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The Ancient Parish of CRAYKE

[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"CRAYKE, (and CRAYKE CASTLE) a parish in the Bishopric of Durham, though locally situated in the wapentake of Bulmer; 2 miles E. of Easingwold. Crayke, with the land three miles round it, was given by Egfrid, King of Northumberland, to St. Cuthbert, in the year 685, by whom it came to the church of Durham; about which time the said St. Cuthbert founded a monastery here. This village is delightfully situated on the southern declivity of a lofty detached hill or mount, on the summit of which stands the ruins of Crayke Castle, which is supposed to have been a Roman fortress, and which in the time of the Saxons was a royal palace. From hence is a most extensive and delightful prospect of the forest of Galtres, and the beautiful and picturesque vale of Mowbray; so called from its ancient owner Roger de Mowbray, who was bowman to William Rufus, and possessed one hundred and forty manors in England and twenty in Normandy. He was the founder of the monasteries of Newborough and Byland. Near the ruins of the castle (which is now occupied as a farm house) stands the church, a handsome antique edifice inclosed within lofty trees, and which is dedicated to St. Cuthbert. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Bishop of Durham. In addition to the parish church (see Churches for photograph), here is a Catholic chapel, of which the Rev. Thomas Coupe is minister; likewise a Methodist chapel. The freeholders in this place vote for knights for the county of Durham; pleas of land are held in the county of Durham, and the jurisdiction of the palatine extends thereto; but in the militia service the legislature thought it expedient to embody the inhabitants with the men of Yorkshire. Population, 538."

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. 2010]

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