NEW life has been breathed into a 1947 Field Marshall Series 2 tractor which has been sitting in a barn in Bolton Abbey for several decades.

The tractor, built in Gainsborough and owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, was restored for them by Ivor John Lawson, of Felside Grange, Eastby, and was presented to them recently at Fell House.

Mr Lawson said he was asked by Bolton Abbey estate director Ben Heyes if he would restore the machine, and he said he would be delighted to.

Mr Lawson said: “As a young boy of 11 years I first saw the tractor in 1957 when it was driven into my father’s farmyard at Holly Farm, in Embsay.

“I remember I was amazed to see it and to hear the Marshall engine sound.”

Mr Lawson said while working on a project for the estate with his contracting business, he saw the same tractor 20 years later in the tithe barn, in Bolton Abbey, now a venue for weddings.

“Mr Heyes recalled it had never been used or started for over 30 years and was stored at another estate building.

“I asked of its whereabouts and was then asked whether I would like to restore it back to its former glory.

“I felt it was indeed an honour and privilege and said ‘yes’.”

Mr Lawson recovered the sorry-looking tractor which he said was in a very sad state, and delivered it to his workshop at Fell House.

After many hours of restoration work over a course of around six months, he said he is proud of the finished project.

Work involved a complete strip down, new parts fitted and the body work sandblasted to receive six coats of pains.

"With care, it will be good for decades to come," he added.

Comparing the classic tractor to modern machinery, he said today's tractors were far removed from anything like the Field Marshall, not least being open to the elements.

"Waterproofs and big army coats were all they had to go and do a day's work in. Now we have the comfort of warm, heated cabs, music and all power steering," he said.

He said he had been asked to show it at local shows on behalf of the Bolton Abbey estate and took it along to Gargrave last week where it received a lot of admiration.

"Gargrave Show was a truly good day with so much interest, more so from the farming sector. To have a crowd gather to see me go through the process of starting the tractor with a special paper taper, light it with a match, then produce a 12 bore blank cartridge to fire it (in its holder), strike it with a hammer and the tractor burst into life, is a sight to behold," he said, again comparing the process to today's machines which start with the turn of a key.

Mr Lawson said he will be taking the tractor along to Kilnsey Show where it will be on parade with other restored vintage machinery.

Afterwards it will join his stable of tractors which he has restored in the past.