‘The east settlement’. Astun(e) 1086, Eston(a) from 1160-72. Old English east-tun. Eston is situated in the east of the parish of Ormesby.
Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication.
Under the heading “Land of the Count” it says
“In Astune (Eston), 9 carucates for geld, and 5 ploughs can be (there). Waltef had 1 manor there. Now Count Robert has (it) and it is waste. Richard (has it) of the Count. T.R.E. it was worth 40s.” (The Count was count Robert de Mortain. A carucate was roughly 100 acres. Geld was a tax that had to be paid. T.R.E. means “In the Time of King Edward the Confessor”)
Based on William Farrer’s translation in “The Victoria History of the County of York” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1912)
In the early 12th century, Robert de Meynell of Whorlton Castle was lord of the manor of Eston. In the middle of the 14th century, it passed by marriage to the Darcy family of Knaith and in 1418 it passed, again by marriage, to the Strangways family who held it until the mid-16th century.
See “Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)
An Early Mention
At the Guisborough Quarter Sessions in March 1630, among the people presented before the magistrates was “an Eston man for selling 2 pennie bread wanting weight, and again for the like, and 10 oz. difference betwixt one loaf and another.”
An early mention in literature appeared in “The History of Cleveland in the North Riding of the County of York”, J.Graves (1808)
“The village of Eston is small and irregularly built, and stands on the skirts of a detached hill of considerable elevation called Barnaby or Eston Moor; the summit of which runs out out into a bold point or promontory called Eston Nab; where a telegraphic beacon, or watch house, has been lately erected, commnding a prospect of sea and land, which, for beauty, variety, and extent, is seldom equalled.”
The Lay Subsidy of 1301
Eston was not a large village in the Middle Ages, with fewer households paying this tax than at Ormesby, Marton or Normanby for example. There were 16 householders on the tax returns, paying total of just under 55 shillings. Approaching half of this amount (over 23 shillings) came from the person at the head of the list, “domina de Meynhille” (Lady Meynell).
Ship Inn (Originally two 18th century cottages)
The Stapylton Inn (An early 19th century farmhouse which became an inn c.1850.)
Blacksmith’s Cottage (18th century) and workshop (19th century)
A Few Lost Buildings
St. Helen’s Church (1808 with medieval features) Closed in 1985. Taken down in 1998 and later re-built at Beamish Museum.
The Beacon on Eston Nab (built during the Napoleonic Wars) demolished in 1956.
Miners’ Hospital (1884) demolished in 1981.
Eston Town Hall (1961) demolished in 2012
The James Finegan Hall (1960s) demolished in 2012.
Some People of Note
Thomas Wardall (1862-1932) A cricketer, born in Eston, who played for Yorkshire from 1884 to 1894 and was also selected for the North of England cricket team.
William Short (1884-1916) An Eston-born soldier who was killed at the Battle of the Somme during the First World War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his heroism in “Munster Alley”.
Harold Boultbee (1886-1967) An aircraft designer from Eston who created the Handley Page Hare and formed his own company, named Civilian, to produce the Civilian Coupe. He also designed an early motor scooter.
Dennis Coates (1953- ) A Sunderland-born athlete who lived in Eston. He represented his country in several international championships, including the Montreal Olympic Games. In 1978 he ran the sixth fastest time in the world for the 3,000 metres steeplechase.
Michael O’Hare (1981- ) A chef, born in Eston, who opened his own restaurant in Leeds in 2014. He enjoyed considerable success and appeared on several television cookery shows.
The Hearth Tax of 1673
32 houses in Eston had 1 or 2 hearths in 1673. The house of “Mr Jo Mathew” was larger, with 4 hearths, while the largest belonged to “Ja Silliburne” with 7 hearths. An additional 14 single-hearth householders were discharged by legal certificate as being too poor to be liable for this tax.
See “The Hearth Tax List for the North Riding of Yorkshire, Michaelmas 1673”, Ripon Historical Society (2011)
1901 11,199 (Eston Urban District)
1961 38,900 (Eston Urban District)
A Selection of Dates
1590 Eston chapel registers began.
1808 The beacon on Eston Nab was built.
1850 Bolckow, Vaughan and Co. began to exploit a workable seam of ironstone in Eston Hills.
1851 Eston Ironstone Mine began production.
1852 Bolckow, Vaughan and Co. established Eston Iron works.
1852-3 The miners’ cottages that came to be known as California were built.
1856 The Oddfellows Hall was opened.
1858 Eston Congregational church was opened.
1863 Eston Cemetery was laid out.
1865-6 Eston Station on the Middlesbrough to Redcar railway was built. It was closed in 1885, when Eston Grange Station (later renamed Grangetown Station) was opened.
1867 The Primitive Methodist chapel was built.
1868 Eston was created as a separate parish with St. Helen’s as the parish church. Previously it had been part of Ormesby.
1871 The Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built. Eston School Board was formed.
1874 Eston Board Schools were opened.
1884 Christ Church was consecrated. The Bible Christians chapel was built. Eston Hospital was opened.
1902 Eston Institute was built. Eston railway station opened, not far from the old centre of Eston.
1905 Eston United Football Club was founded.
1909 Eston Infants’ School was built. Eston United F.C. reached the final of the F.A. Amateur Cup. They repeated this in 1912.
1915 Eston Urban District Council was created.
c.1920 The square was laid out.
1923 Eston United F.C. became Northern League champions for the second time.
The club folded in 1927.
1928 Old Bank Mine, the original Eston ironstone mine, ceased production.
1929 Eston station was closed to passengers. The station closed altogether in 1966.
1941 A Spitfire fighter plane crashed on Eston Hills on its way to Thornaby Aerodrome. In the same year a German Junkers bomber was shot down by two Spitfires over Eston Hills.
1949 Eston Ironstone Mine closed. More than 60 million tons of ironstone had been extracted from the Eston mines since they were first opened.
1953 A Gloster Meteor jet fighter plane crashed on Eston Hills during an exercise.
1955 Eston Grammar School was opened. It became Gillbrook School in 1973.
1956 The beacon on Eston Nab was demolished. A monument was built to mark its site.
1960 Work began building the Whale Hill housing estate.
1963 Sarah Metcalfe School opened about this time.
1970 St. Anne’s Roman Catholic church was built.
1981 Eston Hospital was closed.
1985 St. Helen’s church was closed.
1988 A television relay mast began transmitting on Eston Nab.
1991 Sarah Metcalfe School became Eston Park School. It merged with Gillbrook School in 2014.
1998 St. Helen’s church was taken down carefully and transported to Beamish Open Air Museum where it was reconstructed.
2001 A DAB radio mast was constructed on Eston Nab.
2013 Eston Residents Association became the Britain in Bloom National Heritage Award winners.
2014 Eston Nab was purchased by the Friends of Eston Hills group.
2018 Eston Park School was badly damaged by fire.
This list of dates was compiled using “The Story of Eston” by Maurice Wilson (1972) and other secondary sources.
Suggested Further Reading
“The Victoria Hstory of the County of York: North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)
“South Bank and Eston in Times Past” D.M.Tomlin and M.Williams (1987)
“Eston Mines” R.Pepper , Cleveland Industrial Heritage Magazine, 12 (2003)
“Mining Failure in Cleveland: The Eston Gypsum Mine” J.S.Owen, C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin no.11 (1970)