‘By the sea” is a modern addition to the place-name. Marske, Merscum [1043-69], Mersch(e)1086, Mersc 1086-1223, Mersk(e) -1401, Marske from 1442, Mask(e)1577-1714, the settlement ‘at the marshes’, Old English mersc, dative plural merscu. This name is in systemic contrast with other dative plural names in the district, e.g. Acklam, Coatham, Kirkleatham, Upleatham. The pronunication [mask] is still current locally today.
Information about this place name was provided by Victor Watts by personal communication.
Under the heading “Land of William de Perci” it says:
“In Mersche, Norman had 8 carucates of land for geld, where 4 ploughs can be. Now William has there 16 villeins with 5 ploughs. 8 acres of meadow. T.R.E. it was worth 10s; now (it is worth) 20s.” (A carucate was roughly 100 acres. Geld was a tax that had to be paid. T.R.E. means “At 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)
By 1119 and probably earlier, Robert de Brus of Skelton Castle was the overlord of Marske, Redcar, Saltburn and much of the surrounding district. In 1272 the overlordship passed by marriage to the Fauconberg family. In the 15th century, Marske came into the hands of the Conyers family. In the early 17th century, the Pennyman family purchased one third of the original Brus lands here.
See “Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)
An Early Mention
Among the presentations before the magistrates at the Thirsk Quarter Sessions in April 1612 we find “The townshipp of Mask for the decay of the highwaie betwixt Maske and Kirkleedom.”
An early mention in literature can be found in “The History of Cleveland in the North Riding of the County of York”, J.Graves (1808) ‘The village of Marsk is of considerable extent, and contains some neat and well-built houses, stretching from the sea coast in a direction nearly north and south; with an ancient cross in the centre, which according to tradition was erected nearly two hundred years ago, when the plague having nearly depopulated the town of Guisbrough, the market was, in consequence, removed thither. Near the centre of the village, towards the west, stands Marsk Hall, the present residence of the Hon. L. Dundas; a neat and commodious mansion, built by Sir William Pennyman, Bart. In the reign and according to the taste, which prevailed about the time of Charles the first. . . .
The church of Marsk stands at a little distance from the village towards the north-east, and within a few yards of the brink of the sea-cliff; the spire of which affords a conspicuous land-mark to the fishermen and mariners that frequent the coast.’
The Lay Subsidy of 1301
For the purposes of this government levy, Marske and Redcar were lumped together and it is impossible to know which taxpayer came from which village, or to say whether the two settlements were of equal size or whether one was larger than the other. The overall number of households listed was 88 and the total amount of tax collected from the two places was £9 15s 3d. The Prior of Guisborough headed the list of taxpayers (since the priory had a substantial holding here) incurring just over 37 shillings in tax. The levy was assessed on the movable goods within each property and Walter de Faucomberge was second on list, paying almost 27 shillings assessed on the goods at his manor house in Marske.
Derived from “Yorkshire Lay Subsidy” edited by W.Brown (Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series) (1897)
Marske Hall (1625)
Winkie’s Castle (late 17th century, restored in the 20th century)
2 Church Street (late 17th century)
Tithe Barn (late 18th century)
St. Germain’s Church (1821 possibly with some surviving medieval stonework)
Cliff House (c.1850)
Wesleyan Chapel (1860)
St. Mark’s Church (1867)
The Ship Inn (1933)
A Few Lost Buildings
Marske Manor House (probably 13th century) long since demolished.
Aircraft Hangars at Marske Airfield (1917) demolished in the 1990s.
Marske Railway Station buildings (1861) demolished in 1973
Some People of Note
James Pennyman (1608-1679) A Marske landowner who lived at Marske Hall and supported the Royalists in the Civil War. His men prevented Parliamentary troops from landing at Marske beach.
Anthony Lowther (c.1641-1693) A Marke landowner who became an M.P. In 1663 he became one of the original Fellows of the Royal Society.
