My Yorkshire Book of 2018 has to be Jane Houlton’s fascinating An Almshouse for Linton, an architectural history of one of the Yorkshire Dales’ most iconic buildings. The Fountaine Almshouse at Linton-in-Craven, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, has long intrigued and baffled visitors to this chocolate box village. Why did Richard Fountaine, wealthy son of the village who made his fortune in the City of London, commission an almshouse in such an audacious style? And who, for that matter, was the architect? Such names as Wren, Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor have all been mooted as potential candidates.
Jane Houlton has researched an absorbing history which traces the building of the almshouse from the antics of the executors of Richard Fountaine’s will when it transpired so lavish a building had been bequeathed to the eventual establishment of a charitable foundation for the old folks of Linton which functions to this day.