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Historical past of family home in “Calendar Girls” village revealed

Scale House in Rylstone

AN Ilkley estate agent is offering homebuyers the chance to live in a piece of Yorkshire history – at the heart of the “Calendar Girls” countryside.

The Quaker House, a stone-built Grade II listed building dating to the early 17th Century, is being marketed through Linley & Simpson with an asking price of £495,000.

The five-bedroom semi-detached family home, set in private woodland, nestles within the grounds of Scale House in Rylstone, within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

This is the village that achieved worldwide fame after its Women Institute members bared all in a charity calendar – leading to an award-winning film starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. Most recently, it has inspired a musical written by Gary Barlow.

Yet the property’s famous links stretch back much further.

It is closely associated with the Watkinson family, active supporters of the Society of Friends – or Quakers – in the 1600s.

With its routes from Yorkshire to Lancashire and Westmoreland, nearby Skipton soon became a hub for the Quaker movement in the North of England.

And the Watkinsons’ Scale House estate, featuring this property, grew into a stronghold for general meetings. It often hosted large groups, such as the 1658 general meeting attended by 40 Quakers.

According to English Heritage, two years later Skipton hosted the inaugural annual meeting of the Society of Friends nationally. This was in largely due to the estate’s role in driving up membership in the very early days of the movement.

Its important contribution was also highlighted in journal entries by George Fox, founder of the Quakers.

English Heritage has gone on to heap praise not only on its historical interest of the estate, but its “architectural jewels” as well.

“The Quaker House is a character property that presents a rare opportunity for homebuyers,” said valuation manager at Linley & Simpson, Sandra Wright. “And, as the millions of people around the world who have watched Calendar Girls will know, Rylstone boasts stunning countryside views and walks.

“While it sits in a historical haven within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, it also has bags of appeal appeal for commuters.

“Leeds and Manchester are within comfortable daily commuting distance. And direct trains run to London Kings Cross as well as Leeds and Bradford.”

As well as five bedrooms, two of which are en-suite, The Quaker House features three reception rooms with exposed stone walls, solid oak flooring and beamed ceilings.

 

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