It is thought that the name Rudston originates from the monolith in the churchyard, which might once have had a Christianising cross fixed to it's top, and this might account for the damage there (currently hidden under a metal cap). In Old English, "rood" means cross and "stan" is stone, Roodstan => Rudston. Consequently, Rudston could be a good example of the Christian church converting a site that had already been sacred for millennia.
The main street passing through the village is an ancient track way, which has probably been in use since Neolithic times. To the south of Rudston, running along the top of the ridge, lies Woldgate, a Roman road (originally another ancient track way) running from Bridlington to York.
Bulmer's Directory of 1892 described Rudston as follows. "Rudston is a parish and township comprising 5,550 acres; the estimated extent, according to the overseer's returns, is 5,258¿ acres, and the rateable value £5,154. The population in 1891 was 578. Alexander Wentworth Macdonald Bosville, Esq., of Thorpe Hall; Sir Henry Somerville Boynton, Bart., of Burton Agnes (who is lord of the manor); the Earl of Londesborough, and the vicar in right of his glebe, are the principal landowners. The surface is boldly undulated and well wooded on the higher grounds, presenting some fine patches of sylvan scenery."
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