Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post Reply
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 42283
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post by Stanley » 16 Nov 2015, 04:24

Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?
I was in the Council Offices yesterday and picked up a copy of Susan Byrne’s ‘Barnoldswick Jottings’. It’s many years since I read this first and it’s always good to go back and re-read when you have gained more knowledge.
Two things struck me: One was the suggestion that ‘Walmsgate’ might derive from ‘road to the wells’. Like all surmises about old place names this is interesting but on the face of it hasn’t a lot going for it. Ekwall, talking about the place names ‘Walmsgate’ and ‘Walmersley’ tends towards the first element being a derivation from OE ‘wald’ or wood rather than OE ‘wella’, a stream or spring. We know that Barnoldswick was heavily wooded as late as the 14th century because when large timbers were needed to repair the King’s Mill at Colne they were sourced from Barnoldswick. So I think the jury is out on that one.
Second; Susan speculates on the theory of Jim Smith and Barry King that Gill might be the original site of the monastery at Barnoldswick and the original site of St Mary’s Mount. One of the reasons cited is that ‘the monks were unlikely to have returned to any other spot than the site of their abandoned monastery. Added to which the church they built was dedicated to St Mary as had been their monastery.’
I don’t find this very convincing for the following reasons. The community’s experiences at the original site could equally well have been a good reason for not attempting the new build there. I can imagine that an argument that a green field site at Gill would be quite attractive especially if there was the added bonus that the church could serve a wider area if sited there. We know that there was good stone near the surface at Gill. We also know from Serlo’s evidence that as preparation for the arrival of the monks from Fountains, Brogden was de-populated. This was a common precursor to Cistercian settlement. Why de-populate Brogden if you were going to build at Coates? Then there is the question of the original Saxon Church which the monks demolished because they were ‘disturbed’ by the locals celebrating their rituals there. If they were disturbed, the church must have been near the monastery. The defence that the demolition of the church was ‘for the greater good’ didn’t originate with the monks at Barlick, it was the foundation of Bishop Murdach’s rejection of the villager’s claim against the demolition. I can’t believe that a small hamlet centred on Townhead (which is by far the most likely site for the major settlement in Barlick) would build their church over a mile away at Gill. The most likely site is between Townhead and Calf Hall Lane near St Mary’s Well which is also mentioned by Serlo as being adjacent to the site of their settlement. So, on balance, until I have some better evidence I shall continue to go along with Calf Hall being the site of Mount St Mary.
Having said all this, I definitely think there is more going on at Gill than we know about. My reason for saying this is that there is very good evidence that the siteing of churches was very often associated with old Pagan sites. We have the evidence of Pope Gregory’s letter: AD601. 17th June. Pope Gregory the Great writes to Abbot Mellitus about the tactics to be used in the conversion of the pagans in Britain. Temples to be preserved but the idols destroyed. Holy water to be sprinkled and relics placed. Slaughter of animals for sacrifice and building of bowers to be allowed but only as celebrations connected with festivals of the church or saints days. “It is impossible to efface everything at once from obdurate minds”. “He who wishes to rise to the highest place rises by degrees or steps and not leaps” [Venerable Bede]
500 years afterwards the monks would not have forgotten this precept and the ting that fascinates me about the Gill Site is that it is on the line of the old track through Barlick and this is heading straight for the Lang Kirk of Craven, another monastic church at Kildwick, the most northerly low level crossing of the Pennines. I have no definite proof for this of course but there is some pretty impressive circumstantial evidence.
So my bottom line on this matter as the evidence stands at the moment is that Calf Hall is my favoured site for the Barlick monastery and that Gill was a compromise solution to the obligation placed on the monks from Kirkstall to provide a church for Barlick. Notice that I don’t entirely discount the old canard about the site being chosen out of spite! The monks were human after all and it may well be that the thought that by building at Gill to serve a wider area also gave the builders a bit of quiet satisfaction. When all is said and done, we know that this was why Milner built St James, as a Chapel of Ease and eventually Holy Trinity performed the same function and brought the church to the town. The monks had forced the town to walk over a mile to church for 700 years!
SCG/11 May 2004
Filed in Research/04
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 42283
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post by Stanley » 07 Dec 2015, 05:17

John Clayton has been doing some very interesting research based on the latest LIDAR imaging. He's coming over to see me on Wednesday and his preliminary results are extremely promising. I think we may be on the verge of another chapter in my long search for the original Saxon church....
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

User avatar
Wendyf
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 4794
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:26
Location: Lower Burnt Hill, looking out over Barlick

Re: Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post by Wendyf » 07 Dec 2015, 08:37

Looking forward to hearing more!

User avatar
Moh
Silver Surfer
Posts: 1941
Joined: 30 Jan 2012, 13:59
Location: Burnley, Lancashire

Re: Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post by Moh » 07 Dec 2015, 14:06

Try to get him back on site Stanley - tell him we miss his information.
Say only a little but say it well.

User avatar
Wendyf
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 4794
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:26
Location: Lower Burnt Hill, looking out over Barlick

Re: Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post by Wendyf » 07 Dec 2015, 15:00

He told me he doesn't know how the new site works....

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 42283
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: Gill Church as a site for Barlick Abbey?

Post by Stanley » 08 Dec 2015, 04:23

I think he's got out of the habit.... I promise I will bend his ear when I see him.....
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

Post Reply

Return to “Research Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users