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Rylstone: Village Profile

Yew Tree Farm - Forman.jpg
         Painting of Yew Tree Farm and Surrounding Buildings                                                     by Andrew Foreman.

1. Identification of buildings

The principal buildings in the village, we looked at, were those that were thought to have been originally dwellings and those that were thought to have been originally barns. For the purpose of the study, the 'village' was confined to an area of approximately 1000 metres by 1000 metres (a square kilometre). It is recognised that there are historically important buildings in the parish such as Fox House, which are outside the scope of the study, but hopefully this will not affect the overall impact of the profiling.  


Buildings considered to be 'originally' barns are coloured grey, and those considered dwellings are coloured pink. They are shown on the map below. The dwellings are identified with their current name.

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Map of village showing buildings coloured pink considered to have been originally dwellings and those considered to have been barns coloured grey.

2. Analysis of buildings

To determine the history of the buildings, the dwellings were further examined by classifying the typical house types and looking at other salient features.  

The results of this study are shown below with buildings listed in order, approximately from east to west of the village.

Manor House

Manor House is located on the south side of Chapel Lane. It is a square building in plan with a service wing attached and adjacent barn. It was likely that the farmhouse was built in the early 18th century as a larger homestead to supplant the smaller Manor House lower down Chapel Lane, now called Manor Cottage.

Manor Cottage

Manor Cottage is a detached three-bay house, of type end lobby entry in plan, built in the middle of 17th century with later alterations. It is likely that the cottage was together with the adjacent barn structures, the manor farm predating the Manor House above. It is possible that when it was built, it was also replacing the 'original' manor house, above St Peters Church, in the position of the present day Old Hall farm buildings.

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Photo of Manor Cottage.

The following range of buildings, Lodge Farmhouse, Rylstone Lodge, and Lodge Cottage, are located on an east west axis near the middle of the village. They may have originated as a long-house or linear farmstead are all now connected but could have been originally separate farms or cottages:

Lodge Farmhouse

A two-bay house of type hearth passage in plan, with barn. It existed as a possibly a cruck house in 1672 and then the rear (north) elevation was rebuilt in good stone in 1680 (possible date on lintel - see photo below). The front (south) of the house was rebuilt and enlarged about 1780.

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Photo of Lodge Farm House door head.

Rylstone Lodge

A three-bay house of type end lobby entry in plan, built in the mid to late 18th century with later alterations and additions.

Lodge Cottage and the Barn

Lodge Cottage is a two-bay house of type central lobby entry in plan, possibly built in the 17th century with late 18th century make-over, when windows made larger, house heightened and building generally gentrified.


Photo of present day Lodge Cottage and barn.

Yew Tree Farm

The detached farmstead is a two bay house of type end lobby entry in plan, dated 1670, with later alterations and additions.

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Photo of south elevation of Yew Tree farm house.

Rylstone Hall and Rylstone House

This is a range of two buildings connected together. The older building is the southern block (now called Rylstone Hall). This was a two-storey rectangular house in plan, probably originally built in the late 18th century. It became the principal building (the 'Hall') in the centre of the village, when occupied by the Waddiloves in the first half of the 19th century. Richard Waddilove carried out a number of improvements to the building, including adding a small wing at the south end and extending a third storey under the roof for the servants. However his major work was the addition in the 1830’s of the two storey 'Georgian' style annexe to the north of the hall (now called Rylstone House).

Green Farm

The farm house and barn is located on the south side of the village green. The farmhouse is a two-bay structure with single-bay extension. With the addition of the single bay to the east, the house could be classed now as a type of central-lobby entry in plan, but was originally end-lobby entry in plan. It is dated possibly early 19th century.

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Photo of Green Farm.

1 and 2, The Green and Keepers Cottage

This is a detached range of buildings on the west side of the present village green. There have been a number of alterations and additions to this set of buildings. At one time this was the village shop and there are signs of the barn being used for weaving or other textile purposes. It is likely that the original building was 17th century.

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Photo of north-east elevation of 1, The Green.

The Old Kennels, sometimes called The Kennels

This is detached house and barn on the north side of Back Lane. The original house is on the east side and was possibly three bays of a type of end-lobby entry in plan, dated 17th century, with later alterations and additions, including the porch which is dated 1705.

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Photo of south elevation of The Kennels.

Rose Cottage and Green Lane Cottage

This range of buildings is outside the main village and is located on the east side of Green Lane. It is likely that the central section of the range is the original building - the farmhouse. It is three bays of end-lobby entry type in plan, and possibly dated late 17th century, with the barn being early 18th century.


Rose Cottage.


Green Lane Cottage.

Old Burton House previously Burton House?

