BISHOP WILTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


Wapentake of Harthill - Petty Sessional Division of Wilton Beacon - County Council Electoral Division of Bishop Wilton - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Pocklington - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.

This parish is bounded on the north by Kirby Underdale and Bugthorpe, on the south by Pocklington, on the east by Great Givendale and Millington, and on the west by Wilberfoss, Fangfoss, and Full Sutton. It comprises the townships of Bishop Wilton-with-Belthorpe, Bolton, and Youlthorpe-with-Gowthorpe, extending about seven miles from east to west, two-and-a-half from north to south, and containing an aggregate area of 6,905 acres. The parish includes a portion of the western verge of the Wolds, whence there is an extensive and interesting view over the vale of York, reaching northward as far as the Hambleton Hills, and southward to the Humber. One eminence in the parish is known as Wilton Beacon (812ft. above the level of the sea), and has given a name to this part of the Harthill Wapentake. The wooden beacon which formerly stood on its summit was blown down by a gale of wind in 1863.

The township of Bishop Wilton, including Belthorpe, contains 4,573 acres of land, of which 4,360½ are under assessment. The rateable value is £4,053. The population in 1881 was 556, and in 1891, 422. The soil on the Wolds is chalky, and in the low land chiefly a strong clay. All kinds of crops are grown in the lower grounds, but no wheat on the Wolds.

The manor was granted by King Athelstan to the archiepiscopal see of York. Archbishop Neville, in the reign of Edward IV., erected a palace and resided here, and thenceforth the place was distinguished as Bishop Wilton. From the archbishops the manor passed into lay hands, and came into the possession of the Sykeses, of Sledmere, last century. It now belongs to Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart., who is also the principal landowner. Mr. James Singleton has some land in the township, and there are, besides, a few small freeholders and several copyholders.

The village is pleasantly situated at the foot of the western slope of the Wolds, near the York and Bridlington road, which here retains its old name of Garrowby Street. It is distant four-and-a-half miles north of Pocklington, and six-and-a-half miles east of Stamford Bridge. The houses are ranged along both banks of a stream, which is spanned by several small bridges. At the east end of the village, in a field-on the slope of the Wolds, may be seen the moated site of the ancient episcopal palace. The surface is very irregular, and excavations might possibly show that some of the foundations still exist.

