Published by Stokesley Local History Study Group


“STOKESLEY is a market and union town, and the head of a county court district, with a station 1 mile south on the North Yorkshire and Cleveland section of the North Eastern railway, and is 19 miles north-by-west from Thirsk, 10 south-east from Stockton-on-Tees, 9 south from Middlesbrough, 15 south from Redcar, 8 south-east from Yarm and 238 from London, in the Cleveland division of the Riding, West Langbaurgh division of the Cleveland liberty, petty sessional division of Langbaurgh West, rural deanery of Stokesley, archdeaconry of Cleveland and diocese of York.

The town consists principally of one wide street of half a mile in length, running from east to west; many of the houses are handsome modern buildings; the shops are spacious and the streets paved and lighted with gas by a company. The river Leven, a fine trout stream, passes through a portion of the town and is crossed by a stone bridge of two arches. There is also an ancient stone bridge of one arch for foot passengers, and an iron bridge. The church of St Peter, rebuilt in 1771, is a building of stone, and consists of chancel, nave and an embattled western tower containing a clock with chimes, erected in 1887, and 6 bells: the base of the tower forms a porch: in 1875 the church was restored and the old pews were removed and replaced by open benches, at a cost of £613: the stained east window is a memorial to the Hildyard family, formerly lords of the manor of Stokesley: and there is a memorial window to the Rev. Francis Digby Legard M.A. vicar 1873-83, and his wife, and a tablet to Sir Henry Marwood bart. d. 1 Nov. 1725, and his daughter, d. 1764: there are 520 sittings. The register dates from the year 1571. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £650, including 70 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held since 1886 by the Rev. Charles Sisum Wright M.A. of Trinity College, Dublin, canon and prebendary of York, chaplain to the Archbishop of York, rural dean of Stokesley, incumbent of Seamer-in-Cleveland and surrogate. The Catholic church was erected in 1873, and is dedicated to St Joseph. The Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1886, at a cost, with minister’s house, of £5,113, is a building in the Perpendicular style, and will seat 450 persons. There are also Congregational and Primitive Methodist chapels. The cemetery, situated at a short distance from the town on the road to Ayton, has an area of about one acre, and a small mortuary chapel. The Town Hall, which stands in the centre of the town, was erected in 1853, solely at the expense of the late Robert Hildyard Esq. and is a building of stone comprising a spacious room for the use of the magistrates and county court, an assembly room and a parish library of about 1,000 books, including theological works and books of reference: here is a full-length portrait of the founder, painted in 1854 by Sir John Watson Gordon R.A. and P.R.S.A.; the library is open from the first Monday in September till the end of April. Saturday is the market day. Fairs for cattle are held on the Saturdays before Palm and Trinity Sundays; hirings for servants are held on the two Saturdays before Martinmas and May-day. A Cattle auction mart is held here every alternative Monday, and is well attended by cattle dealers and farmers from the surrounding districts. Lady Hullock’s charity of £12 is distributed in coals and groceries each November, and Jackson’s charity of £2 is given in prizes of 5s. each to such scholars as make the best attendance at the different schools. Edward Heneage Wynne-Finch Esq. B.A., J.P. is lord of the manor, and resides at the Manor House. The population of the township in 1901 was 1,642 including offices and inmates in the workhouse; and the acreage is 1,818; rateable value, £6,859. The parish comprises also the three townships of Great and Little Busby, part of Newby and part of Skutterskelfe; population in 1901, 1,922.”