I was born and brought up in Hull, where my father worked as a stone mason for the council. After leaving Newland High School, I worked for two years as an unqualified teacher at three schools in the city (two of which have since been demolished!), before studying for a Teaching Certificate at Bulmershe College, Reading. I have lived and worked in various parts of the country, moving from Knaresborough to Market Weighton in 1998 to live with my partner, Tom. In 2017, I enrolled on a distance learning course with the University of Leicester, graduating with a Post Graduate Diploma in The Country House in History in July 2019. For relaxation I ring handbells with a local team, often adapting music for the team to play and belong to the White Rose History Group, for whom I gave my first country house talk last year
Yorkshire as a whole, and the East Riding in particular, is lucky in the number of country houses having survived over the centuries. Some have been in existence since the time of Elizabeth I, with a number still owned by the families who built them, though often now opened up to paying visitors in order to meet the ever increasing costs of the upkeep of such properties.
During wartime many country houses became schools, hospitals or training camps and, in September 1779, one house overlooking Flamborough Bay even had sight of a ferocious sea battle. From ghostly tales, links with a town in Massachusetts and ownership by Royalists, Parliamentarians, railway and shipping entrepreneurs to Channel 4’s “Restoration Nightmare” and Radio 1’s “Big Weekend”, these buildings have many stories to tell.
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