Grain House, Giggleswick

Emmeline Garnett
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

This article written in 2002 for the then owners of Grainhouse is published here with agreement of Emmeline Garnett.

Grain House, as it stands today, is clearly a building of comparatively modern date, probably towards the end of the 18th century. The range of barns behind has a datestone of 1763, and the family tradition is very strong that the barns were built first and the house afterwards. Rebuilt, of course. Grain House as the site for a farm and a dwelling is very much older, as indeed are most of the farms in this part of Craven. Our ancestors could pick a good place for a dwelling quite as well as we can today, and once established there was no reason to move, although successive buildings would be demolished, altered, rebuilt, as succeeding generations demanded more space, stability and comfort.

There is good reason to think that the first Grain House dates from the 13th century. In the 15th century in this part of Giggleswick parish, the Earl of Northumberland owned about a dozen ‘lodges’, farms built out in the fields. It is thought, though not conclusively proved, that they were all founded in about 1280, when more land was enclosed and broken in from the wild-moors, ‘assarted’, as the term then was. According to a list of 1499 one of them was occupied by Richard Carr who paid twelve shillings annual rent. It seems more than a good guess that this was Grain House which fifty years later was mentioned in the will of Thomas Carr. Since it was already specifically known as ‘Grain House’ so very early in its history, it must have had some particular purpose on the Earl of Northumberland’s estate, and one presumes that it was the main tenement, what was known on a monastic estate as a ‘grange’. This was the home of the chief tenant who would relate directly to the Earl’s steward. He would be a sort of sub-steward, responsible for gathering rents in cash or kind from the lesser farms. He may have stored corn or cattle until they went to market on behalf of the distant lord. This would suggest that the tenant at Grain House was an important person, a suggestion which is borne out by our knowledge of the Carr family.

In the 1510 muster roll James Carr was one of the half dozen in the parish who could be summoned to attend ‘with a bowe, able in horse and harness’, while lesser men had only to equip themselves with a bow. In a subsidy list of 1525 his possessions were assessed at £12, more than three times as much as his next most prosperous neighbour in Giggleswick township. In 1547 Thomas Carr (almost certainly James’ son) was assessed at £20, when everyone else was said to be worth £5.

There are no parish registers at this date to enable us to make a proper family tree, but clearly all these Carrs were closely connected, and this is proved by Thomas’ will of 1549. Thomas Carr ‘of Staykus’ left a lengthy and elaborate will. There were a great many bequests, starting with the church (I have modernised the spelling) which was to have eightpence for ‘forgotten tithes’, and ‘to the poor mans box 12d’. Every priest who came to his burial to pray for his soul, to have fourpence ‘and their dinner at Saulbanke Wyffs or in St Thomas chamber’, and the boys of the grammar school (recently founded by one of his relations) to have a penny apiece. After many other small bequests, he mentioned his two sons, Adam and James. ‘To Adam Car my son all the lands lying in old Wenington, Lawkland, and in the township of Giggleswick, a house in Settle with the appurtenances, and other certain land in Settle Fields’. James the second son was to have four houses in various places ‘or the gold that shall be paid for them.’ This is clearly the will of a rich man, but there is something even more interesting. James, the younger son, got the old family house in Stackhouse. Adam, the elder, got ‘the Grayn House with the licence of the Lord and other land in Settle Field that is occupied with the said house’. It would seem that the Grain House was the more desirable and important residence of the two, or it would not have gone to the elder son.

Thirty years later, in 1579, another survey shows that Adam Carr still held ‘one messuage called Grayne house one laythe (barn) one other house one garden and four acres and a half of lande and Meadow’. At that time his son Roger and his grandson, another Adam, also held some land in the same area.

