The Cretaceous period around 100 million years ago is when the Yorkshire Wolds were thrust up from the sea bed from an ancient fault line in the earth’s crust pushing up against the more ancient Howardian hills. The Yorkshire Wolds then being a string of island outcrops jutting out of the North Sea.
After many climatic changes debris from the glacial melts spread from north to south infilling in, around and beyond the Yorkshire Wolds, forming boulder clay between the lower parts of the Wolds. To the south of Garton a river once flowed with large lake settling bed of fine chalk and flint gravel taking in the lower levels of the Wolds, Kirkburn north,Eastburn north, Garton south [Garton slack],Elmswell south west, Kellythorpe and Sunderlandwick.
Garton has been populated approx. 12000 years.Archeological records prove occupation from monolithic,neolithic,bronze and iron age through to celtic,anglo saxon,scandinavion and Norman influence to the present time. Garton slack before the Roman era it is believed chariot racing took place along the dry Wolds riverbed [now gypsy race] at Garton and neighbouring Celtic settlements.
Chariot burials have been found at Wetwang and Garton .The Garton Chariot burials were discovered through the extraction of Garton gravel which up until 1980's was used for compacting over larger aggregate to make a smooth surface for roads and yards and building areas prior to concreting.
The Driffield to Malton Railway completed in 1846 passed through the south of Garton and was closed to passengers in 1950 and to goods traffic in1958. The gatekeeper's cottage for the highway between Garton Elmswell and Eastburn was demolished in 1960's but the station house in Garton is privately owned and stands near to the Garton metalworks. The west side of Station road just north of were the railway line once ran was a clay pit and brick works once owned by the Sykes family of Sledmere, it was closed in 1914. On this site is now a successful transport business run by Warcup family.
Garton and Elmswell have high chalk wold to the north and North West of the parishes with clay loam to the south which are mostly naturally drained through the underlying chalk which varies in depth. Garton pond or [mere] is a natural pond, possibly an ice pit pond formed during a glacial melt when ice toppled over the chalk cliff of the Wolds preventing infill from more solid debris. After ice melt a finer clay would then seal the base of the pond or at least prevent it from drying out. The pond is fed from the north and western sides of Garton and flows out on the east side of the pond and continues underground until it reaches Elmswell were it emerges as a spring continuing above ground and into the Driffield/Kellythorpe trout stream.
Garton on the Wolds Parish land area has remained intact from the pre roman era of four settlements covering 4,147 acres within the ancient earthworks boundary. Now only the one settlement area remains apart from isolated farms. The high chalk Wolds of Garton to the north and west is bordered by extensive earthworks separating Garton from a neighbouring settlement, possibly destroyed by the roman invasion of northern Britain.
At the top of the western boundary of Garton stands the magnificent Sledmere monument to Sir Tatton Sykes, the foundation stone being laid on May 17 1865.
During the Roman era Garton on the Wolds would have been more like a small town with the Capital 0f the Wolds being Killam linked by road to York and Malton barracks.
Chalk pits in Garton [now disused] were sited near the road on the higher chalk land and used for building and road repair. A clay pit on the Elmswell side of the north eastern boundary road [green lane], between Garton and Elmswell Wold is possibly the one used for tile making at Little Driffield.
Elmswell Old Hall built in 1634 by Henry Best is the only Tudor Hall left of its style in Yorkshire, sited at the western end of the site of the deserted village. The new Hall at Elmswell is pleasing to the eye and is set to the west of the old hall and village site not far from Garton's south eastern boundary with an extensive garden to rear.
The Elmswell estate is now a tidy well managed estate run by the Mac'rill/Fenton family. The Old Hall of Henry Best is noted not only for history, but also for Henry's contribution and pioneering work for agricultural development of crop rotations in the country prior to the Norfolk 4 course crop rotations. In the seventeenth century he was a breeder of quality livestock and grew wheat, barley and roots and grazed his sheep over fields between cropping.
In 1875 the Yorkshire Agricultural Society held its 3 day show at Elmswell.
Church information from 1820's. Garton on the Wolds in the parish of Dickering, and liberty of St Peter's, 3 miles w.n.w. of Driffield. The church dedicated to St.Michael and all Angels, is a discharged vicarage of which the King is patron and the Rev Thomas Ibbotson the vicar. The original church was destroyed in the Norman Conquest of the North 1070-1080. Garton church was established in 1132 by Kirkham Priory replacing the previous one. The church now is the most beautiful for its size in Yorkshire, being restored and tastefully decorated with coloured frescoes, reredos and intricate wood carvings, especially over the font, also beautiful mosaic tile work cover the floor. The work was funded by the first Sir Tatton Sykes of Sledmere in the Nineteenth century. Restoration work was by G E Street with decorative wall paintings and stained glass windows by Clayton and Bell. The Wesleyan chapel built in 1894 is now a private residence. The Methodist Chapel built in 1871 is now awaiting the conversion into a private dwelling after being used as a workshop by the village joiner.