I very much doubt that any of these ruined barns is the one that gave its name to the “cowshed valley”, remote and isolated. Once Baysdale was home to a population of fairies who washed their ‘fairy butter’ in a favourite spring and left overnight on gate posts and fences after apparently throwing blobs at each other. Apparently it is a fungus and miraculously appears overnight. But I didn’t notice anything of the sort this morning.
But Baysdale’s most notorious residents were the nuns of the small Cistercian priory at the top of the dale which was home to about 12 nuns and a prioress between 1189 and 1536. They all came from wealthy families and seemed to have been quite a rum lot. It is recorded that they were disobedient with one prioress being reprimanded for her “excess and perpetual misdeeds”. Baysdale was actually the third site for the nunnery. Originally it was established in Hutton Lowcross but soon the nuns were in disgrace and in dispute with their neighbours. A new Priory was built on land at Nunthorpe near Great Ayton but their behaviour did not improve and before long the ecclesiastical authorities moved them again, this time to isolated Baysdale. A case of out of sight …
I wonder what the nuns actually got up to.
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