King Richard III House in Scarborough: Part II

This is the second installment of an article originally published in the Yorkshire Journal (Issue no. 4, 2015) by Jeremy Clark. He has kindly contributed his work to be republished here.

For Part I of this article, please click here.

Article Summary:

A comprehensive investigation of the history and characteristics of the house, as well as the popular belief that King Richard III stayed here during the summer of 1484.

As mentioned in Part I of this article, King Richard III House in Scarborough was purchased by a Mr E. Booth Jones in 1914. However, he sadly died in the Lusitana disaster of 1915, after which his relative Mr. Edgar Burrows took over the lease.

Burrows decided to rebuild the bay windows at the front, which were removed in the mid-1800s, when the house was repaired and modernised, and to uncover the stone walls. The replica bay windows he installed were based on an early drawing of the house by a Miss Wharton, published in the Scarborough Philosophical Society Reports of 1846-1865.


Above: Miss Wharton’s drawing of the house, dating from about 1835 – before the bay windows at the front were removed. There are steps leading up to the front door of the house and another set of steps with a banister on the sides leading to the entrance to the building on the left. The ground level is much lower compared with more recent photographs of the building, and the projecting boards and plinth indicate that the sea was in closer reach of the building during the early 1800s (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Miss Wharton also made a drawing of what has been called the King’s Bedchamber, on the second floor, in about 1808. It was then furnished with an elegant heavy legged table, a cupboard and a four poster bed.


Above: Miss Wharton’s drawing of the ‘King’s Bedchamber’ illustrating the
furniture, decorated plastered ceiling and pattern on the chimney breast. To the
right of the fireplace is the entrance door to the room, and further to the right are the steps leading to the attic door (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

This furniture was disposed of by former owners – the Tindalls – in about 1808. The table went to Troutsdale Manor House and later acquired by John Wharton. It was passed on to Mr Roberts, late curator of the Scarborough Museum, who sold it to Mr William Flounders – an antique dealer. He in turn sold it to Major Brooke of Leeds


Above: Detailed drawing of the table by Miss Wharton, illustrating its scrolling foliage front frieze, adored with what appear to be lion faces. In style and design it is likely to be Dutch and dates to about 1600-1650 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The four poster bed and cupboard went to Joseph Taylor, who presented them to the Duchess of Leeds before his death in 1810. They were reported to be in Hornby Castle in 1879. When the Hornby Castle estate was broken up in 1930, the furniture was sold off at auction.


Above: Drawing of the four poster bed by John W. Whaley, illustrating the beautiful design with its intricately carved head board (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Miss Wharton’s original drawings of the house also depict the steeply-gabled roof, which had a decorated plastered ceiling below the attic. There is also decorative plasterwork on the chimney breast.

Furthermore, the drawings completed by Miss Wharton and John W. Whaley suggest that the furniture examples in the King’s Bedchamber were genuine seventeenth century pieces. The four poster bed is typically English in style, dating to approximately 1560-1620. The cupboard is probably later, perhaps 1600-1650,  but more Dutch than English in style and design.

The table is about the same date – 1600-1650 – and again, is of a type more typically found in Holland than England. The Dutch connection with the furniture may have something to do with the Cockerill and Tindall families being shipbuilders in the seventeenth century and possibly trading with the Netherlands. It also seems likely that the furniture was installed in the house when it was owned by the Cockerills in the seventeenth century.


Above: This is the earliest plan of Scarborough – drawn in 1538 for Henry VIII as part of a military survey of the coast. It clearly shows the town wall with two gates and the harbour beneath the castle on the headland. This plan was drawn at the time the original house was standing, where Richard is reputed to have stayed in 1484. There is a tall building illustrated near the harbour and in design and style it looks remarkably like the King Richard III house (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

When Mr. Burrows began restoring the interior in 1915, he discovered blocked-up old stone doorways on one side of the building, and on the other side, early windows (also filled in), showing that it was once part of a much larger, detached house. The earliest detailed illustration of this is in John Setterington’s pictorial engraving of Scarborough dated 1735 (see below).


