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Yorkshire Hutton le Hole and the Ryedale Folk Museum

Hutton le Hole is often described as one of the prettiest villages in the North York Moors National Park with Hutton Beck running down the green, flanked by stone built cottages.





It is popular with locals and day trippers in the know, who picnic on the green while children paddle in the stream.


Unlike the nearby honey pot of Thornton le Dale, Hutton doesn’t actively promote itself to casual visitors through its website, although there is an information board in the village.


The village is mentioned in Domesday with the name Hoton. The name is Saxon with Saxon with ‘ton’ meaning farmstead. Many Saxon words can still be seen in names around the village. Toft was the the name given to their houses. Garths were small animal enclosures. The name changed over the centuries becoming Hutton le Hole by the C17th.

Most of the houses date from 1650-1750 during a period of growing prosperity. Most of the inhabitants were Quakers who worked either as weavers or as smallholders. Flax was grown in the village and used to make linen cloth. There was a national effort to encourage home production of cloth and it was compulsory for bodies to be buried in English cloth.

A Quaker meeting house was built in 1689 on the west side of the village but was sold in 1859 and is now a private home. Local still have the right to graze sheep on the green. C18th parish records indicate there were also lime burners, ironstone miners, blacksmiths, joiners, shoemakers and many other tradesmen. During the Victorian era, the village was described as “lll-planned and untidy... looked down on by the gentry...overcrowded homes of weavers, smallholders and labourers... Manure was piled everywhere and the beck was the common sewer."

St Chad’s Church, set back from the road and surrounded by trees, was built in 1934. Services had been held in the village school until the parish bought a redundant Zion Chapel in 1901. This was torn down and present church built next to it. The inside is equally as simple as the outside.

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Hutton le Hole has changed out of all recognition and is now an attractive and very desirable place. The old school
erected by public subscription in 1773 is is now a cafe with a self catering apartment. Houses are well cared for. There is a pub and very good tea room and many craftsmen have their studios here.


The main attraction is the Ryedale Folk Museum, in a farmhouse and attached barn.


There is also a popular walk to nearby Lastingham, with its Norman crypt in the church.

There is paid parking in the Crown car park, or in the National park car park on Moor Lane.
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Ryedale Folk Museum

Set in the delightful village of Hutton le Hole, this is one of the best kept secrets in North Yorkshire. The old tractor outside the museum is the main form of advertising.

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Buildings from the local area have been saved from demolition and brought here. There is everything from a full-scale replica of an Iron Age round house, Tudor Manor House and a crofters cottage. Throw in shops and workshops along with vehicles and machinery as well as other artefacts , this makes a fascinating visit. It gives you chance to step into life in the past and discover the lives of the ordinary people living in the area.

The museum was very much the brain child of local historian, Wilfried Crossland, who started collecting artefacts from the area and began a small museum in his family home and adjacent barn (now the reception area and shop). He met Bertram (Bert) Frank who was also developing a museum in nearby Lastingham. After Wilfred’s death in 1961, Bertram was invited by Wilfred’s sisters and take over responsibility for the “remnants of their brother’s collection”. They promised to leave the building and land to the museum in their wills.

The building opened in three rooms. The vernacular buildings, shops, workshops and contents arrived later and were given to the museum by local families. Volunteers helped dismantle buildings for reassembly on the site.

Donations and collections are still arriving. The Museum is now home to the Harrison Collection, housed in a special exhibition building in a stone barn beyond the school house.

Two brothers, Edward and Richard grew up near here and over 60 years amassed a huge collection of antiques and curiosities covering five centuries of British history. Every Christmas, the young brothers were given a box of small items wrapped in tissue paper rather than toys. This kindled their enthusiasm and led to a lifetime of collecting domestic paraphernalia. A special exhibition building holds about half of the objects in the collection.

