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Datestones, Sun dials etc.
a look around Kirkby Malham

Carved dates on door heads are a common feature on buildings in Dales villages and Kirkby Malham is no exception, with various buildings in the village displaying dates and sometimes initials. These doorhead dates are particularly common in the 17th Century buildings in the Dales. The obvious conclusion to draw is that the date indicates when the structure was built, but this may not necessarily be the case. There was a period of prosperity and rebuilding of the earlier cruck built structures in the area during the 16th and 17th centuries. Datestones may be an indication of rebuilding or enlarging a building or may indicate a change of ownership, and dates with more than one set of initials, such as that on the vicarage, may possibly commemorate a marriage.

This datestone shows just a date 1642 and has been re-used on Others Barn at the foot of Cockthorns Lane. This barn is late 19th century, dating from some time after the survey for the OS 25 inch scale map in 1893, and was built at the top of what the 1850s OS map shows as Horder Brow.
The Church Hall was built at the end of the 19th Century with the typical steep roof and red sandstone detailing of a Walter Morrison estate building. Like many other projects in the area, he was a major benefactor of the hall. It occupies the site of some old cottages and possibly that of Kirkby Priory which was painted by Girtin in 1802.
Situated on the southern gable of Hannah's Cottage or No.1 Main Street, this sun dial bears the initials JW, that of John Walker, a previous owner of the house. The dial plate is otherwise very similar to the one on the "Vic" and is probably from the same maker, so it probably dates from around 1840 too.
The Victoria Hotel was built by George Serjeantson of Hanlith Hall in 1840, to replace an earlier inn called The Sun. He not only had his initials GS 1840 engraved over the door, but incorporated a dated sundial with a fine gnomon. See the page about the Victoria Hotel to find out more about this sun dial, which was made locally.
Another doorway with an embelished date 1738 can be seen at No. 5 Main Street, now known as County House. This house has also been called Constable Cottage and both names refer to the fact that it was once the local police house, Sergeant Redfearn, the first local policeman, lived there in the latter part of the 19th century.

Marked as the Old Hall on the early OS maps and also known as Church End House, The Vicarage was originally built by the King family who lived at Skellands for many years. In the early 19th Century it was used as 3 cottages and was completely restored by Walter Morrison in 1866, as the village had no vicarage at the time. The original datestone is now barely legible, but reads:

Clock Cottage is situated on Cow Close Lane on the road to Settle and this now unused doorway has massive lintel. The doorway is complete and is nicely chamfered with a simple 1669 date carved into it.
Situated on Green Gate on the road to Hanlith, Yeomans Cottage again carries a simple datesone 1637 on a similar chamfered doorway. Previously called Glen Cottage, it was renamed after the family who lived there in the late 19th century.
Also on Green Gate is Shutts Barn, recently converted into a cottage now renamed Bull Barn, and the doorhead is marked C 1667 K the initials possibly belong to one of the King family.
Believed to be the initials of William Wetherall, this datestone can be found on Tarka Barn, situated on the road to Malham.
image not found
The church porch includes a sundial. Although the church tower housed a clock in the 18th Century, it probably wasn't all that reliable and the sun dial would provide a means of setting it.
Also to be found in the churchyard are the village stocks, originally to be found just over the bridge as you entered the village from Scosthrop. They are marked with the inscription IR 1673. The stocks remained in use as a punishment in England until 1872, so these were probably in use for around 100 years, but we don't know who sat in them.
Vicarage extension
The vicarage was restored in 1866, but was later extended. When the old Kirkby Malham Grammar School was demolished in 1874, a new East wing was added to the vicarage and this date can be seen from the churchyard, high on the East facing wall. It appears to be a terracotta plaque similar to that seen on the chimney at The Buck in Malham, also built by Walter Morrison.

Supposed preaching cross

Supposed preaching cross

In the churchyard can be found what is supposed to have been a preaching cross, its origins are really unknown, and whilst it may be orignal to the site, it could have been brought from elsewhere.
Whilst the base may be of considerable age, it could be an old millstone, the chamfered, square shaft appears to be of the late 17th Century. This column appears to have been the mount for something else, possibly a sundial, and leaded fixing points can be observed on the top of the column. The column was originally inscribed around the top of all four sides, although today this is very weathered and the only inscription to be easily deciphered is HA on the west face. An old photograph of the column shows the date 1686 inscribed on the south facing side, but this is now much more eroded and hard to decipher except for the four deep punch marks indicating the centres of the original numerals.

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