A problem with linking the origins of the name "Saltburn" with alum is that
there is no evidence for alum working near to Saltburn Beck at such an early
date as the 13th Century. This would leave you to conclude that either there
was, but the place name is the only evidence for it, or (more likely) that
the name originates with "salt-" due to another factor.
The earliest archaeologically visable Alum workings near to Saltburn are at
Guisborough (approx. 5 miles to the south of Saltburn), on the hill
alongside the A171 near the village of Charltons. These mainly 16/17th
Century, and were dug by workers for the Chaloner (_spelling ?_) Family, but
are supposed to be earlier...
I've been told that the Priory at Guisborough had alum workings (presumably
the ones at Charltons), which were stimulated by war with France (presumably
the 100 Year War) when Alum imports were stopped from the continent (alum
being important as the major mordant in dyeing cloth). However, I'm not
sure if this story about Guisborough being a medieval suppiler of alum is
Anyone know about where alum supplies came from the medieval period ?