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Guisborough is a market town and civil parish within the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland and the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England.

The civil parish of Guisborough has a population of 18,108 and includes the outlying villages of Upleatham, Dunsdale, and Newton under Roseberry as well as Guisborough itself.



For the last couple of centuries, Guisborough was part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, from 1974 to 1996 part of the County of Cleveland and, at present, one of the major towns of the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland. Gighesbore is listed in the Domesday Book[1] and the ruined Gisborough Priory dates back to the 12th century. The priory and Gisborough Hall (16th century, demolished and rebuilt) are spelt without the first U. Some other old sites and names use that same spelling.

Some theories date the town back to the Roman occupation of Britain, where it may have been a military fortification. There are a few Roman artifacts from the area that support this, such as an elaborate ceremonial helmet, the Guisborough Helmet, but the theory remains unproven.

Extensive residential development occurred during the 1960s and 1970s with the expansion of the chemical industry (at Wilton) and the steel industry (at Redcar).

Guisborough market, held every Thursday and Saturday with a few stalls attending on a Tuesday, has long been a focal point of the surrounding area. Originally selling cows and other livestock, the market has gradually developed into a hubbub of fruit and vegetable, clothes and flower stalls. The market is open from early morning to late afternoon on the recently restored cobbles that line Westgate, the principal shopping street.

Guisborough Museum, located behind Westgate's Sunnyfield House, regularly exhibits photos of Guisborough's history and inhabitants. There is a working watermill at nearby Tocketts Mill.

Guisbrough from Highcliff Nab

Guisborough Helmet

The Guisborough Helmet is a Roman cavalry helmet found in 1864 near the town. It was originally fitted with a pair of protective cheek-pieces, which have not survived; the holes by which they were attached can be seen in front of the helmet's ear guards. It is lavishly decorated with engraved and embossed figures, indicating that it was probably used for displays or cavalry tournaments, though it may well have been intended to be worn in battle as well. The helmet was found in what appears to have been a carefully arranged deposition in a bed of gravel, distant from any known Roman sites. After it was recovered during road works it was donated to the British Museum in London, where it was restored and is currently on display.[2]

Saint Nicholas' Church

Saint Nicholas' Anglican Church[3] is home to the de Brus cenotaph. The church was possibly in existence in 1290, although the present chancel dates from the late 15th century. The present nave and interior have been greatly altered since then; the church, in its present form, is the result of a major re-building (1903 08), to a design by the architect Temple Moore.

Gisborough Hall

Gisborough Hall, the Victorian mansion, was built in the Jacobean style, in 1856. It is the former home of the family of Lord Gisborough, the estate having been in the hands of the Chaloner family from just after the dissolution of Gisborough Priory until the 1940s. It is a Grade II listed building and serves as a hotel, as part of the Macdonald Hotels chain;[4] it is a popular venue for wedding receptions.

Industrial Revolution

The town shared in the prosperity of the industrial revolution through its proximity to the ironstone mines of the North Yorkshire Moors. One of Teesside's leading ironfounders, Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease, chose Guisborough as the site of his country seat, the Alfred Waterhouse-designed Gothic revival Hutton Hall, situated at Hutton Lowcross. This house had its own station on the erstwhile Middlesbrough-Guisborough branch of the North Eastern Railway (closed in 1964).

Groups and Societies

Guisborough is the home of Orion Explorer Scout Unit which is part of the scouting sections and delivers an adventurous programme to Young People aged 14 to 18. Activities include DofE, Young Leaders volunteering and over 200 different adventurous activities. Established in 2004, it is home of some 30 Young People from all over East Cleveland who wish to join in with the adventure and gain valuable life experiences which Scouting can provide.

As well as this there is also 3rd Guisborough Scout Group on Belmangate which was established in 1974. ref:


The Coverdale Building, Prior Pursglove College The town is well served with primary schools, namely Belmont, Galley Hill, Highcliffe, St. Paulinus (R.C.) and Chaloner Primary, which was formed from the amalgamation of the former Northgate Junior and Park Lane schools. Laurence Jackson School,[5] at the eastern end of the town, is the only secondary school and a Specialist Sports College; it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.

Prior Pursglove College is a sixth form college in Guisborough teaching GCSE, A level and AS level students. The college is next door to St Nicholas' Parish Church and the ruins of Gisborough Priory. It is situated on the former site of Guisborough Grammar School, which it replaced as a result of restructuring. The Grammar School was originally founded by Robert Pursglove, Prior of Gisborough Priory, as a charitable school for poor boys.

