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Hindlethwaite Hall – A short History

Hindlei a forest clearing for hinds, from hind-Ieah. Thwaite also means a clearing in a wood.

In the middle ages Hindlethwaite and its dwellings was one of the four cattle farms (avaccary) in Coverdale belonging to the Lords of Middleham.

In the late 13th century, Hindlethwaite is mentioned in the will of a Lord of Middleham. At some later time it passed into the ownership of the monastery at Coverham.

In the dissolution documents of 1539, Percival Watson is named as a tenant. The Watsons went on to occupy Hindlethwaite for a very long time. In 1558, Percival Watson was party to a deed of conveyance between Thomas Beere and Richard Rudd to Edward Toppin(Topham?) of little Scrafton ‘of amessuage or tenement in the occupation of Percival Watson situate in the village of Hindlethwaite, late parcel of and belonging to thedissolved monastery of Coverham.’ Ten years later Edward Topham sold this to Thomas Watson for £83 6s. The Watsons went on to accumulate other land at Melside, Horsehouse, Swineside and Melmerby.

The date stone in the main fireplace, CW 1659, refers to Christopher Watson. The Watsons had become wealthy landowners breeding horses and selling cheese. The keeping room (now the dining room) has shelves of ‘blue’ slate, imported at great expense and chosen because it is ‘cooler’ to the touch than the indigenous stone.

In the late 18th century the Watsons eventually lost the house, and their fortune. through an unfortunate marriage, wherein lies another interesting story.

In the 19th century, the Lofthouse family (whose descendants still live in Horsehouse) lived here as tenants.

The initials and date over the front door (AAW 190 I) belong to Ann Agnes Wright of Coverham who inherited the property and presumably wished to commemorate the alterations and improvements she made.


Place Names of the North Riding of Yorkshire. AH Smith. I928

Stephen Moorhouse. Landscape historian

Marlon Moverley, Coverdale historian

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