Raymond Hayes (left) and Bert Frank (right) were both awarded MBEs for their work. They posed for this photo together in the village of Hutton-le-Hole where they both grew up © Ryedale Folk Museum
Raymond Harland Hayes (1909-2000) was one of ten enthusiasts who met at the Rotunda Museum on 20 June 1947 to found what was then known as the Scarborough and District Archaeological Society. He was the last remaining member of that pioneer group. The new society set its sights widely and the suggested boundaries were Ness Point, Helmsley Moor, Malton, North Grimston and Flamborough Head. Under the auspices of the Society, Raymond Hayes directed archaeological work of all periods over this wide area and more, often working with a group of the early members of the Society.
Raymond was born in York on 13 July 1909, the only son of William Hayes, a professional photographer, and Margaret Hayes. The family moved to Hutton-le-Hole in 1911. He attended the village school, and afterwards was associated with the family photography business for more than two decades doing family, wedding and general photography such as postcards of local villages. As a skilled photographer, he assisted on many excavations from the mid-1930s. In 1947, he worked on the town-house site in Malton, and the photographs he took 11 years later of the excavations at the Roman town of Cataractonium (Catterick) now represent almost the only record of that work. Raymond’s interest in archaeology and local history had begun in the 1920s when he heard Wilfred Crosland lecturing on these subjects in York.
In addition to the photography, he took work as a postman in Hutton-le-Hole to supplement his income – he was known to make his rounds on ski during snowy conditions. He developed an unrivalled knowledge of the North York Moors and through sites such as the chambered cairn on Great Ayton Moor (which Raymond published as No 7 in the Society’s Research Report Series) he played an important role in Professor Geoffrey Dimbleby’s pioneering analysis of pollen from archaeological sites. He published widely. Other publications for the Society included Wade’s Causeway: A Roman Road in North-East Yorkshire (1964); Cruck Framed Buildings in Ryedale and Eskdale (1972) and Rosedale Mines and Railway (1974 – reprinted several times and still popular).
As well as the Scarborough Society, Raymond was a founding member of the Helmsley Archaeological Society and from the mid-1940s was associated with Malton Museum where he assisted with its collections, undertook excavations and watching briefs and of course he assisted his school friend Bert Frank, who developed the Ryedale Folk Museum. His archaeological and photographic archive is now housed here. Raymond was very active as the local correspondent for the Ordnance Survey, a country wide network of volunteers who recorded and reported upon archaeological finds. For this work he was awarded the MBE in 1966 and ten years later he was elected FSA. In 1995, a collection of papers on the archaeology of north-east Yorkshire, Moorland Monuments, honoured Raymond and the late Don Spratt.
Raymond was very generous with his knowledge, freely assisting researchers and students and his contribution to archaeology in the region will ensure his memory lives on.
Adapted from an article by Christopher Hall which was published in Transactions 36, 2000