The Daily Telegraph reported the prosecution of a woman who was married to four men at the same time by the time she was twenty three. She married in York in 1996. In 1999 she married a second man in Leeds. The following year she married husband number three in Rotherham. The police cautioned her for two offences of bigamy. But by now there was no stopping her. She married a fourth time in 2002. Some women collect shoes.


At Asda in York a couple became the first in Britain to marry in a supermarket.


Following a series of examples of yobbish behaviour including physical violence, abuse, smashing windows and waving a gun, a Pontefract man, Claude Kramer, has been imprisoned for 21 months and banned from the town for 10 years. Mr Kramer is 71.


Civic Hall, Leeds.

Marston Moor Monument

The Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Daily Telegraph conducted a survey to find people’s favourite English market town. Among the leaders were Easingwold (the runner-up), Skipton, Holmfirth and Guisborough. Yes, all relatively unwrecked though the Council for the Protection of Rural England has a challenge on its hands these days when it almost seems as though the authorities are determined to allow building on every remaining green space. On the list are other favourites of mine outside Yorkshire including Tavistock, Devon (the winner); Ludlow, Shropshire; Alnwick, Northumberland and Barnard Castle, County Durham.

Leeds Grammar School was established in 1552 though it is thought that its original foundation was earlier. Leeds Girls’ High School dates from the 1870s. In a few years time they are to merge. There is at present controversy about the name of the new school. One suggestion is The Leeds School. Far too bland and destructive. It should be Leeds Grammar School or the William Sheafield School, the dear man whose generosity in 1552 established a fine school in the reign of Edward VI. There’s another possibility – the Edward VI School.


More and more Yorkshire stone walls, roof tiles and flagstones are being stolen from parks, private houses, public buildings, churches and the edge of fields in our towns and in the countryside. The paths at Weston Church went last month. An empty farmhouse near Burley in Wharfedale was stripped. There are hundreds of examples. The criminal classes have vans and trucks these days. The environment is degraded as a result because when stone is stolen from public places it is not replaced with stone. The Yorkshire stone flagstones near our home were replaced with tarmac. It’s very sad.

Weston Church near Otley. Victim of Yorkshire stone thefts.


In the local government reorganisation of 1974, part of the West Riding came under the administrative jurisdiction of Lancashire Council. Many in the area involved – around Barnoldswick and the Forest of Bowland – understandably strongly resent this. Imagine living in Yorkshire and being part of the administrative Lancashire. The blood runs cold. Recently, according to the Yorkshire Post, Lancashire County Council put signs up welcoming visitors to Lancashire when they were still in Yorkshire proper. A red rose to a bull, you might say. Apparently the sign on the Earby road has disappeared. The sign on the Barnoldswick to Thornton road has had its reference to Lancashire painted out. A spokesman for Lancashire Council deplored such ‘vandalism’. The real vandalism occurred in 1974.


Was Leeds a Roman settlement? Steven Burt and Kevin Grady in their book, The Illustrated History of Leeds (Breedon Publishing, 1994, revised 2002), consider this. The Romans established towns in the area at Castleford, Tadcaster, Ilkley and Cambodunum, the site of which has never been firmly established. The authors explain that archaeological and documentary evidence strongly suggests that Quarry Hill, Leeds was Cambodunum, or Campodunum, as Bede called it in the eighth century. So perhaps this became Loidis, then Leedis and finally Leeds. My friend, Alistair Hall, who, I reckon, knows as much about Roman Yorkshire as anyone, disputes this and thinks the site of Cambodunum is at Slack.


Whilst teaching my elder son to drive, I went to the memorial marking the Civil War battlefield of Marston Moor, near York. There on 2 July 1644 the forces of Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax defeated the Royalists led by Prince Rupert. The memorial has been put there by the Cromwell Association. In one direction is Cromwell’s Clump on the hill where the Roundheads lined up; in the other are the fields where the Cavaliers assembled. At seven in the evening they didn’t expect the Roundheads to attack but they did, effectively ending the war for the king. Within five years England would be a republic. For eleven years.


I am at present reading a most enjoyable history of England by Rebecca Fraser. A phrase made me jolt but I rather liked it. ‘Yorkshire’, she wrote, ‘that nation within England…’ Yes.