David Brear
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David Brear


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

My Home

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. 

David Brear
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