North York Moors Histroy 

 History of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park!

There are records of 12,000 archaeological sites and features in the North York Moors National Park of which 700 are scheduled ancient monuments.

Mesolithic - Around 8,000BC: Britain was still part of the European land mass and communities of Middle Stone Age people migrated to England and began to inhabit the North York Moors. Relics of this early hunting, gathering and fishing community have been found.

Neolithic - 5,000 BC : Global sea levels had risen, Britain was cut off from mainland Europe. These early farmers were the first to destroy the forest cover of the moors. Their settlements were concentrated in the fertile parts of the limestone bel.

Bronze Age - Around 2,000 BC: During a 1,400 year period these people inhabited all areas of the moors and finally destroyed much of the original forest.There are about 3,000 Bronze Age burial mounds on the moors.

Iron Age - 600 BC: There are remains of two promontory hillforts at Boltby Scar and Rudston Scar and a collection of circular stone hut foundations on Percy Rigg.

Roman - AD 71:The Roman army had reached Yorkshire where they established a fort at Malton. From here a number of roads radiated. One of these roads was Wades Causeway, which led north-eastwards over the Vale of Pickering and across the moors to the North Sea coast.


Anglo-Saxon and Viking: These Angles, Saxons and Jutes gave many of the place names to villages on the moors. In the ninth century Viking raiders began to attack the Yorkshire coast and after battle set up a new Danish kingdom based at York. They introduced their language, elements of which still remain in the local dialect, and renamed a number of settlements.

The Middle Ages: Central to the imposition of Norman rule was the building of castles. There are well-preserved ruins at Helmsley, Pickering, Scarborough & others existed at Ayton, Danby, Mulgrave and Whorlton. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries monasteries were established on the moors at Whitby Abbey, Rievaulx Abbey, Byland Abbey  & Mount Grace Priory.

Post-mediaeval: In many areas of the moors and their associated dales the settlements took the form of isolated farms and hamlets rather than villages. In the eighteenth century forward looking landlords attempted to improve their lands using drainage schemes and fertilisation measures.

The nineteenth century: In the nineteenth century railways were built from Pickering to Whitby (1836), Middlesborough to Whitby (1868) and Scarborough to Whitby (1884).

Locally sourced iron ore has been processed on the North York Moors from medieval times. Between 1856 and 1926 high-grade magnetic ironstone was mined in Rosedale. In two decades the population of the valley rose from 558 to nearly 3000. The North York Moors is the only source for British jet, In the 1880’s cheap imports produced a decline in the industry. The remains of alum quarries are to be found to the north of the area and along the coast. Alum was important to the textile industry because it was used as a mordant or fixative for dyes that were used to colour cloth.