Place-name:  ‘Orm’s village or farm’. Ormesbi(a) 1086, Ormesby from 12th cent. Old Norse personal name Ormr, secondary genitive sing.  Ormes, + by.


Information about this place-name was supplied by Victor Watts by personal communication.


Domesday Book

Under the heading “Land of the King’s Thegns” it says:

“In Ormesbi, 4 thegns had 12 carucates of land for geld. Land for 8 ploughs. Orme has 1 plough there, and 2 villeins and 16 bordars with 3 ploughs. A priest (is) there, and a church. (It is) 1 league in length and 1 in breadth. T.R.E. it was worth £4; now it (it is worth) 40s. (A carucate was roughly 100 acres, geld was a tax that had to be paid and T.R.E. means in the time of Edward the Confessor)

Based on William Farrer’s translation in “The Victoria History of the County of York” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1912)


Early Landowners

Early in the 12th century, King Henry I created the Brus fee; a great tract of land between the lower Tees and the River Esk. This was granted to Robert de Brus of Skelton and it included the parish of Ormesby. The overlordship remained with the Brus family until 1272. In the 14th century the Darcy family were the overlords. The local lords at this time were the Percys, starting with Arnald de Percy of Kildale who had the manor of Ormesby in the 12th century. The Percy family held this until it passed by marriage to Robert Conyers whose grandson John Conyers was buried in Ormesby church in 1438. Many of the houses in the village of Ormesby belonged to Guisborough Priory in the Middle Ages. During the 16th century, the Strangways family had Ormesby until James Pennyman acquired the estate at the close of Elizabeth I’s reign.

See “The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Yorkshire North Riding” vol.2 (ed.) W.Page (1923)


An Early Mention

In the North Riding Feet of Fines, Easter Term 1600 (YAS Record Series vol. 8 (1890) it says:

“Plaintiff 🙁purchaser) James Pennyman, gent., Deforciant: (vendor) Ralph Rookebye, gent., and Johanna, his wife.

Name and Situation of the Property: Manor of Ormesbye and 10 messuages, 5 cottages, a watermill, and a windmill with lands in Ormesbye, Caldecotes and Sowth Cowton.”


From the North Riding Quarter Sessions, Thirsk April 21st 1612.

“The King’s highway leading from Maske to Yarme . . . in ruyne and decaie, especially betwixt Eshton (Eston) and Ormesby, and ought to be repaired by the towneshipp of Normanby: also in a place betwixt Normanby and Marton, called Ormesby Street, as in decaie, and ought to be repaired by the towneshipp of Ormesby, it being in the street leading from Mask to Yarome.”


An early mention in literature appears in “The History of Cleveland in the North Riding of the County of York”, J Graves (1808) “In the northern extremity of the parish (Ormesby) which is washed by the river Tees, the lands are nearly level; and the soil a rich and fertile clay, remarkable for its produce of wheat and beans. From the village of Ormesby the grounds rise gradually towards the south, where the soil is a mixture of gravelly and clayey loam, and the surface is rendered uneven by a variety of gentle swells . .

There are no considerable grazing or dairy farms within the parish; the produce of grain, since its great advance in price, being more an object of the farmer’s attention, than the breeds of horses, cattle, and sheep, for which, about thirty or forty years ago, this parish and neighbourhood were particularly noted. The lands, however, are in an improved state of cultivation, and we may add, that the annual value thereof has been increased, within the last eighty years in nearly a seven fold-proportion.”


The Lay Subsidy of 1301

For the purposes of this tax, Ormesby was lumped together with Caldecotes (later known as Cargo Fleet). Movable goods belonging to 41 properties were taxed, suggesting a total of around 120 properties in the parish, assuming that around two thirds of property holders were exempt from the tax. The topmost taxpayer was Ormesby Grange, a grange farm that belonged to the canons of Guisborough Priory. The canons paid just over 41 shillings. Five taxpayers each paid over 4 shillings, but most paid just a few pence. The total amount raised by the subsidy was just under £5.

Derived from “Yorkshire Lay Subsidy” edited by W.Brown (Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series) (1897)


Selected Buildings

Almshouses (1712)

Ormesby Hall (c.1754)

Ormesby Hall stables (c.1770)

Ormesby Hall West Lodges (c.1770)

Ormesby House (1904)

St. Cuthbert’s Church (1875 with some 12th century stonework.)

St. Gabriel’s Roman Catholic Church (1975)


A Few Lost Buildings

The Black Lion Inn (appears in Baines’ Directory of 1823) demolished in 1935.

Black Lion Cottages (Early 19th century?) demolished in 1935.

The National School (1904) demolished in 2007.


Some People of Note

William Lawson (c.1553-1635) The vicar of Ormesby from 1583 to 1635 who wrote “A New Orchard and Garden” and “The Country Housewife’s Garden” (published together in1618). These were two of the earliest gardening books in the English language. He favoured women’s employment and wrote one book specifically for women.

