Dryden Hogben arrived in Beckindale in February 1974. He was the mystery man camping on the top field near Emmerdale. He chatted up Christine Sharp in The Woolpack, much to the disapproval of her lover Joe Sugden. Annie Sugden allowed him to camp up the top field. Dryden started to do odd jobs for the Sugdens and even Franklin and Diana Prescott, who were business friends of Henry Wilks and had followed him to Beckindale. Dryden became popular in the village with his friendly stories, and his handy man skills.
Dry once stayed the night with Diane whilst Franklin was in London. Rumours spread that they had slept together. Dryden explained he had slept on the sofa. Dry occasionally used the Beckindale Forge as a place to stay, with permission of Dolly Harker who was the mother in law of the man who still leased the forge from George Verney. In July 1974 a man called Colin recognised Dry in The Woolpack. Colin told Briddy Middleton that Dry is from a wealthy Surrey family. The following day, some people arrived in the village looking for Dry including his fiancee Celia. Colin had tipped them off about Dry's whereabouts. Dry said to Amos that he likes it in Beckindale and plans to stay round here but his mood soon changed when Celia found him in The Woolpack.
Dry called off his engagement to Celia, saying how she got him to propose to her, and also explaining he liked the travelling lifestyle he led and for his inheritance to be dispersed amongst other members of the family. Dry then walked out, and due to Celia finding him, he suddenly decided to leave the village overnight. The next morning, Joe Sugden and Celia went out and saw Dryden's tent was still there but Dry was not around. They searched the whole village for Dry but to no avail. Dry had handed the keys of the forge back to Dolly Harker as well. Villagers had not seen Dry and after a few days it became evident that he had left Beckindale. He was never seen again.
As he had become popular with the villagers during his stay in Beckindale they wondered why he left the village as suddenly as he had arrived 6 months before. Celia confided in Annie Sugden and Annie told Celia that Dry is no longer in Beckindale, he has moved on. Celia agreed that her and Dry was over. Dryden later wrote to the Sugden's to say that he was in Ireland. He has never been seen or heard from since.
"Given the right mind, you can do anything". (first line)
"I am as content as I am." (final line)