Tadcaster Historical Society -- Bread Crumbs

News, meetings, historical notes and requests for information

If you would like to comment on a Bread Crumb or can help with answers or ideas for any of the requests, please email the Society.

RAF Tadcaster, 30th January, 1919

RAF Tadcaster, or using its original name RFC Bramham Moor, was a World War One airfield located at Headley Hall. All that remains of the airfield is one of the original aircraft hangers, now a listed building, in use as a barn. You can have a good view of this building and the site of the airfield when travelling towards Tadcaster from Leeds on the top-deck of a Coastliner bus !.

Until recently the airfield has not been particularly well known, especially its scale and function. The airfield's story can be found in this small booklet by David Taylor, "Airfield Focus 71: RFC Bramham Moor RAF Tadcaster".

Although originally conceived as a base for fighter aircraft defending York and Leeds from attack by Zeppelins, in the later years of the war the airfield was used as a base for various Training Squadrons. Trainee pilots came from all over the UK and from overseas, including the USA and arab countries.

By the kind donation of a Tadcaster family, we have been able to digitise a photograph taken at Tadcaster Airfield on the 30th January 1919. This is a group photograph of the airmen and women present at the airfield on this date. There are about 400 of them. We would very much like to find out more about the people pictured in this photograph and to help with this we have made a copy of the image for download so that viewers may be able to recognise their relatives. If you wish to download this image, be warned it is a large file and may take some time to download and display.

If, on viewing the image, you can help us identify any of those present please email the Society

We're in charge !

The saviour of this photograph

Yorkshire Gardens Trust - volunteers

At a meeting earlier in the year a representative of the Yorkshire Gardens Trust described a new project research and recording historic parks and gardens in the area including Tadcaster. ( more information ).

The Trust is looking for volunteers to help with the research. Training is provided. See Steps involved with researching and recording parks and gardens for what is expected. Volunteers can choose which bits of the project they want to work on. The list of gardens covered by this project may include Grimston Park, Hazelwood Castle and Park, Healaugh Manor, Newton-Kyme Hall, Oxton Hall, Scarthingwell Hall and Toulston Lodge.

Members on a visit to Brodsworth House gardens

Harrison's History of Yorkshire, 1885

This is a huge volume in the possession of the Society and will be available for members to view at the meeting in February. The rather grand title belies the fact that this volume only covers the Wapentake of Gilling West - essentially the part of Yorkshire known as Richmondshire which covers the valleys of the Swale, Greta and Tees. Other volumes in the series were never published.

The author, George Henry de Strabolgie Plantagenet Harrison (a Marshal General in various overseas armies), was an interesting character, obsessively transfixed with the proof of his family's pedigree. This pedigree, published at the beginning of the book, takes his family back through the Plantagenets to the Emporers of Rome. Maybe his heritage gave rise to his rather sarcastic view of the nouveau riche ....

A great many of the Pigot family were buried here [St John's Church, Stanwick], whose tombs were destroyed to make way for the cumbrous piece of imposture erected to the memory of the first Sir Hugh Smithson of Stanwick who is represented as a Cavalier warrior in armour with Miss Rawsterne, his wife, lying beside him.

Here we have the sublime and the ridiculous in the superlative degree. This Sir Hugh Smithson was only a haberdasher of humble birth, who made a fortune from his trade and purchased Stanwick Hall for £4000 and his baronetcy for £1095. I suppose the flags above his tomb were made out of remnants from the old man's shop.

The book is also available in a digitised form from Yorkshire CD Books for £15. The web-page includes a review and commentary on the author, and more usefully, the place, name and illustration indices for the book. The book covers each village in the Wapentake, listing local pedigrees and details of the history of land ownership since the Domesday Book. The author's comprehensive notes for the whole of Yorkshire, which may prove useful to anyone researching family history in the county, are kept at the National Archive, Kew.