Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of West Gilling - Electoral Division and Poor Law Union of Reeth - County Court District of Richmond - Rural Deanery of Richmond West - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of York.
This parish is situated on the north bank of the Swale, between the parishes of Marske and Grinton, and extends northward to that of Kirkby Ravensworth. Its total area, according to the Ordnance Survey, is 6,206 acres, a considerable portion of which is high moorland. Near the river the surface is varied and picturesque. The whole parish is comprised in one township, the rateable value of which is £3,526, and the population 307. The landowners are Col. Francis Morley (lord of the manor), Rev. E. C. Ince, heirs of D. F. Alderson and of John Blenkiron, Mr. Leonard Spensley Mason, Mr. John Sherlock, Mr. Matthew Whitelock, Dr. Howell Williams, Miss E. Hind, Miss Atkinson, and George T. Gilpin-Brown, Esq.
The name of this place was written by the scribes of Domesday Book Mange and Marrig, and is said, by the author of "Yorkshire Past and Present," to signify marshes, but Clarkson, the historian of Richmond, supposes the name "to be derived from Mary, and Wich, habitatio, the habitation of Mary, now corrupted into Marrick."
At the time of the Conquest the manor was held by Gospatrick, and in the Survey it was taxed for five carucates, and there were in it two plougbs, but it was then waste. To whom it was then granted does not appear, but some time after it was in the possession of the Askes, and about the year 1535 it passed in marriage with Ann, daughter and co-heiress of Roger de Aske, to Sir Ralph Bulmer, Knight. The issue of this marriage was a daughter and heiress, Dorothy, who married John Sayer, Esq., of Worsall, and about 1660 the estate was again carried by marriage to the Bulmers. From this family it was purchased by Charles Powlett, Marquis of Winchester, afterwards Duke of Bolton, whose descendant sold it in 1817, to Josias Morley, Esq., of Beamsley Hall, and it is now the property of that gentleman's grandson.
Marrick Abbey. - An abbey for Benedictine nuns was founded here in the reign of Stephen, by Roger de Aske, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. The founder endowed it with the church of St. Andrew, in Marrick, one carucate of land, tithes of his mill, multure of corn there, and he also gave the sisterhood liberty to grind their corn without paying multure. It was also enriched by grants and privileges from his successors and other benefactors. Ralph, son of Ralph, Lord of Moulton, gave to it, in 1171, the Hospital of Reycross, on Stanemoor, the chaplain of which received from the nuns a yearly pension of £4 13s. 4d. At the Dissolution the sisterhood consisted of 17 nuns, whose gross income was £64 8s. 9d.
The site was granted, in 1540, to John Uvedale. Subsequently it came into the possession of the Brackenburys, and, in 1592, it passed by deed of feoffment from John Brackenbury, Esq., to Timothy Hutton, Esq. (afterwards knighted), and his heirs. The abbey lands and the tithes of Marrick were sold by his son Matthew, in 1633, for £3,280, to the Blackburn family, from whom they passed to the Bulmers, Pigotts, and various other persons.
The abbey, of which a few ruined walls still remain, stands by the side of the Swale, about a mile S. W. of the village of Marrick, and is approached from the latter place by a flight of 375 irregular stone steps, leading down the wooded declivity. On the opposite side of the river are the ruins of Ellerton Abbey, and between the two there was, according to tradition, a subterranean passage.
The Church (St. Andrew) occupies a portion of the site, and seems also to have served for the conventual chapel as well as the parish church. The old structure having become much dilapidated, the greater part of it was taken down in the early part of this century, and the present small church built on its site, mixed with parts of the old fabric. It consists of a nave, with north aisle, chancel, and the ancient tower, In the latter are three bells, one of which dates from old Catholic times, and bears the invocation in Latin, "St. Peter, Pray for us." The chancel was restored and improved in 1885, at the expense of the impropriator. A few ancient tombstones remain. On the chancel floor, cut in relief, are the arms and sword of Sir Roger de Aske; and near the door are the places from which some vandal hand has torn the funeral brasses of the founder and his wife, In the nave is a slab, which a Latin inscription, in Old English characters, tells us covers the remains of Isabella, one of the nuns of the priory, and sister of Thomas de Pudsay, of Barforth; and on another, forming part of the step of the altar rail, are an incised cross, with chalice, book, a square object charged with a quartrefoil, and another object, apparently a pax. Against the wall is a tablet to the memory of Mr. Thomas Fawcett, of Oxque, in this parish, who died in 1783. He was, the inscription tells us, "a celebrated cultivator of bees, for which he received many testimonies from the Society in London for the encouragement of Arts and Sciences."
The living is a vicarage worth £100 a year, in the gift of Colonel Morley, and incumbency of the Rev. John Wharton Mason, B.A., who was presented in 1846. The vicarage house is situated about 1½ miles east of the church, and commands good views of the Swale and its valley. It is surrounded by 26 acres of glebe land, which is farmed by the vicar. The tithes have been commuted, their value for the year 1888 was £16 10s.
The village of Marrick is distant about one mile N.E. of the church, and seven miles S.W. of Richmond. The Catholics and Wesleyans have each chapels here; that belonging to the former body was opened in 1858, and that to the latter was rebuilt in 1878.
The School Board for the United District of Marrick was formed about 13 years ago, and two commodious schools have been erected at Marrick and Hurst. The former was built in 1878, at a cost of £700, and will accommodate 40 children; the latter, about two years later, at a cost of £1,150, contains accommodation for 78. The district under the jurisdiction of the Board includes the township of New Forest, in the adjoining parish of Ravensworth.
Marrick Park, the property of Colonel Morley, is pleasantly situated on the north bank of the Swale, about one mile S.E. of the village. It is a modern mansion of stone, built on the site of the house of the ancient Lords of Marrick, styled, in old writings, Bulmer Castle. It is now occupied by a farmer, as is also Marrick Lodge, another genteel residence. Walker House, in the village, the residence of Mrs. Jane Blenkiron, was formerly the property of the Walker family. The door head exhibits some neat carving.
Hurst is a scattered village about half-a-mile in length, and distant four miles N. of Marrick. It contains a small Wesleyan chapel and a Board school. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in lead mining and smelting. The works are the property of the lord of the manor, from whom they are leased by the Yorkshire Lead Mining Co., Limited. The mines are worked by two shafts 50 fathoms deep, but are not so productive now as formerly. The present output is about 100 tons of ore per month. Lead was wrought here at a very early period. In the British Museum is a large pig of lead, bearing the name of the Roman emperor Hadrian, which was found here; and, about ten years ago, a wooden spade, belonging to the same period, was discovered in one of the old workings. This is now in the museum at Richmond.
On the moor, about a mile from Hurst, is Roan (Ronan?) Well, a spring once held in repute for its medicinal properties. It was much frequented in the summer season by the people of the district, and especially on Trinity Sunday, when they assembled in crowds to drink of the water, and then held high gala the rest of the day. A feast is still held annually on that day by the Wesleyans, but it is of a religious character.
The parish also includes the hamlets of Shaw, Oxque, Owlands, and Ellers.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.