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Pole gateposts

Haymaking involved the whole family
Haymaking involved the whole family


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What is a pole gatepost?

Pole gateposts (also called pole gatestoops) usually held poles that (dependent on the type of pole gatepost) were sometimes bent, sometimes slid into place. Some have ‘L’ shaped recesses on one or both posts. Others are not cut into a single stone post, but appear as recesses built into a wall head. Much rarer are gateposts with a groove incised, which may have had a hurdle-like gate slid into them. 

They are a common feature within a few areas of the Yorkshire Dales. How they are made depends on local tradition and the type of stone available.

Types of stone

Their type and overall distribution is dependent partly upon the type of stone that was locally available to create gateposts from, and perhaps also on local tradition.

Sandstone and millstone grit are much easier to work than limestone. The majority of pole gateposts are likely to be made from these, although there may be a few examples made from limestone.

Adaptation in the twentieth century

The majority of pole gateposts are reused as modern gateposts, often with later gate hangers added, usually set in small lead-filled sockets. Many gateways will have been widened one or more times since the mid-twentieth century to enable access for increasingly large farm vehicles. Consequently, pole gateposts won’t always be in their original location.

Sometimes gateposts have been discarded in favour of modern ones, and previous posts may lie next to the modern wider entrance. Increasingly the value of these features as ornamental stonework is being recognised, and some gateposts are being sold as ‘architectural antiques’.


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