The Ancient Parish of TOPCLIFFE
[Transcribed information mainly from the early 1820s]
"TOPCLIFFE, a parish in the wapentake of Birdforth, a part in the liberty of
St. Peter's; 4 miles SSW. of Thirsk. In the time of Leland, this was " a
pretty uplandish town," and here stood one of the seats of the Percy family.
It is now only a village, and the few vestiges of the baronial mansion that
remain are called the " Maiden Bower." Here Henry, the fourth Earl of
Northumberland, then lord lieutenant of the county. was, on St. Vitalis's day,
in 1489, seized by the populace, and murdered, for enforcing a ten per cent
tax, imposed in the time of Henry VII. by the advice of Empson and Dudley.
Here Thomas Percy, the succeeding Earl, conspired against Queen Elizabeth, and
was beheaded at York, on the 22d of August, 1572. In this house Charles I. was
a prisoner; and here the £200,000. was paid by the Parliament to the Scotch,
for quitting the country, and delivering up the King. The church, which bears
evident marks of antiquity (see Churches for photograph), is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and
Chapter of York, and is dedicated to St. Colomb; the incumbent is the Rev. R.
D. Waddilove, D. D. There is here also a Free Grammar school, founded and
liberally endowed in 1549, of which Mr. William Bell is the master. Amongst
the modern buildings, which are not very numerous, may be mentioned a
Methodist chapel. The population amounts to 659."
(There is further information for Topcliffe).
Information on the following places in this Parish is contained on a supplementary page.
- Baldersby St James
- Busby Stoop
- Haram Grange
- Marton Le Moor
- Newby Park
- Skipton On Swale
- Thorpe Field Houses
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]
Three photographs of Dishforth cemetery showing WW2 war graves of air crew from RAF Dishforth.
Many are of Royal Canadian Airforce crew who were based there. The Cemetery is maintained by the
Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It may be of interest to Canadian relatives who are searching
for a view of their last resting place. Peter Watkinson
- Here are photographs of Churches in the parish:
St. Columba's Church, Topcliffe, view 1.
(The Church's website is here.)
St. Columba's Church, Topcliffe, view 2.
The former Methodist Church, Topcliffe, opened in 1840 as a Wesleyan chapel.
St. John's Church, Skipton on Swale.
The former Wesleyan Chapel, Skipton on Swale, built in 1810
St. James' Church, Baldersby St. James.
Christ Church, Dishforth (view 1).
Christ Church, Dishforth (view 2).
The Methodist Church, Dishforth.
St. John The Evangelist's Church, Dalton.
The Methodist Church, Rainton.
(The Church's website is here.)
The former Wesleyan Chapel, Dalton. Opened in 1880, now a private dwelling.
St. Mary's Church, Marton le Moor, view from the road.
St. Mary's Church, would you have trees this close to a building you owned?
St. Mary's Church, - rear view.
The Wayside Pulpit, Catton.
- The following Churches have their own web-sites:
St. Columba's Church, Topcliffe. There are transcriptions of the
headstones in the graveyard, and plans of the graveyard on the site.
- In 1842 the townships of Skipton on Swale and Catton, (in this parish), were
constituted an ecclesiastical parish. See
Skipton on Swale Parish.
- This parish is covered by the following Society:
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