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DOWNHOLME: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

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

This parish, comprising an area of 5,915 acres, lies between the parishes of Marrick and Marske on the north, and Wensley and Spennithorne on the south. A large portion of the surface (about 3,000 acres) is covered by moorland, but that lying near the Swale is generally fertile. The townships of Downholme, Ellerton Abbey, Stainton, and Walburn are included in the parish, and have a united population of 227.

The township of Downholme comprises 1,294 acres of land, including 724 acres of moorland, and lies on the southern acclivities of Swaledale. It is chiefly the property of Lord Bolton (lord of the manor); J. T. D'Arcy Hutton, Esq.; and the exors. of D. F. Alderson.

The village of Downholme is distant about five miles S.W. of Richmond. The Church (St. Michael) is an ancient edifice, standing in the dale, about a quarter of a mile below the village. It underwent a general restoration in 1886, at a cost of about £400, raised by subscription, The chancel has been re-roofed, the gallery taken down, the organ restored and replaced, and the cumbersome old pews substituted by modern open benches. The plan embraces chancel, nave, with north aisle and south porch, and a belfry, containing two bells. The four pillars which carry the arches of the north aisle are Norman, and probably belong to the original edifice; the porch also is Norman, and shows some very neatly carved work. The chancel arch is Gothic, as is also the greater part of the church; but traces of an Early English restoration are visible in a doorway, now walled up, a window in the north aisle, and a carved stone on one side of the chancel arch. A few fragments of very ancient stained glass remain in the two windows of the aisle, and a stone coffin, with cover complete, lies in the churchyard, whilst a portion of another has been built into the wall of the porch.

The living, formerly a perpetual curacy, is now a vicarage worth £175 a year, in the gift of J. T. D'Arcy Hutton, Esq., and the incumbency of the Rev. Joseph Cutler, Oxon.

The School was erected in 1814, at the expense of the Rev. Edward Ellerton and his brothers, and, in 1851, was endowed by the former gentleman with £513 6s. 10d., stock in the three per cent. consols. This, with other endowments, produces £25 a year, and the like amount is raised by a voluntary rate. The school is under the charge of Mr. Joseph Sedgwick, and has an average attendance of 32.

ELLERTON ABBEY township comprises an area of 1,664 acres, lying on the south bank of the Swale opposite Marrick. The surface is varied and picturesque, rising into bold scars and fells as it recedes from the river. The whole township and manor belong to Mrs. S. C. E. E. Erle-Drax, of Ellerton Abbey and Charborough Park, Dorset. The alder or eller once grew so abundantly here as to have impressed its name on the ton or farmstead of the Saxon owners. The rateable value of the township is £903, and the number of inhabitants 44.

Near the Swale are the fragments of the ruins of Ellerton Priory, consisting of a small portion of the west tower, and a few feet of three of the walls of the conventual church. It is supposed to have been founded by Warnerus, Lord of Aske, and sewer to the Earl of Richmond, or by his son Whymerus, in the reign of Henry II., and was inhabited by nuns of the austere Cistercian order. The convent was small and but sparingly endowed with two oxgangs of land in Ellerton and a moiety of the manor of Ellerton-cum-Staynton, yet it tempted the cupidity of the Scots, who, in one of their predatory inroads into Swaledale in the reign of Edward III., sacked the nunnery and carried away several charters and writings. At the time of its dissolution in 1535, it was valued at £15 10s. 6d. per annum. The site and demesnes were demised to Ralph Closeby of the King's Household, gent., but for what term or on what conditions does not appear. In 1601 they came into the possession of Gabriel Drax, from whom they have descended in uninterrupted succession to the present proprietor, Sarah Charlotte Elizabeth Ernlé Erle-Drax, who married 1871, John Lloyd Egginton, Esq., late 3rd Dragoon Guards, and by letters patent in 1887, resumed her maiden name.

The present substantial residence was built about 1830, by the mother of the present proprietor. At the west end of the estate, on the old foot road, is the historic "Stolerston Stile" which divides Swaledale proper from Ellerton dale.

This township is in the Reeth Union.

STAINTON township comprises 1,851 acres, including about 1,000 acres of moorland, and is valued, for rateable purposes, at £487. It is solely the property of S. T. Scrope, Esq., of Danby Hall, who is also Lord of the manor. Grey flags and slates are quarried here, and lead has been met with among the hills. The village of Stainton (Stone-town), consisting of three farm houses and a few cottages, is situated among the fells, 5½ miles S.W. of Richmond. Population, 41.

WALBURN is a sparsely populated township, containing 1,985 acres, including moorland, belonging to J. T. D'Arcy Hutton, Esq., Marske Hall. This place formerly belonged to the Scropes, but Walburn Hall, their residence, has long been occupied as a farmhouse. The township contains five scattered houses. Rateable value, £773, and population, 30.

[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.

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