If you know Whitby, you know the fascinating old yards, particularly those off Church Street. My house in Clarks Yard is said to have been built around 1750 for the Sanders family when Jonathan Sanders, a widower from Guisborough, came
to Whitby to marry an affluent widow, the owner of a thriving sail cloth factory just along Church Street in what is still known as Sanders Yard !
Before long, Old Quaker Jonathan as he came to be called, was running a very successful manufactory
with 16 or 18 looms, storage facilities in the cellar, sales outlet on the street, and cottages for the workers in adjoining yards. Most touchingly, and with typical Quaker philanthropy, he had the steep hillside behind his factory landscaped to
provide terraced gardens where the workforce could to sit out among the flowers and shrubs in their lunch break.
In 1779 the old man retired passing the business over to his son and grandson ~ they expanded it, and also opened
a private bank, Sanders Bank. Quite recenly a Sanders Bank noter came up for auction in London, and is now on display in one of the Whitby hotels.
For virtually 75 years the Sanders family ~ or some of them ~ lived here in my little house, a stone's
throw from their business premises. By the time they sold it, they owned another two or three modest properties in the yard ~ these were real cottages, with just three rooms, one above the other, and steep narrow spiral stairs going up through
the first floor to the attic.
This house was a different matter altogether. Although basically a two-up, two-down plus two attics, I am told by experts it is "a gem of a modest double fronted early Georgian town house" Wow !
I am hoping to share with you as much as I know of the history of the house ~ architectural features of interest, stories of those who have lived here since it was built 260 years ago. I'll start off with the recent visit from my ghost !
It was December 7th 2010 ~ copy of email I sent to family and friends next night :
Such a strange thing happened last night. I sat down to watch Ch/4 News as usual but towards the end must have dropped off momentarily. I
came to with a start and ~ oh my stars ~ a young-ish man was sitting in the rocking chair. Yes, I promise you, there he sat, clear as day. Was I somehow with my wonky eyes transferring something on the screen across to the left ? But no,
it was just the dreary weather forecaste. This chap sat well to the left in the rocking chair. He didn't seem to see me, however. I can describe him to you : a slight figure, probably in his early thirties, with a mop of not ginger but dark
auburn curly hair sticking out round his head. He wore a red shirt or jersey with rather full "bishop" sleeves. I think his trousers were greeny-grey but couldn't really see as he was sitting down. He sat there for a good few minutes and
then as I reached for the remote control to turn the telly off, he disappeared.
What do you think ? I felt certain he was a ghost. I left pad and pencil on the table overnight asking What is your name ? What year is it ?
etc but no answers awaited me this morning. It wasn't that he reminded me of someone I knew or knew of. His hair and clothes could have belonged to any era, though I don't think one of the early Quaker Sanders would have worn a RED shirt.
In its 260 year history this little house must have seen hundreds of inhabitants ~ their births, deaths, joys and sorrows. But I wish I could discover which of them my visitor was !
I've always wanted to see a ghost. At the
Heritage Open Days in September, someone once came in the door and immediately went into a kind of trance and told me this house is full of spirits. Friendly spirits. I didn't feel scared of him, but surprised and fascinated ~ who could he be ?
Might he have been ? The fact that he didn't appear to see me was significant ~ maybe I am a ghost from the future, just as he is from the past !!
Just thought this might interest you all ~ maybe you have theories to explain the
visitation ! xxx Joy xxx Deep snow here this morning and coming down heavier than ever. Maybe my visitor just wanted a warm by the fire !