In my book Abigail Moor The Cruck Inn was named after the design of the North Yorkshire cruck-built buildings. There are many examples in the region but none as well preserved as the old inn Spout House which served Bilsdale until it closed its doors in 1914.
I visited it when researching the area for my book and found it was literally like taking a step back in time. Spout House can be visited from Easter – 31st October. It is just one of many historic places hidden away in the beautiful North York Moors National Park.
The amazing time capsule that is Spout House was the inspiration behind the starting point of Abigail’s adventure that takes her on to the beautiful city of York with its gothic cathedral, then to the amazing historical whaling port of Whitby and further to discover the rugged bays of the North Yorkshire coast.
I could not leave Ripon without visiting its ancient cathedral. The ancient building has a fascinating history, the oldest part of which still exists. The ancient Saxon crypt of the original church founded by St Wilfred (AD 634-709) not only still exists, but is open to the public for exploration. Accessed via a narrow staircase and a short narrow tunnel, the small rooms are amazingly peaceful.
(By the way, I’m an author, not a professional photographer!)
St Wilfred influenced the decision of the christian church to move away from the Celtic Church and follow the Roman church. The decisive move been made in 664AD at The Synod of Whitby when the calculation of Easter was decided by following the Roman method. He had a fascinating life and survived many life threatening events.
The main building is a delightful mix of Norman and Gothic styles, reflecting the many periods of history it has survived through. Far from feeling like a museum, which provides cold facts for the casual visitor this is a living house of God. When I visited there were Bible readings in progress, yet we were made welcome giving the palace a warm, homely feel. Other activities were in progress at the same time. There is no set fee to pay, but donations are requested and voluntary.
My visit was quite short as I was en-route to a conference but Ripon is certainly a place I would happily revisit as I am sure that I did not explore all its treasures.
Whilst researching social history for my stories I visit some fascinating places. Here are some of the places that have triggered plots, created characters or inspired a mood or a desire to return to the keyboard and write.
One of my favourite places to explore on the North Yorkshire coast is the unique, atmospheric town of Whitby. This ancient port situated on the northeast coast of England is famous for many reasons.
St Hilda founded a double monastery (for monks and nuns) here in 657 AD, making it a valued seat of learning. The famous Synod of Whitby was held here in 664 AD.
Whitby became a famous whaling port with such famous seafaring names associated to it as the Scoresby‘s.
The James Cook Museum is housed in the C17 house where he lived as an apprentice. It is an atmospheric place overlooking the River Esk. There is a large car park nearby so exploring this side of the harbour is not a problem if arriving by car. If you walk into the East side of the harbour from here you can wander through the old cobblestoned streets and explore the many yards and snickets.
Passing the old inns and market square you will reach the bottom of the famous 99 steps which lead up to the unique church of St Mary and then to the abbey beyond. The views across the harbour from here are magnificent.
To experience staying in one of the original inns, The Whitehorse and Griffin has been lovingly restored and offers excellent food.
Whitby sporadically comes into my stories, either in passing as in Abigail Moor, or as a setting in itself, such as Amelia’s Knight, which is still to be released as an eBook.
Whatever your reason for visiting this fascinating location, being prepared to walk and explore its narrow alleyways, historic places, or the more usual shops and eateries on the west side of the harbour, then there is plenty for everyone to enjoy.
For excellent seafood and a great place to eat it, looking back across the harbour to the abbey is The Magpie.
Other places of interest in the area can be found on these helpful websites: