Aldbrough St John

Image Credit: Stanley Howe

Aldbrough St John is a lovely village in the Richmondshire district in North Yorkshire, which was originally part of the North Riding of Yorkshire. According to the 2011 census, 329 people live in the village.

This Yorkshire village is not to be mistaken for Aldbrough, East Yorkshire, or Aldborough, North Yorkshire.

Aldbrough St John Packhorse Bridge

Packhorse Bridge. Image Credit: Bill’s Walks

This North Riding of Yorkshire village has a packhorse bridge which has been designed with three arches. Originally built for packhorses, as the name suggests, the bridge is now a footpath which allows walkers and cyclists to cross easily over Aldbrough Beck.

The packhorse bridge is thought to date back to the medieval era, as it’s believed to be a medieval design and lies on a known medieval route. This bridge is made of rubble stone and is approximately 25m long. On the 4th February 1969, the Aldbrough St John packhorse bridge was granted Grade II status.

Religion in Aldbrough St John

St Paul’s Church. Image Credit: The Walking Diary

Aldbrough St John is the home to St Paul’s Church. In 1990, it became a parish church when St John’s became redundant. This church was also awarded Grade II status on the same day as the packhorse bridge.

The local craftsmen joined together to build St Paul’s Church in 1890, which was designed in an early English style. Stone from the nearby quarry was used to build it. The craftsmen were struggling to move the stone from the quarry, so the local farmers helped move it as their contribution to the construction.

Eleanor, the duchess of Northumberland at the time, paid £2000 for the church to be built. She wanted to build St Paul’s Church, so the villagers living in Aldbrough St John didn’t have to travel to Stanwick over the fields. Instead, they could stay within their village to attend church.

The interior design of the parish church was simple and has since remained so. Inside are wooden pews and choir stalls, which are the originals, along with the newer electric organ. Artefacts that can be found within the church are either made or donated by the parishioners.

Travelling In & Out of Aldbrough St John

To the north of Aldbrough St John is junction 56, which is around 2 miles away from the village. There is only one bus route in Aldbrough, which is the 29 service that runs from Darlington to Richmond.

The North Riding village doesn’t have a train station, so travelling to places outside of Aldbrough St John can prove difficult. The two closest railway stations are Darlington, which is around 9.5km away, and North Road Station, which is around 9.4km away.

History of Aldbrough St John

Aldbrough St John 1955. Image Credit: The Francis Frith Collection

The name Aldbrough is Old Norse for ‘Old Burh’, which means fortified stronghold. During the 1930s, the post office added the St John part of the village name to avoid confusion between Aldbrough St John, Aldbrough East Yorkshire, and Aldborough North Yorkshire.

Aldbrough St John was the home to what is believed to have been a small castle. For a long time, no one know of this castle until John Leland’s records were found which date back to around 1540. Within these records, John had written that he had seen “great ruines of a howse or litle castel”.

It’s thought that there were Roman-British settlements located around the village and just outside. Also, the village of Aldbrough St John is believed to be located close by to a Roman road located to the east.

In 1865, the duchess of Northumberland, Eleanor, moved to the village of Aldbrough and took up residence in Stanwick Hall. During this time, old properties were removed, and the stone was re-used to build the new houses. The castle remains were also removed for this purpose, as it was run down and no longer inhabitable.