When is a Folly not a Folly?

Continuing on the line of interesting old buildings in and around Settle, The Folly is definitely a bit of a landmark in Settle Town.  It is a striking and impressive 17th century house close to the centre of Settle. Built in 1679 by Richard Preston, a wealthy lawyer, his new house, standing by the old main road into the town, formed the centrepiece of his estate in Settle and was undoubtedly built to make an impact.

Originally named as Tanner Hall, following  Richard Preston’s  death in 1695/6, his eldest daughter, Margaret who had married the Rev. Richard Ellershaw of Giggleswick, inherited The Folly, but quickly sold it to Margaret Dawson of Langcliffe, whose lands adjoined those of The Folly. Margaret Dawson’s son, William, married in 1705 and he and his wife Jane lived in The Folly until Jane’s early death in 1708. From 1708 the Dawson family leased out the house and no other family member was to live there for over two hundred and fifty years. During this period the building was subdivided and occupied by a variety of tenants. At different times it was a bakery, warehouse, furniture business, refreshment rooms, blacksmith’s shop and doctor’s surgery. Probably partly as a consequence of its apparent abandonment by the Dawson family and on account of its astonishing contrast with the buildings that grew up around it in the eighteenth century, the house became known as ‘Preston’s Folly’, a name that was eventually simplified to ‘The Folly’.

Today, restored by North Craven Building Preservation Trust, the Folly is home to the Museum of North Craven Life and features a permanent exhibition telling the story of North craven’s landscape and people; the Settle – Carlisle Railway room and a programme of temporary exhibitions.  This year a small tearoom opened inside the Folly and has become very popular with locals and visitors to Settle alike. Don;t forget to drop in when you’re in Settle.

The Folly, Victoria Street, Settle, BD24 9EY

For more information visit http://www.ncbpt.org.uk/folly/

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