Published by Stokesley Local History Study Group


“STOKESLEY, a small but neat and well-built market town, consists of one wide street, extending east and west, and pleasantly situated in the fertile vale of Cleveland, betwixt and near the confluence of the small rivers Leven and Tame, 8 miles S.E. by E. of Yarm, 9 miles S.W. of Guisborough, 10 miles S. by E. of Stockton, 16 miles N.E. by N. of Northallerton, and 238 miles N.N.W. of London. It has a station on a branch of the North Eastern Railway, and is in the heart of a fine sporting country. The streams near it abound in trout and other fish, and at a distance of a few miles to the south and east is that majestic chain of mountains commonly called the Cleveland Hills, and forming a portion of the Eastern Moorlands. The township of Stokesley contains 1744 acres and 1993 inhabitants; but its parish includes also the townships of Great and Little Busby, Easby, and Newby, and has altogether 6239 acres and 2401 souls. The weekly market is on Saturday, and fairs for cattle are held on the Saturdays before Palm and Trinity Sundays, and hirings for servants on the Saturdays before Martinmas and May Day. STOKESLEY UNION comprises 31 parishes and townships. Thos. Sowerby, Esq., is clerk to the guardians and superintendent registrar; J.H. Handyside, Esq., surgeon; and Mr Abrm. Trousdale, relieving officer and registrar. The Workhouse has generally about 30 inmates, and Mr and Mrs Newbould are master and matron. The TOWN HALL, a handsome building, near the centre of the town, was erected in 1853, at the sole cost of the late Robert Hildyard, Esq., of whom there is a fine portrait in the magistrates’ room, painted by Sir J.W. Gordon, R.A., and purchased by subscription for £500. The Hall contains a spacious assembly room for public meetings, &c, besides the usual offices and several large rooms used for various purposes. Petty Sessions are held here every Saturday. The magistrates usually attending are Lord de L’Isle and Dudley, and John B Rudd, George Copley, and Isaac Wilson, Esqrs. Messrs J.C. and T. Sowerby are their clerks. The County Court is held monthly at the Town Hall. Mr Serjeant Dowling is judge; Fredk. Perkin, Esq., registrar; Francis Herring, Esq., high bailiff; and George Kitchen, assistant bailiff. The Mechanics’ Institute, Savings’ Bank, and Dispensary, are also at the Town Hall.

The CHURCH (St Peter) was rebuilt in 1772, and comprises nave, chancel, and tower with three bells and a clock. The east window is enriched with beautiful stained glass, but the church is still disfigured with galleries, ugly square pews, and flat ceilings, and needs a thorough restoration. The rectory, valued at £1100, is in the patronage of the Archbishop of York and incumbency of the Rev. Chas. Cator, B.D. A small Cemetery, comprising about half-an-acre of land, was consecrated in 1861, and contains a neat mortuary chapel. The Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, and Independents, have places of worship here. The GRAMMAR SCHOOL was founded by John Preston, gentleman, who died in 1814, and bequeathed £2000 for its endowment. The interest of this sum was accumulated till 1833, when the old parish school was rebuilt and re-opened on the liberal plan laid down by the founder. The NATIONAL SCHOOLS are supported by subscription.”