The Summerhouse at Roseberry

A day finishing off the archaeological dig at Aireyholme Farm, but took the dog out this morning and snapped this photo of the folly below Roseberry.

Very little of its history is known. The oriental style of the roof is unique. There is a sketch of Roseberry dated 1788 by George Cruit that shows the building. It is believed to have been built by William Wilson, who retired to Great Ayton after making his fortune with the East India Company.

A plaque erected on the building by the National Park states that the building is a shooting box. I think it can categorically be stated that it is not a shooting box. Game shooting developed in the late 19c with the invention of the breech loading shotgun. In the 18c hunting was carried out with dogs.

So the options are that it is either a prospect house, to enhance the landscape, quite fashionable at the time. Or, a summerhouse where the ladies could rest and perhaps wait for the gentlemen to climb the summit.

The roof is clearly asymmetrical. This is because it has been modified at some time to include a flue for a fire. This could have been when a troop of four soldiers were billeted there during the Napoleonic war. The soldiers were responsible for manning a beacon on the summit of Roseberry to warn of a invasion by the French. Part of a network of beacons across the country.


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