200 Plus Years Old

The band can justifiably claim to be more than 200 years old, see below. 

We have currently 12 Life Members 



Mr. F.J. Bowes, c/o Thornton Dale.
Mr. W.M. Dowkes, Kirkbymoorside. 
Mrs. M.I. Dowson, Kirkbymoorside.
Mr. J.H. Holt, Kirkbymoorside.
Mr. S. Kitching-Walker, Thornton Dale.
Mr. A. Martin, Pickering.
Mr. A. Maw, Kirkbymoorside.
Mr. F. Maw, Kirkbymoorside.
Mr. L. Maw BEM, Kirkbymoorside.
Mr. B. Potter, Kirkbymoorside, York.
Mrs. K.L. Temple, Cropton.
Mrs. E. Westmoreland, Kirkbymoorside.
Mr John Woodward, Kirkbymoorside
Mrs Carol Woodward, Kirkbymoorside.

Honoured Members

AH (Bert) Boddy,  Dennis Bradley,  Philip Dowson 

Musical Directors of Kirkbymoorside Brass Band

E. Dawson Jnr      
J.D Hutchin son              
J, Anderson
J. Spivey
H. Rider
J. Maw 
F.J. Stockdale
Les Maw
Philip Carter
John Woodward
Sarah Woodward

1888 - 1891
1891 - 1908
1909 - 1933
1933 - 1945
1945 - 1945
1945 - 1948
1948 - 1952
1952 - 1988
1988 - 1992
1992 - 2017
2017 -


Researched by ALAN MARTIN

Kirkbymoorside is a small market town on the southern edge of the North York Moors National Park whose inhabitants have a justifiable pride in their Town Brass Band, the history of which can be traced back through the parish and local press archives to July 1815. The Band was then and is now wholly maintained through public subscription and since 1976 has been registered as Charity [Reg. Charity No. 505458]

The origins of the Band can be traced back for more than 180 years. The first authentic written record of a band in Kirkbymoorside is in the Parish Archives dated 10th July 1815 (twenty two days after the battle of Waterloo) where it records that 9. 8s. Od. was raised as being the balance of a sum of 22. 18s Od. for the purchase of a Serpent, two Bassoons and two Horns for the Band and to be the property of the inhabitants at large of the town of Kirkbymoorside. This gives some credence to the band's claim to be amongst the oldest in existence. Recently the Band's old Minute Books have been unearthed and there is now a complete record of the band from 1890 to the present day.

Research through the archives of Newspapers circulating in the area first record 'an excellent Band of music' in Kirkbymoorside on 28th July 1821 celebrating the Coronation of George IV, and next on 26th May 1836 when the Kirkbymoorside Band was one of five bands that took part in the festivities surrounding the opening of the Pickering to Whitby Railway and again on Ist June 1839 when it paraded the streets of Kirkbymoorside on the occasion of the Odd fellows Anniversary.

One finds the first definitive record of the Band as a Brass Band is on 19th July 1856 when it led a Church parade of the new Union Society. Research now shows that at one point there were three bands in Kirkbymoorside. A report dated 30th December 1876 refers to a Reed, a String and a Brass Band all playing together and subsequent records show that the original Temperance Band was a Reed Band subsequently converting to an all Brass combination.

More details of the Band's history can be found in T.L. Cooper's excellent book 'The Brass Bands of Yorkshire' which not only gives an account of the Band's Temperance days but also of when local festivities, to the suprise of the populace, demanded that the band play at the top of All Saints church tower at the unseemly hour of six in the morning!

In the latter days of the last century and of the early days of this century little contesting was done other than fairly local events, but over the last thirty years progress has been remarkable. History records that a Brass Band Contest took place at the Kirkdale Floral and Agricultural show on 12th August 1867 although no results are known. The first definitive record of the Band contesting is on 30th July 1886 when it won the Kirkbymoorside Poultry and Industrial Show Contest playing 'Norma' and 'William Tell'. This was followed by gaining fourth place at the Pickering Contest on 21st July 1888 and fifth place at the same contest the following year. However the Band having been placed second at the Kirkbymoorside contest in August of that year suffered disqualification through irregularities in the registration and borrowing of players, but is listed in the Brass Band Annual of 1894 as winning a second place.

