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Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) - Petty Sessional and Electoral Division of Yarm - Poor Law Union of Stokesley - County Court District of Stockton - Rural Deanery of Stokesley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish (sometimes and more correctly spelt Kirklevington), comprising 5,491 acres, is situated on the tongue of land between the Tees and the Leven, and includes the townships of Kirklevington, Castle Leavington, Picton, and Low Worsall. The soil varies from a strong clay to a deep rich loam, and is generally fertile. The inhabitants at the last census numbered 548.
The township contains 2,161 acres, and is intersected by the North Eastern railway. The gross estimated rental is £5,626; rateable value, £5,080; and population, 197. The village of Kirklevington is a place of considerable antiquity, and had its church in Saxon times. Its name is evidently derived from the river Leven, to which kirk was subsequently appended after the erection of the church.
This manor was one of the many lordships granted by the Conqueror to his trusty follower, Robert de Brus. Adam de Brus, about the year 1200, gave it in marriage with his daughter Isabel, to Henry de Percy, attaching this very curious condition to the grant, viz., that "the said Henry and his heirs should repair to Skelton Castle every Christmas Day, and lead the lady of that castle from her chamber to the chapel to mass, and from thence to her chamber again, and after dining with her to depart." The manor was forfeited by the attainder of Henry de Percy, first Earl of Northumberland, and given by Henry IV. to Roger Thornton, the opulent and benevolent merchant and mayor of Newcastle; but in the next reign, the family was again restored to its honours, titles, and estates, in the person of Henry Percy, son of the intrepid and dauntless Hotspur. Kirklevington continued in the possession of the Percys until the attainder and execution of Sir Thomas Percy, brother and heir of Henry Algernon, the sixth Earl of Northumberland, at Tyburn, in 1537, for his participation in the Pilgrimage of Grace. It was afterwards given to Sir George Bowes, Bart., of Streatlam Castle, County Durham, probably in reward for his fidelity to Elizabeth in the rebellion of the Northern Earls; and later it passed in marriage to the Earl of Strathmore, whose son sold the manor and estate to John Waldy and Henry Hutchinson, Esqrs. They are now the property of Thomas Richardson, M.P., New Hall, Kirklevington, and C. J. Bates, Esq., Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland.
The village, distant two miles S. of Yarm, is situated on the Thirsk road, near the river Leven, which here flows through a narrow and picturesque ravine. Except the few tokens of antiquity still visible in its renovated old church, the village has lost all traces of its old-world appearance.
The Church, dedicated to St. Martin, is an ancient foundation, dating from Saxon times, as is incontestably proved by the discovery of several stones bearing undoubted marks of Saxon workmanship during the recent restoration. These, and some fine Early English grave slabs, have been built into the new walls, where they will be preserved for generations to come. The church was rebuilt in the Norman period, but of this structure the only trace now left is the circular chancel arch, still in a good state of preservation. It was again altered and restored in the Early English style of the 13th century, which style has been adopted in later restorations, The chancel was restored in 1873, by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, as the owners of the great tithes. In 1880-2, the nave was thoroughly repaired at a cost of £1,100, when the old Norman doorway on the south side was replaced, and also the old stones of the buttress and outside walls. The interior is lighted by six beautiful stained glass windows; one inserted in 1883, is a memorial of Thomas Bates, the celebrated shorthorn breeder, who died here in 1840. The turret contains three bells, one of which dates from pre-reformation times, and the others from 1689. Near the porch on the outside, may be seen an ancient stone coffin and several Saxon and Norman stones. This church was granted by Robert de Brus to the Priory of Guisborough, and after the dissolution of monasteries, the advowson and impropriation were given by Henry VIII. in exchange, to the Archbishop of York, who is still the patron, but the great tithes have been transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. The present vicar is the Rev. Frederick D. Brock, who was instituted in 1882.
The school was erected, by subscription, in 1858.
