Local History Group


[Find here info on annual history days, publications and our regular monthly meetings]

The Local History Group meets monthly (on the third Tuesday of the month) to explore various aspects of history in the local area (scroll down for the meetings diary).  At some meetings we invite a guest speaker to join us and share knowledge and expertise; at others we discuss current and future projects, including major exhibitions on a selected theme.  Occasional Saturday morning coffee sessions in The Grapes pub enable us to talk informally to older residents who recall earlier times in the village and enable us to record their experiences.  Local walks, led by an expert, help us understand the way our landscape has been shaped, or identify aspects of natural history (birds, wild flowers).  Special visits, for example to the North Yorkshire Archive, are also arranged to inspect historical material relevant to our projects.

Since our inception in 2011 we have organised Local History Days on the following topics:

2011 – Various displays on the church, castle and brick kiln

2012 – Farming (with re-enactment of agricultural hirings and talks)

2013 – Local businesses (excluding farming)

2014 – Slingsby and war

2015 – Entertainments in Slingsby

[2016 – No exhibition]

2017 – Ursula and Lionel Lascelles exhibition + launch of Farming in Slingsby book and Village Trail.

Full details of our local history exhibitions are HERE

Local History Group MEMBERS! Planning information is HERE

In 2017 our main focus was to prepare an open exhibition on Ursula and Lionel Lascelles, sister and brother who lived in Slingsby for many years.  Ursula died in 1992, aged 102, and left a wonderful scrapbook and journal of her time in the area, including fascinating information about her experiences as a nurse during World War II, snippets of local gossip, and photographs and drawings.  On the same day, we launched our latest book: Farming in Slingsby Parish, Then and Now, in Words and Pictures, compiled by LHG member David Thornley, and also a Village Trail for visitors, suggesting a walking route around the village with brief notes on the many interesting buildings and features.  The exhibition took place in the Village Hall on Saturday 18 March.

The Local History Group project for 2018 is to collect and present more information about Slingsby Castle, both the medieval castle and its later 17th century successor. The information available so far can be read on the Slingsby Castle webpage HERE . In February 2018 the Group welcomed Steve Moorhouse, a visiting research fellow at Leeds University with a particular interest in the interpretation of medieval landscapes. This was an outdoor visit to look at the area of original parkland around the castle. His initial thoughts can also be seen on the Slingsby Castle webpage.

For further information about the Local History Group contact Margaret Mackinder at [email protected] or tel. 01653 697010 or come along to a meeting.  You will be very welcome.

Read on for Publications and Meetings Diary



Farming in Slingsby Parish

This is a large book of 120 A4 pages and includes a wealth of information about local farms and farmers, plus a lot of history of the area – not only farming.  It is in colour and has over 200 photos.

Available from the Village Shop or direct from David Thornley (01653 627210), price £12.

Slingsby Then and Now

Using the same format as the above farming book, this earlier publication of 98 pages describes the wide range of people and businesses around Slingsby in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Available from the Village Shop or direct from David Thornley (01653 627210), price £12.

Slingsby Village Trail

This is a leaflet pointing out village landmarks with a brief history.  It describes a trail around the village identifying some of the historical and architectural features.  Pocket-sized and in colour, it opens up into a large but manageable sheet for the walk. Available from end of May 2018.

The Trail leaflet is priced at £1 and can be obtained from the Village Shop, or the two caravan sites. For mail orders, contact Margaret on 01653 697010, email [email protected] The post and packing charge is £1 (1-3 leaflets) or £2 (4-8 leaflets).

Guide to All Saints Church, for adults

Guide to All Saints Church, for children

These two colourful guides give the history of the church and point out the key features.

The adults’ guide costs £2.50 and the children’s guide 75p.  Both are available from the church.

Slingsby, Fryton and South Holme Photo-DVD

This DVD contains over 1,100 photographs of Slingsby, Fryton and South Holme over the past 100+ years.  It will play on a normal DVD player such as that connected to an ordinary television.  It plays for over 2 hours and may be paused/resumed just like any other film.

Available from David Thornley (01653 627210) for £5.

