Set in the delightful village of Hutton le Hole, this is one of the best kept secrets in North Yorkshire. The old tractor outside the museum is the main form of advertising.
Buildings from the local area have been saved from demolition and brought here. There is everything from a full-scale replica of an Iron Age round house, Tudor Manor House and a crofters cottage. Throw in shops and workshops along with vehicles and machinery as well as other artefacts, this makes a fascinating visit. It gives you chance to step into life in the past and discover the lives of the ordinary people living in the area.
The museum was very much the brain child of local historian, Wilfried Crossland, who started collecting artefacts from the area and began a small museum in his family home and adjacent barn (now the reception area and shop). He met Bert Frank who was also developing a museum in nearby Lastingham. After Wilfred’s death in 1961, Bert was invited by Wilfred’s sisters and take over responsibility for the “remnants of their brother’s collection”. They promised to leave the building and land to the museum in their wills.
The building opened in three rooms. The vernacular buildings, shops, workshops and contents arrived later and were given to the museum by local families. Volunteers helped dismantle buildings for reassembly on the site.
Donations and collections are still arriving. The Museum is now home to the Harrison Collection, housed in a special exhibition building in a stone barn beyond the school house. Two brothers, Edward and Richard grew up near here and over 60 years amassed a huge collection of antiques and curiosities covering five centuries of British history. Every Christmas, the young brothers were given a box of small items wrapped in tissue paper rather than toys. This kindled their enthusiasm and led to a lifetime of collecting domestic paraphernalia. A special exhibition building holds about half of the objects in the collection.
It is an amazing collection of over 10,000 artefacts of all sizes, shapes and functions, valued at over £1million pounds. It includes everything from medieval implements for brain surgery to kitchen pots and pans as well as toys. There is so much to see, this really deserves a couple of hours.
Don’t miss the model village consisting of over 30 buildings made by local agricultural engineer John Hayton as a garden feature. After his death this was donated to Harlow Carr Gardens before arriving at Ryedale. with its castle, church and windmill, it is a great favourite of the children.
Other artefacts displayed around the site include old place names and traffic signs.There are milk churns, once a common site at road ends, along with old carts left lying neglected in a field. There is even a painted cast iron grave stone.
There is part of a reconstructed stone aqueduct that was used to bring water from the hills to the villages. Many of the villages were on limestone and in a dry year, water supplies could run out resulting in cattle dying and poor crops. Water had to be hauled up in barrels.
Joseph Foord’s father was land agent for Duncombe Park In Helmsley in the mid C18th, and Joseph farmed in the area. He realised he could take advantage of the natural slope of the land to bring water from the higher ground along carefully constructed water races. Over twenty years he was responsible for constructing over 70 miles of water races in the ,local area. Many were still in use in the C20th until the arrival of piped water. There remains can still be traced across the landscape.
The museum is also trying to recreate the natural environment of the past too.
Cottagers often grew a few fruit trees. As well as producing fruit for market, apples were also turned into cider. An orchard has been planted near the Manor House, with traditional local varieties of fruit. Many of these are no longer commercially viable. The grass beneath is not mown and is grazed by sheep or pigs. Wild flowers encouraged bees for pollination.
There are also pigs, chickens and sheep around the site.
This is one of the smaller folk museums and that has its advantages as it can easily be done in a day without having to rush. There is plenty of variety and it is a lovely site, surrounded by tall hedges giving it an intimate feel. Buildings are well set out and there is plenty of space to wander along with seats to sit and enjoy the place. Visit on a dry day as it is a large site without any shelter apart from inside the buildings. Allow plenty of time too.
Look after your ticket as it is an annual pass.
“Information about Disabled Access”:https://www.ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk/access-information/
There are lots more pictures “here.”:https://www.sloweurope.com/community/threads/hutton-le-hole-and-the-ryedale-folk-museum.5978/