Introducing my Swaledale history web site

On this blog I will be writing about selected histories of the people and places of Swaledale. It’s not where I live, nor where I come from. My paternal  ancestors hail from another of the Yorkshire dales – Nidderdale – and then from Teesside. I live in York. However, the reason for my interest in Swaledale isn’t hard to spot. My surname is Swales, a very old Yorkshire surname, still  found predominantly within the county.

As far as anyone can tell, the surname stretches back at least as far as one Robert Swale in 1170, who may or may not have been related to one Aluredus de Sualedale, a member of the minor gentry of Yorkshire of the same period. The descendants of the latter are thought to have become the family Swale who for many centuries lived at Swale Hall, near Grinton, in Swaledale. They were prominent in the dale until the early 1700s, and even achieved some national fame and notoriety. Their story is one of many aspects of Swaledale history that has captivated my interest.

I should explain that the area of Swaledale that interests me is the upper dale, from the villages of Grinton and Fremington rising westwards to the Pennine watershed. This was the area covered by the Norman Forest of Swaledale and was also the original area of the ecclesiastical parish of Grinton.

Through my membership of the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group, I also have some involvement in the study of Arkengarthdale, another former medieval forest, and the immediate neighbour – one might say the sister – of upper Swaledale. They are sometimes referred to as the Two Dales.

I am working on several Swaledale history projects simultaneously. This blog will develop as I gather more information and hopefully produce comments and articles that  are sufficiently cogent for sharing. Some will also appear on the web pages associated with this blog, and with luck others might be summaries of something more comprehensive that actually makes it into print.


About Will Swales

Amateur historian with a special interest in Swaledale, Yorkshire.
This entry was posted in Swaledale history and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Introducing my Swaledale history web site

  1. Nice to see that you’ve got this blog together, Will. And, in contrast to many others with cluttered content and illegible text, a joy to note the large font and clean presentation.


  2. simonjkyte says:

    I can tell you a bit about my ancestors the Cherrys there if you like – mainly in Kearton and Blades.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. simonjkyte says:
    see page 70
    The Cherry family was around the Blades area for centuries. Then my branch of it moved to Heptonstall, near Hebden Bridge. They mined lead and both areas had it. From there they moved along the Jaggers Road over the border into Lancashire.
    I actually do have some family history file covering 300 years of them but (in a great irony) it can’t be read in a Windows 8 environment.
    I did a lot of my research in a very helpful little museum in Reeth – I assume you know it.

    Liked by 1 person

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