This is a detached range of buildings separate to the main village. It is located on Strait Lane, which was probably the main thoroughfare to Hetton before Raikes Lane came into more common use. The range of buildings has had extensive alterations and additions over the years. The original house is dated as late 17th century (there is a date-stone of 1696 over the door).

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Photo of Old Burton House.

Burton House Farm previously Town End Farm

The farmstead is separate to the main village and located on the west side of Town End Lane. The buildings are partly ranged around the farmyard. There have been a number of alterations and additions to the original farm. The northern-most wing, the present farmhouse, is the more modern building with double-pile plan of georgian style, dated approximately from the 19th century. The external elevations of the south-western wings indicate that the wing might have been originally two dwellings and is likely dated approx. late 17th century (see datestone below).

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Sketch of door lintel, Burton House Farm

(previously Town End Farm). Courtesy, Hutton and Martin.

3. Seventeenth century village

Of the 13 dwellings examined above, nine seem to be of 17th century age. Of these nine buildings, four buildings, Manor Cottage, Yew Tree Farm, The Kennels, and Green Lane Cottage, were identified as of end-lobby entry type, one building, Lodge Cottage, as of central-lobby entry type, and one building Lodge Farmhouse as hearth passage.

Most of the dwellings are likely to have been originally farmhouses.

Raistrick informs us that, 'of the 14th century buildings (timber ?) nothing now survives ….the cottages of the present village mainly 17th century buildings fit into the pattern of the fields with the field roads all converging on the present village centre…'.

Looking at the earliest maps, it appears that the village lies at the intersection of two main thoroughfares. An east-west route, connecting Hetton to the west and Cracoe to the north- east via Strait Lane and Chapel Lane. And a north-south route, connecting Skyrethorne to the north and Skipton to the south via Mucky Lane and Long Lane.

The village lies on the watershed between the Wharfe and Aire valleys, and minor streams occur sourcing from the high ground of the fells to the east and the moor to the north. The beck in the village centre derives its source from the high land of Cracoe Fell and runs down through the village on an east to west axis. The centre of the village is situated at a relatively low point with the eastern hill sides contouring in a hollow around the east of the village.

To get some idea of how the 17th century village developed, a map was prepared removing all properties built after the 17th century, and removing modern features such as the railway. The remaining dwellings, mostly farmhouses, are shown with indicative attached barns and farmyards. Details of the thoroughfares and minor lanes, and the beck are shown. Also to see how the properties related to the surrounding fields, the medieval rigs and furrows, surveyed by Arthur Raistrick’s group in 1965, were overlaid on the map. (See map below).

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       Map of village with all properties built after the 17th century removed.

Two features of the village stand out when looking at the map:

  • Firstly, there is a line of farmsteads lying on the edge of the beck and the main thoroughfare (Strait Lane and Chapel Lane) in an apparently random fashion on an east-west axis.

  • Secondly, it appears that some of the 17th century village properties ie. Lodge Farm, Yew Tree Farm, The Kennels, and 1 and 2, The Green are arranged around an empty space, which could be a village green. The present OS map and previous OS maps all show part of this space, an area to the east of 1 and 2. The Green, as a green.

The Dales website, 'Out of Oblivion', indicates that during the 12th century many villages in the Dales might have been arranged around very large irregular, but basically rectangular, village greens. It is thought that many of these planned settlements were created in an effort to 'recolonise' land laid to waste during the Norman era. Although Rylstone was affected by the Harrying of the North, it had recovered enough by the time of the 1086 Domesday Book not to be described as a waste as many villages were.

It is more likely that the buildings were arranged, say in medieval times or earlier, as part of a manorial scheme for a central area in the village for grazing stock from the surrounding farms (see suggested layout below).

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Possible layout of original village green.

In the 17th century, these stone built properties would have replaced previous timber houses, which together with other possible timber buildings, now lost to us, surrounded the perimeter of the green.

When the chapel and the original manor are taken into account, the line of farms and properties to the north of the medieval green indicate that a linear village may have pre-dated the village green layout. The original Manor House now Old Hall Farm, the Norman chapel, Manor Farm, Lodge Farm, Yew Tree Farm, and Burton Farm/House all appear to form a linear village with farms built on the line of the beck and Strait Lane/ Chapel Lane in a random fashion longitudinally (see map below).

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Map showing possible linear village pre-dating the village green layout.

4. Eighteenth century village           

After the end of the 17th century and in the 18th century, the rights of communal use of the green began to disappear and areas of the green were carved up and appropriated by landowners. This could have occurred because of the problems of the surrounding farmers needing more land and therefore developing their own farms on an individual basis outside the village.  Gradually parts of the green were absorbed into neighbouring crofts or plots and most of the green was lost. It is also likely that properties began to be built on the green. A house was built right in the centre of the green – it is assumed on the edge of an extension of Green Lane – which became 'the hall', usurping the status of the manor house at the top of the village which by that time had fallen into disuse.