Wilton had its church before the Conquest, but this Saxon edifice was rebuilt in the Norman style, probably in the 12th century. It was subsequently restored at various times, in the styles of architecture which then prevailed; and in the time of Archbishop Zouche, about the middle of the 14th century, two aisles were added. The church, which is dedicated to St. Edith, was thoroughly restored in 1859, under the direction of J. L. Pearson, Esq., R.A. The total cost was between £3,000 and £4,000, which was munificently defrayed by the late Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart. As much as possible of the old stone and work has been retained. The plan comprises chancel, nave with two aisles, north chapel or transept, south porch, and western tower, surmounted by an octagonal spire rising to a height of 120 feet. The tower is not, as usual, an annexe or attachment to the church; it is comprehended in the ground-plan of the nave, its lower stage, formed of three arches and the west wall, being wholly within the church. It is used as a baptistery, and contains a neat octagonal font of Caen stone. In the upper storey are three bells, and a clock which chimes the hours. The nave is 80 feet in length, the chancel 30 feet by 19 feet, and the north chapel 24 feet square. The chancel arch is Norman, and rests at each side on three columns with carved capitals. The screen is a beautiful piece of work, in wrought iron and brass, designed by George Street, Esq., R.A., who furnished the designs for all the artistic work. The roof of both the nave and chancel is beautifully decorated in gold and colour. The cost of this portion of the work was about £700, the number of gold leaves used having been about 8,000. Above the communion table is a handsome triptych, a copy of one in Cologne Museum. It was the gift of the present Sir Tatton Sykes, and took the place of a smaller one. The Hill of Calvary is represented in the centre, and there also appear St. Longinus, St. Mary Magdalen, St. Margaret, and the donor of the original. The chancel steps are of polished dark grey marble, and the floor is laid with encaustic tiles in an intricate and beautiful design. The choir stalls are of oak, and were the work of Battee & Kett, of Cambridge, as were also the oaken seats which fill the nave. The pulpit is of Caen stone, octagonal in form, and ornamented with red Mansfield columns, resting on a similar base. The aisles are divided from the nave by four pointed arches, those on the north resting on pillars alternately round and octagonal, whilst those of the south arcade are octagonal. The spacious porch is entered by a very fine arch, ornamented with carving of early date, displaying, amongst other objects, an archbishop's crozier. But perhaps the most noteworthy feature of this beautiful church is its stained glass windows, which were the work of Clayton & Bell, of London, and cost upwards of £1,000. They exhibit to the eye the whole story of the New Testament, and some of the foreshadowings of the old. The colouring is brilliant, and the posé and expression lifelike and realistic. The west window, of three lights, is a memorial of Sir Tatton Sykes and Mary Anne, his wife, erected by their daughter Mary in 1864. St. Edith is represented in the centre light. On one side is King Athelstan, who gave the manor of Bishop Wilton to the Archbishop of York, and on the other St. John of Beverley. In another window appear the arms of the Neville family. The holy water stoup, that formerly stood at the entrance to the north chapel, is now fixed in a pillar near the pulpit. The registers date from the year 1620. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of York, and held by the Rev. John Adams Eldridge, M.A., Worcester College, Oxford, since 1857. It is worth £300 per annum, including 105 acres of glebe, with residence.

The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have chapels in the village. The parish school (mixed) is a white brick building, with master's house attached, erected by Sir Tatton Sykes in 1868. It will accommodate 130 children, and has an average attendance of 66.

Garrowby Lodge, a farmhouse on the York and Bridlington road, was formerly an inn, and a noted house in the old coaching days. Calais Wold, another farmhouse, once belonged to the Five Sisters of York, who gave and designed the windows that bear their name in York Minster. Belthorpe is a hamlet consisting of two farms, about one mile west of the village. The old farmstead stands on the moated site of an ancient mansion. A spring near, known as St. Leonard's Well, was once famed for its medicinal virtues.

BOLTON township contains 982 acres of land, the property of T. N. F. Bardwell, Esq., M.A., J.P., D.L., Bolton Hall (lord of the manor); Mrs. Thompson, Pocklington; and several small freeholders. It is valued for rating purposes at £1,348, and had in 1891 a population of 118. The village, which is small and straggling, is situated one-and-a-half miles south-east of Fangfoss station, on the York and Market Weighton railway, three miles south-west of Bishop Wilton, and three miles north-west of Pocklington. The Wesleyans have a small chapel here, built in 1869, with cemetery attached. About one-and-a-half miles south of the village is Bolton Hall, the seat of T. N. F. Bardwell, Esq. It is a large and handsome brick mansion, erected in 1760, and very considerably enlarged by the present owner. Mr. Bardwell is the only son of Frederick Bardwell, Esq., J.P., of Woodleigh, Notts., by Anne, daughter of Maurice Rodgers, Esq., and was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple, in 1877.

YOULTHORPE-WITH-GOWTHORPE are two hamlets forming a joint township containing 1,350 acres, belonging to Viscount Halifax, who is lord of the manor, Mickleton Hall, near Doncaster; Miss Agar, Brockfield, Stockton-on-the-Forest; John Dalby, Gowthorpe; and George Vere Braithwaite, Esq., of Edith Weston, Butlandshire. The soil is a strong clay. The township is valued for rating purposes at £794, and had in 1891 a population of 96. The village of Youlthorpe is small but pleasantly situated on an eminence, and is half-a-mile distant from Gowthorpe, which contains only three farms.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire (1892)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1892.

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