Scalby: Scalby was the ‘capital’ of east royal forest


Rightly proud of their historical heritage and community spirit, some Scalby residents were perplexed (to put it mildly) by a recent article on their village (Scarborough News, September 3).

Though not an authority on the subject, I do know that Scalby was “capital” of the eastern half of the royal forest of Pickering (not “Dalby”) and that the lord of adjacent manor of Hackness was Sir Thomas Posthumous Hoby (not “Toby”).

The article also presented several myths as facts. There is no verifiable evidence that Sir Thomas left victuals for plague-ridden Scalby at the Rosette. First, the Rosette did not exist until 200 years later; second, the Rosette is located in Newby, not Scalby; and third, Hoby was the most ungenerous of gentlemen, always in conflict with his neighbours.

The story of the lady who infected Scalby’s church-goers with her black silk dress is preposterous folklore to anyone who understands what plague was and how it is spread.

Finally, Scalby is pronounced “Skawby” because that was its spelling for centuries. (Natives of Falsgrave still call it “Falsgriff”, without knowing why, because that is closer to the Domesday Book than the modern spelling).

After the recent publication of Sheila McGeown’s book on Seamer a similar history of Scalby, written by a historian, is long overdue.

Jack Binns

Chatsworth Gardens