VISIT Easingwold- Yorkshire at its best


Ryedale parish population estimate:  70 (1999)


Oldstead -  today

Oldstead is a small village, between Kilburn and Wass. It lies in a romantic situation, among the pleasant wooded valleys of this secluded area below the craggy ghylls and tree-clothed slopes of the Hambleton Hills.

Oldstead - a History

A community of Cistercian monks built a church and grange here in 1147 and lived here for thirty years before moving to Byland; the remains of their settlement, which they called "Stocking", lie under the turf near a field still called "Chapel Garth".

On a hilltop to the north of the village is "Scotch Corner" the site of a battle in 1322 between the English under Edward 11 and the Scots under Robert the Bruce. A battle that the English lost. King Edward, who had been lodging at Byland, was almost captured and the Abbey was sacked.

Running through the site of the battlefield is the old "Drovers road", used by the Scots drovers in the 17th and 18th centuries to bring their livestock to sell further south. One of the drovers' stopping points was the "Scotch Corner Inn". The Inn and farmhouse fell into ruin early in the 20th century but in 1957, a local sculptor, John Bunting from Ampleforth, built a memorial chapel on the site, using the old stone from the former buildings. The Chapel is dedicated to the memory of the sculptor's friends who lost their lives in the 1939-45 war.

Another landmark on the hilltop to the north-east, is the "Oldstead Observatory", a stone-built tower erected in 1838 to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Victoria. The tower was built by John Wormald, a timber merchant and entrepreneur, who lived at Oldstead Hall at that time. Unfortunately, the tower has become hidden by trees in recent years and no longer imposes its presence on the valley below. This has lead to the mistaken belief that it has fallen down. This is not the case and it is, in fact, in excellent repair.
In spite of its isolation, Oldstead is a pleasant village and a favourite area for walkers, who enjoy its woods and valleys far from traffic noise and pollution.

Fred Banks

1865 old map of the Oldstead area

Or click here for a full size map (522Kb)

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from Baine's Directory of the County of York 1823

OLDSTEAD, in the parish of Kilburn and wapentake of Birdforth (Oldstead Grange, the seat of Thomas Paul, Esq.); 7 miles N. of Easingwold


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Easingwold Tourist Information
Chapel Lane
YO61 3AE
Tel 01347 821530
Fax 01347 821530

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It's a fact

Sqdn Ldr. Jack Currie was a famous WW2 bomber pilot who lived in our area. Some time after leaving the RAF he got a job as an instructor with the Home Office Defence School situated at Hawk Hills, Easingwold. During these post war years he decided to write his memoirs of his wartime experience as a pilot of a Lancaster Bomber. This book had the title of \"Lancaster Target\" which became very popular and sold in the thousands. He wrote this book whilst visiting the George Hotel in Easingwold in the evening whilst enjoying a pint. Sadly he died much too soon and is now at laid at rest in Easingwold church cemetery where one can view his unusual gravestone which mentions the fact that he was a famous wartime pilot and author. His funeral service was attended by hundreds of people, including the members of the BBC who produced a film of him being interviewed in respect of his wartime period when he was stationed at Wickenby in Lincolnshire.

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