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Wapentake of Pickering Lythe - Electoral Division of Thornton - Petty Sessional Division of Pickering Lythe West - Poor Law Union of Pickering - County Court District and Rural Deanery of Malton - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish includes the townships of Middleton, Aislaby, Cawthorn, Cropton,. Hartoft, Lockton, and Wrelton, comprising an area, according to the overseers returns, of 18,011 acres, and containing 1,570 inhabitants. It is included in the Thornton Electoral Division of the Local Government Act. The scenery is of a varied and picturesque character. The township of Middleton contains 1,547 acres, 285 inhabitants, and is rated to the poor at £1,674. The principal landowners are Y. G. Lloyd-Greame, Esq., William Watson, and Thomas Harrison, Esq.; but the manorial rights belong to J. Mitchelson-Mitchelson, Esq., Pickering Hall, son of the late James Kendall, Esq., who assumed the name of Mitchelson on succeeding to the property of his nephew, Thomas Mitchelson, in 1860.
The village stands about a mile out of Pickering. It is a place of some antiquity, and is mentioned in Domesday Book. The church is an ancient structure, occupying the site of one that stood here before the Conquest. It was. restored, during 1884-6, at a cost of £1,800, under the direction of C. Hodgson Fowler, F.S.A., who, in his report, says, "It appears to have been a church of considerable dignity before the Conquest, the three lower stages of the tower being certainly Saxon work, while the western quoins of the Saxon nave show that it was both higher and broader than the naves of the ordinary village churches of the district." The Norman door and the other interesting features. have been retained. During the progress of the work a large Saxon cross, and several sculptured stones of the same period, were discovered, built into the walls. of the tower. Some of the old oak stalls, supposed to be 14th century work, remain in the chancel, and in the south aisle a piscina, and an aumbry, opening into the chancel. The church formerly belonged to Kirkstall Abbey, to which it was given by the Archbishop of York, in 1456, the monks undertaking to pay £1 a year to the cathedral of York, 5s. to the Dean and Chapter, and to distribute £1 16s. 4d. amongst the poor of the parish. The living is now a vicarage, in the patronage of the Archbishop of York, held in conjunction with the chapelries of Cropton and Lockton, and is worth £200 a year. The Rev. W. N. Turner, M.A., is the present incumbent.
The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have chapels in the village. That belonging to the former body was rebuilt in 1883, at a cost of £408. The school. is attended by 70 children. It receives £10 a year from Stockton's Charity, for which 12 children are taught free, and £2 10s. from Mather's Charity, for the free education of three children from Aislaby. The poor of Middleton, Aislaby, and Wrelton have the rent (£3 10s.) of five roods of land, left by an unknown donor.
AISLABY township contains 720 acres of land, valued for rateable purposes at £930; and 134 inhabitants. J. Mitchelson-Mitchelson, Esq., is lord of the manor, but Mrs. Watson owns the greater part of the land. The village stands on the Pickering and Kirbymoorside road, a little beyond Middleton. Aislaby Hall, the residence of Colonel Bicknell, is a curious and interesting old house, built last century by the Hayes family, one of whom was vicar of Middleton.
CAWTHORN is a moorland township, containing 1,500 acres, of which 543 are under assessment. The land is divided into three farms, on which there are 25 inhabitants. Rateable value, £351. The whole township is the manor and property of J. Mitchelson-Mitchelson, Esq.
The Roman road from York to Dunsley passed through the township, and on an eminence in the line of route are the far-famed Cawthorn Camps. They are four in number, and still very perfect. They are regular in form, fortified by a deep trench, and are supposed to have been erected by the Romans in the time of Agricola. In the vicinity are several tumuli or sepulchral mounds. Many of these were opened some years ago by the late T. M. Kendall, Esq., of Pickering.
