GOATHLAND: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Pickering Lythe - Electoral Division of Eskdaleside - Petty Sessional Division of Pickering Lythe West - Poor Law Union, County Court District and Rural Deanery of Whitby - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

Goathland, Goadland, Godeland, or Goodland, for so it has been variously written, was, formerly, a township under Pickering, but it is now for all purposes, ecclesiastical and civil, a distinct parish. Its area is estimated at 10,055 acres, of.which, 8,353 are moorland; rateable value, £3,259, and population, 514. The principal landowners are M. D. McEacham, Esq., and Captain T. Hill.

Godeland is a dependant manor of the ancient honour of Pickering forest, and has been, from an early period, in the possession of the Duchy of Lancaster. In former times, the tenants were bound, by the tenure of their lands, to protect the breed of a large species of hawk, that resorted to Killing Nab Scar, for the King's use.

The beautiful and secluded vale of Goathland was, previous to the construction of the Whitby and Pickering railway, a terra incognita to the outer world. It is margined on either side by elevated moorland, on whose steep acclivities nestle luxuriant patches of woodland, whilst at the foot, flows, in many curves and windings through rich verdant meadows, the Goathbeck. The scenery is remarkably beautiful, especially in the north, where rugged hills shut it out from the neighbouring vale of the Esk. Further south the valley becomes more contracted by the near approach of the opposing highlands, through narrow deep ravines, in which flow several small streams, leaping and brawling over their rocky beds, forming several pretty cascades. The vale extends from nine to 15 miles N. by E. of Pickering, and though now but sparsely inhabited, there is reason to believe, from the numerous howes and tumuli scattered over the moors, and the traces of an ancient British village at Killing Pits, not far from the church, that the primitive inhabitants dwelt here in considerable numbers.

There was, formerly, a Benedictine Cell or Hermitage here, which was granted by Henry I. to Osmund, a priest, who, with a few companions, took up his abode therein. Subsequently it became a dependent cell of the Abbey of Whitby, but was vacated before the Reformation. It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and is supposed to have stood on the site now occupied by the farmhouse known as the Abbot's House.

The village of Goathland stands on an eminence above the railway station, and consists of the church, Wesleyan chapel, and a few scattered, well-built, modern houses. The church (St. Mary) is a plain edifice, rebuilt in 1821. The living is a vicarage, gross value, £270 a year, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and incumbency of the Rev. Ernest B. Hare, M.A. The school, established in 1808, and endowed with 21 acres of land for the free education of four children, was transferred to the School Board on the formation of that body in 1873.

Beckhole is a village, situated at the confluence of two moorland rivulets, the Wheeldale and Eller becks, which unite to form the Goathland beck. The enchanting scenery around is much frequented by pic-nic parties in the summer season.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.