In the heart of idyllic Bilsdale, nestled among the high moors, lies Chop Gate with this collection of charming sandstone cottages. Their roofs are adorned with typical pantiles, exhibiting the distinctive S-shaped cross-section—a design that crossed the North Sea from Holland to Britain in the 17th century. Since the start of the 18th century, these tiles have been manufactured on British soil, an enduring symbol of North Yorkshire’s heritage.
At first glance, this tranquil scene may deceive the casual observer, for the peace is frequently disrupted by the ceaseless rumble of traffic on the bustling B1257. Nonetheless, these cottages have weathered the storms of modernity and now serve as private residences, each with its own story to tell.
Commencing with the cottage on the left, this was the former village blacksmith1NYM PA HER No: 5538. Its presence still resonates today, as its name, Forge Cottage, serves as a poignant reminder of its past.
Continuing to the right is a range of buildings that once encompassed the Tiger Inn2Heritage Gateway URL: https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=729dbfc9-15c6-4baa-88a3-b2298792ab96&resourceID=19191. I guess this could have been the taller, middle three-bay section. The name, shown on the 1857 edition of the O.S. six-inch map, disappeared by the 1895 edition. However, it persisted in local lore throughout the 1920s, serving as a meeting point for hunters3Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer | Monday 14 February 1927 | British Newspaper Archive URL: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000687/19270214/297/0016. But, it would be wrong to assume that the inn stood as a bustling establishment during that time.
A survey conducted in 1781 for the Earl of Feversham unveils yet another inn, known as the Shoulder of Mutton4Local History Articles Bilsdale.org.uk Year: 2016 URL: http://www.bilsdale.org.uk/history/article/28/. Whether the Tiger Inn replaced this, there is no evidence, but it is plausible. Constructed in the first half of the 19th century, the Tiger Inn may have breathed new life into this thriving village, supplanting the Shoulder of Mutton as a favoured social hub.
Curiously, this survey also divulges an intriguing detail—a building occupying the very spot where the Buck Inn stands today was labelled as “Bakers Coffie House.” It looks like The Buck Inn, which was shown in the 1857 O.S. map, arose from the shadows of history, casting aside the name of its coffee-loving predecessor.
But the plot thickens. Hidden in the depths of the newspaper archives are advertisements dating back to 1874, courtesy of the Licensed Victuallers’ Tea Association5Advertisements & Notices | Leeds Mercury | Thursday 10 September 1874 | British Newspaper Archive URL: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000076/18740910/024/0007. Among their roster of agents, one J. Johnson proudly represented an establishment called the “Brick Inn, Chop Yat.” Perhaps the printers might have erred in their task, inadvertently transforming “Buck Inn” into this enigmatic “Brick Inn.” Just a typo.
Finally, at the far end of this range of cottages, there is a two-bay section that is annotated on the 1893 O.S. 25-inch map as a Primitive Methodist Chapel. Within its walls, up to a hundred souls could seek spiritual guidance6GENUKI: BILSDALE-MIDCABLE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890., Yorkshire (North Riding) URL: https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/NRY/BilsdaleMidcable/BilsdaleMidcable90. Yet, a mere stone’s throw away, along the path known as Cold Moor Lane, stands the Wesleyan Methodists’ chapel—a rival house of worship. One can only imagine the fierce competition that must have ensued when both congregations assembled simultaneously, each vying for the devotion of their faithful.
- 1NYM PA HER No: 5538
- 3Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer | Monday 14 February 1927 | British Newspaper Archive URL: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000687/19270214/297/0016
- 4Local History Articles Bilsdale.org.uk Year: 2016 URL: http://www.bilsdale.org.uk/history/article/28/
- 5Advertisements & Notices | Leeds Mercury | Thursday 10 September 1874 | British Newspaper Archive URL: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000076/18740910/024/0007
- 6GENUKI: BILSDALE-MIDCABLE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890., Yorkshire (North Riding) URL: https://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/YKS/NRY/BilsdaleMidcable/BilsdaleMidcable90