North Yorkshire: Local History Resources

Whitby North Yorkshire England UK

North Yorkshire is one of three ridings that make up the historic county of Yorkshire.

Page Contents:

Where North Yorkshire Is And What It’s Famous For

If you’re looking at the history of North Yorkshire or maybe doing family history research about the area, you may have questions about the county. This section addresses the most commonly asked queries about Yorkshire and North Yorkshire, before moving on to look at the local history resources available.

Where is Yorkshire England?

Most of Yorkshire is in the region of Yorkshire and the Humber, but some is in the region of North East England.

County Durham, Tyne & Wear and Northumberland all lie north of Yorkshire before you reach Scotland. All along the East side of Yorkshire runs the North Sea, giving the county 45 miles of coastline.

Because Yorkshire is the largest county in England, for historic administration purposes it was divided into three ridings. 

Today, the three parts of Yorkshire are known as the East Riding of Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and North Yorkshire.

The ancient city of York is part of North Yorkshire.

What areas are in North Yorkshire?

North Yorkshire includes the districts and boroughs of:

  • City of York
  • Middlesbrough
  • Harrogate
  • Scarborough
  • Redcar & Cleveland
  • Stockton-on-Tees (South)
  • Selby
  • Hambleton
  • Craven
  • Richmondshire
  • Ryedale
  • Selby

Some of these share names with the town or city in the borough, but also incorporate villages and hamlets close by. 

The district and borough councils run most local services. North Yorkshire County Council oversees the district and borough councils and additionally provides services related to social care, education and roads.

What is North Yorkshire famous for?

Yorkshire is known for being the largest county in England, and for being ‘God’s Own Country”. Its array of rural landscapes including moors, dales and beaches are dotted with ancient castles, ruined monasteries, national parks and beaches strewn with small fossils.

Why do they call Yorkshire God’s Own Country? People from Yorkshire have strong regional identity, are proud of their landscape and communities, and feel a sense of belonging. The phrase suggests the county is more divinely favoured than others in England. People across the UK understand the term refers to Yorkshire.

With 2.9 million acres of territory across the three ridings of Yorkshire, the historic county is larger than Greater London. The 2011 Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that Yorkshire’s population of 5.3 million people meant more people were living in Yorkshire than in the whole of Scotland.

Is Yorkshire bigger than Wales? Not by the size of the territory, no. But when it comes to financial measurements, Yorkshire’s economy is roughly twice the size of the Welsh economy.

The ancient city of York is the most famous part of North Yorkshire. It boasts a medieval Cathedral, a system of streets built on Viking plots, the National Railway Museum, and a popular University.

Is Teesside in North Yorkshire?

Teesside is an area in and around the large industrial town of Middlesbrough, in North East England. It’s north of York and sits on the southern borders of County Durham. 

In recent decades Teesside has moved between counties, but since 1996 Teesside has been part of North Yorkshire. 

Most of North Yorkshire is in the region called Yorkshire and the Humber. The Teesside area of North Yorkshire is in the North East England region.

Although the River Tees runs through Stockton-on-Tees, the town is the only one in the UK to have territory in two different counties. Most is located in County Durham so the town is treated as being part of County Durham, even though local perception sees the town as being part of Teesside.

What is a Yorkshireman?

A Yorkshireman is one who is born or raised in the county of Yorkshire. The county has a distinct set of Yorkshire dialects. This incorporates much more than an accent since the use of grammar and vocabulary is different to the standard English of the middle classes.

In addition, cultural behaviour differs. Yorkshiremen like to speak plainly and get to the point clearly, without dancing politely round a topic at length. That’s normal and acceptable. The same straightforward manner in an elegant setting in South East England would be seen as brusque and rude. 

Traditionally the area was known for men in flat caps but they are normally only seen on the heads of older men today. 

Meanwhile, the food Yorkshire is famous for – Yorkshire pudding, Wensleydale cheese, parkin,  liquorice and ginger beer – can be found in any supermarket across England.

Calling a person from Yorkshire a Yorkshireman also ties into their regional pride. People are proud of coming from this county.

Towns In North Yorkshire

York was made a city by the occupying Romans in AD71.

The towns and market towns of North Yorkshire are:

  • Bedale  
  • Bentham
  • Boroughbridge
  • Easingwold  
  • Eston
  • Filey
  • Grassington  
  • Guisborough
  • Harrogate  
  • Hawes  
  • Haxby  
  • Helmsley
  • Ingleby 
  • Barwick
  • Kirkbymoorside  
  • Knaresborough
  • Leyburn  
  • Loftus
  • Malton  
  • Masham  
  • Middleham  
  • Middlesbrough
  • Northallerton  
  • Norton-on-Derwent
  • Pateley Bridge  
  • Pickering
  • Redcar  
  • Ripon 
  • Richmond
  • Saltburn-by-the-Sea  
  • Scarborough  
  • Selby  
  • Settle  
  • Skelton-in-Cleveland  
  • Skipton  
  • Stokesley
  • Tadcaster  
  • Thirsk  
  • Thornaby-on-Tees
  • Whitby
  • Yarm-on-Tees

In addition, the ceremonial county is home to hundreds of villages and hamlets. The ones we have written pages about are:

Local History Videos

In the list of towns above, any that are highlighted will link through to a dedicated page. There, you’ll find a curated list of online videos that give an insight into the community’s past.

