This boundary stone is located just inside the forestry boundary next to ‘The Race’ above Hell Gill. It is inscribed ‘TC 1860’, which refers to Admiral Thomas Chaloner, Lord of the Manor of Guisborough and the date, 1860, is the year following his perambulation around the boundaries of his manor, a legal requirement every seven years.
But there is an interesting story hidden beneath the moss.
A short distance away, 20 metres or so, there is another boundary stone inscribed with just ‘WP’.
This probably refers to William Powell who acquired Codhill Farm in 1820 after several changes of ownership following its sale in 1806 by Robert Chaloner, Thomas’s father.
Powell died in 1822 and the farm was eventually brought, again after several changes of ownership, by Henry Thomas in 1851. For reasons that will become apparent, this boundary stone is in line with the west wall of Codhill Farm.
Enter Joseph Whitwell Pease, the iron baron. He had acquired the mining rights for Hutton Common from Chaloner and for Codhill from Thomas in the early 1850s but in 1860 a dispute flared between Pease and Chaloner, probably as a direct realisation arising from the perambulation in 1859.
Thomas Chaloner said the boundary between the original manors of Hutton and Guisborough followed ‘The Race’. It was used by both commoners for watering and washing sheep and accepted as the boundary for the grazing rights. It was maintained either by Codhill Farm or workers from Chaloner’s mill down in Guisborough. He therefore claimed ownership of the strip between the race and the western wall of Codhill Farm even though it was well known that the wall had been set back from the race for safety against flooding and undermining. The strip width is no more than a couple of metres.
Without doubt, Chaloner had his eye on the ironstone beneath the strip. He already was involved in the company but perhaps saw this as a way of extracting more money. Pease must has been frustrated, unable to join up his two royalties.
After litigation, the dispute was settled in favour of Chaloner to whom mining rights were subsequently paid.
So next time you’re on the Cleveland Way below Highcliff Nab and cross the small clapper bridge that crosses ‘The Race’ think about the Admiral’s iron grab.