It is an amazing collection of over 10,000 artefacts of all sizes, shapes and functions, valued at over £1million pounds. It includes everything from medieval implements for brain surgery to kitchen pots and pans as well as toys. The highlight of the collection is a heart shaped urn pot
used to bury the heart of John Peck, who died in 1562. He was a knight of the Hospitaller Order and the urn preserved his heart after his death, and is decorated with the Maltese cross.

There is so much to see, this really deserves a couple of hours. There are displays of toys and household wares, including this wooden cheese mould with the coat of arms of Queen Victoria

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The spectacular two sided C18th Dutch gingerbread mould was almost impossible to photograph. Standing nearly 3’ high, it has a carving of a husband on one side and the wife on the other.

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There are rush candle holders and even a splendid painted toilet pan.



Completely different is the model village consisting of over 30 buildings made by agricultural engineer John Hayton as a garden feature. After his death this was donated to Harlow Carr gardens before arriving at Ryedale. with its castle, church and windmill, it is a great favourite of the children.




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Other artefacts displayed around the site include old place names and traffic signs.



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There are milk churns, once a common site at road ends.


And old carts left lying neglected in a field.


There is even a painted cast iron grave stone outside the Undertakers.


There is part of a reconstructed stone aqueduct that was used to bring water from the hills to the villages.


Many of the villages were on limestone and in a dry year, In a dry year, water supplies could run out resulting in cattle dying and poor crops. Water had to be hauled up in barrels.
Joseph Foord’s father was land agent for Duncombe Park in the mid C18th, and Joseph farmed in the area. He realised he could take advantage of the natural slope of the land to bring water from the higher ground along carefully constructed water races. Over twenty years he was responsible for constructing over 70 miles of water races in the ,local area. Many were still in use in the C20th until the arrival of piped water. There remains can still be traced across the landscape.

The museum is also trying to recreate the natural environment of the past too.

Cottagers often grew a few fruit trees. As well as producing fruit for market, apples were also turned into cider. An orchard has been planted near the Manor House, with traditional local varieties of fruit. Many of these are no longer commercially viable. The grass beneath was not mown and was grazed by sheep or pigs. Wild flowers encouraged bees for pollination.


Flower rich meadows were common until the 1940s when there was a push to intensification and increasing use of pesticides and herbicides. Over 90% of wildflower meadows have been lost and many once common wild flowers are at risk of extinction.

The Folk Museum and the North Yorkshire Moors Association have formed a partnership
to encourage reintroduction of wild flower rich environments. Seed has been collected from the remnants of these meadows and is being used to re-establish wild flower meadows with the help of local farmers.

Over 100 years ago, cornfields were colourful with wild flowers, with poppies, cornflowers, corn marigold and corn cockle growing amongst the crop. Now, all that survive are the poppies, providing a welcome splash of colour in July and August.

The Folk Museum have established a Cornfield Flowers Project demonstration field in front of the Iron Age round house. When we visited in early June, the wild flowers had yet to flower. Later in the year it will be wonderful.


There are also pigs, chickens and sheep around the site.

This is one of the smaller folk museums and that has its advantages as it can easily be done in a day without having to rush. There is plenty of variety and it is a lovely site, surrounded by tall hedges giving it an intimate feel. Buildings are well set out and there is plenty of space to wander along with seats to sit and enjoy the place. Visit on a dry day as it is a large site without any shelter apart from inside the buildings. Allow plenty of time too.



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Ryedale Folk Museum - Shops and Workshops

A hundred years ago, small villages were self supporting units with a wide range of shops, workshops and craftsmen, supplying all needs.

Leaving the reception area, the first part of the museum recreates a typical village.


On the left, standing by itself is the Blacksmith’s forge. This was one of the first buildings to be rebuilt here in 1966.


The Blacksmith was the most important craftsman in the community, and very village had one. Nearly all the other trades depended upon him. As well as shoeing horses he made and repaired farm machinery as well as putting metal rims on wagon wheels and as making tools for other craftsmen.

