I’ve visited two very different properties this week, both now uninhabited any many miles apart but long ago they were linked. The buildings were once occupied by very different kinds of people, too, whose lifetsyles were a world apart.

jervaulx_250pxl_bleed3.jpgMy trip to Jervaulx Abbey, near Leyburn, offered a glimpse of how the Cistercian monks lived nearly a thousand years ago in that tranquil, fertile valley before the abbey was ripped apart by ‘Old Henery’ who decided the monks posed too much of a threat. Now privately owned it is superbly kept for us to enjoy for a voluntary donation which I am more than happy to part with.

The monks from here and Fountains Abbey owned land some thirty miles away in Upper Wharfedale, pastures they used for summer grazing for their cattle who would have been led there over the packhorse routes before being taken to market.

In remote areas, like Langstrothdale, would have been small farms housing a family or cowman to look after the cattle. From this basic agricultural system grew the second of the properties I saw this week – Cowside Farm, a derelict property now owned by the National Trust but standing somewhat forlornly above the infant Wharfe just east of Beckermonds.

The boarded-up farmhouse with barn and outbuildings, typical of Yorkshire rural architecture of the 17th century, is now the subject of an appeal by the Landmark Trust who wish to bring it back to life. I’ll be explaining more in June’s magazine.

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