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The Lost Kingdom of Elmet

Hebden Bridge History Society meeting report.
Speaker: Dave Weldrake

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The name Elmet has strong poetic resonances, but Dave Weldrake, archaeologist and heritage educator prefers to take a strictly archaeological approach. In his talk to Hebden Bridge Local History Society he used the evidence from place names and archaeology to illuminate this lost kingdom of the Celtic twilight.


Castle Hill, Almondbury

Evidence from the time after the Romans left Britain is rather sketchy, but the existence of a British Kingdom stretching from the Wharfe to the Don and from the Pennines range in the east to an area in the west where places such as Barwick and Sherburn still have – in Elmet as part of their names. Kingdoms of the north such as Craven and Elmet survived until the invasion of the Northumbrians in the early seventh century.

References in the writing of Bede send archaeologists looking for a monastery in the forest of Elmet, which Dave Weldrake believes was probably at Eccleshill.  Eccles in a Saxon word for Church, and lies in the middle of a host of places with names ending in ley, such as Keighley, Shipley, Ilkley and Headingley. 'Ley' signifies a woodland clearing.
Archaeologists are hopeful that modern scientific advances might shed more light on this lost Kingdom, and the secrets hinted at by place names that have survived over the centuries.

Hebden Bridge Local History Society welcomes visitors to its fortnightly lectures held at Hebden Bridge Methodist Church on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month, starting at 7.30. Details on the website and in local libraries. www.hebdenbridgehistory.org.uk

With thanks to Diana Monahan and Sheila Graham for this report

Previously, on the HebWeb

When Oxford University Came to Hebden Bridge (29 Oct 2015)

The dam that isn't and the great floating plug of the Colden (1 April 2015)

Gruelling Experiences - in the workhouse (16 March 2015)

Pre-History on our hill tops (9 March 2015)

Growing up in Sowerby (16 February 2015)

Patterns in the Landscape: the evolution of settlement and enclosure in the Upper Calder Valley (5 February 2015)

Wakefield Court Rolls for Family History: Sylvia Thomas (18 Jan 2015)

Happy Birthday Stoodley Pike: by Nick Wilding (16 Dec 2014)

Wills, Inventories and Economic Activity in the Parish of Halifax at the end of the 17th Century: Alan Petford (30 Nov 2014)

Local History Society Archive explored - Following the 65th AGM, members of Hebden Bridge Local History Society were treated to a sample of some of the treasures to be found in the Society's archive. (19 Nov 2014)

Views from two communities on the outbreak of war in 1914 - Mike Crawford, Wolfgang Hombach and Nick Wilding (27 Oct 2014)

The Listed Buildings of the Hebden Bridge area with Peter Thornborrow. (14 Oct 2014)

Valley of a Hundred Chapels by Amy Binns (29 Sept 2014)

History Group Study Day report: Power and Potability (11 Sept 2014)

Whose land is it anyway? How parliamentary enclosure shaped the landscape of the Calder Valley: speaker, Sheila Graham. Read more (6 April 2014)

Yorkshire Life between the Wars: speaker, Ian Dewhirst. Read more (20 March 2014)

Industrialisation and the Calder Valley: Communities in a unique landscape - Talk by Dr Stephen Caunce Read more (3 March 2014)

Quarrying in Calderdale: George Bowers gave a talk on the history of stone quarries in our local area. Read more (15 Feb)

Calder Valley Buildings of the Seventeenth Century: the craftsmen and their patrons Read more (27 Jan)See Small Ads (12 March)

Some thoughts on historic buildings and their repairs by Alan Gardner


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