The Song of Upper Wharfedale

By William Foster

This was written for the Coronation of Edward V11 (1902) and was sung at festivities by his cousin Alan Beresford (of the Langstroth String Band)

Though Langstrothdale Chase cannot boast of being long

It’s often been put into rhyme and song,

But I’ll not sing about the Dale itself

But about the good folks who in it do dwell

Foremost and first of High Greenfield I’ll tell.

Where you’ll find Jeffrey and Ninian as well.

Jeff is renowned for the pigeons he’s shot:

Ninian is known for the photos he’s got.

Low Greenfield I’ll sing with its grand shooting box,

Its weather cock swinging I think it’s a fox

Albert is coachman and butler as well,

While Ned rears the stock for John Gill to sell.

Beckermonds comes next in the valley so low:

There you’ll find Foster and Beresford also.

Foster’s a man with a heart for the grouse;

Beresford sings a good song in Lodge House

Let’s call at George Beresford’s up at Cowside,

Hen-keeping and making great pigs is his pride;

He holds the New House, but he doesn’t there stay;

Nothing lives there but a ghost, as folks say.

Deepdale comes next at the foot of Sty Gill,.

With Peacock and Rowland and Ottie and Will.

Peacock has fame for the lambs he could raise;

Ottie’s a horse judge that all men can praise.

Turnbull is next and he keeps a shop,

Nothing he’s short of from needle to pop.

Granny is cosy just in the next street,

A nicer old lady no one can meet.

Look how Willie Thwaite can live at his ease

With winning such prizes for butter and cheese.

Margaret knits on in her neat little cot;

Chapman and Wylie make up a good lot.

Netherghyll come next, but no one lives there,

So, Frank minds the stock with very great care.

Swarthghyll is boony and cannot be dull.

They caught the big fish and tried to kill t’bull.

Cam Houses are yonder, up the hillside,

Sander and Alick and Bob there reside.

Beautiful Wharfedale, so sweet and so fair.

Nowhere in England can with thee compare.

At Yockenthwaite dwelling, with pick and with spade

Old George for a long time our good roads has made.

Beresford John, with his gun he goes out,

While Lodge, Tom and Anty are somewhere about.

Raisgill’s the next stop, just over the green,

Captain’s good bottle can often be seen.

Ottiwell’s gone over there to reside

And brought his fair wife to live by his side.

Grace Pawson’s the next – she keeps the George Inn –

Many a good Dalesman kens t’taste of her gin.

Hard by lives the Parson, he’s very good;

While Edmund Dixon’s snug under the wood.

Ben Lofthouse loves Cray and his White Lion Inn,

While his grand trotting horse the prizes do win.

Robinson’s out on his land near and far,

It’s there you’ll find Dick Hill, Lambert and Sahr.

Now back we return to Oughtershaw Hall.

Its fir trees, flowers and grand waterfall.

Look in at the school and you’ll see Mr Simm

Teaching balm songs, recitations and hymns.

Taken from “Beckermonds in Langstrothdale” by Florence Foster.

First published by the Craven Herald 1950, republished 2001 by the Wharfedale Family History Group.

Oughtershaw Church of England School Logbook Extracts 1897 to 1899

Held at North Yorkshire Record Office at Northallerton

Catalogue Reference HBB6/1/2/1-3


28th March Very unsettled weather this week causing much irregularity.  C & N Foster absent nearly all week suffering from severe colds.  Thos. Beresford absent on account of distance and weather.  E Metcalfe same reason and A Banks suffering from a cut finger.

9th April Severe colds prevalent among the children.  From this cause C & N Foster, H & J Turnbull, have been very irregular this week.  S A Metcalf absent all week, reason “wanted at home.”  They live at Higher Greenfield out of distance.

23rd April Attendance not very good, average only 12.  N Metcalf, Mary Metcalf, Robt Banks, Jno Turnbull (infant), Eliz A Lambert, S A Metcalf absent all week, no reason assigned. Deborah Turnbull present one half day only.  Reason for absence given as “illness”.  Margt Metcalf and L Metcalf came only on Friday owing to mother’s absence from home.

