Exploring Yorkshire, U.K.

Yorkshire - God's own.

Yorkshire people have a modest little name for their vast county. They call it God's Own.

And the strange thing is that nobody else in the country ever takes them to task over such blatant self-publicity. It's almost as if there is a general acceptance that Yorkshire, England's largest county, really is God's Own County.

And it is certainly true that the county has more rolling green acres and outstanding natural beauty than one can shake a nobbly walking stick at as it encapsulates both the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors, not to mention the rolling farmland of the Yorkshire Wolds.

The two National Parks of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors together account for 1234 square miles of the county before taking into consideration that there is an awful lot of land left over that is either just common or garden beautiful or simply rather more prosaic.

This may not seem a lot in the light of the provinces, states or regions in other countries but given that Great Britain is a relatively small island you can see how Yorkshire takes up a substantial chunk of available land.

Robin Hood's Bay.
Robin Hood's Bay. | Source
Early morning - Rievaulx.
Early morning - Rievaulx. | Source
A frosty dawn in the water meadows
A frosty dawn in the water meadows | Source
Constantine was proclaimed Emperor of Rome in York (then Eboracum) in 306AD. This statue stands in front of York Minster.
Constantine was proclaimed Emperor of Rome in York (then Eboracum) in 306AD. This statue stands in front of York Minster. | Source
Harvest time on the Yorkshire Wolds
Harvest time on the Yorkshire Wolds | Source
Poppies at the field's edge.
Poppies at the field's edge. | Source
Old boys at the sheep market ...
Old boys at the sheep market ... | Source

The warmth of Yorkshire folk

I have lived most of my life in Yorkshire but have been away from it for the last seven years apart from short visits home to see family.

Recently returning for a short holiday I was once again reminded of the warmth and amiability of the people who live there.

Yorkshire people will talk to anyone, even our cat who came with us in our motorhome.

It was a fact that both the cat and the motorhome were the star attraction and we often returned from an exploratory stroll to find someone trying to attract his attention as he was doing his ablutions on the wide shelf above the dashboard.

This would then necessitate a long and rambling discussion on cats we had all known as well as wistful wonderings from our new acquaintances about what it was like to own a motorhome.

It was only then that you realised the gypsy souls hidden in the most unimaginative-looking of bosoms ... if you see what I mean.

A forthright people.

Yorkshire people have a directness of eye and speech which can be disconcerting to those of us more shrinking, shifty-eyed, retiring types. They do not mince their words and can be uncompromisingly blunt.

They call it straight-talking and it is not meant to hurt feelings, they are 'only saying'. They afford the listener the respect of treating them as one of themselves and as they would prefer honest talk, that's what they give out.

In business this boils down to their belief that time is money, or 'brass' as they term it, and they do not believe in prevarication or feebleness in discussion.

You make your bargain and seal it with handshake of spat-upon palms. Though in these times of stricter hygiene, saliva, as an adjunct to business dealings, may well have been dispensed with.

But such direct methods of communication means that you know where you stand with them. And were they not to like you, you would most certainly know of it.

Luckily they are, in the main, a large-hearted lot who always try to take people as they find them and will generously absorb most peculiarities of nature; the exception being anyone assuming any airs and graces to which they are not entitled.

These people will always have their bubble of pretentions firmly pricked and may even be treated to much humour, ribbing and a liberal dose of down to earth values depending on how seriously they take themselves.

Even the minor nobility of Yorkshire are treated with reserve rather than respect but then this does not seem to faze them in the least as they too are usually as practical and unpretentious as the people who work for them.

For most Yorkshire folk respect is afforded only when it is earned, not when it is expected as a right because of an inherited estate.

Hospitality as a way of life.

There are certain spurious rumours abroad that Yorkshire people are tight-fisted and, whilst it is certainly true that they can be careful with their cash, their hospitality to visitors is legendary.

This is even more in evidence if they come from a farming background.

As a child I was often sent down my grandmother's orchard with walking stick and basket on September Sundays to harvest enough brambles (blackberries) to make a pie as some friend or relation just happened to be passing her house at teatime.

It was indeed noticeable that as soon as the weather brightened in Spring, the relentless Sunday teatime traffic started despite her house being on the road to nowhere. You could almost set your calendar by it.

Of course my grandmother, coming from old farming stock, was rarely caught out. There was always a jelly made up and cakes baked every Saturday, just in case.

There would often be some cold roast beef left over from Sunday lunch but if not there was always an emergency tin of ham, pickles and mixed salad in the pantry. With a tin of evaporated milk for the jelly, lettuce and tomatoes from the greenhouse and finely cut slices of bread, an impromptu feast, to be eaten in the garden, could be rustled up in no time.

In autumn the visits turned into some sort of feeding frenzy as everyone knew that the added attraction of a freshly made fruit pie was likely to be on offer.

