Old Bagdale Hall

Old Bagdale Hall in Whitby is one of those elderly buildings which one simply knows has a curious history without ever having researched it. It is now a hotel, quite sensibly, and the local tourist guide’s sales patter warbles thus:

Bagdale Hall is a spectacular place to visit for those seeking an unforgettable experience from start to finish. Its history is intriguing, and a unique place to stay in a great location in Whitby. In this article, you can learn more about Bagdale Hall.

The hotel’s own words are rather more modest, though no less attractive:

An old Tudor manor house dating back to 1516. The rooms in Bagdale Hall retain much of the character of the original house with beamed ceilings, four-poster beds and stone mullioned windows with leaded-lights. There are some spectacular fireplaces and original features, complemented by traditional, comfortable furnishings.

My holidays' budget precludes residence at such an establishment, but I still enjoyed it from without. Although its mandatory blue plaque states it was built circa 1530, both dates agree that it was erected on the eve of momentous national events and seismic changes, by which I mean the Reformation. The old medieval world was crumbling away, and the modern world breaking through.

A few generations later it played a small part in the civil wars. Its owner, Captain Browne Bushell, was a Parliamentarian officer who had served with his relative, Sir Hugh Cholmley, in defending Scarborough from the Royalists who eventually captured it. Bushell recaptured it but he and Cholmley decided to switch sides, giving it back to the King’s forces. This eventually resulted in his arrest, imprisonment and execution on the orders of the Parliament he had betrayed.

So that quiet old house not only survived the Reformation with all its chaos and upheaval, but the civil wars, even while its householder changed sides and paid the ultimate price. Our own world now seems to be tottering on the brink of upheaval and chaos, with mass migrations, foreign aggressions, economic instability and internal culture wars. Yet we believers can find an even more solid and unwavering repose than anything offered at Bagdale:

God is our hope and strength, and help in troubles, ready to be found. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains fall into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof rage and be troubled, and the mountains shake at the surges of the same. Selah. Ps 46:1-3, Geneva Bible