This information has been compiled by members of Skinningrove History Group.
A Resilient Community
Over the years Skinningrove has been subject to invasion, flooding, bombing and the demolition of entire streets. The alum quarrying, ironstone mining and steel making industries which brought people to the village have disappeared or diminished significantly. Despite such setbacks the village lives on and attracts walkers, cyclists, visitors to the mining museum and revellers at the annual bonfire. A growing range of artwork can now be seen through the village in recognition of its rich history and heritage.
A Brief History
180 million years ago
The area was submerged beneath a shallow sub-tropical sea full of exotic life forms such as ichthyosaurs (now seen as fossils); rock formations developed which led to mining and quarrying more recently.
5000 to 800 BC
There was Neolithic then Bronze Age activity in the Street House/Upton area near the cliff top to the east of the village.
800 BC to 100 AD
Late Iron Age sites developed at Street House and at Kilton Thorpe above the valley upstream from the village.
100 to 420 AD
This period saw a Romano-British settlement at Street House and links to signal stations at Huntcliff to the north-west and Goldsborough to the east.
Angles settled in the area which formed part of the Kingdom of Deira (later Northumbria); there was an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Hob Hill, Saltburn.
At Street House there was an Anglo-Saxon cemetery where a Princess was buried. (See permanent exhibition at Kirkleatham Museum near Redcar).
The Vikings settled and ruled by Danelaw. Skinnara-Gryfja (Norse for Tanners’ Ravine) was the village’s first known name as leather tanning developed.
The completion of the Norman Conquest led to the de Brus family taking ownership of the district. Above the valley upstream from here Kilton Castle was built for the de Thwengs who were related to the de Brus family.
Settlements developed at Kilton Thorpe; the de Brus family enjoyed “free fisheries and fishings, plantage, floatage, lagan, jetsom, derelict and other maritime franchises, along the coast from Yarm to Runswick” (from “The History and Antiquities of Cleveland” by J.W. Ord). Skinningrove was variously known as Scinergreve, Skynnergreve and by other names.
The Manor House (later the Old Hall and now the Post Office) was built.
Edward Burden, a Catholic priest and martyr, stayed at Manor House farm before being captured and executed. A merman was caught (allegedly!).
An alum industry started at Loftus and Boulby quarries on the cliffs to the east of the village (then known as Skengrave).
Skinningrove Hall (now Timms Coffee House) was built in 1704 as a manor house for the Easterby family. John Paul Jones, a naval fighter in the American War of Independence, descended on Skinningrove in 1779 with his ship and crew and fired some cannonballs before allegedly raiding the village for provisions.
The first Census shows a population of 72 in the village with occupations including farmer, alum labourer, cooper and millwright.
A tithe map shows the township of Skinningrove to the west of the beck with property owned by John Charles Maynard and the Earl of Zetland.
Ironstone mining started, the stone being hauled from the mine by horses along a railway to a wooden jetty. From there it was taken by boat to Middlesbrough then by rail to ironworks in County Durham.
Pease and Partners acquired the mine (later named Loftus Mine). The railway network was extended to Skinningrove via a zig zag line and a viaduct was built across the valley upstream from the village.
This was a decade of great growth with many new dwellings and services being established. A primary school opened as the population grew when Lofthouse Iron Company started production above the village and output increased at the mine. Two places of worship opened. A miners’ hospital and miners’ institute opened, both built by Pease & Partners.
Lofthouse Iron Company was taken over by the Skinningrove Iron Company which increased production and developed a new jetty below the works. The population of the village was now more than 2,000 and rows of terraced houses dominated the valley and the hillsides. A senior school was opened.
The decline and end of mining was followed by demolition of many houses and redevelopment of the village. Meanwhile residents were subject to wartime bombing and major flooding at various times.
The latter part of the century saw a significant reduction in the number of shops and services together with closure of the two schools. However, the opening of a mining museum pointed the way towards a new role for the village. Skinningrove started to develop a new identity as walkers on the new Cleveland Way national trail and cyclists using the National Cycle Network came through the village.