Village Design Statement

This is an online planning document offering advice to builders and residents on acceptable design features that preserve the special character of Slingsby, Fryton and South Holme.

It may be viewed via this link:


Local History Meetings Diary 2018

Meetings of Slingsby Local History Group will generally be on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, except August. Meetings normally take place in the Village Hall at 7.30 p.m. All welcome. Entrance £1.00 to cover hall hire, or from £2.50 when there is an arranged speaker. There are also Saturday morning discussions and outdoor walks to look at historic features. For further information about the Local History Group contact Margaret Mackinder at [email protected] or tel. 01653 697010 or come along to a meeting. You will be very welcome.

If you wish to receive regular news of meetings by email, please sign-up to do so at any meeting.

[For external lectures in Malton and Helmsley, look here.]

Forthcoming Slingsby Local History Group Meetings

Tuesday 20th November 7.30pm Village Hall Committee Room ( £1 )
Bethany Watrous is an MA Buildings Archaeology student at the University, working with Kate on creating a virtual reconstruction of Slingsby Castle, as it was originally envisaged and designed by the architect Robert Smythson for Charles Cavendish (I), based on analysis of the original drawings held by RIBA and other sites such as Caverswall Castle (Staffordshire) and the actual castle, built by John Smithson for Charles Cavendish (II).

Beth will show us the castle in its landscape context, and reappraise its relationship to High Street and the medieval – and current – village layout and its commanding view across what is now the Sports Field and the Lawns.

We will hope to give a brief update, too, about the geophysical survey carried out by Dr Helen Goodchild of the University of York and Slingsby School in October.

Saturday 8th December 10.15 for 10.30am Medieval Ghosts
Our annual Christmas coffee and mince pie meeting 10.30 a.m.
at the Grapes Inn Slingsby
At the end of the 14th century a medieval monk at Byland Abbey who was supposed to be looking for examples of heresy, recorded a series of ghost stories which he was told by local people, set in the surrounding villages which will be familiar to many of us. The stories are well known, and have inspired other writers such as M R James, as well as recent historians of the medieval supernatural.

Is your name Snowball? Have you had an eerie experience between Gilling and Ampleforth? Lost any silver spoons near Newburgh Priory? Had any problems with unquiet spirits at Heslerton?
Come along and be gently spooked over coffee and mince pies as Kate reads some of these stories and thinks about what they tell us about late medieval North Yorkshire.
(£3.00 includes coffee and a mince pie)

As space will be limited for both these events (Nov and Dec 2018) please let us know in advance if can or cannot attend, by emailing or telephoning Margaret on [email protected] or 01653 697010. Priority goes to Local History Group members who will all be accommodated, but knowledge of how many will be coming will enable us to know if there is space for others.

Our meetings are generally open so please feel free to join us.

Local History Meetings Archive



There has been a church on the site of All Saints Parish Church close to Slingsby castle for at least a thousand years. The present church contains medieval remains and monuments from earlier buildings and is itself a monument to the rich history of Slingsby.  English Heritage is encouraging churches all over the country to embrace other activities in order to justify their continued existence, now that church membership is so small. Keeping them open just for worship alone is not affordable or justifiable.

Both local people and the many visitors to the village want to know more about the castle and other local features, so it is aimed to create an exhibition area for both permanent and temporary exhibitions. This would involve minimal change inside the building, which can still continue to be used for worship and for other purposes. The exhibitions would involve local history, information about the Castle and all other aspects of village life, such as wildlife, social history, archaeology, trees, arts and crafts.

In 2018 a project, with Heritage Lottery Fund support, is under way to create a new Local History Resource Centre and exhibition area in the north aisle of the church.


The Time Capsule

A time capsule was buried in the foundation stone when All Saints Church was substantially rebuilt in 1867. Slingsby PCC obtained permission to excavate the capsule. The exploration by an accredited stonemason took place on Saturday 28th February 2015.

For the results of the excavation and details of the new time capsule, please look here


Click above for a short video of part of the 2011 Local History Weekend.

Below is an edited verson of the recording of residents’ memories (made in the Grapes in December 2012) about Slingsby during the Second World War.