Whether you are a returning visitor or a first-timer, welcome to our website! Please take your time to have a good look around. If you can add anything to our knowledge and understanding of the area, please do make use of the “Leave a Reply” feature on the relevant page. If you have questions you would like to have answered or a more general comment you would like to make, please make use of the “Contact us” tab.

Happy Browsing!

New for 2019

8th November 2019 – A full set of digitised copies of “The Key” magazine have been added to the website. (See tab on menu bar above)

17th February 2019 – A new article has been added, entitled Two Miners’ Friends and a sister

7th February 2019 – Our programme of Heritage Walks can be found here.

7th February 2019 – Cleveland Way 50th Anniversary – see here.

Additions and other changes in 2018

1st October 2018 – Our Secretary’s book about the alum industry was published on this date. See here and here for more details.

2nd March 2018 – The programme of Heritage Walks for this year is now available here. A PDF file of biographical details of the Fallen of WW1, under the title “Lest We Forget” has been added here.

Additions and other changes in 2017

29th July 2017 – Two new articles have been added: The Elusive Jane Emmerson, The Saga of Hannah and Margaret. See here

6th February 2017 – A new tab, “Articles”, has been added to the banner above. Some previous material has been moved to this new page. Two new articles, “Life after the workhouse” and “A Hike for Hannah” have been added.

6th January 2017 – Details of this year’s programme of Heritage Walks have been added here.


All text, images and downloadable files on this website are © Skelton History Group 2013-2019 (unless credited otherwise)

39 Responses to Welcome

  1. Sarah Redshaw says:

    Hello. I am so glad that this site exists. My great-grandparents lived and worked in Skelton. My great-grandfather was a groom at the castle. They lived in house # 13 until my grandmother was around 8 years old and the war forced so much change. My great-grandfather had to move to Corby and get a job in the Steel factory. Their names were Thomas and Mary Beck. Their daughter was Jean Beck. I am fascinated by this part of my family’s history and I am eager to look all through your site. Do you happen to know of a book that I could find that might have pictures of the castle (country house), stables (where my Great-grandfather worked) and the homes? Either as the estate is now or as they were in the early 1900’s? I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to find a good one. My grandmother, who is now in her late 80’s, would treasure it. Thank you.

  2. Sarah and I have entered into a dialogue via e-mails. I have already sent her some information and one photograph. Others will be following shortly.

  3. Steve Swales says:

    Greetings. My great grandfather, and two more generations back lived in North Skelton, at #20 Bolckow Street, until 1891, when his grandfather died, and shortly afterward, they emigrated to the USA. This last summer I had the pleasure to visit for a few days. We stayed in Brotton, and in one day visited Kilton Lane Cemetery, where my 4th great grandfather, William Swales, and other relatives are memorialized, and then walked down to North Skelton, by chance stumbling upon the Ironstone Mine ruins, where my great grandfather and his father had worked. We ended up down in North Skelton, and took pictures on Bolckow Street. Living at #20 in 1891, were Daniel Swales, born in 1809, his son Thomas Swales, wife Sarah Ann (Ward), and their children, Elizabeth, William Ward (my great grandfather), Daniel (who also died later in 1891, in the USA), and Mary Alice. Two other children, Thomas and Priscilla had died some years earlier. The Swales had become Primitive Methodists, and were involved in the building of the Primitive Methodist Chapel in North Skelton in 1881. One thing I’ve been unable to determine is where Daniel Swales was buried. I found records that the children, Thomas and Priscilla were buried at Skelton Cemetery, though I don’t know where this is, or if it even still exists. Daniel might also be buried there, or perhaps there was a Primitive Methodist burial ground in the area at that time. Any information you might be able to tell me about this would be most gratefully received. Thank you for creating and maintaining this site!

    • Joyce Marshall says:

      Would you be a relative of the late John Andrew of Oxford? He was a descendant of John Andrew, King of the Smugglers on the Yorkshire coast. His father was a cousin of mine.

  4. Steve Swales says:

    One other thing, I forgot to mention. William Swales (c.1767-1835), is listed on his memorial stone as “of Skelton”, but I’ve been unable to confirm where or exactly when he was born. Any clues there would also be extremely welcome and appreciated.

  5. An e-mail dialogue has been started with Steve.

  6. Mack Skelton says:

    Why was the castle named Skelton?

  7. Steve Swales says:

    Similarly, Swales is either from “by the Swale”, or “Swallow Hill”. Both Swale and Swallow are probably from the Old Norse word Sval, which can mean swallow (the bird) or swift. So, blame it on the Vikings.

    • Mack Skelton says:

      I blame it on her (my wife I believe to be English/Norse) every day…lol Her last name is Pounds. I have this overwhelming feeling that she and I are going to have ancestry from the same region. Sad that our ancestors didn’t/couldn’t better preserve our lineage when they came to the United States.

