Spofforth Village

Near Harrogate, North Yorkshire

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Houses with a history...

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The Manor House (in the manor of the Rectory of Spofforth)

The original house was built around 1350. It was badly damaged after the battle of Marston Moor in 1644 and was subsequently rebuilt. The house eventually became an Apothecary shop and then in 1889 the occupier, having received financial help from the Riley Smith brewing family, began selling John Smith's beer from the house. Subsequently the house became a home that took illegitimate children while the shop continued as an off license. It is now a family home.

Angel House

This small house was built around 1590 and is shown on a Saxton Map of Spofforth which was drawn in 1606. The house contains a priest's hole - a place where Roman Catholic priests could be hidden when the authorities were searching for them. Doubtless, this was used to hide Catholics from Cromwell's men as there were a number of Roman Catholic families living in the parish. They appear to have got on well with the local Protestant population. In 1743 the Visitation Return stated that there were about 250 protestant families living in the Parish of Spofforth and that there were 10 Papists families and 1 dissenter, a Quaker. The writer of the report obviously knew more than he wished to put in the official document, for instance stating that the Catholic Priest was reputed to be called Hutchinson. In a place this size, the name must have been well known!

Massy Garth/The Chantry House (one house until 1960)

The original building (still existing) was built in 1204 and was well extended on the south side in 1540, always being part of the Percy estates. In 1585, John Lawson the bailiff leased the house for 21 years.

The house was further enlarged to the east and north in 1725. From 1840 to approx 1900 it was the home of Potters Academy. The school bell still hangs above the original entrance. The school provided boarding accommodation above the school room which in 1743 was reported to have between 40 and 50 english scholars taught by the ‘clerk of the Parish. The church catechism is constantly taught them and they daily attend the services of the church'. After the school closed, the schoolroom was used as the village reading room. The house was sold out of the Percy estates in 1921 and split into two houses in 1960.

The Corn Mill

The exitance of the mill is mentioned in the 1085/7 doomsday book. It was one of several mills that operated in Spofforth, some driven by water and at least one driven by wind. It was frequently reported to in disrepair between 1240 and 1368 probably due to trouble caused by Scottish raiders which discouraged investment in it. In 1479 a new mill spindle was installed for the tenant, Richard the miller, but it became disused again in 1489.

The Duke of Northumberland in 1516 supplied an oak tree so that a new mill spindle could be installed and a further tree to renew the buckets on the water wheel. The rent paid was £4.13s 4p per year (£4.66)

In 1791, the mill dam was re-built and enlarged by Holmes the mason and William Tate. The mill was more or less still complete in 1970 after which it was converted into a house.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 November 2009 10:06