Panaramic view

Gouthwaite Hall  | OS Grid Ref: 413250,468500  | Site classified as: Garden  | HPG Ref: 60247

Map Evidence

1853 1st OS
The house is depicted with an enclosed garden area to the front. The garden is divided by a central path and two side paths. To the north, there is an orchard.

1896 2nd OS
The orchard to the N of the house has gone. The walled garden in front of the house has been extended to include part of the former orchard. It appears to be cultivated in neat rows and borders.

Not depicted on modern maps as the original location of the hall and gardens was flooded when Gouthwaite Reservoir was built (1893-1901).

Site history

Gouthwaite Hall lies in the township of Stonebeck Down in Nidderdale. This was part of the former Chase of Nidderdale, a hunting preserve held from about 1110 by the de Mowbray family.
In two charters dated between 1143 and 1166, Roger de Mowbray gave the Cistercian monks of Byland extensive pasture rights throughout the Chase of Nidderdale. Ramsgill became the principal grange of the Byland estates, and the land between Ramsgill and Heathfield was worked from granges at Gouthwaite and Colthouse, each occupying the favoured position on a tributary stream just above the bottom of the main valley.

Gouthwaite passed into the hands of the Yorke family when, in 1547, Sir John Yorke of London, a merchant, later Master of the Mint, purchased the former Byland estates of Stonebeck Up and Down at a cost of about £2,200 to include all rights of minerals, chase and warren. These townships became subsequently known as the Manor of Ramsgill. At that time the old monastic farms were let on 21 year leases. John Yorke spent some time at Gouthwaite and enlarged and reorganised the house. The outbuildings to the farm lay to the west of the house and a corn mill was powered by water from the beck. His eldest surviving son, Peter, acting as his steward in Yorkshire lived at Gouthwaite until he married in 1560 and removed to Parceval Hall in Appletreewick from which he administered his considerable farming and mining interests.

When Peter Yorke died in 1589, his son John inherited the estates at Austwick, Kilnsey, Appletreewick and in Nidderdale. He and his wife made improvements to the house and garden at Gouthwaite which was their principal residence. Family papers dated 1597 record their efforts at making the house more comfortable and better equipped. In the garden, gravelled walks and paving led to secluded seats, including one overlooking a bowling green. Fruit trees and a herb garden were planted and flower beds were expanded and surrounded with clipped box hedges (Ashley Cooper: 1988). Katherine Macquoid, reporting on her visit to Nidderdale in 1883 noted the 'ancient manor house' with its formal cut yews and alleys of fruit trees in the front garden.

Gouthwaite Hall remained the main residence of the Yorke family until the mid - 17th century when they moved to a new house in Richmond. The Hearth Tax returns (1672) disclose that the house had 8 hearths, making it one of the largest houses in the area after Ripley Castle. By 1821, the Yorkes had sold up Richmond and made Bewerley their main Nidderdale residence.

It is likely then that Gouthwaite Hall was largely tenanted from the 17th century and the house divided so as to accommodate several families. The 1840 Tithe survey for Stonebeck Down gives the names of the three tenants of the house and lands of Gouthwaite: John Weatherhead, farmer and miller, John Frankland, farmer and land agent for John Yorke and George Layfield.

Owing to the construction of Gouthwaite Reservoir (1893-1901) and the building of a new road 'seven yards wide to replace the old switchback road from Gouthwaite to Ramsgill', the Elizabethan Gouthwaite Hall was demolished. The stone was used to build a new Gouthwaite Hall and Gouthwaite Farm further up from the now flooded valley floor. The story goes that the tenants had remained in the old house until the water rose up to the door, which occurred when heavy rain caused a flood in 1899, trapping them on the upper floor of the hall for several days. William Hannam and his family were the first to move into the new Hall in 1901.

When the Yorke estate was put up for sale in 1924 Gouthwaite Hall was advertised as a 'charming week-end residence or shooting box with a luncheon room and gun room'. It was then divided into two cottages. Gouthwaite Farm, tenanted by Mr Moses Rayner comprised 74 acres. The sale catalogue describes:
'An extremely valuable dairy and sheep farm with a remarkably fine set of buildings'


Ashley-Cooper, A. 1988. Yorke Country. Mrs Ashley Cooper, Hexton Herts.

Macquoid, K. 1883. About Yorkshire. Chatto and Windus.

Speight, H. 1894. Nidderdale and the Garden of the Nidd. Eliot Stock

Gouthwaite Hall, south face.
Photo album Vol V of Amy Collins, Grassfield 1897.
"Gowthwaite Hall"; 1897
Gouthwaite Hall, house and front garden.
Photo album Vol V of Amy Collins, Grassfield 1897.
"Gowthwaite Hall"; 1897
Gouthwaite Hall, house and topiary.
Gouthwaite Hall, in its original position - possibly 1898.
Gouthwaite reservoir dam, floodwaters.
Photograph album of Amy Collins, Grassfield Vol VI 1897-99.
" Floods at Gouthwaite, 1899"
Gouthwaite Hall, floodwaters in fields.
Photograph album of Amy Collins, Grassfield Vol VI 1897-99.
" Floods at Gouthwaite, 1899"
Gouthwaite Hall, flooded orchard and new road. The hall was removed and rebuilt on higher ground (to the left of the photograph). The "new" road can be seen in the middle distance to the left of the large tree. Unexpected flooding of reservoir before completion. 4/10/1899.
Gouthwaite Hall, floodwaters approaching.
Photo album Vol V of Amy Collins, Grassfield 1897.
"Gowthwaite Hall"; 1899(?)
Gouthwaite Hall, demolition in progress.
Photograph album of Amy Collins, Grassfield Vol VII 1900-1903.
" The ruins of Gouthwaite Hall, 1901"
Map dated 1907 showing the new sites of Gouthwaite Hall and road after the completion of the reservoir.
The original position of the hall and grounds and road as surveyed in 1899 is superimposed.
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