I’ve just had a lovely day walking round Bolton Abbey with a couple of friends. We wanted a walk that wasn’t too strenuous, potential for autumn colour and a choice of tea shops!! Bolton Abbey fitted the bill perfectly!
We’re only about half an hour from Bolton Abbey, it’s an estate owned by the Duke of Devonshire (of Chatsworth) but its origins go back to the 12th century. It was an Augustinian monastary built on the banks of the river Wharfe and I gather it was was still unfinished when Henry V111 fell out with the Catholic church and started the dissolution of the monasteries around 1540. The ruins remain but the nave of the church was restored and a roof put on so it is still used to this day for services and weddings.
It’s a beautiful and peaceful valley for walking on a sunny autumn afternoon, have to admit we chickened out of the stepping stones, there’s a perfectly good footbridge right next to them!
We walked up to the Strid, it is so called because the river narrows to about 5′, a ‘stride’, various people have drowned over the years thinking they could jump across. It is probably the most dangerous spot on the Wharfe as the river is actually about 30′ deep here, full of whirlpools and underwater caverns. It’s amazing to see though, I just like to keep my distance 🙂
The trees are just starting to turn here, the colours were lovely. The woods had that rich peaty autumn smell too. The leaves were crunchy underfoot, a perfect autumn walk really, finished off with a cup of tea at the Cavandish Pavillion.
You’re probably wondering why I called this post Hey Diddle Diddle, well local legend says that the nursery rhyme ‘Hey diddle diddle’ was based here at Bolton Abbey;
The story goes as follows;
Prior Moone was the last Prior at Bolton Priory at the time of the Dissolution, he settled in the area afterwards. Another family in the area were the Hey’s, there was friendly rivalry between the two families with each trying to rank higher in the district, causing great amusement to the locals.
The Hey family are said to have diddled (swindled) the Moone’s of some livestock, namely cattle. The cat and the fiddle was an irreverent term used for the Catholic faith from ‘Cato Fidelis’ which means faithful of Christ and the Church.
The locals found this all very amusing, there are still three carved dogs, one of them laughing, on the tower at Bolton which Moone had built.
Hey’s daughter wished to get married but could only do so in her local church, Moone refused so they eloped. Another version I heard was that someone was having an affair and ran off with the lady…
So there you have it!