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Sun Inn & Spout House

The name Spout House is deived from a spring which rises in the hillside beside the house. The house, which dates from about 1550, is believed to be the only well preserved example of a 16th century cruck framed house in the north of England. There may have been an earlier building on the site, dating back to the 14th century, but there is no evidence now. Starting life as a farm tenant's cottage, it continued as a farm even though in 1714 it was licensed as an ale house and became known as the Sun Inn. Thus the farmer by day became a landlord by night, a situation which still exists today.

Originally the house was single storey, but as the roads improved the inn became very popular with travellers and in the 17th century was extended by creating three rooms in the loft space. Even so, it must. on occasions, have been verycrowded as, apart from parties of travellers, in 1851, for example, there were 14 members of the Ainsley familyin residence. Even so, eventually larger premises became necessary and in 1914 a new Sun Inn was was built across the farm yard. The old house was left undisturbed, ever the furniture was left in place and when in 1979 the North york Moors National Park Committee took on the repairs it was possible to re-open the house, appearing just as it had been left in its most prosperous years.

The first recorded tenant of "Spoot Howse"was John Kirk in 1637, possibly a descendant of the Scottish soldiers retreatingwith Robert de Brus in 1320, he was then a tenant of the 2nd Duke of Buckingham.

In 1765 Stephen Hoggard became tenant and licensee, a position he held for 57 years. His supplies of beer came from York and later, Tadcaster, travelling via Thirsk and Sutton Bank, using a horse drawn vehicle. Often it proved too much for the horses and barrels had to be unloaded and rolled up the hill by hand. Many of the original bills are still in the posession of the Ainsley family.

The first William Ainsley took over the tenancy from Stephen Hoggard in 1823 and the eldest son has been named William ever since.

A proud possession of the Ainsley family is a handsome painting by Ralf Headley. painted in 1895, of a meeting of some members of the Bilsdale Hunt in the parlour of the old Sun Inn. In the picture is Bobby Dawson and the little girl in the window is Ruth Ainley, aunt of William Ainsley

Source - Bygone Bilsdale

Further information about the Sun Inn is on the Ainsley family web site on the page written by Alyson Jackson dedicated to the memory of William and Madge Ainsley.

A tribute to William Ainsley was published in the Northern Echo on 3rd January 2013

Further information about Ralf Headley's painting is in John Millard's blog

Published: 25 2022 (Updated: 26 2022)

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