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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of East Gilling - Electoral Division of Catterick - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Richmond - Rural Deanery of Richmond East - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
This parish, comprising the townships of Middleton Tyas and Moulton, lies midway between Richmond and Croft. The surface is undulated, and the scenery, in many places, picturesque. The soil is generally fertile, and rests on a substratum of limestone, which is extensively quarried. Copper ore is also known to exist, and was worked about a century ago. The area of the parish is 6,108 acres, and the population 813.
The township of Middleton Tyas contains 3,202 acres, of which 2,965 are under assessment; rateable value, £4,454. The principal landowner (and lady of the manor) is Mrs. Eyre, of West Hall, who succeeded to the estate on the death of the late Leonard Lawrie Hartley, Esq., in 1883. Her heir is her son, Colonel Henry Robert Eyre, late of the Coldstream Guards. The following are also landowners:- Sir Henry De Burgh Lawson, Bart., Gatherley Castle; Sir Henry Havelock-Allan, Bart., Blackwell, Darlington; William Pybus Home, Esq., Moulton; Jonathan E. Backhouse, Esq., The Rookery; the trustees of Mrs. J. Alderson, C. Robinson, and the Rev. G. H. Pybus.
The village of Middleton Tyas is situated a little E. of Leeming Lane, five miles N.E. of Richmond. About a quarter of a mile S.F. is the Church (St. Michael), which is approached from the road by an avenue of lime trees, planted about a century ago by the Rev. Daniel Watson, a former vicar. The sacred edifice is an ancient structure, with Norman arches and pillars on the north side, and Early English on the south. It was thoroughly restored and renovated in 1867-8-9 under the direction of Sir Gilbert Scott, when the pillars - which were much out of the perpendicular - were underpinned and straightened. The chancel was rebuilt and enlarged, the chancel arch increased in height, and a spire placed upon the tower. It was also at the same time reseated with open oak benches, and will now accommodate about 250 persons. The cost, which was upwards of £4,000, was entirely defrayed by the late L. L. Hartley, Esq. During the progress of the work, the fragments of a Saxon cross were found, and are now preserved in the south aisle; and in the same part of the church is an ancient stone coffin, the lid of which bears a handsome floriated cross, believed to be 14th century work, The chancel contains a handsome memorial window of three lights, by Kemp, erected by J. E. Backhouse, Esq., in memory of his son, Rowland Charles, who died in 1877. In the centre light is the Crucifixion, with the Blessed Virgin on one side and St. John on the other; and in the panels below are the Agony in the Garden, Our Lord before Pilate, and Christ bearing his Cross. There are several tablets in the chancel to members of the Hartley family, and a funeral brass to the memory of four children of General and Mrs. Eyre. On the south wall is an extraordinary monument to a former vicar, the Rev. John Mawer, D.D., who died in 1763, and was a descendant, so the inscription tells us, of "the royal family of Mawer," and "the greatest linguist this nation ever produced!" speaking and writing 22 languages. In the tower are three bells, the oldest of which is supposed to date from the 14th century, and bears the following inscription:- "Consono quanto sono Michaeli cantica dono. Hinc michi de coelis fluxit nomen Michaelis." The second and third are dated 1665. The church registers date from 1539, and are in a good state of preservation.
The living is a vicarage, worth £450 per annum, including 136 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the bishop of Ripon, and incumbency of the Rev. John Hutton Pollexfen, M.A. and F.S.A., who was instituted in 1874. The old vicarage was sold in 1873 to J. E. Backhouse, Esq., by whom it has been very considerably enlarged and improved, and is now called The Rookery.
The parish school was built in 1861-2 on the glebe land, chiefly at the expense of the late vicar. It is a mixed one, and is attended by about 90 children.
A chapel was erected here, in 1877, by the Primitive Methodists, at a cost of £530, and three years afterwards it was sold to the Wesleyans for the sum of £405. A Sunday school was added, and the chapel restored and reseated in 1887, at a cost of £160.
Kneeton, formerly a hamlet, is now reduced to a single farmhouse, Kneeton Hall. There was a chapel here, which is believed to have possessed parochial privileges. The old bell in the parish church is supposed to have been brought from this chapel. Foundations of buildings may still be traced.
