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The Ancient Parish of SPENNITHORNE

[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]

"SPENNITHORNE, a parish in the wapentake of Hang West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 2 miles NE, of Middleham. (the seats of Mrs. Chaytor, and Turner Straubenzie, Esq.) 1 mile from Middleham, 2 from Leyburn, 9 from Richmond, 43 from York. Population 249. The Church is a rectory dedicated to St. Michael and is a neat Gothic structure (see Churches for photograph), in the deanry of Catterick, diocese of Chester, Patron Marmaduke Wyville Esq. Population, 249.

Here was born in 1674, John Hutchinson, Esq. a man of considerable ability and learning. He received a private education which was liberal and excellent. Having great taste for natural history and mineralogy, he made large collections of fossils. In 1724, he published the first part of that curious work, his Moses's Principia, in which he ridiculed Dr. Woodward's natural history of the earth, and attempted to explode the doctrine of gravitation, established in Sir Isaac Newton's Principia; and maintained in the second part of that work in opposition to the Newtonian system, that a plenum is the principle of the scripture philosophy. Long before his death he published a volume every year; and a correct, and elegant edition of his works, including the MSS which he left, were published in 1748, intitled the Philosophical and Theological works of the late truly learned John Hutchinson, Esq. On Monday before his death, Dr. Mead urged him to be bled, saying pleasantly, "I will soon send you to Moses." meaning his studies which Mr. H. understood in the literal sense, answered, "I believe Dr. you will," and he was so much displeased, that he dismissed him for another physician, but he died a few days afterwards, in 1727. After his death, his followers were called Hutchinsonians."

"BELLERBY, in the parish of Spennithorne, wapentake of Hang West, and liberty of Richmondshire; 2¾ miles NNW. of Spennithorne, 1 mile N. of Leyburn. The Chapel of Ease is a small neat structure, rebuilt in 1801, patron J. C. Chaytor, Esq. incumbent the Rev. Francis Blackburn, rector of Croscombe, Somersetshire. The village consists of one open street of irregular buildings, along the whole length of which runs a never-failing rivulet of clear spring water. Population, 407."

"HALLWITH HOUSE, (or Hawcliffe House) a farm house in the township and parish of Spennithorne; 3 miles from Middleham."

"HARMBY, in the parish of Spennithorne wapentake of Hang West & liberty of Richmondshire; ¾ mile NW. of Spennithorne, 1 mile E. of Leyburn. Population, 194."

"SKELTON COTE, a farm house in the township of Bellerby, and parish of Spennithorne; 3¼ miles NNW. of Spennithorne, 6 miles from Middleham."

[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]



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