SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

1756 ~ 1773

1756 - Bulding of the two bridges over Skelton Beck at Skelton Ellars.

Skelton Ellers.
Prior to 1756, Skelton Beck had to be crossed by fords on the road ahead to Guisborough and on the Right to Upleatham.
Among the willows on the Left side of the road stood a basket maker's cottage. It was still there in the early 1900's
On the 22nd October 1884 Squire John Thomas Wharton was attacked right at this spot by a violent tramp and rescued by the basket maker.
This was also the scene of the murder of Dan Chilvers in 1909. See - Murder in the beck.
When the age of motoring and cycling came along, the steep hill and sharp bends, just behind, were the cause of many accidents.


George III Penny.
1757 - This was a time of corn shortages and 'at present no exportation is allowed from the kingdom.'

Ralph Jackson's journal records:-
"I walked up town [Guisborough] and saw several women and men...carrying three horse load of corn to the Towl Booth which they had seized from a man as Thomas Dales as he was carrying to Tobias Tayler of Skelton for seed as they pretended, tho I find this Tayler...is charged with shipping corn clandestinely on board smugglers."

1759 - John Wesley preaches in Guisborough for the first time. It is said he also visited Skelton 'several times', but no proof exists.

1760 - The death of George II and the accession of George III.
The new Curate at Skelton was Thomas Kitching, until 1770.


Plaque in Skelton Old Church

4 and 6 Green Rd - Skelton Mawer's Charity School.

An engraving of the old Skelton Castle, which is classified by the Victoria County History as "imaginative".

1763 - SMUGGLERS GROUNDED.
A 30 ton sloop went aground at Saltburn after the crew had gone ashore and left a boy on board the anchored vessel.
It was carrying contraband including over one thousand gallons of brandy and three hundred gallons of gin.
Two men from Skelton, Tommy Tiplady and Bill Richardson, were to help unload it.
The Customs and Excise tax on a gallon of brandy was over 5 shillings, which was the equivalent of a weeks wages and some thought the high profits to be made were worth the risk of the heavy penalties if they were caught.
Apart from the tax on wine and spirits, a duty was levied on imported tobacco, tea, coffee, linen and even some household items.

1764 The Archbishop of York, Robert Hay Drummond sent out a questionnaire to all his Parish priests.
The Skelton in Cleveland, Curate, Thomas Kitching replied as follows:-

Admitted 20 August 1760. Deacon 18 December 1743, [Samuel Chester]. Priest 22 September 1745, Samuel Chester.
1. There are about 240 families, 5 of which are Quakers and 4 are Papists.
2. The Quakers have a meeting house at Moorsholme, but whether it is licenced or not I do not know. They assemble there every Sunday in the morning in small numbers. Their speaker is one Philip Narzleton of Moorsholme aforesaid.
3. There is no publick or charity school within this Parish.
4. There is no alms-house or hospital in this Parish. There are some lands and some cottages belonging to the Church, the profits of which are applyed [and I believe very honestly] to the repairs of the nave or body of the Church.


An "estate" called Sadler Hills was purchased for the Skelton Parish Church in 1718.
The name still survives.
[Map section taken from "Waggonways in North East England",
see Introduction for a Link.]

This curacy was augmented in the year 1718 by a benefaction of 200 from the Trotter family and others who had connexions with that family, by 200 more given by the directors of Queen Ann's Bounty and by 25 given by the late curate.
An estate called Sadler Hills in this Parish was purchased 1735 and the yearly rent is 18.
5. I do reside in the parsonage-house.
6. I have no curate.
7. I perform divine service at Skelton on 2 Sundays in the mornings and in the afternoons. I attend Brotton, which is annexed to the curacy of Skelton. On the third Sunday I perform divine service at Brotton in the morning and in the afternoon. I attend Skelton.
I preach twice every Sunday and I make service at Skelton on holy days.
8. I know of none who come to church that are not baptized, neither do I know of any of a competent age, who are not confirmed.
I have baptized no adults since your Grace came to be archbishop.
9. I catechise at Skelton and Brotton alternately from the beginning of Lent till Whitsuntide. Many of my parishioners send their children, but very few of their servants.
At your Grace's last confirmation, or rather before it, the servants did attend me at the times appointed and I did all I could to meke them understand the principles of our holy religion. I know of no exposition they make use of.
10. The sacrament is administered once every quarter both at Skelton and Brotton. I give notice of it on the preceding Sunday in the form appointed by the Book of Common Prayer. The number of communicants in the parish may amount to 375. At Easter 156 did communicate. At other times the number is not so great. I have refused the sacrament to none since I was admitted curate.
11. The chapel at Brotton is annexed to the cure of Skelton and is served in the manner above specified. It is distant from Skelton about 3 measured miles. There is no particular endowment belonging to Brotton. We have no chapel in ruins.
12. There has no public penance been performed since your Grace came to be archbishop, neither do I know of any commutations of penance made by any of my parish within that time.

