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Our History of Millington and The Ramblers’ Rest

In 1992 my sister, Angela, took over the Tea Rooms situated in the original Farm House of Town Farm Millington. The room near the new toilets comprised a property that had been converted by local villagers and served as a pottery for a while. Before that it was a cycle shop. I remember going up the back steps to what is now the property’s first floor flat to choose my first red, two wheeler bicycle. A most impressive beam runs the length of the room and this, it is said, came from a ship. There is considerable carving on it and when one thinks of the age of the building and the size of the tree trunk then I suppose it may have been growing in the seventeenth century.

There used to be a pew along the wall side which came from the Old Wesleyan Methodist Chapel situated halfway up the middle lane leading up to the Parish Church. Our family worshipped at this Chapel until it closed in the 1970’s and the Methodist worshippers joined with the Anglicans back at the Parish Church. The chapel was purchased by the Village Hall committee and is now used as such. The “new” Town Farm was built at the end of the 19th century a little further down the village street and between the two buildings stood the Primitive Methodist Chapel which was attended by our great grandparents. This is now a private dwelling.

Great grandfather was farm bailiff at Town Farm and didn’t much like the house because in his opinion it faced the wrong way. The farm had two wells at that time.

The most recent development at the Ramblers’ Rest is now situated where the Mill House was and where steps from the Turnip House led steeply up to a fine granary which ran the full length of the first floor. In the war, because of the blackout, village dances were held there and the floor was deemed to be good enough for dancing. Now there are en suite rooms where hundreds of 16 stone sacks of barley once stood after harvest and thrashing time. In those days the thrashing machine would arrive and the corn would be thrashed and bagged and the men, our father included, would carry the 16 stone bags of corn up steep steps to the granary. (There was no health and safety in those day but lots of common sense).

The Range in the new dining room came from Town Farm’s back kitchen where our mother and grandmother would stand doing the clothes washing and washing up week after week in the days before central heating and washing machines. The family often entertained groups of people especially at Methodist Sunday School Anniversaries.

From one of the bedrooms you have a picture card view of the hill where the Wolds’ Way passes. Under this window and underneath the plaster are painted the wickets where we would bowl at one another as children when it was too wet to play outside. The hill top was once the half way point in a running challenge; to run there and back in the fastest time possible, set by the soldiers who were billeted at the farm in the First World War. Come to Millington on Yorkshire Day and you will witness a similar hill race.

As you look out of the other bedroom windows down the village street you witness a scene which has hardly changed in one hundred years. Three generations of the family have all represented villagers’ interests on the parish council for this collection of houses and its surrounding fields. These stretch from the village beck to some of the highest land on the Yorkshire Wolds which can be snow bound in the depth of winter, when travel is still easy on the plain of York.

If you have time to visit the village look out for the village spring, which was probably the reason why the village is where it is. Dad used to go there to bring water to Town Farm in his childhood. The Manor House and the vicarage are at opposite ends of the village. One of the oldest cottages is behind the village telephone box. The Gait Inn is named after the Gaits which were areas of land in Millington Pastures, a little further up the valley, which were let each year to various farmers from the area for grazing their stock. College Farm has links with St John’s College Cambridge.

Don’t miss the Parish Church which dates from the 11th century except for the bell tower which has looked like this for over a hundred years. The brick porch is a late addition too but the Norman porch is very much in evidence within it. Go inside and enjoy the simple peace and view the Walkers’ Window which contains far more than you would imagine at first glance. It was paid for by one of the more recent church wardens. There are kneelers to admire, embroidered by local parishioners, one of them our mum.

Around the outside of the church visit the Lepers’ window reputedly placed in the  south wall of the chancel so that people could witness the taking of the Eucharist even if they hadn’t been able or allowed to enter the church. Find a wooden grave carved by Mr Thompson of Kilburn. On the right of the path, as you approach the church, is a sun dial with Roman numerals cut into the top of it. The gnomon has long since disappeared. On the left is the base of a cross which was brought down to the grave yard  when road widening was taking place at the top of the Balk and it was feared that it might get lost in the process. This cross used to stand at the spot where the road from Givendale to Millington  crossed the road from Pocklington to Fridaythorpe and was reputedly the place where coffin bearers would stop between Millington and Givendale Churches. On the north side of the church are our family graves going back to the early part of the 20th century.  Great Grandad moved to the village from Callis Wold, and before that his family had farmed Greenwick Farm and at Bishop Wilton since the mid eighteenth century.

If you go further afield don’t miss the earthworks in Millington pastures dating from 2000 BC and the site of a Roman Villa. On the roadside as you approach the pastures is a field once called “the penny close.”

The family is proud to have links with yeomen farmers in the North and East Ridings stretching back to the seventeenth century.  Martyn, Zoe, Angela & Jeremy are keen to do what they can to maintain a working farm at the heart of Millington through diversification and links with tourism. Enjoy this picturesque spot which generations have valued and where they have wanted to live because of the quality of life which it affords.

S. Nesom.