Asda, Aldi & an Ironstone Mine

I took a walk over to Skelton to have a look at the remains of the Longacres Ironstone Mine located on the edge of the Hollybush Industrial Estate. I followed the waterlogged track over the fields towards the retail park.

Most of the field is covered in small trees and brambles. There’s a large earth bank running across the field, the result of the levelling of the site to build the retail park. The occassional chunk of concrete pokes through the undergrowth but on the whole nature is doing a decent job of reclaiming the site. A small pond containing bulrushes has formed at the foot of the bank.

Between Asda and Aldi a track leads up the bank into a small wood.

The arched concrete roof of the mine’s explosive store is just visible from the bank top. The building is buried into the bank, with no obvious access from above I followed the path down into the wood.

A pair of large gateposts marking , the entrance to a tiny litter-strewn concrete-walled dell, day-glow pink graffiti marks the territory of the ‘Skelton Possy‘.

The overhanging foliage has been cut-back to allow access, tall curving concrete walls lead to a blockhouse, The bank and walls deaden the sounds of the nearby retail park. It has the air of a strange brutalist hermitage.

On the top field, the mine buildings have been cleared, the area is now used as a rough cycle track and hangout for local kids. The path at the bottom end of the field follows the embankment of the old railway branch line.

In an adjacent field the mine shaft is capped with an oval stone and brick wall, there are remains of campfires around its base. A nearby former engine bed provides a viewing platform.

The mine operated from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. More information can be found here

Travelling stones – All Saints Old Church Skelton

..that of all the unfortunately plain – not to say ugly – structures which do duty for churches in Cleveland this is about the plainest and the most tasteless. One ancient buttress, of Early English character, remains on the north side of the chancel, and that is all which is left to testify to the former existence on this site of a really ecclesiastical building.

History of Cleveland Ancient & Modern Vol.1 Rev J. C. Atkinson. 1874

The lovely Norman font was brought from the ruined church of St Andrew at Upleatham. Rita Wood describes it as square with corner columns and central panels that have bold, well-carved geometric patterns. She tells us that there are similar fonts at Marske and Sneaton that are likely to have been carved by the same person.

There are a number of stone fragments inside the church including Upleatham’s Big Stone.

One of the stone fragments is the remains of a Hogback Grave that has probably been re-used as a building block. it is described as a child’s gable-end grave slab. It is classified as a Type E (dragonesque) Hogback, a type confined to the east coast of Yorkshire. It closely resembles two examples found at Lythe.

The Hogback stone has had a bit of a journey. It was found during an excavation at Upleatham old church, it was then moved into the new church in the village. When the new church was converted into a private home the stone was moved to Kirkleatham museum, where it is currently listed as being located.


History of Cleveland Ancient & Modern Vol.1 Rev. J.C. Atkinson. 1874

Romanesque Yorkshire. Rita Wood. 2012

Yorkshire – A Gazetteer of Anglo-Saxon & Viking Sites. Guy Points. 2007

The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture

Friends Burial Ground Skelton.


There is a stand of four trees beside the Skelton to Lingdale road. The trees enclose a small rectangle of land at the edge of a cultivated field. The site is overgrown with brambles and has been used as a roadside dump, there is detritus from the road, bits of cars and a couple of tyres

The thing is, this site is marked on the 1856, 1895 and 1920 OS six inch maps as a Friends Burial Ground. On the 1930 edition the site is not named but still marked as an enclosure. The site is not marked on the modern 1:25000 map.

I’ve found a couple of references to this site on local history websites but cannot find any information regarding whether the human remains have been moved.

Update I found some information on the wonderful History Skelton in Cleveland website. The burial ground is mentioned in a document from 1689. The page also has a list of people who are buried there. All details can be found here 



Robinson in Saltburn

One of the many ways I used to embarrass my children when they were young was to stop and look at manhole and drain covers. Well not just manhole covers, I’ve always been fascinated with any sort of street furniture but cast iron covers are my favourite. I bought an album once solely because the band were named after a drain cover, Stanton Warriors. The Stanton Company make drain covers, older models had wonderful names, Chieftain, Trojan, Challenger, Centurion and of course the Stanton Warrior.

My favourite covers are those made in local foundries. They are small items of unrecorded history, the foundries that manufactured them are rarely still in business. I came across this one the other day, surprisingly the foundry that cast it still exists.


I’m not sure when the foundry started but it appears on the 1913 OS six inch map as the Zetland Foundry. The wonderful East Cleveland Image Archive states that the foundry was originally owned by the Robinson Brothers, it was then taken over by Tinsley and sons and is currently owned by Brough and Horner.


I visited the foundry once to collect a steel beam when I was working as a builders labourer. The job was to convert a house into a bookmakers shop and flat on Skelton High Street. Mr Brough, the foundry owner was also a local Bookie with a number of shops in East Cleveland. I was a terrible labourer and was sacked after a couple of weeks, no great loss to the building trade.