Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of West Gilling - Electoral Division of Gilling - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Richmond - Rural Deanery of Richmond West - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
This parish lies on the north bank of the Swale, and presents, in its limited compass of 6,759 acres, some of the most beautiful scenery which even Swaledale can show. The view which everywhere meets the eye is of a varied and picturesque character, embracing wild moorland hills and richly-wooded knolls, with valleys between, clad in the most luxuriant verdure. "Nature," says the Rev. James Raine, in the "archæologia Æliana," "is here most lavish of her beauties; the inequalities of the ground give her constant opportunities of displaying them, and at every turn you have something to attract the fancy and please the eye." The parish is purely agricultural, and is subject to very little change. The population, in 1801, was 239; in 1851, 244; and, in 1881, 268. The extent of land under assessment is 6,375 acres, which is valued for rateable purposes at £3,816.
The estate of Marske is not mentioned in Domesday Book, unless it be the place named Marige, a manor held at the time of the Survey by Gospatric, but their identity is very doubtful. The district in which it is situated was part of the domain which had belonged to the Saxon Earl Edwin, and which was given by the Conqueror to his nephew Alan, earl of Brittany, whom he created earl of Richmond. It is not certain when Marske was first granted away as a separate manor, but it is mentioned in a charter of Conan, earl of Richmond, which cannot be later than 1171. He therein grants to Harsculph Cleseby, constable of his castle of Richmond, common for all his lands in the manor of Merske. Some time after this it was granted by one of the early lords to the Roalds, who were, it is supposed, descended from the above Harsculph Cleseby, to be held by knight s service. Subsequently, the manor was held by a family which took its name from the place. Peter de Mersc occurs in a charter of the time of King John, as having some interest in the parish. When Kirkby's Inquest was taken, in 1286, Robert de Marske held here six carucates of land of his kinsman Roald, of Richmond. This Robert, in 1340, sold the estate to his nephew, another Harsculph de Cleseby, who was then, or had been, Receiver of Richmondshire, and subsequently was constable of the castle of Conisburgh. After several descents, the elder line of the Clesebys ended in an heiress, Elizabeth, who carried the estate in marriage to William Conyers, Esq., one of the younger sons of Christopher Conyers, of Hornby, and the progenitor of Conyers, of Marske. William Conyers, his great-grandson, left at his death, in 1558-9, an only daughter and heiress, Joan, who, the following year, married Arthur Phillip, second son of James Phillip, of Brignall. The Phillips appear to have been very unpopular in the district. The father was steward to Lord Scrope, and had had recourse to the most unscrupulous and unfair means to enrich himself, "stripping and plundering the estates over which he was agent, ousting tenants from their leases and forcing loans which he never intended to repay." The estate was burdened with encumbrances when it came into the possession of Arthur Phillip, and, being unable to diminish the debts, he sold the demesne of Marske, in 1596, to Matthew Hutton, Archbishop of York, for his son, Timothy Hutton, Esq., who was knighted in 1605, and from whom John Timothy D'Arcy Hutton, Esq., the present owner, is descended.
Dr. Matthew Hutton, whom we may regard as the founder of the family, was a native of Priest Hutton, a small village in the parish of Warton, in North Lancashire, where he was born of humble but respectable parents in 1525. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1546, and pursued his studies with such distinguished success, that, in 1557, he was made a Fellow of his College. Several valuable preferments followed, and, in 1589, he was promoted to the wealthy see of Durham, and five years later he was advanced to the Archiepiscopal chair of York. He died in January 1605-6, and lies buried under a handsome monument in York Minster.
Several members of this family have distinguished themselves at home or abroad; but space permits us only to mention one - also named Matthew Hutton, who was successively Bishop of Bangor, Archbishop of York, and Canterbury.
The Hall, at present the residence of Richard Forster Matthews, Esq., occupies a charming situation on the southern bank of a small rivulet, in the midst of an amphitheatre of hills, which shelter it from the cold north winds. It is a plain, commodious, stone mansion, rebuilt by one of the Huttons, about 140 years ago. On the summit of a hill, within the grounds surrounded by trees, is an obelisk of freestone 60 feet high, erected over the remains of Matthew Hutton, Esq., formerly a captain in the army, who died at Macclesfield in 1814. He desired his executors to bury him in this spot, where he had so often sat, enchanted with the beauties of the scenery around.
