Osmotherley, North Yorkshire

Osmotherley, North Yorkshire

Coordinates: 54°22′07″N 1°17′50″W / 54.3685°N 1.2972°W / 54.3685; -1.2972

Osmotherley is located in North Yorkshire

 Osmotherley shown within North Yorkshire
Population 600 
OS grid reference SE456972
District Hambleton
Shire county North Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district DL6
Dialling code 01609
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Richmond
List of places: UK • England • Yorkshire

Osmotherley is an English village and civil parish, situated in the Hambleton hills in North Yorkshire.

It is likely that Osmotherley means the clearing or 'ley' (pronounced lee), belonging to a Viking called 'Asmund' or a Saxon called 'Osmund'. There have been a number spellings of the Osmotherley over the centuries: the name appeared in the Domesday Book as Asmundrelac; it has also been known as Osmundeslay and Osmonderlay.

Osmotherley is on the route of the 110 mile Cleveland Way National Trail.


Origin of Name

Fanciful local legend says that Osmotherley was named after the mother of a villager named Oswald or Osmund, who supposedly went out to gather firewood in the winter. When she did not return her son became anxious and went out to look for her. He found her lying in the snow, dead or dying from the cold. Because he was not able to carry her back, he lay down beside her and died himself. It is where Oswald's mother lies, hence Osmotherley. However, it is far more likely that the name signifies 'Osmund's ley', as cited above.


The village school was founded 1857, the present building dates from 1878. The school is now known as Osmotherley Primary School. It is located on School Lane and has around 60 pupils.

Osmotherley boasts three pubs within a 50 metre radius: the Queen Catherine, the Three Tuns and the Golden Lion.

The village is served by a newsagents, a 'Top Shop' store, a fish and chip shop, a Youth Hostel and an antique store.

The shop that has served Osmotherley since 1786, 'Thompson', along with a recently opened Art and Craft Shop have recently closed.

The public toilets are situated by the side of the Village Hall (which in turn is next to Church House, which hosts book sales and tea sales on Sundays and Bank Holidays.) These toilets have been voted the best in the UK on several occasions and are filled with flowers and decorated with pictures of horses.


The village green, the barter table to the left, next to the obelisk

John Wesley preached at the barter table in the middle of Osmotherley on several occasions. His first visit was in 1745. In 1754 a Chapel was erected. is the oldest Methodist Chapel in the world, it can be found in Chapel Yard.

The Church of England building in Osmotherley is called St Peter's Church. It is built on an earlier Saxon site, with parts of the building dating from the Norman period.

Osmotherley is also home to Osmotherley Friends Meeting House, which is a traditional stone building, erected in 1690 or 1723. Meetings are still held here once a month. It is thought that George Fox may have visited the village in the late 17th century.


Cod Beck Reservoir at Osmotherley gets its name from Cod Beck, a small tributary of the River Swale. The beck derives its name from the Celtic word 'Coed', meaning woody. Just before Cod Beck reaches the reservoir is a picturesque location called Sheepwash.

Osmotherley is close to the western terminus of the Lyke Wake Walk. The official starting point is at the edge of the moors above the village, where there is a stone marker.

About 1½ miles from Osmotherley near the A19 is Mount Grace Priory. These beautiful ruins are situated at the foot of a steep wooded hill with a footpath leading up it into the village. This Carthusian religious house was founded around 1396.

In popular culture

Osmotherley is the setting of some of the final chapters of the novel Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells. In the novel, many towns and cities in are hit by individually programmed nuclear missiles, but Osmotherley's small size means it is spared.

External links

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