I thought I might mention some of the tiny settlements in the dale and felt I had a good idea as to the difference between a hamlet and a village, i.e. the number of inhabitants or houses there but interestingly there is more to it. To quote Wikipedia ‘A hamlet is a small or very small human settlement.
In different jurisdictions and geographies, a hamlet may be the size of a town, village or parish, or may be considered to be a smaller settlement or subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement. The word and concept of a hamlet have roots in the Anglo-Norman settlement of England, where the old French hamlet came to apply to small human settlements. In British geography, a hamlet is considered smaller than a village and distinctly without a church or other place of worship (e.g. one road or a crossroads, with houses either side).’ Nearly right but missing one crucial thing that to be a village, or town I should imagine, there has to be a place of worship. With the help of the map, and memory, perhaps a little list, though boring, might just be interesting to those who may be interested. I wonder if I shall be surprised by any of my research, so here goes……………….
By the way, I shall only be travelling through Wensleydale, from Hawes to Middleham, for now anyway and I’m sure I shall have missed some. Alas I can feel another adventure coming on though finding all the hidden hamlets in other Yorkshire dales too!
Starting to the east of Hawes, there is Burtersett, but no Burtersett is a village as in 1876 the Congregationalists built a Chapel for public worship and also to be used on weekdays as a day school for the younger children. A little before a small Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1870. But here’s something, Hardrow is listed as a hamlet but there is a really pretty church there, do I correct Wikipedia? Won’t be the first time! Galye also listed as a hamlet, can that be right? Anyway, on to Simonstone and Sedbusk which are hamlets, my first proper find! On the same level as Sedbusk, Litherskew also a hamlet. Had a look at Brecan Bar in between Askrigg and Bainbridge but alas no mention so not at all sure. Newbiggin near Askrigg and Worton are definitely listed as hamlets. Cubeck also but only a couple houses there. Woodhall too and Swinithwaite! Seems to be a dearth of hamlets from here until Middleham and perhaps enough for now. Of course, there are lots of side dales with small settlements to explore. Hope this has inspired you a little to yet again get the map out and go exploring either by car, cycle or walking!
The photo is of Horsehouse in Coverdale, I know some of you will have already spotted that. Again a tiny village or is it a hamlet? Enjoy!
Written By Nadine Bell