Historic Landscape Project

Medieval Embsay and Eastby and the historic landscape

The early development of two Dales townships.

 

We aim to increase our understanding of the early history of the parish through transcription and analysis of early sources; by fieldwork to record features in the landscape; and relating the two  to each other.


The earliest accurate map of the parish is the  tithe map from 1848. We are lucky that one of the original copies survives in the North Yorkshire County Record Office.  This map shows owners and occupiers
 of all the cultivated land in the two villages, the field names used at the time, and identifies residents and farmers of many of the properties in the two townships. 

Landscape History

Although hardly anything remains of the Augustinian priory that once stood in Embsay, there are still many features in the landscape which can provide clues to the history of Embsay and Eastby.

The landscape itself can be studied to identify the early settlements and agricultural practices. Parish boundaries and field boundaries are expected to be able to support the documentary research.

Embsay and Eastby have distinctive boundary markers across Embsay and Eastby Moors, and there are many field walls from the pre-enclosure period which still survive.

There are also hollow-ways up to the moors which are evidence of long-established cattle drovers’ routes through the parish.

The transcription of about 750 references in the Bolton Priory accounts, the “Compotus”, has enabled us to study how the agricultural economy of the villages were  managed during the 14th Century, when both villages suffered from famine and livestock diseases, and were then almost destroyed by an invasion from Scotland

Our desktop research is based on a wide range of archival documents including those from the North Yorkshire County Record Office, the Duke of Devonshire’s collection at Chatsworth House, the Borthwick Institute at the University of York, and YAHS collection at the Brotherton Library in Leeds.

The Early Development of Embsay-with-Eastby

 

Embsay and Eastby have a documented history that dates back to the Domesday book in 1085. Originally separate townships, the two villages have been part of the same parish for many centuries.

Monastic Estate Management 
An Augustinian priory was founded in Embsay in 1120, before it was translated to Bolton Abbey about 35 years later. The old priory site continued to be maintained as a chapelry, probably until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th Century.

Crisis in the 14th Century
The transcription of about 750 references in the Bolton Priory accounts, the “Compotus”, has enabled us to study how the agricultural economy of the villages were  managed during the 14th Century, when both villages suffered from famine and livestock diseases, and were then almost destroyed by an invasion from Scotland. 

Fieldwork
The ancient boundary stones have now been recorded in detail, and we have embarked on a complementary study of the field walls in Embsay and Eastby. The aim is to be able to create a typological time-line for the construction of the walls and field boundaries that define the historic landscape of the parish. 
 

Articles

Partners:

Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group:  www.uwhg.org.uk

Blog:

Embsay-with-Eastby Historical Research Group at: http://embsay-research-group.blogspot.com

 

Contact us:

Project Co-ordinator :  Chris Lunnon : chris@cjlunnon.plus.com

 

Historic Landscape Project Team Members:

Chris & Jane Lunnon

Jennifer, Sue & Tony Stearn

David Turner

© 2020 by Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group.

For further information email uwhg.enquiries@gmail.com