The Evolution Of An English Town
by Gordon Home
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One imagines that these boys were in charge of the pigs. But they must have been pork by that time for the next entry is:—

"To Tom Dobson for carriage of pork, L1 16 0

and another entry mentions that it was packed in barrels at Pickering.

"1780. Grundall Saltergate for lads eating, etc., L0 8 6

Then comes a gap of about eight years, several pages having been torn out.

"1789. Robt. Dobson for carriage of pork, L1 4 0 1792. Lads at Saltergate as they came home, 0 2 6 1793. A man coming to Pickering to bring news of ship—be ashore, 0 8 0

This apparently means that a man was sent to Pickering to tell the owners that the Henrietta had arrived.

"1799. Piggs at Pickering, L125 9 8 1801. Do., 181 8 8 1802. Do., 208 4 6 1815. Old Tom's expenses, turnpikes at Pickering, 0 6 6

In 1785 when the Henrietta made her annual voyage to the northern seas she had on board William Scoresby who in five years' time was to become captain of the vessel. He was the son of a small farmer at Cropton and was born on the 3rd of May 1760. His parents wished him to keep to agricultural pursuits and after a very brief education at the village school he commenced this arduous form of labour at the age of nine. He kept to this work until he was twenty when he could no longer resist his longings for a broader sphere of work. To obtain this he went to Whitby and apprenticed himself to a ship-owner. He acquired a thorough knowledge of seamanship with great rapidity and in his second year of service at sea detected an error in the reckoning which would otherwise have caused the loss of the ship. For this, his only reward was the ill-will of the mate whose mistake he had exposed. He therefore joined the Speedwell an ordnance ship carrying stores to Gibraltar but falling in with the Spanish fleet the Speedwell was captured. Her men having been taken to Cadiz they were sent inland to San Lucar de Mayor. From that place, through being somewhat carelessly guarded, Scoresby and one of his companions were successful in making their escape. They reached England after various adventures and Scoresby having endured many hardships at sea settled down again to farm work at Cropton for two years. Although having only the very smallest means he was married at this time to Lady Mary Smith (she was born on Lady-day), the eldest daughter of Mr John Smith, a landed proprietor in a small way and a native of Cropton.

Having reached the position of skipper of the famous Henrietta, in 1790, when only thirty years of age, Scoresby was saved from the financial extremes to which he was likely to have been reduced, owing to his small income and the increasing expenses of his family. Having successfully commanded the Henrietta for seven seasons and having augmented in this way the incomes of the half-dozen Pickeronians interested in the success of the ship, Captain Scoresby's reputation stood high in the Greenland trade. In 1798 he accepted the more advantageous offers of a London firm to command the Dundee. It was on his third voyage in that ship that, having called at Whitby as usual to say good-bye to his wife and children, Scoresby allowed his third child, William, to go on board the ship as she lay in the roads. When the time came for him to go ashore he was nowhere to be found, for having taken into his head the idea of going the voyage with his father the little fellow had hidden himself. The shouts for "Master William," however, brought him to the top of the companion at the last moment, but his father, understanding the boy's great desire to stay in the ship, decided to take him.

The voyage was notable on account of a very exciting incident on meeting with a foreign privateer. The Dundee was armed with twelve guns and was manned by a crew of between fifty and sixty men, so that if brought to extremities the ship could have made a good defence. Scoresby, however, had every reason for avoiding a conflict, so keeping his ship in an apparently defenceless state, with all the ports closed, he sent the men to their quarters to prepare the guns for immediate action. No sign of excitement or commotion was allowed to appear on deck so that when the privateer came within shouting distance Scoresby walking the quarter deck and the helmsmen steering were the only living beings visible to the stranger. Suddenly, however, the six gun ports on each side of the Dundee are raised and a row of untompioned cannon are seen pointing towards the enemy's broadside. The stratagem, according to the account given by the younger Scoresby,[1] was such a huge surprise for the enemy that he suddenly hauled off under full sail and not a shot was fired on either side.

[Footnote 1: Scoresby, the Rev. William, D.D., "My Father," p. 108.]

After this voyage young Scoresby went back to school again until 1803 when he became an apprentice on board the Resolution, a new ship of Whitby, commanded and partly owned by his father. For several years he made the Greenland voyage in the Resolution and was chief officer when, in the year 1806, his father forced the ship through the pack ice, as far north as 81 deg. 3O'. This was for long the highest point reached by any vessel and the ship's cargo was completed in thirty-two days with twenty-four whales, two seals, two walruses, two bears and a narwhal. The elder Scoresby who was about six feet in height was a man of extraordinary muscular power. His many successful voyages reveal his first-class qualities as a seaman and navigator and his good judgment in emergencies seems to have been almost instinctive. Although he is described[1] as an Arctic navigator, exploration was only incidental to whale-catching, but his inventions of the ice-drill and the crow's-nest did much to make Arctic voyages more feasible.

[Footnote 1: "Dictionary of National Biography."]

The versatility of his son William was remarkable, for he may be described as master mariner, author and divine and even then his varied scientific knowledge is overlooked. During his latter years he was particularly interested in magnetism and in 1856 made his last voyage in order to carry out a series of systematic observations.

His life, written by his nephew R.E. Scoresby-Jackson, is of great interest and Cropton may well be proud that it gave Dr Scoresby to the world.

The memory of the Henrietta is not likely to be forgotten so easily as that of the Scoresbys, for gateposts made from whale jaws are common near the coast of north eastern Yorkshire, and one on the road from Pickering to Scarborough, between the villages of Hutton Buscel and East Ayton, bears the name of the famous ship.

A contemporary of the Scoresbys was John Jackson, R.A. He was the son of a tailor of Lastingham and was born at that very remote village on the 31st May 1778. As a boy he showed a predilection for portrait-painting in the sketches he made of his companions, although his father discouraged his efforts in that direction, not wishing to lose his boy's services as an apprentice to the tailoring business. When he was about nineteen he had the good fortune to be introduced to Lord Mulgrave who brought him to the notice of the Earl of Carlisle and soon after we find him studying the great collection of pictures at Castle Howard.

Jackson's first attempt at a painting in oils was a copy of a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds lent to him by Sir George Beaumont. Lastingham was unable to supply him with proper materials, but he managed to obtain some very rough paints and brushes from the village house-painter and glazier, and with these crude materials made such an admirable copy that Sir George or Lord Mulgrave or both together advised him to go to London, promising him L50 a year during the time that he was working as a student. From this time his progress was rapid. In 1804 he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the first time, in 1815 he was elected an associate and in 1817 he received the full honours of the Academy. Although he was a Wesleyan Methodist, Jackson was broad-minded in his religious opinions, for he made a copy of Correggio's "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane" (with the figures increased to life size) for Lastingham parish church. The picture is now on the north side of the apse but its original position was above the communion table and in order to give the picture sufficient space and light the apse of Transitional Norman date was very roughly treated. Jackson contributed L50 towards the alterations, but the restoration at a later date has fortunately wiped out these disfigurements.

Another boy destined to become a tailor was Francis Nicholson who was born at Pickering in 1753. His father, who was a weaver, gave young Francis a good education in Pickering, and wisely abandoning the tailoring idea the boy was sent to Scarborough for instruction from an artist. After three years he returned to Pickering and occupied himself in painting portraits and pictures of horses, dogs and game for local patrons. Then followed a period of study in London, where Nicholson made great progress and eventually began to devote himself to water colours, for which in his long life he was justly famous, well deserving the name generally given to him as the "Father of water colour painting."

William Marshall, the agricultural expert and writer to whom we owe the establishment of the Board of Agriculture was baptised at Sinnington on 28th July 1745. He was in his own words "born a farmer" and used to say that he could trace his blood through the veins of agriculturists for upwards of four hundred years. After fourteen years in the West Indies, he undertook, at the age of twenty-nine, the management of a farm near Croydon in Surrey. It was there, in 1778, that he wrote his first book. He showed the manuscript to Dr Johnson who objected to certain passages sanctioning work on Sundays in harvest time, so Marshall omitted them. His greatest work was "A General Survey, from personal experience, observation and enquiry, of the Rural Economy of England."

The country was divided into six agricultural divisions, the northern one being represented by Yorkshire in two volumes. In the first of these, the preface is dated from Pickering, December 21st, 1787, and the second chapter is devoted to an exceedingly interesting account of the broad valley to which Marshall gives the title "The Vale of Pickering." When he died in 1818 he was raising a building at Pickering for a College of Agriculture on the lines he had laid down in a book published in 1799.

His proposal for the establishment of a "Board of Agriculture, or more generally of Rural Affairs" was carried out by Parliament in 1793, and so valuable were his books considered that in 1803 most of them were translated into French and published in Paris under the title of "La Maison rustique anglaise." The inscription on Marshall's monument in the north aisle of Pickering church which states that "he was indefatigable in the study of rural economy" and that "he was an excellent mechanic, had a considerable knowledge of most branches of science, particularly of philology, botany and chemistry" is not an over statement of his merits.

In the year 1800 the little farm at Gallow Hill near Brompton was taken by one Thomas Hutchinson whose sister Mary kept house for him. She was almost the same age and had been a schoolfellow of the poet Wordsworth at Penrith and had kept up her friendship with his family since that time, having visited them at Racedown and Dove Cottage, while the Wordsworths had stayed at the Hutchinson's farm at Sockburn-on-Tees. There was nothing sudden or romantic therefore in the marriage which took place at Brompton in 1802. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy went down from London to the pretty Yorkshire village in September, and stayed at the little farmhouse, whose parlour windows looked across the Vale of Pickering to the steep wolds on the southern side. The house, as far as I can discover, has not been altered in the century which has elapsed, and the cosy ingle-nook in the room on the right of the entrance remains full of memories of the poet and his betrothed—his "perfect woman, nobly planned." On the fourth of October the wedding took place in Brompton Church. The grey old steeple surrounded and overhung by masses of yellow and brown foliage in the centre of the picturesque, and in many respects, ideal little village, must have formed a perfect setting for the marriage of one who was afterwards to become the Poet Laureate of his country. The register for the years 1754-1810 contains the following entry:—

"Banns of Marriage ...

William Wordsworth of Grasmere in Westmoreland, Gentleman, and Mary Hutchinson of Gallow Hill in the Parish of Brompton were married in this Church by Licence this fourth Day of October in the year one thousand eight Hundred and two by me John Ellis officiating min^r.

This marriage was solemnized between us."


The same day Wordsworth with his wife and sister drove to Thirsk and two days afterwards reached Grasmere, where they soon settled down to an uneventful life at Dove Cottage. Dorothy Wordsworth could not "describe what she felt," but we are told that she accepted her sister-in-law without a trace of jealousy.

There is still preserved in Pickering one of the parchments on which were enrolled the names of all those who were liable for service in the militia. It is headed

"Militia Enrollment 1807-8"

and begins:—

"An enrollment of the names of the several persons who have been chosen by ballot to serve in the Militia for five years for the west part of the sub-division of Pickering Lyth in the North Riding of the County of York and also of the several substitutes who have been produced and approved to serve for the like term and for such further term as the Militia shall remain embodied, if within the space of five years His Majesty shall order the Militia to be drawn out and embodied and are enrolled in the place of such principals whose names are set opposite thereto in pursuance of an act of the 47th of King George III., Cap. 71, entitled an act for the speedily completing the Militia of Great Britain and increasing the same under certain delimitations and restrictions (14th Aug. 1807)."

The thirty-six men were taken as follows:—

8 from Middleton. 5 " Kirby Misperton. 16 " Pickering. 1 " Ellerburne. 1 " Levisham. 3 " Sinnington. 1 " Thornton.

Jonathan Goodall, a farmer of Middleton, induced Geo. Thompson of Pickering, a farmer's servant, 30 years old, to stand for him, paying him L42.

Wm. Newton, a farmer of Middleton, had to pay Geo. Allen, a linen draper of Richmond, L47, 5s. as substitute.

The smallest amount paid was L20, and the largest sum was L47, 5s.

Substitutes seem to have been hard to find in the neighbourhood of Pickering, and those few whose names appear had to be heavily paid. George Barnfather, a farm servant of Kirby Misperton agreed to serve as a substitute on payment of L42, and a cartwright of Goathland agreed for the same sum, while men from Manchester or Leeds were ready to accept half that amount.

The extreme reluctance to serve of a certain Ben Wilson, a sweep of Middleton, is shown in a story told of him by a very old inhabitant of Pickering whose memory is in no way impaired by her years. She tells us that this Wilson on hearing of his ill-luck seized a carving-knife and going to the churchyard put his right hand on a gate-post and fiercely cut off the two fingers required for firing a rifle. He avoided active service in this way and often showed his mutilated hand to the countryfolk who may or may not have admired the deed.

In 1823 Pickering was kept in touch with Whitby, York and Scarborough by coaches that ran three times a week. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday a coach (Royal Mail) left the "Black Swan" in the market place for Whitby at the painfully early hour of four o'clock in the morning; another Royal Mail left Pickering for York at half-past three in the afternoon on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The stages were from

Whitby to Saltergate. Saltergate to Pickering. Pickering to Malton. Malton to Spital Beck. Spital Beck to York.

There was also what was called the "Boat Coach" that ran between Pickering and Scarborough.

One of the last drivers of these coaches became a guard on the North Eastern Railway, and he still lives in Pickering at the time of writing.

The parish chest in the vestry of Pickering Church contains among other papers a number of apprenticeship deeds of a hundred to a hundred and fifty years ago, in which the master promises that he will educate the boy and "bring him up in some honest and lawful calling and in the fear of God," and in most cases to provide him with a suit of clothes at the completion of his term, generally at the age of twenty-one years.

The odd papers registering the arrival of new inhabitants in the district include one dated 1729, and in them we find a churchwarden possessing such a distinguished name as Hotham, signing that surname without a capital, and in 1809 we find an overseer of the poor only able to make his mark against the seal.

The largest bell in the church tower is dated 1755 and bears the inscription, "First I call you to God's word, and at last unto the Lord." It is said that this bell was cracked owing to the great strength of one of the ringers, and that the date 1755 is the year of the re-casting. The flagon is the only piece of the church plate belonging to this period. It was made in 1805 by Prince of York.

In the year 1837 the Rev. Joseph Kipling, grandfather of Mr Rudyard Kipling, was living at Pickering, and on the 6th of July of that year a son, John, was born. Mr Joseph Kipling was a Wesleyan minister, and his residence at Pickering was only a temporary one.

Another Wesleyan who was living at this time was John Castillo, the author of many quaint poems in the Yorkshire dialect, and an original local preacher as well. He died in 1845, and his grave is to be seen in the burial-ground of the Wesleyan Chapel. It bears a verse from "Awd Isaac," the poem by which he is best known—

"Bud noo his eens geean dim i' deeath, Nera mare a pilgrim here on eeath, His sowl flits fra' her shell beneeath, Te reealms o' day, Whoor carpin care an' pain an' deeath Are deean away."

In 1720 a new chapel was built at Pickering for Protestant Dissenters, but before that time—as early as 1702—Edward Brignall's house was set apart for divine worship by Dissenters. An Independent Church was formed in 1715, the people probably meeting in private houses for several years. After this, little is known until 1788, when the Independent Church was again established, and in the following year a chapel was built, and it was enlarged in 1814.

It is an interesting fact that about 1862 the small manual organ in the Independent church was played by a Mr Clark, who was organist at the Parish church in the morning and at the chapel in the afternoon and evening. Before this time the Independents had contented themselves with violins and a bass viol, and for a time with a clarionette.

In 1801, the population of Pickering was 1994, and at the last census before the accession of Queen Victoria it had increased to 2555.

During the Georgian period Pickering's only external illumination at night was from that precarious "parish lantern," the moon. The drainage of the town was crude and far too obvious, and in all the departments for the supply of daily necessities, the individualistic system of wells, oil-lamps or candles and cesspools continued without interference from any municipal power.

The houses and cottages built at this time are of stone among the hills, and of a mixture of brick and stone in the vale. Examples of cottages can be seen in the village of Great Habton. They are dated 1741 and 1784, and are much less picturesque than those of the seventeenth century, though village architecture had not then reached the gaunt ugliness of the early Victorian Age.

The parish registers throughout the district were regularly kept, and as a rule contain nothing of interest beyond the bare records of births, deaths and marriages. The great proportion of villagers, however, who at this time signed their names with a mark, shows that the art of writing was still a rare thing among the peasantry. The church account books of the period reveal many curious items such as the frequent repairs of the thatch on the vestry at Middleton (thatched churches are still to be seen in Norfolk and Suffolk), and "L5, 19s. 6d. in all for the Violin or Base Musick" of the same church.

Churchwarden architecture of the deal boards and whitewash order made hideous many of the village churches that required repairs at this time, and if one discovers a ramshackle little porch such as that just removed at Ellerburne, or a big window with decayed wooden mullions cut in a wall, regardless of symmetry, one may be quite safe in attributing it to the early years of the nineteenth century. One of the staple industries of Pickering and the adjoining villages at this time was weaving, and a great number of the cottages had the room on the opposite side of the passage to the parlour fitted up with a loom.

We have now seen many aspects of the daily life in and near Pickering during the Georgian period. We know something of sports and amusements of the people, of their religious beliefs, their work, their customs at marriages and deaths, and we also have some idea of the dreadful beings that these country folk trembled at during the hours of darkness. We have discovered more than one remarkable man who was born and bred in these primitive surroundings, and we have learnt something of one of the trades that helped to make Pickering prosperous.


The Forest and Vale from Early Victorian Times to the Present Day

A.D. 1837 to 1905

This most recent stage in the development of Pickering is marked by the extinction of the few remaining customs that had continued to exist since mediaeval times. One of the most hardy of these survivals was the custom of "Riding t' fair," as it was generally called. It only died out about twenty years ago when the Pickering Local Board purchased the tolls from the Duchy of Lancaster, so that it has been possible to obtain a photographic record of two of the Duchy tenants who used to take part in the ceremony. On market mornings the Steward of the Duchy armed with a sword in a richly gilt scabbard would repair to the castle on horseback, where he would be joined by two freeholders of Duchy land, also mounted; one carrying the antique halbert and the other the spetum that are now preserved in a solicitor's office in Eastgate.[1] They would then ride down to the top of the market-place, where the steward would take out of his pocket a well-worn piece of parchment and read the following proclamation.

"O'yes! O'yes! O'yes!

"Our Sovereign Lady the Queen and the Reverend John Richard Hill, Lord of this Manor, proclaim this fair by virtue of Her Majesty's writ of ad quod Damnum, for establishing the same for buying and selling of horses, geldings, cattle, sheep, swine, and all sorts of merchandise brought here to be sold, and do hereby order and direct a court of Pye Powder to be held at the house of Robert Simpson, where all matters in Difference will be heard and determined according to Law and Justice, and that no person do presume to buy or sell anything but between the rising and setting of the Sun, and they do strictly charge and command all persons to be of good behaviour during the continuance of this Fair.

"God save the Queen and the Lord of the Manor."

[Footnote 1: Mr Arthur Kiching's office. The sword is kept by Mr Boulton.]

The parchment is now in the possession of the present steward of the Duchy property, Mr J.D. Whitehead, who was appointed in 1887 and was the last to read the proclamation. From the market-place the steward with his armed attendants rode to the east end of Hungate, and to one or two other points in the town, reading the proclamation at each place.

