One of my 17 for 2017 goals is to write 12 posts about our lovely Yorkshire villages. The first of these features the village of Cropton which lies about 5 miles from Pickering on the edge of the North York Moors. Some of the houses are now holiday cottages, the school has closed and any shops have vanished, but there is still a thriving local community, with an active WI ( Women’s Institute) , Village Hall, public house, and parish church which is open every day. Let’s explore.
The spreading chestnut tree greets you as you approach the village, the bench is there for the rather spectacular view down the valley. I think this must be all that remains of a village green.
Village pump and water for passing horses and dogs.
Looking up the main street which runs through the village.
This building is now the village hall, called a reading room. Reading rooms were usually built by public subscription from the more well to do, to provide a meeting place for villagers to meet, read the newspapers of the day and borrow worthy books. An alternative to the pub! Recently refurbished thanks to the efforts of the villagers and the lottery fund.
The old school, looking a bit worse for wear. I love the school bell, imagine being summoned to school by that. Hopefully this building will be renovated and no doubt become a home for someone. The house next door was full of workmen when I visited.
The thatch was new and there was much banging and hammering coming from within.
A row of typical village houses. Note the chimneys to the right side of the roof and the front doors to the centre. Apparently that is the local style of building in these parts and if you want to build a new house in Ryedale, this is the standard to which they MUST conform. The red pantiles are traditional to this area too.
This however is my favourite house
It’s called Cruck cottage and is a delight. Cruck being the timber frame on which old homes were built.
Now Cropton doesn’t have any claims to fame, but infamy is a different kettle of fish. If you are of a nervous/weak disposition or just ate your dinner, do not read the rest of this paragraph. In 1872 Joseph Wood (58) and his son ( he had two sons aged 9 and 4, not certain which one this was) vanished without a trace from their farm. Mr Wood had taken to carrying large sums of money about his person. On 17 May Robert Charter, cousin to Mr Wood , said they had just gone away. Mr Wood’s brother John who also lived in Cropton thought this unlikely as Joseph had not told him. It transpired that their older brother William knew nothing either. A letter purporting to come from Joseph was posted in Liverpool, but John said it wasn’t Joseph’s writing.
In July the police and John went to the farm in which Robert was now living. There was a very strange smell from one of the buildings. Robert said it was putrid meat he had found. In September a proper search was conducted revealing watches, boots,, clothing and amputated limbs which were subsequently identified as Joseph Wood. In November there was yet another search and this time child’s boots were found in a boiler house used for the preparation of cattle food. I shan’t go any further with this story! ( information of this tale comes from “Round and About The North Yorkshire Moors” by Tom Scott Burns and Martin Rigg which I borrowed this morning after my visit).
Villagers pulled down Robert Charters own house such was his notoriety. Robert Charter was sent to prison for murder but released after a long prison service. He became a Methodist preacher and died in the workhouse in Malton.
Moving swiftly on, I found this being used as a garden ornament
At the far end of the street and across the fields is the village church of St Gregory. Now this church was rebuilt in Queen Victoria’s reign, but there was probably a church back here in Saxon times. Bit more info here
Can you imagine a more idyllic place to be buried?
My Godmother who is also a cousin of some sort ( Dad and Joan were cousins, although she was 15 years older than him), just so happens to be buried here. Aunty Joan and her husband had a farm just outside the village in the valley below.
Did I mention a castle? Probably not as there is not a great deal to see these days, just the motte ( hill where the keep was) and Bailey (courtyard).
But by golly there is a good view from up there.
Are you feeling a bit hot and bothered by all this exploring, let’s find that pub.
Oh my Gosh, it has its own brewery too, around which you can take a tour – New Inn brewery.
Saved the best till last, hey? I am told it is very, very good beer, and there is a campsite right next door.
Cheers everyone, I hope you enjoyed the visit., and will come with another time.