  8. Steve Swales says:

    Yes. I’d say almost 100% sure your first Skelton ancestor was so-and-so OF Skelton, to distinguish him from so-and-so OF Stokesley, or somewhere else nearby. Many,many English names are the same.

    • Mack Skelton says:

      Awesome. That’s good to hear. I am almost certain that my ancestors came from Ireland to Virginia and migrated Southwest. I know, without doubt, that I come from the Skelton’s who settled in Tennessee, but before that, it’s pretty “wishy washy” to say the least.

      • Steve Swales says:

        email me (steve@swales.us) and maybe I can help fort out your ancestry.

      • Steve Swales says:

        I mean SORT out, of course.

      • Peter Appleton says:

        Mack, I wasn’t paying proper attention when you first posted this.
        When considering the possibility of having Irish ancestry, bear this in mind. The last port of call for ships out-bound from Britain to America was often Queenstown in southern Ireland. On arrival in the USA the immigration officer then asks: “Where have you come from?” What’s the obvious, and literally truthful answer? “From Ireland”. And that, even though the immigrant’s ethnic origin is Scotland, England, Scandinavian, Eastern European, or where-ever. Whilst accepting that there are, indeed, millions of American citizens with genuine Irish ethnicity, in my own mind I’m convinced that there are also millions of descendants of “irish ancestors” living in the USA whose only connection with Ireland is that brief call into port by the ship before heading out into the Atlantic.

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      Hi Steve,
      I love to study the etymology of words and names, and also find many interesting seemingly serendipitous connections in my own journey through life. I see that your surname is Swales, well I was born in Catterick Camp, near Richmond, and have swam, paddled and fished in the river Swale. Often, including in the case of the surname Skelton, it comes about as a result of junior/younger members of a ‘noble family’ beginning to be distanced from the lineage of elder/senior members, and taking up a name based on the local area name.

      Oh, and your reference to old Norse, well there are many links with the areas of Northumberland and Yorkshire, via invasions and inter-marriages, to the Vikings and Danes, and the Normans {Norse men]. The name Norman is/was my own father’s first name.

      As for where I live at present, Beighton in south Sheffield, it was ‘originally’ known as Becktun – the Anglo-Saxon for a small hamlet beside a beck/stream/small river. The Nomans later became the lords and masters and surplanted the Anglo-Saxon name with their own, which evolved into present day Beighton.

  9. Lee-Deane Elmore says:

    I am researching my family history, and there was a Sir John Shelton, 13th Lord of Shelton that was born about 1249 in England. There is reference that he was on record as Sir John of Skelton Castle, Cumberland. He was Knight of the Sire of Cumberland in 1318. I know that Shelton was spelled Skelton and Schelton in some areas. Any idea if this John Shelton had anything to do with Skelton Castle? Or perhaps it was supposed to be Shelton Manor? Thanks.

    • Hi Lee-Deane,
      This is clearly a reference to the Skelton in Cumberland, England (modern day Cumbria) and not to Skelton-in-Cleveland. As far as I know, there was no link between the two communities. The place name derives from Old English scelf-tun, meaning a farmstead on a shelf of level ground. There are several other villages of the same name elsewhere in Yorkshire. Shelton has the same derivation.

      • Laurence Skelton says:

        Hi, skeltonhistorygroup,
        I just wonder if there is some link between Skelton in Cumberland and the Skelton-in-Cleveland – the reason being in the comments made in the House of Commons medieval records that appear to link the two areas via their Members of Parliament.

  10. Richard says:

    Hi there my grandparents lived in Harker street during th 1970s and I had many a great holiday there everything was so different for me living in essex I used to hang around with the boy next door and he would teach me all about pigeons and racing them,we would walk through the woods to saltburn go on the pier and on one of the arcade machines you could win a single ciggarette which we would smoke walking back also I saw old abandoned mine workings I loved my time up there so much that now in my late tos I still come up there yearly to look around and remember, also have a drink in the green inn,

    • Next time you’re up this way, make contact again. I’d love to share memories over a pint!

    • My mother’s family had the Green Inn in Skelton in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. Two of my sister’s were born there, as was my mother. My mother’s maiden name was Tate. We dropped in there some years ago on a trip overseas, but it was half the size it was originally.

  11. Richard says:

    Hi there will do we are up there yearly R

  12. Rebecca Cacioppo says:

    I wonder if you could help me. I’ve recently moved in to Newlands Farm on Airy Hill Lane and was wondering if there were any old photographs or maps due to the age of the house? Can you advise where I should start as I’ve no idea!
    Thank you in advance

  13. ron bruce says:

    hi there .is there any document to say if my ancestors had a castle at castleton . thats provided my grandmas . were good / 3yrs on crusade is a long time. never mind the years after.
    iam i right in thinking peter de brus the 2nd was the keeper of scarborough castle for the king.
    john? family and history like your selfs is my passion . regards ron .

