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To the Thoresby Society

Why did it happen?

Don Cole October 2018Sixty plus years researching the local history of the ancient parish of Adel inevitably led, during a long retirement, to numerous requests for slide lectures.  Questions were encouraged at the end of each talk, and, from time to time, someone would ask, “How did you become interested in history?”

Even at a young age I was always asking questions.  I remember sitting on grandad’s knee in the early 1930’s, gazing at a picture on the opposite wall.  My curiosity burst forth with … “What is the man saying to the little boy?  Why is the girl behind him crying?  Is the big soldier hurting her?”  The print was of the well-known painting entitled, ‘When did you last see your father?’ by William Frederick Yeames … and grandad quietly told the story and what really happened in the dreadful English Civil War.

That was the beginning.

As I grew older I was so fortunate to be taught by teachers with a deep, passionate love of history … one at Junior School, two at Grammar School and a College lecturer at Bangor.  Their enthusiasm, dedication and ability to stimulate others ensured my lifelong interest in that subject.

When my wife and I moved to Cookridge in 1957 the lure of the vast wood, called Moseley, beyond our back garden was irresistible.  There were pathways, apparently going nowhere, a long seat carved out of a huge millstone grit rock, and tales of monks!  It was enough to set me on a challenging yet rewarding journey of research … visits to Record Offices countrywide; walking the fields, lands, tracks, township boundaries; using camera and sketch pad to note observations and finds, e.g. cup and ring marks, Roman curb stones, upright medieval vaccary walls and way marker bases; 16thc enclosures; 17thc - 19thc vernacular buildings, and earlier timber-framed dwellings later encased in stone, and so on.

I must also express my grateful thanks to so many people who have given their unstinting time and talent during my research … staffs of record offices and historical societies, libraries, museum curators, university professors, landowners, farmers, householders, and old folk with fascinating memories.

Over late years the research led to the production of 19 small books on various historical aspects of Adel Parish and the Townships within it.  Thanks to … ex-colleague David Thornton’s encouragement that the first two were written; daughter Janet for typing the first 15 and friend Linda Storey for completing the rest; long-time friend Steve Burt for proof reading, together with my wife Sheila.  Her strong support, and endless patience, ensured the research was completed.

Oh, there is one other book, about a farm near Buckden, published by the Wharfedale Family History Group, written because of a personal request … and my insatiable curiosity!

Don Cole

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