On the way back from Scampston (see Wednesday) we called in at Kirkham Priory, an Augustinian priory founded in 1120, by Walter l'Espec, Lord of nearby Helmsley, who also founded the larger and better known Rievaulx Abbey. Kirkham was surrendered in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is prettily situated on the banks of the River Derwent and is now in the care of English Heritage. During WWII, it was used as a base for troops to test D-Day landing vehicles in the river and to practise climbing up scrambling nets hung on the ruined priory's walls; Churchill visited it.
It has a special place in my heart; I have many happy childhood memories there. My parents always used to stop there to break the long car journey from our home in the East Midlands to holidays in Scarborough on the East Yorkshire coast. My sister and I used to race around the ruins, glad to get out of the car and stretch our legs. We used to picnic overlooking the river. I recall my mother used to make (curiously) sandwiches of cream crackers and cheese, which had always gone a bit soft by the time we stopped to eat. I still recall the way, if you pressed them, little curls of butter would ooze through the tiny holes in the crackers! Happy days... All those years ago, a twist in the road leading down into the valley provided a sudden and surprising vista of the ruins and the river. Nowadays the lovely view is entirely blocked by mature trees.