‘Skinnari’s, or, the tanners’ ravine’. Scinergreve 1273, Skynnergreve 1301, 1404, -gryf 1348, Skyn(n)ingrave  16th century, 1579. Old Norse by-name Skinnari or skinnari ‘a tanner’, genitive singular or plural skinnara + gryfja. Skinningrove is situated at the mouth of a deep ravine leading down to the sea; although Old Norse gryfja survives as griff ‘a narrow valley’ in Yorkshire dialect, it has been replaced in this and other nearby names by the commoner term grove.
Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication
Skinningrove is not named in the Domesday Book. It is possible that some of the lands of Skinningrove were mentioned in the Domesday Book under Brotton, but the evidence is not detailed enough to prove this.
Through most of the 12th and 13th centuries, the manor of Skinningrove was held by the de Brus family of Skelton Castle. In the early 14th century it was in the hands of the notorious Lucia de Thweng. The manor changed hands several times in the 15th century, but through virtually the whole of the 16th century it was held by the Constable family.
See “The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)
An Early Mention
Skinningrove was mentioned in the inquisition that was held in 1272 after the death of Peter de Brus. “Scinergreve. There are tofts and crofts and assarts worth 55s. 8d. In Playgreve there are three assarts, worth 2s 1d. The fishery of S(cin)ergreve is worth 4s. For boats, as many as are there, 10s. each.” (The place-name Playgreve is now lost, but must refer to a “griff” in the Skinningrove area. An assart is an area cleared of woodland.)
See “Yorkshire Inquisitions of the Reigns of Henry III and Edward I” vol. 1 (ed.) W.Brown (1892)
Another early mention comes in “The New Description and State of England” R. Morden (1701)
“Further in the Shoar we meet with Skengrave, a Village enrich’d by the Fishing Trade. ‘Tis here observ’d , that when in a calm Sea and a still Wind a Groaning is hears in the Air, there is a grievous Storm coming which discourages the Fishermen from venturing out.”
and in, “Magna Britannia Antiqua et Nova” C.Ward & R.Chandler vol vi (1738)
“Skengrave, Skyngreve, or Skinnorgrive . . . is a small Village, but standing on the Sea Shore thrives by the Multitude and Variety of Fish, taken by the Inhabitants, who are most of them Fishermen.”
The Lay Subsidy of 1301
For the purposes of this government tax on movable goods, Skinningrove was lumped together with Brotton under the heading “Brotton cum Skynnergreve”. 34 taxpayers were named in the tax returns, suggesting that in Brotton and Skinningrove there may have been more than 100 heads of households when tax exemptions are taken into account. However, there is no clue as to what proportion of these were in Skinningrove and what proportion in Brotton.
Derived from “Yorkshire Lay Subsidy” edited by W.Brown (Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series) (1897)
Manor House (sundial dated 1704, house raised by a storey c.1800, became a public house.)
Four cottages in Stone Row (Mid 17th century, possibly with medieval remains. Now includes a post office.)
Kilton Mill (an 18th century watermill on the site of a 14th century mill.)
Methodist chapel (1873)
Cleveland Mining Museum (1983, incorporating 19th century buildings.)
A Few Lost Buildings
Miners’ Hospital (1871) demolished in1947.
Miners’ Institute (1875) demolished
Co-operative store (1879 or earlier) demolished in 2015.
Some People of Note
Harry Dack (1877-1954) An iron miner who entered politics and became vice-chairman of the North Riding County Counciil. He was made an O.B.E. in 1934 and a school in Loftus was named after him. He was born in Loftus and lived in Skinningrove for a time.
Leslie Holliday (1933-2013) A Skinningrove miner and writer who published a collection of poems entitled “Shadows of Life” in 2009. He was usually known as Leslie Pem Holliday.
Derek Mosey (1970- ) An artist with a studio in Saltburn who made his home near Skinningrove. With Helen Gaunt he created mosaics in Saltburn, Marske, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough including the mosaic wall in Skinningrove.
Helen Gaunt (1969- ) An artist with a studio in Saltburn who made her home near Skinningrove. With Derek Mosey she has created mosaics in several Teesside towns and developed community art projects such as the Skinningrove Mosaic Story Wall.
