"WENSLEY, a parish in the wapentake of West Hang, North Riding county York, 3 miles N.W. of Middleham, and 1 mile S.W. of Leyburn. The parish is situated in Wensleydale, on the N. bank of the river Ure or Yore, here crossed by an ancient bridge. It includes the chapelries of Bolton Castle and Redmire, with the townships of Leyburn, Wensley, and Preston-under-Scar. The village was formerly a market town, but was devastated by the plague, from the effects of which it never recovered. In this parish are valuable lead mines belonging to Lord Bolton, who resides at Bolton Hall, a large stone mansion near the old castle. The surface is part moorland, but a large proportion is rich grazing land on a subsoil of limestone. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Ripon, value £1,400. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, contains an old font, a brass of a priest bearing date 1360, and a portion of the parclose of the Scrope chantry brought from St. Agatha's Abbey, now used as a pew by the Bolton family., to whom there are several monuments, also one to the Hon. T. P. 0. Powlett and Peter Goldsmith, M.D. The register dates from 1538. The Wesleyans have several chapels, and there are National, infant, and Sunday schools. The parochial charities produce about £70 per annum. There are remains of Middleham and Bolton Castles, and Jervaulx Abbey. Lord Bolton is lord of the manor and principal landowner."
"BOLTON CASTLE, a chapelry in the parish of Wensley, wapentake of West Hang, in the North Riding of the county of York, 5 miles to the E. of Askrigg. Bedale is its post town. It is situated on the north side of Wensleydale, an extensive tract of fertile and picturesque country, on the banks of the river Yore. It is the site of a castle founded in the reign of Richard II., by Richard Lord Scrope, at that time Chancellor of England. Mary Queen of Scots was confined in this fortress a short time in 1568, and was removed hence to Tutbury Castle. Bolton Castle was held for the king during the Civil War, but after a long siege it was surrendered to the parliament, in November, 1645. The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Ripon, of the value, with that of Redmire annexed to it, of £160, in the patronage of the Rector of Wensley. The church is dedicated to St. Oswald. There are charitable endowments worth about £4 a year. The ruins of the castle, which are of considerable extent, stand on the edge of a hill commanding a wide prospect over the scenery of the dale. The walls on the north and east sides are dilapidated, but the west front is nearly perfect. Bolton Hall, erected in 1678 by the first Duke of Bolton, is the seat of Lord Bolton, to whom it gives the title of baron. It is about 3 miles from the castle, and is pleasantly situated on the river Yore, among well-wooded grounds."
"LEYBURN, a township, post and market town, in the parish of Wensley, wapentake of West Hang, North Riding county York, 2 miles N.W. of Middleham, 8 S.W. of Richmond, and 46 N.W. of York. It is a station on the North-Eastern line of railway. The township is situated on the northern side of Wensleydale. The surface towards the N.W. rises in bold undulations to the lofty moors of Wensleydale and Swaledale. About half a mile W. of the town is the celebrated walk called Leyburn Shawl, consisting of a ridge of rocks forming a natural terrace, extending upwards of a mile in length. It was much improved by the neighbouring trades-people in 1846, and is considered the principal attraction of Leyburn. The views from this terrace take in the ruins of Middleham and Bolton castles. A suspension bridge here crosses the river Ure, connecting the township with that of Middleham. The town consists principally of one long street, containing several shops. Most of the houses are well built, and of modern dates. It is paved and lighted with gas, and attracts many visitors on their way to the lakes of Westmoreland and Cumberland. There are a bank, savings-bank, gas works, dispensary, circulating and subscription library, and townhall. This latter is a stuccoed building mounted with stone, and erected at a cost of £2,000 by Lord Bolton. Petty sessions for the division of West Hang are held at the townhall on the last Friday in each month. The county court is held monthly. The board of guardians meet every alternate Friday. The Poorlaw Union comprises 41 parishes and townships The union poorhouse is an old building situated a short distance from the town. This township is productive of coal, lime, and lead. The land is principally in meadow and grazing land. The soil is stiff clay, gravel, and loam, upon a subsoil of light limestone. There is a small chapel-of-ease, erected in 1836, capable of accommodating about 260 persons. The Roman Catholics have a chapel, erected in 1834, and the Wesleyan Methodists a small place of worship. The charities produce about £32 per annum, £30 of which is from Hutton's charity, and is applied in support of the dispensary. There are National and Roman Catholic schools for both sexes. The inhabitants frequently resort to the parish church of Wensley, about 1½ mile distant. Lord Bolton is lord of the manor and principal landowner. Market day is Friday. Fairs for cattle and sheep are held on the second Fridays in February, May, October, and December."
"PRESTON UNDER SCAR, a township in the parish of Wensley, wapentake of Hang West, North Riding county York, 1-1, mile N.W. of Wensley, and 5 miles N.W. of Middleham. The village, which is of small extent, is situate under a high range of crags, at the W. end of Leyburn-Shawl. A portion of the inhabitants are engaged in the lead and iron works. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. Lord Bolton is lord of the manor."
"REDMIRE, a township and chapelry in the parish of Wensley, wapentake of West Hang, North Riding county York, 4 miles W. of Leyburn, its post town, and 3 S.W. of Wensley. The village, which is of small extent, is chiefly agricultural. Coal is obtained in the neighbourhood, and lead mines were formerly in operation. There is a strong sulphurous spa, with accommodation for bathing. Near the village are some smelt mills. The living is a perpetual curacy annexed to the curacy of Bolton Castle, in the diocese of Ripon. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. There is an endowed free school, founded in 1725, by the Rev. Thomas Baynes, and subsequently rebuilt by the late Lord Bolton. Lord Bolton is lord of the manor and principal landowner."
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
by Colin Hinson ©2013