The Court Leet, or, as its full title appears, the Court Leet, View of Frank Pledge, Court Baron, Copy-hall and Customary Court of the Castle Manor and Honour of Pickering, still meets every second year in October or November. Twenty-seven out of thirty-eight townships used to be represented by a constable and four men. Appointed annually and with much solemnity were the following list of officials:—

2 Constables. 2 Market Searchers. 2 Yarn Tellers. 2 Reeves. 2 Ale Tasters. 2 Leather Searchers. 2 Pinders (for stray cattle). 2 Water Searchers.

Of all these only the two pinders are now appointed to deal with stray cattle, and the sole use of the court at the present time is that of the enforcement of the clearing out of the drains and ditches on the Duchy property. The fines levied average from 6d. to 5s., but I have seen the record of as large an amount as 10s. imposed on a tenant who had allowed a tree to obstruct the flow of the water. The importance of keeping the level fields of the Vale properly drained is obvious, for a permanent obstruction might easily mean the flooding of a considerable area.

The jury dines at the expense of the Duchy of Lancaster at each meeting, and there is a "View Supper," as it is called, a week before the meeting, when the jury, having spent the whole day examining the ditches and drains between the fields, gather in the evening at one of the inns. The steward contributes a quarter of mutton, and the Lord of the Manor a couple of hares for soup.

The Court Leet still appoints the town's bellman in an informal manner; until lately he was reappointed and sworn in every year. At the present time the holder of the office is Levi Massheder, who has painted over the door of his house the curious inscription, "His Honourable Majesty's bellman."

In July 1857 the old shambles that stood at the top of the market-place, and in which three bullocks a week were killed by the six butchers, came down to be replaced by the unsightly building that now disfigures the main street of the town. It is a matter for surprise that the townsfolk did not utilise a valuable opportunity and put up in its place something that would have added to the attractiveness of the place and at the same time have commemorated the reign of Queen Victoria. The building might have had an open space beneath that would have been useful in bad weather on market days. The disappearance of the shambles occurred about the same time as the sweeping away of the stocks that stood on the north side of them, for these were the years of a great municipal awakening in Pickering, an awakening that unfortunately could not distinguish between an insanitary sewer and the obsolete but historic and quite inoffensive stocks; both had to disappear before the indiscriminating wave of progress.

In October 1846 the railway between Whitby and Pickering, that had been built ten years before for a horse-drawn coach, was opened for steam traction, and although this event is beyond the memories of most of the present-day Pickeronians, there is still living in the town a man named Will Wardell who is now seventy-seven, and as a boy of twelve acted as postillion to the horse railway. Postillions were only employed for a short time, the horse or horses being soon afterwards driven from the coach.

As a rule they employed one horse from Pickering to Raindale, where there was a public-house; then two to Fenbogs, and one to Bank Top above Goathland. If the wind were fair the coach would run to Grosmont by itself, after that one horse took the coach to Whitby. If more than one horse were used they were yoked tandem; five were kept at Raindale, where Wardell lived. There were two coaches, "The Lady Hilda" and the "Premier"; they were painted yellow and carried outside, four in front, four behind, and several others on the top, while inside there was room for six. Wardell helped to make the present railway, and has worked for fifty-five years as a platelayer on the line. He remembers Will Turnbull of Whitby who used to act as guard on the railway coach, and in the same capacity on the stage-coach from Pickering to York. He made the journey from Whitby to York and back daily, the coach running in conjunction with the railway coach; the two drivers were Mathew Groves and Joseph Sedman.

Gas, which must have been a perpetual wonder to the village folk when they came into Pickering, made its appearance in 1847; but even at the time of writing the town is only illuminated from the 10th of August until the end of April, and even in that period the streets are plunged in darkness at 11 p.m. The drainage of the town was taken in hand to some extent about fifty years ago, and the pestilential ditches and sewers that existed to within thirty years of the present time have gradually disappeared. Then between thirty and forty years ago the great spring in the limestone at Keld Head was utilised to give the town a water-supply, and thus the wells and pumps were superseded. Before the Local Board came into being about half a century ago, piles of timber were allowed to lie in Eastgate, and generally one may imagine the rather untidy quaintness so strongly characteristic of the engravings that illustrate country scenes in that period.

In 1841 or thereabouts there was a great gale that carried away the sails of the windmill which stood near the railway station, and a year or two afterwards the brick tower was demolished.

The early years of Queen Victoria's reign saw the destruction of several picturesque features, and they also witnessed the decease of some more of the old customs that were still fighting for their existence. Some of the old folks can just remember hearing their fathers tell of "the standing in church," described in the last chapter, and they quite well remember when the children used to receive prizes for saying poetry in front of the Communion-table in the parish church. Stang-riding continued up to twenty-five years ago in spite of the opposition of the police. Two figures to represent the individuals who had earned popular disfavour were placed in a cart and taken round the town for three successive nights, accompanied by a noisy crowd, who sang—

"Arang atang atang Here do we ride the stang, Not for my cause nor your cause Do we ride the stang, But for the sake of old...."

On the third night the effigies were burnt.

There was formerly a gallery at the west end of the church where the choir and organ were situated so that during the musical portions of the services the congregation turned towards the west to face the choir. About fifty years ago the leader who started the tune with a trumpet was James Ruddock "a bedstuffer." An old pitch-pipe used for starting the tunes was recently discovered by Mr J. Grant James, vicar of Marske-in-Cleveland.

Hungate Bridge, an iron structure, having made its appearance in 1864, is, as may be imagined, no ornament to the town.

In November 1851 the weathercock on the spire of the church was blown off, and in the following year it was replaced.

The restoration in 1878-79 included the very difficult work of renewing the Norman foundations of the tower, which were quite unable to continue to support the crushing weight of the spire. Sir Gilbert Scott, who inspected the tower and was pointed out several of the results of the unequal strains on the fabric, solemnly warned those concerned not to be stingy with cement if they wished to save the tower. The advice was taken, and after the removal of the crushed and rotten stones and many other repairs the tower and spire were left in a state of greatly increased security. The framework supporting the bells dated from about 1450, and as there were no louvres to the windows for a long time, rain and snow must have been blown in upon the woodwork, for it was found to be entirely rotten, and it was astonishing that the timbers had not given way under the great weight of the bells.

It is an old custom that is still preserved to ring the biggest, or the "pancake" bell, as it is often called, at eleven in the morning on Shrove Tuesday. At that welcome sound the children are allowed to leave school for the day, the shops are closed, and a general holiday is observed in the town. The work bell is rung every morning from 5.55 to 6.0, and from 6.0 to 6.5 every evening from March to November, and the bells are rung backwards to call out the fire brigade. The curious little fire-engine upon which the town used to rely is still preserved in a shed in Willowgate. It is one of those primitive little contrivances standing on very small solid wheels, suggesting those of a child's toy horse.

