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Ashley House

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(click photo to enlarge)

Ashley House and its adjoining property (Ashville) may be buildings of some antiquity. They have an appearance suggesting they were constructed at different times - although they abut each other, Ashville is set back slightly from Ashley House and they are connected by a single vertical mortar joint.

The windows of Ashley House were replaced in early 2010 but they continue to be recessed and their frames partly concealed which is a form of construction found after 1775. Those of Ashville are more flush with the walls with exposed frames - a style found before 1725. Of course, the windows in both properties are likely to have been renewed from time to time and we cannot be sure that they conform to their original positioning. Nevertheless, the Inclosure Map of the 1770s shows some structure at this point in Church Lane and this may well have been one or both of these dwellings. The properties are both very clearly identified on the O.S. Map of 1853 and succeeding surveys.

The garage extension on the left of the picture is, obviously, a modern addition but the general appearance of the main house seems to accord with what was probably first built many years ago.

Click here for information about previous owners where it is explained how the house was conveyed to Johnson Wrigglesworth. He is mentioned by George Wainwright (Book one "Villagers' Reminiscences") who says "Slater" Wrigglesworth was another character. He used to look after the church roof and it used to take him ages to send the bills. I never did find out why. He was a tall chap, who lived in the house ("Ashley House"), which the Traver's own now."

A Young Johnson Wrigglesworth - click for full size image

Courtesy of Angela Baker (Johnson's great-granddaughter) we now know that, although Johnson was a hard-working craftsman, he did not like to press people for payment and in time employed an accountant for this purpose. Not only did he repair the church roof - the tiling on the lychgate was also his handiwork.

Johnson, Ada, Eliza & Elizabeth Wrigglesworth at Ashley House - click for full size image

Angela also provides this charming photograph  showing Johnson and his wife Ada with their daughters Eliza and Elizabeth all standing at the gate of Ashley House.

We can date the photograph to about 1911 for the girls appear to be about 9-12 years old. The 1911 census shows the family for the first time in Hampsthwaite at Ashley House and describes them as "Johnson Wrigglesworth 35 (married 12 years) Slater/Tiler b. Wetherby; Ada 37 b.Wincobank and Eliza 11 b. Starbeck, Harrogate." [No mention of Elizabeth who must have been elsewhere that night]

Both Eliza and Elizabeth trained as tailoresses. Elizabeth worked at home but Eliza found employment with a bespoke tailor in Harrogate.

Eliza later married John Birkby whose son, Geoffrey, is Angela’s father. For the early years of his marriage John and his bride shared the accommodation at Ashley House and between 1931 and 1939 (whilst John was working in the dales for Taylor's of Harrogate) the property was held in his name and he took responsibility for it. When John took up new employment with Brooke-Bond and moved to Batley the house was reconveyed to Johnson.

Elizabeth never married but continued to live with her parents and died soon after them in the 1950s. On the 24th October 1959 the property was sold to William Hugh Wade and Joan Wade who later sold it in October 1962 to Richard Robert Randall Inman.

Ada & Johnson - click for full size image
In this photo we see Johnson and Ada in old age. They are buried in the village churchyard.
Ashley House

(click photo to enlarge)

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