Above: Setterington’s engraving (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Here the building features a two storey hall and extended west-wing. These extensions, shown on this engraving, do not remain today, but the accurate portrayal of St. Mary’s Church on the same image suggest that King Richard III house was fairly represented. Between 1780 and 1800 the adjoining two storey hall and the rear west-wing of the building were demolished, leaving, in part, the original fifteenth century house which remains today, with the surrounding area redeveloped. To the east side a lower small building was attached and to the west a larger building was constructed.

Today the King Richard III house is a Grade I listed building.

To be continued…


For a full list of acknowledgements, and to see the article in its original format, please visit the Yorkshire Journal (Issue 4, 2015). All copyright retained by the author.

Many thanks to Jeremy for sharing this article! Look out for part 3, coming soon…

King Richard III House in Scarborough: Part I

This article was originally published in the Yorkshire Journal (Issue no. 4, 2015) by Jeremy Clark. He has kindly contributed his work to be republished here.

Article Summary:

A comprehensive investigation of the history and characteristics of the house, as well as the popular belief that King Richard III stayed here during the summer of 1484.


Above: Richard III House in 1835 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Nowadays visitors to Scarborough walking along the seafront opposite the harbour will undoubtedly come across an unusual looking lopsided house, sandwiched between other buildings, but clearly much older. This is the King Richard III House, now a restaurant. It is so called because it is believed that King Richard III stayed here in 1484,when he was in Scarborough on naval business.


Above: Richard III House today (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

For fifty years King Richard III House was a museum with an antique shop next door. The building was bought in 1914 by E. Booth Jones, a Manchester antique dealer. His relative Edgar H. Burrows came from Birmingham to be manager. In fact, during the First World War on December 16th, 1914, German warships fired hundreds of shells into the town of Scarborough. Many buildings were destroyed but, fortunately, King Richard III House escaped the attack, which became known as ‘The Bombardment’.


Above: Part of a 1735 engraving of Scarborough by John Setterington. Notice the two ships on the sands reaching towards King Richard III house. The yards were still confined within the harbour piers, which provided protection from the ocean (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The Tindall family have a long history as shipbuilders in Scarborough from the seventeenth century. When James Tindall died in 1748, the Tindall yard passed to his son John. John Tindall the elder (1722-1773) married Jane Dowker of the Salton gentry family in 1745.

They bought King Richard III house from the Cockerill family, who were also shipbuilders in the seventeenth century and owned other property in Sandside. Their ten children were born there, and when Robert Tindall was born in 1764, there were ten gallons of gin at the bed head for visitors. The house became the residence of Robert Tindall (1764-1828), then it was used has the Tindall’s office and stores, plans show the stems of ships being built on the sands opposite and reaching towards his house.


Above: The Tindall shipyard showing one of the last vessels, the barque “Thanes”, on the stocks. From 1755 to 1807, the Tindall yard produced the largest number of ships built in Scarborough. Shipbuilding at Scarborough ended in 1863 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The poor documentation of families and owners from the Middle Ages onwards has made it impossible to compile a detailed and accurate history of families connected with the building. Nonetheless, in about 1801 the Tindalls moved and the building was occupied by William Purcell, a baker who made and sold ship biscuits or bread for every sailing tide. It next became an engineering shop owned by Thomas Varley. Some of the plaster ceiling was pulled down for shafting and machinery. It is also believed that the building was rented to a jet manufacturer.

In 1830 Mary Forrest is said to have lived in King Richard III house, until she died in 1850. In about 1852 the bay windows were removed and the stone walls were plastered over to modernise the house. Subsequently the building became a greengrocers shop and. until 1905, was occupied by varied tradesmen – mainly fruiters and greengrocers. However, in 1890 it was occupied by Lewis Plummer – a coble owner and trawl net maker.


