Newsletter No. 45 May 2013


Summer Events

Tuesday 18th June- A fascinating walk around Great Ayton: led by Ian Pearce, who has a fund of knowledge on the history and buildings of Great Ayton, followed by an optional Meal at the Buck Inn at approximately 7 pm. There will be a small charge of £1 for non- members. He gave the popular talk on the film, Moving a Farm at our January Public Meeting. Please ring Chris Taylor on 01642 710680 by 15th June to reserve a place.

Thursday 22nd August - A conducted tour of Preston Park Museum: This was once the home of Robert Ropner, a wealthy shipping and industrial magnate with humble beginnings. His descendants owned the farm that was moved south by rail mentioned above. Meet at 1.45 pm. in the Car Park for a one hour Tour commencing at 2pm followed by Cup of Tea /Coffee for an inclusive cost of £5.50 per person plus a small charge of £1 for non-members. Please phone Chris Taylor on 01642 710680 by 18 Aug to reserve your place.

Autumn Public Meetings (all on Mondays at 7.30 pm in the Town Hall)

Lindisfarne Gospels: by A Heywood (of Durham Cathedral) on 30th September. The Gospels are on display at Durham University Palace Green Library, 1st July to 30th Sept, 10am – 10pm daily, entry is via timed tickets.

Gertrude Bell – writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, archaeologist, spy! by Gordon Hetherington on Monday 28th October.

Stokesley Men and the Great War: by Keith Burton on Monday 25th November, appropriate with the Centenary next year.

Mondays have been booked for next year’s talks in the Town Hall: 27th January, 24th February and 24 March.

Stokesley’s Heritage Project
The main activity over the last year related to our Heritage Project, supported by a Heritage Lottery Grant, and saw some major achievements. The project aims to encourage, stimulate and involve people in exploring and enjoying the town’s heritage. With some hard work by the Committee and participants, we met our target of publishing three Heritage leaflets for launching at our 50th Anniversary Public meeting. At this meeting John Grundy gave an excellent talk about Stokesley, emphasising that we were lucky to have such a fine town combining an interesting history with and fine buildings, with four category 2* and 95 category 2 building listed by English Heritage. The audience of 225 people is a Society record, and 112 packs containing the three leaflets were sold. They have continued to sell well, at £2 per pack. Each pack contains three leaflets entitled ‘Manor of Stokesley and its impact on the town’, ‘Grand Houses of Stokesley and the characters that lived in them’, and ‘Stokesley’s Flax Mill’. They are available from Brown’s paper shop on East End, Stokesley Library, and the Hambleton council desk in the Library Building.

Research associated with the Manor of Stokesley is continuing to establish dates for the layout of the medieval town centre and the associated field system. We have a transcript from a manorial court of 1577 giving tenant’s names; the Hearth Tax list of 1673; and the tithe allocation of 1837 which includes a map and list of field owners and tenants. Hopefully, looking at deeds and wills we will be able to link names to properties and fields. Working with Kev Cale, the Community Archaeologist who is our Heritage Advisor, we are cooperating with the History Department at Stokesley School, with students helping to identify fields showing evidence of ridge and Furrow farming. We view this as an important extension of our work, as our Heritage depends on the interest taken by coming generations. A programme planned with the Primary School for the Easter Term has been postponed due to teacher illness. There is interest in the history of the Primary School so we would welcome memories from former pupils – please contact a Committee member (see back page).

We now have an internet site, devoted to the Heritage Project. It includes background information on the topics covered by the Heritage Leaflets, as well as information on Stokesley’s part in World War One in view of its centenary next year. The entire Book of Remembrance in Stokesley Parish Church, an impressive artwork, is now viewable on the website. Keith and Val Burton have compiled the stories of all of the Stokesley Fallen, and these are also on the web site. They would welcome any further information on local soldiers who fought in the war: all contributions will be accredited to the contributors. Emails can be sent to There have been several significant contributions, including some from Middlesbrough, Yorkshire and London, indicating that our web site is effective in presenting Stokesley’s Heritage nationally as well as locally

Over the years the Society has installed ten plaques on buildings and is seeking proposals for further candidates. Derek Whiting stimulated a lively debate on Stokesley Loop (an Email alert system for local information) which provided some interesting information, with the emphasis on local pubs! Derek would welcome any further ideas (telephone 01642710700), and help in assembling the information and choosing the wording for the plaques.

Transport through the ages is another topic being investigated with the aim of producing a booklet on the topic. Good progress has been made on Pannier Ways, where we have a good local example with the sandstone paved track linking Kirby with the moors, probably used by the monks of Rievaulx Abbey. We plan to explore the role of railways, and have already received input from different parts of the country. Chris Taylor (01642710680) would welcome help in progressing this aspect.

Another topic is buildings and the people associated with them, with interest in the Poor House, Preston Grammar School and some shoe shops. In April we added an extra public meeting to our programme, with Chris Bainbridge, Secretary of the Stokesley Local History Study Group, giving a talk on Armchair Walk around Stokesley High Street, with a wealth of information, which we hope stimulated further interest. Anyone with information on Stokesley’s buildings and families that they would like to share on our web site, perhaps stimulating contributions from others, can contact Keith Burton as noted above.

We hold regular Forums to share ideas and information and to progress topics in the Community Care building. All are welcome, contact Hugh Charman (01642710507) for further details, as summer dates will be adjusted to fit with holidays.

We contributed displays to the Jubilee Exhibition in the Town Hall in June and participated in a tent at Stokesley Show involving local history groups. Alongside this we have ran our usual programme of six public meetings with illustrated talks, together with the extra talk noted above. Last summer we arranged a guided walk around Swainby and a conducted tour of Mount Grace Priory which were well attended. We continue to work with the Conservation Area Advisory Group, which advises Hambleton Planning on planning applications in the Conservation Area and other issues, such as developments that have not been approved.

The Society is registered with Civic Voice, so that members are eligible for National Trust passes (maximum of two passes per Society member). These can be obtained by writing to Gill Roxborough, Civic Voice, Unit 101, 82 Wood Street, The Tea Factory, Liverpool, L1 4DQ, enclosing a stamp addressed envelope with the name and contact details of the Society. If you are already a Trust member the pass can be given to friends or family. An English Heritage Passes valid for one visit can be obtained by the same procedure or downloaded by visiting HTTP://

The Committee

Our President is Tom Berry. Committee representatives are:

Hugh Charman Chairman, Conservation 710507
Eric Lee Treasurer, Membership 711112
Frank Robinson Conservation, Publications 711356
Richard Thomas Purchasing 711213
David Maudsley Public Meetings 712760
Chris Taylor Summer Events 710680
Derek Whiting Publicity, Photography 710700
Keith Burton Website 321253

The Society's aims are:

To preserve and improve the appearance of the town,
To stimulate public interest in the beauty, history and character of the town and its surroundings.

Please use the form below if you would like to be involved, also for membership application and renewal, returning it with your subscription to Eric Lee, 71 Riverslea, Stokesley. Email addresses will help us keep you informed.

Name & Address: ........................................................................


Email address ....................................... ………….. Tel .........................

New Member ..... or Renewal ..... (please tick)

SUBSCRIPTION: Per household, £10 for three years or £5 for one year.
Life membership, £50. Membership runs in calendar years.

I am interested in helping with (please tick):
Participating in the Stokesley’s Heritage Project: please note any particular interest: ……..
Stokesley Pride Thursday working parties (meet 9.30am outside the Manor House) involving planting, watering and other projects: ...…

see newsletter no. 43

see newsletter no. 42

see newsletter no. 41

see newsletter no. 40