Recently a gentleman called Bill Burnett made contact with the Group through the website asking if anyone could tell him where “Greenhows in the parish of Skelton” is or was. He had come across it in a will whilst researching his family tree. Our Secretary replied as follows:
“I have lived here almost all of my 65 years. I am not aware of any farm, hamlet, or other feature in the area that has that precise name. A perusal of the modern OS 1:25,000 map shows the following similar place names, all lying in the ecclesiastical parish of Skelton:
- to the west of the road that connects Brotton and Kilton there is a Howe Hill
- there is a community called Stanghow, which lies to the south of Lingdale
- the road that connects Skelton-in-Cleveland to Lingdale is known as Claphow and has, alongside it a small reservoir called Claphow Reservoir
- to the east of that reservoir is Greenhills Farm
None of those are, as I said, precise matches. So let’s step back for a minute and consider the name: Greenhow. The “how” part denotes a hill or mound. So Greenhow means the hill that is green (probably implying grass-covered rather than bare earth, rock, moorland or wooded).
There is one other possibility. Adjacent to Skelton-in-Cleveland is the village of Skelton Green. Historically, it was also known as Manley’s Green. Many of the prominent hill tops in the Cleveland area have Bronze Age or Iron Age burial mounds on them called tumuli (singular: tumulus). There is one such on the highest point of the ridge that runs south-west from Skelton Green. This tumulus is marked on the OS 1:25,000 maps to the west of Airy Hill Farm. Greenhows might have referred to this location.
Personally, I would be inclined to go with Greenhows being an earlier form of Greenhills [Farm]; but this is purely speculative.”
Has anyone any other suggestions or comments?