Book Review : Lost Houses of York and the North Riding by Edward Waterson and Peter Meadows

Lost Houses of York and the North Riding by Edward Waterson and Peter Meadows
Published by Jill Raines, ISBN 095164940X in 1990 

Buy this book here.

This book is a fascinating look at the old country and town houses which used to be common place in York. The book is split into the bulk of the houses around the county, and then towards the end there is also a description of the lost houses of York.

In a foreword to the book, written by the late Giles Worsley who was then Architectural Editor of Country Life, he notes that given how many houses have just a fleeting single reference to be remembered by, how many have been entirely lost with no trace of their existence.

The book is 72 pages long and is comprehensive, although some of the stories of the houses which have been demolished and lost are sad to see. Houses such as Rounton Grange in East Rounton, a large nineteenth century house, which was offered to the National Trust in the 1950s, but rejected as the owners couldn’t provide an endowment to help defray the costs. A similar fate came to Halnaby Hall, which also couldn’t be sold in the 1950s, but much of this property dated from the eighteenth century. Pictures in the book show a grand dining room all laid out, and then underneath the same room half-way through its demolition.

Most of the houses were lost because of the high cost of death duties, which couldn’t be afforded, especially if two generations of a family died close together, such as at Rounton Grange. Not all were lost in the 1950s and earlier, the demolition continued into recent decades, with Hutton Bonville Hall and Park House being demolished in the 1970s and Tollesby Hall in the 1980s.

This interesting book is worth a read, especially given the number of properties which no longer survive in the city of York, and there are many photographs throughout the book. The book is no longer in print, although copies are currently available for a few pounds on Amazon.