The attractive moorland village of Cropton lies north west of Pickering on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors, with St Gregory's Church and several of the houses to the north of the village sitting within the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
There was a settlement in Cropton before the Anglo-Saxon period and it is named in the Doomsday Survey. Towards the end of the 11th century a motte and bailey castle was built and the site is now a scheduled ancient monument of national importance.
William Scoresby the elder, the greatest of arctic whalers spent his early days in Cropton. He attended, somewhat intermittently, the village school until he was 9 years old and worked on the land until the age of 19 when he went to sea. He is remembered as a great whaling captain, navigator and arctic explorer and has a place in history as the inventor of the ice drill and the crow’s nest.
There is no record of when St Gregory’s Church was built but the plain circular font is said to be Anglo-Saxon and there is a mention of a chaplain in the 14th century. There have been three Methodist Chapels in the village, the Zion Primitive built in 1852 being the last active one. The village had it’s own school until it closed in 1959.
Farming, forestry, haulage, mining, milling, quarrying and lime burning were the main historical occupations for the men of the village, with many of the women going into service at the “big houses”.
At one time the village had three pubs, a blacksmith's forge and several shops offering hardware, paraffin, drapery, haberdashery, groceries, books, post office, bicycle repairs, sweets, animal feeds and dairy produce. There was even a tailor and a shoemaker within the village.
Electricity finally reached Cropton in 1949 and in the early 1960s the deliciously soft spring water from neighbouring Hartoft that the village had enjoyed was replaced by mains water. Up until the mid 1980s villagers who required medical attention informed Mrs Gill who tied a red scarf around the signpost under the chestnut tree to summon the passing doctor.
Demographic and social changes together with the ubiquitous rise of the motor car have changed village life greatly. The village is no longer self sufficient and there is little or no public transport. Because of it's attractive location house prices are high and many local youngsters are forced to look further afield for work and housing.
Although the village contains a high proportion of retired and elderly people there remain some opportunities to work in new and differing industries from those of the past. Tourism is the new leader but agriculture still employs many local people. The village has a garage, a thriving micro brewery and a decorative iron work business. The development of modern communications has also enabled the establishment of additional technology based enterprises.
Cropton remains a great place to live, and with an active church, pub and village hall there is a great sense of belonging and community spirit.