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Denis Marshall Pickles
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 09:39
Ravenstones Wood
This one is primarily intended for Terry Longbottom. I see that he has an interest in land adjacent to Ravenstones Wood, so I feel that he may have the knowledge that will answer a query which has bugged me for some time. Can you shed any light on the matter Terry?
When I was a lad living in Sutton 70 years ago, a popular walk was up the Ellers and on to the Ravenstones, through the disused quarry and through the wood to the 'Big Rock'. We used to have picnics there overlooking a magnificent view of the village and Airedale. You can't do that now. The footpath through the quarry and the wood is closed off and has been for a good many years. It would seem that what I thought was a public right of way isn't! Any thoughts Terry? Or indeed can anyone enlighten me as to how this came about?
Terry Longbottom
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 16:16
Hi Denis, the footpath to the big rock went part way through common land (strikes delph) and Partly through land belonging to T&M Bairtow. At the gate between the two parcels of land was a sign stating that access was by kind permition of T&M Baistows. That portion of the land is now owned by the Ingham family who farmed at New Lathe.
By act of Parliament all wastes & commons fell to the ownership of the local authority, to be disposed of in any way they want. Strikes Delph was sold into private ownership.
One time anyone could walk anywhere on this parcel of land now no one can walk on it.
P.S. The Trees have grown over the last 70 years they now obscure the view. Sorry, nothing is as it was.
Denis Marshall Pickles
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 20:11
Thanks Terry. I thought that if anyone had the answer you would and I was correct. Would it have been the Sutton Parish Council, Skipton Rural District Council, Craven District Council, or maybe the County Council which sold off Strikes Delph? What a pity that access to such a lovely beauty spot should have been lost but as you so rightly say, nothing is as it was.
Terry Longbottom
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 09:33
Hi Denis It was Craven district or the County Council that sold it. With it went the turning place for large council snow plough or dustbin wagon .but after various delivery vehicles complained they did eventually provide us with a sign at strikes lane end that reads. NO TURNING PLACE.
Terry Longbottom
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 11:41
18 months ago a move was afoot to reopen the path, a highways notice was displayed at the end of strikes lane to that effect but the route is still closed.

Or do you know anything different.
David Laycock
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 13:09
I seem to remember my Dad and I walking along past a house which was being built by a bloke (can't remember his name) stone by stone from the quarry I presume.
Dad used to always stop and say hi one never new if he was at home. I used to think he was som kind of hermit? Any memories?
Terry Longbottom
Thursday, October 3, 2013 07:49
Hi David His name was Frank Whitaker he spent many years in what may be explained as “unbuilding” Delph House, but he made a great job of the garden not so much a rockery more of a bouldery.
He was bit of a character he came to Sutton from Riddlesden where his family had a farm. He disliked Sutton lads, Him being a little different they gave him a bit of stick.

Robin Longbottom
Thursday, October 3, 2013 20:13
Ah, Frank Whitaker. My father and mother told me they first met him when they were courting (they married in 1947). He was busy gardening at Delph House and they were walking down the Ellers. My father commented to him on how nice the garden looked, and then asked if he was doing the house up, as it had several windows missing. Frank then apparently went into a tirade on 'Sutton lads' and how they had deliberately vandalised his house. Over the next 30 years he slowly gutted the place, burning the floor boards to keep warm in winter, and still blaming the 'Sutton lads'. We used to see him regularly walking up the village, usually carrying a number of 78 rpm Classical records to add to his collection. In the 1960's my father gave him a wind up gramophone, but he probably burnt that as well. He mellowed a bit in later years and on a few occasions, when I was walking the dog, I would call in on him - curious to see into the house. I recall that although it was largely windowless and floorless there were a couple of very finely carved wooden fireplaces and some 17th C oak furniture that he said had come from the farm in Riddlesden. He tried to sell me a large old oak chest once for £60, a ridiculous amount of money in those days. I don't think he ever worked and believe he died about 1980.
Andrew Monkhouse
Hanoi, Vietnam
Friday, October 4, 2013 10:17
My mother used to refer to it as Hermit's House.

Clearly the occupant had his eccentricities, but as Mr McCartney sang "The fool on the hill, sees the sun going down, and the eyes in his head, see the world spinning round".... :-)
Terry Longbottom
Friday, October 4, 2013 14:52
Gee thanks for that Andrew, I may just wear that cap.
Alan Smith
Friday, October 4, 2013 16:03
The house may have been a ruin but the garden was allways Frank's priority.previously the house had been the home of Sutton's poet who wrote that he'd rather clime a mountain than pass that ruddy fountain when parliament was sitting,this referring to the old men who met round the old fountain at the top of High Street.
David Laycock
Sunday, October 6, 2013 22:26
Hi all from Aus.
Thanks for the info re Frank Whitaker. Now I remember it was the garden that stood out. My Dad being on the Parish council in those days, I feel had an interest in checking up on him as he was on his own. I seem to remember we being invited in once. Any way Spring is upon us and so is the Melbourne weather, just wait a minute it will change. You will be into Autumn and the beautiful coulour changes in the Clough. We put our clocks forward yesterday.

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