An estate village is a settlement which is part of a larger tract of land, and owned by an individual wealthy family. Once commonplace throughout Yorkshire, these villages have since dwindled to only a few, which still remain to this day.
1. West Heslerton
The North Yorkshire village of West Heslerton, near Malton, recently made the headlines after it was put up for sale for £20m by descendants of the Dawney family, who had owned it for the past 150 years. This loyal community built on low rents and a mixed age of residents boasts 43 houses, a pub, petrol station, sports field and the old hall, which once housed the owners. Eve Dawney, the last remaining member of the ruling family died in 2010 and as a result the village was put on the market for somebody with a few quid in their pocket.
The beautiful estate village of Londesborough, set in the heart of the East Riding and at the foot of the Wolds has a long history. The original Londesborough Hall was built by the 6th Earl of Cumberland in 1589, but demolished by The 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1819 to fund another expensive project, Chatsworth House. Having regretted his decision he later built a smaller hunting lodge on the grounds of Londesborough Park and sold it to “the railway king,” George Hudson in 1845. Just four years later, due to Hudson’s financial meltdown it was sold to Alfred Dennison, the “Baron of Londesborough.” He extended the lodge to the present hall we see today, which is now owned by the Ashwin family. Other historical features of the village includes a church dating back to the 12th Century, extensive parkland with lake and a concert hall, which has murals made by prisoners of the Second World War adorning its walls.
Recently voted one of the best places in North Yorkshire to live, this estate village is dominated by its 14th century castle. Built by the Sir Thomas Ingilby, amazingly the property, village and estate has passed through 28 generations of the same family. One of the Ingilby clan, Sir William, allowed the rebels of the Gunpowder Plot stay at Ripley Castle and take some horses. Another William, several generations later in the 19th Century destroyed the village and completely rebuilt it in a Continental style, which is the village we see today. The house and estate are open to visitors for guided tours.
Located between Barnsley and Rotherham, this village dates back to at least 1066 and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Throughout its history ownership of the village and surrounding estate has been dominated by the Wentworth-Fitzwilliam families, from their sprawling residence, known as Wentworth Woodhouse. This is the largest private house in the UK, has over 300 rooms, 250,000sq ft of floor space and the longest outside facade in Europe. The current house was built by Thomas Watson Wentworth around 1708 and its size is said to be part of an ongoing rivalry between them and the owners of the nearby Wentworth Castle. During the war and the early 50s, coal was found in the grounds and on the doorstep of this great house, a mine was dug. The house was sold in 1989 to a local wealthy businessman, but the estate has been retained by two descendants of the Fitzwilliam dynasty, Sir Phillip Naylor Leyland and Lady Juliet Tadgell. All the houses in the village are painted cream and green, which are the Wentworth family colours and strict planning regulations mean that the village retains its character as “an oasis among the urban sea.”
In the hills of the Yorkshire Wolds lies the estate village of Sledmere. Owned by the Sykes family, who were originally shipping and finance magnates in the 17th Century, their wealth, enabled them to buy the estate and settle there. Several generations of Sykes descendants have owned the village, including Sir Tatton Sykes (the 4th Baronet), who was so popular in the village that in 1865, “those who loved him as a friend and honoured him as a landlord,” built a monument in his honour. Another local landmark is The Eleanor Cross, which was constructed in 1895 for the 5th baronet Tatton Sykes. It is a copy of King Edward I’s monument to his wife, Eleanor of Castille. The current descendants of the Sykes dynasty still live at the house and run the estate.
*Picture credit for featured image, Maxine Ashton (IFY Community)