"TOPCLIFFE, is an ancient village and township, in the parish of its name, which is partly in the wapentake of Birdforth, and partly in that of Hallikeld, North Riding, about four miles south from Thirsk ; situate on the river Swale. Here are slight vestiges of the ancient baronial mansion of the Percy family, called ' Maiden Bower,' in which Henry, the fourth Earl of Northumberland, was murdered by the populace, in 1550, for enforcing a tax, imposed in the reign of Henry VII ; and in which Thomas, the fifth earl, who was beheaded at York in 1572, had previously formed a conspiracy against Queen Elizabeth. Charles I was confined in it, and the sum of 200,000. was here paid to the Scottish commissioners for giving him up to the parliament. The Earl of Egremont is lord of the manor. The parish church, which is dedicated to St. Columb, is of High antiquity : the living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the dean and chapter of York ; the Rev. William Henry Dixon, M.A. of Bishop-Thorpe, is the present incumbent. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan methodists. A free school here was originally endowed, in 1588, by John Hartforth. Two fairs are held annually, viz. on the 17th and 18th of July, for sheep, cattle, and horses, and on the 8th of October, for sheep and cattle. The parish contained, in 1821, 2,540, and at the census of 1831, 2,592 inhabitants, of which last number 590 were returned for the township.
Please see Thirsk Parish for the 1834 trades directory for this parish (under Thirsk)."
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