Family History Notebook

Page last updated 08/09/21

Swindale - Skelton Parish

Swindale and Swindale Farm
(Swindale Beck is off the picture to the left)

Swindale is an area in the township of Moorsholm in the parish of Skelton, some 7km south of Saltburn in North Yorkshire. (OS map reference NZ6814). Moorsholm is mentoned in the Domesday Book with most of the land being held by the Count of Mortain, William the Conqueror's half brother. The other landowner was Robert le Bruis who had been given the manor of Skelton.

Extract from 1856 map (click on map for larger area)

The Swindale Beck runs down the valley to the west of Moorsholm; Swindale Farm, formerly Swindale House, is situated on the western slopes of that valley. Moorsholm Mill is situated at the junction of the Swindale Beck and Dale Beck, taking water from both streams (although Dale Beck is now much reduced since its water catchment is tapped for the Lockwood Beck reservoir which feeds Saltburn and Loftus). Further upstream Swindale Beck is called Oven Close Beck, Oven Close being where the main road over the moors crossed the stream.

Moorsholm Mill and Swindale Beck

Swindale Beck

Bluebells in Swindale

There is no known evidence linking this Swindale with the Swindale/swindle/swindell surname despite P.H. Reaney making that association in his Dictionary of English Surnames. Swindale Farm is a stonebuilt house of apparently 18th or 19th century construction but may well have much earlier origins. (I once lived in a very similar house myself where the farm dated back to at least the 14th century AJS). In 1792 Robert Porrit bequeathed Swindale to his son, also known as Robert.1. The placename, Swindale, goes back to at least 12715 - the era of surname formation - but there is no evidence of habitation before the 18th century enclosures.

White's Directory of 1840 notes
"The poor of Moorsholm and Stanghow have four acres of land in the former township, called Swindale, left by Robert Barwick, and now worth about 2 10s. per annum, thouigh the family who hold it have usually paid only 30s. per year."
(I think this means the township of Morrsholm and Stanghow).

The closest connection is John Swindell in 1605 in Sutton near Thirsk some 40km to the south-east.


Information about the parish of Skelton from Bulmer's 1890 History and Directory of the North Riding.

This aerial photo cannot be published for reasons of copyright but can be viewed by entering 'Moorsholm' in and then selecting 'aerial photo').


1     Will of Robert Porrit, Skelton, Yorks, Yeoman

2     The 'Plan of the High and Low Moors in the Township of Great Moorsholm in Cleveland, Made in 1821 by R. Otley' (Northallerton Record Office Reference ZPF frame 280) shows Swindale (unnamed) as part of 'Kilton Inclosure' from Kilton Common rather than 'Ancient Inclosures in Great Moorsholm'. I have not yet traced any record of the Kilton Inclosures. The 1856 map shows it as a detached part of Kilton Parish. I have seen a reference indicating that Kilton Parish ceased to exist in 1868.

3     The 1856 map shows the uppermost reaches of the Swindale Beck as Swinsow Dale (leading down to Oven Close).

4     There appear to be no references to Swindale / Swindell / Swindle in the whole of the Hearth Tax register for Yorkshire 1672/3 (as transcribed by the Ripon Historical Society).

5   He [Peter de Brus] was made constable of Scarborough Castle; and departing this life 14 Kal. October, anno 1271 (55 Hen. III.) without issue, left his four sisters his heirs: viz, the wife of Walter de Fauconberg, who had for her share the castle of Skelton and Manor of Merske (Marske), Up lethum (Upleatham), Westby, and Eastburne ; Lucia, the wife of Marmaduke de Thweng, who had the lordships of Danby, Bretton (Brotton), Yarum (Yarm),  and Kirkeburne, as also the town of Great Moresdon, with the common and chase of Wauer, viz. Swindale, Laharenes, and other dales, as the roadway extendeth from Lardthorne to Skelton by Scortbeck, between Katerig and Strangewig, &c.; Margaret, the wife of Robert de Ros, who had all Kendall ; and Laderina, the wife of John de Bellew, who had for her share the lordships of Coulton in Balne, Kalmesworth, Thorpe Arches, Tithethorpe, and certain yard lands in Sethbarne.

The History and Antiquities of Cleveland: Comprising the Wapentake of East and West Langbargh: p595 from Dugdale's Baronage.  By John Walker Ord 1972

Daneby manor with the forest.
Lelhom and Wolvedale.
Manselinges with the farm of Thomas de Wolvedale.
Brocton manor and Skinergrive, and the boats of Skinergrive, rents, &c.
Jarum with the rents and fishery.
Great Morsom, with rents, &c. of freemen and others.
The forest of the chace of the dales, viz.Swindale and Le Havenes and other dales as the high way extends from Lardethorn to Scelton by Skaytebec, between Katerig and Stangho, and so as far as the wood of Liverton.

Kirkebrun manor and Suthbrune with the mills, &c. excepting lands and rents assigned to John de Bella Aqua and La dereyne his wife.

A fourth part of wreck of sea, as above, with moieties of the advowson of Giseburn priory, and of the bailiwick of Langeberewe.

Memorandum. On the first vacation the prior will be presented by Sir Walter de Facunberg or his heirs, and on the next by Sir Marmaduke, and so on alternately to the end of the world.

The part of Walter de Facunberg and Agnes his wife (undated).

From: 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 41', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III (1904), pp. 261-273. URL:  Date accessed: 21 September 2009.

Swindale Farm



Swindale origins