Scarborough, Yorkshire, England. Geographical and Historical information from 1750.


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.

"SCARBOROUGH, a parish in the North Riding of Yorkshire, 30 m. from York, 169 cm. 204 mm. London, is a very ancient Bor. sheltered on the N. E. side by a high steep rock quite surrounded by the sea, except on the W. side, where is a narrow slip of land. On this rock K. Hen. II. crafted a noble large castle (now in ruins); into which Edw. II. put his minion, Piers Gaveston, to secure him from the resentment of the nobility, whom he had insulted; but they forced it to surrender, and took him prisoner. The top of the rock is a plain of about 19 acres. The houses of the T. which are well-built and strong, are of a romantic situation, bending in form of a half-moon to the main Ocean, and extending confusedly on the declining side of the rock, It is incorporated with 2 bailiffs, a recorder, and C.C. has a good trade, and a commodious quay, one of the best harbours in the Km. and a good number of vessels, chiefly employed in the coal-trade from Newcastle to London. It is the best place, betw. Newcastle and the Humber, for receiving ships in stress of weather, that come from the eastern seas on this coast; and therefore the pier here is maintained at the public charge, by a duty upon coals from Newcastle and Sunderland; and the mariners have erected a hos. for the widows of poor seamen, which is maintained by a rate on vessels, and by deductions out of the seamen's wages. Herrings are taken here in great numbers, from the middle of August to November; with which, and codfish, mackarel, turbuts, and variety of other fish, they supply the city of Yorkshire, The drying, pickling and sale of the herrings, is a great advantage to the inh. tho' it must be observed, that the Dutch gain vastly more by fishing on this coast, for which they used to have a licence heretofore from the governor of the castle; for the English, says Camden, always granted leave for fishing, reserving the honor to themselves, and out of a lazy humour resigning the incredible gain to others; but it is now to be hoped, that the legislature, by a late act for encouragement of the British fishery, has spirited up the industry of the English to share with their neighbours, in collecting the tribute of their own seas. The wealth of this T. must be chiefly ascribed to the numbers of people of all ranks, that flock hither in the hottest months of the year, to drink its waters, which are purgative and diuretic, much of the same kind with those of Pyrmont in Germany. The Spaw-well, as it is improperly called, is a spring a quarter of a m. S. of the T. in the sands, at the foot of an exceeding high cliff, and rises upright out of the earth, near the level of the spring- tides, which often over-flow it. It was discovered, near 150 years ago, by Mr. Ferrow, an inh. It is never dry, and yields 24 gallons of water in an hour. Its qualities are a compound of vitriol, iron, allom, nitre, and salt; and it is very transparent, something like a sky colour. It has a pleasant taste from the vitriol, and an inky smell. The top of the cliff was 54 yards above the high-water mark, till Decem. 29, 1737, when it rent 224 yards in length from the main land, and 36 in breadth, and sunk, with the cattle feeding upon it, near 17 yards perpendicular. During this, the place under the cliff, where the people used to walk, rose 6 or 7 yards above its former level, for above 100 yards in length, on each side of the staith or wharf adjoining to the house; and the wells rising with it, the water failed, and the spring was lost for some time; but on clearing away the ruins for rebuilding the wharf, it was to the great joy of the T. recovered. Here are assemblies and balls, as at Bath and Tunbridge. This place gives title of E. to the Lumley family. The Mts. are on Th. and S. Fair on Holy-Th. The proverb of a Scarborough warning, to denote a sudden surprize, took rise from the seizing of its castle by one Tho. Stafford in the R. of Mary I. with a handful of men, when the T. had no notice of his approach, and was therefore unprovided for its defence. There was a stately tower to the castle, which served as a land- mark to the sailors, but was demolished in the civil wars. In this T. there were formerly 3 mons."

[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Stephen Whatley's England's Gazetteer, 1750]