In 1926, the site covered some 12.5 hectares, though its current extent is unknown. Today the site of the house is levelled, but the lodge and outer gate piers remain intact. The ruined summerhouse known as the Pepperpot still stands in the grounds.
- Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
Access contact details
It may be possible to arrange visits to the site, which is now owned by a school. Please contact Elspeth Griffiths, the librarian.
Akay is first mentioned in 1405-6 as Aykehowe with a fulling mill. ‘Aik' indicates oak, and ‘haw' means hillside. Akay Oak, an ancient pollarded oak within the grounds near the Cricket Pitch, is believed to date from around 1330 AD.
In 1735 the estate, including two gardens and one orchard, passed to John Morland of Capelthwaite Hall. By the end of the 18th century a cotton spinning mill had been built on the site of the old water mill at Millthrop. In 1812 John Upton bought the mill and land but not Akay. In 1824 James Upton, son of John, bought Akay for £1,500. James built a new house there ‘a simple squarish building of Georgian design'. In 1848 it was for sale, a ‘handsome new dwelling house, stables, coach house, barn, cowhouse and other buildings, garden orchard and pleasure grounds and land surrounding house. Altogether 26a 1r 11p ..... The garden neatly laid out and has a good greenhouse. The orchard is well stocked with fruit trees.
In 1851 the site was uninhabited. By 1875 it belonged to Mary Rowlandson, whose gardener was Js Anderson.
In 1893 Akay was purchased by Charles Taylor, a chemist and druggist, of Sedbergh. It was then referred to as a Mansion House with Lands, Gardens and Hereditments. In 1901 Taylor erected a new mansion, east-facing, twice the size of the previous house but incorporating some of it. It was completed about 1909. He laid out the garden and improved the orchard. In 1919 he also bought Hall Garth (cricket field) and Far Hall Garth. In 1924 Taylor died aged 70.
In 1926 Akay was on the market. Sale particulars refer to it as a ‘small freehold estate ..... with delightfully disposed gardens and grounds.....Terrace Garden in Italian fashion with stone balustrades, sundial, undulating and level lawns, with two rest kiosks at either end of the tennis court, herbaceous borders, clipped box and ivy hedges, flowering and other ornamental shrubs, woodland walks, and a screen of timber wherein is an old established rookery.' Also noted is the cricket field. ‘An admirable feature of the place is the picturesque boulder strewn River Rawthey, with its rocky wooded banks, rising to the level of the house, affording first class fishing. Also a stone-built two-storey Summerhouse, known as the Pepperpot, providing a fine view-point. Productive walled-in kitchen garden (planted with well-bearing fruit trees) having a sufficient range of heated glass houses, containing a fruitful vine, forcing frames, potting sheds etc. Sunken footpath to prevent anyone passing along it being seen from the house.'
The estate was not sold until 1936 when it was purchased by Sedbergh School. In 1938 there was a sale of the fixtures and fittings. Sometime later Akay burnt down mysteriously. From 1936 the school used the tennis court and putting at Akay. ‘Biggar kept the lawns cut and edged'. In 1942-3, the school agriculturalists may have grown vegetables there.
Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
- Features & Designations
- Description: An aviary with verandah.
- Description: A small bit of the mosaic tiled floor of the conservatory remains.
- Gate Lodge
- Description: The two derelict rest kiosks remain at either end of the old tennis court.
- Description: The Pepperpot had been built for Charles Taylor's daughter, Anne, who sadly from the age of 18 suffered from Tuberculosis and had to live in isolation there till she died aged 21. From a distance the Summer House resembled a Pepperpot, hence the name.
- Description: The sunken path.
- Kitchen Garden
- Description: Parts of the wall of the kitchen garden remain.
- Description: Woodland walk.
- Gate Piers
- Description: There are remains of the inner gate piers and also a pier on the corner of the tennis court
- Key Information
Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
Part: standing remains
Open to the public
Yorkshire Gardens Trust