My grandparents thought nothing of feeding anyone and everyone who called despite having to live quite frugally and growing much of their own fruit and vegetables.

It was a way of life she had grown up with despite coming from the poverty stricken background of a farm labourer's large family, where meat was an infrequent luxury except for occasional bacon added to the ubiquitous vegetable stew.

Automatically accepting this duty of hospitality to callers may seem inexplicable to us now in our more self-centred society but it created a solid community and its passing is definitely to our loss.

Needless to say however this concept is still extant in Yorkshire where rapid change is fortunately viewed with extreme caution and the utmost distrust.

A slower pace of life.

It is probably true that change comes more slowly to rural Yorkshire than it does anywhere else in England due to this distrust of the modern age.

No true son (or daughter for that matter) of Yorkshire soil will part with hard-earned brass for any of its new-fangled inventions that they fear will either overwhelm them with their complexity or even worse, turn out to be completely unnecessary to the way they live their lives.

So, rural Yorkshire lives on as testament to a more innocent time, a time before it became necessary to chat and interact virtually with people in far away places. And this is all part of its inimitable charm.

The end of an era.

Sadly there is little doubt that this way of life is now under serious threat and seems doomed to die out as the older, and thus more stubborn, generation passes on.

Their steadfast unwillingness to get sucked into the ways of modern life, their olde-world generosity to visitors and the loyal commitment to an ancient but reassuring system of working will one day become a casualty of the internet age.

And whilst we are aware of the many benefits of life today, it does seem fitting now to recognise the kindness, honesty and innocence of this Yorkshire way of life and to mourn its slow passing before it is irrevocably gone forever.

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Comments 25 comments

SaMcNutt profile image

SaMcNutt 5 years ago from Englewood, CO

Beautiful and poignant. There was a reality show set in my home town and I found that I was saddened and violated at the rude intrusion to the place I grew up; something I dearly wanted to preserve. Your piece makes me feel that way too. Oh I hope, if it is to pass away, it does so slowly still.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi SaMcNutt ... thanks for your comment. I must say I think reality shows are iniquitous. The media are often crass and will do anything for a dime and to make ratings.

We have a gentle documentary on the Yorkshire Dales at the moment and it is well done. It does restore faith a little when you see some of the youth there stubbornly sticking to a way of life that has existed for many years. But they are the exception and as such should be treasured. Like you I hope the rate of change is slow ...


SaMcNutt profile image

SaMcNutt 5 years ago from Englewood, CO

I think there are few of us out there that temper the winds of change. Those few are needed in society to keep the general population from going headlong over the cliff. Even though I like writing on the Internet I think it is like the man coming back to the cave to share the light in Plato's cave theory.

Great hub! Write on.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 5 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Couldn't agree more, SaMcNutt! Many thanks for your support ...


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

One of my great-grandads was a farm labourer from Kings Lynn who moved north with his dad to work in the Cleveland ironstone mines. Another great-grandad was the son of a lighthouse keeper at St Leonards near Hastings who ran away to join the cavalry. The farm labourer-turned-miner married a farmer's daughter at West Rounton, the lighthouse keeper's son settled down in Leeds as a warehouseman, their offspring met at West Rounton, moved around Yorkshire and ended up at Grangetown near Middlesbrough. The clan's spread out between Yarm and Redcar now, proper Yorkshire nontheless


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Thanks for this, alancaster149 ... how extraordinary that they all ended up in Yorkshire!

I appreciate you taking the time to comment ... all the best!


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

Hi

thar's nowt up wi Yorkshire folk, but tha shunt b'telling t'others abhart us or else they'll all wanna live rahnd 'ere.

nice hub

cheers

tony


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Bugger! Niver thowt abaht that, our lad!

Who am I kidding ... it's not as if anyone reads my hubs anyroads.

Ta, Tony.


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Na then Angie. I don´t know if I am already following you, I´ve lost track a bit, but if I wasn´t I certainly am going to now. This is an excellent hub and if there was a " spot on lass" button on the voting I´d have chosen that too. Needless to say I´m from Yorkshire myself originally. I hope it´s ok with you if I add this as a link to some of my Yorkshire hubs, I see one is featured below this hub and also one I did on Criccieth. Just going to nip off now and do an I´m following you thingy. Great hub Angie, made me proud to be a yorkie.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Ay-up our kid! I see you’ve defected to the Costa Bombe but I won’t hold that against you.

Thanks for the kind words. I must say it is nice to find another Yorkie … and I would be honoured to be linked to your Yorkshire hubs.

I love the Lleyn Peninsula too, especially good old Criccieth. Do you think it’s a Yorkshire thing?

