(FROM A BOOK BY CYRIL T OXLEY)
PAGE TWO OF TEN
"BELIEVE IT OR NOT"
Who was the hermit of Rombalds Moor?
A certain Job Senior, the illegitimate child of Ann Senior
of Beckfoot, near Ilkley.
As a young man he worked as a labourer at Ilkley, later removing
to Whitkirk where he forsook a sober and respectable life
for that of which a hard drinker, losing regular employment
and being obliged to exist as he might, later returning to
his native parts and earning a livelihood by means of casual
labour on farms at Burley Woodhead.
It was here he made the acquaintance of a widow who lived
in a cottage of a widow who lived in a cottage at Coldstream
Beck on the edge of Rombolds Moor and determined to marry
The lady in question was advanced in years, owned a cottage
and garden, and in addition had managed to put a little money
These assets Senior determined to possess by means of marriage,
and finally succeeding in making the old crone his wife.
But although his aged spouse did not live long, Senior's
plans came to naught, for one day during his absence her first
husband's relations visited the cottage and pulled it down,
leaving her husband and heir homeless, and his wife's savings,
which he had secreted in the walls, either stolen or lost.
In anger and desperation, Job Senior built from the ruins
a home, or rather a kind of dog-kennel, just large enough
to admit his body and into which he would drag himself and
live in filth and squalor.
He lived on a diet consisting almost entirely of potatoes,
which he roasted on a fire of peat, having with foresight
planted almost all the cottage garden with this vegetable.
In appearance he cut a strange figure, his coat being a mass
of patches of various colours as were his trousers, which
were held in a position by means of a Hempen belt.
Upon his head he wore a tattered old hat of antique shape,
the brim of which had been missing for many years.
His legs and feet were bandaged with straw, the pair of clogs
he wore being stuffed with the same material.
Since he never bathed, his general condition may be imagined.
He never sought the services of a barber and his heavy, greasy
locks fell about his shoulders, whilst his matted and grizzled
beard covered his chest.
His one inseparable companion was an old tobacco pipe which
he carried suspended from his hat.
A pair of crooked sticks aided him in his progress around
the countryside, and no doubt as a result of his way of life
he knew the tortures of rheumatism.
Blessed with self-discipline and common sense the odd fellow
might have enjoyed a career as a singer, since he possessed
a remarkable voice-treble, alto, tenor and bass-singing in
adjacent villages and also at theatres in Leeds and Bradford.
His favourite songs were sacred ones and which he would render
with much feeling and expression.
The singer's general condition, however, was such that few
would extend hospitality on these occasions, and he was perforce
obliged to seek shelter in any outhouse, blacksmith's shop
or odd corner he could find.
The end came as the result of a visit to Silsden where Job
had made an appearance as a singer.
He was attacked by a serious bout of cholera but managed to
struggle back to Ilkley, where he sought the warmth and comfort
of a barn belonging to the Wheat Sheaf Inn.
He was removed to Carlton Workhouse, where he died a few days
later at the age of seventy-seven.
This odd character, who became known as the hermit of Rombalds
Moor, was interred in the churchyard at Burley-in-Wharfedale.
Which church dignitary gave a banquet of
staggering proportions and in the preparation of which 2,000
people were employed, and which has been described as the
greatest feast in English history?
George Neville, brother of the famous Earl of Warwick, the
Elevated to the see of York in 1464 the new Archbishop entertained
his noble friends at Cawood and gave a feast of gargantuan
The menu contained the following items:
"104 oxen, 1,000 sheep, over 500 stags, bucks and does,
400 swans, 2,000 geese, 1,000 capons, 200 pheasants, 500 partridges,
400 woodcocks, 100 curlew, 400 plovers, 2,000 chickens, 4,000
mallards and teals, 400 pigeons, 1,500 hot pasties of venison,
4,000 cold ditto, 2,000 hot custards, 3,000 cold ditto, besides
some hundreds of tons of ales and wine with spices and delicacies,
Neville later suffered the confiscation of all his estates,
was arrested and thrown into prison and where no doubt he
had time to reflect upon his former life of luxury.
In the porch of which church did a man struggle
to the death with a cat?
At Barnborough, near Barnsley. Sir Percival Cresacre five
hundred years ago was attacked by a huge wild cat when returning
According to the legend man and animal struggled for several
hours, Sir Percival retreating towards the shelter of the
church where the contestants collapsed and died of wounds
The church contains an old wooden effigy of Sir Percival
and on the tower may be seen the carving of a cat.
The flagstones in the porch bear a certain stain which, it
is claimed, no amount of scrubbing will efface.
Where is the supposed grave of Robin Hood?
