Kirby Bank Trod, North York Moors
Aerial view of Kirby Bank Trod, North York Moors © Historic England
Aerial view of Kirby Bank Trod, North York Moors © Historic England

Heritage at Risk in Yorkshire Revealed

Historic England has revealed the historic sites most at risk of being lost forever as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development by publishing the annual Heritage at Risk Register 2020.

The register provides an annual snapshot of the critical health of England’s most valued historic places, and those most at risk of being lost.

  • Over the last year 16 historic buildings and sites have been saved in Yorkshire
  • 9 sites have been added to the Register in Yorkshire because of concerns about their condition
  • There are 546 entries in total across Yorkshire on the 2020 Heritage at Risk Register

Sites rescued and removed from the Register in Yorkshire include:

Saved: Coulton Mill, Ryedale, North Yorkshire

Coulton Mill in Rydale was built in the 17th century and developed over the following two hundred years, finally ceasing production in 1950. However, the origins of the water-powered corn mill are far earlier as references to it can be found in medieval documents from the 13th century.

Listed at Grade II* – the second highest level of listing – the mill is notable for its early wooden machinery which pre-dates the industrial revolution and is a rare survival. 

The mill, together with its attached house, was added to the Heritage at Risk Register as the end wall with the mill wheel was falling down and the roof was in a poor condition. Thanks to a grant from the Howardian Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the owner’s own contribution, repairs were carried out to the wall and roof, enabling the mill to be rescued from the Register.

Saved: Willy Howe, Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire

Dating from the late Bronze Age (2400-1500BC), Willy Howe is a round barrow, a type of prehistoric funerary monument. Many barrows contain human remains but two partial excavations in the 19th century failed to find any. However, legend has it that the mound was home to inhabitants of a more mythical kind. Willy Howe is thought to be the setting of a folk tale chronicled by William of Newburgh in the 12th century. In it, he tells of a drunk man who discovers a group of fairies partying in the mound. They invite him for a drink but he pours it away and steals the cup which eventually ended up in the possession of King Henry I.

Unfortunately, not even fairy magic could prevent Willy Howe from becoming overgrown with brambles and invasive weeds which damaged the site and obscured it from view. Fortunately, grants from Natural England, and more recently Historic England, have enabled Willy Howe’s human owner to suppress the unwanted vegetation and enable public access.           

Saved: Kirby Bank Trod, North Yorkshire

Kirby Bank Trod in North Yorkshire is a 400-metre section of 13th century flag stone path and forms part of an ancient route used by the Cistercian monks at Rievaulx Abbey to move goods from their various land holdings. In later centuries, the path was also variously used to transport alum shale and quarry stone, as well as jet for jewellery making.

As a Green Road it meant that Kirby Bank Trod could be used by 4x4 vehicles and trail bikes, which were causing serious damage. Concerned by the state of the track, Kirby, Great Broughton and Ingleby Greenhow Local History Group devoted their energies to saving the site. They campaigned for it to be designated as a scheduled monument in 2012 and then successfully lobbied for a Traffic Regulation Order in 2017, which limited the Trod’s use to horse riders and walkers. Once this order was put into place, the group worked with the North York Moors National Park to repair the damage caused by the off-road vehicles. 

Sites still on the Register but where good progress has been made include:

Good progress: Globe Works, Sheffield

Situated in the Sheffield suburb of Kelham Island, Globe Works is the city’s earliest surviving cutlery and tool factory. It was built in 1825 for tool manufacturers Ibbotson and Roebank and remained in operation until the mid-1970s. During this time Globe Works has faced destruction at least twice. In 1843, it was badly damaged by a bomb planted by disgruntled members of the saw grinders union and in 1970 Sheffield’s planning committee tried to get it demolished to make way for a motorway. 

Like most of the 19th-century metal trade buildings in Kelham Island, the main building has been regenerated and is now a business centre. The Globe Works complex was put on the Heritage at Risk Register as a number of its workshops were in a derelict condition. Since then, one of the workshops has been repaired and converted to a restaurant on the ground floor, with commercial offices on the upper floors. There are also plans to develop another of the workshops into more office space although this has been delayed by Covid-19.