Emblematically Speaking - Ilkley Town

Thu 26th January 2023 | Ilkley Town
By Martin Fallon

Ilkley Town FC

We start this week, perhaps unusually, with a bit of Latin. Although Latin is not taught much in schools these days a basic understanding of this ancient language helps us to understand the derivation of many words in common use in the English language of today. Much the same could be said about ancient Greek but, in general, Latin is more useful.

Palma non sine pulvere adorns the emblem of Ilkley Town AFC and readily translates as no reward without effort. The origin of this phrase is said to be the Roman lyric poet Horace, considered by some scholars to be rather controversial in some of his views which may now be defined as somewhat insulting of officialdom or, at the very least, rather ironic.

No reward without effort is a fitting motto for many sporting and educational organisations.

But onto the main body of the Ilkley Town emblem and I pass over to Richard Giles, Chairman of Ilkley Town AFC.

“The image in our badge is the "Cow and Calf" rocks which are a famous landmark on Ilkley Moor. The Cow and Calf rocks can be seen from the ground.

High on Ilkley Moor the Cow and Calf Rocks are a large rock formation consisting of an outcrop and boulder. The rocks are made of millstone grit, a variety of sandstone, and are so named because one is large, with the smaller one sitting close to it, like a cow and calf.

According to local legend, the Calf was split from the Cow when the giant Rombald was fleeing an enemy, and stamped on the rock as he leapt across the valley. The enemy, it is rumoured, was his angry wife. She dropped the stones held in her skirt to form the local rock formation The Skirtful of Stones.

The rocks are a great place to climb and the moor offers spectacular views of Ilkley and beyond.

Ilkley Moor is well known by the folk song on Ilkley Moor Baht 'at. It is sung in the Yorkshire dialect, and is considered the unofficial anthem of Yorkshire. According to tradition, the words were composed by members of a church choir on an outing to Ilkley Moor. The song tells of a lover courting the object of his affections, Mary Jane, on Ilkley Moor without a hat (baht 'at). At last season's home game with Bury AFC 400 Bury fans were heard singing the song from our clubhouse.”

The legend of Rombald the Giant and his wife, as referenced by Richard, looms large (quite literally) over the area and there is the opportunity to perhaps follow in the footsteps of Rombald by taking part in an event known as Rombald’s Stride – a 23 mile challenge starting and finishing in Guiseley taking in, amongst other places, Ilkley and Ilkley Moor. The 2023 event is scheduled for February 4th so if you fancy it and are somewhat out of condition its probably a bit too late for this year – maybe next year!.

And finally, many who know me of old will know that I have a certain fondness for Real Ale. When I first read the information from Richard the “Cow and Calf” registered dimly in the back of a slightly foggy mind. Before long, it came to that slightly foggy mind that there is a pub of that name in the area which has a more than decent reputation for serving real ales brewed in Yorkshire.

It comes to mind that such a pub, which no doubt does food, would be an ideal watering hole during the summer months for those of us who like wander around the glorious countryside of the Yorkshire Dates but remember, if you do that, don’t forget your ‘at.

We are indebted to Richard for his contribution to this article.

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