North Riding of Yorkshire

County of Yorkshire, North Riding
England North Riding of Yorkshire.png
North Riding shown within England
Status Administrative county
1911 area 1,359,600 acres (5,502 km2)
1961 area 1,376,607 acres (5,570.93 km2)
HQ Northallerton
Chapman code NRY
Created 1889
Abolished 1974
Succeeded by North Yorkshire
County Durham
1901 population 286,036
1971 population 329,410
Arms of the County Council of the North Riding of Yorkshire
Coat of arms of North Riding County Council

The North Riding of Yorkshire was one of the three historic subdivisions (ridings) of the English county of Yorkshire, alongside the East and West Ridings. From the Restoration it was used as a Lieutenancy area. The three ridings were treated as three counties for many purposes, such as having separate Quarter Sessions. An administrative county was created with a county council in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 on the historic boundaries. In 1974 both the administrative county and the Lieutenancy of the North Riding of Yorkshire were abolished, being succeeded in most of the Riding by the new non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire.

The highest point in the North Riding was Mickle Fell at 788 metres (2585 ft).



During the English Civil War, the North Riding predominantly supported the royalist cause, while other areas of Yorkshire tended to support the parliamentarians.[1]

Governance and administration

The County of York, North Riding administrative county was formed in 1889. In 1894 it was divided into municipal boroughs, urban districts and rural districts under the Local Government Act 1894. Middlesbrough had already been incorporated as a municipal borough in 1853 and formed a county borough, exempt from county council control, from 1889. Richmond and Scarborough had been incorporated as municipal boroughs in 1835, with Thornaby-on-Tees added in 1892.

The urban districts in 1894 were Eston, Guisborough, Hinderwell, Kirkleatham, Kirklington cum Upsland, Loftus, Malton, Masham, Northallerton, Pickering, Redcar, Saltburn and Marske by the Sea, Scalby, Skelton and Brotton, and Whitby. In 1922 Redcar was incorporated as a borough.

The rural districts in 1894 were Aysgarth, Bedale, Croft, Easingwold, Flaxton, Guisborough, Helmsley, Kirkby Moorside, Leyburn, Malton, Masham, Middlesbrough, Northallerton, Pickering, Reeth, Richmond, Scarborough, Startforth, Stokesley, Thirsk, Wath, and Whitby.

County Review Orders reduced the number of urban and rural districts in the county:[2]

  • Hinderwell urban district was absorbed by Whitby rural district in 1932
  • A new Saltburn and Marske by the Sea urban district was formed from Saltburn by the Sea urban district and part of Guisborough rural district. the remainder of Guisborough RD passed to Loftus urban district and Whitby rural district in 1932
  • Kirklington cum Upsland urban district was absorbed by Bedale rural district in 1934
  • Masham urban district was redesignated as Masham rural district in 1934

In 1968 a new county borough of Teesside was created, taking in Middlesbrough and parts of the administrative counties of Durham and North Riding. From the North Riding came the boroughs of Redcar and Thornaby-on-Tees, the urban district of Eston, and part of Stokesley rural district (although the remainder of the rural district continued as part of the county). The entirety of Teesside, including the parts north of the River Tees historically in Durham, was associated with the North Riding for lieutenancy and other purposes.

In 1974 the North Riding was abolished as both an administrative county and a Lieutenancy. The majority of its former area became part of the new non-metropolitan county of North Yorkshire, which also includes much of the northern rural part of the West Riding as well as the city of York and the northern and western fringes of the traditional East Riding. Middlesbrough and Redcar became part of Cleveland and are now in independent unitary authorities which became part of North Yorkshire for ceremonial purposes. The Startforth Rural District (South Teesdale) was transferred to County Durham, becoming part of the Teesdale.

The North Riding is now represented in the districts of Hambleton, Richmondshire, Harrogate, Ryedale, and Scarborough in North Yorkshire, with parts in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees (south of the River Tees), Teesdale, and Redcar and Cleveland. The principal towns are Middlesbrough, Redcar, Whitby, Scarborough and Northallerton.[3]

Proposed resurrections

On three occasions a re-use of the North Riding for local government purposes has been considered. During the 1990s UK local government reform, the Banham Commission suggested uniting Richmondshire, Hambleton, Ryedale, and Scarborough districts in a new unitary authority called North Riding of Yorkshire. Later, the government proposed renaming the county of North Yorkshire the North Riding of Yorkshire.[4] This was deemed inappropriate and rejected, after a "chorus of disapprobation".[5][6]

During a further local government review in the 2000s as part of the preparations for the regional assembly referendums, a North Riding of Yorkshire unitary authority consisting of Richmondshire, Hambleton, Ryedale and Scarborough was again suggested. However, the Commission withdrew this in favour or two unitary authorities, one for Hambleton and Richmondshire, the other for Ryedale and Scarborough.[7]

Ancient divisions

Unlike most counties in Great Britain, which were divided anciently into hundreds, Yorkshire was divided first into three ridings and then into numerous wapentakes within each riding. Within the North Riding of Yorkshire there were thirteen wapentakes in total, this included;



1. Gilling West
2. Hang West
3. Gilling East
4. Hang East
5. Allertonshire
6. Halikeld
7. Langbaurgh West


8. Birdforth
9. Bulmer
10. Ryedale
11. Langbaurgh East
12. Whitby Strand
13. Pickering Lythe



  1. ^ "Historic Cleveland - Timeline". Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  2. ^ The North Riding of York (Northern Areas) Order 1932, The North Riding of York Review Order 1934
  3. ^ F. R. Youngs, Local Administrative Units of England, Vol.II, Northern England, London, 1991
  4. ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 1 February 1995, column 694.
  5. ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 13 February 1995, column 552.
  6. ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 28 February 1995, column 993.
  7. ^ Boundary Committee report: Final Recommendations for unitary local government in North Yorkshire

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