Until the restoration of the church the pulpit was of the two-decker type, the clerk's desk being under the pulpit, with the reading-desk at the side. The inlaid sounding-board which was taken out of the church at the restoration is now preserved in the vicarage. It was in these days, namely about thirty years ago, that the sexton and his deputy used to visit the public-houses during church time in order to fetch out those who were wasting the precious hours. At Christmas time the waits still enliven the early hours with their welcomes to each individual member of every family. The two men, whose names are Beavers and Stockdale, carry a concertina and greet the household after this well-known fashion, "Drawing to ——- o'clock and a fine frosty morning. Good morrow morning, Mr ——-. Good morrow morning, Mrs ——-," and so through the entire family. This process commences a week before Christmas and is continued until a week afterwards. In the villages the custom of "lucky birds" still survives. The boy who first reaches any house on Christmas morning is called a "lucky bird," and unless great misfortune is courted some small coin must be given to that boy. On New Year's Day the same process applies to girls, but they have no particular designation. Badger-baiting in the castle is still remembered, but at the present time lawn-tennis is the only game that is played there. This brings one to the everyday facts of Pickering life, which may sound almost too prosaic for any record, but taken in contrast with the conditions of life that have gone before they are the most recent page of that history which continues to be made day by day in the town.

The Pickeronian can no longer call himself remote in the sense of communication with the rest of the world, for the North-Eastern Railway takes him to York in little more than an hour, and from that great station he can choose his route to London and other centres by the Great Northern, the Great Central, or by the Midland Railway, and he can return from King's Cross to Pickering in about five hours. But this ease of communication seems to have made less impression upon the manners and customs of the town and neighbourhood than might have been imagined. It may perhaps show itself in the more rapid importation from London of a popular street tune or in the fashions of dress among the women-kind, but there are still great differences in the ways of living of the country folk and in the relations of squire and peasant.

Superstitions still linger among the moorland folk, and the custom of placing a plate of salt upon the breast of one who is dying is still continued here and there in a covert fashion. Clocks are still stopped, fires raked out, and looking-glasses turned to the wall at the moment of death, but such acts of deference to the world of fancy are naturally only seen by those who have intimate experience of the cottage life of these parts, and the casual visitor sees no traces of them.

The town at one time had a newspaper of its own. It was known as the Pickering Mercury, and was started in the summer of 1857; but it perhaps found Scarborough competition too much for it, for now it is almost forgotten, and an evening paper produced in the big watering-place is shouted round the streets of the town every night.

The changes that the present century may witness will possibly work greater transformations than any that have gone before, and not many years hence this book will no doubt be described as belonging to the rough and ready, almost primitive times of the early part of the twentieth century. The historian of a hundred years hence will sigh for the complete picture of daily life at Pickering at the present day, which we could so easily give, while he at that very moment may be failing to record the scenes of his own time that are to him so wofully commonplace.


Concerning the Villages and Scenery of the Forest and Vale of Pickering

"Wide horizons beckoning, far beyond the hill, Little lazy villages, sleeping in the vale, Greatness overhead The flock's contented tread An' trample o' the morning wind adown the open trail."

H.H. Bashford.

The scenery of this part of Yorkshire is composed of two strikingly opposite types, that of perfectly wild, uncultivated moorlands broken here and there by wooded dales, and the rich level pasture lands that occupy the once marshy district of the Vale. The villages, some phases of whose history we have traced, are with a few exceptions scattered along the northern margin of the Vale. Lastingham, Rosedale Abbey, Levisham, Lockton, and Newton are villages of the moor. Edstone, Habton, Normanby, Kirby Misperton, and Great Barugh are villages of the Vale; but all the rest occupy an intermediate position on the slopes of the hills. In general appearance, many of the hamlets are rather similar, the grey stone walls and red tiles offering less opportunity for individual taste than the building materials of the southern counties. Despite this difficulty, however, each village has a distinct character of its own, and in the cases of Thornton-le-Dale and Brompton, the natural surroundings of hill, sparkling stream, and tall masses of trees make those two villages unique. A remarkable effect can sometimes be seen by those who are abroad in the early morning from the hills overlooking the wide valley; one is at times able to see across the upper surface of a perfectly level mist through which the isolated hills rising from the low ground appear as islets in a lake, and it requires no effort of the imagination to conjure up the aspect of the valley when the waters of the Derwent were held up by ice in the remote centuries of the Ice Age. Sometimes in the evening, too, a pleasing impression may be obtained when the church bells of the villages are ringing for evening service. At the top of Wrelton Cliff, the sound of several peals of bells in the neighbouring villages floats upwards across the broad pastures, and it seems almost as though the whole plain beneath one's feet were joining in the evening song. Along the deep ravine of Newton Dale, in all weathers, some of the most varied and richly coloured pictures may be seen. If one climbs the rough paths that lead up from the woods and meadows by the railway, the most remarkable aspects of the precipitous sides are obtained. In a book published in 1836,[1] at the time of the opening of the railway between Whitby and Pickering, a series of very delicate steel engravings of the wild scenery of Newton Dale were given. One of them shows the gorge under the deep gloom of a storm but relieved with the contrast of a rainbow springing from one side of the rocky walls. This effect may perhaps seem highly exaggerated, but on one occasion when I was exploring part of the Dale, between Levisham and Fen Bogs, I was astonished to see a brilliant rainbow backed by dense masses of indigo clouds and occupying precisely the position of the one shown in the old engraving. In such weather as this, when sudden rays of sunlight fall upon the steep slopes of bracken and heather and on the precipitous rocks above, the blazing colours seem almost unreal and the scenery suggests Scotland more than any other part of England. From the edges of the canon, purple heather and ling stretch away on either side to the most distant horizons, and one can walk for miles in almost any direction without encountering a human being and rarely a house of any description. The few cottages that now stand in lonely isolation in different parts of the moors have only made their appearance since the Enclosures Act, so that before that time these moors must have been one of the most extensive stretches of uninhabited country in England. From the Saltersgate Inn, some of the most remarkable views that the moorlands present are all collected together in a comparatively small space. One looks towards the west across a remarkably deep ravine with precipitous sides that leads out of Newton Dale towards the old coach road upon which the lonely hostelry stands. At the foot of the steep rocks, a stream trickles into a basin and then falls downwards in a small cascade, finding its way into the Pickering Beck that flows along the bottom of Newton Dale. From the inn also, the great ravine we have been describing appears as an enormous trench cut through the heathery plateau, and we are led to wonder how it was that no legends as to its origin have survived until the present time. The Roman road, which is supposed to have been built by Wade and his wife when they were engaged on the construction of Mulgrave and Pickering Castles, seems uninspiring beside the majestic proportions of Newton Dale. To the south of the Saltersgate Inn lies the remarkable circular hollow among the hills known as the Hole of Horcum, and the bold bluff known as Saltersgate Brow rises like an enormous rampart from the smooth brown or purple heather. To the west lies the peculiarly isolated hill known as Blakey Topping, and, a little to the south, are the Bride Stones, those imposing masses of natural rock that project themselves above the moor. The Saltersgate Inn has lost the importance it once possessed as the stopping-place for the coaches between Whitby and Pickering, but is still the only place of refreshment for many miles across the moors, and its very isolation still gives it an importance for those who seek sport or exercise on these breezy wastes.

