It’s hard to imagine now, but the village of Scotton, just north of Knaresborough, was once a hotbed of treasonous activity.
None other than 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 (his stepfather’s family).
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.
We’ve long had an ambivalent view of Guy Fawkes. Remembered by some as the “last man to enter Parliament with honest intentions”, he has been romanticised and even idolised as a dashing rogue who managed to bring a flash of excitement to proceedings in the Chamber.
He had, of course, come very close to killing the king and just about everybody who was anybody 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, and to this day the school doesn’t celebrate the execution of its most famous old boy.
It’s a different story in Scotton, though, where residents and visitors gather around a bonfire at the cricket ground, before retiring to the 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.
Old Hall, which is one of several properties currently for sale in the village, sounds a little grander than it actually is, having previously been the village hall rather than any squire’s residence. Nevertheless, there’s a lot to like in this detached bungalow, with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, two reception rooms, roomy breakfast kitchen and study.
There’s also an adjoining garage, parking on the drive, and private, hedged garden.
On Main Street, 2 Preston View Cottages is a semi-detached cottage in the heart of the village. It has two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and living room, and has been extended at the back to create a garden room with roof terrace above. Outside, there are gardens to the front and back, as well as a large detached single garage.
Up the street, beyond the pub, is 2 Hillside Cottages, which has been recently modernised. It has two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and living room, as well as beams, stone-flagged floors and wood-burner. There is a courtyard garden to the rear, plus allocated off-street parking.