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ARKENGARTHDALE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of West Gilling - Electoral Division and Poor Law Union of Reeth - County Court District, Rural Deanery, and Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.

This is an extensive moorland parish lying on both sides of the River Arkle, which gave its name to the dale through which it flows. In ancient documents it is written Arkilgarthdale and Arclegarthdale; in later times Arkil was corrupted into Arken, and hence the present forms of the name Arkengarthdale and Arkendale. The dale is about seven miles in length, extending from Dale Head to Reeth, below which, the Arkle empties itself into the Swale. In the lower part, the scenery is beautiful and picturesque, but in the upper, or High Arkendale, it is wild and dreary. The total area of the parish, according to the overseers' returns, is 14,221 acres, or by Ordnance measurement, 14,566½ acres, the rateable value, £5,863, and the population, 999. The soil is loamy, but the greater part of the parish is open moor. The landowners are G. T. Gilpin-Brown, Esq. (lord of the manor), Sedbury Park; Mrs. Peacock, Arkengarthdale; Mrs. Hird, Arkengarthdale; Mrs. Hird, Shepherd's Lodge, Arkengarthdale; Thos. Martin, Melsonby; Thos. Brown, Scargill; Wm. Botham, Manchester; Thos. Alderson, and Luke Raine, Arkengarthdale.

The bleak moorland hills, which give to High Arkendale its dreary and unattractive aspect, belong to the great limestone series, and abound in lead ore which has been worked here since the reign of King John, The mines are leased by the C. B. Mining Company, and give employment to about 200 hands. They are worked principally by Levels driven from the surface. Some of these extend several miles. The most productive stratum is the twelve fathom limestone. The output for the last year was 1,536 tons of dressed ore, which was smelted at the Company's mills here, and yielded about 75 per cent of metal. This lead is of a very soft nature, and contains only from one to three ounces of silver to the ton. The lessees pay a yearly rent equal to one-ninth of the produce. Slate and coal are also found, but the latter is neither abundant nor of good quality.

The following "bench marks" or contour lines, taken from the Ordnance Survey, show the elevation of the land at various points in the parish and neighbourhood -

Arkelgarthdale formed a portion of the lands of the Earls of Mercia, and, about the time of the Conquest, was held by Arketel, or Arkyl, whose name has been impressed on the river and dale. The Conqueror gave the manor with its forest and free chase to Alan, Earl of Richmond; and it continued in the possession of the successive earls till the death of John, Duke of Bedford, when it reverted to the Crown. A survey of this part of the Honour of Richmond was taken in the reign of Edward I., and again in that of Edward III., the latter disclosing much poverty and misery, owing to the inroads of the Scots after the battle of Bannockburn. Amongst others who paid the subsidy in the first year of the latter reign (A.D. 1327), was Thomas Pacoc (Peacock), a member of a family still numerously represented in the parish and district, The manor remained in the possession of the Crown till 1629, when Charles I. granted it to Edward Ditchfield and others in trust for the citizens of London, at a yearly rent of £53 5s. 6½d. The citizens retained possession of it for four years, and then sold it to the Robinson family. It subsequently passed by purchase to the Whartons, from whom it was carried by marriage to Robert Byerley, Esq. In 1659, Dr. Bathurst was seised of the manor of Arkingarthdale, and on the death of Charles Bathurst, Esq., without issue, in 1740, his estates were divided among his three sisters and coheirs, Mary, wife of William Sleigh of Stockton-on-Tees, Jane, wife of William Turner of Kirkleatham, and Frances, wife of F. Foster of Buston, Northumberland. From these the manor was purchased by G. Brown, Esq., of Stockton-on-Tees, and at his death his estates devolved upon his sisters, Jemima, wife of the Rev. John Gilpin, and Elizabeth, wife of Sir Robert Preston. Lady Preston dying without issue, her nephew, Geo. Gilpin, became sole owner, and assumed the name of Brown in addition to his own.

There is no village bearing the name of the parish, but numerous hamlets lie scattered along the dale, of which, the following are the principal: Arkletown, Booze, Longthwaite, Eskeleth, Seal Houses, Whaw, and Dale Head. Longthwaite, the largest village, is situated near the centre of the dale, 4 miles W. by S. of Reeth. A little distance from it stands the church of St. Mary, a plain stone building, erected in 1818, and consecrated by the Bishop of Chester on the 19th of July, 1820. It is a rectangular structure with a portion railed off to form a chancel, and an embattled western tower containing a clock and three bells.

There are neat mural monuments to George Brown, Esq., at, whose expense the church was rebuilt, the Rev. John Gilpin, and Jemima his wife. The old church stood half-a-mile lower down the dale. It was given by Conan, Earl of Richmond, to the Abbot and Convent of Egglestone, in whose possession it remained till the dissolution of religious houses. Edward VI. sold the advowson to Robt. Strelley or Starley; and in the reign of Charles I., it was purchased from Sir Henry Compton by Sir John Lowther, whose descendant, Sir Charles Hugh Lowther, Bart., is the present patron. The registers commence in 1726, but there are two or three entries of earlier dates, apparently copied from books not now in existence. The living is a vicarage, worth £153 a year, including 19 acres of glebe, with residence, and held by the Rev. John Tinkler, M.A.

The Wesleyan Chapel, near High Green, is a handsome stone structure in the Romanesque style, built in 1882, at a cost of £1,700, all of which has been cleared off. The interior is tastefully fitted with pitch-pine benches and varnished woodwork. The old chapel, built in 1806, was converted into a Literary Institute in 1886. There were, in the more prosperous times, chapels at Eskeleth and Longthwaite, but these have been disused or converted into cottages.

The School was erected by G. Brown, Esq., in 1813, and was considerably enlarged by the late lord of the manor, who subscribed £34 a year towards its support. It also receives £16 per annum from the endowment of Dr. Bathurst, left in 1659. The school is mixed, with an average attendance of 124, and is under the care of Mr. Henry Groves. Dr. Bathurst also left £4 a year for apprenticing a poor child belonging the parish.

Scar House, a stone mansion in the Elizabethan style, stands on the site of the ancient manor house. It is occupied by the owner, G. T. Gilpin Brown, Esq., during the shooting season.

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


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.