30th April Several children absent all week and several irregular.  Deborah Turnbull reason assigned illness.  H Turnbull, S A Metcalf, A A Atkinson absent all week through home duties.  Two of these are half timers.   John Turnbull an infant under 5 absent all week.

14th May Attendance rather low this week caused by lambing time.  Deborah Turnbull absent all week reason illness.  Jno Turnbull (infant under 5) absent all week, reason “does not want to come”.

21st May Several absent all week owing to sickness and others irregular.  All week Deborah Turnbull, Nellie and Christopher Foster.  Irregular on that account R Banks, Thos Beresford, Eliz A Parker.  A few absent owing to Hawes Poultry Show.  S A Metcalf absent owing to home duties.  She resides at Higher Greenfield and is much over the distance.

28th May Deborah Turnbull returned to school on Wednesday having been absent since Easter owing to sickness.

9th July Very poor attendance owing to bad weather and much sickness.  E A Parker and G Foster both absent all week through sickness.

27th August Very fair attendance for a start.  Nellie & Christopher Foster and Elizbth Lloyd absent all week, all away from home.  S A Metcalf, M Metcalf and L Metcalf of Higher Greenfield absent all week out of distance.  A A Atkinson also absent, over age.

8th September Robert Lloyd ceased his duties as master of this school on this day.

4th October Robt George King reopened the school this morning.  Maud King was present this morning. 

5 October Dorothy Beresford will continue with the needlework until Christmas.  Mrs King superintending the same.

29th October Nellie Foster absent all week.

2th November Gertrude L King took Infants in reading.

4th November C Foster present, marked absent in mistake.

8th November Laura King absent sick.

10th November Tom Beresford and R Banks absent without leave.

13th November Nellie Foster absent with doctor’s certification.

18th November Wet morning Greenfield children absent.

24th November Tom Beresford absent visiting with his mother.  Nellie Foster still absent.

26th November Mr Jno Turnbull has been attending to the stove and we can all feel the decided improvement.

29th November The children from Greenfield absent, snow on the moor.  Tom Beresford absent.

30th November Eliz. A Parker, Eliz. Foster and John Parker have attended everytime this quarter.

7th December Alice Ann Atkinson and Isabella Allison leave Oughtershaw this week, they will be struck off the register.

30th December Dorothy Beresford resigns charge of the Needlework.  Mrs King will teach Needlework in the future.


7th January Examination shows decided improvement in all classes.  E A Lambert spelling only fair, others very good.

11th February Two girls in standard 11 were taught compound addition Bessie King and Annie Banks.

18th February E A Lambert is most backward in spelling.  Deborah Turnbull slow in arithmetic.

14th March Tom and Edward Metcalfe returned to school today.

30th March Tom Beresford absent.

31st March Master resigns.

15th April H Turnbull aged 13 years left.

21st April Mrs King attends twice a week for Needlework and this branch of work is much improved.  Mrs King praises E A Lambert and A Foster for Needlework.

28th April Christopher Foster removed to Skipton.

29th April Eva King absent sick.  Metcalfs from Greenfield absent.  E A Parker and R Foster at home.

2nd May Eva King absent sick.  Tom Beresford the most irregular boy in school.  Only 21 on register now.

13th May Admitted Minnie Jane Foster an infant today.

1st June The master has withdrawn his resignation.

7th June E A Parker, E A Lambert, Deborah Turnbull all present marked absent in error.

13th June Tom Beresford is the most irregular in school.  Laura King absent – under doctor – returns in afternoon.  Elizabeth Foster has attended everytime since new master opened the school on 4th October 1897.  Maud E King absent twice sick in same period.

17th June Deborah Turnbull absent sick.  Lizzie Banks absent.

1st July Tom Beresford absent 7 times sick.  E Banks absent sore eyes.