[Footnote 1: Henry Belcher, "The Scenery of the Whitby and Pickering Railway," facing p. 51.]

Levisham and Lockton, the twin villages that stand upon the very edge of the heather, are separated by a tremendous valley, and although from above they may seem so close as to be almost continuous, in reality they are as remote from one another as though they were separated by five or six miles. To reach Levisham from Lockton means a break-neck descent of a very dangerous character and a climb up from the mill and lonely church at the bottom of the valley that makes one marvel how the village ever came to be perched in a position of such inaccessibility. The older inhabitants of Levisham tell you that in their young days the village was more populous, and their statements are supported by the pathetic evidence of more than one cottage lying in ruins with the interior occupied by a jungle of nettles. The Vicarage is the only new building that breaks the mellowed grey tones of the wide, grass-bordered street.

Lockton is a larger and better preserved village. The little church with its grey tower is noticeable on account of the vigorous ash-tree that grows from the parapet. It has been there for many years, and I am told that the roots have penetrated for a very great distance among the stones, and may even be drawing their sustenance from the ground. In order to prevent the undue growth of the tree, it is periodically cut down to one branch, but even with this wholesale lopping the tree has forced many of the stones from their original positions.

The interior of the church is a melancholy spectacle of churchwarden methods, but probably Lockton will before many years receive that careful restoration that has taken place at Ellerburne and Sinnington. The font is one of those unadorned, circular basins which generally date from the thirteenth century. One of the village inns is known as "The Durham Ox," and bears a sign adorned with a huge beast whose pensive but intelligent eye looks down upon all passers-by. The village stocks that used to stand outside the churchyard wall on the east side, near the present schoolhouse, are remembered by the older inhabitants. They were taken away about forty years ago. The few thatched cottages that remain in the village are unfortunately being allowed to fall into disrepair, but this is the case in most of the villages.

Newton, or, as its full name should be given, Newton-upon-Rawcliff, stands on the verge of Newton Dale. Its small modern church has no interest for the antiquary, but the broad roadway between the houses and the whitewashed cottages thrown up against the strip of grass on either side is picturesque enough.

Northwards from Newton lies the minute moorland hamlet of Stape, its houses and its inn, "The Hare and Hounds," being perched indiscriminately on the heather. Some miles beyond lies Goathland, that formerly belonged to the parish of Pickering. The present church was built in 1895, but it is here that the fine pre-Reformation chalice that originally belonged to Pickering is still in use. The village has a large green overlooked here and there by pretty cottages, and the proximity of the richly coloured moorland scenery that lies spread out in every direction makes the place particularly fascinating. The railway in the valley has brought a few new houses to the village, but there seems little chance of any great accretions of this nature, although the existence of the railway station is a permanent menace to the rural character of the place.

Middleton, the hamlet immediately to the west of Pickering, lies along the main road to Helmsley. Its interesting old church is surrounded by trees, and might almost be passed unnoticed. The post-office is in one of the oldest cottages. Its massive oak forks must have endured for many centuries, and the framework of the doorway leading into the garden behind must be of almost equal antiquity.

Between the years 1764 and 1766, John Wesley, on his northern circuit, visited this unassuming little village and preached in the pulpit of the parish church. A circular sun-dial bearing the motto "We stay not," and the date 1782, appears above the porch, and the church is entered by a fine old door of the Perpendicular period. A paddock on the west side of the graveyard is known as the nun's field, but I have no knowledge of any monastic institution having existed at Middleton. Aislaby, the next village to the west, is so close that one seems hardly to have left Middleton before one reaches the first cottage of the next hamlet. There is no church here, and the only conspicuous object as one passes westwards is the Hall, a large stone house standing close to the road on the south side. Wrelton is only half a mile from Aislaby. It stands at the cross-roads where the turning to Lastingham and Rosedale Abbey leaves the Helmsley Road. The cottages are not particularly ancient, and there are no striking features to impress themselves on the memory of the passer-by. At Sinnington, however, we reach a village of marked individuality. The broad green is ornamented with a bridge that spans the wide stony course of the river Seven; but more noticeable than this is the very tall maypole that stands on the green and appears in the distance as a tapering mast that has been sloped out of perpendicular by the most prevailing winds. It was around an earlier maypole that stood in the place of the existing one that the scene between the "Broad Brims" and the merry-making villagers that has already been mentioned took place nearly two centuries ago. The present maypole was erected on May 29th 1882, replacing one which had come into existence on the same day twenty years before. The recently restored church of Sinnington stands slightly above the green, backed by the trees on the rising ground to the north of the village. The new roof of red tiles would almost lead one to imagine that the building was a modern one, and one would scarcely imagine that it dates chiefly from the twelfth century. A custom which is still remembered by some of the older villagers was the roasting of a sheep by the small bridge on the green on November 23rd in Martinmas week. The children used to go round a few days before, collecting money for the purchase of the sheep. Although these quaint customs are no longer continued at Sinnington the green has retained its picturesqueness, and towards evening, when the western sky is reflected in the rippling waters of the Seven, the scene is a particularly pleasing one.

