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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of West Hang - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Leyburn - Rural Deanery of Catterick West - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
Finghall, or, as sometimes written, Fingall, is a small parish, comprising the townships of Finghall, Akebar, Constable Burton, and Hutton Hang, the united area of which is 4,581 acres, and population 366. The soil is various, and the surface boldly undulated, but nowhere approaching the mountainous in character. The Northallerton and Hawes railway intersects the parish.
The township of Finghall contains 562 acres, the greater part of which belongs to S. C. Lister, Esq. (lord of the manor), who purchased the estate from the Marquis of Ailesbury. The other landowners are Rev. G. H. Ray and Miss Annie Jaques, Park View, Finghall. The soil is loamy, resting on limestone. The gross estimated rental is £679; the rateable value, £634; and the number of inhabitants, 99.
The village occupies an elevated situation, about five miles E. of Leyburn, and half a mile from Finghall station. Though now so insignificant as to be scarcely known beyond its immediate neighbourhood, Finghall appears to have been a place of some consequence in Saxon times, and probably even at an earlier period, as its name indicates a British origin. The Saxon Chronicle records that in A.D. 788, a Synod was assembled at Finghall, in the land of the Northumbrians.
The Church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a small ancient edifice, in the Early English style, consisting of nave, chancel, and west tower, in which are two bells. The living is a rectory, valued in the King's Book at £18 18s. 4d., and now worth £400. The Rev. George Henry Ray, B.A., is patron and rector, and the Rev. C. R. Aldred, B.A., curate.
The Wesleyans have a chapel in the village, a small plain building erected in 1845, and capable of accommodating between fifty and sixty worshippers. It is in the Bedale circuit. The late Mr. Knight, of Finghall, gentleman, left to the poor of the township the sum of £100, the interest of which he ordered to be distributed by the minister and churchwardens at their discretion.
AKEBAR is a township containing 778 acres, the property of S. C. Lister, Esq., Swinton Park, Masham, who is also lord of the manor. The whole township is divided into three farms; rateable value, £744; population, 23. Finghall Church stands within this township, and near it there is said to have once been a town as large as Bedale. The name is variously written, Akebar, Aikbar, and Aikburgh, - that is, Oak Hill.
CONSTABLE BURTON township comprises an area of 2,604 acres, chiefly the property of Marmaduke Wyvill, Esq., Denton Park; C. D. Chaytor, Esq., Spennithorne; and the North Eastern Railway Co. The gross estimated rental is £3,631; the rateable value, £3,407; and the population, 213. The village which gives its name to the township stands about four miles east of Leyburn, and about two miles from Finghall. The Northallerton and Hawes branch of the N.E. railway passes through the township, and the stations at Constable Burton and Spennithorne are both within its boundary. A school chapel was erected in the village in 1859, by Mr. Wyvill, and is attended by about twenty-eight children. The premises also include the master's residence and garden. Service is held every Sunday afternoon by the curate of the parish.
Studdah, about 1½ miles from Finghall, dates from Saxon times, when it is said to have been a hamlet of considerable size, though now a solitary farmstead perpetuates the name. It was once sufficiently consequential to possess its own chapel and burial ground, which may still be seen doing duty for a barn.
When Harold II., the last Saxon king, sat on the English throne, the manor of Burton, with the rest of the district comprehended in the Liberty of Richmondshire, formed part of the extensive possessions of Edwin, the powerful Earl of Mercia. Edwin swore fealty to the Conqueror after the battle of Hastings, and was permitted to retain his estates; but, subsequently rebelling against the authority of William, his lands were confiscated, and given by the king to Alan Rufus, one of the adventurers that had accompanied him from Normandy, and whom he created Earl of Richmond. Earl Alan, in partitioning this royal grant among his retainers, conferred the manor of Burton upon the constable of his castle of Richmond; and the descendants of the grantee subsequently assuming the name of Burton, the place was called from the office they held, Constable Burton, In the reign of Edward I., the manor of Burton was transferred to Geoffrey le Scrope, of Masham, who obtained from Edward II. a charter for a weekly market and fairs, and a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands in this manor. In 1520, Constable Burton passed to Sir Ralph Fitz-Randolph, knight, of Spennithorne, by his marriage with Elizabeth, one of the three daughters and co-heiresses of Thomas, sixth Lord Scrope. The surviving issue of this marriage was five daughters, the youngest of whom, Alice, married Marmaduke Wyvill, and received this manor with other estates for her share. This family is descended from Sir Sir Humphrey d'Wyvill, who accompanied the "base born Norman" to England, and received an extensive grant of land in Yorkshire as his share of the spoil. His name is found on the roll of Battle Abbey, and his descendants, who are still represented in the county, have contracted alliances with some of the best families in the north of England. Marmaduke Wyvill above mentioned was M.P. for Ripon in 1553, having previously received the honour of knighthood. Christopher Wyvill, Esq., his son, succeeded to the family estates, and married Margaret, daughter of the Hon. John Scrope, younger son of Henry, Lord Scrope, of Bolton, by Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland. He was succeeded by Marmaduke, his son and heir, who married Magdalene, daughter of Sir Christopher Danby, knight, of Thorpe Park. He was elected M.P. for Richmond in 1584, and had the honour of entertaining Queen Elizabeth at Constable Burton during one of her journeys into the north, when she conferred upon him the honour of knighthood. He was subsequently created a baronet by James I., in 1611. Sir Marmaduke Asty Wyvill, the seventh and last baronet, died unmarried in 1744, and the estates were inherited by his cousin and brother-in-law, the Rev. Christopher Wyvill, whose grandson, Marmaduke Wyvill, Esq., is the present owner and lord of the manor. Mr. Wyvill represented Richmond in parliament for several years; he is a J.P. and D.L. for the North and West Ridings, and the patron of three livings.
Constable Burton Hall is a handsome mansion of dressed stone, with an elegant Grecian portico on two of its fronts; that which forms the principal entrance being approached by a double flight of steps. The hall was erected on the site of an ancient one, by Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, in the reign (f Elizabeth, and stands in an extensive and well wooded park. It is at present the residence of J. J. Maclaren, Esq., barrister-at-law.
HUTTON HANG township, comprising 591 acres, is situated about a mile south of Finghall, in which parish it is included for all civil purposes, but in ecclesiastical affairs it is under Bedale. The township is divided into High and Low, and gives name to the Wapentakes of Hang East and Hang West, in each of which it is partly situated. The inhabitants, who number 31, are wholly employed in agriculture. The estimated gross rental of the township is £669 10s., and the rateable value £602. Samuel Cunliffe Lister, Esq., of Swinton Park, Masham, is sole owner and lord of the manor.
In Hutton Hang was born the celebrated contractor, Sir Edward Banks. He was of very humble parentage, and when a youth was engaged as a farm servant at Thornton Steward; but committing some youthful delinquency, he fled his service to avoid the consequences. He found employment as a common navvy, which he followed for some years, and then began taking small sub-contracts. In these little ventures he was very successful, and then extended his sphere of action. Subsequently he entered into partnership with Mr. Jolliffe, and undertook some of the largest contracts in the country. By his talent and perseverance he rose to wealth and eminence, and received the honour of knighthood from George IV.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.