Acklam, North Yorkshire

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright December 2021, Humphrey Bolton; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.

This article was re-written in December 2021. New photographs have been added.


This article is an exploration of Acklam Civil Parish, formerly in the East Riding of Yorkshire but now in Ryedale District in the county of North Yorkshire. After looking at the village I have followed each road and the Chalkland Way footpath.


AOD = above ordnance datum, ie altitudes shown on maps as contours or spot heights.
OS = Ordnance Survey

I have used Harvard referencing (Author's name in brackets) to show the books from which information has been gleaned, and a modified version using abbreviations to refer to web sites. Maps are referred to by their date.


Acklam civil parish is on the western slopes of the wolds. The high land is chalk overlain by clay soils, but on the western slopes there are outcrops of mudstones, clay and calcareous sandstone (BGS). The highest point is Acklam Wold, at 230m AOD and the lowest 50m AOD on Leavening Beck at the western extremity. There are landslip sites at Barthorpe Grange and Denn Ings Plantation, SE775600 (BGS).
Farming is mixed, arable and pasture. There is some woodland, including plantations, but no large woods. Acklam Beck flows in a valley across the centre of the parish.

The population in 2001 was 183, in 69 households (ONS) of which approximately 50 are in the village (in SE7861) and the others are scattered around the parish, mainly farmhouses. In the village there is a public house (the Half Moon Inn), a small church, dedicated to St John Baptist, which replaced a large Victorian church now demolished, and a village hall. Businesses in the parish, other than farms, are the Gun Room at Barthorpe Grange and a glamping site at Thrussendale farm. There is a network of minor roads connecting the village to Leavening to the north, Bugthorpe to the south and Leppington to the west. Although many footpaths are shown on 19C maps, very few have been designated as public rights of way. The parish boundary can be followed on the at 1:25000 map.


Whilst it is likely that prehistoric man lived in the lower parts of the area, their remains are up on Acklam Wold. A Bronze Age cemetery consisting of an array of seventeen round barrows was partly excavated in 1849 (Bulmer), and inhumation burials were found with grave goods including bronze daggers, jet buttons and other Early Bronze Age artefacts (Pevsner). The jet buttons are probably the remains of the clothes in which the dead were buried. There are also linear earthworks that are considered to be British (Wright), ie of the Iron Age. Finds have included gold necklaces, amber beads and a rich ornament for a horse's head (Mee, Wright). It is not clear which of these are from the Bronze Age and which the Iron Age. Signs of strip lynchets suggest that this was arable land a thousand years ago (Wright). A Roman road from South Newbold to Malton crosses Acklam Wold (Margary).


Acklam is an Anglo-Saxon name (Old English acleum) meaning oak woods, and Barthorpe a Scandinavian name from Old Norse 'thorp (settlement) of Borkr' (Ekwall). At the Conquest, there were two vills: Acklam was divided between Siward and Orm, and Barthorpe between Waltheof and Forne, and by 1087 Siward's land was held by the King, and farmed by two theigns, and there was a church. Orm's and Waltheof's land was held by the Count of Mortain, and was waste. Forne's land was held by Odo the crossbowman, but was waste (Domesday Book). There are remains of a medieval motte and bailey castle.

The farm name Barthorpe Grange suggests that the medieval township of Barthorpe might have been at least partly owned by a monastery. Also Allison considers that "Barthorpe, near Acklam, may have been another complete Black Death depopulation". The monks would then have used much of the land as sheep pasture until the Dissolution. For whatever reason the township was merged with Acklam, although the two are shown as township divisions on the 1850 map. The parish (ecclesiastical) is called East Acklam to distinguish it from West Acklam in the North Riding (there is also an Acklam in Middlesborough) and also included the township of Leavening. It was a chapelry of Stainton parish until 1770. Acklam with Barthorpe became a civil parish in 1866, and was renamed as Acklam in 1935. It is now a civil parish in the Ryedale District of North Yorkshire. The population of Acklam with Barthorpe has declined from 389 in 1821 to 282 in 1891 (Genuki) and 183 in 2001 (ONS).