On the Ilth May 1888 the Kirkbymoorside Temperance Brass Band as it was then known became registered as a Friendly Society, being entered on the Register of Friendly Societies as a Working Mens Club. The published membership rules (No.2) included strict temperance and (No.3) Membership admission charges of 2/- with quarterly subscriptions of 6d. - today's equivalent being &50 and 6~12,50 quarterly. Proper attendance at thrice weekly practices was also a requirement (No.4).

The Minutes of 1889 record that a certain member was periodically expelled and readmitted on account of difficulties with his Pledge! The Band moved into the old wooden Bandroom in Manor Vale between 1908 and 1909 and it is recorded that these premises were requisitioned by the military in 1942, the band then having to meet in Messrs Russell's works until the cessation of hostilities.

It was following a request from a lady in New Zealand anxious to trace her forbears that the following anecdote came to light. At about the turn of the century the Band was playing Christmas carols in Hutton le Hole and then to walk on to Gillamoor. One of their number was lame, being crippled with corns. Rather than leave him behind the Band stopped, removed his boots and proceeded to practice Chiropody at the roadside! History noes not record the success or otherwise of this operation.

In 1965 the Band took third prize in the Fourth Section of the National Championships in London and was the Northern Area Fourth Section Champions in 1967. In 1971 the Band again won the Area Championships, this time in the Yorkshire Area which won the Band promotion to the Third Section. In 1972 the third Section of the Northern Area was placed third in the Third Section of Band won the Junior Shield at Belie Vue, Manchester and in 1976 having won the National Finals in London.

Following the introduction of the League System for promotion, and for the first time, relegation of bands in 1979, the band was informed that it was being promoted to the Second Section for 1980 and at the first attempt won the Northern Area Contest by the unprecedented margin of five clear points earning both a trip to London and promotion to the Championship Section where it competed for the first time in 1981. Also that year the Band competed in the Durham League's annual competition and by winning their Second Section gained promotion to the League's Championship Section

In 1984 the local radio stations - Radios York, Humberside and Lincolnshire instituted an Inter Counties Radio Brass Band Competition The Band won the two preliminary rounds - the first by twelve clear points - and the Grand Finale in the City Hall Hull where it met bands from Humberside and Lincolnshire. In the following year's competition the Band achieved a similar result, repeating the success yet again in the 1986 competition hosted by Radio York and became the undisputed and outright champions. [The competition has not been held since!]

A quick perusal through the Yorkshire and Humberside Brass Band Association's annual contest results shows that the Band swept the board in 1978 and 1979 and then in many subsequent years featured amongst the prize winners including in 1991 the winning of the Lawrie Bruce Cup for the best Soprano on the day.

As a result of not competing in the 1989 Area Contest the band were relegated back to the Second Section but immediately won their way to that year's London finals. In 1991 when all bands were reclassified nationally into five sections the Band was placed in the new first section and after having being placed successively Ilth, 5th, 4th 3rd, 3rd & 5th and for two years being the highest placed First Section band in the Northern Region, it has now been promoted back to the Championship section.

Not all of the Band's activities are centred on the Contest Field. Apart from the many concerts and charity appearances it gives, and being featured in the television series 'Treasure Hunt' the Band has fostered a special relationship with the Himmighausen Blaskapelle from Stadt Nieheim, (Nr. Paderborn) in Germany.

From a prestige booking in April 1982 to play in the North Sea Ferries Terminal Building in Europort, Rotterdam came a request to host a German Band for a weekend early in 1983. This led to numerous friendships springing up between the two communities and a return visit to Germany by the Band in the October if the same year. Apart from the numerous private visits - both ways - the Himmighausen Blaskapelle Jisited Kirkbymoorside for a week in the summer of 1986 and the Band made a further visit in the summer of 1989 - the host Bandmaster writing a special piece for the occasion which intertwined 'On Ilkley Moor B'aht 'At' with the 'Lipper Detmold' a comparable local dirty.

