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15 - Into the Third Millennium 

Stillington has been a Yorkshire farming community for the whole of the first two millennia (and probably longer).  In that time, many villages suddenly found themselves at the centre of trade or industry and either became huge towns or cities - or found themselves swallowed up by a more illustrious neighbour.  Middlesbrough, at the heart of industrial Teesside, with a current population approaching 150,000 had 29 inhabitants in 1879.  Other villages simply died.  Their residents scattered, and they ended up as just a name on a map.  Perhaps the most famous in North Yorkshire is the lost village of Wharram Percy, but there is an entry in the Doomsday Book for Stillington's neighbour - the village of Moxby.  It now only exists in the name of the parish, and the farm.   

Often the trigger for growth could be something comparatively small. In the 18th century, 'Canal Mania' swept the country.  Canals - the motorways of their day - transformed many villages into communication and distribution centres.  In 1793, the Foss Navigation Company obtained an Act to authorise the construction of a canal from York to Stillington Mill.  In the event, their money ran out, and it was never built beyond Sheriff Hutton.   

In the 19th century, canal mania was replaced by railway mania.  Again, the existence of a railway depot, caused many small communities to blossom into first distribution, and then manufacturing centres.  Even a station which gave easy access to a neighbouring city was sometimes enough to start a building boom.  In 1887 an Act of Parliament authorised the construction of the Easingwold Light Railway.  In 1888, a prospectus for the sale of the Croft estate, confidently claimed:

 'An Act has been obtained for a Branch Railway from Alne to Easingwold, and it is anticipated that before long the line will be extended via Stillington to join the Scarborough Railway at Strensall'. 

Even then, estate agent's advertisements had to be scrutinised carefully!  Where the station would have been, and the effects it would have had, are open to speculation.  

In the 20th century, the flat terrain of the vale of York made it an ideal location for World War II aerodromes.  Although they only had a very short operational life, former airfields have been developed as industrial estates and retail parks, often in locations which would never otherwise be allowed.  It may have been a fairly arbitrary decision to site an airfield at East Moor, rather than West Moor, on the Stillington to Easingwold road.  If this had happened, the village might have been linked to its larger neighbour by an industrial estate.  The planners might have proposed an entirely different regional development plan and the village might have lost its identity.   

So many things could have happened, so many small changes could have had major consequences for the village - but they did not.  Stillington enters the third millennium as the same sort of community as it has been for the first two - A North Yorkshire rural village.  Long may it remain so!