Guisborough, Gisborough, or Guilsbrough in 1843
Guisborough is a market-town and parish in the eastern division of Langbaugh liberty, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, about 243 miles from London, 45 miles nearly due north of York, in the vale of Cleveland, and about 5 miles from the sea-coast, near the mouth of the Tees.
The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Cleveland and diocese of York, with a gross income of £721 : the church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, was partly rebuilt in 1791. There are also two Independent chapels, and places of worship for the Wesleyan Methodists and the Society of Friends.
The town consists chiefly of one spacious street running east and west, with many good houses ; a market-place, erected in 1821, over which is the town-hall, where petty sessions are held fortnightly ; a free grammar-school, founded in 1561 by the Rev. Robert Pursglove, and called Jesus School ; almshouses for six men and six women, on the same foundation ; and Providence School, established by subscription in 1790, but re-modelled in 1821, when school-rooms were built for the education of 100 boys and 100 girls on the national system.
There are also several Sunday-schools ; a branch of the Darlington Joint-Stock Bank ; and a workhouse for the Guisborough Union, which comprises twenty-seven parishes. The market, which is well attended, is held on Tuesday ; and there are several fairs or special markets, most of them being for the sale of wool.
At Guisborough the first alum-works in this country were established, during the reign of Elizabeth. These works, which were founded by Sir Thomas Chaloner, have long been discontinued, and the manufacture has been transferred to Whitby.
In the year 1129 a priory was founded here by Robert de Brus, for canons of the order of St. Augustin, the importance of which, in the days of its prosperity, may be conceived from the assertion of a manuscript in the Cottonian Library, that the prior kept a most pompous house, "insomuch that the towne, consystinge of 500 householders, had no lande, but lived all in the abbey." Of this building a very small portion remains, near the east end of the town.
The beautiful situation of Guisborough led Camden to observe that it resembled Puteoli in Italy, but was superior to it in healthiness. In 1822 a mineral spring was discovered near the town, which has attracted numerous visitors. The water possesses diuretic properties, and is much resorted to by rheumatic, scorbutic, and bilious patients.
The parish contains the township of Guisborough, with a population, in 1831, of 1,988, and in 1841 of 1,776 persons, including 35 in the Union workhouse ; and also the townships of Dale Common, Hutton Locras, Pinchingthorpe and Focketts, making the total population 2,210 in 1831, and 2,015 in 1841.