The history of the house

OWNER 1834-1854

Mary Sedgwick

The deeds go back as far as 1834 when the house was already occupied.  In 1834, Mary Sedgwick (a widow) inherited the house in a will dated 16/10/1834.  We do not know from whom she inherited the house or whether she lived there herself.  The next definitive information is that in 1854 the house was occupied by William Milner.  We know this because the information was in the deeds.

TENANT: 1854 (Possible before 1841 – 1857)

William Milner

William was born in 1800, Baptised on 12/12/1800 (his father was George).  In the 1841 census return for Bainbridge he was an agricultural labourer at that time living with Isabella, his wife aged 35, and their two children, Isabella (aged 4) and William (aged 1).  In the 1851 Census for Bainbridge, he is now a Stone Mason living with Isabella his wife and Isabella his daughter.  His son has left home and later (1861) is registered as a Stone Mason in Skipton.  William still occupied the house in 1854.  In 1857, William died and was buried in Askrigg on 19/03/1857.

OWNERS 1854 – 1854    & TENANTS 1854-before 1861

Thomas and Ann Atkinson (both illiterate)

OWNER 1854-?

George Terry

In 1854 Mary Sedgwick (the owner) died leaving the house in her will to her 2 nieces:  Hannah Blades and Ann Atkinson.  Unfortunately, Hannah Blades had already died.  Ann Atkinson and her husband, Thomas, a Yeoman of Cravenholme in Aysgarth sold the house for 10 s (Yes, 10 shillings) to George Terry a farmer from Pudding Lane, Askrigg on the basis that they could both live there until they died and when they had both died then James Blades (Son of Hannah Blades) could live in the house until he died.

We know from the 1851 census that Ann Atkinson was born around 1790 in Bainbridge.  Her Husband, Thomas Atkinson was born around 1792 in Carperby and is described as a farmer.  At that time, they were living in Bainbridge and have no children living with them just a servant.  It could be that they were childless which is why Mary Sedgwick stipulated in her will that the house was to pass to their nephew when they died.

By 1861, Thomas and his wife Ann, together with Margaret Blades (a house servant) and James Thompson (a farm servant) had moved out of the house and were living in Craven Holme, Worton (a farm of 237 acres).

Ann Atkinson died in 1863 (First quarter) and her husband, Thomas died on 16/05/1874.

TENANTS before 1861 – 1887

OWNER 1874 - 1879

James Blades (b. 1811, Bainbridge, d. 1887, Bainbridge)

The mystery of the letterbox

 “The Old Dame School.  Mrs Eliza Blades 1860? To 1875.  Reading, Writing Arithmetic. 2d per pupil per week”

The intriguing inscription on the letter box was there when we bought the house in 2014. I assume the research evidenced in the letter box was done by my predecessor, Westy who was herself a school mistress until retiring to Bainbridge in the 1977, and it was she who changed the name of the cottage to “Old Dame School”. 

Before state education, the demand for a basic education in reading, writing and arithmetic was met by private schools described as “Dame Schools” which would teach basic education for a few pence per week.

In 1870, the government had passed an Education Act making it compulsory for local authorities to provide free primary education, but no free primary school was built in Bainbridge until 1875, so it seems very plausible that private provision was supplied by Eliza and family and that it was probably delivered in the cottage.

James Blades was born in Bainbridge in 1811

On 16/01/1834 he married Eliza Harper in St Peter’s church Bradford (the Cathedral).  Both James and Eliza were illiterate.  James was a labourer.

In 1841 he was living in Bainbridge with Eliza his wife and children Rachel and William.  James was an agricultural labourer.

In 1851 his two youngest children were no longer living with him, but he had 4 children born since 1841, Richard, Jane, Mary Ann and Sarah.  Also living with the family was Eliza’s mother, Rachel Harper who was a school mistress, born in Bradford.

By 1861 we can assume that James was living in the house, since Thomas and Ann Atkinson had now moved to Worton.  James was described as a Corn Dealer but was living with just 2 children, Jane aged 20 and Sarah aged 14.  Eliza was a lodger living at 16, High Street, Skipton with her grand-daughter, Ada who was just 5 years old.

By 1871, aged 58 we can assume that James and the family had re-located into this house and James, now classed as a Meal and Flour Dealer was living here with Eliza a schoolmistress, Jane, their daughter aged 28, an assistant in school and Adah (Ada) their grand daughter aged 15, also an assistant in school. 

Mysteries surround this story: 

  • Why was Eliza illiterate when she got married aged 23 when her mother 17 years later was school mistress in Bainbridge?
  • Why were Eliza and Ada in lodgings in Skipton in 1861 at the time of the census?
  • Why was James described as a widower on the 1871 census?

Eliza Blades (the schoolmistress) died on 27/09/1878 and was buried in Askrigg.

James Blades died 16/08/1879

OWNER 1879 – 1899

TENANT 1878 - 1899

Ada Blades ( b.1856, Bainbridge, d. 1899, Bainbridge)

The deeds state that on 13/12/1878 the house was occupied by James Blades and his granddaughter Ada Blades.

