[DE BRUS FAMILY IN NORTH EAST ENGLAND - Before 1350
Gifts were made by the de Brus family to Yarm which included the foundation of a Monastery of Dominican and Black Friars. The site is now occupied by a private modern house called the Fryarage.
The Domesday Survey entered Yarm among the Kings lands, later to become part of the de Brus fee, eventually to be passed on to Lucia, wife of Marmaduke Thweng and then to her granddaughter Lucy, who like all nobles of the time, chose to be buried in Gisborough Priory.
This is the site of the first stone church built by the de Brus family in the latter half of the 12th century, the remains of which form part of the west end and the base of the present tower. The nave would have been approximately half the width of the present structure. A tower was initially added in the 13th century and then rebuilt in the 15th century. The Norman part of the church was badly damaged by fire in 1728 and thus had to be rebuilt. However the Georgian church, completed in 1730, reused much of the original stone from the earlier building.
Inside the church is a mysterious tomb after which the nearby riverside path. known as "True Lovers Walk" is named.
Church of St Mary Magdelene.
Yarm's importance to the de Brus family derives from its location on the lowest bridging point on the river Tees; making it not only the export centre for goods (most notably wool) from South Durham and the North Yorkshire Dales, but also a key carrier of a considerable volume of international trade.
The medieval bridge can still be seen in parts of the present bridge, easily viewed from the river bank and walk.
By 1120 Robert de Brus had become the dominant baron of Cleveland, with his estates stretching from upstream of Yarm to the North Sea and then down the coast as far as Runswick Bay. The port of Yarm was in the top third of Yorkshire ports and added significantly to the wealth and prestige of the de Brus family.