Out & About …

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

The Enigmatic Charm of Scarth Wood Farm — A Love Nest?

Scarth Wood Farm – west aspect

Scarth Wood, located above Ingleby Arncliffe, can be a perplexing place to navigate. The footpaths in the area are challenging to follow, which led us to take an unusual route down to Scarth Wood Farm. I have only passed through this farm a few times in the past.

Scarth Wood Farm is an intriguing building. Local legend has it that it was built as a love nest for one of the Bells. It does seem more than just a common or garden farmhouse.

Although named as a farm on both modern and Ordnance Survey maps from 1854, Scarth Wood Farm appears to be more than just an ordinary farmhouse1‘View Map: Ordnance Survey, Yorkshire 42 (Includes: Bilsdale Midcable; Carlton; Faceby; Little Busby; Whorlt… – Ordnance Survey Six-Inch England and Wales, 1842-1952’. 2023. Maps.nls.uk <https://maps.nls.uk/view/102344290#zoom=8&lat=2154&lon=1928&layers=BT> [accessed 17 March 2023]. Its unique features include gable copings and a porch with castellations, and ornate ball-shaped finials. Additionally, it is roofed with Welsh slate, which is a relatively costly material compared to the pantiles used for the outbuildings2‘Heritage Gateway – Results’. 2018. Heritagegateway.org.uk <https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1151335&resourceID=5> [accessed 17 March 2023]. While it is believed to have been constructed in the early to mid-19th century, the eastern range of outbuildings is thought to date back to the 18th century3‘Heritage Gateway – Results’. 2018. Heritagegateway.org.uk <https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=1189340&resourceID=5> [accessed 17 March 2023].

The identity of Scarth Wood Farm’s builder remains a mystery, but I am somewhat sceptical of any connection to the Bells. The dates don’t stack up.

The Bell family’s origins trace back to Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell, whose early career centred around Newcastle-upon-Tyne4Wikipedia Contributors. 2023. ‘Lowthian Bell’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowthian_Bell> [accessed 17 March 2023]. It was not until 1852, when he and his brothers Thomas and John established the ironworks at Port Clarence, that he became associated with the Teesside area. According to the heritage records, Scarth Wood Farm was already built by this time.

Furthermore, Bell still continued to reside in the North-East, building Washington New Hall in 1854. Although he purchased the East Rounton estate in 18665Wikipedia Contributors. 2021. ‘East Rounton’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Rounton#Recent_history> [accessed 17 March 2023], he did not actually move there until 1872, following the tragic death of a seven-year-old chimney sweep in a chimney at the New Hall6Wikipedia Contributors. 2023. ‘Lowthian Bell’, Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowthian_Bell#Family_life> [accessed 17 March 2023].



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