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Danby, North Yorkshire

Coordinates: 54°28′04″N 0°54′35″W / 54.467700°N 0.909700°W / 54.467700; -0.909700
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The village Shop and post office
Danby is located in North Yorkshire
Location within North Yorkshire
Population1,411 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid referenceNZ707085
Civil parish
  • Danby
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townWHITBY
Postcode districtYO21
PoliceNorth Yorkshire
FireNorth Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
54°28′04″N 0°54′35″W / 54.467700°N 0.909700°W / 54.467700; -0.909700

Danby is a village and civil parish in the former Scarborough district of North Yorkshire, England. According to the 2011 UK census, Danby parish had a population of 1,411,[1] a reduction on the 2001 UK census figure of 1,515.[2] The statistician Karl Pearson spent a lot of time there.[3]

Danby is located within the North York Moors National Park and is home to the Moors National Park Centre.[4]

Danby is served by a rail network between Middlesbrough and Whitby as well as East Yorkshire's summer seasonal Moors Explorer bus which links Danby and the surrounding villages with Malton, Beverley and Hull. Danby village incorporates the Duke of Wellington pub and the neighbouring post office. The village lies on the Esk Valley Walk.

The civil parish includes Ainthorpe, Botton, Castleton, Commondale, Danby, Fryup and Westerdale.


An electoral ward in the same name exists. This ward had a population of 2,072 at the 2011 Census.[5]

Danby Castle[edit]

Danby Castle

A little over a mile to the south-east are the remains of Danby Castle.[6]

Danby Castle occupies a commanding position on the far slopes of Danby Rigg. It was built in the 14th century for Lord Latimer as a sign of his great wealth and, in its day, was of pioneering architectural design, combining both defence and comfortable living. Catherine Parr once lived at the castle, before she became the sixth wife of Henry VIII. The castle is now a wedding venue, managed by The Gilchrist Collection;[7] part of the building is now a farmhouse and the venue owners' family home. Danby court leet, the all male, baronial court whose origins were as a manorial court, but whose functions are now restricted to the management of common land,[8] regularly meets in the castle's courtroom.[9]

Danby Show[edit]

The Danby Agricultural Show is held every year in August, with traditional country entertainments and activities such as show jumping, sheepdog trials, exhibitions of farm animals and machinery as well as horticultural, craft and produce competitions. The show was inaugurated in 1848 by the then vicar of Danby, Canon John Atkinson, and regularly attracts 6,000 visitors.[10]

Church history[edit]

Daniel Duck (1743-?1825) was the vicar of Danby from 1780 until he was succeeded by his son Joseph in 1825. Joseph came from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and his family was one of yeoman freeholders in the Yorkshire Dales. He is commemorated in the poem, Lines in Memory of the Rev. D. Duck, Curate of Danby.

  • "Yes Daniel, faithful Daniel – gone / We faithfull few lament their loss / No more we fix our eyes upon / That Zealous preacher of the cross." The preface to this poem in the original manuscript had: ”Written on the Back of a pew before divine service while the folk were gathering up. Sunday April 1835.” Daniel Duck's diaries are held by the Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, which indicates that Daniel was the eldest son of Joseph Duck, yeoman, of Ainthorpe, and Hannah. He was perpetual curate of Danby, first appearing in the church register in February 1780.

The Rev. John Christopher Atkinson was Vicar of Danby 1850–1900 and author of Forty Years in a Moorland Parish, 1891.[11]

Danby Beacon[edit]

The Danby Beacon was one of a line of beacons up to 20 miles apart, and dates back to the 1600s when the country was living under the threat of invasion from France. It was to have been lit when the soldier stationed nearby had sight of a foreign fleet. The Beacon is now a landmark that is used as a waymarker by thousands of walkers each year. Over time, the old wooden beacon decayed so much that it fell down and the original landmark was lost.[12]

A new beacon was unveiled in 2008 by Lord Downe, President of the Danby Beacon Trust. The flame-shaped basket is made out of blued stainless steel, blending in with the sky. The flames are mounted around a cup that is decorated with bronze – a reminder of the Bronze Age burial mound which part occupies the site.[13]

During the Second World War, the site became home to one of the first radar stations guarding the north-east coast. The station was responsible for guiding Group Captain Peter Townsend, when he intercepted and shot down the first enemy aircraft to fall on English soil during the war.[14]

The radar station, which continued to function until 1957, was the precursor of the RAF Fylingdales early warning station, 15 miles south-east, whose three giant golf balls became one of the North York Moors National Park's biggest attractions.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Danby Parish (1170217330)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  2. ^ "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Danby CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
  3. ^ Porter, Theodore M. (2005). Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age. Princeton University Press. p. 264. ISBN 9780691126357. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  4. ^ The Moors National Park Centre, Danby Archived 8 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Danby 2011 Census Ward (1237325172)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  6. ^ Historic England. "Danby Castle (28803)". Research records (formerly PastScape). Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  7. ^ "The Gilchrist Collection – Wedding Venues". Retrieved 30 August 2023.
  8. ^ The Northern Echo: Court leet seeks peace to work – (27 October 2000)
  9. ^ "Danby Castle: North York Moors National Park". North York Moors National Park. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Danby show Results". The Whitby Gazette. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  11. ^ Forty Years in a Moorland Parish: Archive.org
  12. ^ "Danby Beacon". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  13. ^ BBC Website: Local history – Danby Beacon
  14. ^ "Stories from Danby's secret camp". The Whitby Gazette. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  15. ^ Real Whitby Magazine: National park’s cold war secrets unearthed
  16. ^ North York Moors National Park: RAF Danby Beacon Archived 21 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  • Wesley Historical Society Notes and Queries June 1841, p. 94
  • Ord's History of Cleveland (1840)
  • Atkinson (1891)


  • Atkinson, John Christopher (1891) Forty years in a Moorland Parish: reminiscences and researches in Danby in Cleveland. London: Macmillan (Atkinson was Vicar 1850–1900; later editions: 1907, 1967 and 1983)
  • Michael Stainsby (2006) More Than An Ordinary Man: Life and Society in the Upper Esk Valley, 1830–1910. North York Moors National Park Authority. Helmsley. ISBN 1 904622 08 9

External links[edit]