A History of Yorkshire: 'County of the Broad Acres'
by David Hey
The historic county of Yorkshire lasted for about 1,000 years. Its administrative structure was swept away in 1974, but its distinctive identity is ... Show synopsis The historic county of Yorkshire lasted for about 1,000 years. Its administrative structure was swept away in 1974, but its distinctive identity is still clearly recognised by its own people and by outsiders. Yorkshire was the largest English county. The three Ridings of Yorkshire covered about an eighth of the whole of the country, stretching from the river Tees in the north to the Humber in the south, and from the North Sea to the highest points of the Pennines. In such a large area there was a huge diversity of experience and history. Life on the Pennines or the North York Moors, for example, has always been very different from life in low-lying agricultural districts such as Holderness or the Humberhead Levels. And the fisherfolk of Staithes or Whitby might not readily recognise the accents, ways or customs of the cutlery makers of Hallamshire, still less perhaps of the farmers of Wensleydale or Craven. In some ways, this diversity makes Yorkshire the most interesting of England's historic counties, a microcosm of the country as a whole. Its variety and beauty also help to explain why Yorkshire is now such a popular tourist desination. Until quite recently people felt that they belonged to their own local area or 'country'. Few people travelled very far, and it was not until the late nineteenth century that the success of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club seems to have forged the idea of Yorkshire as a singular identity, and which gave its people a sense of their superiority. This single volume describes the broad sweep of Yorkshire's history from the end of the last Ice Age up to the present day. To do so Professor Hey has had to tell the story of each particular region and of each town. He talks about farming and mining, trade and industry, fishing and ways of life in all parts of the county. Having lived, worked, researched, taught and walked in the county for many years, he has amassed an enormously detailed knowledge and understanding of Yorkshire. The fruits of his work are presented here in what has been described as 'a bravura performance - by one of the Yorkshire's finest historians'. With a particular emphasis on the richness of landscape, places and former ways of life, this important book is a readable, informative and fascinating overview of Yorkshire's past and its people.