The attractive moorland village of Cropton lays north west of Pickering on the edge of the North York’s Moors, the church and several of the houses to the north of the village lay within the 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 and worked on the land until 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.
The village had it’s own school until 1959, there is no record as to when St Gregory’s 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 3 Methodist Chapels in the village, the Zion Primitive built in 1852 is now the only active one.
Farming, Agricultural Contracting, Haulage, Forestry, Mining, Milling, Quarrying and Lime Burning were the main male occupations. Many of the women went into service at the “big houses”.
At one time the village had 3 pubs, a blacksmiths and several shops covering – hardware, paraffin, drapery, haberdashery, several grocers, books, post office, bicycle repairs, sweets, animal feed, dairy produce and there was even a tailor and a shoemaker within the village.
Electricity finally reached Cropton in 1949 and in the early 60’s that deliciously soft spring water from Hartoft was replaced by mains water. Up until the mid 80’s villagers who required the Doctor informed Mrs Gill who tied a red scarf around the signpost under the chestnut tree to summon the passing Doctor.
Demographic and social changes to-gether with the ubiquitous rise of the motor car has changed the village greatly. The village is no longer self-sufficient and there is little or no public transport. Because of the location and the attraction to incomers house prices are high, thus our youngsters are forced to look further afield for accommodation and work.
Although the village contains a high proportion of retired and elderly people there remain opportunities to work in new and differing industries from of old. Tourism is the new leader but Agriculture and Farming still employ many villagers. The village also has a garage, a thriving brewery, decorative iron work business and the improvement of modern communications has enabled the establishment of additional technology enterprises.
Cropton remains a great place to live and with an active church, chapel, pub and village hall there is a great sense of belonging and community spirit.