Long lost pubs of Chop Gate

The most substantive village in Bilsdale. The name, Chop Gate, pronounced ‘Chop Yat‘ in the vernacular, is thought to be derived from the Old English ‘ceap‘, which means a pedlar (chapman), hence the ‘pedlar’s road’. Perhaps this indicates that maybe once numerous trackways converged here from across the moors and the village was a thriving trading place1Burns, Tom Scott. “Round and About The North Yorkshire Moors: A Glimpse of the Past”. M.T.D. Rigg Publications. Reprinted 1989. Page 49..

An alternative explanation is that the name is a shortening of ‘Chapel Yat‘. ‘Yate‘ being a tongue of land between two streams. This is supported in the name given to the middle part of the dale, ‘Bilsdale Midcable’ meaning the middle or Midway Chapel, suggesting a chapel of ease may have once stood near Chop Gate2Ibid. Page 50..

On the 1857 O.S. map, there is an inn named in the range of cottages in the photo, the ‘Tiger Inn‘. This is in addition to the Buck Inn which now the only pub in the village.

Bilsdale is fortunate in having had two fairly comprehensive surveys done for various Earls of Rutland, one in 16373‌Bilsdale.org.uk. (2021). Survey of Bilsdale, 1637. [online] Available at: http://www.bilsdale.org.uk/index.php?id=27 [Accessed 17 Jul. 2021]. and the other in 17814‌Bilsdale.org.uk. (2021). Bilsdale Survey, 1781. [online] Available at: http://www.bilsdale.org.uk/index.php?id=28 [Accessed 17 Jul. 2021].. In the latter, a Shoulder of Mutton public house is listed, kept by John Medd. In 1814, a Robert Nedd was the landlord. His son, Thomas, died in 1851 and his will states he is a tailor and innkeeper. By 1861, William, Thomas’ nephew is the innkeeper and tailor at the ‘Fox and Hounds’5Bilsdale Study Group Newsletter. (2013). Surveys and Census. [online] . Available at: http://www.bilsdale.org.uk/assets/newsletter/1309bsg_newsletter.pdf. [Accessed 17 July 2021].. So, a quartet of inns, or at least inn names as I suspect some renaming has gone on.

One other entry that stands out in the 1781 survey is ‘Bakers Coffee House & Garden’ run by John Baker. In the 18th-century, coffee was a fashionable drink that was considered to have medicinal properties, and coffee houses were the places to conduct business, learn news and the latest gossip, and discuss science and the arts6Wikipedia Contributors (2021). English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_coffeehouses_in_the_17th_and_18th_centuries [Accessed 17 Jul. 2021].. But all that would be in London and the major towns and cities. What’s a coffee house doing in rural Chop Gate?

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