Morsel House is a Grade II listed former farmhouse lying in the heart of the Vale of York, ten minutes from the A1(M) and equidistant between York and Harrogate. Dating from the 1770s, the building is a classical Yorkshire “four square” house with later Victorian and contemporary extensions.
It is situated in a rural setting just north of the point where the River Ure becomes the River Ouse and then winds its way through the picturesque vale to the historic city of York. Despite the fact that the River Ure is a much greater waterway at the confluence, it is the Ouse that takes precedence by name. The Source of the Ouse is only some four miles from Morsel House. To the left is the Ouse at Thorpe Underwood.
The building itself is on an ancient drovers track once used to drive the beef fat stock, who had come down from the uplands to be fattened on the rich grass of this alluvial plain, onwards to the markets in York. Although the track to Morsel House is now a tarmac lane, this little used byway is still a rough cobbled and hardcore surface only some 200 metres beyond the house – as it would have been, centuries ago.
Less than a mile from Morsel House is Thorpe Underwood Hall, previously the site of Thorpe Green Hall, a house where Anne Bronte was engaged as the governess to the children of the house and Branwell Bronte as tutor to the eldest son. Morsel House used to be a part of the Thorpe Green Estate until it was broken up and sold in lots. In Anne Bronte’s novel “Agnes Grey” Thorpe Underwood assumed the name “Horton” and Thorpe Green Hall became “Horton Hall” where Agnes, the heroine of the book, was – like Anne Bronte – governess to the children of the house.
THORPE GREEN HALL - NOW SADLY DEMOLISHED
Just about two miles from Morsel House is the local Parish Church of Little Ouseburn where Anne and Branwell Bronte attended services – the church that was used as the setting for Agnes Grey when in the novel she took her charges to Sunday worship. Driving from Morsel House to Little Ouseburn Church you pass the Monk House where Anne and Branwell Bronte lived, and a further mile beyond the Church is the “Long Wood” where Anne Bronte wrote her highly acclaimed poem - “ Lines Composed in a Wood on a Windy Day” .
LITTLE OUSEBURN PARISH CHURCH
Further a-field, but within easy striking distance, Morsel House is surrounded by a passage of history: From the Roman town of Aldborough (Brigantium), the Royal Castle at Spoffoth, the battlefield of Marston Moor to the echoes of countless RAF Bomber Command Airfields – now closed, but so woven into the wartime history of Yorkshire and the Nation. Including the Eden Camp Museum, formerly a German Prisoner of War camp in World War Two.
For those considering the present rather than the past, there are endless attractions and places of interest to visit within the immediate area. The old drovers tracks and public footpaths offer interesting and varied walks and cycling though unspoilt rural countryside and villages. Nearby Stockeld Park hosts a unique Christmas Holiday venue and Lightwater Valley Theme Park provides excellent fun for the young and the young at heart! We are always pleased to advise our guests on the local venues, countryside and pubs that will suit their own individual tastes.