The Recess

The Recess was built by Thomas Glover for John Wright in 1862 on a piece of land originally purchased by W Harbottle from the estate of John Richardson in the California district of Great Ayton. John Wright was a poet and achieved some fame with three books of poems called ‘The Privilege of Man’, giving himself the title ‘The Bard of Cleveland’. The Recess (or the Bard’s Recess as it was originally called) was funded from sales of his books (including a gift from Lord Palmerston) and possesses several unusual design features based on the biblical significance of the numbers 3 and 7. John’s daughter, Elizabeth, wrote several letters to her brother William in the USA describing the house and its surroundings. She married David Normington, a Stokesley watchmaker, and the family lived in the Recess when John Wright died in 1882. The house was later occupied by George Maycroft and his family who had come into the area from Norfolk. In 1932 part of the property was sold to the founders of the local Women’s Institute as the site of a new hall. Later the house and remaining land was purchased by Maude Trevor who sold off several plots for housebuilding.

The following presentation by Ken Taylor describes the origins of the house and gives an insight into what life was like in what was, at the time, a very rural location.

The Recess by Ken Taylor

Kenneth Warne, great grandson of John Wright, ‘The Cleveland Bard', wrote a brief history of The Recess:

The Recess by Kenneth Warne

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