The village consists of the hall, church, and about a score of cottages, scattered along the banks of a small stream, which, about a quarter of a mile below, empties itself into the Swale. The Church (St. Edmund) is a small ancient structure, comprising a nave, north aisle, south porch, and chancel. At the west end is a little bell cote, containing two ancient bells. The original edifice was probably erected soon after the Conquest; this was rebuilt during the Early English period of architecture (1189-1272); but, from the traces of Norman masonry still visible, it appears that some portions of the Norman edifice were incorporated in the Early English building. The font bears the date 1663, with the initials QATMHQB, probably those of Timothy Hutton, a merchant of Leeds, who married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Bennet. The communion plate - a small silver salver - bears the arms and crest of Mason, and the following inscription "Jere. Mason, born in the parish of Marske, July the 20, Anno Dom., 1642." There is also a silver chalice and cover inscribed:- "For Marske Church, 1665. Cost 21. 1s. Od."
In 1762, Mr. Horne, the rector, re-roofed the chancel at a cost of £12, and, in 1830, the whole fabric was restored at the expense of the late John Hutton, Esq., when the chancel was rebuilt and all the interior fittings of the church renewed. This gentleman was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1825, and died in 1841. A neat marble tablet, surmounted by a bust, has been placed in the chancel to his memory. On this his many virtues are thus set forth: "The generous patron of Societies for Agriculture, Literature, and Science; the liberal landlord and kind encourager of practical improvements; the steady supporter, on every occasion, of political reform; and the hospitable gentleman in the hall of his ancestors, honoured and beloved by all who entered it as guests and as friends." There is very little in the churchyard worth notice. The socket of the ancient cross remains; and among the tombstones is one recording the deaths of William and Joseph Rookby, aged respectively 37 and 33 years, who were drowned in Clapgate beck on the 16th November, 1771. Though they were both in a very humble sphere of life, they were, according to Canon Raine, the lineal descendants, without a break, of the knightly house of Rokeby - immortalised by Sir Walter Scott, and the last of the line. The Registers begin in 1597, but are wanting between 1661 and 1671.
The living is a rectory, the advowson of which passed, with the purchase of the manor, to the Huttons. It is valued in the King's Books at £12 6s. 3½d. In Bishop Gastrell's survey of the diocese of Chester, to which this parish then belonged, the income from glebe, tithes, and fees is set down at £71 5s. The tithes are now commuted for a rent-charge of £390, in addition to which there are 30 acres of glebe. The present rector is the Rev. Thomas Agmondisham Vesey, Trinity College, Dublin.
The Village School was erected by the patron, and is attended by 30 children. It has an endowment of £20 per annum, left by Captain Hutton, and it also receives a yearly grant from Jackson's Charity. It was placed under government inspection in 1880.
CHARITIES. - In 1665, Thomas Hutchinson left £100 for the use of the poor, which was invested in a yearly rent-charge of £5 out of Clints estate; and, in 1695, the Rev. John Jackson bequeathed certain rent-charges for the same purpose. These, pursuant to his will, were sold, and the money invested in land in the parish of Marske, which was afterwards exchanged with one of the Huttons for a plot of land in the borough of Richmond, and in tithes and land at East Harlsey. These lands, &c., were sold with the consent of the Charity Commissioners about five years ago, and the principal invested in Metropolitan Consolidated Stock. The income from this Charity is now about £65 a year, out of which the Trustees may apply any sum, not exceeding £30 in one year, for educational purposes within the parish, in the manner following, viz:- (a) For the purchase of rewards and prizes for the children, any sum not exceeding £5; (b) in the payment of school fees, any sum not exceeding £10; (c) the residue of the £30 to be applied to the payment of the teacher's salary. The residue of the net yearly income of the Charity, not exceeding £35 in any one year, is to be appropriated to the benefit of deserving persons in the parish.
