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North Riding
Wednesday, market day - Kirkbymoorside - - 365412.jpg
Kirkbymoorside market place
Grid reference: SE696865
Location: 54°16’8"N, 0°55’48"W
Population: 2,280
Post town: York
Postcode: YO62
Dialling code: 01751
Local Government
Council: Ryedale
Thirsk and Malton

Kirkbymoorside is a small market town in the North Riding of Yorkshire, approximately 25 miles north of York, midway between Pickering and Helmsley on the edge of the North York Moors. It had a population of approximately 3,000 at the 2011 census.

The name of the town is part Norse and part English. Kirkby is Norse for "church town", and so the town is "Church-town on the moor-side". There is some dispute as to the correct spelling (the alternative spelling being Kirbymoorside, as it is traditionally pronounced), but it is usually spelled with the "k". Signposts also read "Kirkbymoorside". "Kirk" means church and "-by" is the Viking word for settlement, so the name translates as "settlement with a church by the moorside." A valley near the town is known as Kirkdale.


Kirkbymoorside is noted as "Chirchebi" in Domesday Book (1086). It has served as a trading hub at least since 1254, when it became a market town. There are two ancient coaching inns extant, the Black Swan with its carved porch, and the cruck-framed George and Dragon, which originated in the 13th century. The Georgian façades point to later periods of commercial prosperity on the coaching route between York and Scarborough.[1]

Some Ancient British, Viking and Anglo-Saxon remains have been found in the vicinity. The Norman baron Robert de Stuteville built a wooden moated castle on Vivers Hill. The estate passed to the Wake family in the 13th century, who brought prosperity to the town. However, it was badly hit by the Black Death of the mid-14th century, after which the wooden castle lay in ruins. Prosperity returned after 1408, when the Neville family took over, although little remains of the fortified manor they built to the north of the town. The Nevilles remained Catholic and took part in the Rising of the North of 1569. By 1660 there was a grammar school. (The building is now part of the library.) The great Toll Booth in the middle of the town was built about 1730 with stone taken from the Nevilles' manor. The old Market Hall was gutted by fire but rebuilt in 1872. By 1881 the population of the town was 2,337.[2]

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, died on 16 April 1687, in the house of a local tenant, from a chill caught whilst hunting nearby. The country's oldest fox hunt, still running today, is the Bilsdale Hunt in Yorkshire, which the Duke founded in 1668. Buckingham House is a building in the town centre.

Manor Vale, a stretch of woodland managed by the town council, was formerly part of a deer park and contains the Grade II remains of the manor. It contains areas of both acidic and alkaline soil. It is home to a rare beetle species, Oedemera virescens.[3]


The town is home to one of only two British aircraft producers left, Slingsby Aviation (the other being Britten-Norman on the Isle of Wight, Hampshire). Many sub-sea vehicles and robots are also manufactured at Slingsby Aviation, which is located roughly 1 mile south of the town centre.


All Saints

The parish church is All Saints', a Grade I listed building dating back to the 13th century, but extensively restored in the mid-19th century under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott.[4]

The Bethel Chapel was an independent chapel built in 1792. During the period 1861-77 the minister was the missionary John Abbs.

The single-storey Quaker Meeting House in West End dates from 1691. Among those buried in the Quaker burial ground was the evangelist John Richardson (1667–1753), who left a lively account of his life as a preacher in Britain, Ireland and the American colonies.[5]

Churches in Kirkbymoorside include:

Culture and community

Kirkbymoorside Town Brass Band is the local band.

The anarchist poet and critic Herbert Read was born at Muscoates, about four miles south of Kirkbymoorside,[6] and the area surrounding the town provided the inspiration for his only completed novel, The Green Child.[7]

Sport and leisure

  • Football: Kirkbymoorside Football Club, founded around 1890
  • Cricket: Kirkbymoorside Cricket Club
  • Golf: Golf club with an 18-hole, par-69 course

The town is on the southern edge of the North York Moors, a National Park, with a wide range of other outdoor activities such as walking, cycling and climbing can also be done in and around the Kirkbymoorside area.

Outside links


  1. Town Council website: Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  2. Town Council website: Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  3. Town Council website: Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  4. The 50 listed historic buildings and objects in Kirkbymoorside: Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  5. An Account of the Life of that ancient servant of Jesus Christ, John Richardson, giving a Relation of many of his Trials and Exercises in his Youth, and his Services in the Work of the Ministry, in England, Ireland, America, &c. (London: Luke Hinde, 1757). 4th ed. (1791)
  6. Harrod, Tanya (2004), "Read, Sir Herbert Edward (1893–1968)" (subscription required), Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press,, retrieved 2008-04-25 
  7. Barker 1998, p. 103.
  • Barker, Bob (1998), "Herbert Read as Novelist: The Green Child", in Goodway, David, Herbert Read reassessed, Liverpool University Press, pp. 100–122, ISBN 978-0-85323-862-1