Burley Meeting Report 7 November 2019

The Airedale & Wharfedale Family History Society met 7 November and Dr Phil Judkins presented his talk ‘Confusions Masterpiece’.

Numerous deceptions were put in place to ensure the success of the Allies’ D Day landings on 6 June 1944. Whilst the enemy anticipated a second front it was imperative that they did not know where or when this would happen. False information was intended to make Germany believe the attack would take place later and further east than actually planned. Scientist Bill Tutt successfully de-coded top-level Nazi communications so that the Allies could discern whether their false information had been taken seriously.

A number of double agents fed false information to the enemy. These remarkable individuals included: Popov (code name Tricycle), Chudoir (Bronx), Garcia (Garbo) and Johann Jebson (Artist) who was arrested and ultimately murdered by the Gestapo.

False plans regarding a second front ensured German divisions were spread far and wide, away from the actual planned invasion, code named Bodyguard. Fortitude Deceptions suggested the presence of a fictitious 4thArmy in Scotland and a planned invasion of Norway. Dummy oil depots and inflatable tanks were located near Dover to suggest an invasion of Calais (code name Rosebud). This option of crossing the shortest distance of the Channel was what Hitler believed to be the most likely scenario. Intriguing methods were invented by British radar scientists to replicate the positions of non-existent aircraft and ships in this area of the Channel. Rommel correctly assumed Normandy would be the intended target but his colleagues discounted this due to the absence of a port there. Meanwhile transportable Mulberry harbours were being constructed for this purpose.

Those who knew the correct invasion plans were referred to as Bigots but many leading figures including De Gaulle were kept in the dark. Not everything ran smoothly, D Day documents were returned by a London taxi driver after they had been left in his cab and the American practice invasion in Devon ended in tragic loss of life. In the event poor weather postponed D Day but ultimately the assault was successful mainly due to the absence of German reserves in Normandy. Stalin described it as the greatest military operation of all time.

The Society’s next meeting will take place 7.30pm Thursday 5 December at the Salem Church Hall, Burley when we shall be holding our general knowledge Christmas Prize Quiz. Members and non-members welcome.

Burley Meeting Report

Thursday 3 October 2019 by Susanne Young

The Airedale & Wharfedale Family History Society met 3 October and community historian Robert Schofield presented his talk ‘The Early Methodists of Wharfedale’.

Preacher Benjamin Ingham, from Ossett, came to Wharfedale in 1738 and married Lady Mary Hastings, sister in law of the Countess of Huntingdon. His son founded the Inghamite societies of West Yorks and Lancs. John Nelson, a stone mason from Birstall who was not on good terms with Ingham, developed societies around Bradford, Keighley and Otley and introduced John Wesley to the area. William Darney, a wandering pedlar and shoemaker known as Scotch Will, was a powerful Calvinist preacher who set up societies in Calderdale and Rossendale. He fell out with the Wesleys. John Bennett took over Darney’s societies and founded Methodism in the area. He fell out with John Wesley when he married Wesley’s ‘intended’ Grace Murray. William Grimshaw, Haworth curate and close friend of John Wesley, established the large Keighley Circuit which extended from Elland to the Scottish border. He converted Jonathan Maskow from Burley in Wharfedale who became a preacher. Thomas Colbeck, a grocer from Keighley, was a preacher in the area and married Sarah Flesher of Otley. On 30 April 1748 Bennett and Colbeck were entertained in Ilkley by Ellis Cunliffe and his wife Elizabeth Lister.

When Grimshaw died in 1763 William Fugill compiled records of the Keighley Circuit which provide a fascinating account of early Wharfedale Methodists and are currently held at Keighley library. These records include societies in Otley, Burley in Wharfedale, Addingham, Askwith, Grassington, Keighley and Haworth. Members’ names, occupations and addresses are recorded and their commitment or otherwise to the cause is noted on four separate occasions, ranging from ‘pure’ to ‘asked to leave’. 

John Ritchie and his wife Beatrice Robinson were prominent Otley Methodists and John Wesley stayed in their home there. Wesley conducted Ritchie’s funeral in Otley Parish Church indicating the inclusive nature of the established and non-established churches at that time. The Ritchies are buried in Otley churchyard together with often forgotten preacher John Bretell. The Ritchies’ son became a preacher and their daughter Elizabeth became Wesley’s companion and house-keeper and nursed him before his death.

