Pair of local historians create book to chart dale's history from A-Z
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
AUTHOR Andrew Graham Stables is counting down the days to March 15, when his latest book, an A-Z of Barnard Castle and Teesdale, written collaboratively with local history buff Gary Marshall, is set to be released.
The 96-page book comes via Amberley Publishing and was due to be released last year, but when the country when into lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the publication was postponed.
Mr Stables, who was born in Barnard Castle but now lives in York, has written eight books detailing the secret histories of a variety of towns and cities including Barnard Castle.
His latest tome is a fascinating look at the people, places and history of the town and dale and is jam- packed with illustrations and photographs.
He said: “It was due to be out last May but with the Covid-19 it was put back.
“I had so much information left over from my book, the Secret History of Barnard Castle, and Gary had discovered some interesting items that I wanted to include, so we worked together on this book.”
One of the interesting items was an 18th century sketch depicting the town’s toll booth, that reportedly was situated in the centre of Horsemarket.
Mr Stables said: “Gary found the sketch by the Buck Brothers (Samuel and Nathaniel) in The Bowes Museum archives.
“These brothers were originally from Richmond and although they produced hundreds of sketches of towns around Britain, they died penniless.
“The sketch shows the old toll booth. I’ve searched and searched for any information on the toll booth, which every town had, but have either been moved or knocked down.”
Scant information is to be had on the toll booth, which was removed in the early 19th century when officials believed by improving air flow through the streets, disease would be eradicated.
“They believed miasma [unpleasant or unhealth smell or vapour] was causing all the illness.
“Back then the town must have stunk with open sewers, butchers and the like.”
The book took about six months to complete with the alphabetised subjects covering more than 1,000 years of history right up to modern day times include details of all the pubs in Barney as well as ancient stone circles and Saxon burial grounds.
He added: “We had to cheat a bit for X, Y and Z.
“I did find out things the I didn’t know and there is a lot of similarities in the different market towns across the north.”
The A-Z of Barnard Castle and Teesdale will be available to purchase on March 15.
“We’re hoping to have it available in the Teesdale Mercury and McNabs and all the usual online places,” said Mr Stables.
Mr Marshall runs a social media group Barnard Castle and surrounding environs tales on Facebook.