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Gighesbore is recorded in the Domesday Book and the ruined Gisborough Priory dates to the 12th century. The priory and Gisborough Hall (16th century, demolished and rebuilt) are spelt without the first U. Some other old sites and names use that same spelling.
Some theories date the town to the Roman occupation of Britain, when it may have been a military fortification. There are a few Roman artifacts that support this, such as an elaborate ceremonial helmet, the Guisborough Helmet, but the theory remains unproven.
Extensive residential development occurred during the 1960s and 1970s with the expansion of the chemical industry (at Wilton) and the steel industry (at Redcar).
Guisborough market, held every Thursday and Saturday with a few stalls attending on a Tuesday, has long been a focal point of the surrounding area. Originally selling cattle and other livestock, the market developed into a general market for fruit and vegetables, clothing and flower stalls. The market is open from early morning to late afternoon on the recently restored cobbles that line Westgate, the principal shopping street.
Guisborough Museum, behind Westgate's Sunnyfield House, exhibits photos of Guisborough's history and inhabitants. There is a working watermill at Tocketts Mill.
The Guisborough Helmet
The Guisborough Helmet is a Roman cavalry helmet found in 1864 near the town. It was originally fitted with protective cheek-pieces, which have not survived; the holes by which they were attached can be seen in front of the helmet's ear guards. It is lavishly decorated with engraved and embossed figures, indicating that it was probably used for displays or cavalry tournaments, though it may have been worn in battle. The helmet was found in what appears to have been a carefully arranged deposition in a bed of gravel, distant from any known Roman sites. After it was recovered during road works it was donated to the British Museum in where it was restored and displayed.
The town shared in the prosperity of the Industrial Revolution through its proximity to the ironstone mines of the North York Moors. One of Teesside's leading ironfounders, Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease, chose Guisborough as his country seat, the Alfred Waterhouse-designed Gothic revival Hutton Hall, at Hutton Lowcross. It had its own station on the Middlesbrough-Guisborough branch of the North Eastern Railway which closed in 1964.
The parish church is St Nicholas's Church.
The church was possibly in existence in 1290, although the chancel dates from the late 15th century. Its nave and interior have been altered since then; the church, in its present form, is the result of a major re-building (1903–08), to a design by the architect Temple Lushington Moore. In the church is the de Brus cenotaph.
Gisborough Hall, a Victorian mansion, was built in the Jacobean style, in 1856. It is the former home of the family of Lord Gisborough. The estate was owned by the Chaloner family from just after the dissolution of Gisborough Priory until the 1940s. It is a Grade II listed building converted to a hotel, as part of the Macdonald Hotels chain; it is a popular venue for wedding receptions.
- Orion Explorer Scout Unit
- 3rd Guisborough Scout Group, established in 1974
Guisborough is also home to a group of volunteer trailbuilders, whose aim is to provide free mtb cycle trails in the local forest for the community to enjoy and work together.
The two main employers in the town used to be "The Shirt Factory" - towards the end of its working life this clothing factory was acquired by Montague Burton of Leeds - and the Blackett Hutton steel works.
There are no longer any large employers in the town: Guisborough has become a commuter town for nearby Middlesbrough, with many people working in the chemical plants that are located around Teesside.
The ESCO Corporation has a manufacturing site in Guisborough, making the claws and buckets of 'ground engaging tools', such as diggers.
Sports and recreation
Guisborough has a King George's Field in memory of King George V, and the town's football team Guisborough Town FC plays on the King George V Ground, adjacent to the playing fields.
- Cricket: Guisborough Cricket Club
- Football: Guisborough Town FC
- Rugby Union
- Domesday online.
- British Museum collection database. Accessed 17 November 2010.
- Gisborough Hall Hotel
- "ESCO Corporation Manufacturing & Sales Locations". ESCO. http://www.escocorp.com/EN/operations/Pages/locations.aspx. Retrieved 8 January 2013.