CROPTON. - This township adjoins Cawthorn, and contains 4,798 acres, about one-half of which is uninclosed moorland. Rateable value, £1,766; number of inhabitants, 353. The principal landowners are Lord Middleton; J. M. Mitchelson, Esq., who is also lord of the manor; exors. of G. W. M. Liddell; R. D. Clark; George Wilson; and William and A. J. Simpson.
The village is distant three miles from Middleton, and six from Kirbymoorside, The chapel-of-ease was rebuilt, in 1854, at a cost of about £500. It is a plain structure, in the Norman style. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have chapels here. The school was rebuilt, in 1874, at a cost of £500, raised by subscription. It is endowed with 12 acres of land, which lets for £27 a year, for the free education of 12 poor children. Adjoining the school is a reading room and library, containing 400 volumes. It was founded by the late Colonel Thompson, and is well patronised. President, Thomas Bailey; treasurer, W. Wood; secretary and librarian, A. S. King.
Hall Garth here indicates the site of an old hall, and near it is a tumulus looking mound, supposed to have been an ancient British or Roman fort. Traces of the double ditches which defended the approach from the plain are still visible. Thumb flints are occasionally found in the vicinity.
On the moors, to the north of the village, are Keldy Castle and Sutherland Lodge, two shooting boxes, the former belonging to the Liddell family, and the latter to Mrs. Thompson.
The late Rev. Dr. Scoresby, F.R.S., the celebrated navigator and writer, was a native of Cropton.
HARTOFT is a moorland township, containing 3,718 acres, and extending from six to eight miles N.W. of Pickering. Rateable value, £703; number of inhabitants, 144. The principal proprietors are the representatives of the late G. W. Liddell, Esq., Mrs. Watson, Frederick Priestman, John Scarth, Thomas Peirson, and Robert Wyse.
Twinhill, formerly extra-parochial, was included in the township for all purposes about seven years ago. There is no village; the houses are scattered over the township. The Primitive Methodists have a chapel here, built, by subscription, in 1865; and the Wesleyans meet every alternate Sunday in Hartoft school.
In a wood near Hartoft Bridge is a mineral spring, and another occurs on the Black park.
LOCKTON TOWNSHIP comprises 5,628 acres of land, much of which is moorland. It is valued for rating purposes at £2,010, and had, at the last enumeration, 400 inhabitants. The most extensive landowners are Thomas Harrison, Esq., J.P., Thornton, Risebro'; Matthew Mercer, Malton; John Prodham, Sherburn, Scarbro'; Robert Champley, Scarbro'; Mrs. Lockwood, Thornton-le-Clay; G. W. Lloyd, Caythorpe Hall, Grantham; and William Cooper, Muston Hall, near Filey. Each owner claims the manorial rights of his own freehold.
The village is situated about five miles N. of Pickering. The church, the dedication of which is not known, is a plain old building, with square tower, in the upper wall of which an ash tree has taken root. The registers date from 1757. The living is held in conjunction with Middleton. There are also Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels in the village; the latter, built in 1849; the former, a new structure, erected at a cost of £300, superseded an old one in 1876. The school, built by the landowners in 1860, is now under the care of a School Board, formed in 1878. It is endowed with the interest (£4) of £100 left by the late Mr. J. Mercer, in 1867, for which, six children are taught free. The poor widows of the township have £4 a year, the interest of £100, of which, T. Harrison, Esq., is trustee.
About three miles N. of the village is a remarkable chasm called the "Hole of Hercum," and by the road side, not far distant, is Saltersgate Inn, an important house in the old coaching days.
WRELTON is a township of 1,057 acres, chiefly the property of R. D. Clark, and Mrs. C. Davy, The manorial rights belong to J. M. Mitchelson, Esq The rateable value is £1,261, and the population, 229. The village stands about 2½ miles N.W. of Pickering, The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists have chapels here. The school receives £10 a year from Stockton's Charity, and £2 10s. from Mather's, for which sums there are 15 free scholars. The late John Skelton, formerly of Wrelton, left the sum of £1,000 for the benefit of the poor of the townships of Wrelton and Cropton.
[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.