Garfit Gap and upper Bilsdale

In spite of the blue sky and sunshine over upper Bilsdale, Urra Moor was decidedly gloomy and showery this afternoon.

Ahead is Garfit Gap, the col between the Wainstones and Cold Moor.

The farm below the gap to the left is Whingroves where Jack Garbutt, the Bilsdale Bombardier, grew up as a child. He was killed on the Western Front in 1918.

To the right of the gap, nestled in a combe on Hasty Bank is Garfitts, a farm which has some history.

There is no mention of Bilsdale in the Domesday Book but there are indications of pre-Norman settlement1“The North York Moors Landscape Heritage”. Edited by D.A.Spratt and B.J.D.Harrison. Page 98. David & Charles. 1989. ISBN 0 7153 93472.. Perhaps William the Conqueror did indeed get lost on the moors above Bilsdale and told his legati not to bother with the dale when ordering the survey of his realm.

But the thinking is that medieval Bilsdale consisted of a number of scattered hamlets, and one of these was Garthwait, the ‘clearing with an enclosure’, situated where Garfitts farm is today2Ibid..

Interesting too, and probably completed unconnected, is that ‘garfits‘ is an 18th-century Yorkshire ‘provincialism’ for garbage3“The rural economy of Yorkshire. Comprising the management of landed estates, and the present practice of husbandry in the agricultural districts of that county”. Marshall, Mr. (William), 1745-1818. Internet Archive. [online] Available at: https://archive.org/details/ruraleconomyofy02mars/page/322/mode/2up?q=garfit5 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2022]..

  • 1
    “The North York Moors Landscape Heritage”. Edited by D.A.Spratt and B.J.D.Harrison. Page 98. David & Charles. 1989. ISBN 0 7153 93472.
  • 2
    Ibid.
  • 3
    “The rural economy of Yorkshire. Comprising the management of landed estates, and the present practice of husbandry in the agricultural districts of that county”. Marshall, Mr. (William), 1745-1818. Internet Archive. [online] Available at: https://archive.org/details/ruraleconomyofy02mars/page/322/mode/2up?q=garfit5 [Accessed 22 Feb. 2022].

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