Newsletter No. 46 April 2014


Summer Events

Wednesday 7 May – A walk around Great Ayton - This walk will be led by Ian Pearce who knows a great deal about the village. It will complete the very popular walk he led last summer by covering the second half of the Village: an opportunity to learn more about the history of Gt. Ayton. There will be a small charge of £1 for non-members. Meet at 6 pm at the Buck Inn car park in Great Ayton. Please do join us for a bite to eat or a drink at the Buck Inn at the end of the walk. Telephone Chris Taylor on 01642 710680 by Monday 5 May if you wish to come.

Monday 12th May - Heritage Project Forum: This will be at the Record Office, Northallerton at 10 am to progress current research.

Friday and Saturday, 16th and 17th May – An Exhibition on Stokesley District and the Great War - topics will include Stokesley before the Great War, some lives of the Fallen and of those who served and returned, the war through the eyes of the Hall Diary, the Manor House as a war hospital, conscientious objectors, the War Memorials, Charles Hall and the Book of Remembrance, and the consequences both good and bad on the development of the town.

There will also be a 'Bring and Tell' area, where Stokesley folk can tell us about their relatives and their memories and show us photographs and objects from that time. We would welcome the support of all interested Stokesley people in terms of ideas, equipment, mounting and manning the exhibition.

Tuesday 5th Aug - A walk around Northallerton: This will be led by Jennifer Allison of the Northallerton and District Local History Society, with the first half this year and the second half in 2015. We will have an opportunity to learn about the history and buildings of this important local Town. There will be a small charge of £1 for non-members. Meet at 6 pm at the Golden Lion Hotel, High Street, Northallerton, where there will be an optional meal after the walk. Please telephone Chris Taylor on 01642 710680 by 3rd Aug if you wish to come.

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

Northallerton – the Evolution of a County Town: by Jennifer Allison (who is leading the walk mentioned above) on Monday 29 September.

Pictures from the Past: by Bryan Clare, on Monday 27th October.

Stokesley Flax Mill – the Full Story? by Hugh Charman on Monday 24th Nov.

The following Mondays have been booked for next year’s talks in the Town Hall: 26th January, 23th February and 23 March.

Stokesley’s Heritage Project

The main activity over the last year related to our Heritage Project, supported by a Heritage Lottery Grant. One of its aims is to widen interest and involvement in our heritage so that it is valued by future generations, so we especially value involvement and cooperation with local schools. With Stokesley Primary School this started with Year 5 pupils last June. So far it has involved four interactive sessions with Kev Cale, our Heritage Advisor, for 60 pupils, introducing Archeology and Heritage Studies, including the handling of samples, two guided tours of the Northallerton Record Office, and a talk by Ian Pearce, from Great Ayton Local History Group, on the film, Farmer Moving South, which recorded the transportation by rail of a local farm from Stokesley Station to Sussex on 31 Dec 1950. There were four guided walks for groups of 30 pupils. Last July Keith Burton and Hugh Charman joined Kev to lead walks for two groups of 30 pupils: quite an inspiring experience with the children taking a lively interest. Following this, our Heritage leaflet packs were given to the school, for lamination and use as teaching aids. In March walks were led by Kev Cale and Keith Burton, who is researching the Great War. They included the Manor House (used as a war hospital), the War Memorial and the Parish Church. At the church they looked at the Book of Remembrance, helped by the Rector, Paul Hutchinson, who had a direct family connection with one of the fallen. Keith gave a presentation on the tragic history of Henry Carter, a war victim of poisonous gas buried in Stokesley’s graveyard.

With the Secondary School last summer, a work sheet for pupils to identify local sites with signs of Rig & Furrow was prepared by Kev for year 7. Forty were completed by the pupils in their own time. The information has been consolidated on one map, helping us to work out how the land was farmed in medieval times. The Committee values this involvement with the Schools, which will continue this year, with the Great War as an additional topic. We consider it good news for the future of Stokesley’s Heritage.

Individual research continues, backed up by forums when needed, on Transport (covering panierways, roads and railways), the Manor and the evolution of Stokesley, the Great War, the flax mill, Preston School and Archaeology. Contributions, ranging from local to international, of memories and evidence, have been much appreciated, particularly on the Great War and Transport. Our heritage web site continues to cover our research topics, especially the work done on the Great War. Keith Burton has done a great job in creating and managing the Web site, and also gave a talk on the Great War as part of our autumn programme.

The aim now for the final part of the project is “the preparation of one heritage leaflet plus further research leading to projects following the completion of this project” (from the HLF Application). As further projects, we aim to produce a booklet on our current research topics, and to install six interpretive panels around the town. The leaflet will be a trail guide complementing these panels.

The Society arranged for a survey of the Manor House roof space by Barry Harrison of the Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group. Our thanks go to Richard and Angela Smelt for giving their permission for this survey which has provided insights into the history of the building. The report is on our heritage web site. Anyone with a historic building who would like the benefit of Barry’s expertise to help in dating it, please contact us via (There is no final 'e' - heritag not heritage).

Alongside this we have run our usual programme of six public meetings with illustrated talks plus summer outings: part 1 of a guided walk around Great Ayton and a conducted tour of Preston Park Museum. We have purchased a new screen for use by the Town Hall: it is a triumph for modern design compared with previous screens we have used, and has greatly improved viewing.

The Manorial Lands Trust has done a good job in arranging the repair of the Town Hall stonework. However, it was realised that further restoration work is required. The Society has donated £1000 to help fund this vital work, as the Town Hall is an important part of our Heritage that has served the town well for the past 160 years.

The Committee

Richard Thomas has resigned from the Committee, which he joined in 1994. He has repainted Stokesley’s blue plaques twice, and also looked after equipment purchasing for the Heritage Project. After retiring he joined a thriving business on the Industrial Estate, which has made increasing demands on his time. At the AGM in January this year Hugh Charman resigned as Chairman but agreed to continue to manage the Heritage Project and as a committee member. He joined the Society and committee in 1965, became joint-Secretary in 1968 and Chairman in 1974. He noted that managing the Heritage Project has proved quite demanding, starting in 2011with the preparation of a pre-application form. Frank Robinson was unanimously elected as Chairman at the AGM. Eric Lee is resigning as Treasurer after 22 years in office, during which he has managed our finances through several major projects. John Edwards has joined the committee. There is a lot happening: if you would like to participate/ join the committee, please let us know.

Our President is Tom Berry. Committee representatives are:

Frank Robinson Chairman, Publications 711356
Eric Lee Membership 711112
David Maudsley Public Meetings 712760
Chris Taylor Summer Events 710680
Derek Whiting Publicity, Photography 710700
Keith Burton Website 321253
Hugh Charman Heritage Project 710507
John Edwards Heritage Project 961603

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.

see newsletter no. 45

see newsletter no. 43

see newsletter no. 42

see newsletter no. 41

see newsletter no. 40