Members of the Local History and Vernacular Buildings Group arrived at Winskill Farm, above Langcliffe to be met by heavy rain along with a stiff breeze! However Tom Lord ensured that we sat cosily on bales of hay in his barn, cup of tea in hand, and gave us a wonderful interesting talk about the medieval landscape and how the monks from both Fountains and Sawley Abbeys divided up the local land during the 12th century. He explained about field names, used extensively before the advent of maps, and their meanings and how pasture land was created from both moor and Woodstock. In the barn, Tom showed us the reused roof timbers, one of which was felled during the 15th century, from when it was a much larger but lower roofed cruck barn.
We eventually ventured outside, despite the rain, to see his flower filled meadows and a completely walled limestone pavement that looked entrancing with moss and trees. Eventually the rain stopped and Tom explained some of his traditional farming methods and we walked out on rough pasture land with great views to see orchids and so many cowslips we had to be careful where we placed out feet. We were able to study some of the limestone walling, both old and new, and Tom pointed out a Bronze Age cairn across the flower bedecked fields. We enjoyed a picnic back in the barn before moving on to the hamlet of Stackhouse.
Situated across the other side of the Ribble where at first we were again met with the rain but thankfully not for long as the day brightened considerably, is a most unusual hamlet as it mainly consists of just four large houses – Carrholme, Abbeylands, Stackhouse, and Old Hall, with their outbuildings, coach houses, staff cottages and home farms, most of which over the years have been converted to living accommodation. Stackhouse’s first recorded source was in the Domesday Book as Stacuse – the place where sheaves of corn were stacked. It once belonged, unlike Winskill, Langcliffe and Stainforth, to the monks of Furness Abbey.
We were welcomed into the stunningly beautiful garden of Abbeylands by Mr and Mrs O’Connell, who showed us round outside, explaining the history of the house and then whilst in their lovely orangery we were able to look at a copy of the sale brochure from the beginning of the 20th century and study how the house and their associated buildings had changed since then. We felt privileged and grateful for their hospitality. (Members of the public can view the gardens and outside of the house on the 29th/30th June this year during Open Gardens) We studied the architecture of the great houses from what we could see of them, whilst learning their history including some of the inhabitants and learned that the Carr Family (founders of Giggleswick School) dominated the hamlet, building both Carrholme and Abbeylands and how coach houses, farmhouses, cottages and barns had been converted. We enjoyed seeing, bee boles, wells, ornate gateposts and interesting date stones and learning about how Stackhouse has evolved over the years. Our grateful thanks go to some of the residents of Stackhouse who helped us with our research and allowed us onto their land.
The afternoon was rounded off by a visit to The Knights Table for welcome tea and cakes where we enjoyed seeing and learning about the history of the impressive Knight Stainforth Hall across the way.
The outing was researched and led by Frances Bland and Gayle Wray.