The pretty town of Schöningen, Germany .
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Schöningen, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? North to Hamburg!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Visiting with my great great grandfather!

Well our timing started a little “off” yesterday morning. First, we slept in…something we hardly ever do. It was 8:20am when we woke up! And even though we didn’t really have anything that we HAD to get up early for, we were just trying to get an early start to the day.

Then when we finally did get out of the house, we made it half way to the train station and had to turn around because I forgot the USB stick that had our pictures and blog write up for yesterday’s blog post. So we made it back to the train station to learn that we had missed our train by only THREE minutes! And because they were on Sunday service, there wasn’t another one for another hour. So we walked over to the bus stop and only had to wait 15 minutes or so for the bus.

At the main Leeds train station, we checked on the Coal Mining Museum which is near Wakefield which is where we were headed. But the museum is quite far outside of Wakefield and again, Sunday service meant that there weren’t many buses headed that way once we arrived in Wakefield.

One of the reasons we wanted to come to this area is that my maternal grandfather’s ancestors were from this area. I had researched enough through various online sources and I knew that my great great grandfather was buried at Outwood Cemetery on the outskirts of Wakefield. So we took the train from Leeds to Outwood, using our West Yorkshire Metro Family Day Rover passes.

There was an old church right across the street from the cemetery, and we started there first. The service had just ended and a lady asked if we wanted help, so she brought us in to speak with the Vicar. He didn’t recognize the name “Bramham” that I was looking for, but did tell us that the church had been built in 1857 and the graveyard across the street had been opened in 1903. I knew that my great great grandfather passed away in 1915. So we headed across the street and Ruth started on one side and me on the other. It only took about 10 minutes and I found it!

I was lucky...quite a few headstones were not legible.

Interestingly, it seems that this particular headstone remembers several people, including a daughter who passed away as recently as 1940. I already had all of the names that are listed on the headstone, but I did gain some dates that I didn’t know. And that was it…we wandered the rest of the cemetery looking for other names that might be recognized, but didn’t come across anything. I had wanted to spend more time here because Wakefield has a lot of geneology resources, but it just didn’t work out that way. And those resources were closed on Sundays.

Wakefield Tourist Info...closed on Sunday!

We took the bus into the city of Wakefield itself. First place we headed was the tourist info place so we could get sorted where everything was. There’s not a lot to see in Wakefield, but we figured they could point us in the right direction. But they can’t point us in that direction on Sunday’s because they’re closed. What? How can the tourist info place be closed on Sundays? Isn’t that when local people on daytrips might come into town looking for something to do? Well you would think so. Totally ridiculous in our minds for the tourist info to be closed on a Sunday. Oh well.

Main part of beautiful Wakefield Cathedral undergoing renovations.

Wakefield Cathedral

We knew that Wakefield has an impressive main cathedral. In fact, it has the tallest spire in all of Yorkshire, and the fourth tallest in all of England. So we went for a visit. Unfortunately, it’s under a major renovation on the inside, and I could only get one pic of the major interior work going on.

We had brought a lunch with us and sat on one of the many benches in the downtown area. After that, we just wandered around. Besides the coal mining museum I mentioned earlier, there is also a sculpture park that sounded interesting, but it was also pretty far out of town and like I said, Sunday bus schedules are a bit limited. 

Wakefield Town Hall. The tower is undergoing renovations here too.

More architecture.

The Wakefield waterfront. Interesting.

We saw a sign pointing to the Wakefield Waterfront. Wakefield has a waterfront? Well sort of. The river does go through town and there are some canal boats there…but not much else to see. However, this is where the new Hepworth Contemporary Art Museum is located. Now, some of you might like opera. That’s fine, but not me so much. And some of you might like rap music. Again, not my thing. And some of you might like modern art. Good for you, but again…not my thing.

But we were exploring, so we thought we’d check it out anyhow.

I have to say, I simply don’t get it.

A room full of art.

Sure, we stood by some of the admirers and listened to the critiques…”ah, look at the contrast here”…that sort of thing. But when we entered the room where the only exhibit was a bunch of bamboo sticks laid out on the floor, all I could say was…”I don’t get it”!


Now, one or two of the pieces were kind of neat. But the best art I saw was outside the gallery and down the road where they are going to turn a bunch of old warehouse buildings into apartments and shops.

These scenes were painted in the wall so that they look like windows. Now this was neat!

Ruth and the chapel on a bridge. This was built in the 1300's!

And so we wandered around some more and came across a chapel built into the middle of a bridge. This was kind of neat too!

