Village spotlight: Hutton Buscel - picturesque spot for healthy living

hutton buscel village
hutton buscel village
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Behind the village of Hutton Buscel is a network of country lanes which comprise a 3-mile undulating route used by many for walking, jogging and cycling.

Nature abounds on this journey and the number of yellowhammers – a UK bird supposedly in sharp decline – is quite astounding. Hutton Buscel is probably a sensible place to take exercise for, at the last count, its population of just 320 included some 17 doctors, consultants, nurses and workers in the medical industry. Help is at hand!

Steeped in history, it is entangled with nearby West Ayton; some West Ayton addresses along the Pickering Road are actually in Hutton Buscel! The names of local characters are remembered in street names – Conyers, Candler and Farside; but possibly the biggest character of them all was Squire George Osbaldeston. Expelled from Eton, the man was trouble incarnate, a cad and a bounder, but an incredible sportsman – a crack shot, a superb cricketer, an elite huntsman, a marathon horse rider, a duellist and, of course, an MP. He rose to the position of High Sheriff of Yorkshire, but was constantly staving off debt.

Strike North up Great Moor Lane from St Matthew’s Church and you will see the remnants of a walled garden on your left which is all that remains of Osbaldeston’s dwelling in the village which ended its days in true Osbaldeston-style with a conflagration.

In 2011 the eye surgeon Piers Percival recorded a comprehensive history of the village which is online and celebrated the village’s 900th birthday! He notes that St Matthews Church was dedicated in the early 12th century. Small but beautiful, the church still operates with a full agenda to this day. The Holt retirement home used to be the vicarage and beneath the path to the North door of the church from the Holt (still to this day for the villagers and vicar; the South door is for weddings and funerals) there are said to be cellars. Intriguingly, this ‘secret’ underground path also runs from the old Osbaldeston residence to the church. The village had a Methodist Chapel at the western end but that was converted into a private dwelling some 10 years ago.

The church has a benefice choir that services five congregations linked with the village. A busy set of singers they meet requirements at Harvest, Advent, Christmas, Easter, weddings, funerals and visiting bishops.

There are countless Hutton villages in Yorkshire so the added Buscel element came from Reginald Buscel, a Norman who arrived in the village in 1111 and married Alice, the sister of the abbot of Whitby. Consequently the Bushell family (as it came to be spelled) became important to the area.

The village’s character has undergone a significant transformation since the 1920’s. Largely made up of older properties which were tenanted by agricultural labourers, cobblers, blacksmiths and dairymen, most of the populace were in the employ of Wykeham Estate. In 1923 the Estate had to meet a bill for substantial death duties so sold off most of its properties, sometimes at peppercorn levels. Now, apart from a small estate of council properties, the village is mostly privately owned (including some of the council houses).

Because it is in a conservation area, the fronts of the properties have barely altered. If people wish to extend they must do it to the (concealed) rear of their houses. Most buildings congregate around Hutton’s one main street. It’s such a tight fit that lateral extensions would be nigh on impossible.

The last shop and Post Office left the village in the 1950’s. Hutton Buscel has no pub or school. The latter closed down in 1959 and became the church hall, but 12 years ago it was restored after extensive fund-raising. It stands as a good example of converting an old school into a community asset where it is used for shows and local events. As Derwent Pre-school (and started by Lady Downe and her nanny for her own children), it has been running for half a century and won several accolades from OFSTED Inspectors (it is the property of the Dawnay Estate). Nowadays it runs a breakfast club and accepts children from outside the village. Hutton Buscel’s own primary children choose between Ayton, Wykeham and Pickering. At secondary age, the choice is between Lady Lumley’s at Pickering and Scalby.

Wykeham Estates remains as the principal landowner with its tenants managing at West End and Manor Farms. Dale Farm – which has a small caravan site – and Mount Pleasant are privately owned and diversify in order to make a living.

A Parish Council of five members (two vacancies) has done a Village Design statement and is now working on a Parish Plan. One interesting development is to seek the views of school-age children. It’s their village too!

Although quite isolated, the village’s bus service is good with the 128 Scarborough to Helmsley passing through every hour from 8.10 am. The new No 8 service runs twice daily to town via Racecourse Road and the hospital.

The village thrives as a fund-raising community: open gardens, village show, a Burns night celebration and Safari Suppers. Different households take responsibilities for different courses and the participants move from house to house as the evening progresses. It’s a novel social event and raises lots of pennies for good causes because each guest must pay for supper!

The village has an art and crafts group that builds up to an annual exhibition and a wine circle that meets five or six times a year.

All of this serves to make Hutton Buscel one of the most secluded and noise-free environments in the area. But it comes at a price!

Living in Hutton Buscel is not a cheap option. People are prepared to pay good money to live in such a peaceful location. Two houses were recently for sale on the Main Street: a five-bedroom detached was priced at £540,000 whilst a four bedroom costs £399,000. On Great Moor Lane, only slightly off the beaten track, a three-bedroom detached bungalow cost £289,000.

At the time of writing there was only holiday property for rent so, as you might imagine, when any houses become available to let they are snapped up quickly.