A guided walking tour of Pannal
26th September 2021
St Robert's Church, Pannal
Society members assembled in glorious sunshine for a guided walk around Pannal. Our luck with the weather continues, as our York Gate Gardens visit was a similarly good day. Our group of 15 included our guide Anne (former Chair of HCS, among her many roles), one founder member of the Society, one of our newest members (who cycled from Harrogate to join us) and an honorary 4 legged member.
Starting in the graveyard of historic St Robert’s [of Knaresborough] Church, parts of which dated from the 13th century, we were introduced to some of the oldest, long gone, residents and saw the coffin stones installed to deter body snatchers. We progressed up Church Lane noting the few surviving older houses engulfed by housing development from the 1960s onwards. In the case of Rosehurst (built in 1833) the house was demolished and the gardens developed as the housing area know as “Rosedale”. Fortunately Anne secured Pannal’s first ever Tree Preservation Order n 1969, saving one of its finest trees.
Other points of interest were the Parochial Hall (1887) strangely distant from the Church, the quarry (which closed in 1927), the many former shops (now private homes) such as the one on Pannal Bridge. One of our group recalled buying sherbet some decades ago from a shop which stood on what is now grass verge by the church car park. This was just one of what were once 13 shops in the village.
Set back from the main road is the remains of the Pannal Corn Mill (1765, though there had been a mill there since the 14th century). It was a working mill until 1947, and the mill wheel can still be seen, as well as a number of mill stones (now acting as garden ornaments). The mill pond survives, owned by the adjoining houses and managed through their Pannal Mill Dam Association.
After over an hour we had only scratched the surface of the village’s long history. The settlement is much older than Harrogate, with records of a market there in 1305. Much more can be learned about both Pannal and Burn Bridge from Anne’s latest book (see photo left) which is available from Pannal Post Office.
A report by Angela Fahy