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Kildale is more than a village, it is an estate. In 900 years it has been in the hands of only three families, and the boundaries have never changed. Today all the farms in Kildale and almost all the houses in Kildale are still owned by the estate. They are let to people who live permanently in the dale so that Kildale retains a community spirit. Most of the houses in the Village are made of sandstone cut in blocks. Here in the north of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park the local stone was strong enough to be used for lintels and mullions.
For many years mining was carried out in Kildale. Jet and Iron ore and were extracted here.
When the fields of Kildale were first enclosed, stone walls were built as boundaries, as stone was more readily available than wood. Building dry stonewalls is both time consuming and costly, they have no mortar but rely on the skilful placing of each stone for strength and durability. Many of the walls have stood for over 300 years and are very much part of Kildale's landscape. The estate employs a dry stone wailer to restore and maintain the walls, so providing the stone is not removed or the walls knocked down, they should last forever.
Almost half of Kildale estate is heather moorland, which is carefully managed for both sheep grazing and grouse shooting. Heather is burned in rotation to ensure that there is always a mosaic of younger plants to provide nutritious green shoots for food and older, bushier vegetation to protect nests. Shooting is important to the estate. The revenue it provides enables the owner to maintain the moorland for the future.
Rebuilt in 1868, the church stands on the site of a succession of churches from at least Saxon times. Viking burials were found beneath the floor of the previous church.
The Percy family built a castle here in the 12th century. This was later replaced by a medieval manor house of which only a few stones remain.
Carl Cook, March 2001
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