I thought I ought to sit down and string a few words together, since it's Saturday morning. It's nice to have a bit of time on my hands when I'm not feeling utterly worn out. I've had a cold for the last few days and this week has been a bit of an effort. What to write about? My head has been full of things musical for the last few weeks so definitely nothing to do with music (although I'm tempted to sound off about a Weather Report CD Karen kindly bought me).
A long time ago I came across a booklet in a second hand bookshop called Believe it or not, it happened in Yorkshire by Cyril Oxley. Oxley was an avid collector of Yorkshire trivia and oddities. He produced several similar pamphlets. I've often thought of posting about it, so here goes.
Did you know...
In 1878, a Miss Sykes walked 248 miles in Brighouse Town Hall? She started walking on a Monday evening and continued until the following Saturday. A huge crowd gathered to see her finish.
There seems to have been a lot of it about. In 1843, James Searle of Leeds became the first man known to have walked 1,000 miles in 1,000 hours on the stretch of road between the Shakespeare Inn, Meadow Lane and the New Peacock Inn, Holbeck. It seems -and Oxley doesn't mention this- that he has something of a celebrity in his day: his success was celebrated with a public ox-roast in Battersea, so presumably the walk was a high-profile event.
John Wesley thought that the people of Huddersfield were the wildest he'd ever seen. He added, however, that they were "tolerably quiet while I preached, only a few pieces of dirt were thrown".
At Hull, in 1654, a number of locals reported seeing a battle between phantom soldiers in the sky between 9 and 10 in the evening: "the rival combatants formed a red and a black army, the conflict being accompanied by the dread clash of arms, explosions and cries of the wounded." A similar phenomenon was reported in October 1658, the sound of which, it was said, could be heard forty miles away.
In 1818, in a Wakefield mine, a five-inch long reptile was discovered in a solid block of coal. Apparently, "upon being exposed to the air the creature died immediately." However, call me stupid, but I don't see how anyone could know it was alive before being exposed to the air as it was inside a lump of coal at the time.
At Northallerton in 1798, a Mrs Metalf's cook discovered a gold wedding ring that had been lost twelve years previously inside a turnip. That was a turnip for the books, if you ask me.
The shortest river in England in the River Bain in Wensleydale. Cyril Oxley reckons it's only a mile long. Wikipedia offers two and a half. Don't ask me why it's called a river and not a stream, or why other streams couldn't be called rivers.
4 years ago