All Our Stories – Ploughing Through Time

Magnetometer reading showing the underlying features of the Park

Magnetometer reading showing the underlying features of the Park

The GSB Prospection geophysics team of Jimmy Adcock and Finn Pope Carter,  have now finished in Parkinson’s Park, and we are delighted with the results – so far.  We were most concerned that they would come back empty-handed and tell us there was nothing; but in the event they were more than impressed themselves at the wealth of interest the park has.

Barbara Winfield, Jimmy Adcock and Finn Pope-Carter

Barbara Winfield, Jimmy Adcock and Finn Pope-Carter

There is very strong evidence of medieval (possible fourteenth century or earlier) farming in the form of curved lynchets (banks) with ridge and furrows.   The oldest lynchets are the ones down Clapper Brow which can still be clearly seen in a regular pattern of terracing.  There is also evidence of farming methods from around the seventeenth century with narrower ridge and furrows, nearer to the green bench, indicating ‘mechanised’ (oxen or horse) ploughing.  At the bottom of the hill near the building fence is narrow ridge and furrow indicating nineteenth or twentieth century ploughing.

Bringing things right up to date, a black patch shows the position of the Parkinson annual bonfire.  We also asked the team if they could try and locate both the line of the old wall at the Sheepfold, and the little building near the top copse that shows up on some maps

Jimmy with his 'ordinary' magnetometer

Jimmy with his ‘ordinary’ magnetometer

In a neighbouring field, there is some evidence of the Kelcliffe tannery and, maybe, the evidence for a prehistoric enclosure – but in true Time Team style, we await more research on that, before getting excited.

The geophysicisists did three rounds of surveying, one with an ordinary magnetometer, a topographic survey, and a survey with an experimental cart magnetometer, which gives more detail.  The next stage is for an archaeology team to study the maps and put it together with any historical evidence: Barbara Winfield has been working hard on that, and had a theory that the Park was part of the Great West Field – looks as if she was right.  We then decide if it is worth doing any test pit digs.

Finn with his experimental car magnetometer

Finn with his experimental car magnetometer

Our thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the All Our Stories project for making this possible.   Very little, if anything is written of this in Guiseley history books.  Our plan is to turn the information on the everyday people story of the Park into a booklet, information boards and trails around the area.  We hope to be able to then tie this into the work being done on the Chevin and Rombolds and Bingley moor.

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About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Vice Chairlady of Friends of Parkinson's Park, and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Day job - is a Business Analyst running Mutual Marketing, a customer service research, training and advisory business.
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