Events and Activities

Events for 2021

  • Vernacular Buildings of the Todmorden countryside – walks to the Cross Stone and Eastwood areas

    Saturday 25 September 2021

    This will be the fifteenth visit or walk arranged for the Group by Kevin Illingworth since Slaidburn in 2006, but this one is likely to be slightly more strenuous than most previous walks. All roads and paths from the Calder Valley leading up the hillsides are very steep, until the green ‘shelf’ or plateau is reached at about 185 metres (600 feet) from Lob Mill car park. The well-trodden path from the car park uphill to Rodwell End is not long (about 15 minutes’ climb), but is steep and stony, so you need to be reasonably fit.

    Buildings we will see from public footpaths are at Rodwell End hamlet (four buildings), then Bean Hole Head (1638 & 1700), Lower Ashes (1610 & 1759), Higher Ashes (1691), Cross Gap (1674), followed by Pextenement Farm, Lower East Lee (1610 & 1631), Upper East Lee, and Lower Birks (1664). Some of us visited some of these houses and barns more than twenty years ago when our chairman Peter Thornborrow was running his popular talks and walks courses on vernacular buildings.

    We don't expect to see interiors of houses for obvious reasons over the last eighteen months, but there are interesting external features such as decorative hoodmould stops and many datestones. Possibly a barn with internal stone arches. Most buildings listed here have a photograph in the Listed Buildings area of the Historic England website at We will be walking through the farmyard at Pextenement Farm, where organic cheese is made from their sixty-strong organic dairy herd. Visit or

    Postscript: Missed this event? This short video shows a selection of images from the walk:

Third Thursday Talks

As we begin to resume our normal activities, we are continuing to offer a series of monthly online talks which will normally take place by Zoom at 7.30pm on the third Thursday of the month. The talks are open to all (including non-members) and are free of charge.

Members are notified by email as soon as booking is open for each talk, and details are also added to this website. When booking for a talk is open, please register by clicking on the 'Book now' button, which will take you to the Eventbrite booking page. Joining instructions with the Zoom link will be sent by email after booking. When possible, the talks will be recorded and published on the YVBSG YouTube channel.

Future talks

  • Vernacular architectural features in parts of Upper Wharfedale and nearby (part 2)

    by Malcolm Birdsall. Thursday 21 October 2021 at 7.30pm.

    Following Malcolm’s talk in March on Upper Wharfedale (part 1) which focused on the complex of buildings at Kilnsey, he now takes a look at rare examples of corn drying kilns still surviving, or which previously existed, in the area as well as extant examples elsewhere. They were once widespread in northern and western parts of Britain, wherever the climate was such that cereal crops were often harvested in damp conditions, and wherever oats were widely grown. The purpose was to reduce the moisture content of recently-harvested grain so that it could be stored without risk of becoming mildewed, or starting to sprout. Various sites will be depicted and analysed, including round ‘keyhole’ types, purely round, rectangular two-storeyed with fireproof floors (some stone, some slate, with constructional detail highlighted to show three types of drying floors and a variety of materials for covering these floors.). We’ll also consider dates, location relevance, ownerships, the Addingham Kiln Book 1713, estate surveys and communal use, together with a comparison of size and construction of ten examples. Malcolm will then share some details from his travels in 2020, highlighting vernacular features in Grassington, Parcevall Hall at Skyreholme, and Mock Beggar Hall at Appletreewick. Please note that this talk will not be recorded.

  • Looking closely at windows: what can they tell us?

    by Colum Giles. Thursday 18 November 2021 at 7.30pm.

    To state the obvious, all vernacular houses have windows. But not all windows are the same, they vary in form and style from house to house and within individual houses. Why? What can we deduce from the patterns which we observe and record? This talk takes the vernacular houses of the Calder valley for an examination of the ways in which windows can provide insights into themes such as status, function and the roles of the builder and client.

    Booking not yet open.  

Previous talks

  • Mediaeval Buildings Myths – The Folklore and Archaeology of Historic Buildings

    by James Wright. Thursday 15 July 2021.

    This talk was not recorded.

  • Bricks and Mortar - rural industry and the supply of building materials 1700-1900

    by George Sheeran. Thursday 17 June 2021.

    Until the end of the nineteenth century many rural areas that had not experienced industrial and population growth continued to produce building materials in traditional ways. This talk deals with the supply of bricks and lime for building purposes before improvements in manufacture were adopted. It is illustrated by sites and some buildings in the Yorkshire Wolds.

  • Three Carleton Buildings

    by Sue Wrathmell. Thursday 20 May 2021.

    Carleton village buildings present us with two very different sets of characteristics. There is the small agricultural settlement close to a hunting park and crossing point on the River Aire with vernacular houses, manor house, an inn and small church. All changed with the construction of a steam-powered cotton mill and terraced housing for the rapidly expanding industrial community. Three prominent historic buildings: the Old Hall, Spence's Court and Dale House, have been selected to present evidence of changes made through hundreds of years, using the development of the buildings themselves, and some of the research by the Carleton History Group into the families who built or lived in them.

  • Revising Pevsner in the North Riding

    by Jane Grenville. Thursday 15 April 2021.

    Pevsner's fieldwork for the North Riding took place in July and August 1963 amidst storms and ‘then hot summer, with the air filled with camomile, jasmine and lime’, according to his wife, Lola, driver as always, writing afterwards to a friend about the joyousness of that summer together. Pevsner loved the North Riding: the buildings, the scenery, the people (it is the volume that is famously dedicated to ‘those publicans and hoteliers … who provide me with a table … to scribble on’). This lecture covered Pevsner’s background and that of the Buildings of England series before going on to give a (necessarily selective) account of Jane's work on revising the volume over the past five years.

  • From Maypole to Daisy Bank: rebuilding a timber-frame at the end of the nineteenth century

    by David Cant. Saturday 27 March 2021.

    A short talk describing the moving of a timber-framed house from the centre of Halifax to a new site in 1890. This talk was presented as part of the YVBSG AGM.

  • Vernacular architectural features in Upper Wharfedale. Part 1 - the complex of buildings at Kilnsey

    by Malcolm Birdsall. Thursday 18 March 2021.

    This talk was not recorded.

  • A farmer-miner landscape: cowhouses and the practice of smallholdings in Castle Bolton (lower Wensleydale)

    by Hannah Kingsbury. Thursday 18 February 2021.

    The talk explored to what extent Castle Bolton can be termed a 'farmer-miner' landscape, by looking at the area's dual-economy, the practice of smallholdings and the use of single-storey cowhouses. Castle Bolton is home to a particular concentration of these cowhouses, making it a good case study to explore their form and features.

  • Ships timbers ahoy! Ways to convince it’s not part of the Armada

    by David Cant. Thursday 21 January 2021.

    Owners of houses and pubs with ancient looking timbers often seem to think that they must have been rescued from old ships. This talk by David Cant examined the reasons behind this with some examples from the north of England. He also considered the thorny problem of whether we should try to debunk this myth and how we could do this.