Village History

Village History


The Village

The village of Snape stands three miles south of Bedale and three miles west of the A1. A community of some 350 souls, it is located around the long and narrow village green and is evenly split by Snape Beck. This pretty and well kept village is best approached from the west along the avenue of Lime trees which lead to Snape Castle.

Snape Castle

The Castle is privately occupied and is not accessible to the public but its old domestic chapel is now a 'Chapel of Ease' where divine Service is held on alternate Sundays ( 2nd and 4th). Public access is allowed to the chapel which is signposted from the road,look for the "Chapel Open" sign and follow the path.


Snape's historical associations include the site of a Roman Villa; Snape Castle the residence of Catherine Parr prior to her marriage to Henry VIII; involvement in the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 but not in the Rising of the North in 1569.

In more recent times Snape developed as a centre for the wool combing trade and the population rose to 689 in the year 1823. This cottage industry fell to industrialisation, and the establishment of the woollen mills of the West Riding resulted in a marked reduction of the village population.


The Village Institute was erected in 1885 by Miss Edith Milbank in memory of her father M.V. Vane and her grandfather Mark Milbank. It originally consisted of a reading room and a lecture hall but was extended in 1905 by W.C.Gray of Thorp Perrow. In the wall by the west entrance is set a boundary stone, which stood until, recently on the far side of Kings Kell on the Bedale road. It is inscribed 'Heare Endeth Snape Hyrode 1755' ; it marked the limit of the township's responsibility for the upkeep of the road.

The war memorial on the outside of the west end of the Institute is made from stone salvaged from the bomb damaged Palace of Westminster during WW2 . It was erected and presented to the village in memory of those who Fell in the both World Wars by Colonel, Sir Leonard Ropner of Thorp Perrow in 1948.

Milbank Monument

At the top of the village is a Monument in the form of a cross erected by grateful friends in memory of Lady Augusta Milbank of Thorp Perrow, who died in 1874.

Castle Arms Inn

Not quite so old, dating from the 18th century, and still offering access to the public is the Castle Arms Inn, the only survivor of the three earlier village inns. It is probably early to middle eighteenth century and is a grade 2 listed building. Evidence from the exterior shows it to be of two quite separate periods. Inside, beams run from end to end, and from front to back respectively. The front door opens into a small vestibule directly facing the side of the chimney. The Inn was at one time a Farm and Buildings ~ a cowbyre, foldyard, and piggery now converted into a bedrooms stand behind. The covered Foldyard, possibly from the late eighteenth century, was an important agricultural improvement, which enabled the wintering of more cattle than previously. Pigs were an important item in village economy and most villagers would have kept one. The feeding chute, through which skimmed milk, the residue of butter making, was fed to the pigs, is still visible.

To the right of the pub stands an earlier Cruck Framed Cottage, one of 3 in the village. The central pair of matching timbers take the weight of the roof and stand on large stones (stylebates) visible from the outside, to keep the feet of the crucks dry. The cottage would once have been thatched, possibly with reeds from Snape Mires.

Snape Community School

The School (formerly Snape Endowed School), for which there is a log book dating from 1880, is believed to have been both a schoolroom and living accommodation for the Headmaster and family. The number of children on the roll rose, at times, to nearly one hundred. The school is now Federated with one headteacher with Thornton Watlass C of E Primary School