Bishopthorpe Parish information from Bulmers' 1890.


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake of the Ainsty of York - Poor Law Union of York - Rural Deanery of Bishopthorpe Archdeaconry of York or the West Riding - Diocese of York.

This parish lies on the west bank of the Ouse, just beyond the southern limits of York, and comprises, under a rearrangement which took place about eighteen years ago, the township of its own name and part of that of Middlethorpe, containing a total population of 511 souls. Bishopthorpe township has an area, by Ordnance measurement, of 739 acres, of which 621 are under assessment. The rateable value of the land and property is £3,676, and the population, 422. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners are the principal proprietors and lords of the manor.

This place was formerly called Thorpe, or Thorpe-upon-Ouse, and obtained its present name after Archbishop Gray (A.D. 1216-1255) purchased the manor, and erected thereon his episcopal palace. The estate continued in the possession of the successive archbishops until the time of the Commonwealth, when, by order of Cromwell, the see was abolished and some of the episcopal lands sold. This estate and mansion were purchased by Walter White, Esq., for the sum of £525 7s. 6d. It became episcopal property again after the Restoration.

The village is situated on the right bank of the Ouse, about three miles below York. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was rebuilt in 1768, chiefly at the expense of Archbishop Drummond, who lies buried on the north side of the communion table. It is Gothic in style, and cruciform in plan. The fabric was thoroughly restored in 1842, at an expense of £1,500, solely contributed by the late Archbishop Harcourt. A vestry was built in 1886, and an excellent organ added at a cost of £300. The church possesses neither historical nor architectural interest. The living is a vicarage, worth £240, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and held by the Rev. Richard Blakency, M.A., Merton College, Oxford.

There is a chapel in the village belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, a plain, brick building, erected in 1833. The National school was built and endowed by Archbishop the Hon. Edward Venables Vernon-Harcourt, in 1846, and is attended by about 90 children.

The notorious Guy Fawkes is said to have been a native of this place.

The most interesting feature of the parish is the palace, the residence of the archbishops of York. It is pleasantly situated on the bank of the Ouse, and is surrounded by small but tastefully laid out pleasure grounds. Frequent restorations have taken place since its erection by Archbishop Gray, in the thirteenth century, and as it now stands is principally the work of Archbishop Drummond, who died in 1766. The entrance gateway is in the pointed style, bearing in front the arms of the see, and surmounted by a handsome crocketed turret, with pinnacles. The front of the palace is of the same style and finished by an open battlement, a handsome canopy, supported by light, airy columns, crowning the entrance. There are several fine apartments, the walls of which are adorned by many good paintings and works of art. Amongst the portraits are those of the Archbishops of York since the Reformation. The chapel, which adjoins the dining room, is a fine specimen of Early English, erected by Archbishop Gray. All the windows are of stained glass, that at the east end exhibiting the arms of the archbishops from the Reformation to the Revolution. The floor is diapered in black and white marble, and the pulpit is a curious piece of antique carving.

Visitors are permitted to view the pleasure grounds and principal apartments.

MIDDLETHORPE is a township containing 644 acres, and is, for ecclesiastical purposes, partly in the parish of Bishopthorpe and partly in that of Dringhouses. It is rated at £2,057, and had, in 1881, a population of 131 souls. G. A. E. Wilkinson, Esq., is lord of the manor and one of the principal landowners; the others are the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and the Hon. E. W. Lascelles, J.P.

There are several large and handsome residences in the township. The hamlet is small, and is situated about two miles from York.

Some leaden bullets and a steel breast plate were found in the township in 1812, and a few years ago several stone coffins, of various sizes, were discovered in a gravel pit.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.