30th August Doctor’s certificate states Tom Beresford is unfit to attend school at present.

14th September The Fosters come in just after I closed the register.

23rd September Maggie Metcalf absent, Tom Beresford still absent.

27th September Greenfield children absent, Hawes Fair.  Robert Banks absent.  Deborah Turnbull away at Nelson Lancs.

4th November Two boys, Robert Banks and Tom Beresford still absent.

7th November Elizabeth Lambert came on Monday, now absent sick.

9th December Greenfield girls, 3, will now stay at Oughtershaw.

16th December Lizie Lloyd has been readmitted for a few days.


1st January Eva Mary King aged 14 is approved monitress from this date.

 9th January Maggie & Lily Metcalfe were marked absent by mistake.  They did not attend at all this week.

26th January T Beresford still absent.  The Metcalfes, Greenfield absent sick.

27th January Maggie & Lily Metcalfe absent sick.

30th January Maggie & Lily Metcalfe arrived today.  First appearance except one day since Christmas.

31st January We have only 7 boys and 16 girls on the register.

Approximate Schedule

2  V1 Eva Mary King (Monitress) Eliz. Ann Parker

4  V   E A Lambert L A King R Banks M Metcalfe

3  1V Deborah Turnbull R Foster Jno Parker

3 111 M King (occasional 1V) E Foster A Banks

3 11  R Parker (7) Mary Metcalfe  C Banks

2  1 A A Foster E Metcalfe

5       Infants

6th February Although heavy snowfall the children attended.  Only T Metcalfe of Greenfield absent.

5th March Funeral of Mary Lodge an old scholar.

7th March E Parker present.

13th March Only Annie Cicely, Lizzie Banks and Alice Beresford have clean shoes today apart from my own family.

27th March School closed for epidemic – every child sick – Influenza, every parent ill.

15th April School reopened on the 12th.

21st April Richard Foster and Robt. Banks absent.  Minnie Foster sick.

27th April Robt. Banks appeared this morning.

5th May E A Lambert and Robt. Banks attended irregularly.  They are both 13 years of age and at that age parents think education is completed sufficiently and efficient enough to count sheep and lambs etc.  There are several young men that cannot read in this part of the parish.  Still the parents don’t feel the need for education or else it must be selfishness on their part and a saving of labour.

12th May Although 23 on the registers average only 19.6.   E A Lambert absent all week.  As HMI stated in report 1898 this is a difficult school for attendance.  Having only 5 children from the hamlet of Oughtershaw, a wet day affects all but these five.  Therefore attendance considering

the district has been excellent but still grant must suffer.  7 children coming a distance in wet weather though strong and healthy though not so sharp and intellectual after an exhausting drag of two or even three miles.

16th May Hawes Poultry Show.  D Turnbull and E A Lambert and Greenfield children absent.

6th June The master’s daughter G L King has had several pupils for music.  Eliz. Foster has progressed well and is now able to play one or two hymns in school.  She is only 8.  Maggie Metcalfe can also accompany on harmonica.

12th June Elizabeth Ann Butler left school, she has reached the 7th standard and her conduct has been very good.  She is a strong useful girl for home and has been a credit to our school.  Elizabeth Ann Lambert just 13 has left school, her education is only fair.  She is what we should call a fair standard V1 but weak in spelling.  This latter subject is sufficient to claim another 12 months at school but she is 13. 

26th June Admitted Isabella Allison and Isabella Turnbull.   Miss Woodd visited the school and awarded prizes:  1st Maud E King 399, Eliz Foster & ———-, Annie Banks 397, Eva King & R Parker 388, John Turnbull 386, Laura G King 385, John Parker 378, A A Foster 377, Mary Metcalfe —.  All the others are below 350.

19th September Roland Parker and Mary Ellen Foster admitted today.  Hannah Beresford and Isabella Turnbull entered in admission register also.

25th September Robert Banks returned to school on the 25th.

19th October Only two pairs of clean shoes in school today – Annie and Elizabeth Banks.