Day 9 and 10 Askrigg

Our home in Askrigg

Brian at Thornsgill house in Askrigg, Yorkshire, England. This is the town where his great great grandfather, Thomas Walker was born.

Driving into Askrigg

We arrived safely in Askrigg.  It’s beautiful here, of course, but in a different way than Lllangollen or even Stafford.  The buildings are all light colored stone, as opposed to the red brick or white painted buildings we’ve seen elsewhere.  There are no hedgerows, either, all stone fences, and the sheep have black faces.

Yorkshire sheep with black face. Guess this one is a ram, actually...

When we arrived at our B&B, Brian had a package waiting for him that included some wonderful information on the Walker family.  A distant Walker cousin sent it here for us.  We hope to get to meet her tomorrow.

After having tea with our host at Thorngill House we walked the church cemetery  and found some possible relations but no Walkers.  More tomorrow…

Today, we woke up to rain.  The view from our window wasn’t very promising.  So we had our traditional English breakfast but vegetarian style.  How is it vegetarian, you ask?  We wondered that, too.  Soy sausage and bacon and no butter on the mushrooms.  So it wasn’t too Weight Watcher unfriendly.  Of course we kind of blew it later but, oh well.   Because of the rain, we stayed in a little longer until the sun popped out.  Weatherwise, the rest of day was beautiful.  As my “cousin” Janet says, you just learn to carry an umbrella everywhere.

View from our window in the rain. You can see a tiny patch of blue in the distance.

Once the rain let up we walked through the town toward the churchyard again.  The stone pavements get a bit slippery after a rain.  It made me wonder how long that pavement had been there and who walked on it.

Wesleyan Chapel in Askrigg. No cemetary here.

"King" carving framing one of the doors of St. Oswald's Church.

And his Queen...

When we looked last night, and then again today, we didn’t find any Walkers in the churchyard, but found lots of collateral family names.  We were told later in the day that his ancestors, James and Dorothy Walker are both buried there but they have no tombstones.

We drove up the road to Aysgarth and discovered a huge cemetery there.  It is attached to the St. Andrews church.  Again, we didn’t find any Walkers but lots of collateral lines.  So we know we’re in the right neighborhood.

St. Andrew's Church in Aysgarth, Yorkshire, Wales.

Sheep grazed between the tombstones.

After the cemetery, we stopped at Castle Bolton for lunch.

Castle Bolton, Yorkshire, England.

Castle Bolton view 2.

This is where we had a light lunch inside the castle.

Askrigg and surrounding towns are in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  The area is commonly called, The Dales.  It is like no place I’ve ever seen.  The hills are similar to the foothills of the Rockies but they are lined with  perfect stone fences for miles and miles.  We saw lots of people hiking the hillsides.  And of course, there were sheep.

The fences.

Close-up of fence. Notice there is little or no mortar. These things go on for miles and miles. Brian made the observation that he has always liked this kind of stone. And here it is , where his family originated. Must be in his genes!

Black faced sheep standing in front of a fence. Notice the paint on their side? That is instead of a brand. We've seen red, orange, blue and green spray paint. Since they graze all over the Dales, they have to have some way to identify them. These guys were right next to the road.

At 4:00 we had tea and scones with Brian’s 5th cousin Terry and his wife, Jill. Jill has done most of the research on the Walkers in the area and wrote a chapter in a book on the Walkers who left the Dales.   We had a wonderful afternoon with them.  We left with lots of photos and a CD of scanned old letters.  We even saw one photo of a 5th cousin who looks amazingly like Brian.  He even has a white beard.  Will have to contact him sometime.

So far, the best part of this trip has been meeting the cousins.  Mine, who we met in Llangollen, Wales and then Brian’s today.  Being in the landscape of our ancestors is enough to give you chills but when you stop and think about how their DNA is still around, still walking the same streets, in you and your cousins it really makes you feel like part of the “Great Circle of Life”.  (OK, that line isn’t original, it’s stolen from the Lion King….but you get the idea.)

Tomorrow  –  Scotland.


8 Responses to Day 9 and 10 Askrigg

  1. Julie Walker Titze says:

    Liz, I believe you would find some Walker’s buried at Aysgarth.

    • Yes, we’re headed there today. We’re thinking they may be collateral line Walkers there and not direct ancestors but we’ll see. We’re also going to Woodhall. Will post our findings later.

      • Julie Walker Titze says:

        Kind of surprised you did not find Walker’s in Aysgarth, as I think that is where Thomas Walker’s sister lived most of her life as some kind of servant. Also, I am under the impression from what I have researched that many were either born, baptized, or married there. Perhaps there are no marked graves becausse as I understand many of the grave stones have been toppled and/or destroyed over the decades and centuries.
        Unlike the Metcalf’s, I don’t think the Walker’s ever accumulated much in the way of land or gentry, hence the name, and also why Thomas and Peter left in hopes to pursue something better for themselves here. And they DID! As much as I want to visit, I am grateful they made the trip, and because of that I was fortunate to be born in this country.

  2. Jim Walker says:

    Good Luck in finding our ancestors gravesites. The photos at Llangollen and Askrigg are great! Beautiful countryside and very interesting architecture.

  3. Karen Walker says:

    Liz and Brian, We are visiting England through your blog and are becoming addicted. Stephen asks if there is a posting for each day.

    You put Wisconsin on one of the photos. but I’m sure you meant England.

    I believe there is more in our genetic memories than we ever realize. Keep having fun for us. Karen and Stephen

  4. It sounds corny but I really think there is something to the genetic memories, too. As for MY memory it doesn’t always work well after midnight. I was nodding off last night when I was working on the blog and that’s why I put Wisconsin on one of the photos. I may have been thinking about one of the tombstones we found in that cemetery of a woman who was born here and died in Wisconsin. It was kind of jolting to find it. She is distantly connected to Brian’s family. I’ve been trying to keep it up and write at least a little something everyday but I’m not always alert. So, if I post something else a little goofy, you’ll know why. Feel free to point it out again.

    You and Stephen will love it here. I expect a blog from you, too.

  5. Kathy says:

    I have always wanted to take a walking vacation in the English countryside. This looks like a great place to do it. The walls have been there for centuries. You may remember Hadrian’s wall that was constructed by the Romans. It is in the north and you guys might see part of it.

    Your afternoon tea break sounds like it is becoming a habit. We need to establish that habit here, too. 🙂

    We also need castles and old churches and cemeteries. I am glad that you are connecting with your cousins.

    • It is beautiful. You have to be in good shape to walk some of those paths, though. They go straight up a mountain. We walked maybe 2-4 miles, not sure exactly, but some people walked all day, back into the wooded areas. It’s very surreal in a way. You just walk from one field through another, right there with the sheep and the cows, and even in people’s back yards.

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