Snippets from Clapham and Newby’s history

7 March 2010
Leader - Ken Pearce
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

For me, at least, this was an unusual walk. With the beckoning hills so close to our doorstep I normally walk among them. But this time things were different; I had chosen to show members something of the less dramatic part of the parish. This was going to be a walk largely on tarmac in its early sections, looking at some of the quieter spots which have played a part in the making of Clapham and Newby.

A dozen of us set out from Clapham carpark, going south rather than the customary north. We looked quickly at the Old Manor House with its lintel dated 1701, bearing the initials of William and Isabel Clapham who lived there until William’s death in 1717. Then on down Church Avenue, past the site of a row of 10 cottages cleared away in the Farrers’ 19th century remodelling of the village, past the stone cross which commemorates the market charter of 1201, past the New Inn, a coaching inn with (until recently) a rainwater hopper dated 1776, over the old main road, past the 1864 village school built by the Farrers and on past the site of the original village green and the four fine houses built in 1884 as “enlightened dwellings for the labouring classes”. Some may remember Norah Hazzard, the Duck Lady, who lived below the green and turned it into a sanctuary for mallard.

Walking quickly on such easy ground we crossed the beck by Mafeking Bridge, originally erected in 1899 and later named in memory of the Relief of Mafeking in 1900, and on down Station Road which revels in Clapham’s one and only pavement, built by public subscription in 1898. We stopped briefly to look at the site of the old Town Gates, then pressed on past the cemetery (land donated by the Farrers in 1894) to spend some time looking at ‘Wenning Bank’ opposite the railway station.

This house is particularly interesting having been, in its time, a Sandemanian chapel attended by Michael Faraday’s parents, the township workhouse, a beerhouse for the railway builders, a post office, two cottages and now a single dwelling. Its fine bow-topped window looks out over the adjacent railway station opened in 1849 after rival routes in the area were considered by three railway companies. That window also overlooks The Flying Horseshoe, reputedly a former shooting lodge enlarged in 1853 by the Farrers to take advantage of the growing tourist trade arriving by train to see the wonders of Ingleborough Cave and to shoot the grouse moors nearby. The building is now being adapted as luxury flats.

We walked on past The Flying Horseshoe to Nutta Farm, scene of a 1561 stand-off between local folk and the Duchy of Lancaster over the matter of tenant right and customary conditions of tenure. On that occasion the sheer numbers of protestors won the day and in 1573 both custom and rights were confirmed by the Duchy. Close by is the site of the old pinfold, sold to the railway company in 1847 at a price which still yields a charitable income.

We were now venturing out onto Newby Moor, to find the scant remains of Newby Mill. Permission to build the mill was granted in 1241 by the Prioress of Arthington. It was confiscated by the Crown in 1537 at the Dissolution and eventually passed into the hands of one George Ellis who used the rents to fund the church and schools of Clapham. It was bought by the Farrers in 1824 and was eventually demolished sometime in the 19th century. All that remains now is the base of the wheel pit, some walling and a very modest leet which runs for a mile over the moor, leaving diminishing traces as it shadows the meandering Crookbeck to the site of Old Newby.

This site is named on the first edition Ordnance Survey maps but they show no ruins - nothing. Only on the ground can one trace the lumps and bumps which indicate where a street and its houses may once have nestled beside the quiet stream. It would be interesting to know whether it was abandoned after Scots raids in 1318-19 or the depredations of the Black Death in 1348-49 - or some quite different cause.

A little further on we were thankfully able to leave the tarmac and take to the turf, approaching today’s Newby on the lower slopes of Ingleborough. By 1170 the settlement was already a grange of Furness Abbey overseeing Keasden, Burnmoor, Crummack, Horton and large areas beyond. In 1250 Alice de Staveley added Whernside, Ingleborough, Selside and Stackhouse to its manor which, by 1535, almost encircled the neighbouring manor of Clapham. In 1540 it was transferred to the Duchy of Lancaster but became neglected. It passed through the hands of at least 9 lords of the manor, all seemingly absentee. A survey of 1678 found no manor house or demesne. In 1810 it was bought by the Farrers.

Many listed buildings still stand in the village though, sadly, the interesting Newby Hall is not accessible to public view. It is 15th century with 16th century additions and an adjacent barn has a mid-16th century timber lintel with 3 axe-carved and painted Tudor flowers. Other buildings of note in Newby include the former Inghamite, now Methodist, chapel (1873) and Town Head farmhouse (17th century with 1720 additions) with an adjacent barn of 1675 and its lovely hooded cart door.

Close by, on the edge of the village, is the triangular Tenter Hill where Newby’s weavers once stretched their cloth to dry after fulling. And across the road, out of sight, lies the site of the village pinfold, now long gone. From here the path is intermittently wet and muddy, up past Laithbutts (archery butts by the barn ?) and down past some splendid medieval lynchets onto the old head-dyke, later turnpike, road into Clapham, passing the slight remains of the toll house on our left to enter Eggshell Lane which was supposedly named as the ancient route to the church (Celtic ‘egles’, Latin ‘eccles’).

We had covered 4 miles, all easy going, providing splendid views of Bowland Knotts and Burnmoor as we walked out and equally good views of Ingleborough as we turned back towards Newby and home. We saw no other walkers so far as I remember. It is not a well-frequented route even though full of interest for those who can look with a knowing eye. Perhaps all the tarmac was worth it.

Street in Clapham by Jenny Kaan, Member of Clapham Art Group

Street in Clapham by Jenny Kaan, Member of Clapham Art Group