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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Bxrdforth - Electoral Division, County Court District, Poor Law Union and Rural Deanery of Helmsley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish contains, according to the overseers' returns, 2,504 acres, and is rated at £1,475. The number of inhabitants in 1881 was 156. Sir George Orby Wombwell, Bart., is lord of the manor and the most extensive landowner; the trustees of the late Mr. Hamer own one farm. The soil is calcareous, and the subsoil limestone rock.
At the time of Domesday Survey Byland had its priest, and also a church, which was built of wood. In 1143, Roger de Mowbray, at the request of his mother, Gundreda, gave the vill of Byland, or Bellalanda, with all its appurtenances, to a few monks from Furness, who had taken up their abode at Hode, and removing hither they commenced the erection of a monastery of their order. But the site proved unsuitable for an abbey, and not the least of the objections urged against it was that it was within earshot of the bells of Rievaulx. Receiving another grant of land nearer Coxwold, they cleared the ground and built there Byland Abbey, the ruins of which still remain.
The village of Old Byland occupies an elevated situation in the midst of moorland hills, 4½ miles W.N.W. of Helmsley. The church is a small ancient structure, in the Norman style. It was included in Roger Mowbray's grant to the monks of Byland. The living is a donative, worth £66 a year, in the gift of Sir G. 0. Wombwell, Bart., and held in conjunction with the rectory of Hawnby by the Rev. 0. A. Manners, M.A. The Wesleyan Methodists have also a small chapel in the village, built in 1872. The houses are ranged round a green, in one corner of which is still preserved that ancient instrument of social reformation - the stocks.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.