Pickering History

Pickering Castle Walls

Pickering Castle Walls

Pickering History

  • 207 BC Pickering is founded. Pickering’s name is from the circumstance of that a prince losing his ring, when washing in the river Costa, which was afterwards found in the belly of a pike. (Pike-ring)
  • 1100-1200 AD Pickering castle is built, and later used as a royal hunting lodge as Blansbury Park is just north of Pickering. This became a strategic position for the castle, for as well as being used for defence against the Scots you could see as far as Whitby and Helmsley. It was around this time that Henry III added the inner courtyard and stone towers.
  • 1140 The early Norman church is rebuilt.
  • 1150 The north aisle was added to the church.
  • 1190 The south transept arch and arcade were built and the south aisle is added.
  • 1165 First recorded owner, Reginald de Pickering, meaning man of Pickering.
  • 1200 Church tower collapsed forcing drastic alterations. A new tower is erected on the west end of the church, completed in three stages and taking a total of 300 years to build.
  • 1300 The Chancel was enlarged to accommodate the increasingly elaborate church services of the time. South porch was built and stone spire is added. It is recorded that the upper part of the tower had fallen, damaging the west end of the south aisle; the tower was rebuilt, and in the process given a spire. The south west pier was also rebuilt, the new pier being octagonal in section. The tower now contains a fine peal of 8 bells which were renovated and re-hung in 1986.
  • 1323-1326 Curtain walls and towers are added by Edward II.
  • 1337 A chantry chapel is built on the site of the present organ chamber, by Sir William Bruce, whose effigy lies near the lectern.
  • 1400 Richard II is imprisoned in the castle before being beheaded in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. The walls of the church of St Peter and St Paul bear a unique gallery of 15th century wall-paintings. Discovered in the 15th century they were promptly concealed with whitewash because the vicar thought that they would encourage idolatry. Happily they were rediscovered in 1878. They depict scenes from the Bible, from history and from legend, ranging from St George slaying the dragon to the martyrdom of St Thomas a Becket.
  • 1407 A chantry chapel was added to the south side of the chancel, in memory of Sir David and Dame Margery Roucliffe.
  • 1450 The nave was substantially altered, the walls were raised, the celestory (upper story) windows inserted and the roof replaced. Outside, the distinctive battlements were added. It is more than likely that it was at this time that the wall paintings were commissioned.
  • 1532 The White Swan is built as a four-room cottage. It now stands within the Market square and is a popular Public House and Hotel.
  • 1806 + Work is done to the roof of the church as evidenced by the dates, and builders’ names (F. Kirby & T. Grayson) inscribed on the crossbeams.
  • 1832 George Stephenson proposed to build a rail link from Pickering to Whitby and was given financial backing by a syndicate. Four years later he completed the 24-mile line at a cost of £130,000, making this track one of the oldest pieces of railway engineering in the world. In the early days, the two carriages were drawn by one horse, or two horses on the steepest hills.