On the River Tees's south bank, historically Yorkshire's North Riding. Yarm bridge marked the furthest tidal reach flow up the tiver until a barrage opened to regulate the tide in 1995. The bridge was previously the last before the sea, multiple bridges have since superseded it. It was first superseded by a toll bridge in 1771, crossing into Stockton: the town centre is about two miles south of Stockton.
Yarm's oldest part is around its high street, situated on a small peninsula. Newer parts: to the east extend to the river Leven source from the Tees, to the south extend into Kirklevington parish with the station in said parish and Low Worsall to the west.
The name Yarm is thought to be derived from the Old English gearum, dative plural of gear, 'pool for catching fish' (source of the modern dialect word yair with the same meaning), hence 'at the place of the fish pools'. Yarm was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, and was originally a chapelry in the Kirklevington parish in the North Riding of Yorkshire; it later became a parish in its own right.
The Yarm helmet is a c. 10th-century Viking age helmet that was found in Yarm. It is the first relatively complete Anglo-Scandinavian helmet found in Britain and only the second Viking helmet discovered in north-west Europe. It is displayed nearby in Preston Park Museum, Preston-on-Tees.
Dominican Friars settled in Yarm about 1286, and maintained a friary and a hospital in the town, until 1583. Their memory is preserved in the names of Friarage and Spital Bank. The Friarage was built on top of the cellars of a Dominican friary in 1770, for the Meynell family. It is now at the centre of Yarm School.
Bishop Skirlaw of Durham built a stone bridge, which still stands, across the Tees in 1400. An iron replacement was built in 1805, but it fell down in 1806. For many years, Yarm was at the tidal limit and head of navigation on the River Tees.
On 1 February 1643, during the First English Civil War, a small Roundhead force attempted to halt the progress of a large waggon-train of arms, landed at Tynemouth and destined to bolster the Royalist war effort in Yorkshire and beyond. Heavily outnumbered and outflanked by Royalist ford crossings, the Parliamentarians were quickly routed and the Royalists gained the bridge, crossing into Yorkshire.
On 12 February 1821, at the George & Dragon Inn, the meeting was held that pressed for the third and successful attempt for a Bill to give permission to build the Stockton & Darlington Railway, the world's first public railway.
In 1890, Bulmer & Co listed twelve inns in Yarm: Black Bull, Cross Keys, Crown Inn, Fleece, George and Dragon, Green Tree, Ketton Ox, Lord Nelson, Red Lion, Three Tuns, Tom Brown, and Union. Also listed was Cross Keys beside the Leven Bridge.
In the 13th century, Yarm was classed as a borough, but this status did not persist. It formed part of the Stokesley Rural District under the Local Government Act 1894, and remained so until 1 April 1974 when, under the Local Government Act 1972, it became part of the district of Stockton-on-Tees in the new non-metropolitan county of Cleveland. Cleveland was abolished in 1996 under the Banham Review, with Stockton-on-Tees becoming a unitary authority.
Yarm has five housing estates, and the peninsular area where the town centre is situated. The estates are Willey Flatts, Layfield Farm, The Kebbell (locally known as Spitalfields), Leven Park and Levendale (occasionally referred to as Ingleby Grange).
Two road bridges cross the river, Yarm Bridge crossing from the High Street to Eaglescliffe, which is Grade II* listed, and Leven Bridge crossing the Leven between Yarm and Low Leven, which is Grade II listed. On 26 February 2010, Leven Bridge was closed after cracks appeared in it. Engineers suggested the bridge would remain closed for at least two weeks. Later it was confirmed that the bridge would be closed for up to three months after major damage was found to the Grade II-listed structure. Repairs took less time than expected, and the bridge re-opened on 18 June 2010.
The town hall High Street was built in 1710 by Thomas Belasyse who was Lord of the Manor. In a poll taken for the BBC's Breakfast programme on 19 January 2007, Yarm's High Street was voted the 'Best High Street': the street and its cobbled parking areas is fronted by many Georgian-style old buildings, with their red pantile roofs.
The A67, which runs through High Street was previously classified as the A19 until a dual carriageway was built in the 1970s, about three miles south of the town near the village of Crathorne. When the A19 ran through High Street, it was heavily congested. The road was used by heavy goods traffic as a shortcut to Teesside International Airport. The classification of the road as an 'A'-road meant that it was difficult to place a ban on heavy goods vehicles; however the town council made efforts to come up with voluntary agreements with many haulage firms until 2012, when all HGV traffic was banned from the route through Yarm and Egglescliffe.