The Giggleswick parish records start very early, in 1558, which is convenient, but Carr is about the most prolific name in the book, which is less convenient. However, the clerks who kept the registers frequently added the name of the township or farmstead, particularly in the case of a very common name like Carr. We find that in 1588 William Carr of Grain House was buried, and in the early 17th century another Adam Carr took over. He was probably the ‘Adam son of William’ christened in 1586. This would mean that he was only two years old when his father died. Someone else would have had to run the farm, and sure enough the parish records show a Robert Cote of Grain House in 1608 and 1610. In 1616 Adam, then 28, married Margaret Lindsay and established a family.

He was clearly one of the important landholders of the parish, as the parish register has a note that in 1614 he was allocated a seat in the church. ‘It is ordered agreed and sett downe by us the churchwardens of the parish of Giggleswick this present fiftenth daie of April 1614 that Anthonie Procter of Setle and Adam Carr of Graynhouse shall have and enjoy that forme or seat at the northend of Richard Franklands seat or stall under the quier or channcell, jointlie between them from henceforth’.

Adam’s family continued as the family tree shows, until 1683. His son Richard had two sons. John died in 1680, three years before his father. Richard’s will was written when he was ‘infirme in bodie’ and presumably the second son, Thomas, had left the area as second sons tended to do and was making his way elsewhere, not to be tempted back by the thought of becoming a Craven farmer. He is mentioned in the will, but apparently of secondary importance to Richard’s wife Margaret who is very well provided for, and his two ‘Godsonnes’ Robert Bradley and Thomas Tomson. Neither of these two are traceable with any certainty in the parish register. Neither took over Grain House. Margaret, Richard’s widow, continued there until her death in 1688, the place being run by one Richard Towler, who was of Grain House until 1693 but then went to Settle where he died in 1723. He does not appear to have been a relation.

So the connection of the Carrs with Grain House, which we know for certain had lasted for 150 years, and possibly for much longer, came to an end, although another branch of the family continued for a long time in Stackhouse. The last traces of the house that the Carrs lived in (except for the actual stones which surely have been recycled) were probably the small mullioned windows in the cellar, which have now disappeared. A mullioned window would have been originally at ground floor level, so the old house must have been lower than the new one. But the owners of eighteenth-century houses wanted proper cellars, and where the ground was suitable, rather than go to the considerable trouble of excavating, the builders sometimes used the original ground floor as cellars and rebuilt on top, which given the unevenness of the ground in this case would not have been too difficult an undertaking

It is not at all clear what happened next to Grain House. There is a gap of some years before a mention of a William Husband ‘of Grain House’ in 1731, and in 1739 William Husband gentleman ‘of Grainhouse’ was buying 27 acres of land from John Atkinson of Rome, so he was clearly well established, but when or how he had arrived we do not know. Possibly the family had had an interest in Giggleswick for some time, as a deed at Wakefield shows ‘William Husband gent of London’ paying £100 (a large sum of money) for houses in Giggleswick village in 1704. This is perhaps the William, gentleman, who married Millicent Brokas (or Brookhouse?) in 1699, but there are no entries in the parish register of children christened so we presume that he did not live locally at the time. Perhaps he was a lawyer or a merchant based in London who came back to his roots in later life. Husband was quite an important name locally, particularly in Bentham.

This William was buried in Giggleswick in 1749. In his will he left the large sum of £20 a year to his wife and everything subsequently to his only child, another William, still under age. If he died before 21, then everything was to go to the children of his sisters. The young William did not die. It was he who undertook the rebuilding of a very handsome range of farm buildings, on which he set his datestone ‘WH 1763’. As I said earlier, family tradition is very certain that it was this William Husband who then rebuilt the house. If he did so, which seems quite likely, it must have been fairly soon after building the farm, because he died in about 1779, leaving a widow and it would seem only one child, a daughter, married to Henry Faithwaite of Littledale in the Lune Valley, who is mentioned as his ‘son and heir’. In 1789 Ann Husband, the widow, died. She was living by this time at Aspull and the farm was tenanted by Lawrence Fearnside. Thomas Winder Faithwaite as her executor and heir now sold the house and farm, and the buyers were the Maudsleys.