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As well as acting as a farrier, many also doctored horses before veterinary services were widely available. Some even pulled teeth, set bones and lanced boils.

The forge is set up with a single hearth which burnt coke, anvil and slack tub. Tools made by the blacksmith are to hand.


Outside is a wooden wheel waiting for a metal rim. A strip of metal slightly less in diameter to the wheel is heated until it is red hot and then placed round the wheel. As it cools, it contracts and fits tightly to the wheel.




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Across from the blacksmith is a low building containing the workshops of the Cobbler, Tinsmith and the Cooper.


Cobbler’s Shop
Shoemakers had been common in all villages before the mass production of shoes in factories. Leather was shaped around wooden lasts. Shoes were stitched by hand until the development in the C19th of sewing machines able to stitch leather. By the First World War, many local shoemakers were only working as cobblers repairing commercially made shoes.

Not only did they make shoes, they also made wooden soled clogs which were popular with farm workers and those working in factories. Many worked from a small workshop in yard. Their popularity waned in the early C20th as they were associated with poverty.


Tinsmith or whitesmith
Tinsmiths worked with tin or other light metals that could be cut and shaped without needing to be heated. They produced a wide range of cheap kitchen utensils including jugs, plates, bowls and lanterns. As well as working from a workshop, many were itinerant, travelling around the country repairing household, dairy and other containers. Tin could be cut using shears and nippersPatches were moulded either by hand or on an anvil and would then be heat soldered in place.





Up until the C20th many foodstuffs and other commodities were transported in wooden casks. This was a very skilled work and required a four year apprenticeship.


The cooper also made other household items like buckets for water or milk, washing bowls and dolly tubs for the laundry and a variety of smaller wooden jugs and bowls.


The cooper worked sitting on a horse that held the wood firmly leaving both hands free to work.




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The next small block contains the General Dealers and the Chemist.

High Shop General Dealers and Post Office


The village store was the centre of community life providing a place to receive news and gossip. The shop is set up to show a typical village shop from the 1950s which sold everything from fresh food, bread, vegetables to tinned and packet goods. It also sold household cleaners, pots and pans and haberdashery.


Many good were sold loose and weighted out.


In a corner was the post office, which sorted out letters for delivery. It also despatched fresh food like eggs and also dealt with wireless interference complaints!


Lishman’s Chemist


The red and blue carboys in the window identify the shop as a chemist. Originally the carboys contained medicinal liquids like rosewater, but by the twentieth century their function became symbolic and they were filled with brightly-coloured liquids.

The chemist originally made up his own prescriptions from dry ingredients stored in labelled drawers or liquid ingredients in bottles. Ribbed bottled were always used for poisonous liquids.




A pestle and mortar was used to grind up ingredients which were then mixed to a paste. The mixture was then rolled into a thin sausage on the board of a pill making machine using a flat paddle. The sausage was then rolled backwards and forwards over the grooves to cut the pills.

As well as treating humans, in rural areas, the chemist would also make up medicines for farm animals.



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The next building houses the iron foundry, saddler and the wheelwright.

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Iron foundry


There has been a long history of iron foundries in Ryedale from the 1800s. Many began by making agricultural implements or small steam engines or pumps for use on the farm. Later, many diversified into items for domestic use like kitchen ranges, cast iron grates, doorstops and other decorative work. The ore was melted in a small furnace before being poured into moulds.



Many of the tools were similar to those of the shoemaker as both worked in leather. Repair work was an important part of the craft and would range from blacksmith bellows to drive belts for farm machinery. They would also repair small household items like suitcases or hat boxes.



The saddler also made poultice boots for horses which could be worn on the foot to keep woulds, dressings and poultices clean.

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Originally they would have made saddles and harness, but later they had catalogues with ready made riding saddles and other goods which could be chosen by the customer.

As well as making wheels for carts and wagons, the wheelwright also repaired many farm tools. He used basic woodworking equipment plus his specialised tools. He often had his workshop close to the blacksmith as the blacksmith was responsible for fitting the iron tyre on the wheel.