Between Sinnington and Kirby Moorside about three miles to the west is the site of the priory of Keldholm, but there are no walls standing at the present time. Kirby Moorside is one of the largest villages in the neighbourhood of Pickering. It has been thought that it may possibly have been in Goldsmith's mind when he described the series of catastrophes that befell the unfortunate household of the Vicar of Wakefield; but although I have carefully read the story with a view to discovering any descriptions that may suggest the village of Kirby Moorside, I can find very little in support of the idea. Before the construction of the railway connecting Pickering and Helmsley, this part of Yorkshire was seldom visited by any one but those having business in the immediate neighbourhood; and even now as one walks along the wide main street one cannot help feeling that the village is still far removed from the influences of modern civilisation. The old shambles still stand in the shadow of the Tolbooth, the somewhat gaunt but not altogether unpleasing building that occupies a central position in the village. Adjoining the shambles is the broken stump of the market-cross raised upon its old steps, and close by also is the entrance to the churchyard. The church occupies a picturesque position, and contains, besides the Elizabethan brass to Lady Brooke, a parvise chamber over the old porch. This little room is approached by a flight of stone steps from the interior of the church and possesses a fireplace. It has been supposed that the chamber would have been used by the monk who served from Newburgh Priory when he had occasion to stay the night. The brick windmill, built about a hundred years ago, that stands on the west side of the village, is no longer in use, and has even been robbed of its sails. At the highest part of the village street there are some extremely old thatched cottages which give a very good idea of what must have been the appearance of the whole place a century ago. The "King's Head" Inn and the house adjoining it, in which the notorious Duke of Buckingham died, are two of the oldest buildings of any size that now remain. An inn, a little lower down the street has a picturesque porch supported by carved posts, bearing the name "William Wood," and the date 1632. Kirby Moorside has preserved, in common with two or three other villages in the neighbourhood, its Christmastide mummers and waits. The mummers, who go their rounds in daytime, are men dressed as women. They carry a small doll in a box ornamented with pieces of evergreen and chant doggerel rhymes.

The beautiful scenery of Farndale and Kirkdale comes as a surprise to those who visit Kirby Moorside for the first time, for the approach by road in all directions, except from the north, does not lead one to suspect the presence of such impressive landscapes, and from some points Farndale has quite a mountainous aspect. The moors no longer reach the confines of Kirby Moorside, as its name would suggest, for cultivation has pushed back the waste lands for two or three miles to the north; but from that point northwards all the way to Guisborough the wild brown moorland is broken only in a few places by the fitful cultivation of the dales. The church of Kirkdale, and what quarrying has left of the famous cave, stand just at the point where the Hodge Beck leaves its confined course and flows out into the flat levels of the Vale of Pickering. It is only, however, after very heavy rains that the stony course of the stream at this point shows any sign of water, for in ordinary weather the stream finds its way through underground fissures in the limestone and does not appear above the ground for a considerable distance. The little church of Kirkdale, remarkable for its Saxon sun-dial and other pre-Norman remains, is surrounded by masses of foliage, and the walk up the dale from this point to the romantically situated Cauldron Mill is one of remarkable beauty. As one follows the course of the beck higher and higher towards it source north of Bransdale, the densely wooded sides become bare, and wide expanses and the invigorating moorland air are exchanged for the rich land scents and the limited views.

The village of Lastingham is surrounded by beautiful hills and is almost touched by the moors that lie immediately to the north. The Church has already been described, and we have heard something of the strange story of the ingenious methods for increasing his income of a former curate-in-charge. Cropton occupies a position somewhat similar to that of Newton, being on high ground with commanding views in all directions. The little church is modern, but it has the stump of an ancient cross in the graveyard, and commands a magnificent view towards the west and north. It is in connection with this cross that a curious old rhyme is mentioned in an old guide.

"On Cropton Cross there is a cup, And in that cup there is a sup; Take that cup and drink that sup, And set that cup on Cropton Cross top."

There is a cottage on the east side of the street bearing the date 1695, and the motto "Memento Mori," with the initials N.C., but more interesting than this is one on the same side but at the southern end of the village, and standing back more than the rest. This was used as a madhouse at a time well remembered by some of the villagers. People from Pickering and the surrounding district were sent here for treatment, and I am told that the proprietor possessed a prescription for a very remarkable medicine which was supposed to have a most beneficial effect upon his partially demented patients. I am also told that this prescription was given to one, Goodwill of Lastingham, who still possesses it. Cropton is only a short distance from the Roman camps that lie all surrounded and overgrown with dense plantations, so that it is impossible for a stranger to discover their position unless he be lucky enough to find some one close at hand to carefully describe the right track.

West of Pickering lies that long string of villages, generally less than two miles apart, that extends nearly all the way to Scarborough. The first point of interest as one goes towards Thornton-le-Dale from Pickering is the grass-grown site of Roxby Castle, the birthplace of Sir Hugh Cholmley, and the scene, as we know, of those conflicts between the retainers of Sir Roger Hastings and Sir Richard Cholmley. The position must have been a most perfect one for this ancient manor house, for standing a little higher than the level ings and carrs of the marshy land, it was protected from the cold northern winds by the higher ground above. From the top of the steep hill west of the village, Thornton-le-Dale has an almost idyllic aspect, its timeworn roofs of purple thatch and mellowed tiles nestling among the masses of tall trees that grow with much luxuriance in this sheltered spot at the foot of the hills. The village is musical with the pleasant sound of the waters of the beck that flows from Dalby Warren, and ripples along the margins of the roadways, necessitating a special footbridge for many of the cottages. The ancient stocks that stood by the crossroads have unfortunately disappeared, and in their place may be seen the pathetic sight of a new pair that are not even a close copy of the old ones. The old stone cross that stands by the stocks has not been replaced by a modern one, and adds greatly to the interest of the central portion of the village. On the road that leads towards Ellerburne there stand some old cottages generally known as the Poorhouse. They are built on sloping ground, and on the lower side there is a small round-topped tunnel leading into a little cell dug out of the ground beneath the cottages. This little village prison was known as the "Black Hole," and was in frequent use about fifty years ago. An old resident in the village named Birdsall, who is now in the Almshouses, remembers that the last woman who was placed in the Black Hole was released by four men who forcibly broke their way in. The quaint little church of Ellerburne and the few antique cottages that make up the hamlet lie about a mile from Thornton up the steep valley to the north. The hills on either side are crowned with plantations, but farther up the dale appear the bare slopes of the edge of the moors. Allerston lies at right angles to the main road. It is full of quaint stone cottages, and is ornamented by the square tower of the church and the cheerful brook that flows along the road side. The church at Ebberston stands aloof from the village at the edge of the small park belonging to the Hall. The situation is a very pleasant one, and the building attracts one's attention on account of the wide blocked-up arch that is conspicuous in the south wall west of the porch.

The next village westwards is Snainton, a more compact and town-like hamlet than most of the others in the district. The church having been rebuilt in about 1835, the place is robbed of one of its chief attractions.

Brompton has already been mentioned in connection with Wordsworth's wedding. The view over the bright green pastures of the Vale when seen from the church porch is of conspicuous beauty, and the ponds that are numerous in the village help to make picturesque views from many points. The Hall is a large building possessing a ponderous bulk but little charm, and it is only by the kindly aid of the plentiful trees and an extensive growth of ivy that the squire's house does not destroy the rural sweetness of the village.

Wykeham has a new church with a massive spire, but the tower of the old building has fortunately been allowed to remain, and now answers the purpose of a lich-gate. Only a few walls of the abbey now remain in close proximity to Lord Downe's recently enlarged house.

