Before leaving this neighbourhood a further glance may be taken of this place, already mentioned as being on the Roman road, between York and Newbro’. It appears with the lands immediately around, to have been a detached portion of the county of Durham, until 1844, when it was annexed to the North Riding.
Prior to the Roman road, the Brigantes had a way leading from Lindisfarne on the coast to York, across the hills of Hambleton. It is also recited in a royal charter, that Egfrig, King of Northumbria, granted in 685, not only Crayke, but a circuit of three miles round, to St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, as a place of call on his journeys to York, and on it he erected a monastery.
When the Danes destroyed Lindisfarne, in the ninth century, the monks fled towards York, and sojourned at Crayke four years. The name of St. Cuthbert is still preserved here, the parish church being dedicated to him.
The Castle, standing upon an imposing eminence, is still the prominent object in the landscape, commanding most extensive views across the vales of York and Mowbray.
The original building was of the twelfth century, the little that remains of its foundations is incorporated with the present more modern erection, presenting but few points of interest. The church adjoining is chiefly noticeable for the beauty of its situation.