YARM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1835.
"YARM, a parish and market-town in the western division of the liberty of LANGBAURGH, North riding of the county of YORK, 44 miles N.N.W. from York, and 238 N.W. from London, containing 1504 inhabitants. This town, situated on a low peninsula formed by the river Tees, appears to have been formerly of more importance than it is at present, and its decline may be attributed partly to its vicinity to the rising town of Stockton, distant only four miles, and partly to its having been exposed, from its low situation, to floods. On the 17th of February, 1753, from a sudden thaw on the western hills, the water rushed down upon the town, seven feet in depth, destroying and carrying off live stock and household goods to a considerable extent; but the most destructive of these inundations occurred in November, 1771, when the Tees rose so as to occasion, in some parts of the town, a depth of t wenty feet, which, in addition to the destruction of a great quantity of valuable property, occasioned also the loss of some lives; it has been since occasionally subject to similar, though much less violent, calamities. The principal street, which extends north and south, is spacious, and contains some good houses. A bridge of five arches across the Tees, built in 1400, by Walter Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham, has been much improved. A beautiful iron bridge of one arch, of one hundred and eighty feet span, was constructed in 1805; but, owing to some defect in the foundation, it fell down on the 12th of January, 1806, a short time before it was to have been opened to the public, and has not been replaced. The trade principally consists in the exportation of agricultural produce, and the town also participates with Stockton in the salmon fishery of the- Tees, the tide flowing a short distance above it: the corn trade, which at one period was carried on to a considerable extent, has much declined. In addition to the advantages derived from the navigation of the river Tees, a branch from the Stockton and Darlington railway facilitates the transit of goods. The market is on Thursday; and there are fairs on the Thursday before April 5th, on Ascension-day, August 2nd, and October 19th and 20th, for horses, cattle, and cheese, of which last article great quantities are sold on the latter day. A court for the recovery of small debts is held here, twice in the year, by the lord of the manor. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, and diocese of York, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of York. The church, dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, situated at the west side of the town, is a plain neat structure, rebuilt in 1730; it has a handsome painted window, containing a full-length figure of Moses delivering the law on Mount Sinai. The Society of Friends, Independents, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, and Roman Catholics, have each a place of worship. The free grammar school was founded, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by Thomas Conyers, the endowment was increased in 1799, by a bequest from William Chaloner, of £400 three per cent, stock; which, together with the preceding, produces at present an income of £21. 4. as a salary to the master, who has also rent free a small house of two apartments adjoining the school-room. The founder and six other of the inhabitants were, by charter of Elizabeth, incorporated as governors with a common seal, and power to possess lands, to nominate the master, and make statutes for the regulation of the school: but this body is extinct; and the management is in twelve of the principal inhabitants. The usual number of free scholars is fourteen, but none of them are instructed in the classics. The same Mr. Chaloner also bequeathed £100 four per cent, stock to the minister of Yarm for four annual Sunday evening lectures in the parish church. A National school for one hundred and sixty children of both sexes was erected, in 1816, by subscription, and is supported by voluntary contributions: some small bequests are annually distributed among the poor. An hospital, dedicated to St. Nicholas, founded in 1185, and valued at its dissolution at £5 per annum, and a house of Black friars, founded in the thirteenth century, both by the family of De Brus, existed here; but no trace of either is discernible."
[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1835]