About Us & The History of Carr House Farm
Carr House Farm was built between 1530–1580 and if walls could talk it would have many tales to tell! The bread oven was unearthed in perfect condition in 1985. There was no fire place underneath; which establishes that it was built before 1580.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
We’re situated between Ampleforth Abbey (known for its prestigious school), and the grand Cistercian remains of Byland Abbey (demolished during Oliver Cromwell’s dissolution of the monasteries in the 1500s). The more modern eco-friendly Stanbrook Abbey can also be seen perched high above Wass, gracing the skyline with its presence.
Home of Award-Winning Hospitality
Guests flock here from all over the globe, not only for the area but for our award winning breakfasts and hospitality. We’ve been finalists in the ‘Best Bed and Breakfast’ category for Welcome to Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards, Visit York’s ‘Best B&B’ and finalists in the York Press Business Awards. Previously we’ve scooped a top award at Deliciously Yorkshire’s Taste Awards for ‘Best Breakfast’ and I’ve even won a Silver Award at the World Marmalade Awards and Festival for my home-made marmalade.
The property has also been named by BBC Countryfile as one of the ‘The Top Ten UK Farmstays’ and selected by The Guardian as one of ‘The best B&Bs, cottages and campsites in the UK’.
Meet the World-Famous Cuckavalda Gundogs
Carr House Farm is also home to the renowned Cuckavalda Gundogs. Jack’s Labradors and Cocker Spaniels have gained recognition for their participation in local shoots each year. During one season, they tallied an impressive 106 days at Rievaulx Shoot, overseen by the Birkett family. Rievaulx is renowned nationally for its exceptional partridge shooting and exhilarating high-flying pheasant drives.
Our Roots are Generations Deep
Both myself and Jack’s families have farmed the land around here for generations. Jack came from College Farm at Byland Abbey which is part of the Newburgh Priory Estate owned by the Wombwell Family. My family home across the road is Wass Grange, again once part of the Newburgh Estate.
My maternal grandfather’s great grandparents lived here and were flax farmers by the name of Richardson; when the valley of Shallowdale was a Quaker settlement in the late 1700s. Flax was grown in the valleys and then taken to the nearby Byland Abbey. It was washed, bleached and dyed, then brought back to Shallowdale to be woven. In the early 1900s it belonged to the Lupton side of the family when my great Uncle Herbert lived and farmed here.
A Scandalous Country Nightclub
During the 1960s, Carr House underwent a transformation, shifting from a peaceful dwelling to a countryside nightspot, known as The Saddle Club. It took on the character of a late-night drinking and gambling venue, frequented by gentlemen who arrived in the evening and departed in the early morning hours. Rumour has it that the famous model, showgirl and socialite Christine Keeler, worked here, entertaining ministers and high-ranking officials. This period coincided with the Profumo affair scandal. As Jack and myself were only youngsters at the time we can only go on hearsay but believe local tales are true.
In the late 1960s Carr House was bought by a family who had interests in South Africa’s gold mines. They maintained a beautiful garden and did cosmetic work to the buildings. This included the installation of handcrafted oak doors featuring glass bullion “bulls eyes” and the fitted a lot of the oak panelling. It was used again as a gentlemen’s country retreat. The land was grazed by Lupton livestock.
Returned to The Lupton Family
In 1977 the house and land were sold and came back into the Lupton family and I moved here. We had to do some major renovations to the house. This included fixing the drainage and putting in new floors, because when we removed the old carpets we found earth floors underneath! There were even leftover beer pump pipes from The Saddle Club days. The house lacked a damp course, and we had grass growing through the walls into the house via the skirting board. The bathroom was in pretty bad shape, with everything cracked and leaking. When we removed the bath panels, we discovered that the pipes had just been cut off, letting water flow into the walls without any proper sealing.
Today, the house stands strong, basking in the cozy heat provided by two wood-burning stoves and an Aga. The days of mold and gloom are far behind us. While it now leads a relatively peaceful existence, intriguing tales from its past still occasionally surface.
Jack and I finally got married after knowing each other for 30 years and growing up only 5 fields apart. Since 1978 I’ve run a successful bed and breakfast business at Carr House. We’ve pulled down ceilings to expose the original timber frames and re-plastered all the walls making the house a very comfortable place to stay. We’ve kept the 16th-century charm while adding all the modern conveniences that guests love.
Unearthing My Family Tree
I sit on various tourism boards, including the Leader Project Board for the NYMNP. When I was in London for a tourism meeting in the Houses of Parliament I decided to take a look in Westminster Abbey. The entry fee was a bit too much for this Yorkshire lass to spend so I asked if I could just see where my relative was buried. My uncle had told me a Lupton was buried there on instruction of Queen Victoria. It was worth a try! To make a long story short, I discovered that not only had James Lupton served as a minor Canon at Westminster for 44 years, but he was also a Canon at St. Paul’s Cathedral and now rests in the West Cloister.
On returning home I did a bit more digging into the family tree. Already knowing I was a (very distant) relative of Catherine, Princess of Wales (Kate’s grandmother was a Lupton), I found a Lupton family coat of arms and as a female I’m the last Lupton in the family line to use it (you can see it as the logo on this website). It was granted to the family by Henry VII. I also discovered I’m a direct descendant of William the Conqueror. The Lupton family can be traced back to the House of Tudor.
Meet My Father George Lupton
My dad lived to the ripe old age of 100 and he long believed in planting for future generations. Birthdays, Christmases and other celebrations were marked by the planting of trees, such as for the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II. A bridge was built by the family over the river Holbeck for the millennium.
A Little about Jack
Jack used to ride in point-to-points and notched up 49 winners. Much of his racing memorabilia is on show in the house including a large printed black board which his niece, Victoria, asked the racing board if she could have when he retired. It’s a great reminder of the glory of his racing days. Throughout the house you see other reminders too, a snaffle bit hung from a beam, a hunting horn, the caps, the badges, and a painting of Jack on a grey clearing a water jump to win the Kings Cup at Kelso.
Decades of Local Knowledge
Jack & I have both lived and worked in the local area for our whole lives. Needless to say we love to share our unique knowledge of the area with guests. If you want to know the best places to eat and drink, the must see attractions or the hidden corners and unique gems; we are the people to ask!
Since the house faces south, it’s a bit of a sun trap where figs and lemons grow happily and temperatures often hit 20+ degrees. Jack feeds the birds every day and we are rewarded with birdsong from dawn to dusk. A keen bird watching guest actually logged 32 different bird species in one day!
Visitors to the house are captivated by its rich history and the keepsakes that adorn it. But, most importantly, it’s where Jack and I live, and we’re delighted to open our home to you, extending a warm Yorkshire welcome to all our guests.