Carpenter’s paper hats were first worn in the C18th to keep sawdust out of the hair, although by the C19th many other craftsmen were wearing them. Paper was a lot cooler to wear than cloth and could be folded to shape.


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This is the last of the row of shops and workshops. In rural areas, the undertaker was often a joiner, carpenter or builder.


The magnificent horse drawn hearse hearse bought by the inhabitants of Farndale in 1839. Each household was asked for a contribution according to their pay. The hearse was bought second hand at the bargain price of £17. A new one would have cost £60.


The smaller hand drawn bier would have been used for cheaper funerals. The rope covered wheels allowed it to be rolled quietly along the cobbled streets. The coffin was lifted from the wheeled base to be carried to the grave.


The room behind the biers is the office and in true Victorian style is very cluttered. Hanging behind the door is the undertakers black coat and top hat.


There are examples of Memorial cards, carefully cut out from embossed white paper and mounted on black card. These were sent to show respect to the bereaved.

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Glass furnace

Behind the Manor house is reconstruction of the stone base of an illegal glass making furnace which was found in Rosedale.


In the Elizabethan period, glass was expensive and difficult to manufacture. The government exercised tight control over who could make glass by issuing a special license. Not many of these licenses were issued, so many glass makers operated illegally. Ryedale was a good choice as it had clay to make the crucibles, fuel from the surrounding forests and silica from local sandstone rocks, and lime. Bracken was burnt to make alkali, which helped the sand to melt.
This gave a distinctive green colour to the glass, which was known as forest glass

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It is thought the glassblowers in Ryedale may have been Huguenots as the furnace was built to a French design. Wood was burnt in the hearth and circulated into the four domes, called arches. Crucibles filled with a mixture of silica, lime and alkali were placed on a shelf inside the dome. Blobs of molten glass were picked up on the end of long pipes and blown to shape. These were then placed back into the arches to cool slowly, a process called ‘annealing’ which reduced the risk of cracking or shattering.

Glass making finished suddenly at the end of the C17th. No-one knows why. The Huguenots may have returned home at the end of the French Civil War when they were offered religious freedom at home. Alternatively, they may have been driven out of the area when the monopoly for glass making was given to Sir Jerome Bowes and his men closed down illegal furnaces all over England. There was also a ban on burning timber, when James James I of England and VI of Scotland insisted timber should just be used for shipbuilding.

There is a small display of fragments of Rosedale glass.




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Daylight Photographic Studio

Photography really began to take off in the mid C19th as the daguerreotype process which allowed photographs to be taken with only a short exposure, enabled commercial viable businesses to develop. Subsequent innovations made photography even better and everyone wanted their photograph taken.

The photographic studio at the museum is the oldest daylight photography studio in England and includes a dark room and finishing room.



William Hayes built a photography studio in Monkgate, York in 1902 with large windows providing enough light for photography. After concerns about the air quality in York, Hayes dismantled his studio in 1911 and transported it by horse and cart to Hutton le Hole and re-erected it. It was a thriving business, producing postcards and photos of local scenes. These were used as the backdrop for studio portraits, in a drawing room situation with potted plants and furniture, to help relax the sitter. Natural light was the preferred source of lighting. Arc lamps were noisy, smelly and dangerous to operate. The windows in the studio are large and made up of recycled glass negatives, stripped of their emulsion. On a sunny day it is flooded with natural light.


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The adjoining darkroom and finishing room meant plates could be developed while the subject waited. They would only leave once William was satisfied with the results.



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Ryedale Folk Museum - Houses

There are some wonderful examples of vernacular buildings scattered around the museum. These have all been rescued from the area and reassembled here. There is everything from a Tudor Mansion house, crofters cottage to a C19th smallholding.

Most of the early buildings were made of crucks which provided a sturdy framework for the house. It also allowed the buildings to be extended if needed.

