Holystone In The 17th - 18th Centuries
In the 1604 Border survey of the royal manor of Harbottle, Holystone was said to have 4 customary tenants and comprise 3 houses and a mill, 1 acre of meadow, over 10 acres of arable and 20 acres of pasture. It is not detailed in the 1618 rental.
Several of the buildings still standing in the village probably date to these centuries. The Salmon Inn is a former cross-passage house of the 17th century or early 18th century, with a large external chimney breast. Priory Farmhouse is also 17th century in date, although it may have an even older core. It has thick walls built of random rubble (squared stone for the upper courses) with irregular openings. Two square, stone-roofed pavilions at the corners of the garden were probably early 18th century additions, whilst the remains of a cottage, now used as a garage and shed in the garden of Woodbine Cottage was probably built in the early-mid 18th century.
The extent to which the Ecclesiastical infrastructure and institutions of the Northumbrian upland communities had fallen into decay by this stage is vividly illustrated by Warburton who described the condition of Holystone church in the early part of the 18th century (c.1715):
At present there is nothing to be seen of the nunnery but the rubbish of the walls overgrown with grass and the little church is sunk so deep in the ground that the tops of the doors are almost level with the surface of earth and so out of repair that the parson has only a heap of stones for a pulpit. It is preached at quarterly by the vicar. (reproduced by Hodgson 1916, 3)
Armstrong does not even depict a church or chapel at Holystone on his map of 1769, only 'ruins' to the east of the village, but a church is shown on the estate map of 1765 (PRO MPI 242; NRO 2132) and on the tithe map of 1848. In 1724 William Potts left 30 shillings, yearly, for the education of the poor children of the township.
Picture : Priory Farmhouse Holystone
Picture : Salmon Inn Holystone (now closed)