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Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Birdforth - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Thirsk - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish, comprising 1,414 acres, lies on the east side of the river Wiske, which here separates the diocese of York from that of Ripon. The principal landowners are John Rutson, Esq., J.P., Newby Wiske Hall, and Kunnington; Earl Cathcart; Thomas S. Darnbrough, High Berryies, Ripon; John Hutton, Esq., Solberge; Robert Aikenhead, Esq., Otterington Hall; and the Rev. J. W. Darnbrough, who, as rector, owns the glebe land. The gross estimated rental of the parish, which is comprised in one township, is £11,418, of which sum, £9,697 is set down to the N.E. Railway Co., who own about 20 acres; and the rateable value, £8,484. The inhabitants in 1881 numbered 349. South Otterington gives name to an electoral division under the Local Government Act of 1888.
The manor originally belonged to the Bruces of Skelton Castle, but was subsequently granted, probably by one of that family, to the abbey of Byland, and was held in moieties under the abbot, In the first year of the 15th century Isabel de Fauconberg held one half of the manor, and her descendants possessed lands here in the second half of the 17th century. The other half belonged to the Talbots, who built or rebuilt their manor house in the reign of Elizabeth, the terraced gardens of which may still be traced. The lands of the parish have since passed through several families, and now belong to the gentlemen whose names are given above.
The village is situated on the east bank of the Wiske, 4½ miles S. of Northallerton. In its name we have probably a relic of Saxon clanship. The local terminology of Yorkshire shows the existence of 127 clan settlements, the members of each individual clan being descended from the same stock and bearing the same patronymic. This was the ton (enclosure or town) of the Otterings or sons of Otter, who, in the pagan belief of the early Saxon, was descended from the animal whose name he bore. In the Domesday Book the name of the place is spelt Ottrinctune and Ottrintone. Another derivation of the name has been advanced. Otter, it is said, is a corruption of wotter or water, and the signification of the whole name, according to this etymology, would be the ton in the ing, or meadow by the water.
The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was rebuilt in 1846, at the sole cost of the late William Rutson, Esq., from the designs of Mr. Salvin, the eminent architect. The edifice which had previously occupied the site was a late Norman structure, and a similar style has been adopted in the present fabric. It consists of a nave, with a north aisle, divided therefrom by three moulded arches, rising from short and slender round pillars; chancel, porch, and a square tower, open internally to the nave and groined. The pulpit and reading desk are both richly and elaborately ornamented with deeply recessed arches and zigzag and dog-tooth moulding. At the east end is a composition of a wheel window, of eight lights, and two round-headed ones. The font is octagonal; the plain Norman one which belonged to the former church was removed to St. Michael's, North Otterington, in 1846. Some of the windows are filled with stained glass. In the chancel is a marble tablet to Captain J. G. Boss, R.N., member of the first reformed parliament for the borough of Northallerton, and formerly of South Otterington Hall; and in the north aisle is a handsome marble monument to the memory of W. Rutson, Esq., of Newby Wiske and Nunnington, erected by his tenantry and other inhabitants of Newby Wiske, Kirby Wiske, Otterington, Nunnington, and Stonegrave, "as a tribute of sincere regard, and in grateful and affectionate remembrance of his earnest life of active benevolence." He died May 11th, 1867. Another monument, a granite tablet, records the death of William Calton Rutson, an eminent and successful merchant of Liverpool, in 1817, by whose persevering industry his son, William Rutson, "was enabled to build this church in grateful remembrance of the useful life and benevolent disposition of his kind hearted father."
The living is a discharged rectory, in two medieties, termed respectively Gamwell House and Weatheril House. These two estates, to which the right of presentation to the rectory was attached, were severed from the manor at an early period, and subsequently fell to different proprietors, each of whom claimed an equal right in the patronage. In 1663 Weatheril House farm was purchased from the Fauconbergs by Sir Robert Knightly, of Ashtead, Surrey; and Charles Browne, Esq., of Lewynegrin, Mold, Flintshire; the heritor eventually of the Knightby's property purchased the other mediety from Roger Talbot, of Wood End, and thus united the possession of the benefices. Mr. Browne sold the living to the Rev. Joshua Sampson, rector, whose daughter conveyed it in marriage to T. Darnbrough, Esq., father of the present patron, Thomas Sampson Darnbrough, Esq. The living is valued, in the King's Books, at £15 18s. 6d.; its present value is £330. The tithes were commuted in 1832 for a rent-charge of £270; and there are in addition nearly 50 acres of glebe land.
The village school was erected in 1856, by the same benevolent gentleman that rebuilt the church, and is now chiefly supported by his son, John Rutson, Esq.
[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.