The church of Hutton Buscel is externally one of the most picturesque in the district, and the pretty churchyard on steeply falling ground is a charming feature of the village. The old Hall of the Osbaldestons is only represented by the massive gates that give access to the schools built on the site of the house that was burnt down about a century ago.

A curious story is told of Bishop Osbaldeston, whose monument is to be seen in the church. During his stay at Hutton Buscel he often amused himself with riding about the neighbourhood and conversing with any one he happened to meet upon the road. "One morning he saw a chimney-sweeper's boy laid on the roadside, whom he accosted as follows:—'Well, my lad, where hast thou been this morning?' 'Sweeping your chimnies,' replied the lad. 'And how much hast thou earned then?' said his lordship. 'Fifteen shillings, my lord.' After his lordship had observed that he thought it a very good business, the lad says, 'Yes, my lord, you see that we black coats get good livings for very little work.'"

The smaller villages of the Vale are without any particular interest in themselves, apart from the wide and expansive landscapes that stretch away in all directions to the enclosing hills that in distant times formed the boundaries of the lake.

Great Habton has a small chapel of ease of very recent erection.

Ryton is chiefly composed of two or three farms and a dilapidated little red brick building that scarcely deserves the name of church. The lane to this hamlet from Great Habton is remarkable for the series of about a dozen gates across the roadway.

Brawby and Butterwick have no particular features that impress themselves on the mind, and Great Barugh, though more picturesque than either of these, is chiefly interesting on account of its past.

Normanby lies on the dead level of the plain, and is watered by the Seven, that flows between high embankments throughout most of its course after leaving the high ground at Sinnington.

Salton lies a little to the west and is interesting on account of its beautiful little Norman church. The cottages are situated on a patch of green, and the whole place has a cheerful and tidy appearance.

At Kirby Misperton there is a very green pond by the church, and the remains of the stocks may still be seen by the pretty rose-covered cottage that contains the post-office. Many of the cottages were rebuilt between 1857 and 1877, the dates being conspicuous on their big gables.


Concerning the Zoology of the Forest and Vale

The great expanses of wild moorland, the deep, heavily wooded valleys, and the rich and well-watered level country included in the scope of this book would lead one to expect much of the zoology of the Pickering district, and one is not disappointed. That the wild life is ample and interesting will be seen from the following notes on the rarer varieties which Mr Oxley Grabham of the York Museum has kindly put together.

On THE MOORS the Curlew, the Golden Plover, and the Merlin nest regularly together with other more common species.

In THE WOODS the Woodcock, Pied Flycatcher, and Wood Wren, together with the Green and the Great Spotted Woodpeckers, breed by no means uncommonly.

In THE MARSHY AND LOW-LYING LANDS the Snipe and the Redshank find congenial breeding quarters.

Many rarities have been obtained in the district such as the Kite, the Great Plover, the Smew, and the Golden Eagle, and numerous varieties of wildfowl during the winter months. I have seen large flocks of Crossbills and Bramblings hunting for food in the severe weather, and occasionally a small flock of Waxwings appears in the district.

There is a well-protected Heronry in the neighbourhood, and these fine handsome birds may frequently be seen in the vicinity of the Costa, a stream famous for the size and quality of its Trout and Grayling.

From a sporting point of view there are few better districts in the north of Yorkshire. Grouse are abundant on the moors, and there is some most excellent Partridge ground at hand, whilst certain of the coverts are famous for Woodcock during the winter months.

Foxes are numerous, and three packs of regular hounds, Lord Middleton's, Sir Everard Cayley's, and the Sinnington, hunt the country, whilst the old established trencher-fed Goathland pack accounts for a goodly number every season.

Otters and Badgers are far more plentiful than most people have any idea of; but, unfortunately, they are generally killed whenever a chance of doing so presents itself, the trap and the gun being regularly employed against them.

The usual smaller mammals are present in goodly numbers, and present no special or peculiar features, with the exception of the common Rat, which has been of late a perfect pest in some parts of the country; the hedge bottoms have been riddled with rat holes. Gates and posts and rails have been gnawed to bits, and in one instance a litter of young pigs were worried during the night. On one farm alone, during the year 1904, over two thousand rats were killed.

OF REPTILES, the common Adder or Viper, locally known as the Hag-Worm, is numerous in the moorland districts. It seldom if ever attacks human beings, but occasionally dogs and sheep get bitten with fatal results. The Slow or Blind Worm is also to be found here, as are the other usual forms of reptiles.


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The famous breed of horses known as the Cleveland Bays come from this district of Yorkshire. They are bred all over the district between Pickering, Helmsley, Scarborough, and Middlesborough, and although efforts have been made to raise them in other parts of England and abroad, it has been found that they lose the hardness of bone which is such a characteristic feature of the Cleveland bred animals. The Cleveland bay coach horse is descended from the famous Darly Arabian, and preserves in a wonderful manner the thoroughbred outline.


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The living itself, at the time of the Norman Conquest, came into the possession of the Crown, and remained at the king's gift till Henry I. annexed it to the Deanery of York. It thus became one of the Dean's peculiars, until in the last century his property was vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and the patronage transferred to the Archbishop.

1150 Hugh 13—? Midelton, Thos de. Resigned for the Church of Scalton 1341 Acaster, Hen de. Dismissed 1349 Queldriks, Robert de Pokelington, Robert de. Resigned for the Church at Holtby 1388 Laytingby, Will de 1568-1570 Coleman, William 1581-1600 Owrome, William 1602-1615 Mylls or Milnes, Edward. Deprived 1615 1615-1659 Bright, Edward. Died 1659 1661-1690 Staveley, Robert. Died 1690 1691-1712 Newton, Joshua, A.M. Died 1712 1713-1740 Hargreaves, Robert. Died 1740 1740 Hill, Samuel 1745 Dodsworth, George 1764-1784 Harding, Samuel. (Blind.) Died 1784 1784-1786 Robinson, John 1786-1804 Harding, Samuel J. Died 1804 1804-1809 Laye, W.T. Died 1809 1809-1814 Graham, C.R. 1814-1857 Ponsonby, F. 1858-1863 Cockburn, G.A., M.A. 1863-1875 Bennett, Edward (Curate-in-charge) 1875-1881 Lightfoot, G.H. (Curate-in-charge) 1881-1902 " " (Vicar) 1902 Drage, E.W.

"Here taketh the Makere of this Book his Leve."

* * * * *

"Now preye I to hem alle that herkne this litel tretys or rede, that ... if ther be any thyng that displese hem, I preye hem also that they arrette it to the defaute of myn unkonnynge, and not to my wyl, that wolde ful fayn have seyd bettre if I hadde had konnynge."

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.


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