SPOUT HOUSE, Bilsdale, North Yorkshire. (See comments box for story).

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Roy Pledger on November 20, 2011

The 16th century Spout House on the B1257 road in Bilsdale closed as a pub in 1914 and was replaced alongside by the unpretentious Sun Inn. Fortunately this fine example of a thatched longhouse has been preserved and is now a Grade 1 listed building in the care of the National Park Authority which can be visited in the season.

Roy Pledger on November 20, 2011

The pub was a popular haunt of Bobbie Dawson and his friends from the local Bilsdale Hunt. When Bobbie died in 1902, his gravestone ended up in front of the pub, although it was originally intended for the churchyard grave where Bobbie is buried, but the vicar objected due to the fact that the stone is carved with a fox’s face and brush and a hunting crop surmounted by an old fashioned hunting horn. So Bobbie’s friends put it outside his local pub where it has remained to this day. The inscription reads : ‘ In memory of Bobbie Dawson, Died June 17th 1902. Whip to Bilsdale Hunt for upwards of 60 years. Also wicket keeper for Spout House Cricket Club for many years.

The locals will tell you that it is thought that Bilsdale was named after William the Conqueror, he who decided to deal with the northerner’s who were resisting his rule and it was in 1069 that William was passing through Bilsdale, which now carries the B1257 road between Helmsley and Cleveland. Chroniclers tell us that ‘During the harrowing of the north in 1069, William passed through this wild region and made his way amid cold and ice of winter. He kep hissen warm wi sweering.’ King Billy as he was known was noted for bad language which gives rise to a local saying, ‘Swearing like Billy Norman , or swearing like Billyo. A telephone box which was at the centre of controversy in 1993 is situated not far away at Fangdale Beck. In 1935, local landowner, The Earl of Faversham, ordered that the red telephone box be painted green to fit in with the rural backdrop of this very picturesque area. This particular box was designated a Grade 11 listed building in 1990, not to be touched without express planning, because of its historical and architectural interest. In 1993 the box was severely vandalised and British Telecom replaced it with what was described by a local resident as ‘a shower cubicle’. B.T claimed that they had had no alternative but to replace the old box with a modern kiosk to maintain its service. Not so said Northallerton Magistrates’ when they fined B.T £3,000 with £750 costs, for flouting planning and conservation laws. The original telephone box was replaced by an identical model – painted green.

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  • Uploaded on November 20, 2011
  • Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works
    by Roy Pledger

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