Above: This is probably the oldest photo of King Richard III house, then occupied by Lewis Plummer (a coble owner and trawl net maker) in 1890. To the right, with a long barber’s pole, is a tobacco shop. The building to the left is the Ye Old Buoy Inn, which has steps and railings leading to a landing and the entrance door. In 1890 C. Horseman was the proprietor of the inn (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The Seaman’s Mission Institute acquired King Richard III House in about 1908. The building was used to provide recreational facilities for boys under 16 who were considered too young to attend the main Institute. In about 1912 the mission allowed visitors to be shown around the house by the caretaker for an admission fee of 2d. The junior Institute closed sometime at the beginning of 1914, when Mr. E. Booth Jones bought the property and opened it to the public as a museum with his relative Mr Edgar H. Burrows as manager.


Above: This photograph was taken in 1892 when the proprietor was a Mr. John Wray. The steps and railing leading up to the inn have been removed and the ground levelled. It has a flat front with a sign running over the top of the ground floor window and door which reads “LATE RESIDENCE OF RICHARCH III. MAY 22nd 1484″. A table can be seen outside under the window displaying groceries and provisions with a woman sitting on a seat.

To the right is a Tobacco & Cigars Stores with a long barber’s pole. The sign along the top of the window reads “Gents Cutting & Shaving Room”. In the doorway the owner can be seen standing on the left and a fisherman on the right. To the left is the Ye Old Buoy Inn, of which C. Horseman continued to be the proprietor in 1892 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

The three storey stone building, with an attic, overlooking the harbour, dates in part to the fifteenth century. It was extended by adjoining a two storey hall on the east side and to the north with a rear range in about 1600. The original fifteenth century building then became the west wing to the much larger stone-built house. The interior would have also been refurbished at this time. The building was considerably altered in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


Above: This was taken a few years after the previous photo. It has a flat front with the same sign running over the top of the ground floor window and door as in the above photo. Ye Old Buoy Inn to the left remains the same. To the right the long barber’s pole has been removed, although the shop remains a tobacconist, having changed hands – the new proprietor was Joseph Sinfield in 1901. (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)

Below: This photograph shows the house when it was taken over by the Seaman’s Mission Institute, and was taken in 1908, probably around the time the institute first opened. In front of the building is a group of junior boys. The flat front and sign running along to top of the ground floor window and door are the same as in the older photos. To the right is Cammis Fish and Chips shop, run by Benjamin Sanderson from 1905-1909 (via Yorkshire Journal, Issue 4, 2015)


Sadly the then owner Mr. E. Booth Jones was drowned on the Lusitania on May 7th 1915. The business and property from the estate was then bought by his relative and manager Mr. Edgar H. Burrows.

To be continued…


For a full list of acknowledgements, and to see the article in its original format, please visit the Yorkshire Journal (Issue 4, 2015). All copyright retained by the author.

Many thanks to Jeremy for sharing this article! Look out for part 2, coming soon…

Before The North Bay Bathing Pool: The Northstead Estate

When the North Bay Bathing Pool opened in the summer of 1938, Scarborough’s North Bay was rapidly becoming a haven for holidaymakers.

Above: The North Bay Pool was also known as Scarborough Children’s Lake (source)

Across the road was the relatively new Peasholm Park, initially developed in 1912. Around the corner was a miniature railway, water chute and open air theatre, all part of the new Northstead Manor Gardens, or Pleasure Park, as it was then otherwise known.


Above: The early days of Northstead Manor Gardens (from the author’s collection)

However, only a few decades earlier, this patch of land had looked very different indeed, nor was it even ‘officially’ part of Scarborough. Part of it was purchased by the Scarborough Corporation in 1911 for the development of Peasholm Park, and the remainder of the estate was bought by the same organisation in 1921. Prior to these transactions, Scarborough legally ‘ended’ at Peasholm Beck.

