: Nothing Ventured.....
can you live in a place for over forty years yet know
next to nothing about one of the most imposing buildings
in the vacinity, one that I have passed,
literally, hundreds of times?
building in question is Brettargh Holt. For the
avoidance of doubt, it is the one in Cumbria. You
might think it would be a unique name but there is one
near Liverpool and another near Hereford. It seems
more than likely that the Cumbrian and Lancastrian ones
have a link from the distant past.
Holt, Cumbria, is a huge Victorian Building, not unlike
Underley Hall that we visited on BB1234. Indeed
it was that visit coupled with learning that the Holt was
now on the market that triggered today’s outing.
hotelier James being my only companion (there is a rival
outing tomorrow!), my cover story
was that I was a Venture Capitalist considering backing
James on its potential purchase. To give this
credibility, I had printed off the sales
was a slight potential problem, I soon discovered, in
that James had already visited the place twice in a
somewhat different capacity!
we had to get there and then couple it with something
else to make a worthwhile outing. A plan was hatched.
We would walk all the way from Natland to Arnside
then catch the bus back.
didn't take long to cross the River Kent, pass by the
Strickland Arms and into the grounds of Brettargh
Holt. I had been expecting some sort of security-
hopefully not like the loose police dogs seen at Underley
Hall. In fact there was nothing. No-one to be
seen at the premises.
the grounds of Brettargh Holt
had heard that Brettargh Holt used to be
a place where young ladies went discretely to bear unwanted
children. Local rumour has it that a well known
pop star had been a visitor after a not unusual sort
of secret love with a welsh warbler How true that is, I haven’t
a clue. I now know it to be true that it was a maternity home
for unmarried mothers, operated by the Sisters of the
Sacred Heart from 1944 to 1968.
very recently, i.e. this summer, the Holt was run by
the Salesian Sisters of St John Bosco as a pastoral
and retreat centre for children. Costs presumably
overtook them so it is now for sale, competing, no
doubt, for the same type
of buyer as Underley Hall.
to find more about its history was something of a challenge.
I found a 1230 reference to a Sir Hugh de Bretargh,
Knight, from Haverbreaks near Milnthorpe. He seems
to have gone south to the Liverpool area some twenty
years later, following the birth of his daughter.
branch of the family presumably remained and did
well for themselves as memorials to Brettargh Yeates
are in the Kendal Parish records, according to the Westmorland
Historic Texts Project.
The 34 year old George
Henry Brettargh Yeates of Brettargh Holt, Milnthorpe,
is recorded as dying in 1875 which is about the time
that the present building was erected.
must have had very deep pockets.
that is as much as I can tell you!
Tell them I came and no one answered
my eyes, whoever buys this building has a challenge
on their hands to transform it into a profitable venture.
Once again, deep pockets will be needed, perhaps
many of them.
that is something about which I need not worry. Nothing
to be gained here. Not for me, anyway.
Kent meandering through Levens Park
Milnthorpe for lunch (we were travelling light) we passed
through Levens Park, seeing deer and Bagot goats.
destination: Heversham Head, a fine viewpoint over
Head Millennium plinth
down to the school fields, we noticed that the pavilion
had been burned out and despaired at what sort of idiots
would have done such a thing.
took the old railway track past Heversham to the A6
then down over the fields to the back of the new Booths
Today was opening day.
We had a look round and were impressed
with the quality on display (a feeling aided by a free
drop of wine, some very nice cheese samples and the
cheerful staff, some of whom James recognised
would have liked this walk as we stopped at the Cross
Keys for a midday pint and snack. Once the watering
hole of the King of Saxony, the Czarevitch of Russia
and the widow of William IV, the landlord
is seriously missing a trick. Rather than trying
to entice Booths shoppers to walk a few yards to eat
a decent meal there (the supermarket has no café), he
just moaned about it and produced for us a rather uninspiring
lunch. Still, the beer was fine and we had a bit
of a chat with an old guy at the bar.
we passed through Dallam Towers grounds where the number
of pheasant to be seen caused James' trigger finger
to itch severely.
of deer but pheasants hiding
The path through the woods seemed
longer than I remembered but we at last reached Fairy
Steps- that lovely crack in the limestone cliff that
little children find an exciting rock climb and those
of more generous proportions, a tight squeeze.
through the woods we emerged near a farm where there
was a large pile of something blue coloured. What
is it and what it is it used?
had never previously noticed the little
pig guarding the gate to Hazleslack Tower.
There is little more
to report except that we arrived at the Albion at Arnside
with quite a lot of time to spare. Once more,
a feature that Tony would have enjoyed.
our surprise, the old chap propping up the Cross Keys
bar was now doing the same thing here. He wondered
what had taken us so long but gave us some respect when
we told him the distance and route we had travelled.
turned out that he knew all the folk that I used to
drink with there in 1970 before I was barred!
estuary at Arnside
up the River Kent
out the logic of the timetable for the return was a
bit of a challenge until we realised that the
bus performed an anti-clockwise circuit of the village.
Also, on its outward journey from Kendal,
it was a school bus and therefore not on the printed
schedule. However, after dropping them all off, it once again
became public transport. Or, given the scarcity
of passengers, a large private taxi with the amenable
driver more than willing to drop us off at our lane
a capital day but, in financial terms, nothing was ventured
and nothing was lost. No hotel purchases today. I wonder which premises
we will examine next?
14th November 2012
(Memory Map / OS)
climbed in feet:
Map / OS)
Holt, Levens Park, Heversham Head, Booths,
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