architecture, belvedere, Folly, North Yorkshire, Tower

Greygarth Tower, Dallowgill, near Kirby Malzeard, North Yorkshire

Legend has it that centuries ago local ploughboys built a tower on Greygarth Hill to mark the spot where the last wolf in the region was killed. It’s a great story (but probably a myth) and the tower that stands on the spot today commemorates Queen Victoria.

A ‘Greygarth Post’ is shown on the tithe map of 1838 so historically there may have been a standing stone, or cairn, on top of the hill. This mount was used by the surveyors working on the first edition ordnance survey map in the 1850s, and it seems likely that this post was used as the triangulation point by the surveyors, as the trig point is noted but no stone or monument is marked. It must have been a reasonably substantial structure until it ‘came to grief’ in a storm in February 1893. The following year there were plans to restore the ‘Grey Garth Pinnacle’, making it three feet taller, with a weathercock on the summit and ‘comfortable seats’ at the base. Local grandees subscribed the funds.

Its is not clear if this work was carried out as soon after there appears to have been a change of plan. Instead of raising the pinnacle, a tower was constructed to mark the 1897 diamond jubilee of the reign of Queen Victoria. This ‘Greygarth Monument’ is shown on the Ordnance Survey map in 1910, and the photograph below shows it looking close to collapse, sometime in the middle of the last century.

Mid 20th century photograph by the Harrogate photographer Bertram Unné showing the tower in ruins. Courtesy of North Yorkshire County Record Office, BU04701A.

In 1984 the derelict structure was rebuilt in a truncated form as a squat tower by Kirby Malzeard, Laverton and Dallowgill Parish Council and Harrogate Borough Council, and the short climb from the road is rewarded with a fabulous panorama. Just watch your step: the wolves may be gone but the hill is one giant rabbit warren. You could also climb the narrow ladder to the top of the tower, but as Gwyn Headley and Wim Meulenkamp pointed out in Follies, Grottoes and Garden Buildings, after the giddy ascent of all of ten feet the ‘view is similar’.

The tower today.

Dallowgill Moor was a favoured spot of the Marquess of Ripon of Studley Royal, and was much resorted to in the shooting season. Many distinguished guests, including George V (as Prince of Wales and as King) joined the shooting parties as the Marquess was famed for the quality of his sport and his hospitality. In 1923 he died on Dallowgill Moor after a day of shooting, and another monument on the moor marks the spot where he died. The stone remembers him as ‘the finest shot in England’.

Adding a much needed burst of colour to The Folly Flâneuse’s visit on a dank December day was the Crackpots Mosaic Trail. This series of plaques was introduced into the landscape in 1997 to celebrate the designation of Nidderdale as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Crackpots Mosaic panel of the monument on the walk up to Greygarth Tower.

Dallowgill is fairly remote with only a cluster of buildings nearby which includes a lovely Methodist chapel (rebuilt in 1885). The local congregation must have been small, but Methodists being hardy souls they cycled out from Ripon and the surrounding villages on high-days and holidays. In June 1894, after the annual service to celebrate the anniversary of the chapel’s completion, the party had ‘an enjoyable ramble after tea amongst the ferns and gnats’. Simple pleasures.

For the Crackpots Trail


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3 thoughts on “Greygarth Tower, Dallowgill, near Kirby Malzeard, North Yorkshire”

  1. Gand says:

    An excellent start to 2020 .
    May we wish the FF a happy and prosperous new year.

    1. Editor says:

      You may indeed. And a very Happy New Year to you too from the FF and the UC!

  2. Gand and Norma says:

    HNY to the uncouth companion too.

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