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Long tradition

There is a long tradition of marking special events, and indeed people, with features and structures which now form part of our cultural heritage.

Water troughs and fountains

The Cavendish Memorial at Bolton Abbey is a grade II listed fountain which commemorates Lord Frederick Cavendish, second son of the seventh Duke of Devonshire, who was murdered in Dublin in 1882.

The elaborate nature of this fountain contrasts with a simple group of memorials, connected with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee at Oughtershaw. These include a simple stone slab carved with a cross and VR 1887 and a couple of circular stone troughs. Roadside water troughs or fountains were a popular form of memorial because they also provided a public service.

Benches and seats

The modern equivalent of a roadside trough or fountain is probably a bench or seat. There are so many in the Yorkshire Dales that we have only recorded those which commemorate someone of histoical significance.

One example is the carved stone bench in the National Park Authority’s car park at Colvend, dedicated to Arthur Raistrick, The Yorkshire Dales Society's Man of the Millennium. Another major figure in the history in the national park is commemorated by the John Dower Memorial Youth Hostel at Malham, the first purpose built youth hostel in Yorkshire.

Gardens and trees

The Queen’s Garden at Sedbergh, designed by Thomas Mawson and presented to the town of Sedbergh by Mrs Upton-Cottrell-Dormer of Ingmire Hall in 1906 to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria is another functional memorial. The garden was added to the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens in 2012. Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1887 was marked by the erection of maypoles in several villages in Craven.

In Aysgarth the coronation of George V and the silver jubilee of Elizabeth II are marked by plaques on the village green. Elsewhere such events were often marked by commemorative trees. Individual trees also fall outside the scope of this topic because of their large numbers but commemorative woodlands are included.

Special events

Memorials can also mark special events. Recent winners of best kept villages and Britain in Bloom are well documented. However a stone pillar on the village green at Linton marks it as winning first prize as the loveliest village in the north in 1949.

In some parts of the country the Festival of Britain in 1951 left its mark in the form of village roadsigns. An earlier roadside memorial to Lucy Elam in Dentdale is in recognition of her gift of land towards road improvements.

A simple memorial at Bordley marks the slaughter of livestock during the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak. It is a poignant reminder of the impact this event had upon our farming community. Like monuments to the Millennium, this Foot and Mouth plaque is an exception.

The examples listed above are just an indication of the range of structures which fall under this broad heading – we hope there will be many surprises amongst the features recorded.


The Feature of the Season project does not record war memorials or churchyard and cemetery memorials. Many of these have already been recorded as genealogical projects. Any memorials listed should normally be to an event or person which took place at least 25 years ago.

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