Wensleydale weavers, cheese, beer and ancestors

Over the last couple of days we have been exploring eastern Cumbria and on into the western Yorkshire Dales. Sedbergh nestles below beautiful Howgill Fell, and has a some lovely quirky shops, including a craft workshop run by a local co-operative of crafters. I treated myself to an interesting circular weaving kit from The Threshing Barn and had a wander around the nearby restored mill at Farfield with its collection of artists’ studios, textile exhibitions and weaving looms.

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Then we drove on through lovely scenery to Hawes in the heart of Wensleydale. It was market day and tourists and bikers out in force. We did a quick trip round the cheese factory, great selection and plenty of free tasting! But the nearby Gayle had a different kind of attraction for me. Along a narrow lane I found a tiny burial ground and the graves of several generations of my Allen ancestors, including my 4x, 5x, and 6x great grandparents. They were all part of an obscure group of dissenters called Sandemanians in the 18th and 19th century, and so were buried together next to their meeting house. I will write more on my family history blog when I’ve sorted out who they all are! The bridge and river at Gayle feel timeless, and there are some very old cottages nearby, which would have been around when my ancestors lived here.

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Back in Hawes we bought some of the local beer from an interestingly named shop. The Allen family is still very much in evidence it seems!

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