Out & About …

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

Little Raisdale — A modest dale with a forgotten settlement and chapel

In the upper reaches of Raisdale, an eastern prong stretches out to the edge of the Cleveland Hills between Cold Moor and Cringle Moor. Right of centre in the photo stands Hall Garth Farm, a name which suggests a once grand manor-house, standing proudly on the land. To its left, there used to be a town-field, now transformed into pasture, but remnants of its existence endured long enough to be documented on an estate-plan of 1782. Between Hall Garth and High Clay House, the farm further to the left, a significant collection of medieval and some later pottery sherds have been found. These scattered finds indicate the presence of a hamlet, albeit a modest one. A scant few shreds of historical records also hint at a rudimentary manorial settlement in this dale, which has been dubbed Little Raisdale1John McDonnell (1986) Medieval Assarting Hamlets in Bilsdale, North-East Yorkshire, Northern History, 22:1, 269-279, DOI: 10.1179/007817286790616417.

This settlement, however, appears to be unique to either prong, Great Raisdale, follows a narrow ravine as it winds along Raisdale Beck, and has terrain that is really unsuitable for settling.

In the mid-13th century, there is mention of a chapel located ‘at the exit of the vill.‘ Two charters from that time period endowed ‘the chapel of Raisdale to support two chaplains there.‘ Despite these signs of religious life, Little Raisdale didn’t thrive as a settlement. Unfortunately, the scarcity of evidence makes it impossible to pinpoint a precise date for its decline.

By the 17th century, the Little Raisdale settlement had dwindled down to just three farms: Hall Garth, High Clay House, and Middle House. Of these, Middle House had vanished entirely by the following century.

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    John McDonnell (1986) Medieval Assarting Hamlets in Bilsdale, North-East Yorkshire, Northern History, 22:1, 269-279, DOI: 10.1179/007817286790616417



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