title="Eskdaleside cum Ugglebarnby Parish Council in North Yorkshire">

Interesting Facts About Sleights


The name Sleights is derived from the old Norse name Sletta, meaning a flat field or place. Sleights was not mentioned until 1396 in the records of Whitby Abbey. Eskdaleside and Ugglebarnby are much older, being mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086, hence the names live on as the parish of Eskdaleside-cum-Ugglebarnby, Sleights taking second place in the history of the parish.

Sleights Old Hall

Sleights Old Hall stands on the edge of Coach Road. The modern version, built on the site of the old hall in 1891, is now residential flats. The original Sleights hall dated back to at least 1574 and it is said the Lord of Ugglebarnby once lived there. The old hall fell into serious decay and was demolished and the present hall was built by Mr Harland. It has since been used amongst other things as: the overflow school of Repton Public School, the residence of the Horsefall family, a Nursing Home and as it stands now, privately owned flats.

Lowdale Pleasure Park

Lowdale Pleasure Park ran from 1930 to 1940 in the area of the Bowling Green, now an area of housing known as Beckholm. This park consisted of a full size bathing pool with diving boards, a large paddling pool and an area of sand. There were also swing boats, archery, miniature golf, two full size tennis courts and a tea room. It was run by G T Lawson with the help of his family, the son looking after the swimming pool and his daughter running the large sweet and fancy goods shop. Its end was brought about in 1940 when an enemy aircraft dropped incendiary bombs causing damage by fire. As the war continued it was used less. The only remaining evidence of its existence is the Bowling Green, which had been part of the park, but had gone to ruin. After the war it was brought back to life by the present Bowling Club.

Sleights Beacon

If you stand on the pavement on Coach Road at the corner of Sleights church yard you will see a bench mark on the wall. Turn to look south west and Sleights Beacon can be seen on the skyline. A description of the original beacon is given on the old enclosure maps of 1750. Sleights Beacon is on the edge of the moor some 80 chains south west of the bench mark on the church yard corner and near and south of the disused quarry above Partridge Nest Farm, Eskdaleside. The Parish Council erected the new Beacon on the old site to commemorate the millennium 2000.

Sleights Industries

Sleights Industry has gone through two phases: the Alum industry from 1600 to 1820 and the Ironstone mining from 1700 to 1900. The Alum industry employed many people in the works on Eskdaleside, Littlebeck and Thorn Hill. Millions of tons of Alum shale was burnt in this process; the remains of this burnt shale, a pinkie coloured stone, is still very much in evidence in the river Esk and Littlebeck. The mining of Alum ceased in 1820 at Hole Bank, Littlebeck due to cheaper production processes being used elsewhere.

The Ironstone mining again employed many people and was centred in Grosmont, which was then in our parish. Large blast furnaces were working making our area very industrialised. The whole of Littlebeck valley was earmarked for mining, but a higher grade of ironstone was found in the Cleveland Hills and led to the demise of this local industry. The many people this made unemployed emigrated to Canada, sailing from Whitby which had its own emigration officer. After this, no other industry other than farming has established itself in this area.

Compiled by Mr Eric Preston 2013

Page last updated: 24 February, 2014