The Collins Family
In 1896 the Collins family took up residence at Grassfield House. The head of the household, Major Collins was a Royal surgeon, and met his wife, Olympie Amelie, whilst travelling to Mauritius with the Army. Their seven children were all adults by the time they moved to Grassfield, we are not entirely sure which children lived here in permanent residence, but we know that if they didn’t all live here they were here often, as their second daughter Amy was a keen photographer and took many photographs of her family with the Yorke family socializing together as they were known to be good friends.
Frank the eldest of the seven children was a headmaster at a school in Dulwich. William and James were both in the army along with Earnest Collins who would become Major E R Collins, commander of East Lancashire Regimental Depot, and later returned to Pateley Bridge to become mayor! James a solicitor in Kensington was married to Dolly, and you can see them pictured together in many of the photographs. Henry, the youngest child born in 1877, was also a solicitor in Surrey until, like his brothers, he joined the army in 1914. Louisa Amelie was the first daughter and sadly died in 1916 after they moved from Grassfield. Amy, the 2nd daughter was not found in many photographs as she was behind the lens. Her photographs are proudly displayed all around Pateley Bridge and here at Grassfield Hall. I think she would be extremely impressed to know that people valued her work over 100 years later.
Like the Hutchinson family, we felt that the Collin’s were a huge part of the history here at Grassfield, and so have their photographs proudly displayed and have even named several rooms after them.
After the Collins family moved out, the Yorke’s sold Grassfield Hall in 1925 when the Bewerley Estate was broken down for death duties. We are lucky to have found and purchased the sale brochure from when the of the Bewerley Estates were sold.
The Hutchinson Family
Grassfield house as it was known in 1810, was built by entrepreneur Teasdale Hanley Hutchinson, who, while the house was being constructed, lived across the river at Harefield Hall. The Hutchinson family leased and managed local lead mines in the area, and previously had been involved with lead mining in Alston, where one of their mines was said to be called ‘’The Grassfield Mine’. Teesdale started construction of the house in 1801 and built it to stand proud on the edge of Pateley Bridge with spectacular scenery surrounding it.
Teasdale lived in the house with his wife Elizabeth, and their first son Hanley was born at Grassfield House in 1811. Teesdale and Elizabeth lived in the house until they passed away. Elizabeth died in 1837 at the age of 61, and Teasdale lived until the age of 77. After this in 1845 the house passed to their firstborn son Hanley. The 1851 census tells us that living at the house at this time was lead merchant Hanley Hutchinson, his wife Charlotte, their two sons Teasdale aged two and Charles age 2 months, plus four servants
In 1883 after his wife had passed away, Hanley moved out of the house to Whitfield Lodge in Ripon, as he said the house was too big and lonely for him! He spent the remaining few years of his life in Ripon. It is at this time that the Grassfield Estate was sold to John Yorke of the Bewerley Estate.
In 1888 John Hawkridge Metcalfe and his wife Adeline move in as tenants.
1895 the first Pateley Bridge Agricultural Show was held on the Grassfield Estate. After this first year it was moved to its current location on what was the Bewerley Estate, now the Pateley Bridge Show ground.
From Chapel to Military base to Country Hotel, Grassfield Hall has had many lives!
In 1928 Father Hammond moved into Grassfield House. Previous, he used to pass through the town on his push bike as he cycled to Scar every Sunday after taking the train from Harrogate to say Mass for the Dale’s people. While his church, The Lady Immaculate was being built, he needed a base in the area, so he moved in and converted a room as a place to worship in Grassfield House, and he lived in a room upstairs. The new church was completed in 1934.
From 1939 until 1945 during the war, the Grassfield estate was used by the Military. The 69th Field Artillery was based at Grassfield to protect the reservoir and used the house for document storage.
In 1971 after being split into apartments, Fred and Gladys Bailey lived in the house with Gladys’s sister and husband, and it is here that you can see them at the front door as they celebrated their Golden wedding anniversary.
Grassfield House was turned into a business in 1975 when it was bought by the Machellan family, who ran it successfully as a Bed and Breakfast. Then after ill health, they sold the house and business to the Garforth family in 1988, who changed its use to a hotel Country House Hotel. It was the hub of the local community for many years. However, after a run of bad luck it finally closed its doors in 2001.
The house after being unoccupied for a while then being a little run down, passed to two different owners with plans to renovate it. However, the plans were never to succeed, and the house was repossessed by the bank in 2009. Year after year the house fell into further disrepair.
After standing empty for nine years the Hall had suffered with wet and dry rot, it needed part of the roof replacing and needed to be underpinned. All the original features had now been stripped out by looters, staircases gone and some of the upstairs floorboards were no longer in place. Most of the windows and doors were missing and boarded up. Squatters had taken up residence, and the house was now just an empty shell. The once landscaped gardens had become completely overgrown and the Hall could no longer be seen from the roadside. The derelict building no longer stood proud as it once had. That is where our story begins!