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Wapentake of Pickering Lythe - Petty Sessional Division of Pickering Lythe East - Electoral Division of Thornton - Poor Law Union of Pickering - County Court District and Rural Deanery of Malton - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish stretches from the river Derwent northward to the hill called Blackhow Topping, a distance of nine miles as the crow flies, and embraces an area of 10,042 acres, a large portion of which is unenclosed moorland. Towards the north the surface is mountainous, but near the Derwent it is low, and subject to inundation. The whole parish is comprised in one township, the rateable value of which is £3,623, and the population 444. The principal landowners are Sir George Cayley, Bart., Brompton, and the trustees of the late George Lloyd, Esq. The former is lord of the manor.
The village is situated at the foot of a range of moorlands, and is one of the many places in Yorkshire that have received their names from the presence of the abundance of elder or alder trees that grew in the vicinity. The Pickering and Seamer branch of the North Eastern Railway passes near, but the station is named Wilton. The Church (St. John), is an ancient edifice consisting of nave, chancel and tower. It was thoroughly restored in 1882-8, at a cost of nearly £1,000. The living is a perpetual curacy united with Ebberston, and in the gift of the Archbishop of York.
The school is a neat stone structure with residence attached, built by subscription in 1874, in lieu of the old one erected in 1839.
In the moors in the north of the parish near Blackhow Topping are several tumuli, and about two miles south of that eminence is a number of rocks of fantastic shapes fringing the edge of a deep glen. They are called The Bridestones, from some long forgotten legend. Many of them are not unlike mushrooms in shape, and one named the Salt Cellar, from its resemblance to that vessel, is 30 feet high, 20 feet broad at the top, and the stalk which supports it is 3 feet across one way, and 6 feet the other.
[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.