Scar House - The Building

Book  References
Author: Baird, K
Title: A Study of Vernacular Buildings in Buckden and Langstrothdale
Article  Reference Date: 1946
Journal Title: The Dalesman
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First listed 10th September 1954, Grade II
Dated 1697 for James Tennant but with possibly earlier 17 century and 18 century remains.

The front wall following and plan transformed 1876 for John William Ramsden of Buckden House. Coursed limestone rubble, graduated stone slate roof. 2 storeys, 3 bays. Quoins. A half-glazed 20 century door to right of centre in a rusticated quoined surround having pulvinated frieze, moulded cornice over a stone date plaque with " T " in raised letters and 4-petal flower I A 1698 motif. A plaque above has in raised letters "REBUILT" Mullioned windows JWR 1876 of 2, 4, and 4 lights to each floor.

Stone gutter brackets, shaped kneelers, gable copings, corniced end stacks.

Rear: 17 century recessed chamfered mullions of 3 and 5 lights to ground floor and 3 and 4 lights above; there is a large rectangular stair window centre with 20 century glazing and below it a blocked round arched single-light window.

Left return: a 20 century glazed door in chamfered quoined surround with cambered head, left. Right return: stages plinth; 2 low windows with reused or transformed 17 century surrounds.

Interior: the front door opens into a narrow passage, the left wall an inserted partition, with door into left and right rooms; a thick cross wall divides the front room from the rear entryway lobby left, central 1876 staircase, and pantry/buttery right.

Ground floor left - the primary living room has a large fireplace with chamfered voussoirs of an archway to left, now with a 4-panel door into a small storeroom with stone shelves. The fireplace has an inner arch with finely worked cyma mouldings to the voussoirs and jambs.

The front parlour, right, has an inserted partition wall with built-in cupboard, the partition creating a narrow 'toolroom' to the rear, between the parlour and rear dairy, which has a stone salting slab inscribed " IT 1694".

The house was the property of the Tennant family in the 17 century; George Fox preached there in 1652. The Inventory of James Tennant, the builder of the earliest remains surviving, is dated 1719 and refers to the primary chambers on 2 floors and garrets, perhaps in the roof. K.Baird, A Study of Vernacular Architecture in Buckden and Langstrothdale, M.A. Dissertation, University of Manchester, 1987. A. RaistricK, The Dalesman, 1946

Old Photo Gallery

Scar House & Quakers

The Society of Friends (Quakers) was founded by George Fox in the 1650s.
George Fox (pictured left) travelled through the Dales on his way to the north-west. He came from Leicestershire and had been apprenticed as a shoemaker, but in 1643 he had experienced a religious revelation which drove him to embark on a spiritual pilgrimage in search of perfection. He was in his late twenties when his journeying brought him towards Craven and it is probable that he had already heard of groups who might be inclined to hear his message in this region. Quaker tradition and Fox's own Journal which, however, he wrote more than twenty years after the events which it describes, tell of his arrival at Pendle Hill. He describes how he climbed a 'steep and high' hill and says 'the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered'.1 Fox identified the hill as Pendle and this passage has been seen as a prophetic vision of his later successes. This interpretation has recently been questioned in an article which argues that it was more likely that Fox climbed Pen-y-ghent on his way from Bradford to Sedbergh. There appear however, to be arguments against this interpretation of Fox's account and it is by no means clear, whether it was Pendle or Pen-y-ghent which he climbed.

It is agreed though, that as Fox travelled through Craven and the Dales he made contact with people who were known to be sympathetic to his teachings and it is probable that many of these were former soldiers of the Parliamentary army. 

The image to the right shows George Fox preaching to willing ears in a local tavern.
One such meeting which was of great importance for the later development of the Society of Friends in Wharfedale was with James Tennant of Scar House near Hubberholrne. Fox describes the meeting in the Journal as though it were a chance encounter but it seems very probable that James Tennant was already a man of unorthodox religious beliefs. The basis for this is that two years before his meeting with Fox, he had leased a small plot of land near his house for use as a burial ground. Tennant became one of the leading Friends in Wharfedale and his house was one of their principal meeting places. George Fox returned there to address a great meeting in 1677. After his meeting with Tennant, George Fox travelled to Sedbergh and then to Firbank Fell, near Kendal, where he addressed a great crowd as his vision had foretold. It was this period of preaching in the north-west which laid the foundations of the Quaker movement.

The Quaker beliefs threatened the privileged in a way that no other dissenting group did.  Their refusal to acknowledge the higher-class as superior to them caused widespread hatred for this evangelistic group.  Word began to spread about the Quakers being witches, blasphemers, and heretics.  The Quakers preached against the war and refused to take oaths to anyone but God, threatening the authority of the public army.  They began to interrupt church services, until laws were passed to stop them; this began the tradition of speaking after the services.  Officials persecuted the Quakers, imprisoning and torturing them, for their religious beliefs.  It was thought that they would try to over take the government.

This persecution caused some Quakers to immigrate to places such as the American colonies, but there still remained a large population of Quakers in Europe.  These people viewed the imprisonment, the torture, and the hardships as suffering that they enjoyed spiritually as their payment to God.  This persecution, immigration, and acceptance of suffering began to slow down around the 1670s, but did not completely die until around the beginning of the 18th century.  This concluded over fifty years of persecution brought on by the religious intolerance of a scared nation.  

In spite of the persecution, some advances were made by the Friends in these years. Although they were not able to build permanent meeting houses, they were able to acquire and use their own burial grounds. Probably the earliest was the garth at Scar House, which James Tennant leased in 1650. He was buried there in 1674 after his death in York Prison.

This picture is of the National Trust repairing the wall around the burial ground at Scar House.

An extract from the book: “The First Publishers of Truth” edited by Norman Penney 1709.
Yorkshire: Scarhouse

ffurthermore, Geo: ffox, at his first comeing into ye North, wch was in ye year 1652, was Directed to ye house of James Tennant, called Scarhouse, in Langstroth Dale, where he Preached ye Truth in yt family, & by ye powerfull Vertue of it, ye said James Tennant and his Wife were Reached, so as to receive ye Truth in the Love of it, where a mee[ting] was soon after setled, & is continued to this Day, bearing the name of Scarhouse Meeting. Now ye said James Tennant became a Serviceable Man to friends & truth in his Day, wch was not long, after the time of his convincement, being taken Prisoner for his Testimony against Tythes, from which he did not decline, but Patiently Endured Close Imprisonment untill Death.

Scar House, Hubberholme, Upper Wharfedale,
North Yorkshire, BD23 5JE

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