A Quest for the Roots of England’s Largest County.
The past? If only we knew more than we do. If we could time-travel imagine what knowledge we might accrue and learn about our distant ancestors. But then, what would we do with all those out of work archaeologists and museum curators? A wild dream, yes of course. And so, lacking the help of Dr Who or Star Trek technology, we shall, then, for the moment confine ourselves to the rational world. Rather than offering a crash course in time-travelling, instead the reader must make do with this — I hope — informative little book.
Dig into some real history exposing the roots of England’s largest county. Using Ancestors in the Landscape I shall seek to unearth what we know of our lengthy and colourful past, from it far, mist-shrouded beginnings in the early Stone Age, up until the arrival of the Normans under Duke William of Normandy in 1066. This auspicious date I saw as a convenient juncture at which to finish, stop typing and put my feet up, as from that moment English history is well documented.
Learn how Stone Age man learned to control his environment, adapted to new farming techniques and developed a deeper awareness of the environment, leading to the erection of great stone monuments in the following Bronze Age. Discover your Celtic forebears, and how what would eventually emerge as modern Yorkshire became firstly an outpost of Rome, a battleground for Anglo-Saxon dynasties and a major Viking colony.
See how in the so-called Dark Ages the roots of the county were irrevocably entwined with those of Northanhymbre (Northumbria). Peel away the ‘onion-skin’ layers of time — historical veneers — to discover how after six centuries of sectarian strife, royal dynastic feuding, warfare, treachery and murder, each successive wave of invaders added their own unique ingredient to the cultural melting pot, leaving their unique mark on the countryside, and adding distinctive language components, many of which survive to this day in place-names and turns of phrase still current among rural farming communities.