David S Johnson
The general impression gained from walking the paths and tracks north of
High Birkwith farm today would probably be that of desolation. Up to the latter
years of the nineteenth century, however, the situation was quite different.
Old Ing and Nether Lodge are the only occupied buildings between High Birkwith farm and Gearstones and the land in between seems to consist of low-potential pasture and moorland, interspersed with the occasional improved meadowland. In the nineteenth century the area in question formed a discrete estate made up of four farms, collectively known as Netherlodge Estate.
The earliest mention of the estate that I have come across dates from the 1791 Enclosure Award for Selside and Shaw Park which refers to ‘an Estate called Netherlodge’. One person to benefit from that award was Christopher Bateson, described as a yeoman and resident at the time in Selside.
In 1821 a detailed, scale plan (Figure 1 is a copy) was drawn up by one Richard Clapham of ‘Christopher Bateson's Estate at Nether Lodge’.* At the time the estate only consisted of 61 acres though it did include 295 sheep gaits** and 24 beast gaits on the surrounding unenclosed moorland pastures of Carrs, Cammside and Cow Close. The precise location on the plan of the house at Nether Lodge suggests that it is the now ruinous structure just to the west of the present house, described in 1887 as newly built.
A second plan exists, dated 1851 (Figure 2). James Greenwood of Gisburn was commissioned to survey and map what had become a much more extensive estate. Greenwood was paid at the rate of 8d. an acre, receiving £18.6s.8d. in total, which means the estate now extended over 550 acres. Four farms made up the estate (Figure 3), namely Nether Lodge, Syke, Ling Gill and Dry Lade, which now belonged jointly to James William Farrer (1785-1863) and Oliver (1786- 1866), his brother, of Clapham. During the first half of the last century they avidly bought up land in upper Ribblesdale (Figure 4) from various landowners.
By 1841, however, both Dry Lade and Ling Gill were seemingly unoccupied and abandoned. The 1841 census returns make no mention of these farms, not even listing them as unoccupied and there is no mention of them in any subsequent census return. Howson, writing in 1850, described Old Ing as the ‘second farmhouse’ on the road from Ling Gill bridge to Horton, Syke being the first. Dry Lade is thus not mentioned. In 1841 Syke was occupied by John Haygarth, aged 70 and described as a farmer,though he is shown on the 1821 map as occupying land at Dry Lade. The evidence would suggest that Syke and Dry Lade were being worked as one unit by 1841. Fig 4 - Remains of outflow ditch from The Mill Dam
By the 1851 census Haygarth had gone and Thomas Milton was living at Syke. In the Estate Rental Book there is an entry for 1834 that William Milton (Thomas's father) was paying rent for Ling Gill farm; in the 1851 census William occupied Nether Lodge; while transfer of ownership of Syke and Dry Lade farms in 1852 was from the Miltons to the Farrers. The Miltons were clearly far more than struggling subsistence farmers, especially given the joint sale price of the two farms (Figure 4). These facts would further indicate that all three farms were being worked as one, despite keeping their separate identity on the 1851 map.
Ten years later Syke was occupied by Jeffrey Milton,Thomas's brother, while Nether Lodge was split between two families. In 1871 both Nether Lodge and Syke were worked by members of the Lambert family: Francis junior, aged 25, lived at Syke with Francis senior, aged 52, farming Nether Lodge. The Lamberts, incidentally, had earlier farmed both Camm and Thorns. In subsequent censuses Syke disappears from the record so it had obviously been abandoned in the 1870s and subsumed within Nether Lodge farm.
Perusal of the parish register transcripts, from 1617 to 1835, reveals that at all four farms there was frequent change of occupance, if not ownership. At Syke six families occur between 1729 and 1871; at Ling Gill ten names crop up between 1653 and 1834; at Dry Lade four between 1745 and 1835; and at Nether Lodge seven between 1736 and 1871. So much for the supposed demographic stability in the Dales in days gone by!
The estate remained in the Farrer family until death duties necessitated its being sold off in 1951-52. Ruins of the three abandoned farm houses can still be seen from rights of way. Dry Lade is marked on current Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps as Dry Lathe (Grid reference SD 8018 7786). A barn still stands and remains of the house form a rectangular mound between the barn and Cam Road. The small enclosure, marked A on Figure 2, was the vegetable garden for this farm. The home paddocks and gardens of Syke farm are shown on the Ordnance Survey map as pecked lines, and the site of the house and adjoining shippons and barns (SD 8040 7874) are clearly visible from the path from Ling Gill to Greenfield. The extensive ruins of Ling Gill farm (SD 7979 7854) are visible from the path from Ling Gill bridge along Scald Bank to Nether Lodge, a path that skirts the hay meadows of Ling Gill farm.
*The spelling of Nether Lodge used in this article follows that used in documents consulted.
** Gait or gate refers to the right to pasture sheep or cattle on common pasture land so 295 sheep gaits would allow a specified farmer to graze 295 sheep on a specified common.
Farrer, Dr J A. 1998. Personal communication.
Howson, W. 1850. An Illustrated Guide to the Curiosities of
Craven. London: Whittaker, and Settle: Wildman.
Ingleborough Estate Field Book 1873. NYCRO ZTW III/MIC 1726/3/1.
Ingleborough Estate List of Farms 1887. NYCRO ZTW III/MIC 1726/4/13.
Ingleborough Estate rentals 1834-1888. NYCRO ZTW III/MIC 1726/6.
Map of an Estate comprising the several farms of Netherlodge, Syke, Ling Gill and Dry Lade the Property of James William and Oliver Farrer. NYCRO ZTW XI/MIC 2234/54-59.
Pedigrees of the County Families of Yorkshire, compiled by
Joseph Foster: West Riding 1874. NYCRO ZTW/MIC 2827.
A Plan of Christopher Bateson’s Estate at Nether Lodge 1821. NYCRO ZTW XI/MIC 2234/3/46-48.
Fig1 - Copied from "A plan of Christopher Bateson’s Estate at Nether Lodge" April 1821
Fig2 - Copied from "Map of an estate comprising the several farms of Netherlodge, Syke, Ling Gill and Dry-Lade ... the property of James William and Oliver Farrar" 1851
Old Nether Lodge Farm SD 7929 7782 Maureen Ellis
Dry Lade Farmstead (under the trees) from the South
Remains of Ling Gill Farmstead