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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of East Gilling - Electoral Division of Croft - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Darlington - Rural Deanery of East Richmond - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
This parish includes the townships of Barton and Newton Morrell, comprising an area of 2,790 acres, and containing 591 inhabitants. The soil is generally fertile. Limestone, of excellent quality, is abundant, and for many years was extensively quarried for agricultural purposes. A small branch line, 6½ miles in length, was constructed in 1870. It joins the Barnard Castle and Darlington Railway near the latter town, but is only used for goods and mineral traffic. The rateable value of the township of Barton is £4,013, and the principal landowners are Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, Bart., Blackwell, Darlington; Charles Richard Robinson, Esq., J.P., Bretaneby Manor, Barton; Mrs. Byre, West Hall, Middleton Tyas; Joseph Boyer, Esq., Brighton; W. H. Wilson-Todd, Esq., Halnaby Hall, Croft; John Gerald Wilson, Esq., J.P., Cliffe; and S. Rowlandson, Esq., J.P., Newton Morrell.
William de Barton was one of the benefactors of Easby Abbey, to which he gave a portion of his lands here, the abbot henceforth holding them as a distinct manor by the payment of a pound of pepper. After the dissolution of monasteries this, and also the manor of Barton, came into the possession of the Dodsworths, a branch of the Thornton Watlass family. "Robert Dodsworth, Esq., of Barton," says Longstaffe, "married Margaret Hebburne, of Hebburne, in Northumberland. She saw three centuries, being born in 1598, and dying in 1704, aged 105. She re-married Col. Henry Chaytor, the loyal and gallant defender of Bolton Castle, during the civil wars, and made her will a few months before her death, stating that she was in health of body, and of sound, good, and perfect memory," and signs by a mark of three strokes | | | Subsequently the manor of Barton Grange passed to James Allan, Esq., of Blackwell Grange (who died in 1790), as the representative of the Dodsworths, and from him it has descended to the present owner, Sir Henry Havelock Allan, Bart.
"The Court Rolls," says the writer above quoted, "ascend to an early date, and contain some suggestive names, such as Conyers Lonyng, Swan Syke, and Castell Hilles. In 1599 certain residents were amerced 'for keeping a goose without a gander.' An elaborate survey, temp Elizabeth, containing hundreds of odd names, and, what is of rarer occurrence, a fairly drawn plan of the same period have descended with the rolls; and with them a strange service, perhaps originally that of the lord's farrier, the presentation to the lord of a horse shoe, with eight or nine nails stuck in it."
Bretaneby or Bretonby is another manor in this parish, the property and residence of Charles Richard Robinson, Esq., J.P. This manor and estate, containing about 600 acres, formerly belonged to a branch of the Witham family, which was resident here. William Witham, died in 1543, seised of the manor of Bretonby and was succeeded by his eldest son, William, who dying, without issue in 1562, the estate descended to his brother, Cuthbert Witham. This gentleman was attainted for his share in the rebellion of 1569, and Bretaneby is supposed to have been forfeited to the Crown. Subsequently the estate came into the possession of the Shuttleworths, from whom it was purchased by Peter Robinson, and was sold by his relatives to the present owner, about forty years ago.
The village of Barton (the barley town, from bere, Anglo-Saxon barley) is pleasantly situated a little east of the old Roman road, Watling Street. In the centre of the village is the fragment of an old stone cross. There were formerly two churches here, one dedicated to St. Cuthbert, and built, it is said, on the spot where the monks rested with the body of the saint during their wanderings; the other to St. Mary, and to each chapelries were attached; the former was in the gift of the Vicar of St. John's, Stanwick, and the latter in that of the Vicar of Gilling. The stipends were too small to support any except celibate clergy; consequently, after the Reformation, both chapels were so frequently without incumbents that the circumstance passed into a local proverb - "Barton for sartain, twea churches and nivver a parson." The church of St. Cuthbert becoming ruinous, divine service was performed only in St. Mary's. In 1840 the two curacies were consolidated, and a new church built at a cost of £900. It is a very plain structure, consisting of a body and small square tower. The east window, of three lights, has been recently filled with stained glass, at a cost of £140, raised by subscription, to the memory of the late Rev. William Raine Atkinson, who held the vicarage from 1835 to 1872, and died April 21st, 1887. He succeded his father, the Rev. John Atkinson, who was "for 49 years minister of the two parishes of St. Cuthbert's and St. Mary's, Barton." There are also memorial windows to two sons of Charles Richard Robinson, Esq., and to the late John Walton, of Barton. There are no memorials more ancient than 1798. The living was constituted a vicarage a few years ago, at which time it was endowed with tithes by the Wharton family to the amount of £31 l0s. The total value is now £110. The patrons are the Vicars of Gilling and St. John's, Stanwick, alternately. Present incumbent, the Rev. Robert Fowler, M.A., Camb.
The old chapel of St. Mary is an ivy covered ruin near the Vicarage House.
There is a good school in the village, built in 1860, at a cost of £740, to supersede an older one. It is endowed with a tenement and half an acre of land, purchased in 1702, with money left by Capt. Harrison, a cottage formed out of the old school premises, £700 left by Mrs. Bell and Mrs. Charge, and half the interest of £100 left to the school and the poor by Mark Smithson, in the reign of Charles II.
The Wesleyan Chapel in the village was erected in 1829, and repaired and reseated in 1878.
NEWTON MORRELL is a small township of about 600 acres, the property of Col. Wilson, Cliffe Hall, The whole is laid out in one farm, occupied by Samuel Rowlandson, Esq., J.P.
The poor of the parish receive the interest of £300 left by the late W. R. Atkinson, half the interest of Mark Smithson's charity, and 42s. 6d. a year left by Ann Dodsworth and John Robinson.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.