CHARITY. - " Hall's Trust," consisting of 1 acre 3 roods, left by William Hall, in 1692, the rent of which is divided yearly among the poor of Kirklevington.
CASTLE LEVINGTON township, comprising 1,028 acres, is situated on the west bank of the Leven, and contains five farm houses. The gross estimated rental is £1,142; rateable value, £1,047; and population, 44, The manor formerly belonged to the family of Brus; subsequently, in the reign of Edward I., it was granted by the Crown to the Meynells, or Meinell, as the name was then written, from whom it was conveyed, by marriage, to the Boyntons. After passing through several families, it was parcelled out and sold to different purchasers. The present owners are the Trustees of T. W. Waldy, Esq.; John Beckwith, Esq., Sunderland; Thomas Richardson, M.P., Kirklevington; and T. L. Wilkinson, Esq., Neasham Abbey, Darlington.
The castle from which the township took its name, stood, according to tradition, on an eminence by the side of the Leven, now called Castle Hill. This mound is evidently of artificial formation, and on its summit is a hollow entrenchment, but no traces of any building.
PICTON township contains 990 acres, chiefly the property of John Farrow, Mount Leven, Yarm; Messrs. Kingston & Garbutt; Exors. of the late Mr. Stead; John Reed, Picton; Exors. of General Aylmer; Benjamin Haley, High Worsall; and Mrs. Hanworth, Picton House. Each proprietor claims the manorial rights of his own estate. The gross estimated rental of the township is £4,158; rateable value, £3,725; and population, 108. The village is situated on rising ground, four miles S. by W. of Yarm, and about half-a-mile from the Picton Junction of the North Eastern railway. Though it is now becoming fashionable to drop the k in Pickton, it always occurs in the old forms of the name as Pyketon, Pykton, that is Peak town. It once belonged to a family bearing the same name, and afterwards came into the possession of the Thwengs. There is a small Wesleyan Chapel in the village, erected in 1875.
LOW WORSALL (or EAST WORSALL) township comprises 1,312 acres, exclusive of water, lying on the south side of the Tees. The soil is fertile, and the surface varied and picturesque. The gross annual rental is £1,556; the rateable value, £1,377; and the population, 199. The manor passed, in former times, through the families of De Brus, De Ros of Helmsley, and the Thwengs, In the reign of Charles I. it came into the possession of Thomas Middleton, Esq., from whose descendants it was purchased by Sir John Lowther; and, towards the close of last century, the manor and principal part of the estate became the property of James Allan, Esq., of Blackwell Grange, Darlington. They continued in the possession of this family until 1838, when they were purchased by the late E. G. Waldy, Esq., who left them to his youngest son, John Waldy, in 1857. They again changed owners by sale in 1866, the purchaser being the late Thomas Hustler, Esq., from whom they have descended to the present proprietor, W. T. Hustler, Esq., Acklam Hall.
Worsall Hall, the property of William T. Waldy, Esq., is a large brick building, pleasantly situated on the sloping bank of the Tees. This estate formerly belonged to the Pierse family, by whom it was sold to one Ward, in 1779. In 1810 it came into the hands of Messrs. Hutchinson & Place, bankers, Stockton, from whom it was bought by William Stobart, in 1825, and was purchased from that gentleman in 1852 by William Waldy, Esq., the present owner. Near the hall and adjoining the river is a small village, called by its founder Pierseburgh. Here Mr. Pierse erected a quay, with warehouses and cottages for the workmen. A large trade was done in timber, coal, and lead for some time, but ultimately the speculation proved ruinous, and Mr. Pierse became bankrupt in 1779.
Saltergill, another estate in the township, was bought by the late John Waldy, Esq., of Yarm, and left to his only daughter, Mrs. Temple, wife of the Rev. W. S. Temple, rector of Dinsdale, from whom it passed to the present owner, Edward Temple, Esq.
The village of Low Worsall occupies a picturesque situation three miles S.S.W. of Yarm. Near is a neat Wesleyan Chapel, erected in 1886.
[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.