Yarm has multiple areas of woodland, most of which are part of private estates. The Rookery is a public area by the River Tees situated at the bottom of Goose Pasture. The ash, sycamore and lime woodland is about 200 years old and owned by Yarm Town Council. In 2002, a walkway was constructed around the wood to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Within the woodland, close to the river, BMX riders have created numerous dirt ramps which are regularly used during summer months.
House of Commons
It was represented from 8 May 2017 by Dr Paul Williams (Labour), "a local GP" who lost his seat at the 2019 General Election.
From 2010 to 2017 the constituency was represented by James Wharton (Conservative); He was elected on 6 May 2010 for Stockton South. James Wharton was re-elected with an increased majority on 7 May 2015. In August 2016 he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Development.
From 1997 to 2010, the constituency was represented by Dari Taylor (Labour).
House of Lords
On the morning of 2 September 2020, the former MP, James Wharton, was created Baron Wharton of Yarm, after being nominated in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's 2020 Dissolution Honours List. He was introduced on 10 September, becoming the youngest member of the House of Lords at 36, and the first member of the House of Lords to retrieve their title from the area.
The Yarm ward of Stockton, which includes Kirklevington, has three local councillors sitting on Stockton Borough Council. From 3 May 2007 until May 2011, they were Conservative councillors Jennie Beaumont, Jackie Earl and Andrew Sherris.
|Liberal Democrats||Philip Addison||452||5.19%|
|Yarm Independents Association||John Anderson||817||9.39%|
|Liberal Democrats||Alan Kirby Judge||493||5.66%|
|Yarm Independents Association||Christopher Neil||740||8.50%|
|Labour||Victoria Eileen Parker||297||3.41%|
|Yarm Independents Association||Marjorie Simpson||1005||11.55%|
|Labour||Simon Rogers Tranter||301||3.46%|
|Liberal Democrats||Mike Wade||455||5.23%|
From 5 May 2011, Conservatives Mark Chatburn, Ben Houchen, and Andrew Sherris became the councillors on the Stockton on Tees Borough Council for the Yarm Ward. Mark Chatburn subsequently defected to UKIP on 22 March 2013.
|Liberal Democrats||Natasha Craggs||186||1.68%|
|Yarm Independent Association||Christopher Neil||1218||10.99%|
|Yarm Independent Association||Marjorie Simpson||1287||11.61%|
|Yarm Independent Association||Robert Wegg||1101||9.93%|
|Liberal Democrats||Jonathan Wylie||152||1.37%|
|Liberal Democrats||Lindsay Wylie||141||1.27%|
The council has eleven seats with a chairman who, for ceremonial purposes, is 'Mayor'. The Standing Orders of the Council restrict the chairman's period of office to two years in any four-year period. The 2015 chairman was Clr Jason Hadlow. Elections for the council are held every four years.
December 2008 by-election
A by-election was held for two vacant seats on the council after the resignation of one, and disqualification of another Conservative councillor. The Conservative Party fielded two candidates against two Independent candidates who stood under the banner 'Former Councillor'. The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats chose not to field any candidates, the former instead backing the Independents. Turnout for the election was low, with the Conservative candidates elected by a small margin.
October 2009 by-election
After the departure of a Conservative councillor, a by-election was held on 15 October 2009 for one seat on the town council. Peter Monck, a former town councillor and Liberal Democrat candidate for Stockton South in the 1997 general election stood as an independent candidate against Paul Smith, a Conservative party candidate.
The 2,280-foot-long (690 m) railway viaduct was built between 1849 and 1851 for the Leeds Northern Railway Company. Its designers were Thomas Grainger and John Bourne. It comprises seven million bricks, and has 43 arches, with the two that span the River Tees being skewed and made of stone.
The high street of Yarm is currently numbered as the A67 (formerly A19). North of Yarm High Street leads to a fork just outside the high street with A135 (Yarm Road) heading north-east, to Stockton-on-Tees, and A67/Durham Road going north-west, the A67 goes to the airport and Darlington. Durham Road goes to the A19, this name separation is through a roundabout in Eaglescliffe.
The south of the high street links to the current A19. It also forks west as B1265 (Green Lane) leading to the A167 and Northallerton. The roundabout A1044 (Low Lane) and heads east to the Blue Bell roundabout in Middlesbrough and west towards Richmond.
