Skelton, York

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North Riding
St Giles, Skelton.jpg
St Giles Church, Skelton
Grid reference: SE570561
Location: 53°59’52"N, 1°7’55"W
Population: 1,549  (2011)
Post town: York
Postcode: YO30
Local Government
Council: City of York
York Outer

Skelton is a village in the North Riding of Yorkshire, four miles north of the city of York, just outside the growth of its northern suburbs. It is to the west of Haxby, and on the east bank of the River Ouse.

Skelton was in the ancient royal Forest of Galtres. It was made a conservation area in 1973.[1]

The village name probably began as the Anglo-Saxon for 'Shelf-town' as a settlement on high ground, in the Northumbrian dialect. Several Yorkshire villages bear the same name. The village, along with nearby Overton, appears in the Domesday Book of 1086.[1]

The 2001 census recorded a parish population of 1,640, reducing to 1,549 at the 2011 Census.

Parish church

The Church of St Giles

The Church of St Giles, formerly known as All Saints, dates from 1247. It underwent restoration between 1810 and 1818 by Henry Graham and in 1863 by Ewan Christian. It is a Grade I listed building.[2] The register dates from the year 1538.

Local tradition maintains that it was built, in 1227, with the stones that remained after the building of the south transept of York Minster. The church is thus sometimes called "Little St Peter's". There is probably some truth in this as the following extract from Archbishop Grey's roll shows that its building took place previous to the year 1247:

Confirmation of a donation to the chapel of Skelton. To all, etc. The donation which our beloved son in Christ, Master E. Hagitur, treasurer of York, made to John de l'Edes, clerk of the chapel of Skelton, considering it to be agreeable and satisfactory to us, we confirm the same by our Pontifical authority, desiring the said treasurer, and his successors, to pay annually the sum of 20d. to this parson. In witness whereof, &c., &c. Dated at Thorp, on the 6th day of the Ides of December, A.D. 1247.

Despite the two restoration schemes, the church has stood "virtually unaltered" since it was built, and is claimed to be "now one of only two complete Early English churches in the country." It is mentioned by Nikolaus Pevsner in his 1966 The Buildings of England: Yorkshire North Riding, by John Betjeman in his 1958 English Parish Churches and by Simon Jenkins in his 1999 England's Thousand Best Churches.[3]


Skelton appears in the Domesday Book.

Skelton Grange was built by the Place family originally in the 18th century and rebuilt after fire in 1866. 'The Grange' was finally sold in 1981 due to a lack of funds for upkeep. It was demolished by a local property developer for a large housing development on the site.[4]

The York Corporation bought Fairfield House on the opposite side of the main Road in 1918 and opened it as a tuberculosis sanatorium in the following year. It is now a hotel. (A tuberculosis dispensary was also opened in Castlegate in York, in 1913, but no longer exists.)

About the village

The Blacksmiths Arms
Skelton Social Club

The village was until recently primarily agricultural in nature, but is now mostly residential with a small commercial district to the south-west of the village.

The village pub is the Blacksmith's Arms. Skelton also has a post office and general store, a social club, and a doctor's surgery.[5]

Skelton Manor is the manor house it is Grade II* listed,[6]

Other noteworthy buildings include Pyramid House (Grade II),[7] and the old Toll Bar Cottage was built when the road north was turnpiked. There is also a George VI post-box in the wall of the old post office, and a mounting block remains outside the Blacksmiths Arms.

The wildlife of the parish was documented in two surveys, one in 1956 and then in 1971. In and around the village the surveys identified 100 species of bird, 328 species of trees and plants, 8 different ferns, 31 different types of moss, 9 fungi and amphibians including frogs, toads, the warty or crested newt and the smooth newt. Also recorded were 21 species of mammals including the whiskered bat and the long-eared bat. the bats and the crested newts in the village are protected species.

In the village open spaces have been cared for by the Parish Council and local volunteer groups and include The Green, Crooking Green, Orchard Field, The Pasture, Skelton Pond, the open spaces at Sycamore Close and Brecksfield.

The long, narrow plot boundaries extending back from the older houses are an example of the typical mediæval pattern of 'toft and croft' agriculture.[8]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Skelton, York)


  1. 1.0 1.1 Village History: Skelton Village Trust
  2. National Heritage List 1315980: Church of St Giles (Grade I listing)
  3. St Giles' Church, Skelton, York, booklet available from the church, p.1
  4. "Skelton Grange". Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  5. Village Services: Skelton Village Trust
  6. National Heritage List 1149145: Skelton Manor (Grade II* listing)
  7. National Heritage List 1296256: Pyramid House (Grade II listing)
  8. Village geography: York Council