One of the most beautiful homes in the Dales is on the market and comes with a Calendar Girls claim to fame. Sharon Dale reports.
White Abbey is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful houses in the Yorkshire Dales and its sale is set to cause excitement among those who have admired the historic property.
In a prime position in the pretty village of Linton, near Grassington, this quintessential dream home in the country is on the open market for the first time and comes with a recent claim to fame.
It has a starring role in the Calendar Girls movie starring Helen Mirren and Julie Walters. White Abbey “played” the home of Lynda Logan, where she and 10 of her fellow Rylstone and District WI members, aged between 45 and 65, gathered to disrobe for a photoshoot. The ensuing charity calendar caused a worldwide sensation.
“They filmed the exterior of the house and there’s a scene where one of the women drinks a bottle of wine in our outhouse to summon up the courage to pose for the shoot. The interiors of the house were then recreated in a film studio in Shepperton,” says White Abbey’s owner Victoria Wright, who donated the filming fee to a blood cancer charity.
She and her husband, Peter, bought the six-bedroom house 34 years ago after enquiring whether the owners would be willing to sell. “About a year later they rang back. They bought the house the same way, as did the owners before them, so it has never been for sale on the open market until now.
“I remember my parents taking us up the dale for a holiday when I was a child and they pointed the house out to me because it was so beautiful. I thought then how wonderful it would be to live there one day, little knowing that I would.”
The 17th century former yeoman’s house, which is for sale through Carter Jonas for offers over £1.25m, regularly features on photographs and in guidebooks and is a focal point when visitors to Linton stand on the bridge to drink in the views.
Grade II listed, it was originally known as Town Head Farm and later became a rectory. There is a story that one particularly shy Georgian rector added the stepping stones in the beck at the bottom of the garden so he could escape for a walk and avoid meeting his parishioners.
At some stage during the 19th century the house was renamed Troutbeck and for a time it belonged to a manager of the Grassington Lead Mines. From 1909 to 1932, it was the home of well-known writer Halliwell Sutcliffe.
He based many of his 30 novels in Upper Wharfedale and wrote fondly about the house in his best-known work “The Striding Dales”, a series of essays that was published in 1929. Sutcliffe left his mark on the property. He changed its name from Troutbeck to the more romantic sounding “White Abbey”.
He was also a keen gardener and friend of traveller and plant collector Reginald Farrer, owner of Ingleborough Estate and squire of Clapham, near Settle.
Together with the Kettlewell novelist C J Cutliffe Hyne, Sutcliffe also established a company exporting local limestone to Kew Gardens. He used some of it to create extensive rock gardens at White Abbey and some of the original rocks and plants still survive.
The gardens and grounds are still an exceptional feature of the house. They include a walled garden to the south east, lawned gardens and an outdoor entertaining area. The grounds slope gently down to Linton Beck with a bridge leading across the beck to a children’s recreational garden. Historic features include the remains of the original village bakehouse and a huge stone trough that was probably used in the local flax industry.
Inside, the house has a central reception hall, dining room with an adjoining garden room, sitting room, family room, inner hall, cloakroom, utility room, breakfast kitchen and a walk-in pantry together with a useful range of storage cellars.
On the first floor, there is a landing, principal bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, guest bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, three additional double bedrooms – one with an en-suite shower room, a house shower room and a study/sixth bedroom.
Outside, there is extensive parking and beyond the drive there is a useful storage barn with loft above.
Victoria and Peter are selling to downsize. She says: “It has been an extremely happy family home and Linton is a great place to live and bring up children. We have a friendly village community with lovely neighbours, a well-known pub and we are within walking distance of Grassington.
“Downsizing has brought pangs of regret and the only reason we are going now is that we have found a mini version of White Abbey.”
*White Abbey is for sale through Carter Jonas for £1.25m. For details tel: 01423 523423, www.carterjonas.co.uk
*Linton has a village green, Linton Beck and a popular pub, The Fountaine Inn, The village is in walking distance of Grassington and close to good schools. Linton is eight miles from them market town of Skipton, which has trains to Bradford and Leeds.
* White Abbey featured in the film versiion of the Calendar Girls story. The movie spawned a musical, which runs at Leeds Grand Theatre from August 16 to September 1.
Tim Firth, who wrote the original screenplay, adapted it for theatre and co-created a musical version with songwriter and Take That star Gary Barlow
It received its world premiere in Leeds in November 2015 prior to a successful tour. This tour is the last and runs until April next year.