Summat A' Nowt

Friday, 11 September 2009

Summat Aí NowtThe History of Saxokakaurhs:
A Long Forgotten Settlement

By Steve Murty, with help from Ann Kilbey and Frank Woolrych

'Steve Murty has done what many of us with an interest in local and family history would like time to do, sit down and write a book,’ declares Frank Woolrych, president of Hebden Bridge Local History Society in the foreword to the author’s thoroughly engrossing account of 1,000 years of Calder Valley history, focusing in particular on a tiny upper Calder Valley hamlet between Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, whose origins go back to Norman times.

But the quirkily-titled “Summat A’ Nowt” is far more than a purely personal memoir: few people will have heard of Saxokakaurhs, the ancient name for Stubb, where Steve was born and brought up and where he still lives today. The author shares his love for and fascination with a place which he describes as being in something of a time warp for the past 50 years or so, by a curious trick of fate preserved pretty much as it had been for centuries.

Dramatic social and economic changes may have been occurring in the rest of the Calder Valley, explains Steve in his introduction, but in Stubb time has magically stood still. Old houses were not demolished, ripped apart or modernised: now totalling just under a dozen properties, the result is a unique sanctuary offering a fascinating glimpse into the past, which Steve explores with enthusiasm and great attention to historical accuracy.

In the process he takes the reader on a richly detailed and meticulously researched journey starting with the earliest available records dating from 1100, and ending in the present day, along the way encompassing his amazing childhood in the 1950s, when he admits he was brought up in a way harking back to the Victorian Age!

Steve is probably best known for his business enterprises, particularly behind the wheel of his super trucks recently featured in “B-Road Britain” starring Robbie Coltrance. With “Summat A’ Nowt” he takes an accomplished step into the literary world where he is equally at home. Lavishly illustrated with photos in colour, sepia and black and white from Steve’s own collection and the archives of the Alice Longstaff Gallery Collection and Hebden Bridge Local History Society, the text is also enlivened with numerous drawings and maps, adding enormously to the engaging nature of a superbly entertaining book sure to find a treasured place on local book shelves.

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