Wayworth Moor

Wisps of cirrus clouds break the endless blue sky. High on the moors the world seems flat.

Wayworth Moor has vague boundaries. It’s clear cut to the east, Sleddale Beck, but to the north and west, it probably falls to that part of Commondale Moor, for which Wayworth Farm has pasture rights. A reference in a 14th-century document to ‘Wayewathe‘ reveals its etymology: ‘the ford on the road’1British-history.ac.uk. (2022). Parishes: Guisborough | British History Online. [online] Available at: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/yorks/north/vol2/pp352-365#anchorn91 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].2“Guisborough Before 1900”. Edited by B.J.D. Harrison and G. Dixon. Page 244. 1982. ISBN 0 9507827 0 X.. ‘Wath‘ being a ford, I guess refering to the crossing of Sleddale Beck.

Wayworth was once a grange of Guisborough Priory but by the time of the dissolution it had been leased to a tenant.

There was an interesting case in 1860 between Thomas Chaloner, Lord of the Manor of Guisborough, and John Webster, the occupier of Wayworth Farm. Webster had rights of pasturage rights over Wayworth Moor and maintained that he could burn the heather to improve the pasturage whenever he sees fit. He had exercised such rights since 1833 and produced evidence that it had been so burnt since 18033CHALONER V. WEBSTER | Yorkshire Spring Assizes. | Yorkshire Gazette | Saturday 24 March 1860 | British Newspaper Archive. [online] Available at: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000266/18600324/046/0011 [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022]..

Perhaps not unsurprisingly, it was found that the right to burn the heather was vested in the Lord of the Manor, and that it had to be burnt under the direction of his gamekeepers.

Driven grouse shooting first appeared around 1850 with the development of the breech loading shotgun4Wikipedia Contributors (2022). Driven grouse shooting. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driven_grouse_shooting [Accessed 19 Apr. 2022].. I can’t help thinking that Chaloner’s interest in the management of the heather was very much to do with the increase in popularity of grouse shooting as a fashionable sport for the Victorian gentry.

But my reason for visiting Wayworth Moor today was to have a look at its stone circle, which I have posted about before, here and here.

The dozen or so stones are quite easy to trace but, alas, don’t photograph well. The moors hereabouts are rich in pre-historic remains. Wayworth Moor has a high concentration of features: cairnfields, field systems and burial mounds5North York Moors HER Nos: 51/3983/4000., indicating the moors were extensively peopled.

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