Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Ryedale - Electoral Division, Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Helmsley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This ancient parish takes its name from the kirk or church erected here in Saxon times, and dedicated to St. Oswald, king of Northumbria. Its area is, according to Ordnance measurement, 2,310 acres, of which, 2,097 are under assessment; rateable value, £2,162; and number of inhabitants, 197. The parish lies at the foot of the Hambleton Hills, and spurs, from that range, break the surface into a pleasing variety of hill and dale.
The place is mentioned in Domesday Book, wherein, it is stated that the lands of Oswaldeschercha were given by the Conqueror to the Earl of Morton and Berenger de Todeni. They afterwards came into the possession of Robert de Ros, lord of Helmsley. Subsequently, Oswaldkirk was the manor and seat of the Banner family, from whom it passed to the late Richard Banner Oakley, Esq. The present lord of the manor is H. C. Page Henderson, Esq., and he, the Rector, and the Earl of Feversham are the principal landowners.
The Village is pleasantly situated on the southern declivity of the Hambleton Hills in the midst of some romantic scenery. From the summit of the steep bank, which rises from the village, extensive views of the surrounding country are obtained. The church is a small ancient structure, consisting of nave, chancel, tower, and porch. In the interior are some remains of early Norman work. The fabric is now undergoing a thorough restoration, but its ancient features will, where possible, be retained, In the floor is a large sepulchral stone with an abbot's crozier sculptured upon it. The registers date from 1538. The living is a rectory, worth £597, in the patronage of Captain Duncombe, and held by the Rev. H. Temple, M.A., Hon. Canon of Ripon. The tithe rent-charge is £200; there are, besides, 300 acres of glebe land.
The Rectory House is a handsome modern cut stone mansion in the Grecian style, surrounded by pleasure grounds.
Opposite the church is an old building, now converted into a barn, which is supposed to be part of a monastery, begun in the ninth century, but never completed, as the fraternity removed to Old Byland. It is probable, however, that the house was of much later date, and that the sepulchral flag in the church was the tombstone of one of its abbots.
Newton Grange estate, the property of the Earl of Feversham, formerly belonged to the Sandwiths, whose mansion stood on the site now occupied by a farmhouse called West Newton Grange. Here, in the house of his grandfather, Ralph Sandwith, Esq., was born, in 1585, Roger Dodsworth, the eminent antiquary. "One cannot" says Gough, "approach tho borders of this county without paying respect to the memory of the indefatigable collector of antiquities, Roger Dodsworth, who undertook, and executed, a work, which, to the antiquaries of the present day, would have been the stone of Tydides." He was the principal compiler of the Monasticon Anglicanum, which was published under his and Dugdale's names. He left 120 volumes in his own handwriting, and 42 volumes of original MSS. which he had collected, all of which are preserved in the Bodleian library. He died at the age of 69, and was buried at Rufford, in Lancashire. His father, M. Dodsworth, Esq., was a cadet of the Thornton Watlass family.
The house and estate subsequently came into the possossion of a branch of the illustrious family of Cholmeley, which resided here. Their chapel stood near the hall, but in late years was used as a store room. It was taken down in 1879 and the material used in the erection of Sproxton church.
CHARITIES. - The school is endowed with a rent-charge of £5 a year, for which, 10 children are taught free. Lady C. Cholmeley left a rent-charge of £2 per annum to the poor, and they also receive the dividend of £160 in the three per cent. consols.
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