Sources of information


The '1850 map' is the First Edition of the OS six-inch map, sheets 142 and 159, surveyed in 1851, and available with the other East Riding sheets on a DVD published by the Digital Archives Association.
The '1893 map' is the 1892-3 edition of the 1:2500 map , which can be seen on the National Library of Scotland website.
The '1913 map' is the OS one-inch map, Third Edition Sheet 63, reprinted in the Godfrey Edition.
The '1960 map' is the OS one-inch map, Seventh Series Sheet 97, fully revised in 1958 and published in 1960.
The 'geological map' is the South sheet of the 1:625000 'Ten Mile' Geological Survey published by the Institute of Geological Sciences in 1979 (Third Edition (Solid).


Allison, K J The East Riding of Yorkshire landscape 1976
Domesday Book (translated for Alecto Historical Editions) Penguin Books 2005
Ekwall, Eilert The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English place names 1959
Harris, Alan The rural landscape of the East Riding of Yorkshire 1700-1850 1961
Margary, Ivan D Roman roads in Britain 1973
Mee, Arthur The King's England - Yorkshire, East Riding 1964
Pevsner, Nikolaus The Buildings of England - Yorkshire: York & the East Riding 1972
Wright, Geoffrey N Yorkshire - the East Riding 1976
Youngs, Frederic A Guide to the Local Administrative Units of England, Vol.2 1991

Web sites

I have not given links as they tend to become obsolete after a while. The sites can be found by searching for their titles. BGS = British Geological Society Report OR/07/004 Landslides and mass movement processes and their distribution in the York District (Sheet 63) 2007
Bulmer History and Directory of East Yorkshire (1892)
ONS = Office for National Statistics


Acklam village - Main Street

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE7861 : The Half Moon, Acklam by Gordon Hatton
Entering the village from the west, the Half Moon Inn is on the left. It gets very good reviews for meals and beer.

SE7861 : Cottages in Acklam by Gordon Hatton
Main Street climbs quite steeply. Most of the houses in the village look to have been built in the 18th or 19th centuries, There is at least one 17C house and a few built in the 20C. The old houses are built of a hard white stone obtained from a quarry in the neighbourhood (Bulmer). This is perhaps a calcareous sandstone.

There are two farms tucked away behind the northern side of Main Street, Prospect Farm and Acklam Farm.

SE7861 : Church of St John the Baptist, Acklam by Gordon Hatton
Tiny church which is easily missed. Built originally as the Methodist chapel in 1794, this became the parish church in the 1970's following the demolition of the previous Victorian St John's which stood at the eastern end of the village at the bottom of the Thrussendale Road.
by Gordon Hatton

SE7861 : Looking up the street at Acklam by Nick Mutton 01329 000000
Main Street. The building on the right is the village hall, formerly the school. The furthest house on the left is one of the few listed buildings in the village: "House formerly known as Bassetts"; "Late C18 - early C19. Sandstone rubble faced with herringbone- tooled ashlar". However the listing details do not mention that it was two houses in the late 19C, as one might expect from the arrangement of windows and door.

SE7861 : Acklam  Village  Hall by Martin Dawes
The village hall was built as a National school in 1852, with room for 60 children (Bulmer).

SE7861 : Acklam Telephone kiosk .... somewhere by Nick Mutton 01329 000000
The village telephone kiosk is presumably little used, as it had been allowed to become hidden by foliage (ivy?) it was clearly visible on Streetview in 2011, but that is ten years ago now

SE7861 : Acklam  Grange  on  Acklam village  street by Martin Dawes
Acklam Grange was captioned 'Rectory' on the 1893 map. Near here on the north side of the road there is a well built into the grass bank. The next house on the right was the Vicarage, as captioned on the 1850 map, It was built in the 18C and is listed, Grade II.