The Hearth Tax of 1673
In 1673 Skinningrove had only 5 properties that were subject to this national tax. The village was probably larger than that, but unfortunately the tax returns don’t provide a clear statement of how many houses fell below the tax threshold. 4 of the 5 householders named had only 1 or 2 hearths. The largest property, with 6 hearths, belonged to “Mrs Elizabeth and Penellope Seaton” (sic)
See “The Hearth Tax List for the North Riding of Yorkshire, Michaelmas 1673”, Ripon Historical Society (2011)
White’s Directory of 1840 mentioned 2 victuallers (inn landlords), a family business of coopers and millwrights and a coal and lime dealer, but has little else to say about Skinningrove. The list in Ward’s Directory of 1936 has a co-operative store, a post office, a grocer and several other general dealers.
A Selection of Dates
1272 Skinningrove was mentioned in the inquisition post mortem of Peter de Brus. It was spelt Scinergreve in this document.
1720 A drawing of Skinningrove Hall was published in Samuel Buck’s sketchbook.
1779 A squadron led by the American naval captain John Paul Jones attacked Skinningrove.
1848 Ironstone was discovered in the hillside at Skinningrove.
1864 The Loftus (Skinningrove) ironstone mine began production. It continued until 1958.
1865 Work began on the railway from Saltburn to Loftus. This included the curving Kilton Viaduct, that was 150 feet high, supported by twelve stone piers.
1871 The miners’ hospital was provided by Pease and Company.
1873 The British Schools were opened. The Methodist chapel was dedicated in this year.
1874 The Loftus Iron Company constructed two blast furnaces and began making iron. In 1880 the company was re-formed as the Skinningrove Iron Company.
1875 Carlin How railway station was built. It was renamed Skinningrove station in 1903. A Miners’ Institute was opened in 1875.
1880 Plans for a jetty took shape. Building work lasted from 1882 to 1887.
1884 The village school was built.
1888 The first shipment of iron was loaded at Skinningrove jetty.
1901 St. Helen’s church was consecrated. The S.S. Sylvania of Hartlepool ran aground on the beach at Skinningrove. All 22 of the crew were saved.
1903 Floods destroyed the bridge.
1911 Steelmaking began at Skinningrove.
1913 Kilton Railway Viaduct was reopened after two years being buried in spoil from local mines in order to stabilise it.
1915 and 1916 German zeppelins attacked Skinningrove ironworks. Local people sheltered in the nearby drift of Loftus ironstone mine and the caves at Kilton Beck.
1920 The new bridge was built.
1926 Skinningrove and District Pigeon Club was formed.
1927 Pease and Partners took over the ironworks.
1940 Pill boxes were constructed to defend Skinningrove and massive concrete blocks were placed on the beach. An attempt by British forces to destroy the jetty to prevent it being of use to the enemy failed.
1952 The parish of Carlin How with Skinningrove was created.
Railway passenger services to Skinningrove ended, although a workmen’s service to the steelworks continued until 1958.
1958 Production ended at Skinningrove mine.
1971 The blast furnaces and open hearth steel furnaces ceased production, but the works continued with specialist steels.
1974 The line across Kilton Viaduct was relaid for goods trains to and from Boulby Potash Mine.
1981 Some of the older properties in the village were demolished.
1982 A themed bonfire was organised by the villagers. This became an annual event, with a different theme every year.
1983 The Tom Leonard Mining Museum (later renamed the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum) was opened to visitors.
1997 The Caterpillar Company built a plant on part of the old ironworks site to make tractors and loaders for the construction industry. The Riverside Centre opened about this time.
2000 Skinningrove Beck burst its banks twice in this year, with serious flooding in the village.
2010 The Skinningrove story wall mosaic was unveiled.
2015 Work began on flood defences for the village.
This list of dates was compiled from the Skinningrove History Group website and other secondary sources.
Suggested Further Reading
‘Skengrave; Collected Memories” V.McGee” (2006)
‘Skinningrove War Memorial” J.Kennedy
‘Skinningrove Iron Works” Cliff Shepherd (2012)