Crucks were used in pairs and traditionally made from oak. Curving trunks were split into two . The crucks were then joined by cross beams to form a huge ‘A’. The pairs of crucks were connected along the top and side by more oak beams.

The area between the crucks could be infilled with wattle and daub or stone.

There were no dug foundations as the base of the crucks stood on a large stone slab dug into the ground. All the weight of the roof was carried on the crucks. Internal walls were non load bearing and usually made of wattle and daub. The internal arrangement of teh rooms was relatively easy to alter. Initially buildings were open to the roof, although later on, additional floors might be added.



In the original cruck houses, animals and family both lived under the same roof.

Traditionally, buildings were thatched using rye or wheat straw, although bracken and heather could be used. The thatch was placed on the roof in bundles which were pegged into place using lengths of hazel or willow.

There are now relatively few thatched houses in the area, Thatch was replaced in the C19th by cheap slate from Wales brought by the railway, or by locally made pantiles. Introduction of combine harvesters led to the introduction of short straw varieties unsuitable for thatching.



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The Manor House

After the church, the manor house would have been the most impressive building in the village. The Manor House was built in Harome around 1550 on a site of an earlier building. A display panel in the hall gives details of families who lived here and later changes.


It was already an old fashioned building when built with a large central hall and areas that could be shut off at either end. One of these would be the private family area. At the other end would be the service and working quarters with larders and stores. These later had wattle and daub partitions.

The main hall was used for communal living, eating and sleeping as well as a public meeting place. The Manor court met here from 1600 - 1890. This enforced traditional farming customs, settled disputes, safeguarded common rights and fined wrong doers. The court had a jury made up of freehold tenants on the estate.

The large hall was open to the roof and would have had a central hearth. Smoke would have escaped through holes in the roof. Furnishings would have been simple trestle tables and benches . Bags of straw with skins or woollen covers for night.



A second storey was added at a latter date, giving the family more privacy. It was reached by an internal timber staircase, or by external stone steps.



The manor house now has an exhibition about witchcraft and different methods used to protect the house and its occupants. The most commonly used charms were horse shoes, stones with a hole that were hung up outside the house, or rowan sticks tied in a cross.


The stocks outside would have been used to punish petty criminals.




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Crofter's Cottage

The crofter’s cottage is a modern reconstruction of a typical small cottage lived in by small holders in the Ci3th-C15th, assembled from parts of other old cruck cottages. They were traditionally built using oak crucks infilled with whatever was available - stone wattle and daub or turf. The roof would have been thatched.



The cottage would have been surrounded by a small garden growing vegetables as well as herbs needed in cooking or for making medicines.

The family lived at one end of the building with animals at the other.along with farm equipment. The two doors and stone paved passageway was used for threshing and winnowing grain, with the draught from the open doors blowing out the chaff.


Furnishings were very simple and would have been hand made.


At one end are two box beds, which could be shut off by curtains for warmth and privacy. Above is a storage area. This is one of the favourite places of the of the Museum cat who can often be seen sleeping here.



The floor was beaten earth and would have been covered with rushes, reeds and aromatic herbs. There was a central hearth where all meals were cooked. Smoke escaped though the thatch. Meat would be hung above to dry and smoke. Grain was ground to make flour using a hand worked quern.




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Stang End Longhouse

This was the first vernacular building to arrive at the museum in 1965, and was reconstructed with the help of enthusiastic local volunteers.

It is a traditional cruck-framed longhouse typical of so many in North Yorkshire. It was built in the 17th century in Danby, on the northern edge of the North York Moors and would have been thatched with rye straw.



Despite the poor state of the building, Bert Feank was particularly impressed by the fine oak panelling, salt box and a rare witch post or Heck post, thought to protect the house from witches.

