"KIRKBY MOORSIDE, frequently written Kirby Moorside, is a market town and township, in the parish of its name, in the wapentake of Ryedale, North Riding, 221 miles from London, 95 n.e. from Manchester, 29 n. from York, 20 s. from Thirsk, 8 w. from Pickering, and about 6 n.w. from Helmsley ; situated on the banks of the river Dove, and almost surrounded by steep hills. The town has nothing to boast in appearance, and is so irregularly built, that although it contains some good houses, the uniform features characteristic of a town are not apparent. There are several interesting ruins in the neighbourhood, but of the castles, for there were two, nothing now remains ; but the site of each may be easily ascertained. Mr. Christopher Boyes, of Castle gate, in this town, possesses a curious key, which it is believed belonged to the castle, that formerly stood at the end of Castle gate ; its antique fashion, together with the tradition attached to it, renders it a great curiosity. In a house in the Market place, here, died George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, in poverty, having dissipated his fortune in dissolute extravagance. Mr. Cole, the present occupier of the house, has a seal, which he found in a crevice of the chamber, where the duke breathed his last, with a crest, supposed of the Villiers family, engraved thereon. The church of Kirkdale, two miles hence, on the road to Helmsley, will attract the notice of the antiquary, from its ancient dial and Saxon inscription ; the geologist also will be gratified by inspecting the curious cave there, in which many fossil remains were discovered in 1820. There are no manufactures belonging to this town : on the Dove and other streams in the neighbourhood are corn mills, together with lime and free stone quarries ; in the town malt is made, and there are some breweries. This town is one of the stations named in the new Boundary Act, for taking votes at the election of members for the North Riding of the county. The places of worship are the parish church, dedicated to All Saints ; and chapels, for Wesleyan methodists, independents, and the society of friends. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the gift of the King, and incumbency of the Rev. Edmund Gray ; whose curate is the Rev. Henry King. There has recently been established here, a free school, which is supported by subscriptions, to which the reverend gentleman above mentioned have liberally contributed : the number of scholars generally amount to about 100 ; the present master is Mr. Robert Hornsey, in every respect qualified for the situation. The country around here presents many delightful views, and some are eminently picturesque. The land is very fertile, producing heavy crops of grain. The market is held on Wednesday, and the annual fair on the Tuesday in Whitsun week.
The parish of Kirkby Moorside contained, at the last census, 2,324 inhabitants, and the township 1,802 of that number."
[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]