29 March 2015

Ackworth

St Stephen's Church, East Hardwick
After investigating Pontefract with its castle, its marketplace and its "Liquorice Bush" public house, I drove a couple of miles south of the town and parked my car in the village of East Hardwick. After taking a couple of photos of St Stephen's Church, I set off westwards towards High Ackworth.

By now the clouds had almost cleared and intermittent sunshine illuminated the countryside though the wind was chilly. High Ackworth seemed a most pleasant, salubrious village with some large, luxurious houses behind security gates and high hedges. "The Brown Cow" pub appeared to be thriving. The old village church is called St Cuthbert's in memory of the time during the ninth century that the bones of the saint of that name rested in the village for a while. Pillaging Danes had invaded Northumbria and on the holy isle of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert's blessed remains were consequently disinterred to save them. He had died in 687AD and today rests in his shrine at Durham Cathedral. That shrine was an important place of pilgrimage throughout the middle ages.
Ackworth Old Hall
On the edge of High Ackworth, I snapped a picture of a fine Elizabethan mansion called Ackworth Old Hall before heading south to Low Ackworth. There I walked by the River Went which passes under a fine railway viaduct built in 1874 on a line that still connects Sheffield and York.
Low Ackworth Railway Viaduct
Jogging to a storm over East Hardwick
Onwards along the Ackworth Bridle Road and Rigg Lane and back to East Hardwick. Before leaving the area, I drove back to High Ackworth specially to photograph the village's "Plague Stone" by Pontefract Road. This old stone has a hollowed basin atop. During the plague of 1645, the basin was filled with vinegar to disinfect coins when goods were bought by the unfortunate villagers. Another deadly plague had touched the village three hundred years earlier. That one was known as The Black Death and it killed some 40% of the population of Europe.
Ackworth Plague Stone

12 comments:

  1. A Year 8 History class I minded this week was revising for their exam on the Black Death.

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    1. It's always best if history can be learnt through experience. A good dose of bubonic plague should help the Y8 kids to appreciate what it meant and how it affected people.

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  2. Great name for a pub and I do love Brown Cows...as in Kahlua and milk...yum, yum, yum!

    Only a couple of weeks ago I praised the benefits of vinegar in my article I write for the weekly rag up here on the hill upon which I roam...haunt! (I don't write the same article each week...the subjects vary, but the tone remains light-hearted) :)

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    1. Roam or haunt? Beware - the teenagers in the locality are already spreading rumours about you Lee. They call you The Vinegar Lady! It could one day become the title of a scary movie. Better to be The Vinegar Lady than The Brown Cow!

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  3. More beautiful pictures of beautiful places. Ackworth Old Hall is probably not open to the public, is it?
    I would have gladly joined those joggers if they'd been running in the opposite direction.

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    1. Ackworth Old Hall is a private house but if you knocked on the door to ask for a glass of water I am sure they would let you in Miss A.

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  4. I would like to see inside the church. At about 150 years old it quite modern but it looks as if it could be very interesting.

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    1. I always try the doors of churches when I am out rambling. Most often they are locked but once in a while they are open and sometimes there are tea making facilities for visitors! But St Stephen's was locked.

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  5. My eldest son's family lives about 30 miles from me in the
    "city" (pop. 20,000) of Acworth, Georgia (note absence of k). I decided to do some research to see whether it might have been named for your Ackworth. It was not. It was named after the "town" (pop. 891) of Acworth, New Hampshire, which was founded in the 18th century and named after Sir Jacob Acworth, an English admiral with interests in Portsmouth shipping. There is also a "city" (pop. 83) of Acworth, Iowa, whose naming is apparently lost in the mists of antiquity (translation: bad record-keeping during the 19th century). I note that your Acworth is a "village" but has a population of 6,900 - very interesting choice of terms, I thought, when 6,900 is a village and 83 is a city. So York must be a megalopolis or something. I also read more about St. Cuthbert. Thank you for my morning's intellectual stimulation.

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    1. Mr Bob - there's Ackworth, High Ackworth and Low Ackworth - the biggest of these being Ackworth. In England we have very few cities but many towns and villages. The term "city" is not dished out willy nilly. It is mainly reserved for large places that have a cathedral and have been allowed city designation by the Queen's government.

      Regarding St Cuthbert, I think he should have been deemed England's patron saint rather than St George. I am glad you enjoyed finding out about him.

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  6. Do you mean to tell me that THAT particular stone basin has been there for 370 YEARS??? Seriously? Your English people must be much better behaved than a lot of mischief-making Americans. I had never heard of a plague stone. I will have to make myself a cup of coffee and Google a bit and see what I can learn.
    Can we have coffee in the Ackworth Old Hall mansion? I am dying to see the inside...

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    1. Yes Hilly. That stone has been there that long. Regarding plague villages you should read up about the village of Eyam not far from Sheffield.
      Sadly Ackworth Old Hall is a private house.

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