Arriva North East is the main bus operator serving Yarm and operate the following services:
- Service 7: Yarm Willey Flatts–Eaglescliffe–Stockton
- Service 12A Yarm–Hartburn–Stockton–Teesdale–Middlesbrough
- Service X6 Yarm–Ingleby Barwick–Middlesbrough
WP & M Hutchinson operate one route serving Yarm:
- Service 82 Yarm–Hutton Rudby–Stokesley
Leven Valley Coaches is the other operator, running the following services:
- Service 507: Yarm–Hilton–Maltby–Thornaby–Stockton
- Service 551: Willey Flatts–Eaglescliffe–Stockton–Billingham–Low Grange
- Service 577: Yarm Willey Flatts–Eaglescliffe–Stockton
Yarm Parish Church is the Anglican parish church, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. It is situated on West Street, where there has been a church on the site since at least the 9th century. It was last rebuilt from the remains of the second, Norman, church in 1730. It is a Grade II* listed building. The Roman Catholic (RC) church of Ss Mary and Romuald, built in 1860, is at the south end of High Street. It is a Grade II listed building. Yarm Methodist Church, an octagonal church built in 1763, is on Chapel Yard, on the east side of the town by the river, and is the oldest octagonal church in current use in Methodism. It is a Grade II listed building.
Yarm Rugby Club is based at Wass Way, Eaglescliffe. The club has grown significantly since forming in February 1998. They run teams and training sessions for most ages from youth to seniors. Currently playing in Durham and Northumberland Division 3.
Yarm Cricket Club is situated on Leven Road, and has been in existence since 1814. It runs three senior teams in the North Yorkshire South Durham League, and four junior sides – under 11s, under 13s, under 15s and under 17s – who all play competitive cricket throughout the season. In recent years,[when?] Yarm's third team, who play on a Sunday, have been the most successful team in the club, winning the NYSD Sunday Division 1 on several occasions, along with the League and Cup double in 2008.
Other sports facilities within Yarm include a floodlit state-of-the-art[clarification needed] 4G football pitch, located at Conyers' School. This facility is run by the Go-Sport group and has been the home ground for local youth and adult football clubs, including Yarm Town Juniors and Yarm FC. In 2016, the Go-Sport group hosted an FA-accredited 11-a-side Midweek Football League, contested by various local clubs, including TIBS F.C. from Ingleby Barwick. The winners of this inaugural trophy were L&H F.C., who had a 3–1 victory in the final.
Many events are held in the town each year such as a Gala, Fair and a 5 km Fun Run. After lying dormant for almost 100 years the Yarm Gala restarted in 2008.
A charter to hold a weekly market was granted by King John in 1207. It lapsed,[when?] but was revived in 2011 as a Farmers' Market. It is held on the second Sunday of each month.
A fair is held in High Street in the third week in October. It starts on the Tuesday evening, and is officially opened on the Thursday. It lasts until Saturday night. It was once a commercial fair that traded in cheese and livestock, but is now primarily a funfair. Travellers still attend the fair and ride horses up and down the street on the Saturday. The travellers have to wait outside the town until 6:00 pm on the Tuesday, at which point they are allowed to cross the bridge over the River Tees into the town.
There are three primary schools in the town:
- Levendale (single form entry)
- Yarm Primary School (two form entry)
- Layfield Primary School (single form entry)
Conyers' School, with about 1,400 pupils, is a mixed comprehensive school; it has also a sixth-form. It was founded in 1594 as 'the Free Grammar School' by Thomas Conyers. Following the change to comprehensive education, it was renamed to reflect its founder. Conyers' School is a specialist school for maths and computing.
The town is home to the independent Yarm School with about 1,200 pupils; the senior school being situated at the Friarage, and the preparatory school and nursery at the old Yarm Grammar School. The school was founded in 1978, some time after the re-designation of the original grammar school. The school had plans to move within the next decade to a site near to their playing fields on Green Lane, south of the town. However, planning permission was not granted by the local council, and Yarm School is no longer planning to move, instead choosing to renovate and improve the current site.
On the southern edge of the built up area of Yarm, is HM Prison Kirklevington Grange, a men's resettlement prison for inmates intending to settle, on release, in the North East of England.
People associated with the town include John Wesley, founder of Methodism, and Tom Brown, hero of the Battle of Dettingen, who consequently became the last man to be knighted on the battlefield. His old house is still located on the High Street and dates from around 1480, pre-dating the Elizabethan period and is the oldest standing dwelling in the former County of Cleveland.
Yarm has also been home to professional footballers including Middlesbrough and Dutch international George Boateng who now works outside the UK, and former Valencia and Spain International Gaizka Mendieta. Former England boss Steve McClaren also regularly visits the town, as his family home is situated in the neighbouring village of Aislaby. Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, and West End playwright and international screenwriter Graham Farrow also live in Yarm. The cricketer William Halton was born at Yarm.
Yarm is twinned with two other European towns:
On 2 July 2005, two trees were planted to the north of the town hall to mark the 20th anniversary of the twinning between Yarm and the two towns. The trees were marked with plaques.
- As with all constituencies, the constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election at least every five years.
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