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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Birdforth - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Thirsk - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish, situated at the southern extremity of the Hambleton Hills, comprises an area of 5,827 acres, but the extent available for rateable purposes is about 1,000 acres less. It includes the townships of Kilburn, Hood Grange, Oldstead, and Thorpe-le-Willows, which had, in 1881, a population of 534. Of the whole area and population 2,868 acres and 387 persons belong to the township of Kilburn, the rateable value of which is £2,303. The landowners are the Archbishop of York (also lord of the manor); the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; Miss Eshelby, Sowerby, Thirsk; C. F. H. Bolckow, Esq., and several small freeholders.
The manor of Kilburn (Chilburn in Domesday Book) was conferred by Henry I. upon Rouen Cathedral, in Normandy; subsequently it came into the possession of Robert de Mowbray, who gave the chapel and one carucate of land to the prior and convent of Newburgh. At the Dissolution Henry VIII. granted the church, manor, and priory land to the Archbishop of York, and they still remain in the possession of that see.
The village, divided into High and Low Kilburn, is picturesquely situated at the foot and on the slope of the Hambleton Hills, about seven miles E.S.E. of Thirsk, and two miles N. of Coxwold. The church (St. Mary) is an ancient Norman structure, erected apparently, from certain indications in its architecture, about the year 1120 or 1130. Fifty or sixty years later it appears to have been enlarged, by the addition of a north aisle, in the Transition Norman style, consisting of an arcade of four arches, resting on circular piers, with ornamented capitals. Subsequent alterations are visible in various parts of the fabric. The church underwent a thorough restoration in 1869, under the direction of Evan Christian, Esq., architect, London. All the original features of this interesting edifice have been preserved, and as much of the old work as possible retained. The Norman chancel arch, with its rich zig-zag ornamentation is perhaps one of the finest in the country. The cost of the restoration was £1,200, contributed chiefly by the Archbishop of York and the Ecclesistical Commissioners.
The living, formerly a perpetual curacy, is now a vicarage, in the gift of the Archbishop of York (the impropriator), and worth £300 per annum. There are about 44 acres of land belonging to the church.
The vicarage house is a commodious residence erected by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, in 1869.
The National School was rebuilt in 1841, at a cost of £215. The archbishop contributes £23 a year, and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners £10, towards its maintenance. The Wesleyan Chapel was erected in 1838, at a cost of £300.
The village is chiefly the property of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and presents a rather dilapidated appearance. An ancient looking building, called the Old Hall, was formerly the property and residence of the Baynes family, by one of whom, Christopher Baynes, Esq., it was erected, in the reign of James I. On a stone in the front is a shield bearing the arms of the Baynes', viz., two shin bones crossed. Above is the crest, a cubit arm, the hand grasping a jaw-bone. This family is now represented by Sir W. J. W. Baynes, Bart., of Harefield Place, Middlesex.
CHARITIES. - The poor's land consists of five acres at Sowerby, given by William Baynes and a Mr. Kitchingman, and 2 acres 3 roods and 30 perches at Kilburn, purchased with several small legacies, amounting to £70. The rents, £12 10s. a year, are distributed among the poor at Christmas and Whitsuntide. They also receive the interest of £67, left by different persons. One poor girl from High Kilburn is taught free in the school, in consideration of a legacy of £10 left for the purpose by Ann Berry.
About a mile N.E. of the village is Hood Grange or Hode Grange, a small township containing a single farmhouse and nine inhabitants. There was here formerly a Hermitage, in which dwelt Robert d'Alneto, who had been a monk of Whitby. He was either the brother or uncle to Gundreda, the mother of Roger de Mowbray. In 1138 the hermit's cell became the nucleus of an abbey. The Scots having that year plundered and destroyed the Cistercian abbey of Calder, in Cumberland, the little community, consisting of Gerald, the abbot, and 12 monks, fled into Yorkshire, and were hospitably received by Gundreda at Thirsk Castle. She committed them to the care of Robert d'Alneto, her brother, at Hode, where she supplied them with necessaries for some time. Roger de Mowbray, her son, then assigned them his cow-pasture of Cambe, and all the lands of Wilden, Scakilden, and Erghum, for their support; but after four years they found the place unsuitable for the erection of a monastery, and, receiving other lands at Old Byland, they removed thither, intending to build an abbey there. Here again they found the place unfitted, and finally they settled near Coxwold, where they built the magnificent abbey of Byland.
Hode was afterwards given to the priory of Newburgh, and a cell of that house was established here, which continued until the dissolution of monasteries. All the monastic buildings have disappeared, and a farmhouse now occupies the site, but a few of the old windows and a stone coffin have been built into the wall of the barn. A curious old font, said to have been dug up here, is preserved in the grounds of Thirsk Hall.
OLDSTEAD township comprises an area of 1,879 acres, owned by Major H. M. Stapylton, of Myton Hall, and W. W. P. Consett, Esq. Rateable value, £1,040; population, 122. The village consists of a few cottages, romantically situated at the opening of a narrow dale, with lofty acclivities, thickly clothed with wood. A Wesleyan chapel was erected here in 1868. A little further up the valley is Oldstead Hall, and on a wooded eminence above it is an Observatory, erected in 1837, by John Wormald, Esq., then resident at the hall, to commemorate the accession of Queen Victoria. It is a rough pile of stone, 40 feet high, and 1,146 feet above the level of the sea, and nearly the same height above the vale below.
THORPE-LE-WILLOWS is a small township consisting of one farm, of 470 acres, belonging to the Archbishop of York, who is also lord of the manor. It lies low and formerly abounded with willows. For rating purposes it is valued at £620, and is in Helmsley union and county court district, from which place it is distant about five miles.
Wass, formerly a township in this parish, was, by a Local Government Order which came into operation March 25th, 1887, annexed to Byland, in Coxwold parish, where the directory will be found.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.