When Mum told me that our next trip with our lovely friends from Red Bus Days Out was going to be to Sutton Park, I was a bit confused as I know Sutton Park is very near to where we live. In fact, it’s so near that in the time it would take to walk to the bus stop, get on the coach, take our coats off, sit down and fasten our seat-belts, we could have walked to the park gates. And, while our park is beautiful and well-kept and has a nice cafe – all of which I’ll show you next week. I wasn’t sure what we’d do there for a whole day, especially as we’re all too old to play on the swings.
However, Mum quickly explained that there are quite a few Suttons in Yorkshire and the one that we were going to had been used in the television series, Gentleman Jack, which told the story of Anne Lister from Shibden Hall, which we’d visited on Yorkshire Day. Visit blog 47. SHIBDEN HALL, GENTLEMAN JACK AND YORKSHIRE DAY to learn more about it. She also told me it was out near York, which confused me even more as we were going via Halifax which is in the opposite direction.
As we’d been to Halifax a few times before, we amused ourselves on the journey by trying to remember all the Suttons in Yorkshire. As well as our own Sutton-in-Craven, we came up with a Sutton near Knottingley, plus Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe, Sutton-on-Hull, Sutton-upon-Derwent and Sutton-on-the-Forest.
We also came up with Full Sutton, which made us wonder if there was an Empty Sutton as well, so, if you come across it, please let me know.
Our destination in Halifax was the Bankfield Museum, which had been the home of Edward Akroyd, a wealthy mill owner, philanthropist and member of parliament, in the 19th century. After his death in 1887 the house was sold to Halifax Corporation for £6000 for use as a museum and library.
Both me and Mum thought the house was a bit ugly from the outside…
…but it stood in beautiful grounds and had some lovely features inside, including these fabulous tiles in what had been the conservatory and this wonderful lion on one of the staircases.
The main reason for our visit that day, however, was to see the exhibition of some of the costumes from Gentleman Jack, many of which had been made from material produced in Yorkshire. They also included a top hat, like the one Anne Lister liked to wear at a time when most other women wore pretty bonnets.
Mum also let me have a quick look in the toy exhibition where I spied a couple of bears, but, although they looked happy enough where they were, I decided I had a much better time travelling round with Mum.
After that we got back on the coach and set off in search of the other Sutton Park. Our journey took us along the M62 as far as Ferrybridge, where we turned north. Mum told me that her gran was born at Ferrybridge Crossroads in 1891. I thought this was a very dangerous place to be born as she could very easily have been run over as soon as she drew breath, but Mum said that her gran wasn’t actually born in the middle of the road, but in a cottage that stood at the crossroads, which sounded a lot less hazardous.
Mum also told me that St Andrew’s church in Ferrybridge had started off three-quarters of a mile away (1.2 km), but its original site started to flood badly in winter-time and so, between 1951 and 1953, it was moved stone-by-stone to its new site and rebuilt.
The next place we recognised was Cawood where the gatehouse is all that remains of Cawood Castle, the medieval home of the Archbishops of York. One of its most extravagant inhabitants was George Neville, who was Archbishop of York from 1465 to 1471. Soon after his appointment, he held what became known as the Great Feast of Cawood. This was celebrated over several days and 6000 people are said to have attended.
A list of the food they ate still survives and it includes 400 swans, 104 peacocks, 500 partridges, 2000 geese, 4000 coneys (their name for rabbits), 4000 pigeons, 104 oxen and 1000 muttons (their name for sheeps), plus 25000 gallons (over 113,500 L) of wine. I suspect it also included a lot of indigestion and headaches, but that bit isn’t mentioned!
From Cawood we went through Selby where the beautiful Abbey is celebrating its 950th anniversary.
Then we crossed the river Ouse over the bridge which was built in 1970 as a replica of the one from 1791. It’s still often known as the Toll Bridge even though no one has had to pay to cross since the new one was built. As the river is still navigable at Selby, both the road bridge and the railway bridge are able to swing round by 90 degrees to allow boats to pass.
After Selby, Mum felt a bit lost as it’s a long time since she was in that part of Yorkshire, but eventually the coach stopped in the village of Sutton-upon-Derwent, which was very pretty – but was the wrong Sutton.
The one we wanted was Sutton-on-the-Forest, 20 miles up the road…
Follow my next blog: 53. A CONFUSION OF SUTTONS IN YORKSHIRE – PART II