All the best, chuck.


bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Ay up agin. I think we just love beautiful, quiet and a bit old fashioned places love. Don´t know if you have ever visited Dumfries and Galloway, but I did a hub on that too, and know you would love it there in your camper van if it´s not too far a drive from Cornwall. I see you have done some hubs on Minnack . I read a whole series of books about there some years ago. I´m sure you know the one´s I mean, can´t remeber the author but one of the books was called " A seagull on my roof" or something similar.

Anyway I´m now yawning my head off, so will say Ta ra for now love. Anne ;)


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

Angie,

I would like to swap links with you from this page to my page on Haworth and Rombalds moor. If you like the idea let me know.

regards

Tony


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hiya, Anne … yes, done Dumfries and Galloway and most of Scotland in our motorhome. My favourite place is the West Coast higher up, more specifically Plockton. I need to write a hub on that to go with my photos. It is an exotically stunning place.

I know the Cornish books you are talking about. They were written in fact by an old friend of mine called Derek Tangye. Although his Cornish idyll started with ‘A Gull on the Roof’ he and his wife, Jeannie, had had a somewhat more exciting life in London during WW2. He was with MI5 or 6 … and reading between the lines she may have been in intelligence gathering too at the Savoy hotel. His books became the Minack Chronicles but they are in no way related to the Minack Theatre on the cliffs at Porthcurno. Yet more hub fodder, I suspect.


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Hi Tony

Would just love to do a link up with your hubs about Yorkshire. What do you need me to do? Make it simple in words of one syllable … the dementia is gaining ground :)


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

Angie just add a link capsual in edit mode and my link. I don't think I'm allowed to give it here, I'll mail it to you or pick it off my page.

Tony


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Tony - I’ve linked my first mention of Yorkshire in this hub to your hub … will you check it and make sure I have done what you wanted please?

I did try to email you via personal email but it would seem that facility is no longer available on HP.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

angie

yes I've been trying to find yours too, they keep playing with this site.

I've linked you to mine also.

alseethee r'lass


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

Angie

I've actually put a link on mine in a capsual, whichis what I meant

okay many thanks.

Tony


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

Yes, I see what you mean now … will change it. Durr! Sorry!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Lately it's been awkward deciding whether it's wetter and wilder down in the South-west than in the North. Probably the safest places to be in Yorkshire now are on or near the moortops, away from the river valleys! I shall be up there in a few weeks, so I'll see for myself how things are up around Wensleydale, the Moors and Coast. What's your bit of 'God's County'?


jmartin1344 profile image

jmartin1344 4 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

I was brought up in Yorkshire (Doncaster unfortunately! ha). I spent a lot of time all over the area though and I would agree with everything you've said from what I've gathered from the older generations. I live in the US now as my fathers side of the family is from Toledo, Ohio. I am constantly missing Yorkshire though, and can't wait for my next return!

A great read!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

@alancaster - hiya! Well, I started off in the East Riding as a kid but then spent most of my life up in North Yorkshire between Malton and the Helmsley/Kirkbymoorside/Pickering market towns. It is so very beautiful round there and I often feel as if I am in exile here much as I love Cornwall.

Fortunately my son still lives just outside my beloved city of York (which has been underwater for about a week now) so I make a pilgrimage every Christmas to theirs to get my lit-up-for-Santa York fix and see everyone.

Thanks so much for letting me know you are out there, son of Yorkshire :) and keep away from the soggy plains. Have a nice trip!


Angie Jardine profile image

Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... Author

@jmartin … thanks for the comment and I hope you get to visit Yorks soon.

Admittedly ‘Donnie' is not usually regarded as one of Yorkshire’s highlights but then everywhere has areas we’d rather not talk about :)

I am so glad you enjoyed this hub … I have written another hub on Yorkshire and as you will have noticed I have given a link to the ones Tony Mead has written.

Just think of it as swotting up on Yorkshire before you get here and remember … this is stuff you won’t find in any guide book!

Though I can’t say if that is a good thing or not :)


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 4 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

There's a lot of snobbery jmartin, even within Yorkshire. Doncaster's got a lot of history, beginning with the Romans, and it's got what a lot of Yorkshiremen - and many 'outsiders' - like: a racecourse!

The town's suffered a lot in the past from a downturn in economics, but keeps its head up above water. Being so far south in Yorkshire, Doncaster's a sort of 'frontier town' with Nottinghamshire on the south-western side and Lincolnshire to the south-east. It's also within Robin Hood country. In the old days the great Shire Wood (Sherwood) stopped just short of the town, good hunting territory for the Merry Men with the Great North Road on its eastern side! Mind you, for motorists who don't come from Doncaster the town's a no-no! I'll tell you one day...


jmartin1344 profile image

jmartin1344 4 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

I agree alancaster, there is plenty of nice stuff in Doncaster - granted, there are certainly some rough and not so pleasant areas but where isn't that the case. Agreed - the racecourse is famous nationwide!

I have also paid a visit to the old Robin Hood areas - I would like to read up more on Doncasters Roman history though!

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