Wapentake of Bulmer - Petty Sessional Division of Bulmer East - Electoral Division of Flaxton - Poor Law Union and County Court District of York - Rural Deanery of Easingwold - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.
This parish lies north-east of York, and is intersected by the river Foss and the York and Scarbrough Railway. It covers an area of about 2,900 acres, of which 2,100 acres are open moorland. It is valued for rating purposes at £4,138, and had in 1881 a population of 446.
The manor of Strensall, which also extends into the surrounding parishes, formerly belonged to the prebendal stall of Strensall in York Cathedral, and was held by various copyholders. It was subsequently transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who sold all their interest in it to the late Leonard Thompson, Esq. It is now the property of William Benson Richardson, Esq., J.P., of Huby Burn, Easingwold, who is the principal landowner. The common (1,100 acres), was purchased about ten years ago from the late Mr. Thompson by the Government for the formation of a camp, and four years ago the purchase was completed by buying up the claims of the 52 common-right owners at £200 each. John Hodgson, Esq., Francis Smith, and John Simpson, of Strensall, have also estates here.
The village is situated on the bank of the river Foss, on the east side of the forest of Galtres, about six miles N.E. of York. About a quarter of a mile distant is Strensall station on the York and Scarborough line.
The church of St. Mary is a handsome stone structure, rebuilt from the designs of Sir Gilbert Scott in 1865-6, at a cost of about £1,700. It is in the Early Decorated style, and comprises chancel, nave, south porch, and tower surmounted by a spire, containing three bells and a clock, The chancel was built at the expense of the late Leonard Thompson, Esq., representing the Adoration of the Magi. The rest of the church was built by subscriptions collected by the incumbent and a grant of £100 from the Diocesan Church Building Society. The clock was presented by Lady Mary Thompson, and cost £55. The registers date from the year 1566. There are no memorials about the church more ancient than the middle of last century. The living is a vicarage in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and worth £310, including 95 acres of glebe, out of which a pension of £110 is paid to the Rev. J. Hodgkinson, late vicar. The present incumbent is the Rev. Joseph Busby Draper, who is also acting chaplain to the forces in camp at Strensall.
There are chapels in the village belonging to the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists; the former, a plain brick building, was erected in 1823, and the latter in 1875. The National school, with master's house attached, was built in 1857, at a cost of £240 raised by subscription and grants from the National and Diocesan Educational Societies. There are 95 children at present on the books. It is endowed with 21 acres of land left by Robert Wilkinson in 1718, and now let for £27 15s. a year.
Strensall Camp recently formed by the War Office for the training of troops (regulars, militia, and volunteers), occupies about 1,800 acres, on which 10,000 or 12,000 men can be accommodated. The desolate common, whereon before nothing was to be seen except a few sheep and browsing kine, is now transformed into a busy human hive, where, in the summer months from May to October, about 8,000 men of all arms are almost constantly in training, and the rows of conical shaped white canvas tents form an animated picture in the once dreary landscape. One part of the common is divided into camping grounds, another into rifle ranges (five in number), and a large portion is left open for drilling purposes. In the Queen's Parade, the largest of the drilling grounds, between 3,000 and 4,000 men can be drilled and manoeuvred at one time. Large sums of money have been expended in making roads, in supplying water, and in carrying out the most perfect sanitary arrangements. There is hut accommodation for 500 men with the usual complement of officers. Mess huts, kitchens, canteens, &c., have been erected by the well-known army contractors and caterers, Messrs. R. P. Culley & Co., of Plymouth, whereby they are enabled to carry out in a most satisfactory manner, their various contracts with the officers of the regiments. The most complete arrangements for victualling the men have been made by the Commissariat and Ordnance Stores Department, and a commodious theatre, skittle alleys, cricket and lawn tennis grounds have been provided for their recreation and amusement. A Post, Money Order and Telegraph Office, and Savings Bank has been opened, and a well organized bus service and increased railway facilities afford an easy means of reaching the camp.
The Camp is under the command of Major General Stevenson, General of the Northern Military District, who holds the appointment for five years.
CHARITIES - Robert Wilkinson, who endowed the school in 1718, also left to the poor as much land as would produce a yearly rental of £10 or upwards. William Cobb, in 1810, left to them £1,000, which was invested in land, and the purchase of eight tenements to be occupied by poor families. Elizabeth Cobb, in 1809, bequeathed to the poor £72, with which was purchased two acres of land and a cottage. There are now 35 acres let to various persons at £55 10s.; 26 one-acre allotments let to as many poor people at 5s. each a year; and five cottages for poor widows who pay an acknowledgment of 3d. each. The product of these charities is distributed in money twice a year, at Christmas and Whitsuntide.
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