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11 September 2016

The Hunt for Blamire Young

Do you remember me talking about Blamire Young? It was Blamire whose wonderful Fawkner Press woodcuts inspired me to start capturing a few ideas for a new comic in a lino-cut style. With these two simple pictures, Blamire managed to poor petrol on the flames of my new obsession. Fantastic!

I knew of William Blamire Young as an Australian, but imagine my surprise to discover last week that he was born in Yorkshire in a town called Londesborough (in East Yorkshire to be precise). It so happens that I live quite near to Londesborough and you know what? I've never been there! That all changed last weekend.

Here are the Fawkner Press Prints I mentioned. Aren't they great!

You might think that the hunt for Blamire Young is code for a quest for lino-cut excellence, and it is, but it is also a quest for Blamire Young. I wondered if I would find any hints of his starting out life in Londesborough. Would one of Australia's most significant and influential artists have a gold letterbox on the high-street? Perhaps there would be a statue of him in the village green resplendent in a towering top hat, arm outstretched, pointing East?

There was only one way to find out...

Londesborough is not a market town of the sort you'll find dotted about these parts. There is no centre to speak of (or at least, I didn't find one). It is more a collection of quaint old houses nestled between the trees. The town itself is kind of out of the way.... It's not somewhere you pass through on the way to somewhere else; You really need to want to go there to go there.

I had done some research before turning up and even so, I didn't have clue where I was when I arrived. I'd spied a walk I wanted to do, but I couldn't for the life of me find the beginning of it. Never mind, I parked up outside the church to find my bearings only to discovered that this was where the walk started. Ha ha. There is a lesson here somewhere I'm sure.

I got to wondering whether there were any of the Young family buried in the cemetery. I had a quick look to no avail but figured I'd come back after my walk for a closer scout about.

It turns out that Londesborough has a lot to be proud of, but try as I might, I could find no mention of Blamire Young. He was born on the 9th of August 1862 somewhere in the village. But where?

His father, Colonel Young had a brewery on Chapmangate in near-by Pocklington (later sold to the Tadcaster brewery).

He was one of 12 brothers and sisters. Surely there would be some sign of them here?


Oh how things have decayed. These here are the lodge gates built in 1905 for Edward VII's visit. There was another notable Young in Londesborough at the same time as Blamire Young's family and might well have lived in the little house just next to these impressive gates. I don't think that they were related.

David Young was the head gamekeeper at Londesborough Park. I found his grave in the church when I went back to it later in the afternoon. 

 "In affectionate remembrance of David Young was born Feb 14 1832 and died Jan 7 1898. Esteemed and regretted by all who knew him. He was for forty eight years Gamekeeper in the family of Lord Londesborough and since 1865 Head Keeper on this estate. This stone was erected as an acknowledgement of long and faithful service by the Earl of Londesborough. Well done, good and faithful servant."

They were different times. It sounds like David Young was missed when he finally kicked his clogs.

Move along... This is not the Young you're looking for...

 Before I get back to my sleuthing, he're something special I spotted on my Londesborough walk. Do you know what it is?

These are deer shelters. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

Sadly, the only other potential clue I found in Londesborough was two more graves in the churchyard. Side-by-side are two more Youngs. I don't know if they are Blamire's family or David's, or somebody elses.

The one on the left reads: "In loving memory of Frederick Young of Londesborough who died March 26th 1944 aged 82 years. At rest. Also Emily, his beloved wife, who died June 5th 1955 aged 84 years. Re-united."

The inscription on the right reads: "In loving memory of Mary Anne Young of Londesborough, who died Sep 19th 1910 aged 62 years. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord."

This has nothing to do with Blamire, but look at the stone on the left. It has a hand engraved at the top. I love it!

The inscription is a bit unorthodox. There is a line running right down the middle beneath the hand. On the right it talks about Matthew Warton and on the left Ann Warton, his wife who died in 1753. It's lasted well.

I really enjoyed my visit to Londesborough, even though I didn't find any information on my hero Blamire Young. Some might be put off by this little setback, but not me! Ha ha. I'm going to pay a visit to Pocklington next to see what I can find there. Maybe I should take a wander down Chapmangate, the site of his dad's brewery, or perhaps there will be Youngs buried in the churchyard there? And if that turns up nothing, then I'm off to Australia! Woohoo!

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