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A Brief History Of North Cave

North Cave is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire situated 15 miles to the west of Hull city centre.  The civil parish is formed by the village of North Cave and the hamlet of Everthorpe.

The origin of the name Cave is controversial however the generally accepted view is that it derives from the Anglican word “caf”, meaning stream or beck. 

Church Street looking towards All Saints church

The history of North Cave can be traced back to the last period of the Stone Age,  approximately 3,500 BCE.  An archeological dig carried out in the mid-1980s discovered a number of tools and weapons from this period.  Digs carried out during the 1970s and 1980s discovered late Iron Age (1st century BCE/1st century CE) and Romano-British remains in the area of Dryham Lane.  They revealed a substantial Iron Age/Romano-British rural settlement comprising roundhouses, ironworking hearths, enclosures, trackways, and numerous boundary and drainage ditches.  It is thought that the lands around North Cave were extensively farmed and there was a drove road and field system covering four acres.  In addition, there is evidence of iron smelting throughout this period until approximately 300 CE.

A number of archeological artefacts have also been discovered in Everthorpe including a number of unusually shaped Bronze Age axes.  A burial site dating from the same era has also been discovered  and it seems clear that a settlement in Everthorpe has existed from pre-historic times.

Papermill House from Church Street

The significant number of Iron Age and Roman relics indicate that the lands around North Cave were extensively farmed during these periods and an iron smelting furnace has been found which is thought to have been used until about 300 CE.

Little is known about the early social or economic development of the village however, it is mentioned in the Domesday Book compiled in 1066 which listed six landowners.  All these holdings passed to William Malet and then William’s son, Robert.  When Robert Malet died in rebellion in 1106, his estates were split into three, and passed to the Mowbray, Mortimer and Stuteville families.  In the Middle Ages the Metham family from Metham near Howden were large landowners in North Cave and Everthorpe.


The settlement appears to have been growing by the late 13th and 14th centuries, as there appears to land clearance in preparation for cultivation.  There were at least five open fields in North Cave township in the 17th and 18th centuries, and a number of old enclosures are documented in surviving records from the early and mid-16th centuries. 

During the 12 century various noblemen gave gifts of land to the church but this was confiscated by King Henry V111 in 1536 and later passed to his son, Edward V1 who was persuaded to give the confiscated land to Giggleswick Grammar School.  The School remained one of the largest landowners in North Cave for nearly 400yrs until it was sold off in 1921. 

From an industrial perspective, there were probably 2 water-mills at North Cave in 1086, and by the 16th century there were at least 3; in the 15th and 16th centuries at least one of these was a fulling mill.  All these mills were powered by North Cave Beck.

Tradesmen known to have been in the village included a draper in 1521 and a weaver in 1618.  A malt kiln is mentioned in 1729, which may have stood in Westgate; there was also a rope-walk in Church Street in the mid-19th century. Tanners were mentioned in the later 18th century, and a skin-yard lay to the north of Westgate in 1852. From the mid-19th century there may have been one or two agricultural implement-makers in North Cave. Paper was made here in 1733 and 1823, but the mill had reverted to corn-grinding by the 1850s.

The plan of the medieval village is still readily discernible. Much of the village lies along Church Street and Westgate and many of the buildings date back to the 18th and 19th centuries.


Contact Information

Clerk's Hours:

09:00-15:30 Tues / Wed & 09:00-15:00 Thurs. (Out of hours please email / leave a voicemail) 

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