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Thursday 5th October 2017
 
Excavations at Holme Cultram Abbey

Jennifer Stearn

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Site last updated
08 September, 2017


November/December 2011

It is now just one year since the full launch of this project.
The snow at the beginning of December and the approach of Christmas slowed our TFB activities, so we have combined two months for our final diary entry of the year.
November/ December saw a shift to the more challenging terrain with Teams 2 and 4 completing the photographic record of the sites that did not require a full building survey, in the Scale Park area. Team 5 began surveying high above the Kettlewell Valley as well as finishing their previous allocation in the valley bottom. Team 3 also started high on the valley sides, but to the north of Starbotton, before transferring their attention to the Hoobank area and finally dodging the snow showers in the valley bottom around Kettlewell!

“Believe me…. I don’t have any food for you!”  © P Carroll

We have identified 205 possible traditional farm building sites in the parish and to date, have surveyed 77 buildings and photographed a further 39 sites which were demolished buildings, animal pens, springs etc, as well as all the converted buildings, within the two villages.
One of our objectives was to produce a historical record of the remaining TFBs in the parish as well as recording the number that have been lost. Very few of the buildings examined have been standing less than a hundred years, many have been around over two hundred, and some even longer.
Farming methods have changed dramatically in that time and many of these old buildings no longer have a viable use. Throughout the Yorkshire Dales, such buildings are falling into inevitable decay, Kettlewell with Starbotton being no exception.
However, even ruins have a story to tell and in many of them, there are enough remaining clues to be able to work out their original arrangement and use and often the existing stonework helps to date the building and show the phases of modification and rebuilding over time.

Silent reminders of days gone by….   © P Carroll

This ruined building has much more to tell, but visible on the photograph are doorways of different dates and a rebuilt wall above the level of the door lintels. Arnold Pacey, writing in his ‘Yorkshire Dales Farm Buildings’ (pages 35-37) states that the doorway to the left is early 17th century, whilst the right hand, broad chamfered doorway, dates from around 1700. The thin stone slates above the doorway act as drip-stones, sheltering the farmer, and date back to the days of low thatched roofs and no guttering.

Where once the cattle stood - the rich nettles grow…     © P Carroll

The typical shippon arrangement is still visible in this ruin, with, in the far wall, the recess for the door and lantern hole - yet surprisingly, given the absence of a roof, the remnants of the timber boskins and the skellbuse manage to survive the battering of the elements.

High on the flank of the fellside the moss slowly encroaches…    © P Carroll

Like many other barns, in locations difficult to access, this building has now fallen into ruin with only this gable remaining. However, the low ventilators show that this was once the hay mew and the door jambs and lintel (the fallen pieces are lying on the ground) indicate the period in which it was constructed, the 19th century.

One factor was that interesting, when discussing this small barn with the landowner was the speed in which structures can become ruinous, he recalled a local family taking hay into this building within the last 40 years.

In sharp contrast to heaps of random stone and lines of crumbling wall is the total lack of remains for some of the buildings marked as roofless, on the first edition Ordnance Survey map for this part of Wharfedale, in 1851.

Many of the older sites that we have visited, now show little or no evidence of earlier buildings and only feint features, parch marks or subtle building platforms hint at their former presence.

With thanks to the members of Recording Teams 2 and 3 for their photographs
Pat and Phil Carroll

Read the January 2012 report

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