New history of Askrigg will follow Hartley and Ingilby classic

Christine Hallas who has researched the history of Askrigg.

By Betsy Everett

More than 60 years since Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby charted the history of Askrigg in their acclaimed book, Yorkshire Village, academic historian Christine Hallas is following in their footsteps and producing a new history of the Wensleydale village.

Since the early 1950s when the finely-illustrated Hartley and Ingilby book was published, many more documents have been found, says Dr Hallas, who had previously spent ten years researching the economic and social life of Wensleydale and Swaledale from 1780 to 1920.

“That gave me a head start. I had to research down to the level of parishes in order to produce the overall picture so I already had a profile for Askrigg for that period,” she says.
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Askrigg and the church today. All pictures from Christine Hallas.

For the past year she has been working on Askrigg and Low Abbotside from the beginning of history: there are indications of humans being around the parish from the Mesolithic period, around 3000 BC.

“It’s a history from a little acorn to a huge tree and the village really began to take off in the 1400-1500s and then blossomed through the centuries. As the lovely Yorkshire Village  was published over 60 years ago I felt that now was the time to revisit a history of Askrigg.”

She hopes eventually to publish a book from her research and in the meantime is planning two lectures at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes. The first is on Friday, October 20, at 7.30pm, and will cover the period up to 1800. Part two will be completed by October next year, and take it up to the 1950s.

Householders in the parish have loaned documents going back to the 1600s, and in addition Dr Hallas has consulted formal documents in the record office, as well as facsimiles or transcriptions from the Domesday book and the Abbotside Wills.

She has evidence of the Worton Bread Riots of 1757, when a crowd revolting against the high price of bread entered the village, demanding money with menaces. One hundred horsemen reportedly caught ten of the rioters and two of the ringleaders were put to death. In 1935, within living memory of older residents, the Old Hall burnt to the ground.

“Throughout the ages Askrigg folk  took their part in wars and other great crises,” says Dr Hallas.

Joan Ingilby died in 2000 aged 89 and Marie Hartley in 2006 aged 100. They shared a home in Askrigg.

Entrance to A History of Askrigg on Friday, October 20, at 7.30pm is free though donations will be welcome. The Dales Countryside Museum is at Station Yard, Hawes, DL8 3NT. For information call 01969 666210.

The Old Hall, Askrigg (left) burnt to the ground in 1935.