A North Yorkshire

St Oswald’s Farnham

Parish Meeting Agenda

The Road to Walkingham Hall

At the centre of Farnham is a small village green, where the road from Knaresborough meets the road to the village of Scotton and onwards to the City of Ripon. But North from the green is another road, which shortly becomes a track, and which leads to the village of Burton Leonard. It is clear that this ancient trackway was once the direct route between Knaresborough and Ripon. On earlier maps it is termed a bridleway and there is evidence that it was used. as a drove road to move cattle between towns.

From the green the road climbs for a short distance to the crest of the ridge where a track forks to the right to a clump of trees which is named Folly Hill. The historian Hargrove wrote, in 1809, that in 1757 a copper mine was opened on this site 'which failed for want of proper management'. Whether the fault was management or shortage of copper will remain a mystery.

The main track then descends to a small bridge over a stream known as Shaw Beck - this stream marks the Northern edge of Farnham. Across the bridge and to the right is a large field bordered by the stream to the South and by Walkingham Hill to the North. This field is the site of a former great twelfth century hall. The early maps indicate 'site of Walkingham Hall' fairly close to the stream and nearer the hill 'supposed site of the gardens of Walkingham Hall'.
Hargrove wrote that the approach to the Hall was through an avenue of 'two rows of aged oaks.......still discernible' and also 'remains of stables and offices with the gardens and fishponds, are very evident'. It must have been a splendid affair. Sadly, all these signs have now disappeared - but even in the 1980's, the vague shape of the site could be seen from the top of the hill.

To the left of the lane and covering the hillside is Warren Covert - an area where rabbits would have been conserved - a valuable source of food.
There was a village of Walkingham - the exact location is not known - but there are indications of broken ground in front of the Warren and it looks a likely site for the lost village.

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