Yorkshire folk, with their reputation for being a bit dour and speaking plainly while possessing a dry wit and true grit, often seem to have more British characteristics than the rest of the British.

Think of stubborn Geoffrey Boycott occupying the crease for hours or the charming directness of Sir Michael Parkinson’s interviews.Well, it appears that Yorkshire people might seem more British because they actually have a bit more British in them than anyone else.

An extensive study of 15,000 DNA samples submitted to a private genealogy research company has concluded that people from Yorkshire are 41.17 per cent Anglo Saxon — more than residents of any other part of the country and more than the national average of 36.94 per cent.

The report draws on the make-up of Britons who have bought home DNA kits and submitted their samples for genetic testing. In addition to the substantial quantity of Anglo-Saxon, the analysis claims that the average Briton is also just over one fifth Celtic (Irish, basically) and just under one fifth western European (essentially French or German). The proportion of Irishness rises substantially in Scotland to 44 per cent but is only 48.5 per cent of the make-up of Northern Ireland residents.

The English have just over 9 per cent Scandinavian heritage, which tallies with previous surveys showing that Vikings did not engage in widespread sexual conquest, while the Welsh have a 3 per cent trace of Iberian heritage.

The analysis is published today by AncestryDNA, which makes home testing kits for DNA and says that it can survey a person’s entire genome then map the results against 26 separate worldwide population groups. However, Debbie Kennett, honorary research associate at University College London, cautioned against drawing conclusions from a study that had not been peer-reviewed. She said: “There is some value in comparing the ‘ethnicity’ percentages from different parts of the country but it is somewhat misleading to give the clusters that people match such precise names.”

Whatever the science, being designated the most British place in Britain delighted Keith Madeley, chairman of the Yorkshire Society, as he made final preparations for Monday’s Yorkshire Day celebrations in Halifax.

Yorkshire, he said, won 12 medals at the London Olympics and would have finished 12th overall had it been a country. But it is more than sporting endeavour that makes a Yorkshireman. “Our great characteristics are the welcome you’ll get . . . There’s the trusting nature of the people, a dedication to hard work and the fact that your word is your bond as a Yorkshireman. We have true Yorkshire grit and we’re all very fond of asking ’Ow much?’ — we’re careful with the pennies.”

Sean O’Neill, Chief Reporter

July 28 2016, 12:01am, The Times

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