Granville House history
Granville House used to be called Granny House Farm with 34 acres, the lane is locally known as Granny Lane. It is actually Mark House Lane, but Mark House nearer to the river disappeared many years ago. This is the old Roman Road from Otterburn to Gargrave. The fields are called Granny Croft, Lower Granny Croft, Granny Pasture and Lower Granny Pasture. Our house dates back to the 16th centuary and was a hostelry, the barn has intact 17C king trusses. Drovers from the highlands would stay over and put their livestock in the fields. On maps from the 18centuary Granny house is larger than it is now and L shaped. This hint of an L shape is just visible when
you look at the barn from the lane.
The house was always independent from surrounding estates at Nessfield Hall, Gargrave House and Coniston Hall.
Granny House is mentioned in ‘Through Airedale from Goole to Malham’, written in 1891, it refers to Granny House as a stout old edifice, an old dwelling, 3 centuries old, which had been a public up until 1820, a familiar rendezvous for the packmen in ancient days.
Just over 100 years ago the front of the house was ruined by fire and rebuilt.
In 1841 it was occupied by John Dixon and family - cotton weaver
In 1851 by James Winterton and family – railway labourer
In 1861 by Henry Hirst and family – shoe maker
In 1871 uninhabited
In 1881 by Thomas Jowett – a postman, he lived here with his family and boarders for about 30 years.
The Holgate family (yeomen from Long Preston) then sold Granny House to the Lister and Dowson family in 1904 who sold it to the Giffords in 1912.
The Giffords were horse dealers and had been living in Station Road Bell Busk. Descendants of this family have gone on to become famous horse trainers. We have a racing horse weather vane from their time here.
The Giffords lived here until 1991 and became involved with Whittakers chocolates in Skipton, all the chocolates were stored in the barn.
We have lived here since 2010 and just before we bought it, it was on Escape to the Country 2009. It was in a sad state.
We have tried to renovate the house, the barn, create a garden and vegetable patch, a wild flower meadow, an orchard and some native woodland. It is still very much ‘work in progress’.
Bell Busk is situated about a mile from Coniston Cold on the Otterburn Road. It did not appear on the map until 1627, when it probably consisted of one house on the east bank of the River Aire between the old bridge and the
ford. The house lay near the track for packhorses between Skipton, Settle and the North and a bell is thought to have been hung nearby in a conspicuous bush and rung as an indicator of the route to be taken across remote
pastures, or as a warning after dark if the water was high. This is probably how the village got its name; a bell hung in a busk or tree.
We have also been told that Bell Busk comes from the word beale which was a sacrificial site in bronze age times. If you look towards Haw Crag there is a lower flat mound to the West where bronze age villagers sacrificed
animals. Bell may come from the word bel, which is a ford, so a ford over the river by a bush,
The village is one of the earliest seats of Quakerism in Yorkshire. A Toleration Act license was granted in 1689 and Quaker meetings were allowed to be held. There was also a Wesleyan chapel, which is now a garage for a
householder, but Bell Busk has no parish church. An infant school was built in 1871, this later became the post office and is now a private house. Bell Busk was a bustling place though only a hamlet of Coniston Cold. There
was a school at Hill Top House, a post office and even tennis courts.
The very first works day outing in England arrived in Bell Busk when Sir Titus Salt brought 1600 workers from Saltaire on 2 very long steam trains. They were supposed to walk to Malham for a picnic but many stopped off along
Bell Busk railway station was the main terminus for the Dales. Milk, eggs, chicks, cattle and sheep would all leave the Dales from here. Sadly it closed in 1959.
There was a huge and productive quarry on the hills above the village and the last witches in Craven were supposed to have been burnt at Haw Crag.
In 1781 Peter Garforth, the grandfather of James Garforth, built the 5 storey cotton mill on the river at Bell Busk. This later became a silk mill. It was a huge building and gave employment to many persons from the surrounding
area. The insignia for the mill was a Bell in a tree. The mill was later bought by the Rickards family, then the Dewhirst family and finally the Slingsbys before being dismantled in about 1905. The outline of the mill pond and the mill race is at the end of Mark House Lane.
The cottages in the village (some of them back to back} were built as dwellings for the employees and a four-berth toilet was constructed across the road for their comfort. Now not in use, it is a listed building. There was also a
communal wash-house, now converted into a cottage.
The bell which must have called the employees to work can still be seen on the end gable of one of the rows of cottages. The last time it was officially rung was for the Queen's Coronation day in 1953.
An old Roman road; Mark House Lane named after Mark House which no longer exists, commences just over the bridge on the Coniston Cold side of the village and is referred to locally as Granny Lane after our house; Granny House Farm and connects Bell Busk with Gargrave. This was the main road until 1820 and was still a through road until the 1970s.
Bell Busk Bridge and Red Bridge are both grade 2 listed. The only other listed properties are Essbottom and Ravenflatt, many others should be listed.
So what happens in Bell Busk today?
Hesper Farm is one of the best dairy Farms in The Yorkshire Dales and produces a unique product called Skyr.
Metcalfe models design and create the famous railway model kits.
A motor bike museum and motorbike assembly factory is planned
Bell Busk is home for the hounds of the Pendle and Craven Hunt