Keith and I met at 9 a.m. outside the Coop, ready for a day exploring Beverley, a town in East Yorkshire that I’d never been to. Keith’s mother’s family had the surname Beverley and he’s always wanted to visit the town. it took two hours to drive there, in spite of it only being 78 miles. Apart from the driving on the M62 around Leeds the rest of the journey was on much narrower country roads. North Cave and Wallingford were two little tows that looked quite delightful.
We parked right by the Minster and made that imposing edifice our first call. This parish church looks like a cathedral and the most interesting feature, both inside and out are the many carvings. I asked a docent about one grotesque and we learned that many of the figures are musicians. In fact, Beverley was the center of the Medieval guild of musicians for the north of England. There were at least 39 medieval guilds. What a wonderful coincidence: we’ve got a music connection.
We had lunch in a tea shop and then went to wander around the market town. Unlike Hebden Bridge with its unique stores Beverly has all the shops that Keith recognized from Bath. Beverley has always had reputation of being gentile – rather like Harrogate and Bath. There’s little evidence of industry, and it’s surrounded by rolling countryside and cows. In fact just outside the town there’s on open grazing space and we had to wait until a cow crossed the road. Welcome to the North! It seems hard to imagine that the town was once a port, and so had access to many weird and wonderful items from overseas.
We spent an hour in the ‘Treasure House’ (local history museum) looking through a book about the guilds – not no mention of the musicians guild – and dipping into Find Your Past for Beverleys from Beverley. Keith began to see the huge scope of his task! We walked to St Martin’s church but we couldn’t find any Beverley tomb-stones there. One of Keith’s relatives had apparently found some on a previous visit. he faced-timed his mom so that she could see what we were seeing.
We had a lot of rain on the drive back and the mist was covering the hilltops but by the time we reached Hebden Bridge the sun was shining and I got some of the best shots of the center of the town with the late afternoon light after the heavy rain. We looked in several estate agents’ windows and then we walked along the canal to Stubbin Wharf and had dinner. We’d had a 12 hour day chatting constantly after not spending time with each other for more than ten years.