Mucking about in Muker

I’m grateful to Ned York both for his slice of Stonington history and for giving me a day off yesterday. But now I’m a bit behind.

On Tuesday we drove over to Hawes – about seven miles with steep gradients (1:24) and wonderful views – to do some shopping. The hotel in Keld stops serving food at 7.30 so we are cooking at home. Then we walked down the north side of the Swale to Muker for a good pub lunch; again sweeping views, waterfalls and signs of lead mining. Muker has its own Literary Institute and a fine church.

Literary Institute, Muker, August 2017.

It was consecrated by the Bishop of Chester in 1580, one of the few churches built in the reign of Elizabeth I. Much of the interior has changed with many late Victorian “improvements” but the graveyard and the interior are kept immaculately and it has an ambience of serenity and sanctity. Above the porch is a sundial, which is optimistic, and more practically there is a clock on the church tower. The clock was installed in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of George V and Queen Mary and its drive weights are wound weekly. Remarkably only four local men have performed this task in more than 100 years.

East Window, St Mary the Virgin, Muker, August 2017.

The east window was done in the 1930s. It depicts Christ the Good Shepherd, carrying a lamb and leading his flock. In the background is the Swale with rounded heathery hills, stunted trees and in the foreground wild flowers. On the left there is a beck with a waterfall. If you count every Swaledale sheep, some are hard to spot and don’t forget the lamb, there are twenty-three, referencing Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd.

Ruined mine above the Swale, August 2017.
Portrait of a Swaledale sheep wearing zebra leggings, August 2017.


5 thoughts on “Mucking about in Muker”

  1. Interesting, about the sundial. One must remember that it predates “standard time” introduced in 1880 and “railway time” from the late 1840s, a trend that was started by GWR in 1840. A necessity for train timetables to work.
    Previous to this, areas had local time and this was influenced by latitudeinal and longitudinal variations of sunrise and sunset combined with local custom etc. So in short the sundial probably told the right time when it was put up, “Swaledale time”

    1. In Ireland in my childhood agricultural workers did not observe British Summer Time and worked what was called “old time”. BST was called “new time”. My point about the sundial was really the dearth of sunlight in Swaledale for most of the year.

  2. PS I grew up in Yorkshire and 1:24 was considered nearly flat.
    I walked to school every day up a “main road” that was 1:7. That’s why I walk the way I do!

    1. Having now been over to Hawes again I see that I made a mistake. The maximum incline is 25% and it made my ears pop.Nevertheless I’m glad not to have had to walk to school in clogs up a 1:7 hill which must be about 15%.

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