Joan Ingilby

Joan Alicia Ingilby MBE (11 December 1911 to 27 October 2000)

Joan was an expert on the social history of the Yorkshire Dales. She was a long-time friend and collaborator of Marie Hartley as well as a co-founder of the Dales Countryside Museum.

Joan was born near Ripon at Sleningford Grange, and was a cousin of the Ingilby family of Ripley Castle (also near Ripon).

She was educated at a girls’ school in Norfolk, and wrote poems from an early age. Some of these were published in the 1930s in Country Life, Time and Tide, and John O’London’s Weekly.

After Ella’s death, Joan settled with Marie at Askrigg in Wensleydale in 1947. She took over Ella’s role as Marie’s collaborator in the writing of a further 22 books. It was their shared love of the Dales and its history that led to the publication of their first book in 1951, The Old HandKnitters of the Dales.

Joan helped Marie re-energise the immense task of recording the heritage of the Yorkshire Dales. The women travelled across the county collecting stories, written material and artefacts, which they brought back to the home they shared in Wensleydale. Joan would then record in meticulous detail in a “stockbook” every item acquired on their visits to markets, auctions, and house sales. The cottage that the two women shared at Askrigg in Wensleydale was soon overflowing with salvaged items, pictures, and manuscripts. These were later donated to North Riding County Council. This would become one of their great achievements: the formation of a collection that would be displayed at the Dales Countryside Museum.

Image of Marie and Joan

Marie Hartley and Joan Ingilby walking outside their home at Coleshouse, Askrigg

Like Marie, Joan was awarded the Silver Medal of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society in 1993. They were both awarded the MBE in 1997 and received honorary degrees from the University of York and the Open University.

Joan spent more than 50 years gathering material related to all aspects of rural life in Yorkshire. She died aged 89 on 27 October 2000.