Less than 20 of these survive, and most of these are in NE Yorkshire. Placed near the fireplace, this was designed to stop evil from entering down the chimney. A silver threepenny bit was hidden in one of the dowel holes. If the cream was ‘witched’ and wouldn’t turn into butter, the three penny bit would be dug out of its hiding place and dropped in the pail with the cream.

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The cottage was originally a single room dwelling like the crofter’s cottage, which would have been shared with livestock. The cross passage separated the animals for the living quarters.

Around 1704, the cottage was extended, with a pantry, milkhouse and parlour replacing the animal accommodation. The hearth was set back against the wall with a chimney to remove the smoke. Windows were fitted with glass and the beaten earth floor replaced with stone flags.


The cottage has been restored to reflect the way of life of a farming family, John and Anne Huntley, who lived and worked in Stang End from 1704. This date is recorded in a commemorative inscription over the door, showing two interlocking rings to symbolise their marriage union.


The Danby Parish Registers show they were married on the 18 May and that they had five children together – the first, Jane, born exactly nine months later on the 20 February. John died in 1729 but Anne survived for another ten years.

The entry passage acted as a the threshing floor, and this is the derivation of the word ‘threshold’. Grain was usually stored still on the stalk in sacks and threshed when needed.. Opening doorways at either end created a draught that blew the chaff away.


A flail (two sticks loosely linked with leather thongs and used to thresh) and other equipment hangs on the walls.


The forehouse was the living and working area, with an open heart for cooking with a decorative cast iron plate throwing heat back into the room. Bellows and cooking utensils hang from the walls. On one side of the fire, supporting the smoke hood above, is the witch post.


A salt and spice box are built into the wall next to the fire, to keep the contents dry. Salt was vital for preserving meat and in butter and cheese making. Spices were useful to mask the flavour of meat that was slightly ‘off’.


On the other side of the cross passage was the milkhouse, where butter and cheese were made. There are two massive cheese presses.



Cheese were stored on shelves. Below are skeps made from rye straw used for keeping bees. Honey was an important sweetener.


Off the milk house was a tiny larder.



At the far end was the parlour which was also the sleeping are with beds and a child’s cradle. Furniture was simple and hand made. Mattresses and pillows would have been stuffed with straw and supported on ropes slung across the wooden frame. Rope tightener used to tighten the bed ropes so the mattress didn’t snag, hence the expression ‘Night Night, sleep tight’



There is a small stone barn near the cottage.


John Huntley owned land in Danby and had a mixed arable and livestock farm. There were no live in servants and he would have worked the land with the help of neighbours or hired hands. He had a horse which he used to travel around the area. He owned 2 oxen, used for ploughing and pulling the cart. They had a working life of about eight years, beginning when they were two years old. He had five cows for milk and to provide meat. Surplus milk in the summer months was turned into butter and cheese which could be sold at market. as well as three bullocks. He also had three bullocks. If not needed as replacement working oxen, these would be sold.

The family probably also kept a pig and would have been fed on household scraps as well as the whey from cheese making.

The family did not keep sheep as they did not have grazing rights on the moor.
Rye and oats were the main crops for use by the household and as animal fodder.

Witch’s Hovel
This is a bit of fun, especially for the children. Enough material was left over from the reconstruction of Stang End Cottage to built a small ‘witch’s hovel’. Many old women living alone in poverty were often regarded as witches. They blamed for any mishaps in the village like the illness of an animal, milk that wouldn’t churn into butter or a hailstorm that destroyed crops. There have been stories of witch craft in the area for hundreds of years and there is a small exhibition in the Manor House.





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White Cottage or Harome Cottage

There seems to be some confusion as to the name of this cottage. In places it is described as Harome Cottage as it came from Harome. Elsewhere it is also referred to as Pickard’s Cottage, after George Pickard who was the last person to live in the cottage in the 1970s. The White erefers to the colour.


This is another cruck built cottage, similar to Stang End. It was rebuilt in the C18th and remodelled again to suit changing customs in the C19th. The cottage has been restored back to what it would have looked like in the late C19th, with a small cottage garden in front. The grindstone seen in the garden would have been used for sharpening kniives and tools.