Local History Facebook Groups

  • Cleveland & Teesside Local History Society
  • Filey local history group
  • Normanby Local History Group
  • Old Scarborough Photo Archive
  • Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society
  • Yorkshire Archaeological & Historical Society

Yorkshire’s Local History Resources

  • Acomb History Society
  • Avon Local History and Archaeology
  • Barwick-in Elmet Historical Society
  • Battle of Stamford Bridge Heritage Group
  • Bedale Archaeology & History Society
  • Beeston & District Local History Society
  • Bilton Historical Society
  • Bingley & District Local History Society    
  • Bishopthorpe Local History Group
  • Bolsterstone Archaeology & Heritage Group
  • Bordley Township Project
  • Boston Spa Archaeology & Heritage Group
  • Bradford Historical & Archaeological Society
  • Brodsworth Community Archaeology Group
  • Bronte Society
  • Calderdale Industrial Museum Association
  • Castleford & District Historical Society
  • Castleford Heritage Trust
  • Cawood Castle Garth Group
  • Claro Community Archaeology Group
  • Clements Hall Local History Group 
  • Cottingley Village History Society
  • Cullingworth Local History Group
  • Derwent Archaeology Group
  • Dig Sheffield    
  • Dringhouses Local History Group
  • East Keswick Local History Group
  • East Leeds History & Archaeology Society
  • East Riding Archaeological Society
  • East Yorkshire Local History Society
  • Featherstone Historical Society
  • Fishergate, Fulford and Heslington Local History Group
  • Forest of Galtres Society
  • Friargate Community Archaeology Project
  • Friends of Hagg Wood
  • Friends of Hob Moor
  • Friends of Nidderdale AONB
  • Friends of Roman Aldborough
  • Friends of Skipwith Common
  • Friends of Wincobank Hill
  • Friends of York Walls
  • Garforth Historical Society
  • Greenhow Local History Group
  • Halifax Antiquarian Society
  • Halliwell Local History Society
  • Harrogate Archaeological Society
  • Haxby Local History Group
  • Hebden Bridge Local History Society
  • Helmsley Archaeology and Historical Society
  • High Wolds Heritage Group 
  • Holgate Windmill Preservation Society
  • Holme-on-Spalding Moor Local History Society
  • Horbury & District Historical Society
  • Huddersfield & District Archaeological Society
  • Huddersfield Local History Society
  • Hunter Archaeological Society
  • Ingleborough Archaeology Group
  • Iron Age Nidderdale Project
  • John Wheelwright Archaeology Society
  • Keighley Local History Society
  • Kirkby, Gt. Broughton & Ingleby Greenhow Local History Group
  • Leeds Civic Trust
  • Linton on Ouse History Group
  • Malhamdale Local History Group
  • Monk Fryston Time Team
  • Naburn Local History Society
  • Nidderdale Chase Heritage Group
  • North Craven Heritage Trust
  • North Craven Historical Research Group
  • North Duffield Conservation & Local History Society
  • North East Lincolnshire Archaeological and Local History Society
  • Northallerton & District Local History Society
  • Northern Mine Research Society
  • Olicana Historical Society
  • Ossett Historical Society
  • Pennine Heritage
  • People, Landscape & Cultural Environment of Yorkshire
  • Pocklington & District Local History Group
  • Pocklington History
  • Pontefract & District Archaeological Society
  • Pontefract & District Local History Society
  • Pontefract Civic Society
  • Pontefract Heritage Group
  • Poppleton History Society, Archaeology Group 
  • Prehistoric Nidderdale Project
  • Pudsey & District Civic Society
  • Ripon History & Museums
  • Rothwell & District Historical Society
  • Saddleworth Historical Society
  • Scarborough Archaeological and Historical Society 
  • Sedbergh & District History Society
  • Sessay Archive
  • Sherriff Hutton History Group
  • Skipton & Craven Historical Society 
  • Snaith & District Historical Society
  • South Ainsty Archaeological Society
  • South Bradford Local History Alliance
  • South Leeds Archaeology Group
  • South Yorkshire Industrial History Society
  • South Yorkshire Trades Historical Trust
  • Stamford Bridge Tapestry Project
  • Stockton and Hopgrove Local History Group
  • Strensall Local History Group
  • Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Archaeology Group
  • Tadcaster Historical Society
  • Tang Hall Local History Group
  • Tees Archaeological Society
  • Thoresby Society (Leeds Historical Society)
  • Thornborough Heritage Trust
  • Thorner & District Historical Society
  • Thornton-le-Street History Group
  • Tickhill & District Local History Society
  • Time Travellers (Sheffield)
  • Todmorden Antiquarian Society
  • Towton Battlefield Society
  • Upper Wharfedale Field Society
  • Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group
  • Upper Worth Valley History Group
  • Wakefield Historical Society
  • West Yorkshire Heritage Forum 
  • Westfield History Group (South Elmsall)
  • Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society 
  • Whitby Naturalists Club
  • Wiggington Local History Group
  • Wortley Top Forge
  • York Archaeological Trust
  • Yorkshire Architectural and York Archaeological Society
  • Yorkshire Dales Landscape Research Trust
  • Yorkshire Dales Society
  • Yorkshire Philosophical Society
  • Yorkshire Vernacular Buildings Study Group
  • The Yorkshire Archaeological & 
  • Historical Society

National Local History Resources

In addition to the huge range of local resources listed above, many of the national history resources will also contain information about North Yorkshire’s places and people.

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Thanks to Tim Hill for use of the image at the top of this page.

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