VISIT Easingwold- Yorkshire at its best


Hambleton parish population estimate   790 (2000)

Sutton on the Forest - today

Imagine that you are cycling along the rather dull straight B1363 north from York through flat, mainly treeless farmland with little habitation. About 7 miles on, you find yourself entering a woodland tunnel, and pedalling slightly uphill. After another quarter mile, suddenly you are out into the sunshine at a T-junction with a high brick wall rounding the corner on your right into Sutton's main street, and before you part of a beautiful village green lined by pretty cottages which open onto the footpath across an ancient strip of cobbles. Colour abounds in the climbing shrubs, rambling roses, clematis, wisteria. This is the western end of the linear village situated along the southern slope of a minor east-west ridge in the otherwise bland present-day royal Forest of Galtres.

Although we have lost our Methodist chapel, post-office, a small repair garage and forge, two pubs, a blacksmith, and our shop, we have retained one pub (the Blackwell Ox), one admirable restaurant (at the old Rose and Crown), a first class primary school (about 90 pupils and 3 teachers plus one half time), an active church, well-kept village hall (1926), an excellent garage for repairs, sales and petrol, and attractive street lighting organised by the Parish Council and subsidised by the District Council, comprising individual house-lights befitting a rural street.

 At the T-junction at the east end of this street, the old Pound hosts a memorial to Canadian airmen killed on missions flown from the local war-time airfield.

The two exit roads at each end of the main street accommodate some 20th century housing, and their owners are integral in the many village activities. On the south-eastern road there is Moor End, a small area reminiscent of the old Forest of Galtres, which is carefully monitored as a special site for wild life, including ponds and woodland, plants, animals and birds of interest.

Sutton on the Forest - a history

The houses are of varying dates, from small indications of 16th century cottages transformed by later additions, through to Victorian farmhouses. There is a consistency in style and material - a mellow local brick - with mainly old pantiles.

Along both sides of the street is a broad grass verge, the elongated remains of the green, still Common Land, the largest portion of which, with its duck pond, was enclosed behind the lofty wall at Sutton Corner in the 18th century by the then owners of the Hall.

Now "Sutton Park", this is an elegant classical mansion (built about 1755-1760) set well back on your right amongst its fine old trees and spectacular garden (see opening times). It complements All Hallows Church opposite (once “All Saints”) which forms the ancient northern side, on the apex of the ridge, of a quadrangle which is the churchyard.

This is a church with a very long history reaching back at least to Norman times, and through alterations and additions in the 15th and 19th centuries. It is full of interest, not least for its connection with Laurence Sterne who was vicar from 1738 to1768. There is also a splendid set of memorials to members of the Harland family, builders of the Hall. Sterne's vicarage next door to the church was destroyed by fire in 1765, soon replaced by a large Georgian vicarage, and in turn by its present attractive successor in 1957.

Fifty years ago Sutton was still an agricultural village, with six farms within the main street, in addition to a number of small holdings and farm workers' cottages. Now only one of these working farms remains, and the crofts and garths have become beautiful secret gardens to the rear of the houses, with the intervening orchards and vegetable plots accommodating modern houses,which in this Conservation village of some 630 adults and their children are of mainly vernacular design.

Further historical information can be found in Sutton-on-the-Forest, Two Thousand Years of Change, published by Sessions of York, and The Harland Monuments at All Hallows, Sutton-on-the-Forest (illustrated), published by Croft Press at Croft Cottage, Sutton- on-the-Forest, both by the same author as this article.

Eleanor Mennim

Sutton on the Forest 1865

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from Baine’s Directory of the County of York 1823


SUTTON ON THE FOREST, a parish in the wapentake of Bulmer, 5 miles SE. of Easingwold. Here is a very handsome parish church, dedicated to All Saints; the living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Archbishop of York. The celebrated Lawrence Sterne was a resident in, and the vicar of this parish; but on the destruction of the parsonage house by fire, he moved to Coxwold, of which place he was also vicar, as well as of Stillington. Population, 443.

Huby was also in the parish of Sutton-on-the-Forest.




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Easingwold Tourist Information
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YO61 3AE
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