A wooden village hall was built in 1927 by Thos. Pitt & Son for Sir John and Lady Barron of Sawley Hall as a meeting room for the Women’s Institute. This building served the village well and many people remember the dances and concerts etc held there but by the 1980’s was leaking and cold.
In 1983 the people of Sawley formed a fund-raising committee to raise the money for a new hall and by 1989 had raised about £67.000. The village school closed that year and £40.000 was used to buy the redundant school from the Wellbury Norton Trust. Continued fund-raising by the community came to final figure of £80.000 and grants of £55.000 were awarded from rural development funds. The old school was extended and altered the building work was done by T.Pitt and Son of Sawley, the grandson and great-grandson of Thomas Pitt who erected the previous village hall. The new hall was opened on the 22 October 1995 by Mrs Doris Thompson and Mrs Molly Murgatroyd.
Sawley is a farming community, situated in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) close to Fountains Abbey and 7 miles from Ripon. It sits within a landscape of rolling hills and moorland beyond, with a picturesque village green and wildlife garden.
There are many footpaths in and around Sawley, which will take walkers through exceptional and varied countryside including the Ripon Rowel walk. An attractive walk can be taken from Sawley to Fountains Abbey, which lies about 2 miles away along quiet lanes and woodland paths. From Fountains, the more energetic can take a pleasant walk across the fields to the market town of Ripon with its historic cathedral and Thursday market.
The church of St Michaels and All Angels consecrated in 1879 is well worth a visit. It contains some exceptional Victorian stained glass windows and the present pulpit, alter table, alter rails and porch were made from the box pews from the earlier church. The clock on the side of the church was installed to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee in 1887.
The village pump, situated on the village green, was installed in 1909. Prior to this, all water had to be carried from spring wells just outside the village. In 1905, 19 men voted against Harrogate Corporation’s offer to supply piped water to the village. This caused great concern to the womenfolk of the village, who were mainly responsible for carrying the water from the wells. It wasn’t until 1963, that piped water finally came to Sawley, 60 years after that first offer from Harrogate.