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Wapentake of West Gilling - Electoral Division of Startforth - Petty Sessional Division of Greta Bridge - Poor Law Union of Teesdale - County Court District of Barnard Castle - Rural Deanery of Richmond North - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
This parish stretches from the Tees southward, about four miles along the east bank of the river Greta; it contains 11,996 acres, and had, in 1881, a population of 455. The greater part of the surface is elevated heather-covered moorland, but the scenery along Greta's banks is strikingly beautiful. The parish comprises the townships of Barningham, Hope, Scargill, and part of Newsham. The first-named one has an area of 3,454 acres, of which 234 are woodland, and 1,387 moorland. Rateable value, £2,801. The principal landowners are Sir Frederick A. Milbank, Bart. (lord of the manor), Thorp Perrow, Bedale; James Todd, Esq., Fair View, Barningham; William Todd, Esq., and Messrs. Robert and William Lodge, of Eastwood and Newsham.
The manor of Barningham, in the time of Edward the Confessor, was held by Tor, who had a residence here. Soon after the Conquest it was in the possession of a family styled de Berningham, from whom it passed to the Scropes of Upsall and Masham. In 1566, Henry, Lord Scrope, sold the manor to Francis Tunstall, Esq. It afterwards came into the possession of the Shuttleworths, by whom it was sold to the Milbanks, with which family it still remains.
The village of Barningham, five miles S.E. of Barnard Castle, and two miles S.S.W. of Greta Bridge, is situated on the edge of the moors at an elevation of between 700 and 800 feet above the sea level. The air is invigorating, and the village is now much frequented in the summer as a health resort. Many spots of surpassing beauty - to which Sir Walter Scott, in his poem of "Rokeby," has given an enduring interest - lie within easy walking distance. Near the village is Barningham Park, the occasional residence of Sir F. A. Milbank, Bart. It is a large ancient stone building, standing in a well-wooded park, 100 acres in extent. An inscription on a stone in the park wall informs us that the wall was built, the deer park formed, and the trees planted in 1857-8-9, and the Model Farm erected in 1863, the whole having been designed and executed by Augustus Sussex Milbank. On a grassy slope stands a monument of polished granite, recording the birth and death of three members of the Milbank family. It was erected in 1887. On the opposite side of the village, standing within its own grounds, is Fairview, the property and residence of James Todd, Esq.
A fair, for the sale of horses, cattle, sheep, and geese, is held on the first Thursday in September.
The Church (St. Michael), new partly covered with ivy, was re-built on a site adjoining the old church in 1816. It is in the Gothic style, and consists of nave, chancel, and west tower. There are two handsome stained glass memorial windows in the south wall, and between these is a tablet, of very elegant design, to the memory of the Rev. George Newby, M.A.*
* The Rev. George Newby was a native of the village, his father being the proprietor of the Barningham Boarding Academy. He was educated for some time in his father's school, and then went to St. Bees' College, Cumberland. In 1806 he was appointed Master of Witton-le-Wear Grammar School, and sub-curate of the parish. He conducted that establishment with marked success, winning the esteem and affection of his pupils; and, in 1821, an elegant silver cup, subscribed for by gentlemen who had been his pupils, was presented to him at the Turk's Head Inn, Newcastle. In 1882 he was presented to the Vicarage of Stockton where he laboured most assiduously among the poor, and assisted them so extensively from his own purse, though his stipend was not large, that his charity became proverbial. In 1844 he was appointed to the Rectory of Whickham, in the county of Durham, but died two years afterwards, at the age of 67. To perpetuate his memory, his parishioners, friends, and former pupils subscribed a sum of money, with which was founded a scholarship in Durham University, and a monument erected in the church of Witton-le-Wear.
There are a few ancient tombstones preserved from the old church. One covers a rector, Thomas Messenger, who died in 1394. Another has two bears at the foot of a cross; and on another slab, coffin-shaped, is an interlacing pattern of knot-work, probably Saxon.
The benefice is a rectory, in the patronage of the Bishop of Ripon, and incumbency of the Rev. E. S. Gough, M.A. It is rated in the King's Books at £19 17s. 1d., and is now worth £520, inclusive of 67 acres of glebe.
The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel in the village, built in 1815, and enlarged and improved in 1869. The late Mr. John Todd, who died in 1838, left to this chapel the sum of £1,600, of which £100 was to be applied towards the erection of a residence for the minister, and £1,500 as an endowment. This sum is invested in The Land Securities Company, Ltd., London, and produces at present £63 15s. per annum. The trustees are James Todd, gentleman, Fairview, Barningham; William Robert Todd, gentleman, Stockton; Thomas Garbutt, draper, Barnard Castle; Benjamin Morrell, grocer, Barningham; and Michael Johnson Dixon, draper, Barnard Castle.
The National School stands in the centre of the village green. It is a substantial and commodious building, erected in 1875, by the family of the late Lady Augusta Henrietta Milbank, as a memorial of her love for this parish and people. There are seven acres of land, purchased in 1684 with £123 benefaction money, the rent of which (with the exception of 30s. a year, which is given to the poor) is applied to the support of the school. It also receives the dividends of £300 in the three per cent. consols, left by the above Mr. J. Todd.
The village has also its Reading Room and Library, erected by subscription in 1869.
HOPE is a high moorland township, containing 1,700 acres, all of which is waste except 660 acres. Rateable value, £581. Sole landowner and lord of the manor, George T. Gilpin-Brown, Esq., J.P., Sedbury Park. The township is very thinly peopled, there being at present only 22 inhabitants. Lead ore has been found among the hills.
SCARGILL is another moorland township, lying on the south bank of the Greta, opposite Brignall. Its area is estimated at 4,809¾ acres, of which 61 acres are arable land, 1,868 acres meadow and pasture, 101 acres woodland, and the remainder heathy moor. Rateable value, £2,246. The land, with all manorial rights, is the property of Sir F. A. Talbot Clifford Constable, Bart.
Scargill Castle, an ancient peel, of which three storeys of the tower still remain, appears from the foundations to have covered about two acres of ground. The walls are from 4 feet to 6 feet thick, but there is no inscription or armorial bearing to show when, or by whom, the castle was built. About a quarter of a mile S.E. is a small portion of the wall of the Chapel. There is the usual story of a subterranean passage connected with the castle, which, it is said, leads to Egglestone Abbey.
Scargill Lodge, a neat residence, erected as a shooting box in 1865, stands on four acres of ground, and is surrounded by trees and shrubs planted in terraces. It is occupied by Sir Talbot Clifford Constable during the shooting season.
The township is sparsely inhabited, the people living in scattered farmhouses and cottages. There is a small school, re-built in 1874, at a cost of £184, in which about a dozen children are educated. Divine service is held in it every alternate Sunday afternoon by the Rector of Barningham; and by the Wesleyans every Sunday evening, and in the afternoon also, alternately with the Church service.
Lead ore is found among the hills, and is worked by the Spanham Mining Co., who employ about eight hands.
[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.