I am David Brear, born 1953 in Otley, where I still live. I married Paula
in 1977 and we have two sons, Mark and Owen.
I am a Chartered Surveyor but that doesn't mean I spend my time measuring
land! I started as an estate agent but then moved into surveying homes,
doing valuations, and so on.
I use a PC, 266MHz, to do my letters, help out with my
work, a little Visual Basic and of course my homepage, wharfe,
and The Wild Flower Page.
I live in one of the world's most pleasant areas - or is it just that I've
got used to it?
My home town, Otley, lies on the river Wharfe, on the southern edge of the
Yorkshire Dales and has a population of about 13,000. If you want
to know just where it is, go to http://www.multimap.com/
It's small enough to meet people but large enough to have all the amenities
one needs day-to- day. I went to school here and my wife Paula lived just
a few miles away. Leeds is the nearest big city, about ten miles away,
and is one of Britain's great cities - second only to London for the number
of lawyers! We are near enough to be handy and far enough away to enjoy
few of the usual city problems.
We can easily get up to the beautiful countryside of the Dales at the
weekend - a welcome contrast with the urban areas which keep me busy during
the week. It's a mixture of refined farm- and park-land in the valleys,
and the wild moors above. The Brear family came from Addingham and one
branch still lives there.
History under our feet
Otley is an old town. Although no Roman settlement is known in detail,
millstones of that period have been found near the church. The next town
up Wharfedale, Ilkley, was where the Romans built their fort. A carving
of a river goddess found there is believed to be Verbeia, from which the
river Wharfe is named. I use it to head my The Past section.
After Roman government collapsed Otley probably became part of the celtic
kingdom of Elmet, whose king Gwallawg was eulogised by the famous early
Welsh poet, Taliesin. Later the area passed to Edwin and the Northumbrian
kings. In the church are eighth-century crosses which suggest that it may
have been a 'minster', one of the centres from which christianity spread
through Northumbria. In about 972 a.d. the name Yscefn, a celtic expression
meaning 'under the ridge', is recorded and may indicate the ancient name
of the settlement; the Anglo-saxon name Ottanlege is first recorded
about 1030ad. It was the centre of a large estate, valuable enough to be
owned by the Archbishop of York. A few years ago archaeologists explored
the buildings of the archbishop's medieval manor house, dated eleventh
to thirteenth century.
The school I attended, Prince Henry's Grammar School, was founded in
1607. Denton Hall was the home of the Fairfax family; during the English
civil war Sir Thomas commanded the New Model Army against the King. The
great cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale was born here in 1718 (but found
he could make more money in London!). In the early nineteenth century nearby
Farnley Hall was the annual holiday retreat of JMW Turner, where he painted
some of his best-known works.
At that time Otley was an agricultural and market town but by 1870 it
had become known throughout the world as a centre of the printing industry,
and by 1900 there were 10 local firms producing some of the world's most
innovative printing presses. Sadly this industry has almost all gone and
the town is a commuter base for Leeds workers, but it still retains the
market first granted in 1227.
Email David Brear