This brings us to a road junction where the village continues along Pasture Hill to the south. At the junction there is a former Primitive Methodist Chapel, built in 1821. It doesn't look like a chapel, having simple rectangular windows, but there is a small plaque above the door. The 1850 map also has a caption for a Parochial School (Endowed), which was presumably next to what was then the Vicarage. This school was replaced by the National School in 1852.

Acklam village - Pasture Hill

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE7860 : Pasture Hill towards Acklam by Ian S
The southern end of Pasture Hill is at the crossroads with Sleights Lane and the road through Barthorpe. Here the road is starting its descent towards the village.

SE7861 : Pasture Hill towards Acklam by Ian S
The road gets steeper and passes Pasture Hill Farm.

SE7861 : Pasture Hill Farm near Acklam by Ian S
Sheds at Pasture Hill Farm, which is not shown on mid-20C maps.

SE7861 : Pasture Hill, Acklam by Ian S
At this gateway next to the Acklam village sign there is an opportunity to look for the mounds that are the remains of Acklam Castle. Quoting from "Acklam Castle is an earthwork motte and bailey fortress, which was possibly an outlying stronghold of the Fossard family. Standing on the western edge of an east-west ridge, the castle was formed by the digging of two simple transverse ditches. In the top of the low motte is a shallow depression and stone structures have been identified in the large rectangular bailey. From the road farm buildings make the layout hard to observe." There is a more detailed description in the Historic England website. The site is not at all obvious from the air. Between the sign and the gateway there is a track to the left that is one of the 'lost ways', captioned 'Footpath' on the 1850 map and 'FP' on the 1893 map but is not on the rights-of-way map.

SE7861 : Tethered Goat at Acklam by T  Eyre
Welcome to Acklam! this grassy area was captioned 'Pinfold' on the 1850 map but not on the 1893 map.

SE7861 : Houses at Acklam by Ian S
Here the lane enters the village. The entrances to a 20C house and Hill Crest Farm are on the right. The farm is now the Hillcrest Farm Project, an organic farm.

SE7861 : Acklam by Stephen Horncastle
This area is captioned 'Scotland' on maps.

SE7861 : Acklam Village, East Yorkshire by Ian S
Most of the houses are on the west side of the road.

SE7861 : Woodland Cottage, Acklam by Ian S
Woodland Cottage, listed Grade II, built in the 17C of coursed limestone rubble.

SE7861 : Disused water pump Acklam by Ian S
Water pump on the site of a well shown on the 1893 map.

A little further north the road crosses Acklam Beck, "Running through the village is a good stream of water, which issues from the rock near the church." (Genuki). On Streetview it looks to be hidden by lush vegetation. There is, or should be, a footpath alongside it leading through the old churchyard to Thrussendale Road. This is captioned 'FP' on the 1893 map but is not on the rights-of-way map. Alongside the path there is what I think is a pumping station control kiosk, probably for sewage.
The road now climbs up to Main Street, passing a house that was a Smithy on the 1:2500 map, now Spring Cottage.

The Leppington Road

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE7761 : The road to Acklam by David Brown
The road entering the parish.

SE7761 : Beck Farm by Stephen Horncastle
Becks Farm is on the left. This is Beck House on the 1850 and 1893 maps. Here the road was unfenced through rough pasture alongside Acklam Beck. Acklam Lodge, up a long driveway, is also on the old maps.

SE7761 : Fields  to  Acklam  Beck by Martin Dawes
The road climbs up the slopes of Toft Hill, giving views across the valley. The trees are on the banks of Acklam Beck. The foreground is the top of a thick hawthorn hedge, neatly trimmed.

SE7761 : Towards Acklam Beck by DS Pugh
This track gives access to fields, not buildings. It is on the 1850 map, and on the 1:2500 map it goes all the way to the Barthorpe road at Brick Field; it appears still to do so in the aerial view. It used to do a 'dog-leg' up the far hillside to ease the gradient.

SE7761 : Wood House Farm by Darren Haddock
The next farm is Wood House Farm. According to the 1850 map this was also called the Manor House, and had a chalk pit and a lime kiln.

