"PICKERING, an ancient market-town, in the parish of its name, in Pickering Lythe, in the north riding is 222 miles from London, 92 from Manchester, 26 from York, 8 from New Malton, and about 6 from Kirkby Moorside. This town is recorded to be of great antiquity, being said to hare been built by Peridurus, a king of the Britons, 270 years before the birth of Christ, and to have derived its name from the circumstance of that prince losing his ring, when washing in the river Costa, which was afterwards found in the belly of a pike. It is situated on the verge of the mountainous regions of Blake or Black Moors, and crossed at the bottom by a small river or brook, called Pickering Beck, which, in addition to the other romantic beauties that Pickering possesses, gives a great degree of pleasing and picturesque beauty to the town. The remains of Pickering castle are still to be seen standing, on the brow of a hill, at the end of the town, not far from the church. From the extent of the ruins the building must have been very considerable, and from its situation, a place of great strength and security: in this castle Richard II. was confined for some time previous to being sent to Pontefract, where he was murdered. A large square tower is now remaining, called Queen Elizabeth's tower, from a tradition that she was confined here during the reign of Queen Mary. Pickering was formerly the principal town in this district, and Scarborough, though now of much more importance, was in its wapentake. It formerly sent a member to parliament, which privilege it is said to have lost from failing to pay its representatives their expenses,-which in those days were allowed them. A court leet is held in the castle on the Mondays after Lady-day and Michaelmas, in which small debts are sued for. The government of -the town is vested in a constable and magistrate, appointed at the quarter sessions for the north riding. The parish church, which is dedicated to St. Peter, is an ancient and spacious building, with a fine lofty spire, the benefice is a vicarage, in the gift of the Dean of York, and incumbency of the Rev. John Ponsonby. Here are besides, a chapel each for the Wesleyan, independent and primitive Methodists, and the Quakers have a meetinghouse. Great quantities of brooms are made in the town and neighbourhood, the materials for the manufacture of the article being obtained from the contiguous moors. Upon the river Costa (which rises at the Kildhead) are two large flour mills, and upon the Old Beck stream are three others, all within a mile of the town. The weekly market is held on Monday; and the fairs on the Mondays before February 14th and May 13th, September 25th, and the Monday before November 22nd. By the returns for 1821 the whole parish contained 3,555 inhabitants, and the township 2,748 of that number."
Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29
by Colin Hinson ©2007