In 1990 as a spectacular opener to that year's Ryedale Festival the Band hosted a street concert which featured players from most, if not all, of the ten Bands in Ryedale ending with a performance of Tchaikovsky's Overture 1812 with the Bells of All Saints Church coming in 'on Cue' and a pyrotechnic ending provided by Messrs. Standard Fireworks. Needless to say this open air spectacular temporarily but effectively broke that summer's drought!

In addition to-the Band's normal activities it also has a Junior Band and runs learners classes and over the years has sporadically supported the 'Yal' band a hardy group of irregulars whose stated aim is to play for their supping! The Junior Band has over the years provided both a steady stream of youngsters into the senior band and also provided a sound musical background to those moving out into the big wide world. Many of todays senior players have graduated through the ranks of the Junior Band. Considerable time and effort is given to the learners and Juniors with tuition freely given by dedicated bandsmen giving up time over and above their considerable commitment to the senior band. No child wishing to learn to play a Brass Instrument is ever turned away and everything is provided free of charge. At the 1993 Eskdale Festival in Whitby the Juniors have acquitted themselves well in their respective classes with Stephen Flintoft (EEb Bass) winning a &100 Bursary for the most meritorious player.

Over the years the Band has been fortunate to have been served well by its bandmasters. Leslie Maw BEM was appointed Bandmaster on 30th January 1952 and served in that capacity for the next thirty six years, retiring in 1988. He not only prevented the band from folding up during the lean times in the 'fifties but also took the band to the upper echelons of the Championship Section in the 'eighties. It was a fitting tribute that on his retirement he was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of his services.

John Woodward. was appointed Band Master in 1992 and was for many years before the Band's Deputy Bandmaster, a post which carried the responsibility for the training of the youngsters and the Junior Band John immediately began to make a noticeable improvement to Band's Morale and musical fortunes, winning the Malton Brass '93 contest and successively obtained improved placings in the First Section of the Northern Area Contest. There are few who realise the full extent of unseen efforts which John quietly puts in outside of the bandroom to ensure the band's continued success. 

Shortly after the completion of the new bandroom the band was promoted, to Second Section and quick succession to the Championship section. This success created the considerable financial problem of having to immediately replace every senior band instrument as the ones then in use were old and all having been converted from the original (pre 1968) high or Brass Band The Band as a Charity (and before) has never received any form of commercial (or other) sponsorship, all funds being raised through its own efforts. In 1976 through the generosity of the townspeople of Kirkbymoorside the Band was fortunate enough to pitch to the modern Low or international concert pitch and were completely unsuitable for use at that level of playing. This created a considerable financial strain compounded by the necessity to have to also replace the ageing outmoded and worn out uniforms as well.

It is with the memory of past financial struggles that the Bandmaster with commendable foresight introduced the phased renewal of the present instruments on a more orderly basis before dire necessity again arose. The project was carried out in five stages:- Phase 1 - the renewal of the Xylophone: Phase 2 the renewal of the Soprano, Bb Corners and Flugel Horn: Phase 3 - renewal of the Trombones: Phase 4 - the renewal of the Tenor Horns, Baritones Euphoniums, EEb and BBb Basses.

Phase 5 - being the acquisition of a set of Tubular Bells. With the aid of a donation from a local charity towards the Xylophone and a subsequent grant of 27000 from the National Lottery the whole of this project has now been completed, The obtaining of a further grant has now enabled the band to acquire a proper concert Bass Drum on a stand.

With the aid of a Grant from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts it has enabled the Band to update the bandroom with an acoustically controlled ceiling, new lighting and window blinds together with the formation of an upper story storage space.

Research : Alan Martin

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