We had a lazy weekend in Yorkshire a few weeks ago, combining a party in York (missing last bus and walking 4 miles to hotel like silly youngsters) with the next day out touring some prosperous villages and the town of Pickering.
Mike had cleverly planned for us to be staying by a stop with a Sunday bus to Easingwold, where we were picked up by an ex-colleague Peter who lives in Helperby. Innocently, when Peter suggested a tour, I thought it meant walking. No, we drove, saw fine views over the lovely countryside and stopped from time to time.
One stop was for coffee at the Crown in Hutton le Hole, a village with plenty of green spaces and the Ryedale Folk Museum. A sign on the village green mentioned Spaunton Estate: the estate owns and manages the open spaces and verges in the area. Central to this is the Court Leet, and I found an interesting article about this special Court on the village website http://huttonlehole.ryedaleconnect.org.uk/about/court-leet/ .
“The essential role of the Court Leet today is to protect the Manorial Land within the Manor (that is common and wastes of the Manor which includes village greens and verges) and to protect the rights of those who have “common rights” i.e. the rights held in common by a number of different properties over the common.”
The Court extracts fines (mostly for encroachments) and spends monies on useful bracken control as well as management of all spaces. All new to me and unusual.
I was very taken with the villages, and amazed at the rallies and active people: old cars, motorbikes and cyclists everywhere on the highways.
In Pickering church, we saw the famous medieval wall paintings, perhaps best described and illustrated on the Heritage Trust site. It struck me that the way the pictures tell stories might have influenced William Burges in his narratives in Cardiff Castle – they were uncovered in 1852. He worked on two churches in Yorkshire, but who knows.
Helperby (below) has an excellent pub for a Sunday roast, accompanied by well-kept beers. I had Guzzler. A kind friend of Peter’s drove us to the bus in Easingwold and we were soon on our way home to familiar Welsh names.