Bedale Leech House
Building Bedale North Yorkshire

Bedale Leech House

Building In Bedale, North Yorkshire

A small castellated house in Bedale that was used to house leeches which were sold to local doctors for bloodletting.

We've covered a variety of places on our travels for the Fabulous North, but this little gem is a bit unique. This is the Bedale Leech House.

We were visiting the nearby Middleham Castle in Leyburn.

We had visited quite a lot of places that day, so I had to reward my glamorous assistant with an alcoholic beverage or two. As we were just sitting in a beer garden in Bedale, I had a glance on the map and this little building popped up just a 2 minute walk away. We've visited Bedale loads of times before and never spied this one, so we headed down to investigate.

And there it was sitting over the Bedale Beck.

Going back over 4,000 years ago the process of blood-letting has always thought to have medicinal value and was still going until the late 19th century.

A popular form was to use leeches. You would lob them on the patient's affected area and let them drink the blood until they were gorged, even using several at a time.

That would mean you would need a fair few leeches and of course, a place to store them. This is where a leech house comes in handy.

Built in the late 1700's, the Bedale Leech House was ran by a local pharmacist (or apothecary) called Mr Bellamy and he employed a chap called George Thornton for the fabulous tasks of gathering leeches.

To collect leeches you would wade animals, such as horses, through leech-rich areas, let them gorge on the legs and then pick them off and pop them in special leech jars. Some collectors would even use their own legs!

The pharmacist would then store these jars in the leech house and sell them to local doctors and practitioners. The leeches could even last a year between feeding, so they weren't high maintenance guests.

However the leeches' exsanguinating days for medicine came to a close in the late 1800s with better medical practices.

The Bedale Leech House was restored in 1985 by Bedale District Heritage Trust and now sits in a little garden known as Bedale Renaissance Park.

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How To Find Bedale Leech House

Where Is Bedale Leech House?

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Lat / Long

54.289201, -1.589593

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Where To Park For Bedale Leech House?

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Lat / Long

54.28912, 54.28912

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There is parking nearby in Bridge Street Car Park.

The Bedale Leech House was built in the late 1700's.

The Bedale Leech House is 3.25m (10.7 feet) by 3.07m (10.1 feet).

Contributed by Simon Hawkins

Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue pele tower up a remote hill, a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.

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Simon Hawkins

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Bedale Leech House was listed in Building // North Yorkshire // Bedale