History & Us

John & Sam live next door to Saetr Garden Cottage in The Old Farmhouse with working cocker spaniels, Pippa & Betsy.

You’ll not see much of us during the week, while we’re at work in our Clitheroe offices. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything.

The History of Saetr Garden Cottage.

Sam’s parents bought the 300 acre Harrop Fold Farm in 1960.  ‘The Old Farmhouse’ was sandwiched between what are now called the ‘The Stables’ and ‘Saetr Garden Cottage’, barns used for storing hay and housing cattle.

This was the building style of the Vikings, who in roughly 900AD invaded Britain and tended to head to the Northern uplands to settle.  They built their ‘longhouses’ to a standard size of 80 feet in length and 18 feet in width, with a barn at either end of the dwelling area.  The idea being that a barn full of hay and cattle would generate warmth, which would in turn act as insulation against the freezing cold of the winter months.  In the dwelling area there was usually a substantial fireplace and large gathering area for the family and that is exactly how it is in The Old Farmhouse.

The width of a Longhouse was governed by the 18 foot beams that were salvaged from the Viking longboats.  Samples taken from our huge beams have proven to be timbers from Scandinavia.  It is a fascinating fact that every northern longhouse you spot in the Dales, Lakeland or Lancashire conform to these measurements.  A Longhouse is built to make the most of the power of the sun.  Each end butts off weather from the north and south westerley’s.  It is interesting to note that it can be pouring with rain, but it never hits the main doorstep of The Old Farmhouse.  That is because the house is at a slant and diverts the prevailing rain.  Of course there is a verandah now, and this is not as obvious.  It is wonderful to think that we are so privileged to be living in such a historical building built so cannily by those hardy Vikings!

With its Viking roots, Sam’s parents decided to call the cottage Saetr after Saetrdahl, which is the Scandinavian word for a small upland field barn, such as you would see in the Dales.  There are romantic connotations with these little out barns, because it would be the chore of the young girls to go up these barns in the summer months, to watch over the sheep and cattle on the high ground.  This however, gave their young male admirers a chance to secretly find them to do some courting away from prying eyes. 

The Saetr Garden Cottage is just that – a romantic retreat – named in 1972, the little barn could not have a better title.

“We were looking for somewhere to have a few days of complete relaxation with beautiful surroundings and accommodation – Saetr Garden Cottage has provided us with this in abundance.

We have enjoyed walks from the doorstep and spending time in the Saetr’s delightful garden. The hamlet of Harrop Fold is a little gem of history – particularly enjoyed hearing about the history of the long house”

August 2019