The Maudsley family was not local to Giggleswick parish. It is not clear where they originated, but they arrived suddenly in the 18th century. Two of them, possibly brothers, married within a year of each other, Thomas to Agnes Carr and Henry to Elizabeth Wigglesworth, both established families, Thomas at Sheepwash and Henry at Greenridge, as Craven Ridge was then called. Henry in particular prospered and acquired land. After a few years he was ‘of Rome’ and then in 1789 his son Thomas ‘of Rome gent’ acquired Grain House from Ann Husband’s executors. In a tax list of 1800, Thomas Maudsley of Grain House paid on ten windows, a saddle horse, two other horses and a dog. However, at some time he swapped with his father, who died in 1811 at Grain House, while Thomas was now ‘of Rome’. However, Henry’s will called him ‘of Rome’ so he still owned the property, which Thomas was farming for him. Thomas would appear to have been his only child, as ‘all and singular my messuages, lands and tenements’, which amounted to a good deal of property, were left to him. His mother however, for her lifetime if she wished, could have a house called Sandforth Brow.

In the next generation there were three sons, as the family tree shows. Henry had Rome, John had Grain House, and Thomas farmed at Feizor until his eldest brother died unmarried about 1834, and he then went to Rome where, as family tradition remembers very well, he raised a family of nine children, one of whom, Henry, after schooling at Giggleswick, joined the medical profession and founded the famous psychiatric hospital which bears his name.

John, the middle brother, was also unmarried, and the census return for 1851 shows him living at Grain House with his sister. Interestingly he is not called ‘farmer’ but ‘landed proprietor’ so he either had a tenant to farm the land (about 75 acres according to the Tithe Map) or it was run with Rome. By 1861 he was still ‘landed proprietor’, but he had taken in his nephew John, second son of Thomas. John was farming 130 acres (there is nothing to tell us where the extra land had come from) with one man, a boy of 18 who lived in the house. His aunt seems to have died, but he and his uncle (still ‘landed proprietor’ and presumably not dirtying his hands with practical work) were looked after by an elderly servant.

The census returns continue to give their snapshots at ten-year intervals. By 1871 the elder John had disappeared but the younger John, still unmarried at 40, continued to farm alone. He married soon after, as the 1881 census shows him with a wife Elizabeth (family tradition says she was a Barker from Eldroth Hall) and three children. A fourth came along later, three girls and a boy, another John to carry on the tradition.

In 1901 the elder John was still there, aged 70, with all his children still at home. Mary Isabel aged 29, Margaret 27, John 25, and Elizabeth 19. He died in 1903. Unfortunately although there are several Maudsley gravestones in Giggleswick churchyard, time and the enthusiastic growth of bushes have made most of them unreadable. John’s is legible, and his wife Elizabeth’s name was added in 1921.

I do not know, although no doubt the family does, whether John’s three sisters married. He did, soon after his father’s death, as a very splendid wedding photograph shows. He had three children, of whom one is still alive. None of the three married, and on the death of the sons, Grain House descended to a cousin who has sold it in 2002, after 213 years. Just three families then, as far as we know, Carr, Husband, Maudsley, have owned Grain House in the last 500 years. It is surprising to find how much history lies behind the unassuming fa├žade of a small Yorkshire farmhouse.

Sources used in this history

  • Early Tudor Craven: Subsidies and Assessments ed. R W Hoyle (1987)
  • Whitaker’s History of Craven (1878)
  • Giggleswick Parish Registers
  • Giggleswick Title Map (West Yorkshire Archive Service)
  • Census Returns (Skipton Reference Library)
  • History of the Parish of Giggleswick : Brayshaw and Robinson (1932)
  • Giggleswick School Register ed. Mullins (1913)
  • Documents in the Wakefield Registry of Deeds
  • Local and family information
  • Gravestones in Giggleswick Churchyard


Emmeline Garnett wrote this report in 2002 and graciously agreed to allow us to print it in the Journal. The current owner was also agreeable to publication.

Grain House

Grain House