Blind Jack of Knaresborough

Blind Jack of Knaresborough

Blind Jack of Knaresborough (John Metcalf) was born in 1717 in a cottage whose garden adjoined the churchyard. Though blinded by smallpox at the age of six, he became famous as a musician, guide, horseman, trader and pioneer builder of roads. He died in 1810 and is buried in Spofforth churchyard.

After Mother Shipton, Blind Jack is probably the most famous Knaresborough native. He begun road-building when he was in his mid thirties and built many hundreds of miles of roads, and also bridges, by using specially adapted tools. He died in 1810 and was buried in Spofforth where a stone marker can be found. There is a seated statue of him near the market cross.