Friday 19 July 2013

The Origins of Yorkshire Day

Fountains Abbey - One of the jewels in Yorkshire's historic crown
It can only be right that England's largest county should have it's own day to celebrate its greatness. In these days where for PR reasons national days are made up on a whim it is quite reassuring to know that Yorkshire Day will be 38 years old this year on the 1st August.

Fine Yorkshire produce
Since 1975 the Yorkshire Ridings Society has organized gatherings up and down the county as a reason to show off all that this wonderful about 'God's Own County'. In 1974 the Local Government Act 1972 came into force and with it a complete overhaul of administrative authorities in England and Wales. Many parts of Yorkshire were moved into Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Country Durham and the newly formed Cumbria (formerly Cumberland and Westmorland), Cleveland and Humberside. There was also the creation of South Yorkshire which meant the abolition of the Yorkshire Ridings.

The Winter Gardens in Sheffield, now in South Yorkshire
The Yorkshire Ridings date back to when Scandinavian invaders came to conquer parts of England. The Vikings called it 'Thrething' while the Danes knew it as 'Thridding'. Both of these mean a third part which is why there was the North, East, and West Ridings but no South. What is known as the City of York today was a county in itself.

York Railway Station at night
So disgruntled was the Yorkshire Ridings Society at the changes to their beloved county that they instigated the first Yorkshire Day on 1st August 1975 as a way to keep the traditions and customs of Yorkshire alive. The date of 1st August was chosen as it was on this day in 1759 that the Battle of Minden was won in Prussia in what is now part of Germany. Soldiers from the 51st Regiment, which became the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, picked symbolic white roses from bushes near the battlefields as a tribute to their comrades who had been killed.
Goathland Station, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, featured in Heartbeat (Aidensfield Station) and the Harry Potter (Hogsmeade Station) films

Year upon year more events have been staged across the county. For the third year running Wentbridge House, near Pontefract, will be running their free event in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The event runs from 12 noon to 7pm so there will be plenty of time to try one of the fabulous menus that has been developed for Yorkshire Day. Take your pick from lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. In between you'll be spoilt for choice for things to do. A perfect day out for all the family and a fitting way to celebrate Yorkshire Day!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Wentbridge House. The thoughts, words and photographs are my own.

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