Roy Pledger
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My name is Roy, I live at Otley in West Yorkshire and I am retired. I am not the best photographer and most of my pics depict the unusual.

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The old North Riding of Yorkshire town of Yarm, was an important coaching stop and in 1848 this tiny town had no less than 16 inns, half of which are still in use today.
The imposing Ketton Ox, dating from the 17th century, now the oldest inn in the town, gains its name from a huge cow. This famous shorthorn was reared by Charles Colling of Ketton Hall in 1796 and grew to the huge size of 220 stones and was valued at the enormous sum in those days of £250. This inn was also a popular venue for cockfighting and a special room was set aside in the attic for that purpose. When the ‘sport’ became illegal in 1849, cockfighting continued and a ‘decoy’ room was constructed alongside the original in case the place was raided. Curious oval shaped windows 0n the front elevation, now covered up, gave good light into the arena.

The curiously named Guide Over the Sands Inn at Allithwaite in Cumbria, overlooking the northern part of Morecambe Bay, reminds us of the ancient routes which actually cross over the wide bay when the tide is out. Before the advent of more efficient transport, it was quicker for people to travel that way than overland. However, the quicksands, shifting fogs and sudden tides, made the crossing of these routes a dangerous business, indeed the Tidal Race, occurring every 12 hours, can outrun a galloping horse. Very few people can identify the safe paths across the sands when the tide is out and eventually The Queen’s Official Guides to the Sands of Morecambe Bay were appointed to ensure the safe passage of travellers. Every day the sands are different as the sea washes away old tracks making the job of the guide extremely hazardous. The official guide still lives at Cartmell and his house is surrounded by laurel bushes whose leaves he uses as provide for the safe routes across the Bay. The appointment is funded by the Queen, as a service to the public from the Duchy of Lancaster. It is still possible to make such walks to this day, but only the foolhardy would attempt such crossings without the guide!
An old signpost at nearby Cartmel shows : Lancaster over-sands 15 miles & Ulverston over-sands 7 miles.

This fine chapel is virtually all that is left of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital built in the mid 19th century. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone and regularly visited the hospital. The main building was the longest building in the world when it was built but the hospital was somewhat criticised by Florence Nightingale on her return from The Crimea. The hospital alongside Southampton Water, which was virtually a village,was demolished in 1966, but the chapel was eventually saved as a lasting memorial to the hospital. The grounds are now the Royal Victoria Country Park and the chapel has been converted to a visitor centre.

The church at Weldon has an unusual lantern top to its tower. This area was once surrounded by dense woodland and a traveller became hopelessly lost there until he spotted the tower of the church above the trees. In gratitude he paid for the lantern top to be placed on the tower and so created an inland lighthouse which was lit by candles!

The church in the hamlet of Warburton is probably the oldest timber framed church in existence today and is unique in that no systematic restoration has ever taken place, leaving this very unusual historic edifice we see today. In the neglected churchyard the many gravestones are weatherworn and covered in moss and foliage. Beneath one of them William Noblett has lain for more than 150 years. His demise, at the age of 81 years, brought peace to this tiny hamlet because Willie was an incurable whistler and from an early age had been known as Whistling Willie. But why should the people of Warburton be so relieved when Willie gave his last whistle? Well, at that time the area was noted for its poachers with many of the locals taking great pride in their brigandage. However, Willie and his whistle upset the apple cart because the local landowner, upon hearing Willie and his whistle, engaged Willie to act as a sort of gamekeeper. His job was to patrol the squire’s grounds at night and when he found a villager up to no good, to give a loud extra special whistle to bring the squire’s servants running and the poacher to justice. The epitaph on Willie’s gravestone once read :

‘Though herein he lies dead Whistling Willie’s fame has spread For his double tone, piercing drone Which chilled the marrow to the bone And will be made by him no more T’will surely continue by the law.’

What does it mean? One of the Squire’s most frequent visitors was Sir Robert Peel, founder of the modern police service. It was on one of his visits to Warburton, when he heard Willie, that Sir Robert got the idea of the policeman’s whistle, that double tone and piercing drone, mentioned in Willie’s epitaph.

The old church in the hamlet of Warburton is probably the oldest partly timber framed church in existence today and is unique in that no systematic restoration has ever taken place, leaving this very unusual historic edifice we see today. Now redundant this church was replaced in the late 19th century.

In the neglected churchyard the many gravestones are weatherworn and covered in moss and foliage. Beneath one of them William Noblett has lain for more than 150 years. His demise, at the age of 81 years, brought peace to this tiny hamlet because Willie was an incurable whistler and from an early age had been known as Whistling Willie. But why should the people of Warburton be so relieved when Willie gave his last whistle? Well, at that time the area was noted for its poachers with many of the locals taking great pride in their brigandage. However, Willie and his whistle upset the apple cart because the local landowner, upon hearing Willie and his whistle, engaged Willie to act as a sort of gamekeeper. His job was to patrol the squire’s grounds at night and when he found a villager up to no good, to give a loud extra special whistle to bring the squire’s servants running and the poacher to justice. The epitaph on Willie’s gravestone once read :

‘Though herein he lies dead Whistling Willie’s fame has spread For his double tone, piercing drone Which chilled the marrow to the bone And will be made by him no more T’will surely continue by the law.’

What does it mean? One of the Squire’s most frequent visitors was Sir Robert Peel, founder of the modern police service. It was on one of his visits to Warburton, when he heard Willie, that Sir Robert got the idea of the policeman’s whistle, that double tone and piercing drone, mentioned in Willie’s epitaph.

A memorial on Gibbet Hill at Hindhead in Surrey, marks the spot where a sailor was murdered in the 18th century. The three villains responsible were hanged on Gibbet Hill, in chains made at Thursley Forge, which can be seen at the Royal Hotel, Hindhead. The unidentified victim was buried in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels church at Thursley, where a gravestone tells the story : ‘ In memory of a generous but unfortunate sailor who was barbarously murdered in Hindhead on September 24th 1786 by three villains, after he had treated them liberally and promised them further assistance on the road to Portsmouth.’

The unidentified victim of a murder was buried in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels church at Thursley, where a gravestone tells the story : ‘ In memory of a generous but unfortunate sailor who was barbarously murdered in Hindhead on September 24th 1786 by three villains, after he had treated them liberally and promised them further assistance on the road to Portsmouth.’ A memorial on Gibbet Hill at Hindhead, marks the spot where a sailor was murdered. The three villains responsible were hanged on Gibbet Hill, in chains made at Thursley Forge, which can be seen at the Royal Hotel at Hindhead.

Peeping out of the sand dunes overlooking Daymar Bay on the eastern tip of the Camel Estuary in North Cornwall, is the tiny church of St Enodoc which was once completely buried in the sand. The ancient village nearby was also engulfed in sand and abandoned. In 1864 the church was cleared of sand and restored. Former poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman is buried in the churchyard.

On size alone, St David’s in South West Wales, is no more then a large village with a population of some 2,000 people, but its cathedral qualifies it as the smallest city in the United Kingdom and it was so designated by Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1994. The cathedral was founded by St David, the patron saint of Wales in the 6th century but the present fine building dates from the 11th century. A casket behind the altar is said to contain the bones of St David and St Justian.

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