The Busby Stoop
The Busby Stoop an old coaching inn situated at the cross roads junction of the A61 and the A167 at Carlton Miniott near Thirsk in North Yorkshire was also the scene of a hanging early in the 18th century as a replica gibbet outside the inn testifies.
Local man, Thomas Busby married local girl, Elizabeth Auty - nothing strange in that except that Elizabeth was from a wealthy family and her father had unsuccessfully opposed the marriage because he knew that Busby was a drunkard and ne’er do well. The story goes that Busby had a nice wooden armchair made for himself and one day he returned home to find his father in law sitting in the chair and an argument ensued. Later on Busby got drunk and went to Auty’s house where a further argument took place with the result that Busby strangled Auty. Busby was subsequently hanged on gallows erected outside his local pub. Before he died, it is said that Busby put a curse on the chair.
The name of the inn was changed to The Busby Stoop and the landlord acquired Busby’s chair which stood in the bar for many years. The chair acquired a sinister reputation and people would sit in it for a dare. It is said that four people died from accidents after sitting in the chair and during the second world war, many airmen who had sat in the chair failed to return from bombing raids.
Busby’s chair is now an exhibit in the museum at Thirsk.
The Mother Shipton Inn
‘ Near this Petrifying Well I first drew breath, as records tell.’ These words, together with the portrait of an ugly woman, signify The Mother Shipton Inn, which stands at the entrance to the Nidd Gorge at Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. Legendary sorceress and soothsayer, Old Mother Shipton, was born in a nearby cave in 1488 and died in 1561 when she was 73 years old. Close to the cave on the banks of the River Nidd is the ancient dropping Well whose waters have mystical powers of turning everyday articles to stone.
Born Ursula Southill, she married York builder Tobias Shipton when she was 24. ‘She was very morose, big boned; her head was long with great goggling, sharp and fiery eyes; her nose of an incredible and unproportionate length, having in it many crooks and turnings and adorned with many strange purples and diverse colours, which like vapours of brimstone gas, gave such a lustre in the dead of night.’ So said a contemporary writer who went on to say, ‘ She had in addition a chin of the nutcracker order, yellow skin shrivelled and wrinkled, with one solitary big tooth standing out of her mouth like a tusk. Her neck was so distorted that her right shoulder supported her head, her legs crooked, with feet and toes turned towards her left side so that when she walked to the right it seemed as if she were travelling to the left.’ That may be so, but her understanding was extraordinary and her strange powers of prophesy became known throughout the land. Over one hundred years after her death, Samuel Pepys had recorded in his diary that Mother Shipton had foretold the Great Fire of London. Her predictions were widespread, she is said to have foretold of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the defeat of the Armada, the Civil War, the Great Plague and so on. ‘Carriages without horses shall go, and accidents fill the world with woe. Around the world thoughts shall fly in the twinkling of an eye. Iron in the water shall float as easy as a wooden boat. Gold shall be found, and found in a land that’s not now known,’ is how some of her predictions are quoted. In his Collection of Prophesies of 1645, astrologer W.Lilly quoted that sixteen of Mother Shipton’s predictions had been fulfilled. Many people thought she was a witch, especially Cardinal Wolsey whom she predicted would never be enthroned as Archbishop of York. Wolsey apparently sent a message to tell her that when he did enter York, he would burn her as a witch. Fortunately for her she was right. Equally fortunate, one of her predictions did not come true – the end of the world in 1881!
It is possible to visit Old Mother Shipton’s Cave and the Petrifying Well.
Blind Jack's is a relatively new pub which is situated in The Market Place at Knaresborough in North Yorkshire alongside a fine sculpture of the man in question.
John Metcalf was born into a poor family at Knaresborough in 1717 and at the age of six he lost his sight as a result of smallpox. Never daunted, young Jack lived life to the full, he could climb trees, run, box, wrestle, ride and swim with the best and he married the prettiest girl in the area. He became a fish merchant, learned to play the fiddle and he even fought at the Battle of Culloden. He also ran a horse drawn taxi service and a pack horse service before his big break came. Following the passing of an Act of Parliament which authorised the building of turnpike roads, Jack somehow managed to obtain the contract for such a road between
and Boroughbridge, which he completed successfully to be followed by several
others and eventually he employed some 400 men. It seemed that Jack had a nack, determined
by instinct for his task, despite the obstacles, and the fame of Blind
Jack spread. He died a rich
man with some 180 miles of northern roads behind him, at the nearby village of Spofforth, when he was 93 years old and
the epitaph on his gravestone in Spofforth churchyard tells his story :
‘ Here lies John Metcalf; one whose infant sight
Felt the dark pressure of an endless night.
Yet such the fervour of his dauntless mind
His limbs full strung, his spirit unconfin’d.
That long ere yet life’s bolder years began
His sightless efforts marked th’aspiring man.
Nor mark’d in vain. High deed his manhood dar’d
And commerce, travel, both his ardour shard’d.
‘Twas his, a guide’s unerring aid to lend,
O’er trackless wastes to bid new roads extend,
And when rebellion reared her giant size
‘Twas his to burn with patriot enterprise,
For parting wife and babes one pang to feel,
Then welcome danger for his country’s weal.’
Reader! Like him exert thy utmost talent giv’n,
Reader! Like him adore the bounteous Hand of Heav’n!
The Boar’s Head
A notice outside this village pub at Ripley in North Yorkshire reads:
‘ This building was formerly the star Inn, one of three pubs in the village. It was the breakfast stop for the Leeds to Edinburgh charabanc, and its final licensee was Frank Smailes,
the Yorkshire and England cricketer'.
Sir William Ingilby, who had been a priest before he inherited the castle, disapproved of people drinking on the Sabbath. In 1919 he ordered all three landlords to close for that day. Facing the loss of their most lucrative day’s trading, all thee departed and Ripley was ‘dry’ for 71 years until the Ingilby’s opened the Boar’s Head Hotel in 1990. Just to show how times have changed, the Vicar came in and blessed the pumps on the opening night.’
The boar's head is the symbol of the Ingilby family.
The boar's head is the symbol of the Ingilby family.