New features included sash windows that slide sideways, a cast iron range and the addition upstairs bedrooms, reached by a wooden stair . The cottage still didn’t have any running water and all water came from the hand pump outside.


The cross passage is no longer needed for threshing and the door enters into the kitchen. A corridor leads to the parlour with the bedroom at the far end.


The kitchen was the heart of the house and would have been a cosy place with a locally made range replacing the open fire. This had a water tank providing a source of constant hot water. They burnt turf, wood or even coal. A system of flues was used to control heat to the ovens. It had a wide front plate for burning peat or turf. The oven had its own fire below and tanks by the open fire provided constant hot water.


Corn dollies hang above the fire as good luck charms.



The floor was still stone flags and rag rugs were used to stop draughts and provide insulation. These were made from old garments that were cut into strips and poked through a piece of sacking. They usually had a black border with patterns inside.

The kitchen is still a working kitchen with slate sink beneath the window and oil lamps providing light.


There was plenty of working space, with shelf space for kitchen utensils and storage.



The parlour was where the family entertained their guests. It true Victorian fashion, it is a very cluttered room with dark painted walls or wall paper. It also has a range with a decorative cloth mantle cover and a copper bed warming pan on the wall.


The family would have been fairly wealthy as they could afford a harmonium and grandfather clock. There is a spinning wheel, child’s high chair and also a lacemaker’s stool near the harmonium. Water filled flasks on candles acted as lenses and concentrated the light onto a lace making pillow. Adding a few drops of sulphuric acid gave a soft bluish light. With three flasks, this stool could provide light for three workers.


Toys were crudely made from wood and painted.


The bedroom is at the far end of the cottage and better furnished than Stang End. Walls are papered and there are storage drawers rather than chests. A curtained off area provided hanging space.


In a corner is a small washing area with porcelain washing set.




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Wash house and dairy

Outside White Cottage is a small brick built wash house and dairy.


Clothes were washed on a Monday but drying, ironing and airing could take the rest of the week. Clothes would have been washed in a big corner boiler heated by wood. Scrubbing boards helped get clothes clean. LAter, zink tubs were used with a washing dolly to help stir the water. The clothes then went through a hand worked mangle to get rid of most of the water. On sunny days, they could be dried outside. Otherwise they had to be dried in the wash house on wooden clothes horses or ceiling horses.

As well as laundry, this room was also was used for pig killing, salting bacon and separating honey.




Next to it is the dairy. Until the C19th butter was made by hand on the farm by churning milk or cream. Different butter making equipment is on display. A stone slab helped keep produce cool.


The Earth Closet

Outside earth closets survived in country areas until after the first world war. They were placed as far away from the house as possible in an attempt to reduce flies and bad smells. Lilacs were traditionally planted next to them as the blossom would help mask the smell in May and June.




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Ryedale Folk Museum - Changes in Farming

The agricultural revolution in the late C18th followed by increasing industrialisation in the C20th led to massive changes in farming. Small holdings were no longer viable units and were replaced by larger farms requiring less labour.

Horses were no longer the main form of power, either in ploughing and tending the land but also for providing the power for machinery.

The horse gin, once a familiar site in most farmyards has disappeared. Horses were yoked to beams from the vertical revolving shaft which was linked by gears to the threshing machine in a nearby barn.

\Women passed sheaves to the men on the threshing platform, who fed them into the rotating drum. The straw passed over a set of pegs which separated the straw from the grains and chaff. The grains and chaff were put into a winnower which blew the chaff and husks out.

Originally threshing was done with the help of neighbours. By the late C18th it was done by gangs of roving labourers.




Horses were later replaced by other sources of power, like this small stationary Lister engine.


Even butter making could be mechanised.