But we didn’t find anything else that interested us in Wakefield and decided to take the train back to Leeds and wander around there some more. We had wanted to go to the Olympic Torch celebrations as the torch is passing through Leeds just now, but we were simply too tired! 

Back at Leeds, the beautiful St. Johns church. The oldest church in Leeds, built in 1634!

We took the elevator to the top of the Leeds Hilton Doubletree hotel. Just for the view!

And we still have two busy days ahead of us between now and Wednesday when we head for Bristol. Then a busy day and a half in Bristol. We’re due for a vacation I think! Anyhow, we just headed back to our couchsurfing host Isabel’s house. We had only just got back when she came in suggesting we go with her to a curry house with her friend Russ. Curry? Okay!

Today, we’re going out to the village of Keighley where we are looking forward to seeing our friends Glen and Steve! They are the ones who got us into this traveling thing almost five years ago!


  1. You almost had a restful sunday, but still and interesting tour and no rain.

  2. I don't "get" modern art either, for the most part. Admittedly there were a couple things at the Guggenheim in Bilbao that were kind of neat, and we took a tour of the Museum of Modern Art in Washington,D.C. with a Dosent, back in 03. Our tour guide (a Dosent, and there's a pun in there, but let's not) was able to explain what the artist was trying to accomplish, and most of it made sense. But I think if you need that much of an explanation?
    Had to chuckle about the tourist info place. When we lived in the tiny town of Delden in the Netherlands there was a tourist office. But they were closed on Sundays! That's when all the tourists would come through town! There was pitifully little open on a Sunday, but I would have thought they could have at least had the tourist info place open.
    Just head scratching stuff!

  3. How interesting and amazing you found the grave marker that fast! Sure seems strange to have that connection all these years later to a stone that has sat there, just waiting for you to come and remember those buried underneath.

    Catching up on a few blogs here in a row, glad you guys are having such a great time!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  4. How great that you found that headstone so quickly! We spent a couple of weeks in Ripple (?) a few years ago hunting Bill's ancestors... never did find them in libraries, cemeteries or anywhere else. Apparently his gggg?? grandfather got ousted during the Jacobite rebellion and came to the USA around 1715 or so. But... no concrete evidence. I'm with you on that art gallery... guess I'd rather be wandering around cemeteries and cathedrals!

    1. Kevin had gotten most of the information from a lots of research online a few years ago and knew exactly which town and cemetery to go to, so it was just a mater of looking at the headstones in the cemetery to find the correct one. Luckily it wasn't a huge cemetery.

  5. wonderful to find the headstone so easily. History come alive!

    We also have run into the issue of the Tourist Center being closed on town even closed on Saturday. Crazy.

  6. I too am amazed you found the headstone so easily, must have been meant to be.

  7. Whew....what a busy day! No wonder you slept in keeping that pace daily. I agrees with you on the art and I also really liked the brick work and painted windows, a mix of old and new.

  8. I'm tired just you two are putting the miles on...did you have to get new sneakers yet? love the architecture and great pictures...

    1. Nope our footware are holding up great. Had to get some new socks though!

  9. Replies
    1. Deli chicken sandwiches made with gluten free bread, and carrot sticks and gluten free shortbread cookies!

  10. Obviously you are not sufficiently deep to appreciate the profundity that you were observing...

  11. Any more word on the contest? I'm dying to know if all of our efforts paid off (missed a few blogs too, maybe you announced this already?).

    Curry.... mmmm good!!!

    1. Nope, we have asked several times and their answer on facebook is

      "Contest update: Thank you for your patience while we worked out the voting issue. The top entries for the 9 destinations have been sent to the judges. The winning entrant will be contacted early next week. Once all legal paperwork has been signed we'll be able to officially announce the winner. Thanks for your patience and stay tuned!"

      This was from June 13. We are figuring that because we haven't heard from them that we didn't win:(

  12. butterbean carpenterJune 25, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    There's probably only one young person running the visitor center and they want off on the weekend!! I love 'modern' art... NOT!!!
    Lay a bunch of sticks on the floor of a great, big room and call it
    art; I do that in my wood shop and call it 'scrap'!! Except for finding the tombstone it sounded like a lost day; but the chicken sammiches sounded great!! No rain?? Mexican weather is back!! Look at all of the trains and buses y'all got to ride!!

    1. We didn't look at it as being a lost day. Things didn't go quite the way we would have liked but we still enjoyed ourselves.

  13. It's good that you found your great great grandfather's grave!


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