Fabulous Tudor house for sale in the Yorkshire Dales comes with a remarkable rags to riches story that beats Dick Whittington

Most of us are familiar with the story of Dick Whittington, the impoverished Gloucestershire lad who walked to London in a bid to find the streets paved with gold. They turned out to be non-existent but Dick is said to have found his fortune thanks to a cat that was a champion rat catcher.

He was richly rewarded for ridding ships of vermin and became thrice Lord Mayor of London in the early 1400s.

Further investigations have cast serious doubt on the veracity of this story, pointing out that Dick was, in fact, born into a wealthy titled family and there was no evidence of a cat, though he was undoubtedly a great businessman with a philanthropic nature and sense of duty.

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Whatever the truth it makes for darn good pantomime and it has served as inspiration for legions who head off to seek their fortune in the capital.

The magnificent Tudor house that is High HallThe magnificent Tudor house that is High Hall
The magnificent Tudor house that is High Hall

Perhaps more deserving of national recognition, thanks to a true rags to riches trajectory, is Yorkshireman William Craven, born in 1548 into a poor family in the village of Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Craven’s rented cottage was opposite the “big house”, High Hall, and while William never dreamt of owning such a prestigious and beautiful property, that is exactly what happened.

High Hall, a sensitively renovated, Grade II star listed gem built around 1535, is now for sale and carries with it William’s remarkable story which began with his off the scale IQ.

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This was spotted by the Rector of nearby Burnsall who found him an apprenticeship with a London merchant.

The kitchen with dining areaThe kitchen with dining area
The kitchen with dining area

William became co-owner of the business and rose through the ranks of the Merchant Taylors' Guild, invested in land and made his fortune, estimated at eight billion today. He was knighted by King James 1st in 1603 and became Lord Mayor of London in 1610.

William bought the Tudor High Hall, built in the 1530s, for members of his family in Appletreewick and never forgot his roots.

He also invested in building the road bridges at Barden and Burnsall and built and funded the construction of Burnsall's grammar school, now a primary school.

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High Hall’s history and its sublime location in Appletreewick, a pretty village in easy reach of Skipton, are what captured the interest of businessman Ken Yeadon when he went to view it.

One of the characterful reception roomsOne of the characterful reception rooms
One of the characterful reception rooms

“It has a lot of original features, including oak panelling, plasterwork, the Craven family crest and a beehive oven. It also has a lovely feel, like it’s wrapping its arms around you and it functions really well as a family home,” says Ken.

The then owner was passionate about the authenticity of Tudor buildings and he had done a fine restoration in parts, including on the leaded light windows.

As there were other interested buyers Ken had to act fast before his next stop, which was a flight to work in China.

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He called his wife, who had just had a baby and couldn’t travel to see the property, and told her he had “found the one”.

One of the bedroomsOne of the bedrooms
One of the bedrooms

“She just said: ‘buy it’ and I did,” says Ken. “When I looked into the history it was fascinating. William Craven was the Bill Gates of his day.”

He also checked the property’s feng shui credentials with a colleague and it ticked all the right boxes.

The Yeadons got the keys in 1998 and spent two years renovating the house before making it their home. Another upgrade followed in 2018 when ensuites and other modern amenities were added.

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After their children flew the nest, the couple downsized and turned High Hall into a successful holiday let and have now decided to put the much-loved property on the market.

High Hall is a Grade II* home packed with period features and it sits in landscaped gardens with a range of outbuildings and garaging. The house is on 0.76 of an acre with additional grazing land of 3.6 acres available by separate negotiation.

On the ground floor is The Great Hall, which extends over two floors with a screened passage and minstrels gallery. There is also a sitting room, a cloakroom, reception space and a dining room with a stunning stone fireplace.

The kitchen has Smallbone cabinetry plus Miele and Sub Zero appliances. The utility room, plant room and store are in the basement.

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On the first floor are a pair of double bedrooms, a dressing room and ensuite. The second floor is home to the Earl of Craven’s withdrawing room, which is a stunning reception room.

There are also three further double bedrooms, an ensuite and a house bathroom. The upper floor has two double bedrooms with ensuites and there is a large attic. (Sign up for our free Yorkshire Post newsletters now)

Outside are beautiful gardens, a folly, carp pond, garaging, a gym/studio, stores and parking. Mains electricity, water and drainage are installed. Heating is from an oil-fired boiler.

The property is on the market for £2.295m with Dacre, Son & Hartley.

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Appletreewick has two pubs and nearby Burnsall has a church, chapel and primary school. Skipton is eight miles away and its grammar schools are in the catchment area. Nearby Grassington has many amenities.

To conclude, a quote from the 1929 book The Striding Dales by Halliwell Sutcliffe, might be appropriate: “Nowhere in all the Dale, perhaps, will you understand so completely as here at High Hall, the meaning of England her strength.”​​​​​