Lunch at the Bull

Sunday for a family lunch to the Bull at Broughton.

This was not the best day for admiring the glories of North Yorkshire, past Wharfedale, up over the one-time “Long Causeway”, round Skipton, all the way along the A59 to Broughton. Wet mistiness clouded the higher hills, as the ewes munched, and the lambs lay around and wondered.

the-bull-carouselThe pub itself was a delight: that promotional image on a far better day. The general effect is stone: walls and floors. Then there’s an extended version of the usual Sunday pub lunch, and — in my case — roast beef to die for (that cow must have been a singularly contented beast). All washed down with a decent house red.


And four beers on draught — none had travelled too far. I went, in order, for the Dark Horse (before) and the 1709 (after: the significance is the date claimed for the original pub). One way or another, both these beers can claim to be very local, and not just in flavour — Hetton is as isolated as well-trimmed gets, over 500 feet up the dale, half-way to Grassington, with the Angel Inn its star attraction.  The “W.R.” is a memorial that once the historic West Riding of Yorkshire extended this far. Perhaps we should pause for a moment’s meditation about how the perquisites of bourgeois civilisation have penetrated what were, until the fairly recent past, benighted and bucolic wildernesses. [Irony alert!]


Back of the Bull’s car-park the land drops down to the small stream, here known as Broughton Beck, which joins the River Aire a couple of miles to the east.


Across the beck is the grander pile of Broughton Hall, the seat of the Tempest family since the fifteenth century.


Quite how the Tempests rose to prominence (and then kept it for so long) is one of those wrinkles of English history that deserve probing.

In the beginning there were a couple of useful and profitable marriages. Sir Richard Tempest (his dates are usually given as about 1480 to 1537) nailed an heiress, Rosamund Bowling, and thus came into possession of estates across Craven. It helped that Richard Tempest was on nodding terms with both Tudor Henrys, fulfilling various ceremonial duties and attendance at events such as the Cloth of Gold, and all the time hoovering up any lands going begging. He acquired the reputation of being something of a thug, putting the muscle on various officials (the Tempests were accused of at least nine murders). So he came (with help from his dedicated enemies in the Savile family) to the attention of Henry VIII’s heavy, Thomas Cromwell. When Tempest went to London, presumably to defend himself against the Savile calumnies, he was clapped in the Fleet prison, where he died. Tempest’s younger brother, Nicholas, was implicated in the Pilgrimage of Grace, and was beheaded in 1537.

That left Sir Richard’s son, Thomas Tempest, to pick up the threads. Thomas Tempest had kept the Lincolnshire estates in the family by marrying a cousin. He did his bit for the Tudors in the Scottish wars, but carried on the family strong-arm traditions: he was responsible for the odd murder (the land-agent of the Prioress of Esholt) and occasional assassination (notably, of John Jepson at Wakefield had complained to the Council about Tempest’s brutal ways). Thomas tempest then died childless, and the properties fell to a younger brother, Sir Kohn tempest, who seems to have been as incompetent as his siblings were thuggish, and ended in considerable debt.

After which, subsequent Tempests tended to keep out of the public eye. The dynasty ended with a Richard tempest, who served as a royalist colonel of horse in the Civil War, and was serially captured by the Parliamentarians.

What is of interest in all that is how the Tempests held to their Catholic faith, despite the suspicions thereof, all the way down to the 31st generation who still own the Hall.


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Filed under History, pubs, Yorkshire

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