Harome near Helmsley in North Yorkshire is one of the few villages in Yorkshire which maintains a number of thatched roofed houses and the village inn, The Star is no exception.It is a real ale pub which has many accolades for its fine food. The history of this unspoilt inn, a fine example of a cruck-framed longhouse with thatched roof, stretches back more then 600 years and is worth a visit in its own right, but in addition it possesses a very fine curiosity – its bar. The very fine oak bar was the work of the famous mouseman, Robert Thompson, who was born in Kilburn, at the other side of Helmsley, in 1886 and followed his father into the trade of wheelwright. Robert was very fond of carving wood and loved English oak – ‘ No other wood has the same character as oak, and this is the medium with which I can express my feelings,’ he is quoted as saying to a monk at nearby Ampleforth Abbey who had recognised the young man’s skill. Robert was commissioned for work at the Abbey and soon developed an interest in carving church furniture, although it was not such lucrative work at that time. One day he thought of the expression ‘poor as a church mouse’ and had the idea to carve a mouse on his work.
Since that time the little mouse has appeared on all Thompson furniture and carvings and is renowned in churches and homes throughout the country. Many examples can be seen in churches everywhere, notably in York Minster and in Westminster Abbey. Just look for the little mouse. Robert Thompson died in 1955 aged 79 years and his half timbered cottage still stands in Kilburn close to the modern workshops where the Thompson family tradition is carried on by his family. A visit to the workshops and showrooms is an enlightening experience and the mouse can be seen in action on most of the furniture in Kilburn church, as well as on the bar at The Star.
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Photo taken in Harome, North Yorkshire YO62, UK
The Star Inn at Harome
Misplaced? Suggest new location