Monthly Archives: November 2017

30th November, 2017. Humberside large period house (cont.).

Houghton Hall (see above, south front) stands just west of the village of Sancton and south of Market Weighton. Described by David Neave as ‘The perfect Georgian country house in a beautiful parkland setting’ (Buildings of England, Yorkshire: York and the East Riding (2005, 665-666), all the houses so far mentioned in he current run of blogs are dealt with in more detail in this publication), most of the surrounding parkland remains. Again a Grade 1 listed building and built of local brick with stone dressings. Ancestors of the landed family who had this property built in the late 1760s had lived in this locality since the late Middle Ages and descendants have it as a private house today. One ancestor at the time of the English Civil Wars, 1642-1651, fought against the Parliamentary forces and spent most of the 1650s on the continent with the future Charles II. For 150 years up to 1957 the builds incorporated the areas Roman Catholic chapel.

The site of the estate stands just west of the route of the Roman road, this constructed after AD 70 when the northern boundary of the Roman Empire was pushed north from the Humber Estuary. The estate also stands just north of the site of the famous limestone quarry at North Newbald which provided building stone for many high status medieval building projects across the region including North Newbald church (‘the most complete Norman church in the Riding’ Neave p621) and Beverley Minster. All trace of this quarry is now lost although the remnants of one remain in Hotham parish to the south.

Houghton Hall and Hotham village stand on the narrowing limestone escarpment which just to the north is lost under the chalk escarpment. The limestone escarpment provided building stones of varying quality through the east Midlands, Lincolnshire and this part of East Yorkshire.

29th November, 2017. Humberside large period houses – Brantinghamthorpe Hall.

From the early 18th century onwards the southern Yorkshire Wolds were a preferred locality for rich Hull merchants and businessmen to buy land and have built a country residence and grounds reflecting their wealth and status and, often, taking advantage of the views offered by the rolling landscape compared with the level ground of the Hull valley. Many such houses on the lower dip slope of the Wolds originally had extensive grounds but these were gradually partitioned to building blocks for more modest country retreats with further infill in the mid and late 20th century for modern outer-suburban properties and estates (a study in itself).

Although probably built on the site of an earlier property Brantingham Thorpe (alternative spelling) was built mostly in the 1830s, the image above being a photo, probably late 19th century, showing the once formal gardens and grand terracing. It was built by a member of the Sykes Family from Sledmere Hall. It does (presumably), and certainly would have, commanded a majestic panoramic view to the south across the full extent of the middle and upper Humber Estuary and beyond into Lincolnshire.

The Hall is shielded from view from the very busy A63 road passing further down the valley-side created by the inter-glacial predecessor of the Humber Estuary by which the Wolds escarpment was bisected.

27th November, 2017. The listing of buildings.

Sewerby Hall and Boynton Hall (s.p.b.s) are both Grade 1 ‘listed buildings’, some of the other large period houses considered recently are also Grade 1 although some are Grade 2*. The ‘listing’ of historic buildings is part of the responsibilities of the government agency Historic England. There are only three levels of listing; grade 1 (most comprehensive), grade 2* and grade 2, the latter normally requiring the owner to abide by some rules relating only to the exterior of the property. The listing, and the requirements at each of the three levels, is designed to retain the ‘probity’ of historic buildings rather than allowing them to be changed at the will of the current owner or to be demolished.

All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840. It is estimated by Historic England that about half a million listed buildings have been catalogued in England of which 92% are grade 2. Historic England’s catalogue of listed buildings can be interrogated from its website and it can be surprising how many listed buildings exist in a community e.g. about 180 in Barton on Humber with a population of 13000. Obviously there is likely to be a close correlation between listed buildings and conservation areas (these in turn quite high profile nationally at the moment as it is the golden anniversary of the legislation that initiated them, nationally it is the Civic Trust which oversees and promotes conservation areas). The local authority is responsible for the maintenance of conservation areas within its county boundaries.

There is currently a push to raise the profile of listed buildings and conservation areas, Barton Civic Soc. for example has produced a leaflet to this effect and volunteers posted it through all letter-boxes in the conservation area and of the few listed buildings outside the conservation area. Estate agents can often not be relied upon to make listed status clear to prospective buyers.

St. Peter’s church, Barton on Humber, currently administered by English Heritage, is a grade 1 listed building. Many other medieval churches have the same level of listing, some later ones are grade2*. This is all to the good as with declining congregations the future of many historic churches seems very uncertain in the 21st century.

‘Listed building consent’ has to be got from the local authority before physical changes can be made to a listed building.

26th November, 2017. Humberside large period houses (cont.).

Sewerby Hall, an eight bay, three-storey Georgian brick-built house with panoramic views of the North Sea and standing above the rising chalk cliffs of Flamborough Head, is the jewel in the crown of the East Riding’s large period houses. The bulk of the house seen today was built in the early 18th century, the bow-fronted wings and the semi-circular portico being added a century later. Also then the brickwork was rendered in imitation of freestone blocks. In the mid 19th century various built additions to the grounds were constructed, orangery, gatehouse, clock tower on the stable-block plus a parish church and elementary school at the edge of the estate.

As with Baysgarth House, Barton (s.l.b.) the house and grounds were donated to the local authority in the 1930s, the now publically owned Sewerby House and grounds being officially opened to the public in 1936 by the famous aviator Amy Johnson.

An extensive restoration of Sewerby House and grounds between 2012 and 2015 has resulted in an improved visitor experience, the house and grounds being open all year (check website) and incorporating the Museum of East Yorkshire.

Sewerby Hall is grade 1 listed.

25th November, 2017. Humberside large period houses (cont.).

Boynton Hall, just a few miles west of Bridlington, has a Grade 1 listing, the relevant text describing its exterior as ‘red brick with burnt brick diaper work and stone dressings, ashlar and slate roof’. The original core of the house seen above was a late-Tudor H plan house on the same site as a demolished late medieval manor-house (as at Sledmere). Most of the architecture seen today date s from 18th century extensions and ‘enclosing’ of the late Tudor mansion.

The entrance drive incorporates a bridge over the Gypsey Race while the extensive woodland of the valley sides is all that remains of a once extensive 18th century landscape programme. this woodland contrasts sharply with the surrounding open landscape of the High Wolds now tamed by modern arable agriculture.

The house and grounds are usually just open to organised parties of interested persons.

24th November, 2017. Humberside large period houses (cont.).

Thorpe Hall in the village of Rudston, west of Bridlington, (see above) is the product of various building schemes across 200 years from the late 17th century. It is (I think) sometimes open to the public but beyond the house are extensive facilities for camping/caravanning, horse riding etc.

In his detailed description of Thorpe Hall David Neave (s.p.b.) references a ‘delightful series of Regency buildings’ to be seen in the grounds, these including a dairy, game larder, billiard room and orangery, the last of which may be compared with the detached orangery at Burton Constable.

Rudston village is famous for many things including a pre-historic monolith standing in the churchyard and for a local farmhouse having been the birthplace and childhood home of the author Winifred Holtby who served in the Great War and died prematurely in the 1930s before seeing her best known novel South Riding in print. A remarkable woman with radical (for her time) political and social views.