Welcome to the third MOONRAKERS’ website. If you visited either of the old sites you should eventually find most of the information and photographs altogether on this site.  It will however take time for all this to happen. is the website for MOONRAKERS, Cowling Local History Group. Cowling Parish is at the south west of North Yorkshire, near its boundaries with Lancashire and West Yorkshire. It was in the old West Riding of Yorkshire.

The name MOONRAKERS was adopted by the group because we wanted local history to be fun and not sound like just another ‘history society’. The MOONRAKER story occurs in the parish, as it does in many throughout the country. In its various guises it involves men, generally drunk and hungry, trying to rake cheese out of water, until someone points out that the cheese is the moon’s reflection. In our case it’s the good men of Ickornshaw, probably after leaving the first Black Bull Inn (at the bottom of Freegate, also possibly known as The Grinning Rat)  in the 18/19th century, raking the moon in Ickornshaw Mill pond or dam.

We would like to thank all the people who have supported us in any way since our beginnings in 2003. We would especially like to thank all the people who allowed us to scan articles or pictures that have become part of this or earlier websites. If it is not on this website yet it may be at a later date as we continue to add items from our old websites.

If you’d like some fun local history then you are very welcome to join us. There is no joining fee. Come to a meeting, as a visitor for three months, to try it out for free. Then, if you wish to join, the £3 monthly subscription is paid only when you attend meetings. See Meeting Dates, in the News section for details of meetings.

We hope you enjoy our site.