Collection Highlight: The Burnsall Manuscript

In 2017 the Record Office received a volume of manuscript notes and drawings compiled by Revd William Bury relating to the parish of Burnsall and the surrounding area, catalogued under the reference Z.1570.

Revd Bury was rector of the parish of Burnsall, on the banks of the River Wharfe in Craven, in the Yorkshire Dales from 1839 to 1875 and started writing the book upon his arrival in the parish and added to it throughout his incumbency. Born in Lincolnshire, Bury and his wife Charlotte Augusta lived in Linton before settling with their family at Chapel House, near Kilnsey.

The notebook contains over 300 pages of beautifully handwritten notes on the history of the townships within his parish, their churches & parishioners. These record anecdotes about church matters, local tales & legends. He has pasted in newspaper cuttings of local interest as well as letters and notes.

The images below on the left show his sketch of Burnall Rectory, the top image showing it as it was in 1838 and the bottom image showing how Revd Bury thought it should be. The image on the right shows Scale House, Rylstone at the top with a photograph of Burnsall School below, taken by Revd Batty, Curate of Linton.

The images below show examples of some of the beautiful images drawn in the Burnsall Manuscript, the one on the top left showing Malham Cove and the top right Mr Wigglesworth’s at Thorpe. Bottom left is a floorplan of Rylstone Chapel, showing one of many of the more functional drawings in the volume. Bottom right shows a page about Netherside Hall, which includes a description of the situation and condition of the hall and the story of its owners.

Netherside Hall

About a mile to the North of the village of Threshfield, between the High Road and the Wharfe, on the steep bank of which it is built, stands Netherside Hall, now the property of the Rev. Josias Robinson, in right of his wife, a niece of Alexander Nowell Esq who erected it. It is in a remarkably commanding situation on the right bank of the Wharfe, and is a very large and well contrived mansion. Owing to it never having been inhabited, nor even furnished, the dry rot has made its appearance in the wooden panelling of the Rooms and has done annually a great deal of mischief. Mr Nowell, who built it came to reside here in in the month of August 1842 and died in it on the 17th of the following November. His Body was placed in a large deal Box and directed, as a common Parcel, to go by the Railway. It was detected at the Station, and a fine of £10 levied. He left his affairs in great confusion having been a man of the most expensive habits. His history is most singular.

Bury also reflected on the nature and landscape around him, as shown by this drawing of a plant and a list of the plants found in Yorkshire.

The image below shows memorial inscriptions, copied from Rylstone Church Yard and shows the time Revd Bury took to get to know the history of the area and the people who had lived in it before him.

Here is a video of Gail, looking through some highlights in the Burnsall Manuscript:

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