Aldborough, near Boroughbridge is in some respects the perfect village. For starters, it is almost jaw-droppingly pretty, due in large part to a lack of modern development.
This is because the whole village and much of the surrounding area is a Scheduled Monument; you need an archaeologist on hand even if you want to build a conservatory!
The reason for the village’s special status is that it was the civic capital of the Brigantes, the largest Celtic tribe in Roman-occupied Britain. Some of the settlement’s original Roman walls still stand, and the village is home to the most northerly in situ mosaics in the country.
Even the grade I-listed St Andrew’s church was built in the 14th century on the site of the Roman temple to Mercury.
As a result of its incredible history, Aldborough has a Roman museum run by English Heritage (open weekends only, 10am until 6pm).
There is no shop or post office in the village, but it certainly punches above its weight in terms of culture – quite apart from its rich historical legacy.
Since it was launched 25 years ago, the Northern Aldborough Festival, which is held each summer, has established itself as one of the best classical music events in the country and even runs an outreach programme which takes performances into schools, prisons and hospitals.
The Aldborough and Boroughbridge Agricultural Show attracts hundreds of visitors every July; this year’s show, to be held at nearby Newby Hall, will be the 106th.
Visitors to the village are well advised to join the locals at the Ship Inn, which claims to serve “the best roast beef dinner in Yorkshire”.
Properties in Aldborough sell well, and the following are the only ones currently on the market.
Studforth Grange dates from the early 19th century and was originally a threshing barn attached stable and hayloft. It was converted about 10 years ago into a family house by the current owners and now has five bedrooms – three of them en suite – plus a house bathroom, large reception hall, even larger open-plan living kitchen with minstrel’s gallery above, utility room, study and cinema room.
In addition to the main house, a neighbouring stable block has been converted into a self-contained cottage which is currently used as a holiday let and produces an income of around £25,000 a year.
There’s a three-car open-fronted garage, a workshop/store and spacious shed, as well as south-facing gardens with views over Studforth Hill, where as recently as 2011 archaeologists unearthed a Roman amphitheatre thought to have been the largest outdoor arena in northern England.
On Front Street, The White House is a Grade II listed cottage with three bedrooms – or two plus a study – two bathrooms, dining kitchen, rear hall, utility room and sitting room. Outside, there are walled gardens with raised beds, a gravelled drive and views of the church.
Just along the same street, Coldstream Cottage overlooks the village green and its maypole. It has two double bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and two reception rooms. Outside, there are front and back gardens with an outbuilding to the rear.