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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)

The Gate of Yorkshire

The Gate of Yorkshire

When I learnt the other day that the home of our Governor-General elect, Lord Galway, is at Bawtry, Yorkshire, my memory harked back to a cycling tour of my youth. The objective was Whitby, on the North Riding Coast; the starting point was London. I had toiled up the Great North Road, through Grantham, Stamford, Newark, and other famous towns.

Eventually I reached the border of Nottinghamshire; and Yorkshire, nobly represented by the little hamlet of Bawtry, lay directly across my path, or rather, I should say, on either side of it. I remember Bawtry, then, as a cheerful, red-tiled village, with a population of about 1,000 souls, straddling the main road as it entered Yorkshire.

Bawtry, being so conveniently situated on the North Road, was once a favourite lurking place of highwaymen. Especially memorable was the story of the famous saddler of Bawtry, who, according to local legend, was hanged for leaving his beer. It appears that a north-going traveller, whose saddlebags were laden with gold, stopped at Bawtry and commissioned this man to make some repairs to his saddle. The job done, the traveller paid the saddler and “shouted him” a tankard of beer, then continued his journey. In a wood just outside the town he was bailed up by a masked man and robbed of his gold. The traveller thereupon returned to Bawtry, and, happening to call in at the house of the saddler, found the tankard of beer he had bought him standing there untouched. This was sufficient evidence to set the authorities upon the trail of the culprit, and in due course the unnatural saddler was caught and hanged.

Being only on the edge of Yorkshire, Bawtry and its surroundings were scarcely the Yorkshire I had expected to find. Lush meadows, cool woods, hawthorn hedges and, in the distance, green hills were the chief items in the landscape. Our Governor-General elect, though a countryman with a home in real country, will have many new scenic experiences during his stay in the Dominion.

(Rly. Publicity photo.) Preparing a sandy wilderness for lucerne, at Flock House.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
Preparing a sandy wilderness for lucerne, at Flock House.

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