Glints Hall estate (so called from the Danish Klint, a limestone cliff) contains 342 acres, and was formerly held, under the lords of Marske, by a family which took its name from the place. The estate was sold by Arthur Phillip, in 1590, to John Bradley, a Westmoreland man, at whose death it was divided among his daughters. Subsequently, the greater part came into the possession of Robert Willance, another Westmoreland man who had pushed his way to wealth as a draper in Richmond. With his name is connected the following marvellous story, thus told by Canon Raine
"In the year 1606 he was hunting near his own estate, on the high ground between Clints and Richmond, on the northern bank of the Swale. The hunting party were surprised by a fog, and Willance was mounted upon a young and fractious horse. To his horror it ran away with him, and made right for the precipitous rock called Whitcliffe Scar, which looks down upon the Swale. The horse, no doubt, as it neared the verge would become conscious of its peril; but, as is very frequently the case, the danger that paralyses the rider only makes the steed more fearless. As soon as it left the level platform above, three bounds, each covering twenty-four feet, brought it to the verge of the cliff, down which it sprang. About 100 feet from the top of the scar there is a projecting mass of rock and earth, upon which the horse alighted, only to throw itself upon the ground below, some hundred feet farther down. It was killed by the fall, and Willance's leg was broken. With wonderful presence of mind, he disentangled himself from his dead horse, and, drawing a clasp knife, he slit open the belly of the animal, and laid within it his fractured leg, to protect it from the cold till help arrived. This precaution, in all probability, saved his life. His leg, however, was amputated, and he would hunt no more. As a memorial of his wonderful escape, he marked with an upright stone each of the three bounds which his steed took before it sprang over the cliff. On two of them he put the following inscription: '1606. Glory to our merciful God, who miraculously preserved me from the danger so great.' And he had indeed great cause to be thankful, for no one can look up at the grey cliff over which he was carried without a shuddering feeling of astonishment that any one could survive so fearful a fall."
Brian Willance, who inherited his uncle Robert's estate, left at his death two or more daughters and co-heirs. Of these, Elizabeth carried Clints and other property in Richmond, to her husband, John Bathurst, M.D., in 1636. It remained in the possession of this family about a century, when Charles Bathurst, Esq., dying without issue, the estate became, by the demise of his widow, the property of his three sisters. One of these, Jane, married William Turner, Esq., of Kirkleatham, and their son, Sir Charles Turner, Bart., bought up the shares of his two aunts, and thus became sole owner. In 1767, he sold Clints for £7,000 to Viscount Downe, who disposed of it the following year for the like sum to Miles Stapleton, Esq. The next owner was Thomas Errington, Esq., who bought it in 1800 for £8,000, and in 1842, it was sold by his son to Timothy Hutton, Esq., for £12,250. The old hall was pulled down by Mr. Hutton, and other buildings now occupy the site.
Skelton is a hamlet and estate adjoining Clints, from which it is divided by the Marske beck. It is a distinct manor, and at a very early period was held by the Halnabys, from whom it passed by marriage to a family named Place. In the 17th century it was purchased by William Bower, a successful merchant at Bridlington Quay, and his descendant, John Bower, in 1782, sold the estate to Miles Stapleton, Esq., for £10,250. It was purchased along with Clints by Thomas Errington in 1800, and in 1842 was sold to Timothy Hutton, Esq., for the sum of £17,250.
Feldom is a small hamlet, consisting of a few scattered farms, situated on the moor, about 1½ miles N. of Clints. It belonged to the monks of Jervaulx until the dissolution of monasteries. It is now the property of J. T. D'Arcy Hutton, Esq.
West Applegarth, another estate in this parish, is a portion of the manor of Ravensworth, and was for several centuries in the possession of the Fitzhughs, from whom it passed by marriage to William Parr, Marquis of Northampton. His lordship died in 1571, and leaving no lawful issue, the estate escheated to the Crown. It subsequently passed through the families of Robinson, Wharton, and Byerley, and in 1814 was purchased by the late John Hutton, Esq.
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