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BOLTON PERCY:
Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake of the Ainsty of York - Poor Law Union of Tadcaster - Rural Deanery of Bishopthorpe - Archdeaconry of York or West Riding - Diocese of York.

This parish comprises the townships of Bolton Percy-with-Hornington, Colton, and Steeton. It contains 4,456 acres, and the population in 1881 numbered 415. It is bounded on the south-west by the river Wharfe. The village, which stands about four miles east by south of Tadcaster, is small and scattered. The North Eastern Railway, which runs through the parish, has a station near the village, nearly eight miles from York, The soil is mostly strong loam resting on clay, and chiefly in grass.

BOLTON PERCY-WITH-HORNINGTON TOWNSHIP, The area is 225 acres, 1 rood, 30 perches, with a rateable value of 5,132 13s. 11d., and a population in 1881, of 244. Sir Frederick George Milner, Bart., is lord of the manor, and owner of most of the soil of Bolton Percy. Hornington belongs to John Fielden, Esq., of Todmorden Castle, and Grimston Park.

The manor of Percy or Bodeltone as we find it termed in Domesday Book, anciently contained eight carucates, and was held by Robt. de Percy of the heirs of Henry de Percy, Baron of Topcliffe, who held it in capite of the King. Robt. de Percy obtained Edward the first's license to embattle his mansion house at Bolton. A great part of a wood here was given by one of the Percys to the building of York Minster. Afterwards the manor descended to the lords of Beaumont. Among other privileges granted by Edward I. to Henry Lord Beaumont, was a charter of free warren in all his demesne estates here and elsewhere. William, Viscount Beaumont, who was taken prisoner at Towton in 1461, fighting on the Lancastrian side and attainted, but restored in the reign of Henry VII. to his titles and estates, and died without issue, was lord of this place. The edifice of All Saints was built by the rector, Thomas Parker, who died in 1423, and is the largest church in the Ainsty. It consists of a nave, aisles, chancel, and chapel on the north side, and a tower at the west end, of stone, all in the Gothic style. Handsome buttresses divide the nave into four divisions. On the south side is a stone porch of modern design. The chancel is divided into three divisions by buttresses, which finish above the parapet in pinnacles with crocketed caps and finials. On the apex of the roof is a cross flory. The nave is divided from the aisles by four pointed arches, which rest on octagonal columns, and the large chancel arch rests on three cylinders conjoined, with octagonal capitals, The chancel was restored in 1866, during the incumbency of Archdeacon Creyke, and mainly at his own cost. The stained glass in the church is particularly fine and splendid. In the east end of the south aisle is a window depicting various passages in the life of Christ. This was inserted to the memory of Sir William M. Milner, by his daughters. The window in the west end of this aisle consists of three lights, erected to the memory of John Hope Barlow of Stapleton Park, by J. A. Oliver. The subject is the Circumcision, In the north aisles are two windows of three lights each to members of the Harris family, of Oxton Hall.

But the east window in this church is the most magnificient of all, and merits a full description. It is of the following dimensions:- From the lower line of the sill to the apex of the arch is 23 feet. The extreme width is 14 feet. It is a window of five lights, each of which shows in the glass 2 feet wide and 13 feet long. The mullions between are of well-defined moulding, and each 8 inches in breadth. The window is noticeable as being without transom. The upper part consists of 27 compartments of tracery in the Perpendicular style of architecture. The stone work of the whole is in excellent preservation, most probably of the same date as the erection of the chancel.

The east window was, prior to 1866, filled with stained glass, collected, as is traditionally recorded, from various parts of the body of the church, and inserted there by the care of the Rev. Thomas Lamplugh, who was rector in 1720. The five figures, one occupying the upper space in each light, are reported to be those of successive archbishops of York from 1405 to 1451. Of the 27 compartments of the upper tracery of the window in its present condition, about one-half contained the original glass in a state sufficiently perfect, and requiring only to be cleaned and reset. They were filled with angels and other figures in various attitudes of devotion, some being cased in armour.