Ada was born in the first three months of 1856 in Askrigg parish (could be Bainbridge because it is part of Askrigg parish).  Her mother was Isabella Blades.

Isabella was baptised on 14/12/1834 by her parents, James and Eliza

In 1841, Isabella was living with William and Sarah Blades, presumably relations, in Bainbridge

In 1851, Isabella was a servant in Darlington working for a couple (brother and sister) (although they came from Askrigg)

By the 1861 census, Isabella was married to George Holt and living in Burnley but her daughter, Ada was born in 1856.  Could we assume that Ada was born out of wedlock and brought up by her grandparents?

As we have already seen, in 1861 Ada was living with her grandmother in lodgings in Skipton and in 1871 was an assistant in school with her aunt and grandmother

On 22/05/1880, Ada Blades married Edwin Johnson at Holy Trinity Church, Halifax.  Although married in Halifax, Edwin had been born in West Witton.

On 12/10/1880 Ada and Edwin had a son, Herbert Johnson, born in Halifax

On the census of 1881, Edwin is recorded as an Agricultural Labourer, living with Ada and Herbert (their son) in Bainbridge

In the census of 1891, Edwin is described as a Fruiter (Green), and in the household are Ada, Herbert, James and George (3 sons) and Jane Horner, a visitor.  Sons James (7) and George (4) were both born in Bainbridge.

Ada died on 23/05/1899 aged 43 and the house passed to her husband Edwin Johnson

OWNER 1899 – 1941

TENANT 1881-1899-1941

Edwin Johnson (b. 1861, Wensley. d.1941)

In 1899, Edwin inherited the house from his wife Ada (nee Blades)

Before 1901 Edwin re-married

In the 1901 census the household at the cottage:

  • Edwin Johnson Head      Age 41  Green Grocer  (Self-        Wensley

employed from home)   

  • Annis Johnson Wife      Age 33                                               West Burton
  • Fred Johnson Son        Age 8                                                  Bainbridge

SOURCE 1901 Census

Census 1911 Household (at Cottage)

  • Edwin Johnson (Married) Head Age 52 Fruit & Potato                   Wensley                                                                                          Merchant (Employer)
  • Fred Johnson (Single) Son        Age 19  Fruit & Potato                   Aysgarth                                                                                          Merchant (Worker)

SOURCE 1911 Census

Edwin Johnson died (29/10/1941) and left the house in his will to Herbert Johnson

OWNER 1941-1945

Herbert Johnson (b.1881, Bainbridge)

Herbert Johnson was born in Halifax but brought up in Bainbridge.

In 1901, aged 20, he was an apprentice to William Sanderson, a Butcher in 25, Portrack Lane, Stockton-on-Tees

When Edwin Johnson died in 1941 he left the house in his will to Herbert Johnson (his son), a butcher from 168 Oxford Road, Hartlepool.  There is obviously some discussion at this point about the ownership of the house.  (Perhaps this relates to the 10-shilling transfer in 1854).  Local “old person” James Peacock the elder, (78), Meal and Flour dealer from Bainbridge, legally declares that Edwin Johnson was the rightful owner of the house for as long as he can remember.

TENANT: 1941- c.1945

Miss Rose Metcalfe

The deeds tell us that in October 1941, the house was occupied (but not owned) by Miss Rose Metcalfe who left the house after 24/03/1945 but before 14/12/1948

OWNER 1945 - 1948

Edith Leyland

24/03/1945 Herbert Johnson, a butcher from 168 Oxford Road, Hartlepool, sold the house for £150 to Guy Tiplady Routh of Borwins Farm, Bainbridge for £150.  As part of the same transaction, Guy sold the house to Edith Leyland (Spinster) for £190, making an instant £40

OWNER 1948 – 1959

William Richard Routh

22/12/1948 Sold by Edith Leyland to William Richard Routh (Poultry Farmer) for £230

18/05/1959 William Routh Dies

OWNER 1959-1967

Ethel Kathleen Fawcett

19/08/1959 William Routh had died, and the house passed to Ethel Kathleen Fawcett

OWNER 1967 - 1977

Peter Cockburn Metcalfe (Motor Engineer)

07/09/1967 Ethel Kathleen Fawcett sold the property to Peter Cockburn Metcalfe for £1,000

OWNER 1977 – 2014

Miss M C (Westy) Westby-Nunn (Retired Teacher)

26/05/1977 Sold by Mr P C Metcalfe to Miss M C Westby-Nunn for £11,500


Current Owners – Tim & Joan

22/05/2014  Sold by Maureen Charmain Westby-Nunn to Tim & Joan

Although now known as the Old Dame School, it has only had that name since 04/11/1980 when it was changed by Westy. 

Prior to that it was called Stoneycroft and went under that name in 1977. 

In 1977 it is stated that the house was formerly known as “Cliburn Cottage”.  This was some time before 1967