's extinguished, and my forge decayed,
And in the silence dust my vice is laid,
My coal is spent, my stock of iron's gone,
My last nail driven and my work is done."
In the churchyard at Low Moor, near Bradford.
The epitaph refers to Christopher Barlow, a blacksmith of
Raw Nook, who died on October 9th, 1824.
Who,according to legend and tradition, built Swinsty Hall
on proceeds gained from robbing the dead?
An individual named Robinson who lived in the valley of
the Washburn, a few miles from Otley, about the end of the
The story tells us that Robinson departed for London at a
time when the black plague raged there, and spent some time
in that terror stricken city robbing the dead and looting
houses which had been deserted by the owners.
As a result of his depredations the Yorkshireman became the
possessor of a considerable quantity of gold, silver, jewellery
and other valuables, which he transported to Yorkshire by
means of a wagon and horses.
He found however, upon his arrival home, that all doors
were closed against him, the stories of his activities having
reached his neighbours' ears and the dread of infection isolating
him from his fellows.
Robinson was obliged to seek shelter in a barn in the Washburn
Valley, where he also carefully hid his ill-gotten gains,
spending his days washing gold and silver in the Greenwell
In the course of time Robinson bought several acres of land
in the Washburn and built Swinsty Hall, a monument to his
Who was the governor of a Yorkshire castle whose loyalty
to a comrade cost him his life?
Colonel John Morrice, who with Cornet Blackburn was executed
at York in 1649 for the murder of Colonel Robert Rainsborough.
Morrice was innocent of the charge, but at the surrender
of Pontefract Castle, of which Morrice was governor, and whilst
attempting to escape, the pair were caught and sent to York
However, an opportunity to escape presented itself in the
form of a rope which both men descended, hoping to scale the
wall and gain their freedom.
Unfortunately for Cornet Blackburn, and indeed for both men
as things fell out, in his haste to reach the ground the soldier
fell and broke his leg, rendering incapable of proceeding
The mishap cost both men their lives, for Colonel Morrice,
loyal to the end, refused to desert his companion in misfortune
and remained with the injured man until they were taken again
and finally executed.