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. Scroll down for the most recent additions! 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).
The Ravenstonedale Sheep Dog Trials, September 1907
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!
Knitting in Ravenstonedale
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.
Agriculture in Westmorland 1800-1900
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
Tarn House and Brownber
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.
Poor Relief in Ravenstonedale
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.
The Shepherd's Life: a tale of the Lake District
by James Rebanks
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)
History & Traditions of Ravenstonedale
by Rev W Nicholls
I mention this book regularly, but I must also warn you that copies are regularly for sale online which are OCR copies and are NOT WORTH BUYING! - see this warning
On the left is a photo of the REAL 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 blue one (though I believe first editions are maroon!) is a hardback original copy of vol I, published in 1877 and available free online at Archive.org or in facsimile format as above
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:
Read Part 1 of the above article
Read Part 2 of the above article
'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.
'Ravenstonedale Tales - volume 1' - by Val Fermer
Ravenstonedale Tales – Volume 1
Three fascinating family histories, each of which starts with an interesting discovery, found in the local archives of the Ravenstonedale Parish History Group, a small Cumbrian village, that takes the reader far beyond Cumbria to stories of wealth, High Court litigation and a legacy of historic buildings, celebrating success in the Victorian age.
About the author
Val Fermer began researching her family tree as a teenager, inspired by her Grandfather. This was well before the internet and consequently much time was spent at the various record centres in London and wandering around churchyards looking for gravestones. On moving to Ravenstonedale in 2007, Val became involved with the Ravenstonedale Parish History Group and began to apply her genealogical knowledge and interest to local history research projects which evolved to become annual lectures given to the History Group during its winter season of lectures.
Three of these lectures have formed the basis of the three ‘Tales’ in this first volume of ‘Ravenstonedale Tales’, further volumes in the series are planned.
About this book
Each Chapter began with a research project inspired by a clue or interesting finding discovered when investigating the extensive archives held by the Ravenstonedale Parish History Group. Subsequent research revealed three fascinating stories which begin in the village but go far beyond the small Westmorland community and chart the journey to great wealth or the dissemination of wealth as a result of a High Court case.
This 96 page paperback book is extensively illustrated. Most of the illustrations of documents and reproduced photographs were drawn from the Ravenstonedale Parish History Group archives. Where images are drawn from other sources these have been individually acknowledged. Original drawings are also included. These have been commissioned from local artist Stuart Wells.
Each chapter is intended to take the reader through a story which unfolds, much as the research unfolded as it was undertaken by Val. Recognising that some readers will have a genealogical interest, a ‘Genealogists Checklist’ is included as an appendix, to facilitate easy reference to the family names included in the three stories presented here.
About buying a copy
Ravenstonedale Tales – Volume1 is available from The Bank House Press - £18.00 plus £3.00 postage and packing. Please contact [email protected] or call 07496521895 if you would like to purchase a copy.
NEW - and now Volume Two is available!
Introducing three more Ravenstonedale tales about sons and daughters of the village who embarked upon an economic migration to the first industrial city of Manchester and beyond. In the second 'tale' she reveals the tale of a bankrupt, a marriage of convenience and a connection to gin, cricket and horse racing. In the third tale the reader is introduced to the survivors from World War 1, sharing their wartime experience and their post-war life in peacetime. Contact [email protected] to purchase your copy of Volume 2 - at £18.00 plus £3 postage packing. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy which I am about to order!