History of Grewelthorpe
Roman times: the first known settlers in Grewelthorpe were here in Roman times. Remains of a Roman camp have been found at Camp Hill, on the outskirts of the current village on the road to Masham. In 1850 the well-preserved body of a Roman soldier was found in the peat on Grewelthorpe Moor.
The Vikings: the village itself is thought to have been founded by the Danes. ‘Thorp’ meant ‘daughter village’, and older records of the village refer to it as just Thorpe or Thorpe in Kirkbyshire.
1086: The Domesday Book: the Saxon landowner Gospatric owned the village and surrounding land, totalling 840 acres.
13th Century: The village and surrounding lands are held by first the Mowbrays and then Fountains Abbey and the Knights Templar.
14th century: the village suffered four outbreaks of plague. In 1319 the Scots on their way to and from the battle of Myton passed through the area wreaking death and destruction. The 1379 poll tax records show 81 taxpayers (ie those aged 16 and over).
16th century: following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, on 20th May 1533 Marmaduke Wyvell of Little Burton purchased a grant of lands and tenures in Grewelthorpe.
18th century: open land around Grewelthorpe was enclosed by Act of Parliament. William Aislabie completed Hackfall, with its grottos and follies, in the gorge to the north of Grewelthorpe which leads down to the River Ure.
19th century: The village thrived. Local businesses included the manufacture of straw hats and cream cheese, a flour mill, a tannery, two blacksmiths, a nail maker, a joiner and cabinet maker, cobblers, tailors and various shops including a post office.
1846: St James Anglican church was built. Previously Grewelthorpe had been part of the neighbouring Kirkby Malzeard parish, but it was designated as an independent parish in 1848.
1866: the Methodist Chapel opened, replacing a smaller chapel built in 1803.
1876: Grewelthorpe Church of England Primary School opened, replacing a ‘Dame School’ which had been operating since 1842.
1894: Grewelthorpe Parish Council was established. Previously Grewelthorpe had been represented on the Kirkby Malzeard governing body.
1917: an unofficial war memorial, a wooden crucifix which remains to this day, was erected on the green at Cross Hills (see 1993 below).
1945: Grewelthorpe Women’s Institute was established.
1972: soldiers of the Royal Engineers commenced a major operation to dredge the duck pond.
1974: local authority responsibility for the village moved from the former West Riding County Council at Wakefield to North Yorkshire County Council at Northallerton.
1978: Grewelthorpe Sports and Social Association was formed, and still organises the village Gala Day (July) and Bonfire Night, as well as many outings and events, mostly for the children of the village.
1988: Hackfall Wood was acquired by the Woodland Trust.
1991 census: 420 inhabitants in 177 dwellings.
1993: dedication of the British Legion official war memorial in St James’s churchyard, commemorating Grewelthorpe’s two victims of the World Wars, killed on active service, (Second Lieutenant William George Leathley, aged 20, who was killed at the Battle of the Somme, and Private Leonard Lonsdale, aged 22, who was killed in Italy in the Second World War).
The new millennium
2002: closure of the village’s last (part-time) post office.
2003: new village school opened. The original Victorian schoolhouse has since been redeveloped as a private house.
2006: Neighbourhood Watch scheme established.
2006: the Methodist and Anglican Churches in Grewelthorpe legally combined ‘to become one’, after a voluntary covenant lasting for more than two years. Discussions continue over the future use of the Methodist Chapel building and the adjoining School Room.