Lealholm, sometimes known as Lealholm
Bridge, is a small village in the Glaisdale civil parish of the
Borough of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire, England. It is sited at a
crossing point of the River Esk, in Eskdale which is within the North
York Moors National Park. It is 9.5 miles by road from the nearest
town of Whitby, and approximately 27 miles (43 km) from both
Middlesbrough and Scarborough. The village is typical of those found
all across the North York Moors which straddle the main through-routes
along the valley bottoms. It is mostly built of local stone with
pantiled or slate roofs.
Settlement around modern-day Lealholm
can be traced back to the Domesday Book of 1086, with entries
concerning the Manor of Crumbeclive and "Lelum" at the site of
Lealholm Hall, Lealholmside. Lealholmside is a hamlet by Lealholm, and
was a popular location with the photographer Francis Meadow Sutcliffe.
A honeypot during the summer months, Lealholm is located midway along
the Esk valley between the villages of Glaisdale, to the east and
Danby to the west. Lealholm is on the route of the Esk valley railway
line, which runs from Whitby to Middlesbrough, and is served by
Lealholm railway station. A large part of the community is involved in
farming due to the high fertility of the slopes in Eskdale, whilst
other members of the community are involved in tourism or commute to
industrial centres such as Middlesbrough. This led to the economy of
the area being hard hit by the 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis.
At the head of the village stands the
woodland and steep sided valley of Crunkly Ghyll, a ravine carved by
the River Esk through the hillside where the river drops 100 feet from
the valley above to reach the village. It was formed during the last
great ice age as a huge wall of ice moved across the landscape carving
out what is now the Esk Valley as far as Lealholm. At its head it
formed a massive dam blocking the flow of water from above and
creating a lake running back up the valley to Commondale. As the ice
melted, the river forced its way out carving the present-day ravine.
The main village of Lealholm is
situated at the bottom of Crunkly Ghyll (sometimes spelled "Crunkley"
and "Gill"), a deep cutting where the river emerges into the flat
bottom of a glacial U-shaped valley. This was crucial to its
development as a settlement, becoming an important crossing point over
the River Esk where the valley flattens out, becoming shallow at end
of a sharp bend in the river before slowing to a deeper meandering
course further downstream. The remains of the fording point are still
visible next to the arched bridge used today, which dates back to the
17th Century. Three roads lead from the centre of the village, one
follows the river up the valley towards Danby; the second heads north
past the hamlet of Lealholmside and across the moors towards Whitby;
and the third leads south, towards Fryup and Rosedale.
Despite having less than 50 houses
within the boundaries of the main settlement, Lealholm has a selection
of amenities, including a village shop, post office, petrol station
and farm goods store. It also has the Forge Art Gallery (formerly a
pottery), an Infant and Primary school, the Shepherd's Hall cafe, a
cricket and football pitch, and three churches. A village green, where
the local team play quoits, sits alongside the river. The Ley Hall is
the venue for public gatherings. It is used for the local playgroup,
young farmers, the parish council and the WI among others. The
Board Inn public house - a former coaching inn, dates from the
18th century, and as the only public house in the village and it is a
popular venue and regularly holds domino drives.
Lealhom was a place of affection for
the Irish-born poet John Castillo, who wrote "Ah lovely Lealholm!
Where shall I begin. To say what thou art now and once hast been".
Stepping Stones to Lealholm Village The
River Esk forces it's way through a steep gorge called Crunkley Gill
and emerges in the village of Lealholm. In the village of Lealhom you
find stone cottages, the village green, and stepping stones over the
river. It is not surprising that this is a popular spot with
photographers and artists alike.
Typical of the area are the medieval
cruck-built longhouses of Lealholm. These were constructed as single
storey combined dwelling and beast houses and made of the local
Jurassic limestone. Originally they had ling thatched roofs, but they
were mostly re-roofed in the 19th century with slate or pantiles.