This is farming country, and has been for thousands of years; the people who created the Thornborough Henges near Masham and who erected the Devil’s Arrows standing stones at Boroughbridge – all around 5,000 years ago – were farmers.
But many of us have become totally detached from food production, but we can still find glimpses of our relatively recent ancestors’ farming lifestyle in the names of roads, pubs and homes. Three properties currently on the market commemorate three distinct functions in the traditional grain processing industry.
Before the advent of warehouses and silos, grain was stored in a granary, which was sometimes built on staddle stones – stone pillars with “mushroom” tops to protect from rodents – and would include ventilation to aerate the grain and prevent mould.
The Granary in Dishforth is not built on staddle stones, and any vents will surely have been stopped up to prevent draughts, but it is nevertheless “filled with original features throughout”, according to the agent. It has four bedrooms, one of them with en suite shower room and walk-in wardrobe, plus house bathroom, entrance hall, breakfast kitchen, utility room, sitting room, lounge and adjoining sunroom. It has garden on three sides and a summer house, plus a private courtyard and an attached double garage.
A short way down the A1(M), near Boroughbridge, is one of the most unusual properties in the whole district. Skelton Windmill is one of just 140 windmills left in the UK (of which just 40 still work), and is one of the most complete in the county. Built in 1822, it was originally used for grinding corn into flour, but is now a family home.
The Grade II-listed Georgian property has seven floors, with a master bedroom and en suite bathroom on the second floor and house bathroom and other bedrooms on the fourth, fifth and sixth (top) floors. The further up you go, the smaller the rooms get, but the better the views! On the third floor is a sitting room and library, the kitchen covers the first floor, and on the ground floor are the sitting and dining areas and a family room.
There’s a walled garden to the front, and the back garden has a 100-foot-long lawn, orchard and sitting area. There’s also a carport in the detached outbuilding, along with a potting shed and a home office.
Finally, about a mile away in Boroughbridge, Arkengarthdale forms part of The Maltings, which was converted in 2002 from the Grade II-listed Victorian malthouses and kilns of Warwick & Co’s Anchor Brewery. A maltings was where grain was converted into malt to brew beer, but the industrialisation of the process has seen the demise of most of the old premises.
Arkengarthdale is a duplex apartment with two double bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms, plus hall, kitchen-diner and sitting room. Outside is a patio seating area and gated parking area with two designated places.