Bilsdale – A Short History

WhereGreat Broughton Village HallType of EventTalk
When Monday 16th October 2023TutorMalcolm Bowes

This lecture was delivered by Malcolm Bowes, Bilsdale Local History Group.  The Group was founded in 1982 and is still active after 40 years.  The talk was a survey of the dale and how it compares with other areas.

Commencing with the end of the last Ice Age a variety of people have inhabited Bilsdale.  From hunter-gatherers who began clearing the land, through the Neolithic about which little is known, to the Bronze Age.  These people had to work lower down in the bottom  of the dale as much soil had been lost from the tops which had become moorland.  And then the Anglo-Saxon , Viking and Norman incomers.  Name changes from the Vikings while the Normans imposed changes in land ownership.

Significant developments included establishment of monasteries and industrial activities. Minerals were discovered and agriculture changed with land drainage and better equipment.  Mills were built and inns appeared.

Bilsdale had other ecclesiastical developments.  Churches, chapels and a Quakers’ meeting house appeared.  Schools were established.

The social side, if that is the correct term, of Bilsdale was mentioned.  In particular hunting and smuggling.  Many of the families have lived in Bilsdale for many generations.

It was a good turnout.  Several Bilsdale members also attended.  Questions were asked and after the talk tables of exhibits and books were examined.  An enjoyable evening.

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