Laurence Dundas (1766-1839) M.P. for Richmond. He supported parliamentary reform and opposed slavery.
Charlotte Hughes (1877-1993) The oldest ever Briton.
Andy Green (1962- ) A fighter pilot who was born in Warwickshire and went to school in Marske. In 1997 he broke the world land speed record, driving a jet-powered car..
Paul Jarvis (1965- ) A cricketer born in Marske. He became youngest cricketer ever to play for his county and played in nine test matches for England.
The Hearth Tax of 1673
50 houses listed in the tax return had 1 or 2 hearths, while a further 26 single-hearthed houses were exempted from payment. Based on this tax, we know that in 1673 Marske was larger than Redcar, Saltburn, Loftus or Skelton. 7 houses in Marske had 3 or 4 hearths, more than the average than you would find in the average Cleveland village. The two largest properties belonged to “Mr Jo Wilson” with 6 hearths and “Ano Lowther esq” with no less than 18 hearths in Marske Hall.
See “The Hearth Tax List for the North Riding of Yorkshire, Michaelmas 1673”, Ripon Historical Society (2011)
A Selection of Dates
1042-1056 St. Germain’s church was consecrated by Bishop Aegelric.
1119 Robert de Brus founded Guisborough Priory and granted Marske church to the canons there.
1272 On the death of Peter de Brus the manor of Marske came into the hands of the Fauconberg family.
1304 At this time the Fauconbergs had a manor house and a dovecot at Marske.
1569 The parish burials register began. The parish registers for baptisms and marriages began in 1570.
1616 William Pennyman, a clerk in Chancery bought a third part of the former Fauconberg lands.
1625 Marske Hall was built by William Pennyman.
1643 James Pennyman stopped Parliamentary forces landing at Marske during the Civil War.
1756 An Enclosure Act was passed for enclosing the common fields of the village.
1821 St. Germain’s church was rebuilt.
1858 Marske Primitive Methodist chapel was opened.
1860 Marske Wesleyan chapel was built. A rifle corps was established in Marske.
1863 A school built, now Zetland House.
1867 St. Mark’s church was consecrated.
1869 The Cricket Club was founded.
1902 St. Mark’s was badly damaged by fire.
1909 Robert Blackburn tried out his first aeroplane on Marske beach. His company later built Sunderland flying boats.
1917 Marske aircraft base was opened to train pilots during the First World War.
1922 Sir Malcolm Campbell drove at 138 m.p.h. on the beach between Marske and Saltburn. No car had ever reached this speed, but it was not recognised as a world record because electronic timing was not used.
1923 The new coast road connected Marske to Redcar.
1936 St. Bede’s Roman Catholic Church was consecrated.
1941 A Wellington bomber returning from an air raid over Germany made a forced landing near Marske. One of the crew was killed.
1956 Marske United Football Club was formed. The village previously had other teams.
1965 Marske County Modern School, later known as Bydales School, was built.
1966 The Methodist church on Hummershill Lane was dedicated.
1968 Local shoemaker Jack Anderson turned his 17th century house, named “Winkie’s Castle”, into a museum.
1971 Marske became the North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League champions. The club repeated this in 1984.
1977 Marske bypass was opened. St. Bede’s R.C. Primary School was built.
1984 Westgarth Primary School was built.
1985 Longbeck railway station was opened.
1990s Marske airfield was developed as a housing estate.
2006 Bydales School moved into new premises and the original buildings were demolished.
2015 Marske United F.C. became the Northern League football champions. In 2018 they reached the semi-final of the F.A. amateur cup.
This list of dates was compiled using “The Victoria History of the County of York: North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923) and other secondary sources.
Suggested Further Reading
“Hope’s History of Marske-by-the-Sea” Rev. E.Hope (1912)
“An old house at Marske-by-the-Sea” R.W.Machin, C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin no.17 (1972)
“Marske in 1841” M.Williams, C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin no.44 (1983)
“Bygone Marske” F.J.James, C.F.H.S. Journal vol.5 no.5 (1993)