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Wapentake of Bulmer - Petty Sessional Division of Bulmer East - Electoral Division of Clifton - Poor Law Union and County Court District of York - Rural Deanery of Easingwold - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish is situated on the east bank of the Ouse, and is partly in the liberty of St. Peter. By an Order in Council, obtained in 1877, the boundaries of the township were altered, and are now, with one or two exceptions, coterminous with those of the ecclesiastical parish. Its area is 2,473 acres, and population (1881) 313. The soil is strong clay, resting on gravel and sand. The surface is generally level, and well wooded; a large portion of the land is laid down in pasture. The rateable value is £3,030. The landowners are Major Edwin W. Gresham Williams-Hepworth, who is also lord of the manor; E. G. Place, Esq., Skelton Grange; Mrs. Frances Battye; G. S. Thompson, Esq., Skelton; and the Hon. Payan Dawnay, Beningbrough Hall.
The village is situated a little to the east of the high road, four miles north of York, and two miles south-east of Shipton station, on the main line of the North Eastern railway. There are several handsome residences in the vicinity. Skelton Hall, at present unoccupied, is a modern mansion, occupying the site of an ancient cell that belonged to St. Mary's Abbey, York. It stands in a well-wooded park of 100 acres, and is surrounded by beautiful pleasure grounds. Skelton Manor, the residence of Major E. W. G. Williams-Hepworth, dates from the Stuart period, and still retains some fine old oak carving. Fairfield, the residence of Robert Charles De Grey Vyner, Esq., stands in a park of 85 acres. Mr. De Grey Vyner's stud farm is noted for its breed of thorough-bred race horses. Skelton Grange, the property and residence of E. G. Place, Esq., to which he succeeded in 1867. The house was rebuilt by the present owner in 1866. The Moorlands is a large brick mansion, built by the present owner's father, the late Henry S. Thompson, Esq., in 1864. It is pleasantly seated amidst some beautiful sylvan scenery.
The Church, which is dedicated to All Saints, is a beautiful Early English structure, consisting of chancel with north and south chapels, nave, aisles, south porch, and belfry containing two bells. There is a tradition that it was built, in 1227, with the stones that remained after the erection of the south transept of York Minster, and hence it is usually called Little St. Peter's. There is probably some truth in the tradition. The following extract from Archbishop Grey's roll shows that its erection took place previous to the year 1247:- "Confirmation of a donation to the chapel of Skelton. To all, etc. The donation which our beloved son in Christ, Master E. Hagitur, treasurer of York, made to John de l'Edes, clerk of the chapel of Skelton, considering it to be agreeable and satisfactory to us, we confirm the same by our Pontificial authority, desiring the said treasurer, and his successors, to pay annually the sum of 20d. to this parson. In witness whereof, &c., &c. Dated at Thorp, on the 6th day of the Ides of December, A.D. 1247." The chancel retains its ancient piscina, which is beautiful in design, and in a good state of preservation. There is also a piscina in each of the chapels. In the floor of the chancel is an ancient tombstone, bearing a Latin inscription which supplicates a prayer for the souls of Master Robert Lovell, and Anna, his wife, who died in 1421. The register dates from the year 1538. The church was thoroughly restored in 1882, at a cost of £1,700. The living is an ancient rectory, worth £190 a year, with residence and 115 acres of land, in the gift of the lord of the manor.
A new School was built, in 1872, with the capital of an endowment, left by the late Mrs. Thompson. It will accommodate 120 children, and has an average attendance of about half that number.
The poor receive a yearly rent-charge of 52s. out of a farm at Picton, near Yarm.
[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.