Panaramic view

Nutwith Cote  | OS Grid Ref: 423181,478911  | Site classified as: Garden:Walled  | HPG Ref: 60009

Map Evidence

1856/7 OS
Orchard, bee-boles, gardens
1912 OS
Complex includes 3 orchards and dovecote
1946 OS Sheet SE 27 NW
As above

Other documentary evidence

Buck, S. Wakefield Historical Publications (1979). Samuel Buck's Yorkshire Sketchbook.
Facsimile of the original ms in the British Library circa 1720
See page 383 for a sketch of the south-east prospect of Nutwith Cote nr. Masham

Fisher, J. (1865) The History and Antiquities of Masham and Mashamshire.
London: Simpskin, Marshall and Co.

Pevsner, N (1967) 2nd ed. The Buildings of England. Yorkshire North Riding.
London: Penguin

Additional Information

Gardens and orchards shown on 1851 OS map, which can be viewed from a public right of way.
Originally a grange of Fountains Abbey, features include medieval bee boles, and a crinkle-crankle wall to the walled garden.

Nutwith Cote has a connection to 18th Century race horses with the breeding by a John Barlett of race horses from 1730 to 1750 including a stallion called Bartlett's Childers as seen here.

The Group have prepared two publications concerning Nutwith Cote.

A pdf copy of the Self-guided Walk around Nutwith Cote (map and historic notes) which can be downloaded from here.

A booklet "The Story of Nutwith Cote" is available by contacting through this link.

Early History

The name Nutwith is thought to derive from Nuttwith or Nutewyth meaning 'Nutwood' or 'a place where nuts are collected'. Or, it might derive from the man's name Canute/Knut the meaning of 'Canute's wood'. The Old English word cote means 'cottage'.
Evidence of prehistoric activity has been found near Nutwith Cote, and the Domesday Book (1086) notes the existence of settlements south of Masham along the river Ure.

A Dairy Grange of Fountains Abbey

There has been a farm at Nutwith Cote since medieval times. By 1135 the monks of Fountains Abbey had acquired land along the river Ure and established a grange at Nutwith in the early 13thC.
In 1453, Richard Beckwith was the Keeper, tending 20 cows belonging to the Abbey, and owing 320 lbs of cheese and 160 lbs of butter a year as rent. Descendants of Richard Beckwith remained tenants of Fountains for several generations.

The Yeomans's Farmstead: The Beckwiths

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Sir Richard Gresham, the Lord Mayor of London, purchased most of the Fountains estates including Nutwith Cote in 1549.
The Beckwiths were still tenants but in 1583, Christopher Beckwith purchased over 400 acres from William Gresham.
Later the farm was split in two with two thirds remaining in Beckwith hands until 1731 and the rest being occupied by the Smorthwaite and Bartlett families.

The Rise And Fall In The Fortunes Of Nutwith Cote

The Smorthwaites and the Bartletts prospered as dyers and owned property in Richmond and Masham.
Simon Bartlett's estate was valued at £1200 on his death in 1680.
Simon's son John Bartlett also did well: when he died in 1728 he left his son John property in Nutwith, Grewelthorpe and Richmond.
A sketch of the house at Nutwith Cote as it was up to the early 1720s is included in Samuel Buck's Yorkshire Sketchbook.

The Bartletts (father and son) shared a passion for horses and racing from which some of their prosperity and possibly their later financial problems derived.
Nutwith Cote became an important stud farm after they acquired Bartlett's Childers (born in 1716) – an exceptional stud horse in terms of British racing history.
His sire was the Darley Arabian, one of the three most important stallions in the history of the Thoroughbred.
Bartlett's Childers was never raced, but he sired many winners. His brother Flying Childers, owned by the Duke of Devonshire, was reckoned to be one of the fastest race horses ever.

In the 18thC the house at Nutwith Cote was altered in a style suitable for a gentleman's residence, including a new frontage with portico, and new windows.
According to 19thC historians the walls of one room were 'hung with Spanish leather, bearing embossed devices, and figures of angels, bacchanalians, grapes, etc. in gold'.
By 1890 part of the leather had been removed, and the rest was hidden under coats of paint and paper.
The present tenant remembers the removal of the remains of the leather, which had almost completely disintegrated.
The outbuildings, barns, stable and gardens were also extensively remodelled.

The younger John fell into debt, and the property at Nutwith Cote was mortgaged on several occasions.
He did not marry, and on his death in 1769, the property passed to his sister Catherine's son John Ascough, and then to John Ascough's brother Thomas. In 1776 Thomas Ascough attempted to sell at auction " a freehold estate called Nutwith Cote consisting of a very good and genteel dwelling house . . . Gardens walled with brick . . . With about 76 acres of land and 19 acres of wood". (See full text of advertisement below).
Shortly before Thomas's death in 1787 the heavily mortgaged property was conveyed to Sir William Danby of Swinton Hail and became part of the Swinton Estate.