Fold Yard
The Fold Yard was an important part of larger farms, providing a safe enclosed area for livestock. Many were in use until the 1950s. There are display panels with information about the agricultural year


The barns were used for lambing as well as for housing the increasing range of farm machinery.



The display also includes two gipsy caravans. These are about one hundred years old and known as Openlot, as they had a curtain across the opening, rather than a door.



Another barn contains a Merryweather horse drawn fire engine from 1850. It needed two horses to pull it and the pump needed at least twelve people to work it. One person directed the hose nozzle onto the blaze. Another controlled water being sucked up from a local pond. or stream. Five or more people were needed to work the pump handles on either side of the machine. Locals were recruited at the scene of the, with payment in the form of pints of beer.


Next to this is a dog cart which was a light vehicle which could be pulled by a single horse horse. With plenty of space for passengers and their belongings, they were popular all purpose vehicles




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Ryedale Folk Museum cont...

Shepherds Hut

These were used by shepherds at lambing time. They could be dragged out into the fields so the shepherd could live close to their flock. They were basically furnished and spartan. Hessian sacks were used to wrap orphan or weak lambs to keep them warm.Tools include crooks, branding irons and a drenching horn used for giving medicines.

The huts are no longer needed. Many were adapted to other uses like chicken huts. Some have been upgraded to provide a unique experience for holiday makers.



Potting Shed
Tucked away behind the glass furnace is the potting shed. Many of these were made from recycled materials.

The old cast iron range would have made this a warm and cosy place. The racks and drawers would have been discarded by a shop. As well as for potting up plants these were also used for storage and there are examples of old hand tools and machines.




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1000+ Posts
Ryedale Folk Museum


In 1880, a law was passed making schooling compulsory for children aged 5-10,. With large families, every village had a school. It cost 2d a day to attend, and some parents were not happy as they often needed the children to at home to work. Many children had to work on the farm before they went to school and again when they got home. School finished at 5pm and many children had a long walk home.

In 1893, schools became free and the leaving age was increased to 11 and to 13 by 1899.
The first school was built in Hutton le Hole in 1845. It had a five seater earth closet over the beck. It had over 75 pupils and when a new school was opened in 1875, it had 100 pupils. Villager life has changed dramatically since then. When the school closed in 1974, it had just ten pupils.

This building in the museum is a simple stone building. Many were much larger with bell to call the children to school and separate door for boys and girls.


The inside is set up as a typical Victorian school room with slates, abacus, picture of Queen Victoria and even a dunce's cap. The schoolmaster was a very respected position.





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Ryedale Folk Museum

Iron Age Roundhouse

This is tucked away at the far end of the site and this is one of the few buildings that are modern reconstruction as no examples of iron age buildings survive apart from post holes and a few artefacts. Huts were often found in in small groups.

This is thought to be an accurate representation of how a typical iron age family might have lived in the North York Moors. They were farmers growing wheat and barley and keeping a few animals. Shorthorn cattle were used for ploughing as well as milk and meat. Their dung helped fertilise the fields.

It was very much a wooded landscape with a small area cleared for pasture and to grow crops.

They would have used local materials to build their round houses, which were very much permanent dwellings, housing the extended family. The buildings were designed to protect against the worst Yorkshire weather with steep overhanging thatched roofs which allowed rain to run off well away from the walls. The framework was made using sturdy trunks infilled with clay and dung. A porch provided additional shelter and protection from draughts.


At the centre of the roundhouse was an open fire which was used for cooking and also provided warmth. Most cooking was done in clay pots and a hand quern would have been used to grind grain. Smoke escaped through the roof. Smoke and heat helped preserve meat and fish, as well as drying herbs.

Furniture would have been basic, with tree trunks for stools. Beds were set against the walls, with bracken or heather as a mattress. Animal skins were used as bed covers, along with coarse woven blankets. Every family would have a hand loom for making blankets and garments. These were warp weighted with round whorls holding the tension in the warp threads. The weights are one of the most commonly found artefacts along with pottery shards.



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