Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Skelderskew Cross
The cross was said to have been found at Skelderskew in Commondale where Guisborough Priory held land. “In the later Middle Ages the priory gave up direct exploitation of its ‘Colmandale’ granges and turned the area into a separate manor leased to various tenants…”

Ord tells how the cross was found. Who owned it. Its subsequent history was highlighted in 1910 when it was erected as a memorial to the Rev Linnhe Hodgson, Acting Chaplain of the Leeds Rifles, who was killed by an accidental shot during manoeuvres on the moors near Guisborough. 4 August 1909. It can be seen affixed to a column in Leeds Parish Church:
Copy of this sent to Mr Tom Rossiter, Cleveland Inn, Commondale, Whitby. 1 Jan 1989.After Gavin and self walked both ways and came home in the dark. On our walk back to Guisborough it was good to see two small remembrance poppies had been placed at the foot of the memorial to the local guardsmen.

Similar Cross at Little Malvern Priory – 15 cent:
Reproduced from WDB’s 'Guisborough Priory' 1936 (in typescript & bound).
Students requiring additional information should consult
1. John Walker Ord’s ‘History and Antiquities of Cleveland’ 1846, reprinted 1980, pp 136/7
2. Canon Atkinson’s ‘History of Cleveland’ 1874. Very critical of Ord.
3. ‘Guisborough Before 1900’ Edited by BJD Harrison and G Dixon, 1981, reprinted 1982, pp 69/70

Skelderskew Grange

Situated to the NW of Commondale, the Grange was formerly the property of Guisborough Priory. In 1535 Nicholas Cockerell, brother of the ex-prior of Guisborough was a bailiff of the priory and possibly manager of its Commondale property. It is thought that this was the place where Nicholas was attacked during Bigod’s rising.(1)
“The Commons took his brother Nicholas at his house in Skelderscugh and threatened and held and beat him with their daggers’ pommels, when they took from him 5£. in money, seven silver spoons, a little flat piece of silver, 3 pairs of beads with silver gawdies, 20 head of cattle, oxen and kye and 3 horses, all because he refused to join them. His debts amounted to 961. 13s. 4d. and the monastery owes him 350£ or thereabouts. (2) (Signed by Cromwell)

Ord says that the crucifix illustrated on page 136 of his “History of Cleveland” was discovered at Skelderskew. (See file: Skelderskew Cross.doc)

I have inspected this crucifix and find that Ord overestimated its intrinsic value. The date 1119 on the crucifix appears to have been added at a later date.

“After the Dissolution, the Grange was granted, with some other lands in Guisborough, by Henry VIII to Sir Ralph Bulmer and on his death in 1558 descended to his eight daughters, two of whom in 1564 sold their share to Robert Yoward. In the end, Robert’s youngest son Ralph, who had inherited his father’s property here in 1577, must have bought the rest of the Bulmer interest, for in 1589 he made over the capital messuage of Skelderskew to Thomas Pylley, Junr. The name of Thomas Pylley, gentleman, occurs in 1627, but before Ord wrote in 1846 the house had disappeared”. (VCH)

An estate map in the possession of Lord Gisborough shows Skelderskew as belonging to Mr Tweddell. The map is dated 1854 when Robert Chaloner was Lord of the Manor. An earlier map, also in the possession of Lord Gisborough, dated 1772, when William Chaloner was Lord of the Manor, clearly states the names of owners of neighbouring properties. Sklelderskew would appear at that date to have been in the possession of William Chaloner.
Traditional accounts of the original grange include the statement that there was a chapel on the site, presumably for the use of the canons of Guisborough and the inmates of the mansion, and the discovery of the crucifix may have strengthened this tradition.
(1) Victoria County History, Vol. II, p356
(2) Calendar of State Papers, foreign and domestic. Hen.VIII. PRO

Skelderskew Inn, Commondale
(County record Office, Northallerton. 7 Feb 1966. )

1865: “now used as an inn, built by the said Robert Halton. Land formerly part of a close of land called ‘The Mill Hill Leas’”. 3 roods and 5 perches. Bounded towards the N by the NE Railway, towards the S and E by Commondale Beck, towards the W by the highroad leading from Castleton to Commondale. Deed ref. Registry of Northallerton, 31 Jan. 1865. Book KE. page 307. No 486.

1873: Now of James Underwood.

No mention of Cleveland Inn among Gisborough deeds.

The above appears to be the house known as The Diving Duck. Presumably changed its name.

1874: Purchase of Skelderskew Inn: Mr JH Kearsley of Kirby in Cleveland and Stokesley, Ironmonger, and Joseph Harker of Skelton. £530.

Bulmer’s Directory 1890: Robert Cruddass, Victualler and Farmer, Cleveland Inn.

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