HACKNESS, a parish in the wapentake and liberty of Whitby Strand; 6½ miles NW. of Scarborough. The church dedicated to St. Peter (see Churches for photograph), is a very ancient structure; the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Marquis of Annandale, and the Rev. Thomas Irvin is the incumbent. The very elegant mansion at this place, was built by the late Sir Richard Vanden Bempde Johnstone, Bart. Pop. 143.
Hackness is a small village in a most romantic situation, in a delightful vale, from which several others run in various directions of the country. The principal road thither from Scarborough, lies over Haybrow, a lofty eminence, from the summit of which is a noble view of the castle, the coast, and the ocean. The subjacent country, and the village of Scalby, also form a picturesque landscape. In the descent from this hill to the vale of Hackness, the road lies along the precipitous edge of a glen, of which the sides are adorned with lofty trees. This deep and picturesque ravine, which lies to the left of the road, meeting at length with another from the right, which is equally romantic, their junction forms the commencement of the valley of Hackness. In proceeding a little way farther are two other glens, of which the declivities to the bottom are covered with a profusion of wood. At the western extremity, the valley divides itself into two branches; one of these, in which the present village of Hackness is seated, runs into the moors: through the other the Derwent pursues its course towards the village of Ayton. The hills which surround the vale of Hackness, are from one hundred to one hundred and twenty yards in perpendicular height, and their steep declivities are profusely adorned with lofty trees of the richest foliage. The hand of nature, indeed, has here been lavish of her embellishments, and has moulded these sylvan scenes into such different forms and projections, as render them at once sublime and beautiful. Springs of water bursting from the sides of the hills in natural cascades, or falling with gentle murmurs, contribute to enliven the scenery; and the Derwent, which has its source in the mountainous country to the north, glides with a gentle stream past the village, to the westward of which the bleak and barren moors form a striking contrast to the luxuriant scenes of Hackness. There is a small inn here called the Johnstone Arms, kept by Mrs. Hannah Waites.
In 1088, Serlo, Prior of Whitby, built a cell for Monks, subordinate to Whitby, and King William Rufus granted them six caracutes of land in Hackness and North Field -Burton. There had previously been a cell here, built by Lady Hilda, Abbess of Whitby, in 680, for eight Nuns.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]