History of the cottages

Our cottages have history. Find out more about their journeys from working buildings to luxury holiday homes.

History of Unsliven Bridge Barn and Farm

Located next to each other we bought this land and its farm house and farm buildings in 2006 from Yorkshire Water at a property auction. At the time the house had a sitting tenant called Mrs Marsh, who remained living in the property until she passed away. Used as a working farm Mrs Marsh and her husband had lived here all their married life and raised their children here. What is now the car park and driveway for the cottages, was the farmyard.

Unsliven Bridge Barn cottage was one of the farms buildings, with stalls for cattle or work horses in the kitchen area. With a solid wall across the middle of the building the living room area was also used for livestock. With a first floor above for storing hay and straw. The old farm house was situated in what is now the left hand side of the overall building and with the right hand side been a barn.

The fireplace in the farm cottage in the red living room was the original fireplace from the Old farm house that would have been used to cook on and heat the house with a Yorkshire range.

We started renovation work on the cottages in 2016 and created 2 stunning holiday cottages sleeping 15 people in the Farm and 7 people in the barn.

We first welcomed guests to the cottages in March 2017.

Interesting fact for these cottages is that they have been visited by a famous actor.  The one and only Sean Connery. As a young man living in Scotland, Sean Connery delivered coal to Mrs Marsh when she lived in Scotland. Remaining friends he visited Mrs Marsh at Unsliven Bridge Farm.

History of Weavers and Leapings Cottage

Located next to one another in the peaceful village of Thurstone is Weaver’s and Leaping’s cottage. Weavers cottage once a traditional Weaver’s dwelling used for cloth production and Leaping’s cottage an old working farm.

Weavers cottages were in production in the 18th century. They were common in Great Britain often with dwelling quarters on the lower floors and loom-shop on the top floor.  A loom-shop can be often recognized by a long row of windows which provided maximum light for the weaver.

No longer used as a Weaver’s dwelling, in 1935 Weaver’s Cottage was bought by owner Lisa’s great grandparents Mary and Edward Mather, both of whom where farmers. The top floor of the cottage was used as the farms grain store, whilst the family lived on the ground and 1st floor.

Both properties shared barn buildings and the farm yard. They also shared the same washroom, which was located behind Weaver’s Cottage. This space is now the en-suite for the 1st floor bedroom.

The stone work around the old doorway can still be seen.

The cottage also had a Pigeon house which was located above the wash house and is now the en-suite for one of the bedrooms on the second floor.

The cottage also had an old water well inside which was used for the cottages drinking water. This was located where the fridge freezer now stands in the kitchen.

Alongside Mary and Edward living in the cottage was Mary’s Dad and their 4 children, including Lisa’s grandma Hilda Pears, nee Mather, some of whom where born in the house. In 1950 Weavers Cottage was in poor condition, around this time Leaping’s Cottage next door became for sale. Mary and Edward bought cottage and moved in, whilst still retaining ownership of Weavers Cottage.

Edward sadly passed away in 1980 and Mary later in 1997. With 3 of their children having married and got their own families, Arthur who never married was left living at Leaping’s Cottage on his own. He sadly passed away in 2008. Both properties have now been passed down through the generations and are now in the hands of Lisa and her husband.

Many years ago, in an old chest some letters were found. In the letters are details of how someone had emigrated to America. The letters where addressed to the receiver’s cousin, who we presume lived at Weavers Cottage. They date from 1806 to 1866.


Renovation work began in 2014 in Weavers Cottage and we have been welcoming guests to the property since Christmas 2015.

Leaping’s Cottage comprised of a 2 up, 2 down cottage connected to the Laith (a Laith is another name for barn). The barn across the farm yard housed 4 cows in stalls with hay stored above. The middle building attached to the barn was home to the farm’s work horse and calves lived in the smaller end building.

On the raised flowerbed and then going through into the wild garden 3 stones can be seen aligned with one another. These are rope-making stones. This is how rope would have been twisted and made. Rope is made of natural fibres like hemp, linen or cotton, or synthetic fibres such as polypropylene, nylon, polyester. Historically, the type of fibre used depended on what was locally available. The earliest ropes were made by twisting and braiding lengths of plant fibre. In the UK, rope-making was conducted on an industrial scale but each community would also have had a local ropemaker, and most farms would have made their own rope. It is highly likely that Weavers cottage is where the cotton was prepared for the twisting and making of the rope next door.

Renovation work was complete on Leaping’s Cottage in early 2014 and we have been welcoming guests since Spring 2014.

Recently the cottage has undergone a second renovation, expanding it and linking across to the original farm buildings. Going from sleeping 6 to now sleeping 12.

Leaping’s Cottage was our first adventure in the holiday cottage rental market and since then we have now completed 5 more renovations which are also holiday accommodation.

History of Aitken House

Aitken house is a large detached property but this has not always been the case. It was originally built as a pair of Semi-detached properties, the deeds of the house confirm this, but its appearance has always looked like one. Shared between the 2 properties was always only one drive, one front door, one garage, one main staircase and one out house.  Built by a gentleman for himself and his grown-up daughter to live in. We presume that he built it with the intentions that one day his daughter could convert the building into one property in future years.

My mother’s parents bought the left-hand side of the semi-detached building in the late 1950’s. Then when the right-hand side came up for sale in 2000 this was also purchased by my farther. Both properties where rented out as long term lets for many years. There became a point where both houses needed an extensive amount of work carrying out. As the house is located in the middle of 4 other large houses, we thought it was only right that our 2 properties where converted into one.  

The renovation was made easier because of how the gentleman had designed the house. We have been welcoming guests at Aitken house since August 2018.