Commondale seems out of place. A village more suited to the dales of West Yorkshire with its steep sided valleys and industrial buildings. There is none of the vernacular sandstone architecture common in other villages of the North York Moors. Everything is built in a deep red brick. The church of St. Peters is brick, the old school house is brick, the old shop is brick. For Commondale is a “modern” village, still more of a hamlet really, but substantially built at the end of the 19th century. And the source of its wealth were those bricks.

It was Stokesley business man John Slater Pratt who opened the first brickworks in the middle of the 19th century which ceased operations when Pratt died in 1867. Five years later  John Crossley restarted it but it closed again when he emigrated to America in 1882. Again it reopened under new owners but Crossley returned and brought back the works. His son Alfred took over until operations ceased for good in 1947. It was Alfred grew the business and whose name is on the village hall.

The name Commondale is said to be derived from Colmán of Lindisfarne, a 7th century monk from Whitby who became Bishop of Lindisfarne and a saint, although in the Domesday book the valley was referred to as Camiesdale. The first written documentation of Colemandale was in 1273.



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