KIRBY UNDERDALE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


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

This parish consists of the township of Kirby Underdale-with-Garrowby, and includes the hamlets of Uncleby, Painsthorpe, and Hanging Grimston. The total area is 5,123 acres, the rateable value £3,724, and the population in 1891 was 297. Viscount Halifax, Hickleton Hall, near Doncaster, is lord of the manor and owner of all the land except the glebe. The surface in the eastern part of the parish is diversified by the Wolds, which rise in round topped hills, presenting a gradual descent to the plain of York. The highest of these eminences attains an elevation of 806 feet above the sea level. The soil is loam, with chalk in the higher grounds and clay in the valleys; the subsoil is chalk. Wheat, oats, barley, beans, and turnips are the chief crops.

The village of Kirby Underdale is small, and stands at the western foot of the Wolds, seven miles east-by-north of Stamford Bridge, seven miles north of Pocklington, 10 miles south-by-east of Malton, and five miles from the stations at Burdale and Fangfoss on the Malton and Driffield, and the York and Beverley branches, respectively, of the North-Eastern railway, The church, which bears the Saxon dedication of All Saints, is seated on the side of a somewhat steep hill, and is approached from the village by a descent of 30 steps. It is an ancient edifice of stone in the Norman style, consisting of chancel, nave, north and south aisles, south porch, and an embattled western tower. The church was restored in 1828 at considerable expense, but with no attempt to preserve the unity of the original design. The tasteless and incongruous innovations then introduced were removed in 1871, when the church was restored under the direction of G. E. Street, Esq., R.A. The expense was defrayed by the Right Hon. Charles Viscount Halifax, and the Rev. Thomas John Morison, M.A., then rector, to whose memory a stained glass window has been recently placed in the south aisle. The fine old Norman chancel arch remains, and above it have been placed a sculptured representation of the Crucifixion, with the Blessed Virgin and St. John on either side. The rest of the chancel was rebuilt, and its windows have been filled with stained glass. The nave is separated from the aisles by two-arch arcades. The font was presented by the Ven. R. F. L. Blunt, archdeacon of the East Riding. It is of Caen stone, square in shape, resting on a thick octagonal shaft and four pillars of polished granite. The present church dates from the 12th century, but a previous edifice occupied the site, and remains of the windows of this earlier structure may be seen above the arches of the north aisle. Foundations unearthed during the late restoration show that the original church consisted of a nave and apsidal chancel. The registers are perfect from the year 1657.

The living is a rectory, valued in the Liber Regis at £6 3s. 4d., present gross value £800, including 86 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and held by the Rev. Alfred Barber, M.A., of Merton College, Oxford. The tithe rent-charge is £734.

The late Dr. Thirlwall, Bishop of St. David's, who died in 1875, held this rectory from 1833 till his elevation to the episcopal see in 1840. He took his B.A. and M.A., at Trinity College, Cambridge, and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1825. Three years later he relinquished the legal profession and entered holy orders. He was the author of the History of Greece.

The school is held in a good brick building, erected by Viscount Halifax, for the accommodation of 70 children. There are 45 names on the books and 34 children in average attendance.

GARROWBY, or Garraby is a hamlet extending from one to three miles southwest from the village of Kirby Underdale. The terminal "by" in its name tells of its Danish origin, but nothing is known of the sea-rover who abandoned his piratical life to settle down here. He, doubtless, selected this spot on account of its proximity to the Roman road that runs hard by, leading from York to Flamborough Head. In this locality it bears the name of Garraby Street. The Hall is now used as a shooting-box by its noble owner. In the neighbourhood are several tumuli.

UNCLEBY, is a small hamlet one mile north of the village. There are several British remains among the hills in the vicinity. On Uncleby Wold a large tumulus was opened by Canon Greenwell, of Durham, and showed, by its contents, that it had also been used as a place of interment by the early Anglo-Saxons. There were found in it an ancient British drinking-cup, a green stone axe, a flint scraper, several flint knives, &c.; and the following belonging to the Saxon period: 70 skeletons, 5 iron swords, 40 iron knives, 12 steels for sharpening knives, 8 necklaces of glass and clay beads, 2 gold pendants, 1 silver pendant, and an ivory one set in silver; 20 bronze buckles, some of them gilt; 30 iron buckles; 4 bronze boxes, one full of thread; a flint and steel; an oval carnelian amulet, highly polished and set in silver ; a silver brooch, set with two garnets; a silver fibula, a silver pin, 2 whetstones, several bronze and silver rings, a bronze bowl, 13 inches in diameter, bone combs, &c.

PAINSTHORPE, is a hamlet of scattered houses, half-a-mile south-east of the parish church. There are several tumuli in the neighbourhood. At South Wold Farm, in the occupation of Mr. George Johnson, is an ancient stone chair, found there several years ago. It measures 3ft. across, by 2ft. 2in. wide and 2ft. 2in. high.

Hanging Grimston is a hamlet of three farms, two miles north of Kirby Underdale. There is supposed to have been a considerable village here at one time.

[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.