Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Potters Ridge

Potters Ridge

I have not taken a photo from this spot before. Honest. I moved a hundred metres south from Black Nab to be sure.

I have often wondered how Potters Ridge got its name. That low 25 metre high prominence behind Highcliff Nab. I think I’ve found out.

In 1806, Robert Chaloner, the Lord of the Manor, sold a couple of his farms, one of which was Cod Hill (Highcliffe, centre of photo) to Joseph Hickson , who was his agent. Subsequently, Hickson soon sold Cod Hill to a Ralph Potter of Girrick, near Moorsholm1Dixon, Grace. “Two Ancient Townships – Studies of Pinchinthorpe and Hutton Lowcross”. ISBN 0 9507827 2 6 1991.

Now this is not proof that Potters Ridge is named after Ralph Potter but surely it’s too much of a coincidence? Why, however, is another matter.

It seems that Mr. Potter had either, overstretched himself, or he had struggled to make a success of the farm. Probably a combination of the two. For, by 1812, he had sold Cod Hill to a Mr. J Ridley of Ayton. How could he have made his mark on the landscape in just six years?

Is there any other landscape feature which is named after a person? Roseberry of course. And Bilsdale, and Kildale, and Helmsley. Better qualify my query to post-conquest persons.

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    Dixon, Grace. “Two Ancient Townships – Studies of Pinchinthorpe and Hutton Lowcross”. ISBN 0 9507827 2 6 1991



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10 responses to “Potters Ridge”

  1. Janet E Cochrane avatar

    I’m sure there are many landscape features named after people – it would make sense – but I doubt that ‘Roseberry’ is one of them. ‘Ros’ (later Roos or Rhos) is an ancient British (pre-Roman) word meaning upland or moorland, or “hillock, usually one where heather grows”. This seems a much more likely origin, with ‘berry’ being derived from the Old English (and earlier) name for hill or mountain (think ‘berg’).

    1. Fhithich avatar

      I’ve since thought of a few myself: Jackson’s Bank and Brian’s Pond.

      With Roseberry I think the consensus nowadays is that the name derives from the 12th-century ‘Othensberg’, Old Norse for Odin’s Hill. I feel a future post in the making.

      Ok, I accept Odin was a god, but it was just a discussion point.

  2. Janet E Cochrane avatar

    It certainly must have seemed like an abode of the gods, reaching up to the sky as it does.

  3. […] inference, a few days ago, that the name ‘Roseberry’ was derived from a personal name (well, OK, the name of a […]

  4. Nancy Potter-Halliday avatar
    Nancy Potter-Halliday

    Hello! I am a direct descendant of Ralph (and Jane) Potter. I would love to chat with you more about your references, and what I know.

    1. Fhithich avatar

      Hi Nancy, I don’t think I have much more info. than I’ve included but by all means ask. in fact you might be able to tell me more!


      1. Nancy Potter-Halliday avatar
        Nancy Potter-Halliday

        Hi Mick, I’m asking because I know that you are well researched in the area ~ Would you happen to know where Kettle Hill (Farm) was? I know that a William inherited it from a Ralph Potter in 1747, and around 1807 a William Potter of Kettle Hill bought some land around Belmangate (likely the son of the William that inherited).

        1. Fhithich avatar

          Nancy, I’ve had a quick search through my notes and can find no reference to a “Kettle Hill” or anything “Kettle”.

          Could it be Kettleness? Down the coast towards Whitby. There were major alum industries in both Guisborough and Kettleness so some connection there.

          I’ll continue to keep my eyes open.


          1. Nancy Potter-Halliday avatar
            Nancy Potter-Halliday

            I am not giving up hope that it is somewhere around Codhill/Highcliffe farm! I’m now curious about “Lamb Gofts” farm… Maybe around Skelton?

            Thank you for all that you do with this website – I’ve introduced my cousin to it!

            ~ Nancy

          2. Fhithich avatar

            Once again, Nancy, that name draws a blank. Thinking it could be a misinterpreted ‘Croft’? Maybe I need to look at the source documents — that might give me a clue.

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