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Yorkshire, as a whole, is divided into four parts, north, south, east and west. This is not, by size, an equal division as North Yorkshire is about one and a half times bigger than the other three put together. Of all other English counties, only Sussex is also divided, this time into west and east.





North Yorkshire is the largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
North Yorkshire has the 14th highest population in England.
North Yorkshire is in 46th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. The Royal connection here is obvious. The House of York provided three kings of England, although only two of them were crowned. The first was Edward IV who, as you can read later, won the crown at the Battle of Towton in 1461. He reigned until 1470 when Henry VI was briefly restored to the throne but took the crown back in 1471 until his death in1483.

    On his death the crown passed to his eldest son, another Edward, but he was only 12 years old. Edward IV's younger brother was appointed protector and escorted the young Edward, along with his younger brother Richard, to the Tower of London to prepare for the coronation. However, the two youngsters were never seen again so although Edward V had officially become king on his father's death, he was never crowned, just like another Edward, the eighth, in 1936.

    Uncle Richard was then crowned as Richard III but his reign only lasted for two years. He was defeated at the Battle of Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor, sort of a Lancastrian, who became Henry VII. He quickly married Elizabeth of York thereby uniting the two houses. As you probably know the Tudor dynasty lasted for 118 years. Henry also combined the white rose of York with the red rose of Lancaster to make the Tudor rose. Clever chap was Henry.

  3. North Yorkshire Eats
  4. We're back on cheeses this week. Wensleydale is a very famous cheese first made in, wait for it, Wensleydale in North Yorkshire. The term Yorkshire Wensleydale can only be used for cheese that is made in Wensleydale but the cheese is now commercially made in large creameries throughout England. The Wensleydale Creamery is in the town of Hawes, obviously in Wensleydale and it has a visitor centre where you can see cheese being made, or at least you could when I travelled through there on my second coastal journey.

    Wensleydale cheese was first made by French monks who had settled in the area. The recipe they used involved making the cheese from sheep's milk but by the 14th century cows' milk was being used which actually changed the character of the cheese. At that time Wensleydale cheese was always blue. The making of cheese continued until rationing in WWII when most milk was used for making standard Government Cheddar. Cheese making returned to Wensleydale after the war but on a smaller scale.

    Wensleydale cheese is crumbly and some say it has a slight honey smell. It is particularly popular when mixed with fruit, especially cranberries. Having never seen cheese being made on a large scale I was fascinated by the large vats of milk which were slowly being turned into cheese. Today, when not in lock-down, the Wensleydale Creamery has an interactive experience which takes you on a journey through the art of cheese-making and you can see the cheese being made by the team of master cheese-makers. Pandemic allowing, there is also a demonstration room and children's games area.

  5. North Yorkshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in North Yorkshire in the last 100 years:-
    Dame Judi Dench (Actor), Steve McLaren (Footballer/Manager), Dame Jane Glover (Musician/Conductor), Sir Ben Kingsley (Actor), Susan Hill (Author), Jimi Mistry (actor) and Joanne Froggatt (Actor - Downton Abbey).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. The Grand Hotel in Scarborough was, when it was opened in 1867, the largest hotel and the largest brick structure in all of Europe. Nice but not really weird. However, when built, it had 4 towers, 12 floors, 52 chimneys and 365 rooms which you might spot is equal to the number of seasons, months, weeks and days in a non-leap year. The hotel was designed by a Hull architect called Cuthbert Brodrick, obviously a man with a vivid imagination. The hotel is also in the shape of a V in honour of Queen Victoria. Good job George wasn't still on the throne.

    Construction began in 1863 and it took four years to complete. Good job Mr Brodrick didn't know this when he designed it or it might have had 16 towers, 48 floors, 208 chimneys and 1,460 rooms. Work it out. It cost one hundred thousand pounds to build, which today would be about 11 million pounds. In December 1914 the hotel was hit at least 30 times by guns from 3 German ships out in the North Sea. In the second world war the hotel was home to RAF trainees, including my mother's then fiance. She dumped him later. The building is a Grade II listed building and I really do want to go and stay there; 80th birthday present, James and Rachel. For those that don't know my son, James, and his wife, Rachel, took me to Bruges for my 70th birtday. It was when I filmed the nightly ceremony in Ypres which is down this page.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. After a rather pleasant return to cheese in the North Yorkshire Eats section I'm afraid we are now looking at two more battles in this It Happened Here part. Both battles occurred during a civil war, the first during the Wars of the Roses in 1461 and the second during the English Civil War in 1644. Both resulted in defeats for the kings. If you want more about each battle, they will be in the Times Past section of our website for the appropriate year or thereabouts.

    But a little bit of history here. The Wars of the Roses was so-called because it was fought between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Lancaster's emblem was the red rose, York was the white rose. When we say the house of we really mean the family and descendants of. In 1461 Henry VI, of the House of Lancaster, was king of England but when, a few years earlier he had a mental breakdown, the ruling council had asked his cousin, Richard of York, to rule instead. Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou, didn't like this and so supporters took sides and fighting began. At one of the first battles Margaret and her supporters killed Richard but that wasn't the end of it. Oh no. Richard's son Edward decided he should be king so off they went again.

