Larger building in centre is the Methodist Chapel.
| 1603 - Working of Alum Mines in the Skelton area date from about now.
The first profitable mine in Yorkshire was opened in 1603 at Spring Bank, Slapewath, then part of Skelton.
This was the project of John Atherton, joint owner by marriage of a third part of the Skelton Estate.
Britain at this time was an Agricultural nation and Wool was its chief export.
Alum was used in the dyeing process as the setting agent and was also needed in the tanning of hides.
It was therefore a highly valued product, which up to this time had been imported.
Rich rewards seemed to beckon those who could create a home industry.
The process was complex.
The alum bearing rock was quarried, broken up and built into large clamps with alternating layers of wood and these piles would be ignited and a controlled burning would last for weeks.
It needed many tons of shale to produce 1 ton of alum.
Track leading off first right is old Stackgarth Lane from old stone quarry,
The calcined shale was then steeped in water-filled stone troughs until a certain specific gravity had been reached.
[Tested for, the story goes, by floating an egg in the liquid].
The liquid was then run off and boiled in large pans heated by coal for 24 hours and mixed with an alkali, obtained from urine or seaweed.
[Thomas Chaloner of Guisborough is reputed to have sold his personal urine for one penny a firkin, which was about 8 gallons. How often he made a penny is not recorded].
Next the mixture was transferred to small coolers to crystallize, the resulting crystals of alum being further boiled and condensed to get rid of impurities. Many legends survive, but how this long and involved chemical process was discovered in these times is not known and probably a result of much trial and error.
It is reported that the workers suffered terrible conditions - the heaps of shale gave off poisonous sulphorous fumes and at times their wages of 6 pence a day were often withheld or given in half rotten meat and corn.
The alum workers were described at one point as:-
'poor snakes, tattered and naked, ready to starve for want of food and clothes.'Other Alum mines were eventually opened by the Skelton Estate, notably at Coombe Bank, Boosbeck and Selby Hagg between Skelton and Brotton and were worked on and off during the next two centuries.
Most successful were the ones on the coast which did not have the cost of transporting fuel and the finished product for shipment. The Alum workings at Hummersea, Loftus were worked well into the 19th Century.
Local folk lore has it that the extensive quarries and the round mounds seen above Skelton High St are evidence of alum having been processed here.
1603 The Yorkshire Papists. [Recusants who refused the sacraments of the Church of England] Skelton:-
1610 - The Poor Laws had made parishes responsible for their own paupers and they were concerned not to to pay for immigrant vagrants.
Begging was made a crime.
||When seven people were found guilty of being "rogues and
vagabonds" at the Richmond, N Yorks quarter sessions in this year,
the women were whipped and the men were branded with a letter R.
Similar punishment was regularly meted out for this offence across the country.
1611 - Death of Robert Trotter 34 years after buying one third of the Skelton Estate.
Recusants [people refusing to attend Church of England services] were listed for this year as the Roman Catholics:-
William Milner, a labourer, and Ellis his wife.
Robert Allanby, a Glover, Anne his wife, and John his son.
Margaret, the wife of John Porter.
1617 Death of John Atherton, husband of Katharine Conyers, who owned one third of the Skelton estate.
1618 In 1609 James I had made alum mining a monopoly of the Crown and among the mines started was one at 'Selby Hagg' near Skelton, near present day Hagg farm.
1625 - Death of James I and accession of Charles I.
|Death of Henry Trotter of Skelton, 14 years after inheriting one third part of the Skelton estate.
He was succeeded by his son George, who was married firstly to Ursula, daughter of Sir Richard Chomley of Whitby and secondly to Mary, daughter of Sir Edward Boyce of Fredvil, Kent.
With Mary he had 3 children, Edward, Hugh and Mary.
1626 Charles I asked his subjects to donate to his treasury for conducting a war with Spain.
The Justices of the County of York replied:-
"The inhabitants within the liberties of Langbaurgh in the N Riding answered the application for a voluntary gift, that they are
|poor farmers at racked rents, their landlords not dwelling
them, whereby the country is disappointed out of the money which
issueth out of it.
The place is a very straight and narrow part of the country, hemmed in by the sea on one side and a great vast moor on the other.
For two years past the inhabitants have been charged with the continuous watch of the beacons, and training of soldiers".
The new Priest at Skelton All Saints was Robert Toose, who served until 1662.
1632 - The oldest grave found in the old church yard at Skelton was placed in September of this year - commemorating John Slater.
Rights of mines and quarries are mentioned in document 8 Charles I.
|1635 Anyone alleged to have committed an
offence in Skelton would be sent for trial at the Quarter Sessions.
The Court of Quarter Sessions met at the chief towns of the North Riding and the justices, with juries drawn originally from the gentry and yeomen, tried criminal offences below very serious ones, which were sent to the Assize Courts at York.
They also dealt with highways, prisons, licensing, vagrancy and non-conformity throughout the N Riding.
Sitting at Thirsk this year they ordered that:-
'No person within the North Riding shal be lycenced to keepe an alehouse but by the Justices assigned to performe the services concerninge alehouses within the division wherein the said person shall dwell, and that all other lycences granted by any other Justices otherwise shal be voyde:
All liscenced persons further to be bound with two suertyes, neither of them being alehouseskeepers, the principal in £5 and the sureties in 50s each. (The prescribed form of licence then follows, the licensee being bound) to allow no unlawful games - playing att tables, dice, cards, shoveboard, bowles - in his house;
to allow no persons of bad character, no vagrants or sturdy beggars to be received;
to keep a supply of good beer or ale, or both, and to sell at the statute rate;
to be careful that no drink or victual be supplied on the Sabboth day in time of Divine Service;
to report all seditious or defamatory language used in his house to the Justices;
to reveal any suspicion he may entertain of evil done or intended, and also to suffer no meetings, assemblies, or feasts in his house on Sundays at any time of the day.
It was also ordered for the better performance of the good and necessary lawes and statutes made for the reliefe of the poore, and for the punishinge of such persons as are declared to be rogues, vagabondes, and sturdy beggars, and for the keeping of order in alehouses, that Constables, Churchwardens, and Ale-conners within every parish shall make particular monthly certificates in manner following:
That they have none amongst them that do brew, drink, or sell without lycence, or doe take above one penny for an ale quart of their best drink, or if they have they must sett down their names and the tymes of the offence committed.
That they know of noe person that hath sitten tippling in any alehouse contrarie unto the law, or if they have...
That they know of noe vagrant begger that hath passed
through their parish without punishment or if the have...
That all apprentecyes lately bound by the Overseers within the parish are inhabiting with their masters, mistresses or dames or alse they must certify the names....
1637 Birth of Edward Trotter who succeeded to Skelton estate on the death of George Trotter.