Perched high on the northerly side of the Esk Valley, overlooking the village of Sleights, Aislaby, (Asuluesby in the Domesday Book), is close to the A171 Guisbrough to Whitby main road.
St. Margaret's Church was built in 1896 but there was a chapel here for more than eight hundred years.
A Roman road ran through the village at one time and was believed to be part of the military route from Dunsley to York. Traces of it can still be found at Dunsley, New Biggin and at places across the moors to Malton and on to York at Monks Bar. There is a commemorative stone, engraved "Pathway of the Romans", on the left hand side of the Egton Road just beyond the village.
The village was once well known for a quarry and for the quality of it's durable stone. It was a great source of local employment until the 1914 - 1918 Great War when nearly all the men were called to arms. It is now completely overgrown and difficult to discern except in outline. Legend has it that a large quantity of cut stone remains there, buried somewhere in the undergrowth.
From this Quarry great quantities of stone were dragged four and a half miles by oxen to Whitby, not only for building Whitby harbour, but to be shipped from the port for the construction of the piers at Margate and Ramsgate, and for the foundations of the Strand Bridge. A Harbour return for 1847 alone shows 27,424 tons of blockstones shipped out of Whitby during that year.
Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, the photographer, renowned throughout the world for his wonderful pictures, is buried in Aislaby churchyard. His photographs are almost exclusively of the port of Whitby and the surrounding area, and were taken between 1875 and 1922, after which he became curator of the Whitby museum. His incredible images of Victorian life in this part of Yorkshire are still in demand from young and old and are a testament to his artistry.
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