Yore Mill, Aysgarth, Yorkshire

Yore Mill and Bridge (Photo C.M. Staveley)

The Yore Mill was originally built as a cotton mill by the Birkbeck family of Settle in 1784.  It consists of two rows of cottages, miller's house, stables, cart sheds, and a blacksmith shop.  During its life the mill has been a woolen mill, a corn mill, a flax and cotton mill, and a stocking manufactury. 

George Staveley (b. 1774) of East Witton, was employed as the Millwright of Yore Mill, and is listed in the Transcript of the Entry of "Professions and Trades" for Aysgarth in Baines's Directory of 1823.  

In 1852 the Yore Mill sustained heavy damage in a fire, and was eventually closed and sold by auction later that same year. 

Auction Poster for the Sale of the Yore Mill in 1852


Yore Mill was rebuilt in 1853, and operated until 1958, when the mill was used as a cattle food depot until it was purchased by Paul Brown in 1968.  Part of the Mill was sold to house the Yorkshire Carriage Museum which was opened the following year.

The Yore Bridge is a highly ornamented bridge and was built much earlier than the Mill, in 1539, rising 32 feet, and crossing the Ure river with a span of seventy-one feet. This bridge leads across the Ure to the Yore Mill situated on the edge of the river bank.  The river Ure produces some of the finest waterfalls anywhere in England, called Aysgarth Force (from Fors, Norse for waterfall), Mossdale Fall, and Hardraw Fall.  The view from the bridge across the falls is usually at its best during the early spring months before the surrounding trees obtain their spring foliage.  Several veins of lead, and coal strata run through this region of Wensleydale.

Situated on the same side of the bridge as the Mill is the Parish Church of St. Andrew, Aysgarth, where George Staveley married Dorothy Wray on January 13, 1806. This medieval church and churchyard  is nestled on a hill along the banks of the river Ure and was originally constructed during the reign of Henry III, and then restored by Adam Sedbergh, the last abbot of Jervaulx, in the time of Henry VIII.  The Church of St. Andrew looked rather different in 1806 than it does today. In the mid 1800's the church was in desperate need of repairs.  Under the guidance of architect James Green, the church was almost entirely rebuilt, and as it stands today, was reopened in 1866.   The 14th century tower and the columns of the nave were the only portions of the former structure that were retained in the reconstruction. A new belfry, and the pinnacles, were added to the tower during the reconstruction.

St. Andrew's Church, Aysgarth (Photo: C.M. Staveley)

The beautiful old rood-screen and loft were renovated at the same time. The Vicar's stall is made from two exquisitely carved bench ends with poppy heads, and these elaborate carvings are believed  to have been brought from the Abbey of Jervaulx, and moved to their present position during the restoration.  Both the bench ends and the screen are the work of the Ripon school of carvers about 1506.  An elegant brass eagle lectern was presented by the congregation, and in 1880 an organ was added. In 1887 the altar and reredos were placed in the church as a memorial to Henry T. Robinson, one of the principal benefactors to the restoration. The sculpture in Caen stone was produced by R. L. Boulton, based upon designs by C. G. Wray, F.R.I.B.A.  

The reredos extends the whole length of the east wall of the chancel, in the style of the 13th century to harmonize with the ancient rood-screen.  The clock was made by William Potts of Leeds, and placed in the former belfry in 1904. There is a peal of six bells cast by T. Mears in 1829, tuned and re-hung in the tower in 1914.  

The churchyard is reputed to be the largest church yard in the country, extending over four acres, and a stone cross discovered on this site in 1968 implies there may have been an active church and burial ground here as early as the 10th century.


Text and Images Copyright © 1999-2006