"MELSONBY, a parish in the wapentake of West Gilling, North Riding county York, 8 miles from Darlington, its post town, and 5 N. of Richmond. The village, which is small, is situated near the great road from Catterick Bridge to Pierse Bridge, and is chiefly agricultural. There are traces of a Benedictine nunnery founded in the reign of King Stephen, and said to have been destroyed prior to the Reformation. The soil is various, but in general fertile. The land is chiefly arable, with some meadow and pasture. The tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £590. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Ripon, value £809, in the patronage of University College, Oxford. The church, dedicated to St. James the Great, is an ancient stone structure with a tower containing two bells. There was a porch added in 1850. The parochial charities produce about £26 per annum, of which £25 goes to Cockin's school for ten poor boys. There is a girls' school, supported by the rector. The Wesleyans have a place of worship, also a day school. Messrs. Swan, Clough, & Co., of York, are the lords of the manor."
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
by Colin Hinson ©2013