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Old Parish Stables (site of)


This small piece of grassed land adjacent to the church lych-gate was once the site of the parish stables.

They were said to have replaced earlier pack-horse stables which were mentioned in a guide of 1894 written by Harry Speight ("Nidderdale and the garden of the Nidd"). He says that the Lamb Inn on the opposite side of Church Lane was frequented by pack-horse carriers passing through the village on their way between York and Skipton but that the old pack-horse stables were done away with when the parish stables were erected by public subscription in 1866. Nothing stands there now but the Ordnance Survey Map of 1853 does indicate the presence of a short row of buildings extending across the full width of the plot. When the O.S.Map of 1891 was published they were still there but the later map of 1907 shows them reduced in length by two thirds.

We have a photograph taken in the 1960s and which shows Nutshell Cottages which once occupied an adjacent plot on the south.

Link to 369

The photograph reveals what is assumed to be the residue of the stables next to the right-hand cottage.

 - click for full size image

Above the stable-like door can be seen an oblong stone. This appears to be the stone recording the construction of the stables and which was, following the demolition of the stable, stored under the church.

 - click for full size image

In March 2010 the stone was affixed to the north wall of the stable site as can be seen in this second photograph. It now provides a welcome reminder of the site's original purpose.


Nutshell Cottages were demolished in 1974 and that was when the remnant of the stables disappeared also.

Long-standing residents Leslie Clough and Doris Peel tell us that the stable had "at one time been used for the stabling of horses on which the clergy rode to church. To the left of this building and originally joining it were two cottages. These were demolished in 1974, leaving only one wall as a support to the stable. When an estimate was obtained for the erection of an inner wall to act as a back-up, it was considered - at £1,250 - to be 'a lot of money' for the Church Council to spend on a building which, although in the oldest part of the village and covered by a preservation order, had become just a storehouse. On 21st November 1974 - acting under the law - the Parochial Church Council voted to 'replace and extend the existing Parish Stable' and to accept Mr and Mrs Brian Pugh's kind offer to 'pay the cost of demolition, any architect's fees which might be incurred and make a gift of £3,000 towards the cost of a new building', a building which was to house the Sunday School and a toilet. The demolition took place; the new building never materialised on the site".

Angela Sansam comments..."My grandmother maintained that before the building was a stable it had been a tiny cottage in which her mother Sarah Patrick was born in about 1850. This would be entirely possible. Many people today are quite unrealistic about the sort of housing our forebears occupied. Only the better standard of house survives. Most people in Hampsthwaite, as elsewhere, lived in earth-floored, one-room, ling-thatched hovels. Conditions only began to improve after the 1840s or so."

Angela's great-grandmother Sarah appears in the 1851 census as a 2-year old child living with her parents James (47) (agricultural labourer) and Sarah (39) and their other children James (11), Charles (9), John (7), Ann (6) and Ellen (4). By 1861 Ann, John and Charles are no longer listed and by 1871 Ellen is also no longer recorded. If the family was indeed living in 1851 in the same building we see in our photograph above then conditions must have extremely crowded! As Angela reminds us, life was very different in those days.

Old Parish Stables (site of)

This small piece of grassed land adjacent to the church lych-gate was once the site of the parish stables.