Well, I've been lurking around in Ecclesall Woods again on a lovely hot Monday afternoon with sunshine piercing the canopy to dapple glades of bluebells and rare grasses with vivacious light. There are 350 acres of ancient woodland and in past centuries the woods accommodated several rural industries - including charcoal burning.
Another name for a charcoal burner was "wood collier" and one of these fellows accidentally burnt to death in his hut back in 1786. He was called George Yardley and his isolated grave was paid for by a group of his friends - one of whom was the landlord of the nearby "Rising Sun" where Yardley liked to quench his thirst after hard days of physical labour.
This is the full inscription on the gravestone:-
of GEORGE YARDLEY
Wood Collier who was Burnt
to death in his Cabbin on
This place Oct 11th 1786
William Brooke Salesman
David Glofsop Gamekeeper
Thos Smith Beesomemaker
Samps Brooksham Innkeeper"
I plan to lurk more often in those wonderful woods but the schoolchildren I saw returning home along a woodland path round about four o'clock had better watch out as evidence of their previous saunterings is visible in the form of numerous pieces of litter - not seen anywhere else in that sylvan oasis. I may chase them with a "beesom" or broom made from ash or hazel wands and thereby become The Lurking Litter Avenger of Ecclesall Woods!