Porch House is the oldest private house in Northallerton and it’s played a small part in British Royal history. Around 1584 or perhaps a bit earlier, Richard Metcalfe obtained some land in Northallerton, for which the Deeds still survive and are in fact the oldest document held in the local North Yorkshire County Records. We have a copy of these Deeds at the house.
On this land Richard decided to build a Vernacular Crook Beam House, from cobbles, dung and chuff, with a thatched roof. ( Part of the Crook can still be seen in the roof and Porch and a wall of wattle and daub still survives behind glass panels in the kitchen ). Over the years parts of the house were extended and improved and some parts were not, resulting in today’s interesting mix of periods.
The Metcalfes were an important family, cousins to Mary Queen of Scots ( Mary Stuart ). Her grandson, Charles I used Porch House as a base on his northern progresses, he was also held here under open arrest by the Scots whilst being sold back to Parliament and it was through the Porch Door that the constititional Monarchy came into being and the absolute Monarchy was left behind in history.
Around 1674 the Porch House Metcalfes became Marwoods, William Metcalfe having to change his name to Marwood in order to inherit his wife Anne’s vast Busby Estates. The Marwood family descendents owned the house until 1988.
Many interesting features survive, an original staircase, an alms window and a profusion of ancient beams.
It has long been a tradition in the town that there is a secret tunnel from Porch House to the Church, is this true ? We think it might be, but maybe some things are just best kept a secret !