Welcome to My New History Blog
My work is still progressing although I haven’t posted any new articles for some time. My wife died in February of cancer which had knocked me for six, she was only 61. Many of you will know someone much younger who has died of cancer, I am hoping next year to walk from Lands’ End to John O Groats for cancer research and am building up for that which takes up much time.
I have continued to transcribe Wills and Inventories and now have 12,500 or so on my web site (I started about 6 years ago working most days of the week, full time). There are still more to do but for the moment I have stopped. I am taking out data and references as well as correcting and expanding some of those will which I had already done. Over time my ability to read the old writing has improved as well as reconising archaic terms and names. Over the last 6 weeks I have worked my way through 3,800 Wills and extracted data from Inventories, working 8 to 10 hours a day. There are a further 7 to 8,000 wills with possible inventories to work through so it will take a long time (as well as correcting my typos).
Future articles will concentrate on the textile and farming industries of the dales, notably the stocking industry. Farming was the major industry of the dales, and the wills and inventories are shedding much useful information on its development and land/farm ownership following the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
House building and the conversion of other buildings into homes crops up regularly within the wills. The change from thatched roofs to slated roofs can be followed. Date stones over doorways can be matched to people in wills and the development of individual houses followed.
All aspects of social life can be seen, from personal relationships to national events and emigration to the New World or within Britain.
A full index would be useful as it would bring out far more detail on the relationship between people and place, the concentration of surnames within areas etc. It would take almost as long as I have spent already and I would really like to get on with making use of the resource myself. To date this year there has been over 25,000 views of my web site from all over the world. Very few have made comments but those who have left one are encouraging.
My new venture is making videos, the first one is a history and geology of Wet Groves Lead Mine in Wensleydale. The second is one is on Booze Wood Mine in Arkengarthdale. Coming next will be a video on the quarries in the Millstone Grit.
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