Dorothy Pennyman (1699-1754)  The widow of Sir James Pennyman who was largely responsible for the building of Ormesby Hall after her husband’s death.

Thomas Jennett (1769-1846) A well-known printer and bookseller in Stockton, who was born and is buried at Ormesby. He was mayor of Stockton three times.

Alexander Brodie Cochrane (1813-1863) An ironmaster who founded the Ormesby Ironworks in 1854.

Elizabeth Caroline Brown (1834-1905) A local benefactress who paid for the school, the church tower, and a wing of North Ormesby Hospital.

Ruth Pennyman (1893-1983) The last of the Pennyman family to live at Ormesby Hall.

Peter Richardson (1970-) A light-welterweight amateur boxer who reached the quarter finals of the Olympic Games in 1992.

Jade Jones (1996-) A wheelchair athlete who represented her country in the Paralympic Games in 2012, and narrowly missed reaching the final of the 800 metres event in 2016.


The Hearth Tax of 1673

24 houses in Ormesby had 1 or 2 hearths in 1673, while a further 7 houses had 3 hearths. The largest properties belonged to “Constable Bradshaw esq” with 6 hearths, “Wm & Nich Pearson” with 7 hearths, and “Sr Ja Pennyman bart” with 10 hearths at Ormesby Hall. A further 17 householders paid no tax, having been discharged by legal certificate.

Based on “The Hearth Tax List for the North Riding of Yorkshire, Michaelmas 1673”, Ripon Historical Society (2011)



1801     357

1851     446

1901     547

1961     5,288

2011     5,942



White’s Directory of 1840 described Ormesby as “a pleasant village on the Stockton and Redcar Road”. The Directory named the Red Lion and the Black Lion, along with 14 farmers, a gardener, a blacksmith, a tanner, a shopkeeper, a butcher, 3 shoemakers and 3 tailors. The Stockton and Scarborough coach called at noon. Ward’s Directory of 1936 mentioned 2 general dealers, 2 grocers, a butcher, a newsagent and a draper. One of the grocers also ran the post office.


A Selection of Dates

1119     Ormesby Church was granted to Guisborough Priory. The priory later acquired a manor at Ormesby.

1599     The parish registers commenced.

1600     James Pennyman purchased the manor of Ormesby.

1603     James Pennyman built a manor house.

1618     The Vicar of Ormesby, William Lawson, published two books on horticulture. These were two of the earliest English books on horticulture.

1718     Ormesby almhouses were built.

1740     James and Dorothy Pennyman began to build Ormesby Hall. James died in 1743.

1744     A school house was built next to the almshouses.

1854     Ormesby Station opened on the Middlesbrough and Whitby railway.

Ormesby Ironworks came into operation.

1859     The Wesleyan Reform Chapel was dedicated.

1865     Ormesby Local Board was formed.

1866     Ormesby school was rebuilt.

1875     St. Cuthbert’s Church was rebuilt.

1894     Ormesby Urban District was formed.

1904     A new National School opened at the corner of Cargo Fleet Lane.

1907     A tower was added to St. Cuthbert’s church.

1933     An open-air production of “The Winter’s Tale” took place on the lawn at Ormesby Hall to help raise funds for a village hall for Ormesby.

1939     During the Second World War, Ormesby Hall was used as a base for a unit of the Medical Corps, an anti-aircraft battery and as a brigade headquarters.

1950     Ormesby Primary School was opened.

1957     Ormesby Methodist church was dedicated.

1961     Colonel James Pennyman bequeathed Ormesby Hall to the National Trust.

1966     Ormesby library was opened.

1967     Ormesby Secondary School was opened.

1971     Cochrane’s Ormesby Ironworks was closed.

1972     Ormesby Table Tennis Club won the European Club Cup.

1974     Cleveland Police mounted section began to use the stables at Ormesby Hall.

1975     The A174 road, known as the Parkway, cut through the village of Ormesby.

St. Gabriel’s Roman Catholic church was consecrated.

An Anglo-Viking cross-head was found during an excavation at St. Cuthbert’s church.

1982     Ormesby Station was re-named Marton Station.

1993     A four-year programme of repair and restoration at Ormesby Hall and its stables was completed.

2010     Ormesby Table Tennis Club won the British Women’s League title.

2013     The police mounted section, based at Ormesby Hall, was disbanded.


This list of dates was compiled using “Ormesby Urban District” by Paul Stephenson (1998) and other secondary sources.


Suggested Further Reading

“Ormesby Hall, Cleveland” L.Pearson (1989)

“Ormesby Hall” S.Raikes (2002)

“Ormesby: 1066-1601” D.W.Pattenden, C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin 58 (1990)

“The Township and Parish of Ormesby 1601-1801” D.W.Pattenden, C.T.L.H.S. Bulletin 61 (1991)

“Ormesby Hall Conservation Area Appraisal”, Redcar and Cleveland Council (2011) Includes a section on the history of Ormesby village.

“The Ormesby Ironworks of Cochrane and Co.” F.Jewitt, C.T.L.H.S.  Bulletin 30 (1975)