The Red Lion, Burnsall.

Colin Metcalf

Leeds, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description


Courtesy of Wikipedia

Burnsall is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated on the River Wharfe in Wharfedale, with a five-arched bridge over which the Dalesway passes, and is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of Hebden, along a river path dated to Viking times. Although the 2001 census gave it a population of only 112, the village has a parish church, a chapel, a primary school (housed in the original grammar school building of 1602, which is a grade II listed building), two hotels with restaurants, and a pub. Because of its charm and location, Burnsall, with a large, grassy parking area, is a favoured site for walkers, trout fishers, picnics, weddings and other ceremonies. The school building, like the much-photographed bridge (also grade II listed), is an early 17th century legacy of William Craven of nearby Appletreewick (pronounced ‘Aptrick’), who became mayor of London (and may be the inspiration for ‘Dick Whittington’), and has always been used as a school.

St Wilfrid’s Church (a grade I listed building) is almost entirely Perpendicular. Amongst its well-known internal features are an 11th century font carved with bird and beasts, twelve Anglo-Saxon sculpture fragments and a 14th century alabaster panel depicting the Adoration of the Magi. The church-yard, which has a number of interesting grave-stones, is entered from the main road by a large and well-kept Lychgate.

The Red Lion and Burnsall a brief history:-

Courtesy of The Red Lion

The Doomsday Book states “in Brineshale, Dringlet had two carucates and two oxgangs to be taxed”, and records state that it was all laid waste during the rebellion of the Anglians, and after conquest by the Normans. Little history is recorded beyond the 11th century when Robert de Romille took possession of Skipton yet the many relics from this time – some of which are to be seen in the church of St Wilfrid – prove both the antiquity and importance of Burnsall. The oldest part of St Wilfrids date from the 12th century and later portions from the 14th. The base of the front represents Norman ornamentation which would not be later that 1150. The list of records dates from the 13th century and a stone tablet records that this church was repaired and ‘butified’ by Sir William Craven who was Lord Mayor of London and on whom the tale of ‘Dick Whittington’ was based.

Burnsall (or in ancient times Brinshall or Brineshale) is claimed to mean either ‘the hall by the burn’ or, more probably, the hall of some headman of chieftain named Burn (meaning ruler). The affix Sal in Danish means the Chief room or hall.

He became a founder of a noble house (the Earls of Craven) giving his name to the Craven district in which we are situated. He was born in Appletrewick of poor parents. Moving to London, and taking a situation in a silk mercers business, his rise to wealth and dignity was rapid – by 1611 he became Lord Mayor of London. He founded the old Grammar School adjoining the church which is now our local primary school.

And what of The Red Lion which has been dispensing hospitality for centuries? The cellars (inhabited by a mischievous ghost who finds it amusing to turn off the beer taps and icemaker) date from the 12th century, and the original ‘one up, one down’ structure which is now the bar from the 16th. Over the years The Lion has been gradually extended to form the lovely old building it is today. Beamed ceilings, creaky sloping floors and a wealth of character abound. The present owners – the Grayshon family – purchased the hotel in 1991 and have since sympathetically upgraded The Lion whilst still retaining the essential character of this lovely old country Inn.

Artwork Comments

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