Three properties in Scotton, Guy Fawkes’ home village
The village of Scotton, just north of Starbeck, is so tranquil that it’s hard to imagine it was once a hotbed of treasonous activity.
Yorkshire’s would-be regicide, Guy Fawkes, lived here as a teenager and may even have become “radicalised” in the village, which was at the time home to several notable Roman Catholic families, such as the Pulleyns, the Percys and the Bainbridges.
Incidentally, the nearby Percy Beck, known nearer its source as Pissy Beck, is probably named after the family of another of the plotters, Thomas Percy.
England has long held an ambivalent view of Guy Fawkes. Remembered by some as the “last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions”, he has been romanticised as a dashing rogue who nearly managed to shake up Westminster in the most final way possible.
He came very close to killing the king and just about everybody else in the Protestant body politic all in one big bang in 1605, so he was painted at the time as well nigh demonic.
After lengthy torture he was, on January 31, 1606, given a traitor’s execution: dragged head-down on a hurdle from the Tower of London to Westminster, hanged, and then quartered, his body-parts sent to the four corners of the kingdom.
On November 5, 1605 – the same day Fawkes was arrested – Londoners were encouraged to celebrate the King’s escape from assassination by lighting bonfires. And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since, even burning effigies of him – a ghoulish accolade for someone who would now be regarded as a religion-inspired terrorist.
Fawkes attended St Peter’s School in York, which to this day has a bonfire on November 5, but never burns an effigy of one of its “Old Peterites”.
Villagers in Scotton also refuse to burn a Guy out of respect for a former fellow resident, but always gather around a bonfire at the cricket ground, before retiring to the 17th-century Guy Fawkes Arms to warm up.
Despite all this, history isn’t the village’s only strong suit. The nearby Scotton Lingerfield Community Primary School is rated Good by Ofsted and the amenities of Knaresborough are on its doorstep.
Poplar Barn is a spacious house opposite the church. Complete with beams, stone floors and Yorkshire sash (i.e. horizontally sliding) windows, it has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, sunroom and large sitting room. There’s also a detached outbuilding with garages, stores, and office and playroom above, plus carport and gardens with pond, vegetable plot and potting shed.
A more recent addition to the village is 2 Percy Court, a detached house a short stroll from the pub. It has four bed- rooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, utility room and two reception rooms, plus a detached single garage and gardens.
Finally, behind some of the houses on Main Street, there is (pardon the pun) a building “plot” for sale. It has current outline consent to build a four-bedroom, detached family home with double garage, driveway and gardens.