Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Black Hill long barrow on Low Bradley moor

A short walk up from Cononley station, above Farnhill, a huge round cairn and the battered remains of the long barrow are the first sight over the dry stone wall dividing Low Bradley Moor and Farnhill Moor. The long barrow is a rarity in these parts, I wondered whether its proximity to the Aire made it some kind of evidence for migration along the river upstream from East Yorkshire. The excavation notes recorded one male burial and several later cremations. The huge capstone looked impressive, cup and ring marked rocks are recorded here but we could see none on our visit.

The round cairn is huge but depleted in places, the huge dry stone wall next to it probably robbed it of its height.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Maria Marten most beautiful and fair. I promised I would marry her upon a certain day; Instead of that I was resolved to take her life away.

Whilst doing some research on Mary Bateman, I came across a similar case of reburial following the display of an executed criminal's remains. William Corder, who commited the infamous Red Barn murder which was documented in an extremely popular ballad, Maria Marten (Shirley Collins rendition is a favourite of mine...)

"She conceded that Corder, who confessed to the murder the night before he was hanged, was a villain.

"But at the end of the day he was a human being and had a right to be laid to rest," she said"

Partly this case makes me think I will be unsucessful in my attempts to get her buried, and partly it gives me hope that the issue is taken seriously enough to warrant an attempt. Mary Bateman's tongue, preserved and kept in the Bolling Hall museum, was destroyed in 1959 it was confirmed to me today by their social history advisor. If her tongue is considered too morbid an item to retain, her bones must surely be too. The indignity of her body being used as a publicity device for 'ghost hunts' and halloween parties seems to degrade the enormity of a mother's execution, an act which as a society we are supposed to have progressed beyond the need for.