Loftus was a pre-conquest settlement, held by Siward, Earl of Northumberland. By the time the Domesday Book was compiled, however, the land around it had suffered a great deal from King William I's efforts to subdue his rebellious northern subjects. Much of it was recorded as 'lying waste'. The Percy family held the land for several generations, and Guisborough Priory owned more than 700 acres of it in the late 13th century.
Some reference books may overlook Loftus in our times, but it was an important place in 18th and 19th century Cleveland. Unlike Skelton, Brotton and Marske, which were mainly agricultural communities until ironmaking started. Loftus had an 18th century industry – Alum mining. At the beginning of the 19th century, it ranked as a 'Market Town'. Alum miners mostly lived in streethouses, coming into the town for the Thursday market.
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