Monday, 17 August 2009

History of Westerdale from 1923

"A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2"

An interesting read about early history of Westerdale can be found online here.

I'll quote the main section about Westerdale here but there is much more relating to Baysdale and the area in general.

"The parish is composed of the township of Westerdale and hamlets of Baysdale and Esklets, all lying in lofty, narrow valleys among the Cleveland Hills. Its area is 9,914 acres of land, of which 663 acres are arable, 1,570 acres permanent grass, 9 acres woods and plantations, and the rest grouse moor covered with heather and bracken, rising from the dales where the height is about 600 ft. to a height of 1,500 ft. above ordnance datum. An Inclosure Act was obtained in 1810–11.

The earliest recorded lords, the Balliols of Barnard Castle, held the forest called first Westerdale, then Baysdale and finally Stokesley. The second Bernard de Balliol held this in the latter half of the 12th century, and between 1240 and 1251 Ada de Balliol granted half the forest of Baysdale to Hugh de Eure. This moiety subsequently descended with the manor of Stokesley; it was described in 1716 as 'a large forest or moor called Stokesley and Stockdale Moor,' extra-parochial, containing 2,500 acres, and still appears as the forest of Stokesley in 1790. Between 1154 and 1181 the second Bernard de Balliol granted to Rievaulx Abbey 2 oxgangs of land in Westerdale, pasture for 120 animals throughout his forest of Westerdale, and in connexion with this pasture a house and close near Wooddale Beck (Wulvedalebec) by 'Hogthaith.' With the consent of his forester the canons might set snares to entrap wolves, and their shepherds when threatened by wild beasts or thieves might freely blow their horns. The abbey was assessed for 11s. 4d. subsidy in Westerdale in 1301–2.

Barrows here have been opened and in two an axe-hammer and other prehistoric remains have been found; there are earthworks on Crown End.

The subsoil is upper and lower lias and inferior oolite, the soil peat and clay. There is no record of iron mining, but this was carried on by Rievaulx Abbey in the adjacent parish of Danby, and besides the Hole Pits there are eight slag or 'Cinder' hills in Westerdale. Jet of inferior quality was worked for a short time.

The population is entirely agricultural, the products of the district being butter, cheese, cattle and wool. Of late years great attention has been paid to the breeding of horses, sheep and cattle."

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