Born: John Christopher Atkinson was born on 9th May 1814 at Goldhanger in Essex. He was the son of John Atkinson, the curate of Goldhanger and Martha Causten, daughter of Richard Causten of Mundan Hall.

Educated: John Atkinson went to school at Kelvedon in Essex, and in 1838 he graduated at St. John’s College, Cambridge.

Married: On 11th December 1849, Rev. Atkinson married Jane Hill of Scarborough. She died in 1860 and on 1st February 1862 he married Georgina Slade of Frome. He married his third wife on 28th April 1884 at Arncliffe church. She was Helen Brown, daughter of Douglas Brown Q.C. of Arncliffe Hall.

Family: Canon Atkinson had thirteen children,

Home: He lived in Scarborough from 1843 until 1847 and then spent the rest of his life at Danby Vicarage.

Known for: John Christopher Atkinson became vicar of Danby in 1848 and remained there until his death. As well as his work as a country vicar, Rev. Atkinson was a historian, an antiquary, a naturalist and a writer. He is most famous for “Forty Years in a Moorland Parish” (1891) and “British Birds’ Eggs and their Nests” (1861), but his historical writings also represent a significant contribution to Yorkshire scholarship.  He wrote “A Glossary of the Cleveland Dialect” (1868) and “Memorials of Old Whitby” (1894) and edited the North Riding Quarter Sessions from 1605 in nine volumes (1884 to 1893). He edited the Cartulary of Whitby Abbey in two volumes and wrote a History of Cleveland, which he never finished. He also excavated dozens of Bronze Age barrows on the moors around Eskdale.                                                                                                                   

Died: Canon Atkinson died on 31st March 1900 at Danby Vicarage

Further Information: “Canon Atkinson and His Country” Tom Scott Burns (1986)

“Church, Community and Culture in Rural England, 1850-1900: J.C.Atkinson and the Parish of Danby in Cleveland” Wiiliam Sheils in “Christianity and the West: Essays for John Bossy” (ed.) Simon Ditchburn (2001)