Yorkshire History

Written by: Elmtree Press

Yorkshire has a varied and colourful history, and this is reflected in the variety of Museums in the area to visit. 


Grab a picnic and head off to immerse yourself in Cavaliers and Roundheads, Medieval Households, Fossils, Trains, Historic Seafarers, Historic Houses and Castles. It is a fascinating voyage of discovery which will enthral and surprise you.


Ampleforth Abbey has been home to a Community of Benedictine monks since 1802. The Abbey Church is the centre of monastic life and is open to visitors all year round. Guided tours are available every Thursday at 2:15 pm or by appointment.


Malton Museum is at the heart of the market town.  It holds a nationally important collection of Roman artefacts including coins, pottery, weaponry and even a jet bear. In addition to objects relating to the area’s Roman past there are items belonging to more recent periods, including artefacts connected with horse racing, brewing and other aspects of local life.


Housed in the buildings and grounds of an original WWII Prisoner of War Camp, just outside the North Yorkshire town of Malton, visitors to Eden Camp will experience the sights, sounds and smells of what life was like on the Home Front and Front Line during World War Two. The museum covers the history of British military forces during the 20th Century more comprehensively than any other museum in the country, from the trenches of World War One, the truly world war of 1939-45 and all the post-WWII conflicts since.


The stunning Whitby harbourside site which houses the Captain Cook Museum is the 17th Century house which belonged to Cook's master, the ship owner Captain John Walker. The attic roofed with old ships timber where the young Cook and his fellow apprentices lodged, is still preserved. Whitby is where Captain Cook learnt his seaman's trade- where all his ships were built! The house is now a museum celebrating Cook's nine years in Whitby and his later career. Ship models, maps, Pacific artifacts, original paintings and prints, tell the story of Cook and of those who sailed with him to the South Seas. The Museum stages a special exhibition each year - for 2018 this is 'Whitby in the time of Cook, the making of a great seaman', and is the 250th anniversary of Cook’s departure in Endeavour from Plymouth on the first of his three great voyages to the South Seas.

Also in Whitby is the Whitby Museum, home of the infamous Hand of Glory, the leech-powered Tempest Prognosticator, the fossil crocodile (now brought to sculptured life in Pannett Park), and much, much more, all displayed in original Victorian cases stuffed with interest and wonder. Established when Whitby's prosperity was at its height, Whitby Museum reflects the interests, talents and story of the town and district for nearly 200 million years. Their eclectic collection of artefacts range from whaling, Whitby Jet, shipping, the voyages of Captain Cook in Whitby ships, costumes, furniture, paintings and coins to sea birds, and their ancestors, the fabulous Jurassic sea reptiles.


Guardian of the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales for over 900 years, the unique fortress of Skipton Castle is one of the most complete and well-preserved medieval castles in England. Standing on a 40-metre high crag, fully-roofed Skipton Castle was founded around 1090 by Robert de Romille, one of William the Conqueror's Barons, as a fortress in the dangerous northern reaches of the kingdom. The castle was skilfully restored by the redoubtable Lady Anne Clifford and today visitors can climb from the depths of the Dungeon to the top of the Watch Tower, and explore the Banqueting Hall, the Kitchens, the Bedchamber and even the Privy! 


Looking around Kiplin Hall, near Richmond, it is easy to imagine that the family have only just slipped out. Nearly everything displayed in the house belonged to one of the four families who owned the Hall between 1620 and 1971. Carpets, furniture, paintings and personal memorabilia are all as they might have been arranged at the end of the 19th century, when the family of Admiral Walter Carpenter was in residence. Most rooms in the house are open for viewing and there are no ropes or barriers, so, apart from not using the furniture, you can really feel like a guest of the Carpenters. Room Stewards and information sheets are available in each room to guide you through the Hall and its history, and you can purchase a useful guide book when you buy your entrance ticket.


Soak up the atmosphere amidst the magnificent abbey ruins at Fountains Abbey, the largest and most complete abbey in the country, and be charmed by the graceful Georgian water garden where cascades flow into mirror-like pools. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1986, it’s a truly special place to come and enjoy year round. 


Scampston Hall, home to the same family since the 1600s, and remodelled by Thomas Leverton in the Regency period, welcomes visitors for guided tours during the early summer. Knowledgeable and entertaining guides lead parties through the family home, explaining the history of this beautiful Yorkshire stately house. It is very much still a much loved family home and visitors often remark that this is what gives it its special character.