Stokesley is a pleasant market town of around five thousand people, about three miles north of the North York Moors, and about 12 miles from the North Sea. It has many connections with farming, with a monthly farmer's market taking place on the first Saturday of each month.
It has an interesting Georgian High Street, with an excellent range of shops, including butchers, bakers, a supermarket, clothing shops, a department store, a hardware store, banks and building societies.
The town boasts six public houses, and several restaurants, providing for a range of tastes, and costs, including Thai, Chinese and Italian styles, together with excellent traditional fare.
One of the partly hidden gems of Stokesley is the Pack Horse bridge, which spans the River Leven, and dates from before the 17th century. It is just behind the Queen's Head pub, accessible by the alleyway alongside the pub.
Each September, on the Saturday following the third Thursday, there is an important agricultural show, and during the week leading up to Show Day, there is a large fair in the town. Each event draws people from far and wide. The charter to hold a fair was granted by Henry III in 1223, and the Show was first held in 1859.
One of the many features of the centre of Stokesley is the Parish Church, the Church of St. Peter & St. Paul. This stands on a site where Christians have met for at least a thousand years.
Stokesley is a small market town in North Yorkshire; population approximately 5,000. It lies about four miles to the North of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. The river passing through is the Leven, rising in Kildale and joining the Tees at Yarm. Middlesbrough, on the River Tees, is the nearest large town although Northallerton is the County town of North Yorkshire. The North Sea coast is 15 miles away; coastal towns are Hartlepool, Redcar, Saltburn, Whitby and Scarborough.
The book 'Buildings of Stokesley', published by The Stokesley Society, is a very good source of reference. Dr Sheila Kirk, architectural historian and one time resident of the town writes in a foreword, "Stokesley is an unusual small market town because, unlike most, it lost few of its old buildings during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its important architectural heritage consists mainly of larger houses of the well-to-do (often containing business premises), artisans' cottages and small dwellings in wynds. Almost all the buildings are vernacular, a category not generally regarded as architectural until the mid-twentieth century but now recognised as a valuable part of the architectural heritage".
The same book contains an appendix entitled "1,000 years of Stokesley History".
The references below are all associated with Stokesley and mentioned in Stokesley Selection by Alec Wright and John Mawer.
Some name-dropping is mouth-watering - Edward the Confessor, the Domesday Book, Guy de Balliol associated with the Manor of Stokesley, Balliol College, Pack-horse bridge, Robert Pennyman, the Eure family, Puritan Army, the Stokesley Riot, John Wesley, Rev Henry Hildyard and Lt-Col Robert Hildyard, 1831 census population 1897, Preston Grammar School, First Primitive Methodist Chapel, Union Workhouse, 1859 first Stokesley Show, Stokesley Primary Community School, Stokesley County Modern School (now Stokesley School), Alec Wright (historian and artist; co-author of Stokesley Selection), Fidlers Mill, the many floods before the relief scheme installed in 1997; Extracts from the Diary of a Stokesley Lady; the Wise Man of Stokesley; the 'Pickwick Club', etc etc. To see some illustrations click here.
'Old Stokesley', 'Walks Around Stokesley' and several other books have been published published by the Stokesley Society. The county library on North Road has a wealth of reading material. There are some good book shops in Stokesley too.
From the point of view of the Stokesley Pride-in-our-Town Association there is much good in the town to behold; it is a worthwhile town in which to attempt to instil a sense of pride by adding colour and by keeping it in good order. The townscape, apart from the West Green area is 'hard', no doubt in tune with the trading character of its history, but worthy of softening a little to appeal to more modern feelings. The pictures of flower tubs and other features show how SPIOTA responds to this challenge. The annual Stokesley Fair precludes the provision of permanent floral features within the town, hence the tubs, so that opportunities for planting outside the centre are always on the agenda.