Posts Tagged ‘Wm Bunting’

Beverley Pastures

March 30, 2014

At the Forum’s recent Annual Meeting we were treated to an excellent talk about the Beverley Pastures by Barbara English and Kieran Sheehan.  The history of these five ancient commons, their natural history and the ongoing campaign to ensure that they remain in perpetuity Common Pastures in the true sense was enjoyed by all those attending, so much so that it was agreed that a visit to the lesser known but more biologically diverse Commons should be arranged for later in the year!

I suspect that many people on their way to the East Coast will travel through the Westwood or Hurn and not really be aware of their historic significance nor the biological importance of their near neighbours at Swinemoor, Figham and Lund or “those at t’other side of the tracks” as they were described yesterday!

140330 Beverley Pastures front cover

There is a super little book which provides an excellent account of the Beverley Pastures, written by Barbara English.  It was published in 2013 to mark the 5oth Anniversary of the Beverley and District Civic Society.  A veritable bargain at £5.99 and certainly a useful starting point for anyone interested in the area.

To supplement the published detail there are a number of useful websites and blogs to keep community campaigners and activists alert and up to speed with happenings.  The Beverley Commons Blog (BCB) is an absolute must, BirdNerd provides site information for the ornithological interest of Swinemoor and the Dartford Waffler writes occasional posts from visits to the site.

Swinemoor, Figham and Lund Commons were, like Thorne & Hatfield Moors, once far more extensive.  As ever, over time they have been encroached upon and lost to developments of one sort or another.  It seems that like many other areas there appear to be times when adherence to procedures and legislative compliance could be better and as a consequence there is a need for vigilance by local community activists to ensure that there is open and transparent conduct of business by local planning authorities and other public bodies.  There is an interesting section in the book which explains about the Pasture ownership and governance and in terms of ownership an interesting explanation is to be found on the BCB.  The battle to ensure in perpetuity the rights of common, remind us of Wm Bunting’s battle here at Thorne.  It was interesting to discover also that Emeritus (University of Hull) Professor English had many years ago met ‘WB’, a ‘small world’ as they say?

It is interesting to observe that one of the images accompanying the Wikipedia definition of Pasture Land is that which shows Beverley Minster in the background!  Common Land and the fight to keep it is rich in social history and is often linked to rural areas and local people’s rights many of which, these days, have been lost to hearth (turbary etc.).

Thorne Times offers readers chance to win Limited Edition Prints

December 21, 2013

Readers local to Thorne & Hatfield Moors may well receive the Thorne Times, a recent iniative which sees local stories contributed by local people.  The paper is the project of Karren Wake who funds the ‘freesheet’ and its delivery to in excess of 16,000 properties in the area through advertising.  Each edition sees 48 pages packed with local news, events and items of interest to the local communities of Moorends, Thorne, Fishlake, Hatfield, Stainforth, Dunscroft & Dunsville.

It has just distributed its fourth edition, the January copy in which the regular column “Ramblings and nature notes of a bog-trotter” offers readers the opportunity to win a set of Limited Edition Prints, individually signed by the artist, the late Dr Peter Skidmore?  Other runner up prizes include copies of An Inventory of the Invertebrates of Thorne & Hatfield Moors and other Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum publications.  All correct entries will receive a copy of the Forum’s Hatfield Moors map (to be collected from the Thorne Times office).

There are six easy questions, the answers to which can be found in the first three editions of the Thorne Times.

  1. Who described the late Wm Bunting as “Naturalist, Pamphleteer, Archivist, Rebel, Bad-tempered old-sod and Inspiration”?
  2. In 1999 Evarca arcuata was discovered on Hatfield Moors, what is it?
  3. What year was the Thorne Moors beetle first discovered in the UK?
  4. What was the total number of species of invertebrates found from a Survey undertaken in 2012?
  5. What year did English Nature try to remove the protective status of large parts of Thorne & Hatfield Moors?
  6. Which winter thrushes breed in Scandanavia?

So, many blog readers will know the answers to at least five of the above, question 4 might be the tricky one?

Go on, get a copy and find out more on page 22.  Send in your entry – who knows a copy of the superb Limited Edition Prints may be yours for a few minutes effort.  Runners up prizes include copies of An Inventory of the Invertebrates of Thorne & Hatfield Moors and other Forum publications.



Geese, Commons & WB

November 24, 2013

Much has been written about the late Wm Bunting, described by Catherine Caufield in her book Thorne Moors* as “Naturalist, Pamphleteer, Archivist, Rebel, Bad-tempered old sod, and Inspiration”.  Blog readers may be aware that he had a calling card on which was printed a verse, variously described as being of 17th and 18th Century origin.  Thus far I have not been able to establish the author of the verse.  What I have discovered recently is that there are three more verses to the poem which I share with you on this evening’s post

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.
The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who takes things that are yours and mine.
The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.
 The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

I would say that I could not offer a better analysis of the folk poem that that offered by Professor James Boyle (Duke Law School), he describes it as being  one of the pithiest condemnations of the English enclosure movement—the process of fencing off common land and turning it into private property. In a few lines, the poem manages to criticize double standards, expose the artificial and controversial nature of property rights, and take a slap at the legitimacy of state power. And it does it all with humor, without jargon, and in rhyming couplets. 

WB 1971

The image above of the late Wm Bunting is believed to be taken around 1971 and the photographer is unknown …. I’d be delighted if anyone recognises their handywork, please let me know then credits will be happily applied.

* Thorne Moors was published in 1991 by The Sumach Press (ISBN 0-7126-5166-7 hbk / 0-7126-5167-5 pbk).  Whilst there are only 70 pages of text, some 12 images by Fay Godwin, the little tome provides a fascinating insight into the early days of the campaign to save Thorne Moors.

Copies are still available through second hand book dealers, inclusion of the one via the link offered above does not offer endorsement of that company.  It is also available through others but I was not impressed by the description offered by the company ….  Although not an area of outstanding beauty.  That I offer is a subjective observation and one I’d hazard a guess was made without even a visit?  Was it a fenman who said to Sir Harry Godwin something along the lines of “any fool can appreciate mountain scenery but it takes a man of discernment to appreciate the fens”.    

The information contained in the Wikipedia listing, whilst in the main accurate readers should note that the first image offered is of Hatfield not Thorne Moors.

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Mark Avery

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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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