the article and data that initiated the Ravenstonedale project
our project page on the Family Tree DNA website
I am gradually adding a variety of articles, books and documents to this section, describing how life may have been for our Ravenstonedale ancestors. The most recent additions are at the END of the list below! If you can add documents, stories, images, etc., for inclusion in this section, please send them to me (ideally in JPG, PDF or Word format).
I bought the programme for this event on ebay, and though I couldn't find a newspaper article setting out the results of the various competitions listed in the programme, I did come across a very interesting article, describing a similar event that took place in Threlkeld, Cumberland the same month, which may help those of you that don't remember the television series 'One Man and his Dog' to understand what sheepdog trials are all about!
According to Rev Nicholls in his 'History and Traditions of Ravenstonedale" (volume 1 printed in 1877), everyone in Ravenstonedale used to knit ... men, women and children. Apparently it was quite normal for a shepherd minding his sheep to occupy himself knitting stockings. This short article explains the importance of knitting to the people of Ravenstonedale.
On this page you will find a link to a fascinating book which is available to read online at Archive.org, which describes the way of life for agricultural workers in Westmorland two hundred years ago, along with some of the illustrations from the book
These were ancient homes of the FOTHERGILLs, and this short article by Cyril Harrington from a 1951 edition of 'The Dalesman' provides some background to their origins. The link will open a pdf document.
Before 1834, responsibility for the poor, sick and old was down to the local parish officials. The financial burden was great and many strategies were put into place to prevent any poor arriving in the parish from elsewhere! In Ravenstonedale, there are records showing a strategy adopted by the Grand Jury of Four and Twenty to manage the situation. This link will take you to an article on the Adamthwaite Archive.
This fascinating account of a modern-day shepherd's daily life working with Herdwick and Swaledale flocks on the fells provides an understanding of how many of our Ravenstonedale ancestors could have spent their lives at various times of the farming year. The author suggests that the traditional practices of fell-farming may have remained virtually unchanged for several thousand years. An excellent read!! The link above takes you to a review in the Daily Telegraph (or you could look for a second hand copy at Abe Books)
The maroon one is a paperback which is an exact reproduction of the original Volume I which was published in 1996 by The Book House in Cumbria. Copies are still available from Books Cumbria (£5 + P+P)
The green one is a hardback original copy of vol II, published by Abel Heywood, Manchester in about 1916 (the publication date is NOT shown on the book) and very occasionally available on ebay or at Abe Books (see above) at anything between £40 and £80.
'About Ravenstonedale': two articles extracted from The Monthly Magazine, both published in 1801 (Neither article is credited with the name of the author). The articles describe all aspects of the parish and make very interesting reading, though in Part One, the author appears to me to be rather critical of the farming methods adopted (though as a Londoner, it is hard for me to judge .. if you can make a judgement based on practical knowledge, please do send me your views so I can publish them). Part Two contains some fascinating details about the customs, landscape and wildlife as well as more background information on village life and the history of the Grammar School:
'Ravenstonedale: An Extraordinary History from Farm and Village Records'
from David Tunstall’s book, transcribed and edited by Dawn Robertson: 276 pp with 58 b&w photographs
This fascinating publication has recently been released from Hayloft Publishing Ltd, Cumbria and contains material originally recorded in a leather bound book – hand written by members of the Fothergill family and passed down through generations (who continued to add details) eventually ending up with the Tunstall family. It contains a large variety of farming records and numerous lists of Ravenstonedale residents commencing in the late 17thC. The book is beautifully illustrated with photographs from the Frankland and Tunstall families.
Here are some snippets of information I discovered on my initial trawl through the book:
several Adamthwaites rented grasslands from other Ravenstonedale farmers (the lists show the extent of the land and how much was paid);
some wonderful remedies for rheumatism, toothache, a windy belly, bites from mad dogs, etc;
lists of prices for goods bought and sold (e.g. in the mid 1800s a pound of coffee cost 2 shillings, but a pound of tea was 5 shillings and sixpence!);
But for me, possibly the most fascinating chapter details borrowers and books borrowed from the Lending Library , which began in 1736 probably by Anthony Fothergill – this revealed that Isabel Adamthwaite (who MAY have been my 5xgt grandmother) borrowed a very popular book called ‘Adam’s Fall’ a supplement to ‘Wicked Christians practical Atheists’ by Anthony Fothergill, published in 1755 – which you can read yourself at Google Books! The supplement appears after page 255 of the main book.