As to the lower and more conspicuous portion of the window, it now consists of 10 principal figures, that is, two in each of the five lights, disposed in two tiers. Of the upper row, the first figure, commencing from the left hand, is that of St. Peter. He holds in his right hand the keys, the emblem of his authority: "Thou art Peter, and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven;" - Matthew xvi., 13; and in his left hand the volumn of Holy Scriptures. The second figure is St. Anna, the mother of the Virgin Mary, teaching her to read. St. Anna is looking down at her child with affectionate earnestness, who is standing at her knees, holding her book in her hands. The third and central figure represents the Virgin Mary. She presents to our devout attention the child Jesus, supporting him on her right arm. The Infant holds in his right hand the sacred emblem of the lamb and the flag, surrounded with a glory, and has the left hand elevated in the action of blessing. A considerable portion of this group is of ancient glass, from one of the other chancel windows. The fourth figure is St. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. The face alone here is of the old glass. She has her right hand lifted up and very beautifully figured, the fingers not being placed, as we always find them when blessing is intended, but the hand directed as it were towards the Virgin in the act of salutation. "Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord has come to me." - Luke i., 43. The fifth and last in this row is that of the beloved disciple St. John. A very small portion of this is from the ancient glass, only just enough to have identified it. The apostle holds in his right hand the chalace, with a serpent issuing from it. The ancient legend tells us, according to the letters of St. Isidore, that an attempt was made by the enemies of Christianity upon the life of St. John, by mingling poison in the cup of the Holy Sacrament. He, however, drank of the cup himself without any injury, and afterwards administered of it to the other communicants with the same absence from any harm. The poison was seen to pass forth from the cup in the form of a serpent, and the intending assassin fell dead at the apostles feet. These five figures as well as those in the lower row beneath them, are surmounted by enriched canopies, and stand upon pedestals entirely of new glass.

During the time the window was in progress of restoration, a new altar table, with more handsome and suitable covering, has been provided; new altar rails, of a more ornamental character than heretofore; the floor within, laid with Minton's encaustic tiles; kneeling carpets for the communicants, and stools for each end of the altar.

In the tower is a board with the following

         "He that a bell doth overthrow,
          Shall twopence pay before he go;
          And he that rings with spur or hat,
          Shall fourpence pay, be sure of that;
          And if these orders he refuse,
          No less than sixpence will excuse."

The rectory is a good house, standing in about six acres of ground, close to the church. Belonging to it, in the township, is about 138 acres of glebe. The net value of the living is 1,200. The present rector is the Right Rev. Robert Jarrat Crosthwaite, M.A., archdeacon of York, and suffragan bishop of Beverley. Patron:- Archbishop of York.

The school (National) average attendance for 1888-9 was 25. It is supported by government grant, pence, and subscriptions. It was placed under inspection in 1871.

CHARITIES. - In 1763, Rev. Francis Day left the interest of 50 to the poor of the parish. In 1769, Dame Mary, wife of Sir John Lindsay, Knight, and daughter of Sir William Milner, gave the sum of 200, in bank stock, the interest to be distributed amongst the poor of Bolton Percy and Appleton-Roebuck townships. An unknown person left 21 to the poor of Bolton Percy township. In 1807, Benjamin Reynolds, of Tadcaster, left the interest of 100 to the poor.

Hornington is a small hamlet of a few scattered houses, about one mile from Bolton Percy.

COLTON TOWNSHIP, which had a population, in 1881, of 100, extends over an area of 1,131 acres 3 roods 3 perches, with a rateable value of 2,778 13s. 0d. The lord of the manor and principal landowner is R. A. Morritt, Esq., Rokeby Park, Barnard Castle, The North Eastern railway, which crosses the township, is rated at 1,500 4s. 7d. The village is small and scattered, and stands 2 miles north-east of Bolton Percy, and 6 south-west of York.

The National school (mixed) and teachers' residence were rebuilt about 1870. by subscription. Average attendance, 22. The room is used as a chapel-of-ease. There is a Wesleyan chapel, built in 1870.

Colton Lodge, a good house, near the village, is the residence of Edward Maule Lawson-Smith, Esq.

STEETON TOWNSHIP is about three miles north-west of Bolton Percy. 7 south-west of York, and east by west of Tadcaster. It covers an area of 1,069 acres 2 roods 3 perches, of the rateable value of 1,387 18s. 9d., and, in 1881, had a population of 71. There is no village, the houses being scattered over the township, which belongs to the trustees of the late Colonel Thomas F. Fairfax. The soil is loamy, and the sub-soil various. The principal crops are wheat, oats, and barley. The value of the tithe rent-charge is 182 13s. 0d.

Steeton anciently belonged to the family of De Steeton, and afterwards became the seat of Sir Guy Fairfax, one of the judges of the king's bench in the time of Edward IV. and Henry VII., and has since remained in the possession of a younger branch of that family. The remains of the once splendid mansion of Steeton Hall, in which the family dwelt for ages, is now a farm house. The chapel, which was attached to the hall, was pulled down, and the materials used in the construction of Bilbrough church. The hamlet of Streethouses is in the township of Steeton.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]

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