The Outbuildings And Gardens

Surviving documents from the 17thC mentioned outbuildings and gardens.
The earliest refer to a dovecote and barns, and later records also include stables and orchards.
Several of these structures are still standing. A wall containing bee boles dates from the monastic period.
A small outbuilding just north of the main house was a bakehouse, and the remains of the oven chimney are still visible.

The 18thC remodelling of Nutwith Cote by the Bartletts also included the surroundings of the house and the outbuildings.
On the south side of the farm, on a hillock, stands a now derelict dovecote, which held 360 pairs of birds.

A coach house with an ornamental arched doorway was built next to the wall containing the bee boles.
A large two storey stable block beyond displays exterior detail reflecting the value of the horses stabled there, it has heavily rusticated stonework around the windows and doorways and expensive stone setts paving the floor. The interior walls still show the remains of plastering.

The larger of the barns near the dovecote is also believed to be 18thC in origin, and has giant Doric pilasters on either side of its original doorway.
The smaller barn is inscribed with the initials and date 'SCL' and '1888'. 'SCL' is Samuel Cunliffe-Lister, who acquired the Swinton Estate and Nutwith Cote in 1882.

The gardens and orchards around the house, like the outbuildings, reflect a mixture of practicality and gentrification.
On the south side is a walled garden with the remains of an 18thC brick-lined crinkle-crankle wall facing south.
Walls of this type provided good growing conditions for fruit trees, but now only one old pear tree is still standing in the middle of the garden. Other old pear trees are trained up against the house.
Early in the 20thC there were several orchards around the house, supplying fruit for pressing for cider and perry, but only a few fruit trees now stand in an orchard opposite the stables.

The now derelict stone building down by the river is a former mill once powered by water from a spring in the hillside. From the public footpath, an attractive fireplace can be seen on the first floor.

Other Families At Nutwith Cote

Several other families and individuals lived at Nutwith Cote, employed as domestic servants and to look after the cattle and horses. From the 17thC onwards, Masham parish registers and later the censuses give us a glimpse of some of the people who lived and worked there. In 1881, Thomas Edmundson farmed 400 acres with the help of 2 men and 2 boys. One was Robert Watson, aged 16. The Watson family who were described as labourers and servants eventually moved to Canada in 1903 and were followed at Nutwith by Peter Verity and his wife Hannah from Nidderdale. His nephew, Watson Verity, with his seven children, took over the farm in 1916 and remained until 1927. The Veritys became known as top breeders and judges of sheep and cattle, and for their own pedigree flock of Wensleydale sheep. Their youngest son Bert followed in the family footsteps as farmer, judge and sheep breeder and was a lifelong supporter of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. When interviewed in 2010 at the age of 96, he talked of his many vivid memories of his happy time at Nutwith and recalled many of the buildings and features described in the 1776 advertisement.
During WWII German prisoners of war helped run the farm for the Lambert family.
Since the 1950s, the Wilkinson family have been tenants, running a dairy farm as it was when Nutwith Cote was a grange of Fountains Abbey.

Advertisement from the General Evening Post, 13 July 1776

In a fine sporting country, to the highest bidder, at the house of Mr Twaite (being the sign of the King's Head) in Masham on Tuesday 3 Sept 1776


In the said county, lately belonging to John Bartlett Esq., deceased, near to the market towns of Masham. Bedale and Ripon, consisting of a very convenient and genteel dwelling house, having a large dining-room, a large drawing room and a small parlour all handsomely finished and wainscotted, a kitchen, back kitchen, servants hall and pantries on the ground floor, three large bedchambers, dressing room, store room and two small rooms adjoining on the first floor above, and four very neat chambers with closets on the attic floor; cellars particularly good, gardens walled with brick (these and the orchard well planted with all sorts of fruit trees) also a fishpond, a large barn, stable, coach house, granaries, brewhouse, laundry, dovecote, dog kennel and other convenient buildings, all in good condition and repair; together with about 75 acres of good arable, meadow and pasture ground and 19 acres of fine growing timber wood and with common rights upon Nutwith and a farm house belonging to the estate (with all conveniences) at a proper distance from the above capital dwelling house.

The premises are tythe free and toll free and are situated in beautiful country, a fine river runs by the side of the estate in sight of the house and the lands adjoin to Hackfall, the pleasure ground of William Aislabie Esq. so much noticed and admired by the public.

Apply to Thomas Ascough Esq., the present possessor
The above 19 acres of wood will be sold separate from the rest of the estate.
N.B. A considerable part of the purchase money (if desired) may remain in the hands of the purchaser at reasonable interest, upon good security.

Extract from 1851 OS map centred on Site
Extract from OS Landranger map centred on Site
Extract from Google Map image map centred on Site
View of the front of Nutwith Cote in 2006
Nutwith Cote in the 18thC (after S. Buck). © J.H. Hooper
Bee boles, probably dating from the 16thC.
Used to hold bee skeps (hives) in a protected environment.
Crinkle-crankle wall
Dove cote
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