The old Roman road, Watling Street, enters the township and here divides itself, one branch passing over Gatherley Moor to Bowes, thence to Carlisle, and the other proceeding northwards by Piersebridge to Newcastle. The point of departure is known as Scotch Corner, and is occupied by a commodious wayside inn.
CHARITIES. - The poor receive the rent of 2a. 1r. of land (£7 l0s.), and also the interest of £30, left by John Shaw and another donor.
MOULTON township comprises an area of 3,002 acres, including roads and water, and is valued for rating purposes at £2,735, a decrease of £425 since 1884. The land belongs to several owners, of whom the principal are Captain Parry's trustees; J. G. Riddell, Esq., Hermeston Hall, Worksop; W. H. Wilson-Todd, Esq., Croft; Sir Henry de Burgh Lawson, Bart., Gatherley Castle; Henry M. Sanderson, Esq., Moulton Hall; H. S. C. Smithson, Esq., Morris Grange; J. C. Chaytor, Esq., Croft; Mr. J. T. Brown, H. Feles, and the exors. of John Ward. Moulton is mentioned in Domesday Book along with Kneeton, the residence of Ulph, the last Saxon owner of the place. After the Conquest the manor was transferred to the earls of Richmond, who had a summer residence here. This was given by John de Dreux, seventh earl, in the reign of Henry III., to the monks of Richmond, by whom it was converted into a cell; and the original chapel belonging to that institution now exists as a carpenter's shop, where the piscina and other interesting features may be seen. The manor was afterwards held successively by the Marshall, Wright, Smithson, and Shuttleworth families. The village of Moulton occupies a secluded situation in a fertile valley, five miles N.E. of Richmond and one mile S. of Middleton Tyas. It was doubtless a place of some note in early days, as the earls of Richmond had a seat here, upon the site of which most probably the present interesting old halls now stand. The Manor House is an ancient structure of brick, apparently rebuilt in the Elizabethan period. Moulton Hall is another ancient residence, said to date from the 15th century, but the style indicates an age somewhat less remote than the Tudor kings. It is the property and residence of H. M. Sanderson, Esq., by whose father it was restored about 25 years ago. It still retains its curiously carved old oak staircase.
A chapel-of-ease was erected here in 1838, by the late Mr. Ward, secretary to the bishop of Chester. It was restored a few years ago by Mrs. Parry. The Wesleyans have also a chapel in the village, built in 1863, at a cost of £300, exclusive of the site, which was given by the late D. Sanderson, Esq. The old chapel, built in 1835, is used as a day school.
High and Low Gaterley, or Gatherley, are two hamlets in this township. Roman coins, urns, and other antiquities have been found here, relics, it is supposed, of a Roman town that stood somewhere hereabouts.
Gatherley Castle is a modern mansion, situated near the Watling Street. It is the seat and property of Sir Henry de Burgh-Lawson, Bart., son of Henry Lawson, Esq., of Filingthorpe, a lineal descendant of William, third son of John Lawson, Esq., of Brough, created a baronet in 1665. The sixth baronet, Sir Henry Lawson, of Brough, dying without issue in 1834, the title was supposed to have become extinct, and the family estates devolved on his nephew, William Wright, Esq., who assumed the surname of Lawson, and was created a baronet in 1841. The above mentioned Henry Lawson, Esq., of Filingthorpe, who was de jure seventh baronet, did not assume the title, and it remained in abeyance until 1877, when it was resumed by his son, who also added De Burgh to his name.
The poor of the township have a rent-charge of 16s. a year, left by John Allen, in 1646, and payable out of High Gatherley farm, the property of Sir H. De Burgh-Lawson.
George Cuitt, an ingenious artist, was born at Moulton in 1743, and showing in early life a strong talent for drawing, he was patronised and encouraged by Sir Lawrence Dundas, who sent him to Rome, where he studied for six years. Returning to England he settled in Richmond, where he painted both portraits and landscapes. Some of his pictures are still to be seen on the walls of some Yorkshire mansions. He died in 1818.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.