Between October 2008 and June 2009, Askham Bryan College of Agriculture opened its Guisborough Centre, located on the same site as Prior Pursglove College.[6] This consists of an animal management centre and a modern building, the Priory Centre, which is shared with Prior Pursglove College[7]


Highcliff Nab Two main roads cross at Guisborough, the A171 and the A173. The A171 leads west to Middlesbrough and east to Whitby whilst the A173 goes south-west to Stokesley and north-east as far as Skelton where it joins the A174 coast road. Before the bypass was built, traffic on both of these had to pass through Westgate, the town's main street. Just outside the bypass to the north-east, a B-road heads north from the A173 to Redcar. Another minor route out of the town, Wilton Lane, is a very windy almost single-track which leads north to the small village of Wilton, whence one can either join the A174 or continue onto the ICI Wilton chemical works. As well as these, there are two lanes that lead out of town into the hills; Hutton Lane which ends at Hutton Village, a tiny settlement built mostly for local mining, agricultural and estate workers, and Belmangate, an ancient funeral route.

Until 1964, Guisborough was also served by trains from Middlesbrough; the Middlesbrough & Guisborough Railway had its terminus at the now-vanished Guisborough station. Prior to 1958 it was even possible to travel all the way to Whitby and Scarborough along the highly scenic North Yorkshire coast railway.

For those travelling on foot, the south of the town is bounded by the North York Moors National Park. Guisborough Forest, which is Forestry Commission land, clothes the edge of the moors. Through the forest, the ground rises sharply, climbing from the plain below to the height of the moors behind. There are several rocky outcrops on this steep slope, including Highcliff Nab and the Hanging Stone. The woods are crossed by several rights-of-way, including the Cleveland Way, though other paths and commission tracks are considered fair game for walkers. Beyond the woods, the ground levels out to form Gisborough Moor.


The two main employers in the town used to be "The Shirt Factory" - towards the end of its working life this clothing factory was acquired by Montague Burton of Leeds - and the Blackett Hutton steel works.

There are no longer any large employers in the town: Guisborough has become a commuter town for nearby Middlesbrough, with many people working in the chemical plants that are located around Teesside.

Branch of the ESCO Corporation open in Guisborough, as a Manufacturing Site,[8] making the claws and buckets of 'Ground Engaging Tools', such as diggers.

On 15 January 2004, Guisborough was granted Fairtrade Town status.

Sports and recreation

Guisborough has a King George's Field in memory of King George V, and the town's football team Guisborough Town FC plays on the King George V Ground, adjacent to the playing fields. There is also a swimming pool dating from 1968 located within the grounds. An eight-year campaign led by the late MP Dr Ashok Kumar secured an extensive refurbishment of the pool, which was completed between 2008-09.[9] The Rugby Union Football club play in Durham/Northumberland II Division of the Northern Section of the leagues. Guisborough Cricket Club who play in the North Yorkshire South Durham Premier league in 2001 - 2004 won the league to equal the record of four successive league wins in a row. Guisborough have also had professionals such as Murray Goodwin, (Sussex and former Zimbabwe international) Desmond Haynes and Phil Simmons (both West Indian internationals), Imran Jan (Trinidad and Tobago), Sean Clingeleffer (Tasmania) and Greg Todd (Otago). The area adjacent to the playing field is also fitted with a small playground and a skate-park

Notable people

  • Alan Stewart, Motorcycle racer who won the 350cc British championship 1977[10]
  • Bob Champion, jockey who won the 1981 Grand National, despite having recently been diagnosed with cancer
  • Sean Gregan, footballer
  • Lawry Lewin, actor
  • Rod Liddle, former BBC news editor
  • Selina Scott, former newsreader and The Clothes Show presenter. She was head girl at Laurence Jackson School
  • Mark Benton, actor
  • Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale (died before 1138), Norman baron and knight, founded the Bruce dynasty of Britain
  • John Bulmer, cricketer
  • Richard Milward, author
  • Willie Applegarth, athlete
  • Ralph Gaudie, footballer
  • James Coppinger, footballer, currently playing for Doncaster Rovers
  • Thomas Ward (1652 1708), author who converted to Catholicism
  • Mark Robinson (born 1981), footballer, currently playing for York City
  • Alan Ramage, cricketer
  • Joseph Whitehead, Canadian railway pioneer and political figure
  • Walter of Guisborough, medieval chronicler
  • Katy Livingston (born 1984), modern pentathlete



External links

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