Sarah Lister, of Settle Graveyard Project, has spent the winter researching the lives of people who lived in the Long Preston floodplain area in bygone days.

Here she gives us a sneak peak of her latest book and where you can get yourself a copy for your own memory lane stroll.

THE families from Giggleswick, Rathmell, Wigglesworth and Long Preston are now celebrated in Sarah’s latest and fascinating book: ‘Meandering down the Ribble, Born and Bred in the Long Preston Floodplain’, with beautiful artwork by Teresa Gordon.

Numerous descendants and local history groups have contributed information and photos to bring these ancestors to life.

These hardworking farmers had anything but a quiet life and, as well as the occasional criminal, there are local, national and international heroes and heroines.

Just as the Ribble meanders its way through hazards, floods and drought, these people had to be savvy, resourceful and lucky to navigate the perils of the 19th century. The book is a gentle meander through their lives, and discovers that almost everyone is related to other residents. Here’s a taster of one family.

Generations of John Dickinsons had farmed locally since the 18th century. In the 1840s, one John Dickinson and his wife Sarah Smith took over the 40 acre Cow Bridge Farm beside the Ribble between Wigglesworth and Long Preston. They won numerous awards for their horses.

John and Sarah had eight children and long lives, still farming in their eighties, despite John suffering a broken thigh in 1877, aged 84 when Mr Wood fell on him after colliding ‘with a fat bull which was being driven through the market, blindfolded’.

John and Sarah’s youngest daughters, Jane and Betsey, married eligible brothers, Thomas and Richard Whincup, sons of a successful quarry manager in Shipley.

Thomas Whincup was the 34th recruit to the new West Riding Police Constabulary in 1857. His records say he was a 5ft 8¼ inches tall with light brown hair and blue eyes. He quickly worked through the ranks to become a superintendent with a career of 46 years.

Thomas was also the first ever detective appointed to the West Riding Force.

In 1857 Thomas was appointed to Settle, ready to tackle the area’s crime — burglary, poaching and assault, often involving alcohol and vagrancy. Somewhere on his rounds Thomas met Jane Dickinson and they married in 1859. They had three sons and lived in Chapel Street.

In a wonderful example of 1860s undercover policing, Thomas was involved in catching a burglar who had been stealing from Mrs Wildman’s shop, suspected to be 47 year old Betty Shepherd, her charwoman.

Thomas ‘concealed himself in the cupboard, ready to pounce upon his customer if such an opportunity presented itself’. He had not been long in ambush before the prisoner made her appearance. PC Whincup found over £2 in a box in Betty’s bedroom, and a marked coin which had disappeared from the shop the day before. Betty was found guilty and imprisoned for three months with hard labour.

With a good woman at his side, Thomas was promoted and the family moved to Pontefract where he was awarded a bravery medal by the Prince of Wales for saving the life of a woman who had slipped down under the foot-board of a train.

As a detective Thomas dealt with numerous high profile murders and arrests of criminals across England and Ireland. Incredibly, and by pure coincidence, relations now live in Settle and are the proud owner of Thomas’ truncheon.

What about sister Betsey Dickinson and brother Richard Whincup? In the lottery of 19th century life Betsey died in 1871, aged 31, perhaps with issues related to childbirth.

Betsey is buried in Long Preston graveyard, marked with a fine headstone. Richard became a quarry manager at Pateley Bridge and had 10 children with his second wife.

The book will be available from Wednesday, June 1.

Sarah and Teresa will be signing copies on June 1 at The Folly in Settle from 11am to1pm and on Saturday, June 18 at Limestone Books from 1pm to 3pm.

The 160 page book costs just £5 and is available from Settle Graveyard Project on, and from YDMT, The Folly, Limestone Books and the Long Preston Post Office.

The proceeds of the book will be used to support local charities.