At Kirklees Priory, where according to tradition he was
betrayed and treacherously bled to death by the prioress.
The dying outlaw is supposed to have shot an arrow supplied
by his old comrade, Little John, the site where it fell marking
the spot where his grave was to be dug.
The date is supposed to have been 1247.
Where is the supposed tomb of Oliver Cromwell?
At Newburgh Priory.
The story goes that Mary, a daughter of the protector and
who had married one of the Fauconbergs of Newburgh in 1657
and her father's headless body secretly exhumed from the grave
beneath Tyburn Tree and conveyed to Newburgh.
The tomb at the priory has never been opened and the facts
of the story verified.
What and where is the Strid?
A narrow channel of the Wharfe close to Bolton Abbey which
rushes between the banks at great speed.
There is a legend which tells of a boy named Egremond who
was drowned whilst attempting to leap from bank to bank.
According to the legend the sorrow-stricken parents built
Bolton Abbey as a memorial to their son.
Many lives have been lost by those daring enough to risk
a leap across the treacherous waters.
Which Yorkshire town possesses a town hall
of which the tower is a copy of a famous Italian building?
The town hall tower is a copy of the Pallazzo Vecchio, Florence.
Where is Hades?
It is a small village near Holmfirth.
When and by whom were the curative waters
discovered at Harrogate?
In 1571 by William Slingsby who found a steel spring.
At the present time there are 87 springs, 32 of which are
in the Bog's field.
Where and in what river were 10,000 people
baptised in a single day?
In the Swale, the waters of which were regarded as sacred
by the English long ago.
Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York, is said to have baptised
10,000 men, women and children in this river in a single day.
Which part of a Yorkshire city has a lake
which commemorates a famous battle?
Roundhay Park, Leeds, which contains the Waterloo Lake formed
in 1818 to perpetuate the memory of Waterloo and the defeat
Its formation took two years to complete.
What and where are the buttertubs?
They are great holes, naturally found in the limestone,
about three miles from Muker, between Wensleydale and Swaledale.
Their depth varies from 50 feet to 100 feet.
Which are the highest hills and mountains
Fell 2,592 ft
Shunner Fell 2,340 ft
Seat (Mallerstang) 2,328 ft
Whernside 2,310 ft
Pike 2,302 ft
- Y - ghent 2,273 ft
Coum 2,250 ft
Calf 2,220 ft
Fell 2,216 ft
Seat 2,213 ft
What and where are the twelve apostles?
Twelve stones placed in a circle on Ilkley Moor on the site
of a pre-christian burial ground.
Which is and where is to be found the highest
public house in Yorkshire?
Tan Hill Inn, Upper Swaledale, which stands at an altitude
of 1,732 feet.
Where can be found a milestone considered
to be 1,000 years old?
On the North Riding moors. It is the Lilla Cross.
In which rectory were arrangements made
for the coronation of Elizabeth I?
Part of the arrangements for the coronation were made in
a small room in the rectory at Newton Kyme, near Tadcaster,
by Owen Oglethorpe, the rector, who became Bishop of Carlisle
and who crowned Elizabeth I, and Lord Cecil who was squire
of Newton Kyme.
A valuable old commentary is preserved at the rectory which
was printed in 1534 and signed by Elizabeth after her coronation
Where did a tenant farmer pay his rent with
snow and roses?
At Langsett, where the tenant paid his rent in the form
of a snowball on Midsummer Day and a red rose at Christmas.
Who was the curate who kept a public house
and entertained his parishioners by playing the fiddle?
Jeremiah Carter, who was the curate of Lastingham during
the early years of the eighteenth century.
As well as his parish duties he kept an ale-house where he
regaled his parishioners with airs on his fiddle, in addition
to selling liquor as a means of augmenting a very meagre stipend.
Who rode to hounds on a bull?
Jemmy Hirst of Rawcliffe, one of Yorkshire's most eccentric
In addition, he made a vehicle equipped with sails and a
carriage of wicker-work which housed his bed and was drawn
by Andalusian mules.
In this vehicle the odd fellow visited the king, drawing
huge crowds en route.
His costume consisted of a huge hat of lambskin, a coat of
lambskin and ducks' necks, breeches of blue, yellow and black,
and red and white stockings.
He constructed his own coffin which had windows and shelves.
Jemmy died in 1829, aged 91, and left £12 to be paid
to a dozen old maids who were to follow his coffin.
Two musicians were engaged, a fiddler and a piper, who, as
a final salute, played "O'er the hills and far away."
Who was known as "The Railway King"?