    The Battle of Towton was fought on 29 March 1461, funnily enough near the village of Towton in North Yorkshire. It was possibly the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil. An estimated 50,000 soldiers fought for hours in a snowstorm on that day, which was Palm Sunday, and the victor was Edward who became Edward IV. It is estimated that maybe 20,000 Lancastrians died and up to 10,000 Yorkists. In 1929, the Towton Cross was erected on the battlefield to commemorate the event.

    The Battle of Marston Moor was fought on 2 July 1644 between the Royalists, supporters of Charles I, and the Roundheads, led by Oliver Cromwell. It resulted in a resounding victory for Cromwell and the Royalists lost control of northern England.

    As I said you can find out more about both battles in the Times Past part of our website.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. If you read my memories from East Yorkshire, you will know that it was one the ten stretches of coastline anywhere in the world that I would like to re-visit. This is another. Forget about the incredible beauty of the North Yorks Moors and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks, both in this county, and the historic city of York, the coastline in this county is fantastic. Let me take you on a journey along it from my memories. I do need to emphasise that my journeys around England happened in 1985-86, 1994-95 and 2001. It's twenty years since I saw these places so don't necessarily go and look for what I saw and be surprised it's changed.

    We start our trip along the North Yorkshire coast at Filey. Lovely beach, wide sweeping bay and I actually first went there on a day out in 1958 when we lived In Leeds. A little further north and we reach Scarborough. Two beaches and a Viking Museum because the Vikings gave Scarborough its name, In 1620 a local resident called Elizabeth Farrar discovered springs of discoloured and sour-tasting water bubbling from a rock. She did what anyone would do and claimed the waters had special healing properties. Forty years later and Dr Wittle told everyone sea bathing was good for the health and soon naked men and women were leaping into the sea and Scarborough became the first seaside resort in England. Oh and between my first and second trip things did change because the Holbeck Hall Hotel collapsed into the sea in June 1993.

    A bit further along is Ravenscar, perched 600 feet on the top of a cliff and I certainly remember the walk down and, even more so, the walk up. Next comes Robin Hood's Bay although there is no evidence the outlaw, if he even existed, ever came here. A twisting street leads down to the shore and little cottages are either side of the road. This was smuggling country and there are stories that, because of underground passage beneath the cottages, smuggled goods could go from the shore to the top of the village without ever being seen by the custom men.

    Whitby is a major town and port, famous for whaling in the olden days, indeed an arch made of the jaw bone of a whale is on the cliff top and on the other side of the headland are the ruins of Whitby Abbey. There are 199 steps leading up to the church near the ruins and here Bram Stoker set some scenes for his novel, Dracula. In the town gift shops sell Whitby Jet, which is fossilised wood and was popular with Queen Victoria after her husband Albert died because it was a black gemstone. Move on and you drive past Sandsend, two and a half miles of uninterrupted sand and then you reach Runswick Bay. The road down to the bay is one of the steepest I have ever driven and driving back up I wondered if the car would actually topple over backwards.

    Then you reach Staithes and the tenth and final of my 10 memorable, wow-giving views in England. I had seen a similar picture to the one on the left and I loved it. I knew I wanted to stay there and we found a small cottage halfway down the little street which leads to the harbour. Cars are not allowed down so we had to carry our stuff to the cottage from the car park at the top of the hill. Further down is the tailor's shop where Captain James Cook began his working life before going off to Whitby, joining the navy and becoming one of our greatest explorers. Sadly it was noticeable on my second trip that Staithes was dying. Young people went off to work in big cities and quite a few of the little cottages were boarded up. I wonder how it is now.

    Just north of Staithes, Boulby Cliffs are the highest point on the east coast of England at 666 feet high. Then you reach Skinningrove that has, or had, a little stream stained with the rusty colour of iron ore waste from the mines nearby. From there you have sandy beaches at Marske and Redcar before you reach Middlesborough on the mouth of the Rives Tees and the end of the North Yorkshire coast. I know this is a long piece but I just wanted to try to tell you of the beauty of this coast and share some of the amazing and exciting things I saw.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. The Gannet is a large, mainly white bird with black wing tips and a yellowish patch on their heads. They have black legs and a long, powerful and chunky, black and blue beak. When flying out at sea, they flap their wings and then glide low over the water. When it's time to feed, they fly higher, circle around and then plunge into the sea. Needless to say, they eat fish. They are on the amber list and only breed in certain places. One of these areas is Bempton Cliffs which are East Yorkshire but I told you about the Puffin there. I think they look like Concorde and if you don't know Concorde you can find out more on our website here.

    Gannets are around 100cms in length, have a wingspan of about 175cms and can weigh 2.4 to 3.6 kilos. There are 220,000 nests in the UK. They arrive at their nesting sites from January and leave between August and September. Those birds which don't nest here can be seen offshore almost anywhere, especially between August and September.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into North Yorkshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020