Elmet Farmhouse is a Grade II Listed 18th century building dating from c.1728. The original owner would have been a yeoman clothier, who earned his living partly from farming and partly from textiles. Woollen cloth, known as kersey, would have been hand-woven on looms in the farmhouse. Cattle and sheep would have been reared and hay and oats would have been grown in the surrounding fields.
From the 1840s to the 1860s the farm was run by William Bancroft and his sons. The farmhouse was divided and extended during the mid 19th century. The adjacent barn was built in 1861. Champion Crabtree, a farmer and carter, took over the running of the farm in the 1870s, succeeded by his sons Tatham Crabtree and later Ellis Crabtree until the Second World War. It remained a working dairy farm until around the 1980s, with pigs being kept in the barn and cattle in the meadows.
By the late 1990s the farmhouse and the barn had fallen into disrepair. In 2014 the farmhouse took on a new lease of life after being completely renovated. Great care was taken to preserve the original fabric of the building so that its architectural merits can now be appreciated again. The roof was repaired using reclaimed stone slates, for example, and the walls were re-pointed with traditional lime mortar. New hardwood frames were inserted in the stone mullion windows and other original features which came to light during the restoration, such as carved stone fireplaces and windows seats, have also been lovingly preserved.
Wherever possible existing materials were reused, adding to the building’s mellow charm. A handsome new hearth was created from a massive stone flag excavated from the dairy floor, for example, while the cottage garden at the front of the farmhouse incorporates bricks, stones and tiles salvaged during the renovation.
© Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson