Eventually we were led outside and again we were privileged to see the Chapel of Rest. Judging by the many seats and rows of pews, clearly people back then- that including the landed gentry- were very religious and God-fearing.
One of the regular Forum members had asked Mrs Grant whether we could all have a look inside the riding stables. After hesitating a few moments ( I believe Mrs Grant knew that Jane Royston had once worked here and perhaps did not want to take away her cherished memories of happier times) she acquiesced, and unlocked the door but worryingly as she pushed- it did not open! She tried again and this time it did- and we all slowly went inside.
It was very dusty and full of cobwebs etc and no doubt if Phyllis Wetherby had been here with us, she would have got to work straight away-with her feather duster! I believe this is the first time that Follyfoot Forum members had ever been inside the stables. Everyone was very grateful for this kind gesture by Mrs Grant. I hope one day these stables can somehow be brought back to life again! If they need any volunteers-then please look no further than the Follyfoot forum!
After which, the guided tour was over and we were made welcome to explore some of the grounds beyond the house. Mrs Grant made her graceful exit and within seconds, she had quite literally disappeared! We all then decided to trudge across the fields saying ‘hello’ to the cattle and negotiated the cattle grid. I mentioned to Jane Royston, these parts would presumably be ideal for horse riding to which she confirmed it definitely was. We eventually reached a vantage point that allowed us to look back from a distance onto the south facing part of the house and admired it’s stately presence.
Then we had to go! We realised we had overstayed our time allocation and the next stage of our FF adventure was to visit a pub for a meal and a drink. After this we would then meet at 2pm with Laxmi Bantawa, Operations Manager of the Harewood Estate and be escorted over to Follyfoot farm.
I would recommend any society group interested in old, historical buildings etc reading this account, to make inquires with Stockeld Park and book a guided tour there.