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Stapleton was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. Though it has been known that a settlement has existed on this sharp bend in the river since the 9th century. The name originates from the Old English words 'stapol' meaning boundary post and 'tun' meaning settlement, and is pronounced locally as 'Stapp-l-ton'. The village and surrounding area were granted by William the Conqueror to a knight who would become known as Benedict de Stapleton, by the 13th century the now powerful 'de Stapleton' family gave some lands around the village to the nearby Premonstratensian monks of Easby Abbey and in so doing forgoing the obligation to maintain a ferryboat across the river. One member of the Stapleton family, Miles Stapleton of Bedale was one of the founding members of the Order of the Garter. The family built a manor in the village as well as a private chapel named after St. James, the settlement had second church known as St. Leonard's administered by Easby Abbey. Neither the Manor or the two churches exist today, local speculation suggests that the site of the manor is located in 'Garth Field', the irregularity of the land being the last remnants of a defensive moat or pond. By 1616 the Stapleton family had left the village and the churches fell out of use, this is thought to be the origin of the 'Corpse Walk' as when the church at Croft was used for burials, the deceased had to be carried between the two villages a distance of some three miles.
During the medieval period a bridge existed linking the village to the northern bank of the river and presumably replaced the ferryboat, it is believed that from this the Public House in Stapleton, 'The Bridge Inn' is named. This bridge however was lost after a flood and was not replaced, meaning that the nearest crossing was at Croft-on-Tees until 1833 when the Blackwell bridge was built.
More recent history has seen the picturesque village as the filming location of the war film Way to the Stars. Until the second half of the 20th century the village was served by a Post Office, a blacksmith and a public house. Only the latter is still in use.
Stapleton was part of the former North Riding of Yorkshire and is today part of the County of North Yorkshire, in the administrative area of Richmondshire. The village also lies within the Richmond Constituency, presently represented by Conservative Party Member of Parliament Rishi Sunak. Residents use the GP surgery in Aldbrough St John and Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, Stapletonians are usually discouraged from using services in Darlington given that they belong to different authorities and hospital trusts. The village has a strong rural identity, the village is popular with commuters to Darlington, Northallerton and further afield due to its proximity with the A66.
Stapleton rests within an area made renowned by the Marquess of Zetland's Hunt characterised by rolling countryside and river rock masonry synonymous with the Richmondshire district. From the top of Stapleton bank panoramic views can be seen, ranging from the Cleveland and Hambledon Hills in the east to the Yorkshire Dales and Teesdale in the west. The village lies around 10 miles north of Richmond, 15 miles from the county town Northallerton and 4 miles south of the market town Darlington. Like many villages in this area of North Yorkshire and of its age Stapleton is centred on a large village green, similar to that of nearby Aldbrough St John and Barton.
- Internet Domesday Book. 23 November 1999 https://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/northriding.html. Retrieved 21 October 2013. Missing or empty
- "Last name: Stapleton". Internet Surname Database. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- >"Happy to be... a drummer". The Northern Echo. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
Media related to Stapleton, Richmondshire at Wikimedia Commons