SCARBOROUGH, a municipal and parliamentary borough and fashionable seaside resort in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England, 231 m. N. of London, on the North-Eastern railway. Pop. (1891) 33,776; (1901) 38,161. From the bold and picturesque coast a hammer-like peninsula (285 ft.) projects, separating North Bay from South Bay, and the modern extension of the town fringes both of these. The peninsula is crowned by a 12 th century castle, though this naturally strong position was probably occupied earlier. There is a moat (Castle Dyke) on the landward side, and a wall with towers also protects the castle in this direction. The keep, a lofty ruined tower, is of Norman date. The peninsula is much exposed to encroachment by the sea. In 1 190 the plateau forming the castle yard was stated by William of Newburgh to be 60 acres in extent; it is now about 17. The list of the governors of the castle covers the period from 1136 to 1832. Near the landward side of the dike is the church of St Mary, finely situated, occupying the site of a Cistercian monastery of 1 198. It is transitional Norman and Early English, with later additions. The choir was occupied by the Roundheads during the Commonwealth, and was wrecked by the castle guns. The tower fell later, and was in part rebuilt in the 17th century.
The development of Scarborough as a watering-place dates from the discovery in 1620 by Mrs Farren, a resident, of mineral springs. These springs, of which there are two, occur near the shore of the South Bay, and a handsome Spa House in pleasant gardens contains them. The south spring is aperient, but contains some iron; while the north or chalybeate spring is more tonic in its properties. They are still in use, though of less importance than formerly in comparison with the other attractions of the .town. The sea-bathing is very good, both bays having a sandy foreshore. Well-planted grounds fringe the steep slope down to the North Bay, in which there is a promenade pier; the South Cliff is similarly adorned. It is approached from the north by a lofty bridge over a ravine, to the west of which lies a pleasant park. The southern part of the town is the more fashionable portion. The principal buildings of entertainment are the aquarium (also used as a concert hall) ; the museum, a rotunda in Doric style, containing excellent antiquarian and natural history collections; two theatres, and the assembly rooms attaching to the Spa House. The promenades and drives are extensive, and there is an inclined tramway leading from summit to foot of the South Cliff. A great marine drive, 4200 ft. long, was opened in 1908. The neighbouring country is exceedingly picturesque, with highlying moors intersected by narrow, well-wooded valleys. The hydrography of the district is remarkable, the Derwent, which flows S.W. to the Ouse and so to the Humber, having one of its sources near Scarborough within 2 m. of the sea. The climate is healthy and temperate; average temperature, 59-2 F. in July, and in January, 37-7.
The chief buildings of Scarborough apart from those already considered are the town hall, market hall and public hall, several modern churches and chapels, and charitable and benevolent institutions. The harbour, enclosed by piers and divided into two basins, lies on the south side of the castle peninsula. It is dry at low tide, but is accessible at spring tides to vessels of 13 ft. draught. It is largely used by fishing boats. The parliamentary borough, falling within the Whit by division of the county, returned two members until 1885, one since that date. The town is governed by a mayor, 6 aldermen and 1 8 councillors. Area, 2373 acres.
Although there is no mention of Scarborough (Scardeburc, Escardebuc, Scardeburg, Scardeburk, Scarthebure, Schardeburg) in the Domesday Survey the remains of Roman roads leading to the town indicate that it was in early times a place of importance. The castle was built during the 12th century by William le Gros, earl of Albemarle, who chose the site on the top of a steep cliff now called the " Scaur." Henry II. added greatly to its strength. From this time it was in the hands of a line of distinguished nobles appointed by the king. Scarborough is a borough by prescription. Its first charter of 1181 granted that the burgesses should possess all liberties in the same way as the citizens of York. They were also to render to the kine yearly 4d. for every house whose gable was turned to the way, and 6d. for those whose sides were turned to the way. This charter was confirmed with various alterations and extensions by most of the succeeding monarchs. Henry III. in 1253 granted that a court of pleas should be held at Scarborough by the justice's who went to hold common pleas at York; he also gave the corporation a gild merchant. Edward II. caused the town to be taken away from the burgesses " for certain causes," but it was restored to them by Edwardlll. in 1327. The charter of Edward III. in 1356 sets forth and confirms the privileges of the borough. Richard III. by his charter of 1485 appointed that the town should be governed by a mayor, sheriff and twelve aldermen, and also granted amongst other extensive privileges that this town with the manor of Whallesgrave should be a county of itself. However, on the death of Richard III. the charter took no effect, and the corporation returned to its ancient mode of government. In 1684 a mayor, 12 aldermen and 31 common councilman were nominated as governors. Scarborough returned two members to parliament from 1295 to 1885. It is said that Henry II. held a market here which he granted to the burgesses, but of this there is no mention in subsequent charters. In 1253 Henry III. granted a yearly fair lasting from the Assumption of St Mary to the following Michaelmas. This fair was originally held on the sands. Jet was formerly an important manufacture.
See Thomas Hinderwell, History of Scarborough (Scarborough, 1832); J. B. Baker, History of Scarborough (London, 1882).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)