The map below shows a layout of the village possibly as it was in the late 18th century.

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   Map showing indicative layout of village at about 1800.

5. Victorian village

The present appearance of the centre of the village owes a lot to the gentrification carried out by the Waddilove family in the early and middle19th century.

Richard Waddilove was born in about 1790. His family was a major landowner in the village, and Richard also owned considerable land and property outside the parish, including Otterburn Hall. He was a director of the North Eastern Railway Company.

As 'squire' of the village, Waddilove carried out extensive works on the Hall and its grounds, originally part of the village green.

A coach house and stables were built on his land to the east of the Hall.

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Photo of the coach house and stables as it is now.

The Hall itself was improved by building a two-storey wing to the north in the georgian style, fashionable at the time.

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Rylstone House painting by Andrew Foreman
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Photo of Rylstone House as it is now - originally part of the Hall.

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Photo of Hall today from rear; now two separate dwellings - Rylstone Hall and Rylstone House.  Photo courtesy of Dale Eddison.

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         Photo of window-less attic in Rylstone House as now showing kings post truss.

Two rows of cottages on the north side of his land bordering Raikes Lane and opposite the mill, possibly mill workers’ cottages, were levelled. The mill had closed about 1820 and the cottages had become derelict. One can surmise that the cottages were not marvellous structures anyhow, and they had become hovels not fit for Waddilove’s estate, and had to go.                                                                          


Over the same period, extensive landscaping of the estate was carried out. A coursed stone wall with mortared joints and semi-circular coping stones was built along the boundary to Raikes Lane originally the north edge of the village green. A gateway was introduced from the lane into the new georgian wing of the hall with cast/wrought iron gates, curved stone walls, stone piers and railings. The entrance served both the hall to the south and the new house..

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Photo of entrance originally to both buildings of the Hall, but now serving only Rylstone House.

At the western end of the property, where the mill cottages had been, the land was raised and the wall became a ha-ha, retaining the higher ground behind it to stop the ingress of stock spoiling the gardens.

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Photo of retaining wall/ha-ha on north side of estate.

A further curved line of a ha-ha was built behind the perimeter wall, of approximately one metre in height, to give a terraced feel to the gardens with views to the west of Lancashire and Pendle Hill. Trees, particularly beech, were planted around the perimeter of the estate.


One of the main thoroughfares in the village was the north end of Green Lane which went past the village shop and down to the village stream, going directly through the estate and beside the Hall. The smells and noise from stock and horse drawn waggons going past the Hall would have been obnoxious to the squire, so the lane was closed off and traffic diverted onto Back Lane. A curving snicket around the edge of the new garden and well away from the house was introduced to keep the villagers happy.


The land to the south of the Hall adjacent to the village green was converted into a walled garden and pleasure grounds with a semi- circular arbour and water features.

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                    Present day photo of arbour.  Photo: courtesy, Dale Eddison.

At the rear a high wall was built separating the 'house' from the green and the farms to the south.

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Map showing village layout after gentrification in approx. 1850.

The present day village owes a lot to Richard Waddilove, as he was a major benefactor in the rebuilding of the parish church, St Peters, in 1852, (he bequeathed £1000 of the total cost of £1700), and partly financed (£200) the construction of the village school which opened in 1853.

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 Photo of memorial plate in the chancel of St Peters Church.

6. Summary

A village profile of the properties in Rylstone was carried out and together with an investigation of maps and other documents, the development of the village was analysed.

The village could have been established originally as a linear village with farmsteads built in a random fashion alongside the main thoroughfare and beck.

Then in the early to middle medieval period, a more planned village developed with farms built around a large village green.

In the 17th century, stone-built properties began to be built replacing the previous timber houses. This rebuilding gave the village 'the attractive appearance', described by Arthur Raistrick in his book, 'The Old Yorkshire Dales'.


However in the 18th century, encroachment of the village green took place with most of the green being divided up and buildings started  to appear on the green.


In the Victorian era, the green was further built on, gentrifying the centre of the village, but with the layout of surrounding farms remaining largely untouched.


Hutton B. and Martin J.(1986). Doorways in the Dales. York: North Yorkshire and Cleveland Venacular Buildings Study Group. 

Raistrick, A. (1967). 'Old Yorkshire Dales'. Chapter Two in Discovering A Village. Newton Abbot: David and Charles Ltd.

​Yorkshire Dales National Park (2015). Out of Oblivion: A Landscape Through Time. On-line Resource:

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