    • Hi Ron,
      Thanks for contacting the Group. The most authoritative source about the Brus family is “The Brus Family in England and Scotland 1100-1295” by Ruth M Blakely, published by The Boydell Press in 2005. Although Ruth is an academic, the book is written in a very readable style. It will answer your questions, and many of the ones you haven’t yet thought of!

    • Laurence Skelton says:

      Hi, Ron,
      there is a circuitous link to Governorship of Scarborough castle.
      Joan de Brus, a daughter of Peter/Piers de Brus of Skelton and Danby married Peter/Piers de Mauley II, Sheriff of Northamptonshire – who begot Peter/Piers de Mauley III, 3rd Lord de Mauley – who married Nichole de Gaunt, a daughter of Sir Gilbert de Gaunt, who was 1st Lord Gaunt AND Governor of Scarborough castle – phew!

      • ron arthur bruce says:

        hi there laurance, i am sure i read some where a long time ago . that peter de brus 1/2or/ 3 held scarborough castle at one point , king john ? and one of them married the sherrif of yorks daughter , needless to say iam from the scottish branch as the yorkshire branch died out 1272
        peter the third. hence marmaduke de twang . and lucy. william de brus still had hartley pool .and yarm ? in the de brus family till around 1308 ish. edward 1st gave his lands to the cliffords.
        they had a manor house at hart village where the school now stands. my regards ron

  14. Laurence Skelton says:

    Hi, ron arthur bruce,
    and hoots mon to the Scottish branch of the family. Do you know that the De Brus/the Bruce family split was reinforced by an actual family crisis of ‘loyalty’ at the Battle of the Standard {near Northallerton], when the then father and elder brother sided with the English king, and the younger son sided with ‘Duncan’ the Scottish king. The English won the day and the younger son was captured, but considered as too young to be a ‘bona fide’ prisoner he was sent back to the arms of mummy. When he grew up/older he decided to move north of the tenuous border and seek his fortune in Scotland, where he founded the medieval line of Scottish royalty. If I recall correctly Robert the Bruce is about 5 generations decended from him.
    Happy sleuthing!

    p.s. I think you could also be right regarding an early Peter/Piers de Brus, I do know that we have ‘loyalty’ links to King John, and also links with Hartlepool – indeed my own father was born in Hartlepool. I also seem to remember one of our ancestors of about that time having a legal argy bargey with the Bishop of Durham over salvage rights along the part of coast adjoining Hartlepools.

    Oh, and of course we also have familial ties to the de Cliffords.

  15. Laurence Skelton says:

    Oh Ron,
    I forgot to mention that the De Brus Scottish links, through intermarriages with other lineages and such as clan chiefs, sees Shakespear’s ‘Scottish Play’ as based on several ties. MacBeth is a 28th generation great-uncle, Duncan I, King of Scotland is a 1st cousin 29 generations removed, and Malcolm II MacKenneth was husband to one of my 31st generation great-grandmothers. Skeltons were also involved both sides of ‘the border’ as Border Reivers. It seems that history has saddled us with quite a lot of ‘iffy’, but interesting, folks.

    • ron arthur bruce says:

      hi laurence . it was david the first who was at the battle of the standard. he was the youngest of 4 sons to malcolm the third , and margaret , david was the brother inlaw of henry the first
      that is why he was on the side of matilder henrys daughter . bernard de brus was for stephen we know why. its all been done before . one on either side then you dont lose all your lands.
      king robert de brus was the 7th lord of annandale 6 robert in the line one william .
      my own branch left scotland in 1700 and moved to halifax . west yorkshire . iam not far away
      birstall. regards ron

  16. David Toward says:

    Message:: Hi, long shot here. I’m looking into family history and found my great grandfather James Gordon Balfour was employed by Wharton Estate. And live at 4 Robinson Street, Skelton in 1891. And Airey Hill Farm in c.1900 Do you have a contact where I might source you old photos of this man and his family? Many thanks D

    • Hi David,
      Thank you for contacting the History Group through our website.

      The History Group does not hold any family photos that might help you in your search. However, you may have better success by contacting the East Cleveland Image Archive. Their website URL is shown below:

      Wishing you success in your search,
      kindest regards,
      Peter Appleton
      Secretary, Skelton History Group.

  17. Brian Sayer says:

    Do you have any information or references to Little Moorsholm circa 1720 – 1740 and any families, especially John & Judith Sayer, who lived there at that time please?

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