Grinton Lodge MYD34980 (c) YDNPA, 2023
Although it looks a bit like a castle, the magnificent building which now houses Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel was originally built in the 19th century as the centre of a large shooting estate. Its owner was James Fenton of Doncaster who owned Grinton Manor estate. In 1816, he enclosed part of Grinton Moor high above the village for shooting grouse. A year later he built Grinton Lodge, a fair sized mansion with outhouses and stables set in gardens and with wonderful views of the surrounding moorland.
James leased the property the same year to Thomas Blackburn Hilyard who occupied it on and off with his shooting parties for seven years. By 1855, the estate had changed hands twice and belonged to John Charlesworth Dodgson Esq of Wakefield. At that time the property consisted of the Manor of Grinton with all moor and waste, moor closes and all that “messuage or dwellinghouse situate and being upon Grinton Moor near Grinton aforesaid together with the gardens, plantations, stables, coach house, kennels and other outbuildings….all that close….adjoining to the said dwellinghouse…and were taken off and enclosed from the moor called Grinton Moor upwards of thirty five years ago by one James Felton [sic] deceased”.
The new owner of the lodge was MP for Wakefield in 1857-9. When he died in 1880, his son Col. Albany H Charlesworth JP took over the estate. He had an accident hunting which left him very disabled. He had extensive alterations done to Grinton Lodge to allow him access with his wheelchair. The family used Grinton Lodge for shooting parties until 1946, attending Grinton church and supporting local activities.
The colonel’s son was Aide-de-Camp to Winston Churchill and died in a plane crash going to the Yalta Conference. Unfortunately his son, the colonel’s grandson, was killed not long afterwards in another accident. Following these tragedies, the colonel’s wife, Mrs Charlesworth, sold the estate to a shooting syndicate. They sold off Grinton Lodge with five acres of land to the Youth Hostels Association for £5,500 in 1948. Earl Peel now owns most of the rest of the moorland estate around the hostel.
Hatcher, Jane (1990) Richmondshire Architecture. Richmond: C J Hatcher