Above: Bridge over Peasholm Beck, now part of Peasholm Park (source)

There were no adventure playgrounds or water slides here – the land was used for more practical matters before the twentieth century arrived. Piggeries, allotments, farming – thick boggy mud and hard work. All of this seems an antithesis for what was to follow.


Above: 1913 Northstead, in blue, before it became part of Scarborough, in pink (source)

The area in which the North Bay Bathing Pool later stood was known as Rawling’s Field. Located next to Tucker’s Field (which later became Peasholm Park), the site belonged to a Mr Rawling. A reader kindly contacted Stories From Scarborough to clarify this further:

This was a piece of land owned by my great grandfather’s brother – George Blackett Rawling (1853-1916) – who owned and managed the bathing machines on the North Bay in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  He sold the land to the then Scarborough Corporation for a few shillings (I understand).

Many thanks to Phil for getting in touch with this information, and also for sending an old newspaper article outlining the origins of the pool.

Rawling’s Field and Tucker’s Field once formed part of the sprawling Northstead Estate.

Above: Tucker’s Field, shortly before being developed into Peasholm Park began (source)

The origins of the estate are somewhat murky – some sources suggest that the area was originally named Hatterboard; the Northstead moniker emerging much later. Local friars gained permission to build a priory in the area in 1245, and the land was bestowed upon a series of noblemen before being purchased by King Richard III in the fifteenth century.King Richard reputedly favoured Scarborough and was the last known monarch to stay in the town’s castle.

Above: The earliest known portrait of Richard III (source)

At the centre of the Northstead estate stood a manor house, although few accounts describe it in any great detail:

At the beginning of Elizabeth’s reign ‘the Northstead’ had a ‘parliour,’ an old chamber reached by wooden stairs, and ‘a lowe house under it’ unfit for habitation; Sir Richard Cholmley’s shepherd dwelt in it until it fell down. Adjoining were an old decayed barn and the walls of other houses, which shortly afterwards fell, and an old chapel. Sir Richard Cholmley, lessee of Edward VI, used the timber of these decayed buildings to build ‘an hall house, adjoining it to the said parliour.’


A survey in 1650 did not record a manor house, with earlier reports suggesting that it may have fallen into disrepair. However, in spite of the lack of historical records, the construction of Peasholm Park in 1911 did reveal the remains of medieval buildings of a domestic nature, although little conclusive information could be deducted about their purpose or significance. These ruins were found in the centre of today’s Peasholm Lake.

Above: The lake at Peasholm Park (source)

Although the manor house disappeared long ago, the accompanying position – Stewardship of the Manor (of Northstead) remains an official one, bestowed upon MPs to relieve them of their duties.

Above: A plaque in Peasholm Park acknowledges the stewardship (source)

Northstead has indeed witnessed many transformations; from its early days as a medieval estate to its later manifestations as a magnet for seaside holidaymakers. Peasholm Park in particular is a lasting legacy of the latter, although its early neighbours – the North Bay Bathing Pool and the attractions located in and around the Northstead Manor Gardens, have endured mixed fortunes.


Above: The North Bay Bathing Pool at night (source)

The opening of the North Bay Bathing Pool in 1938, for instance,  was reputedly a grand affair – with a band and underwater lighting. Likewise its transformation into Waterscene in 1984, featured a visit from holiday camp legend Fred Pontin. The succession of glitzy rebrandings was followed by closure in 2007. As the site fell into disrepair, and the bright blue slides faded, a return to the boggy fields of old was no longer so unlikely. However, the birth of the Military Adventure Park continued the evolution of the area, and new investment (including the redevelopment of the old outdoor theatre, and the updating carried out by the North Bay Railway company) is preserving what was once little more than a muddy field for generations of holidaymakers to come.

It has been difficult to verify some of the information in this post – if you know anything more about Northstead’s history, or have any thoughts or corrections, please comment below.


English Heritage

British History Online


Scarborough Book of Days

The National Archives