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Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) - Petty Sessional Division of Langbaurgh West - Electoral Division of Great Ayton - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Stokesley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish contains, according to Ordnance measurement, 5,730 acres, of which only 2,314 are under assessment, the remainder being open moorland. The rateable value is £2,557, and the population 280. The dale is watered by the river Leven,
Kildale is a place of considerable antiquity, and had its church in Saxon times, as recorded in Domesday Book. The name was written by the Norman scribes Childale, but whether it was so called from some Saxon proprietor, whose patronymic was Chil or Kil, or from the Norse kyll, a stream, is uncertain. The manor was given by the Conqueror to Robt de Brus, and subsequently passed in marriage to the Percys, Earls of Northumberland, who built a castle here. It was standing in Camden's time, but all that is now left to indicate the site are a raised mound and traces of the moat. This castle was one of the chief residences of that noble family before they acquired the barony of Alnwick in 1309. Two of the Percys, who had fought in the Crusades, died at Kildale, and were buried in the chancel of the parish church. Other members of the family were also buried here; and during the rebuilding of the church, several gravestones bearing the Percy arms were found, but the inscriptions were unfortunately illegible. The manor and estate remained in the possession of the Percys until about 1660, when they were sold to John Turner, Esq., of Kirkleatham; and in 1810, they were purchased from his descendant, Sir Charles Turner, by the late Robt. Bell Livesey, Esq. This gentleman was the second son of Ralph Bell, Esq., of Thirsk Hall, and assumed the name and arms of Livesey, on his succession to the estates of his uncle, Robt. Livesey, Esq., of Livesey, Lancashire. Marianne, his only child, married Edmund Turton, Esq., of Upsall, and the issue of this marriage was two sons and a daughter. The eldest son, Capt. Edmund Henry Turton, inherited the estates of Upsall, Ugthorpe, and Larpool. Kildale was left to the second son, who, however, predeceased his mother, unmarried, and at the latter's death, in 1858, the estate became the subject of a chancery suit between Capt. Turton and his sister, Mrs. Lambarde. The suit was terminated by the birth of a second son to Capt. Turton, Robt. Bell Turton, who succeeded to the estate December 9, 1880, by the decree of the Court of Chancery.
Kildale Hall is a handsome modern mansion, erected by the late Mr. R. Bell Livesey, from the designs of Mr. Salvin. It is at present the occasional residence and shooting lodge of Robt. Anthony Burrell, Esq., of Fairthorne, Botley, Hants.
The village of Kildale is delightfully situated in a secluded vale, 5½ miles E. of Stokesley. The Whitby and Picton branch of the North Eastern railway passes through the township, and has a station near the village. The church (St. Cuthbert) was rebuilt from the foundations in 1868, at the expense of the trustees of the estate, aided by private subscriptions. It is a handsome stone structure in the Early English style, and comprises chancel, nave, north aisle, and tower. The edifice, which previously occupied the site, was partly rebuilt in 1714. Kildale had its church at the time of the Domesday Survey, but this structure was probably rebuilt by the Percys after the erection of their castle. The living is a rectory of the value of £125, with residence and 38 acres of glebe, in the gift of B. Bell Turton, Esq. In the churchyard is a tombstone bearing the following singular inscription :- " Here lyeth the body of Joseph Dunn, who dyed ye 10th day of March, 1716, aged 82 years. He left to ye poor of Kildale xxs., of Commondale xxs., of Danby xxs., of Westerdale xs., to be paid upon his gravestone by equal portions, on ye 1st day of May and ye 11th of November for ever."
Near the village rises an elevated heathy moorland called Kempswithen, and on the other side a lofty fell named Percy Gross, from a pile of stones upon its summit. The low-lying lands in the vale are occasionally inundated by floods from the adjacent hills. One of the most disastrous on record occurred on the night of July 21 and 22, 1840, when the embankments of two artificial lakes or fish ponds, which added greatly to the charms of this picturesque vale, unable to bear the pressure of the water which the flood poured into the ponds, were completely swept away, and very cansiderable damage done by the water. Fortunately there were no live lost, though there were many hair-breadth escapes. In the narrow gorge, below the second pond, the water was between 30 and 40 feet above the usual level. An old corn mill was carried away and a bleaching mill partially destroyed.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.