The Society’s next meeting will take place 7.30pm Thursday 7 November at the Salem Church Hall, Burley when Phil Judkins will present ‘Confusions Masterpiece: The D Day Deceptions’. Members and non-members welcome.

2019-09-05 Burley Meeting Report

Hardy v North. The Yorkshire Jarndyce v Jarndyce?

Speaker: Mary Twentyman

Mary opened the talk explaining the title of her talk is derived from the central plot of ‘Bleak House’, a book by Charles Dickens. The case is a central plot device in the novel and has become a byword for seemingly interminable legal proceedings.

Jarndyce v Jarndyce concerns the fate of a large inheritance. The case has dragged on for many generations before the action of the novel, so that, late in the narrative, legal costs have devoured the whole estate and the case is abandoned.

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2019-06-06 Burley Meeting Report

Chairman Lynda Balmforth welcomed speaker Eric Jackson who presented an excellent illustrated talk ‘Remembrance – War Memorials & the Unknown Warrior’.

War memorials are a common sight throughout Great Britain with the exception of 54 (5 in Yorkshire) Thankful Villages where all the men returned home from the Great War. Prior to WW1 there was little or no commemoration of war dead; monuments such as Nelson’s Column & Wellington Arch celebrated victory but did not include names of the dead. By the end of C19th commemorative memorials began to appear for those who fought & died in the Boer War (one such plaque can be found in Queen’s Hall, Burley). The hitherto unknown enormous loss of life during WW1 prompted widespread commemoration of the dead.

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2019-04-04 Burley Meeting Report

The Airedale & Wharfedale Family History Society met at the Salem Church Hall on Thursday 4 April. Chairman Lynda Balmforth opened the meeting and welcomed speaker Gillian Waters who gave an illustrated talk ‘To New York, Chicago, Wakefield or Otley’.

Gillian is the archivist for the Washburn Heritage Centre at Fewston and her association with the Fewston Assembly was the inspiration for her talk. The Fewston Assembly was a project undertaken to identify and research people whose graves were removed from the Fewston churchyard to make way for the heritage centre. The title of her talk refers to destinations of former Washburn Valley residents.

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2019-03-08 Burley Meeting Report

The Airedale & Wharfedale Family History Society met at the Salem Church Hall on Thursday 7 March. Chairman Lynda Balmforth opened the meeting and welcomed speaker Nigel Grizzard who came to tell us the story of the Jews in Ilkley. Nigel is an expert on local Jewish heritage and leads guided walks around Leeds, Bradford & Ilkley & is co-founder of Heritage Project ‘Making their Mark’ a Bradford Jewish Heritage Trail.

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2019-02-07 Burley Meeting Report

Grave Concerns

Speaker: Stephen Miller

The Wharfedale Family History Group met at the Salem Church Hall on Thursday 7 February. Chairman Lynda Balmforth opened the meeting and welcomed speaker Stephen Miller our society’s webmaster and co-founder of Leeds Indexers (now Yorkshire Indexers) who presented an entertaining and informative illustrated talk about his Grave Concerns.

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2018-11-01 Burley Meeting Report

Subject: History of Chocolate in York

Speaker: Norman Simpson

The Wharfedale Family History Group met Thursday 1st November and the meeting opened with a short extraordinary general meeting in which members unanimously approved a change to the Airedale & Wharfedale Family History Society incorporating Wharfedale and Keighley family history groups with effect from 1st January 2019. Chairman Lynda Balmforth welcomed our speaker for the evening Norman Simpson who presented an interesting illustrated presentation on the History of Chocolate in York.

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2018-10-04 Burley Meeting Report

Subject: Otley to Nidderdale in Pictures

Speaker: David Alred

The Wharfedale Family History Group met Thursday 4th October and apologies to those who were expecting speaker Norman Simpson who will be joining us next month. In the event our actual programmed speaker Lynda Telford was unfortunately unable to join us so David Alred came to our aid at very short notice with a fascinating slide show of vintage pictures featuring Otley, Nidderdale and the Washburn valley. David collected his pictures from various sources including many kind donations from farming families around the district.

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