West Witton

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West Witton
St Bartholomews Church West Witton.jpg
St Bartholomew's Church, West Witton
West Witton is located in North Yorkshire
West Witton
West Witton
West Witton shown within North Yorkshire
Population 347 (Including West Scrafton. 2011)[1]
OS grid reference SE062884
District
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Leyburn
Postcode district DL8 4
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
List of places
UK
England
YorkshireCoordinates: 54°17′29″N 1°54′19″W / 54.29141°N 1.90527°W / 54.29141; -1.90527

West Witton is a village and civil parish in the Richmondshire district of North Yorkshire, England. Located in Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales it lies on the A684 (the main road between Leyburn and Hawes).

The civil parish also includes the hamlet of Swinithwaite. The population of the parish was estimated at 340 in 2013.[2]

The educator Eric James, Baron James of Rusholme lived in West Witton, and after his death had his ashes scattered there.[3]

History[edit]

West Witton was originally known simply as Witton, and was mentioned (as Witun) in the Doomsday Book.[4] The name is Old English, from widu and tūn, meaning "wood settlement", suggesting a place where wood was felled or worked.[5] By the late 12th century the village became known as West Witton to distinguish it from another Witton, now known as East Witton, 5 miles (8 km) down Wensleydale.

Burning of Bartle[edit]

The village is famous locally for its "Burning of Bartle" ceremony[6][7][8] held on the Saturday nearest 24 August (St Bartholomew's Day).

A larger than life effigy of 'Bartle' is paraded around the village, complete with glowing eyes. Bartle stops at various strategic places to recite the doggerel, before finally being burnt at Grassgill End to much merry singing.

The doggerel is:

On Penhill Crags he tore his rags; Hunter's Thorn he blew his horn; Capplebank Stee happened a misfortune and brak' his knee; Grisgill Beck he brak' his neck; Wadham's End he couldn't fend; Grassgill End we'll mak' his end. Shout, lads, shout.

At Grassgill end they burn the Bartle effigy. This celebration has its similarities to Guy Fawkes night.

Popular culture[edit]

St Bartholomew's Church was featured in the British television series All Creatures Great and Small, in the episode "Cats and Dogs".[9] Meanwhile, when filming in Yorkshire, several of the cast stayed at West Witton's pub, the Heifer.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Population Estimates". North Yorkshire County Council. 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2016.  In the 2011 Census the population of the parish was included with the parish of West Scrafton, and not separately counted.
  3. ^ Roger Young, ‘James, Eric John Francis, Baron James of Rusholme (1909–1992)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, October 2009 accessed 30 April 2011
  4. ^ "[West] Witton". Open Domesday Book. Retrieved 10 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Watts, Victor, ed. (2010). "Witton". The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978 0 521 16855 7. 
  6. ^ http://www.burningbartle.org.uk Official Burning Bartle site
  7. ^ http://www.halikeld.f9.co.uk/traditions/bartle/bartle1.htm Burning of Bartle – photos
  8. ^ http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=704 Burning of Bartle – historical origins
  9. ^ "St Bartholomew’s Church, West Witton, N Yorks, UK – All Creatures Great & Small, Cats & Dogs (1978)" - Waymarking.com
  10. ^ All Memories Great & Small, Oliver Crocker (2016; MIWK)

External links[edit]

Media related to West Witton at Wikimedia Commons