George Hudson who was born in 1800 and who became a draper
Upon inheriting some £30,000, he began to speculate
in the new form of travel, the railway.
He became a promoter of railway-routes and met with immense
He was three times Lord Mayor of York and from obscurity
rose to wealth and fame.
However, his career came to a complete showdown.
He was accused of faking the accounts and paying dividends
His fortune was lost and he became again a poor man.
Which famous Yorkshire apple is of French
The Ribston Pippin, which originated in three apple pips
sent to Sir Henry Goodricke from an orchard at Rouen in Normandy.
Though two of the pips failed to germinate, the third gave
us the famous Ribston Pippin, now known throughout England.
Who possessed second sight and the power
to foretell future events?
An individual named Wrightston, a native of Stokesley, who
died early in the last century.
He was a man of no education but what he lacked in learning
he seemed to possess in the form of extraordinary powers of
discernment, beyond the range of perception and knowledge.
Wrightston was consulted by many as to the whereabouts of
missing and stolen property, and often the loyalty of an absent
His forecasts were rarely at fault.
Who claimed to be a prophet with divine
power and commanded the water of Aire to divide?
John Wroe, who was born at Bowling, Bradford, in 1782.
As a young man, Wroe was employed by his father but later
set up on his own account.
He became ill and suffered from epilepsy, wandered alone
and finally conceived the notion that he had been sent on
earth as a saviour.
Wroe visited France, Italy, Spain and Austria, preached to
Catholics and Jews, and was on several occasions fortunate
to escape unharmed.
In February 1824, Wroe announced his intention of receiving
baptism in the Aire at Appleby Bridge, and that he would divide
the waters by divine command.
But due to some hesitation on the part of Wroe, possibly due
to the coldness of the water, the large crowd which had assembled
chased the "prophet" and his friends with sticks
In 1854, Wroe bought land near Wakefield and had a mansion
built there costing some £2,000 ; built, said Wroe,
"to belong to the members of the house of Israel"
and which extravagance caused a good deal of uneasiness among
The extraordinary man visited the U.S on four occasions and
He publicly declared he would live forever but nevertheless
died at Fitzroy, Australia, in 1863.
His companion took to the heels, leaving debts amounting to
several hundred pounds.
So ended the career of one of Yorkshire's most curious characters.
In which village was kept a parish coffin
for the common use of all?
At Easingwold, where the coffin is still kept in a chamber
of the church as a relic.
In former times it was made use of by all but those in a
position to provide this essential receptacle for the remains
of a dead relative.
The coffin was used to convey the corpse from the place
of death to the church and thence to the grave, after which
it was returned to the church.
Where did monks fight a battle to settle
A battle was fought in 1260 on the banks of Hornsea Mere
between the monks of St. Mary's York, and those of Meaux.
The object was to settle a dispute which had arisen as to
fishing rights. The contending parties had the right of choice
between trial by jury or physical combat.
They chose the latter method of settling the matter and fought
all day with staves.
The monks of York were the victors.
Who is said to have lived to the age of
138 and to have married an illegitimate daughter of Oliver
Jonathon Hartop, a native of Aldborough, near Boroughbridge.
Some accounts give his age at death as 146, but he seems,
at all events, to have stood the strains of life well enough
to outlive his first four wives, taking as a fifth spouse
an illegintimate daughter of the Protector, Oliver Cromwell.
Hartop's parents had lived in London and perished in the
plague, and their son, who lived until 1791, clearly remembered
the great conflagration which ravaged and destroyed a large
part of the city in 1666.
Hartop possessed a fine oil painting of Cromwell and was
offered no less than £500 for it, which the old man
He knew Milton well and on one occasion leant him £50
when the poet's circumstances were at a low ebb.
Hartop was throughout his life abstemious, clean-living and
active in his habits, and thought nothing of walking to York
He left seven children, twenty-six grandchildren, seventy-four
great grandchildren and 140 great great grandchildren.
Who covered his clothing with money in order
to win a bet?
One of two rivals who competed in a contest in York in the
eighteenth century, the object being to exhibit a most original
and unusual costume.
The contest was held in the castle Yard, one of the rivals
appearing in a coat trimmed with bank notes, ten guinea notes
forming the lapels and pocket flaps whilst five guinea notes
covered the collar and waistband.
The brim of the hat was trimmed with notes and ornamented
with gold coins.
A sheet of paper pinned on the back of the coat bore the words
The dress of the other competitor was equally odd, half of
his costume being that of a female with petticoat, silk stocking
and slipper, and the other booted and spurred.
The competitor's face was divided, one half being as black
as a negro's and the other rouged, powdered and patched.
The former competitor of the banknotes was adjudged the winner.