SE7861 : Looking towards Acklam by DS Pugh
Looking towards the village of Acklam on the edge of the Wolds.
by DS Pugh

Kirk Balk

The road to Leavening

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

SE7861 : Kirk Balk, Acklam by Ian S
Kirk Balk climbs up from Acklam Main Street.

SE7862 : South of Leavening by Stephen Horncastle
The fields on the east side of Kirk Balk are rather larger than those to the west, which look like fields set out during the enclosure of one of the open fields of the township. Kirk Balk would be the strip of land between Kirk Field and the next field.

SE7862 : Kirk Balk towards Leavening by JThomas
Kirk Balk soon reaches a summit and descends to enter Leavening as it crosses Moor Beck.

SE7862 : Footpath towards Leavening by JThomas
There is also a footpath to Leavening, starting at a stile in a narrow gap in a hawthorn hedge - best to have pocket secateurs with you.

SE7862 : Footpath  through  crop  to  Leavening  from  Kirk  Balk by Martin Dawes
The footpath to Leavening. The farmer evidently wanted to maximise his crop, and the path reinstatement was far too narrow.

Thrussendale Road and Acklam Wold

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright

Soon there is a track on the right leading into the old churchyard. The church, dedicated to St John Baptist, was probably medieval and is shown on the 1850 map. It was rebuilt in 1868 (Pevsner), who wrote that it was quite an ambitious church, with a wide nave and chancel and a tower, originally with a pyramid roof, at the western end. This church was demolished in the early 1970s, but presumably the graveyard can be visited and could be interesting. South of it Acklam Beck rises from springs, and there is a covered reservoir.

SE7861 : Looking up Thrussen Dale by DS Pugh
Further up the road passes Thrussendale Farm, which has a glamping site called Private Hill. On the 1850 map an alternative route is shown, the White Way. This was over rough pasture and might have been a packhorse track. It reached Acklam Wold near the road junction at Acklam Wold House.

SE7961 : Acklam Wold by Stephen Horncastle
Looking back down towards Acklam.

SE7961 : Acklam Wold VHF by DS Pugh
This radio tower stands at the top of Acklam Wold. It broadcasts BBC Radio York (103.7 MHz) and Minster FM (104.7 MHz) along with DAB and various mobile operators and other services.
by DS Pugh

SE7961 : Towards the junction with Greet's Hill by DS Pugh
Looking along Thrussendale Road.
by DS Pugh

On the 1850 map an earthwork called an 'Intrenchment' is shown passing through the road junction. This has been destroyed, but aerial photographs show the line of it as a crop mark. This is presumably one of the linear earthworks stated to be of the Iron Age. Another is still shown on the OS map crossing the road at SE800620. This road is considered to be Roman, from South Newbold to Malton (Margary's road no.29).

Acklam Wold was unfenced rough pasture in 1850, but was enclosed soon after in 1854 (Harris). On it are many tumuli; it is a well-known Bronze Age cemetery (see 'Prehistory' above). The tumuli (round barrows) were still shown on the 1960 map, but are now flattened; a few might be visible as crop marks on the aerial photographs

SE7962 : Leavening Brow Trig Point Flush Bracket S1518 by thejackrustles
There is a small rectangle at SE795622, west of Highfield Farm, containing a triangulation pillar that might be on a round barrow.

SE7962 : Road works ahead by Gordon Hatton
The 'Roman Road' heading past Acklam Wold House with the road resurfacing vehicles visible round the corner. A lengthy section of this road was closed for several weeks due to resurfacing.
by Gordon Hatton

SE8062 : A  new  top  to  a  Roman  Road by Martin Dawes
This farmhouse is not on the 1850 map, when this area was unenclosed rough pasture, but is on the late 19C map.

SE7962 : Road at Acklam Wold by Ian S
The road junction at Acklam Wold House. At Highfield nearby there is a large area of sheds, and two houses. These were new since the 1960 map.


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