1765 - Plaque in old church of Lord's Prayer, placed by church wardens., M Smith and C Foster. Moved with other items on rebuilding.

21st June. The Birth of John Hall-Stevenson Jr, who changed his name to John Wharton in 1788.

The alum works at Hagg had a short revival, but by now were not profitable.

1769 - The steam engine was patented by James Watt.

18th April - CUSTOMS MAN ASSAULTED.
At the North Riding Quarter Sessions held at Thirsk John Hutchinson of Skelton in Cleveland, a blacksmith, was convicted of assaulting, beating and abusing William Sisterton, an Officer of the Customs in the execution of his duty. Fined 50 and committed to York Castle, until he be discharged by order of the the Court of Exchequer, pursuant to the statute of the 13th and 14th of King Charles II.

1770 - New Curate at Skelton All Saints was John Parrington.

24 November - SKELTON MURDERER HANGED AND DISSECTED.
William Smith, a miller, was murdered at night in his bed at home in Skelton in Cleveland by Luke Atkinson who also lived in the village.
On Sunday evening he told Mr Warton that he had without the least provocation for 3 weeks before the perpetration of the murder several times a strong inclination to commit it; but had always got the cruel thought driven from his mind, till the unhappy night in which he effected it, when he went to bed, but could not rest;

"Murder most foul."

that he arose from out of his bed and fell to prayer, in hopes of diverting these thoughts; but so irresistible was the impulse, that he at last went to the house of William Smith armed with a mattock and hatchet, broke open the door with the mattock, and found him asleep in bed, where he struck him several times on the head, but whether with the mattock or hatchet he did not remember; and that afterwards he took the deceased's purse containing one half guinea, a quarter guinea, about five shillings in silver and sixpence in copper. He declared that his wife was ignorant of the murder and died penitently.

1771 - 18 March. Luke Atkinson of Skelton was convicted of the murder of William Smith at York Assizes. He was executed at the York Tyburn without Micklegate Bar and his body sent to the hospital for dissection.

November. Heavy floods in the Tees area washed away bridges


Front of a Map of Skelton Estate dated 1773.
This image kindly contributed by Dr Tony Nicholson of Brotton.

1773 - WILL OF THOMAS MAWER.
The sum of 20 pounds [worth 1.500 in year 2002 values] was left by a Thomas Mawer for the education of 4 poor children from Skelton and nos 4 and 6 Green Road was bought for this purpose for 30 10s 6d. A section of the deeds reads:-

"Reciting the Will dated 5th October 1755 of Thomas Mawer whereby after sundry specific bequests he gave and devised unto Quesiphorous Hoops and William Harrison all such sums of money he then had out at an intt upon any mtges bojds etc and all his ready monies debts goods, cattle chattels and psnl est whatsoever. In trust amongst other things to pay the sum of 20..... into the hands of the Minister and 4 or more of the principal inhabitants of Skelton afore said to be by them placed out at intt upon such security as they or the major pt of them should approve of and such interest to be applied and given to sm. Schoolmaster or Schoolmistress for teaching such and so many poor children as the said Minister and inhabitants think fit."

MAP OF 1773.
A map of Skelton Estate in 1773 is shown on the next page.
It has been sent by John Dobson, an old Skeltoner and now living in N Walsham, Norfolk. [Redrawn, as the original is hard to show as a webpage.]
The purpose appears to have been purely a record of the land owned byHall Stevenson of Skelton Castle. Dwellings are hard to make out.
The illustration on the Front of "Crazy Tales", published 1762, [see previous page], which was taken from the engraving above has often been thought to show what the Castle looked like at this time.
This map clearly shows that there was no moat in 1773. Half of the Castle is covered by woodland. The entrance road runs past the old All Saints Church directly into the Castle

and the outline of the Castle on the map shows the building juts out on the Left of the facade.
A moat existed at either side of the Castle after 1785, when John Wharton had it rebuilt. This was created by damming the streams that run either side and filling the natural valleys, the level being controlled by a sluice gate at the rear of the Castle that ran off the water to the Mill Pond below.
Some evidence has been found of a moat in older times the ran in front of the Castle, that has been filled in.
The pear-shape of the grounds of the Old Church stands out and this feature is generally taken to indicate a History dating back to the very earliest Anglo-Saxon Christian times.
The roads then would have been unmetalled cart tracks and some like Boroughgate Lane, Stackgarth Lane are now just footpaths.

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