"GUISBOROUGH, sometimes written Guilsborough and Guisbrough, is a small market town, in the parish of its name, in the eastern division of the liberty of Langbaurgh, North Riding, 244 miles from London, 107 n.e. from Manchester, 49 n. from York, 35 n.e. from Richmond, 8 n.e. from Stokesley, and 14 e. from Yarm. The town is situated about four miles from the mouth of the Tees, where is a small bay, forming a harbour for ships. The alum works of this neighbourhood (the first ever carried on in this country) were very profitable at one period, but they have long since declined, and the general trade of Guisborough is of a confined nature. A court is held here occasionally, for the recovery of debts under 40s. a manorial court once in the year, and the petty sessions, for the eastern division of the liberty of Langbaurgh, every alternate Tuesday, in the town hall. By the new Boundary Act, an appendage to the new Reform Bill, this town is appointed one of the stations for taking votes at the election of members to represent the North Riding of the county. Here was formerly an abbey, and the present church, forming a part of it, seems to have, at one period, vied with many cathedrals in point of elaborate sculpture and beauty of architecture. The east window of the priory exhibits a peculiar elegance, inducing regret with every lover of antiquity that this fine structure had not been spared, even though the tide of opinion had set in strong against its inmates. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas ; the benefice is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the archbishop of York, and incumbency of the Rev. Thomas Pym Williamson.
The other places of worship are a chapel each belonging to the independents, Wesleyan methodists and society of friends. A free grammar school, and a hospital for six men and the like number of women, who shall have attained the age of sixty years and unmarried, were founded and endowed by Robert Pursglove, the last abbot of Guisborough ; there is besides Providence school for boys and girls, conducted upon the national plan, originally established in 1790, by subscription, promoted by Mr. George Venables ; and in 1821 two new school rooms were built. The views around here are very beautiful, the land fertile, and the atmosphere pure and invigorating. The market day is Tuesday ; and the fairs are the last Tuesdays in June and July, and the second Tuesday in November, on which latter day hiring of servants takes place. Public markets for wool are held on the last Tuesday in April, the Tuesday before Whit - Sunday, third Tuesdays in August and September, second Tuesday in November, and last Tuesday in March. By the census of 1821 the parish of Guisborough contained 2,180 inhabitants, and, in 1831, 2,210, of which last number 1,988 were returned for the township."
[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]