Osmotherley is a small picturesque village in the Hambleton Hills in North Yorkshire. If you are walking The Cleveland Way, from Helmsley to Filey, your route will take you through Osmotherley. You should find yourself passing through it during your first day.
There’s a small village green in the centre of the village, next to the market cross. The top of the cross is missing so unless you are familiar with market crosses, its original purpose may not be obvious.
I’ve seen plenty of market crosses. It’s nothing new to me but the market cross in Osmotherley has a small stone table beside it. That’s something I’ve never encountered before so I decided to go and take a look. I also did some research and found out the small stone table next to Osmotherley village green may have originally been used as a barter table.
A barter table? I’d never heard of one. If the term is new to you as well, I apologise. I couldn’t find any information about bartering tables.
Bartering is the exchange of goods or services without the use of money. If the stone table was originally used for this purpose it must be very old. Possibly older than the market cross beside it.
On January 31, 1970, Historic England awarded the stone table at Osmotherley Grade II listed building status.
The listing page is for a “stone table”, not a barter table, so it’s not clear if the table was originally used during bartering.
The stone table’s biggest claim to fame appears to be its connection with John Wesley.
John Wesley (1703 – 1791) was a preacher who broke away from the Church of England and became one of the early pioneers of Methodism.
Wesley preached at Osmotherley on several occasions. The first time was in 1754 and he used the stone table while he was delivering his message to the crowd.
Some sources say he used the table as a pulpit. Others say he stood on it. This is more probably the case. John Wesley was only around five feet, three inches tall. The table would have been useful for boosting his height.
The stone table is just one of several Grade II listed buildings in Osmotherley and most of them, including the village cross, the post office, and the old-style red telephone box are only a few feet away from the green.
Is It Worth Visiting Osmotherley to See the Stone Table?
Although I visited Osmotherley especially to see the stone table, unless you are within an easily commutable distance, it’s probably not worth a special journey.
However, the local countryside is very nice and you may enjoy strolling around the village and taking a look at the old-style buildings.
There are a few bars close to the green so there is no need to just look at the table and go. That’s what I did but, if you arrive at Osmotherley while you are walking the Cleveland Way, you may be glad to take advantage of the opportunity to have a drink and give your feet a rest.
How to Find the Stone Table
The stone table at Osmotherley is incredibly easy to find. It’s right in the centre of the village and, even if you don’t see the table straight away, it’s hard to miss the cross [MAP]
If you are walking from Helmsley, following the Cleveland Way, it will take you around 6-7 hours to get to the village green.
If you don’t have access to a car, the cheapest and easiest way to get to Osmotherley is probably to travel by bus. Abbots of Leeming (Bus no 80/89) runs a service between Northallerton and Stokesley and Osmotherley Cross is one of the main stops. [TIMETABLE]
Cycling is another option and that’s what I did.
However, be aware you may encounter some pretty steep hills on your way, and don’t forget to take some water and food along. Especially if It’s a hot day. It was 28º when I made the journey and I worked up quite a thirst.
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