EASBY, a parish in the wapentake of Gilling West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 1 mile E. of Richmond, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Swale. The parish church here is dedicated to St. Agatha (see Churches for photograph). The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the King, of which the Rev. Caleb Readshaw, M. A. is incumbent. The principal inhabitants of the village are Robert Jaques, Esq. Abbey house, and Captain James Jackson. Pop. 105.
Here is an hospital for four poor women, founded in 1732, by William Smith, then rector of Melsonby. A very singular discovery was made in this church about 1790, of an epitaph " pon the death of Richard Swale, gentleman," who died in 1538. It is written in four different languages, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and English: "The circumstances attending the discovery are not less curious than the thing itself." Full particulars of which, and the inscriptions, may be met with in the Gents. Magazine for April 1790. --History of Richmond, 4to. --and Whitaker's Yorkshire. Near to the parish church are the venerable remains of the Abbey of St. Agatha, commonly called Easby-Abbey, situated on the northern banks of the Swale. It was founded about the year 1152, for Pre-monstratensian Canon's by Roaldus, constable of Richmond castle, and dedicated to St. Agatha, to which Roger de Mowbray, Alan Bygot, and others were benefactors. Richard le Scrope, of Bolton, in the time of Richard II. gave the Abbot and Convent 150L. per annum for the maintenance of ten Canons, over and above the number in the monastery, and two secular chaplains; but Whitaker says he only meditated a donation, for which he obtained a licence that year. It was valued at the dissolution at 111L. 17s. 11d. -Dugdale. The last Abbot was Robert Bampton, who surrendered it in 1535. The site with the possession of the monastery, was granted for 30 years to Lord Scrope of Bolton, at an annual rent of 283L. 13s. 11d.; in 1557, it was sold by Philip and Mary to Ralph Gower, of Richmond, for 660L. 3s. 4d. the tenure in chief for Knight's service; he dying bequeathed the same to his son John, who being attainted of high treason, had all his estates confiscated to the Crown. In the reign of Elizabeth and James I. it was again in possession of the Scropes, of Bolton, and at length was purchase by Robert Jaques, Esq. for 45,000L.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]