Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Bransdale Westside — a potted history

A clearing in the appropriately named High Plantation, elevated above the hamlet of Cockayne, affords a magnificent view of the western side of Bransdale.

Bransdale is drained by the Hodge Beck, which, in medieval times, formed a significant boundary. To the west lay lands granted to Rievaulx Abbey, while to the east, they belonged to Keldholme Priory1Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Volume 60. 1988. Page 153. Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society. [Available online at https://archive.org/details/YAJ0601988].

Through the ages, Bransdale, divided by the ever-flowing beck, emerged into two discrete parishes: Bransdale Westside and Bransdale Eastside. In 1866, Bransdale Westside became a parish in its own right. But in 1934, both parishes of the dale were joined under the name of Bransdale parish2‘Bransdale’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bransdale#History> [accessed 28 March 2024]3‘Bransdale | British History Online’. 2024. British-History.ac.uk <https://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/england/pp347-350#h3-s3:~:text=was%20buried%20here.-,Bransdale%2C%20East%20Side,-BRANSDALE%2C%20EAST%20SIDE> [accessed 28 March 2024].

Now, according to some writings from the early 1800s, the folk of Bransdale Westside were, by custom, directed to Kirkdale church. However, their fervour for attending divine services appeared lacklustre. One observer remarked upon their infrequent pilgrimages, save for the occasional marriage, wherein they would collectively descend by horseback in a grand cavalcade. As for routine ecclesiastical obligations, the annual visit of the church clerk, tasked with collecting Easter dues, was not met with enthusiasm. It appears the folk of Bransdale Westside preferred Methodism and even erected their own chapel in 1851 near Cornfield House. Earlier, though, the Westside even had its own hostelry, the Hope Inn, established in the 1600s at the present site of Elm House4Rushton, John. “The Ryedale Story”. Page 139. Ryedale District Council. 1986..






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