Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) - Petty Sessional Division of Langbaurgh West - Peer Law Union of Guisborough - County Court District of Stokesley - Electeral Division of Yarm - Rural Deanery of Stokesley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This is a small parish lying between Guisborough and Great Ayton, chiefly the property of Miss Roseberry Mary Staveley (lady of the manor), daughter of the late Thomas Kitchingman Staveley, Esq., Old Sleningford Hall, Ripon; and Mr. Thomas West, who married the niece and heiress of the late Thomas Spence, Esq. The surface of the parish is level in the east, but rises boldly towards the west, culminating in the far-famed
Roseberry Topping. This conical-shaped hill, whose steep sides are "with verdure clad" to the very summit, occupies an isolated position, and commands from its highest point (1,067 feet above the sea level), one of the most extensive and interesting prospects in Yorkshire. Northeastward the view takes in a long line of coast and sea; sweeping round to the north the hills of North Durham are dimly seen through the smoke of the coalfields; whilst to the west lies spread out the beautiful vale of Cleveland; and brown hilly moorlands close in the view to the south. In Camden's time it served as a landmark to mariners, and, by its appearance, the inhabitants of the locality were wont to foretell the coming storm.
"When Rosebury Topping wears a cap,
Let Cleveland then beware of a clap."
Roseberry is supposed by some antiquaries to have been one of the sacred hills of the Brigantian Britons; but, be this as it may, it is quite certain that there was here a very considerable British town or settlement, vestiges of which may still be seen in the hut circles yet traceable from Highcliffe, in Hutton Lowcross, to the base of the hill; and again on the top, where a double series of these pit dwellings surround the summit. Mr. Ord thus describes these prehistoric relics :- " The remains of these British dwellings are in the form of large oval or circular pits, varying considerably in size, viz., eight to twelve feet deep, and 60 to 80 and 100 yards in circumference. These pits commence near Highcliffe, stretch across Bold Adventure Gill and the Kildale road, nearly on a line with Haswell's hut, run along the lower end of Hutton Moor, below the Haggs, Hanging Stone, and White Hills, and terminate in a deep line of circumvallation round the upper part of Roseberry Topping. Of the pits here mentioned there are many hundreds in single or double lines, of a zig-zag irregular form, and divided from each other by a broad, well-defined ridge or rampart of earth, sufficient for the passage of men, horses, and cattle; and, in some cases, larger pits being connected with smaller by an entrance."
This hill is said by Mr. Ord to derive its name from the old British word ros, an elevated promontory, or hill, and the Saxon burgh or bury, a fort, thus signifying the hill-fort.
The total area of the parish is 1,172 acres, of which the rateable value is £972. The inhabitants in 1881 numbered 116.
The manor of Newton was granted soon after the Conquest to Robert de Brus, Lord of Skelton, from whom it passed in marriage to the Thwenges, of Kilton. Subsequently the estate passed into other hands, and eventually into the possession of the present owners.
The village is situated at the foot of Roseberry Topping, five miles N.E. of Stokesley, and four S.W. of Guisborough. The Church is a small ancient edifice, consisting of nave, with south porch and chancel, the latter of which was rebuilt by the late patron, T. K. Staveley, Esq., in 1855. This church was formerly subordinate to Ayton, and belonged to the monks of Whitby, but was made parochial at the Reformation. The living is in the gift of Miss B. M. Staveley, and is worth £95 per annum. The present vicar is the Rev. W. E. Jackson, B.A.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.