Wapentake of Pickering Lythe - Petty Sessional Division of Pickering Lythe East - Electoral Division of Scalby - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Scarborough.
GRISTHORPE and LEBBERSTON are two townships in the parish of Filey, in the East Riding, but situated within the boundary of the North Riding, to which they belong for all parliamentary and fiscal purposes. Gristhorpe contains 1,202 acres and 203 inhabitants, and is rated at £1,781. T. K. Beswick, Esq., is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The township was enclosed under an Act of Parliament obtained in 1702. The soil is a deep heavy loam, and the chief crops, wheat, oats, barley, and grass. The village stands 2 miles W. by N. of Filey, 5½ S.E. of Scarborough, and near the station of its own name on the Hull and Scarborough branch of the North-Eastern railway. It is mentioned in Domesday Book as Griestorp, and was then a parcel of the manor of Falsgrave. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have each a small chapel here, but the members of the Established Church attend Filey, where also is the school for the children.
In 1824, the late W. Beswick, Esq., opened an ancient British barrow here, and under some large stones, forming a rude cist vaen, found the skeleton of a man, the skull and teeth being quite perfect. Ten years later another tumulus was excavated by the same gentleman, and some very interesting relics of the early Britons were brought to light. At the depth of six feet below the surface was discovered a coffin, rudely hollowed out of the trunk of an oak tree, seven feet nine inches long by three feet broad. It had been scooped out by the aid of flint chisels, but some instrument of larger size had been used in felling it, the marks of the strokes, nine inches in length, being still visible. A lid similarly hollowed covered the coffin, the uneven fractures on the one corresponding with those on the other, showing that the trunk had been split in two; the coffin having been formed out of one portion and the lid out of the other. Within the coffin was a perfect skeleton, measuring six feet two inches. The inside measurement of the coffin was only five feet four inches, and the body must consequently have been doubled up, knees under chin, so as to admit of being placed within. It was laid on its right side, with head towards the south and face towards the rising sun, and appeared to have been wrapped in the skin of some animal, the hair of which was soft and fine. The bones are large, and the head beautifully formed and of extraordinary size. The skeleton had been preserved in a very singular manner by tanning, and changed to an ebony colour by the action of the tannin and gallic acid contained in the green trunk out of which the coffin had been formed, and in its very thick bark, which was also quite entire when found. The skeleton was covered by a white substance, which proved to be a singular variety of adipocere, into which the flesh had been converted by the admission of water either through the line of junction of the coffin and lid, or through a hole which there was in the bottom of the coffin. Among the weapons which had been placed in the coffin with the body were a bronze spear head or dagger, the flint head of a small javelin, some rude arrow heads of the same material, the fragments of a ring, two pins of horn or bone, &c. The skeleton was evidently that of a man both tall and well made, and, from the weapons and ornaments buried with him, we may infer that he bad occupied some exalted position among the ancient Brigantes. All these relics are now in the museum at Scarborough.
The township lies on the coast. The cliffs enclosing the bay rise to an elevation of 285 feet above the sea level.
LEBBERSTON is a township comprising 1,277 acres, belonging chiefly to Christopher Muston, Thomas Darrell, R. Bowman, John W. Woodall, Esq., J.P., and Thomas Byron, Esq., J.P. The rateable value is £2,033, and the population in 1881 was 157. The village stands two miles W. by N. of Filey, and half-a-mile from Gristhorpe railway station. There are some small charities amounting. to about £6 per annum.
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