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Ripon and Harrogate

Churches Together of Fulwood & Broughton
Pilgrimage - September 4th 2004

The Wakeman's motto Daniel Defoe (author of Robinson Crusoe) remarked that "The town square in Ripon is the finest and most beautiful square that is to be seen in England!"

The inscription over the Town Hall reads:
Note - in the word 'ye' the letter 'y' replaces an obsolete form of 'th'.
Pronounce as 'th'.

One of the 12 aldermen, known as the Wakeman, (the same as a 'watchman') was appointed for a year. It was his task to appoint the constables to patrol the streets and keep order in the city at night. At 9 pm a 'hornblower' set the watch by blowing a horn by the cross in the square. The constables - the 'watch' - could arrest criminals and also had to recompense the victims of crime but householders had to pay the sum two pence for each of their outer doors every year for this 'insurance'.
The Town Hall, above, was orginally built as a town house for Mrs Allanson of Studley Royal, between 1798 and 1801. She allowed one of the rooms to be used for the meeting of the town clerks. In 1897 the house was given to the city by the Marquess of Ripon, then both the owner and the mayor. It is now under the control of Harrogate Borough Council but the Civil regalia is still housed there.

The Square has changed of course since his time but Defoe (1660-1731)
probably did see the obelisk (above), 90 feet high and visible from most parts of the city. It was erected in 1702 to replace the old market cross
and the Saturday morning market is held around it.

Jazz in the Market Square in the afternoon.
Bell-ringing Festival
There's no sound attached to this picture but
the Cathedral bells were ringing a full peal. .
Ripon Cathedral
663 St. Wilfred was appointed Abbot here. He built and consecrated a new Abbey church dedicated to St Peter.
711 St Wilfred died
940 His body was removed to Canterbury, by the Archbishop, Odo, of that See.
950 Ripon was destroyed by the Danes
1069 Ripon devastated by the Normans
1319 Ripon destroyed by the Scots
1604 Ripon's new Charter from James I
1836 the new Diocese of Ripon inaugurated.
Impromptu Concert
The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra held a concert rehearsal in the Cathedral in the afternoon. Some of our party dropped in to listen to some Tchaikovsky.

Morris Dancers found a spot down the lane
(left) to start some of their dances
especially for us as we were due to set off
at 2.30 for Harrogate.

The Cathedral seen from the coach park
Ripon Cathedral from the coach park Among the museums and galleries, the Workhouse presented another side of life in the 1850s. It was opened in an old building in 1777. Politicians, clergy and magistrates united to resist any interference from London but eventually it was rebuilt in 1854. Conditions were still grim. The inmates could, at the start, be orphans, old people, the insane, the unemployed, or vagrants. All vagrants were stripped and scrubbed with carbolic soap and given rough workhouse clothes to wear - a perennial problem was lice. Rations were meagre - little meat, no green vegetables or fruit though these were grown in the workhouse garden, not enough even for a healthy person as shown by the sample plates of food! The tiny cells had straw palliasses but no beds, only one blanket, minimal heating, and bolts on the outside of the doors for locking in the unruly. Conditions improved only very slowly, reformers always battling against bigotry. The idea that the unemployed are 'guilty' still dies hard.


Royal Baths, Harrogate
Shopping in Harrogate
The Royal Baths in Harrogate, but viewed from the back. It still looks a very imposing building and makes an interesting social contrast with the workhouse, especially as those using this building and enjoying the heightened social life of the town were often the same people responsible directly for the workhouses.
Wesley Chapel, built 1862, a Grade II listed building, refurbished for its centenary in 1962

Our group were warmly welcomed to the Wesley Chapel, by the present minister, who then introduced the Rev. Michael Waring, formerly minister at the Methodist Church at Withy Trees, Fulwood, Preston.

The Rev Michael Waring led a short but impressive service on the theme of unity between the churches. He described the various barriers made between peoples, from the Great Wall of China up to the wall between the Israelis and Palestinians. He pointed out that only we could break down the barriers between the churches.


There followed a splendid tea in the
Lower Hall beneath the church,
prepared by the ladies of the parish. Everyone wanted to congratulate them on their efficiency - especially the speed with which the emptied cups of tea (or coffee) were so quickly refilled!
Then it was time to return home...


Back into the sunshine and lengthening shadows after
Blubberhouses Moor, across a river catching the fading light...
...and the old familiar face of Pendle growing dark against the sky.