Wapentake of Harthill (Bainton Beacon Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Hutton Cranswick - Petty Sessional Division of Bainton Beacon - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Driffield - Rural Deanery of Harthill - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.
This parish comprises an area of 6,218 acres, and includes, in addition to the township of its own name, those of Eastburn, Southburn, and Tibthorpe, containing a total population of 548. The surface is varied, and towards the west, where the parish extends on to the Wolds, considerably elevated. The soil varies from loam to clay with an admixture of lime; the subsoil is chalk. Wheat, oats, barley, and rape, are extensively cultivated.
The township of Kirkburn contains 1,387 acres of land and 152 inhabitants. It is valued for rating purposes at £1,630, and belongs chiefly to Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart., Sledmere, who is lord of the manor, and Lord Hotham. At the time of the Norman Survey the several townships of the parish were included in the soke of the manor of Driffield, and probably belonged to the king, subsequently the manor of Kirkburn, was held by Robert de Brus, who gave the church to the priory which he had founded at Guisborough in 1119.
The village is small but picturesquely seated on an acclivity in the vale of a burn or rivulet, four miles south-west of Driffield. In Domesday Book it is called Westburn, but after the erection of the church it became more generally known as Kirkburn. In the centre of the village is a noble old elm tree measuring 27 feet in circumference near the ground, but its magnitude is diminishing year by year through the decay of its spreading branches. The roots are completely bare and form a tier of seats for the villagers. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small, interesting old structure dating from early Norman times, but subsequently restored at different periods in the Transitional, Early English, and Perpendicular styles. It consists of chancel, nave, south porch, and a massive western tower. The chancel was partly rebuilt in 1819, and the tower was repaired in 1829. The whole fabric underwent a thorough restoration in 1856, and later, at an expense of over £2,000, chiefly contributed by Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart. The work was carried out under the direction of J. L. Pearson, Esq., R.A., and the late G. E. Street, Esq., R.A., who have carefully preserved whatever was worth retention. The chancel arch is a beautiful specimen of Norman work enriched with four mouldings, all chevron except the outermost, which is a fillet resting on attached columns with foliated capitals. Under the arch is an oak screen exquisitely carved and richly gilt, erected at a cost of nearly £1,000. The inner door of the porch is also Norman and comprises four mouldings, one of animals, the next of birds, the third pointed and carved, and the fourth and largest of zigzag; they spring from beautifully carved clustered columns. The Early English tower is ascended by a staircase which first traverses two sides and then assumes a newel form up to the belfry, in which are three large bells dated respectively 1611, 1678, and 1781. The font belongs to the Early Norman period, and is ornamented on the outside of the basin with curious sculptures representing the sacrament of Baptism, the Resurrection of our Lord, His charge to St. Peter, and other subjects. The east window of three lights was filled with stained glass by the parishioners in 1864, in memory of the late Sir Tatton and Lady Sykes. Beneath this is a handsome reredos of white marble bearing exquisitely carved representations of Our Saviour and the Apostles. The pulpit is a fine piece of stone work enriched with sculptured ornamentation, and near it stands a handsome brazen eagle lectern. The nave is furnished with open benches of oak to seat 300 persons. A few modern tablets adorn the walls. In the churchyard stands a beautiful Calvary cross. The register dates from the year 1686. The living is a vicarage, formerly in the gift of the Prior and Convent of Guisborough. After the suppression of that house, the patronage was exercised by the Crown till the late restoration of the church, when it was transferred to Sir Tatton Sykes. In the Liber Regis it is valued at £4 10s. 2½d. It was augmented with £400 of Queen Anne's bounty in 1715 and 1753, and with a parliamentary grant of £400 in 1826. It is now worth about £160 derived partly from tithes and the rent of 28 acres of land. The Rev. William Bennett, B.A., Bishop Hatfield Hall, Durham, is the present vicar.
The Primitive Methodists have a chapel here, built in 1839, at a cost of £120. There is a good National School with teacher's residence attached, erected by Mary, Lady Sykes, in 1860, for the accommodation of 100 children. It is mixed and under the care of a mistress.
A little distance from the village is a hamlet, now consisting of two houses, which has long been designated Battleburn, from a tradition that a great battle was fought here, and human bones, probably the remains of some who perished in the conflict, are occasionally turned up in delving operations in the fields hard by. The ancient name of this place appears to have been Burnous (Burnhouse); and unfortunately for the battle theory, it has been recently shown, that its present name has no connection with any sanguinary and unrecorded conflict, but is simply synonymous with the older name Burn(h)ous, being neither more nor less than the old Teutonic word botl, a house or dwelling. Mr. Thomas Holderness, a local antiquary, supposes Battleburn to be the site of the famous Brunanburh, where King Athelstan almost annihilated the allied forces of Anlaf and his confederates, the Kings of Scotland, Cumbria, Wales, and Ireland in the year 937. The site of this celebrated victory has long been a matter of dispute amongst antiquarians, and as the place-name disappeared from our topographical nomenclature centuries ago, it is probable, that the matter will never be settled with absolute certainty. Camden believed Broomridge in Northumberland to be the site; Brunton in the same county has its advocates; the late Charles Hardwick has written very learnedly in favour of "the pass of the Ribble," near Preston; Burnley in Lancashire, and Aldborough in Yorkshire, have also been suggested, and Mr. Holderness has championed the claims of Battleburn with many plausible and weighty arguments.
EASTBURN is a township in this parish containing 843 acres of land, lying about one mile north-east of Kirkburn. Lord Hotham, of South Dalton, and A. W. M. Bosville, Esq., Thorpe Hall, Rudstone, are the sole proprietors and lords of the manor of their respective properties. The whole township comprises two farms, both of which are in the occupation of Mr. E. F. Jordan, who resides at Eastburn House, a neat modern residence, standing in a small but beautiful park, from which very fine views of Driffield and the surrounding country may be obtained. The site of an ancient village can be traced. The impropriate tithe amounts to £150. The rateable value is £790, and the number of inhabitants 23.
SOUTHBURN is a township and village, situated about one mile south-east of Kirkburn. The total area is 1,103 acres, rateable value £1,405, and the population 88. Simpson Staveley, Esq., Tibthorpe; Mrs. Mary Brown, London; and Arthur Botterill, Esq., Garton-on-the-Wolds, are the principal landowners. The village is small but neat, and stands on the south side of the Kirkburn rivulet. The new line of railway between Driffield and Market Weighton, which was opened for traffic in May, 1890, passes the village, and a station has been erected here for the convenience of the inhabitants. There is a small chapel belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, erected in 1848, on a site given by the late Mr. Richard Foster. The Manor House is the property of Mrs. Mary Brown. Southburn. House, the residence of Mr. Harold Hornby Staveley, is a commodious dwelling, surrounded by tastefully laid-out grounds, and commanding a fine view of the district.
TIBTHORPE township contains 2,885 acres of land lying along the eastern acclivity of the Wolds. The surface is generally elevated, and the soil of a lighter quality than that in the rest of the parish. The township is valued for rating purposes at £2,882, and had at the last enumeration 278 inhabitants. The Earl of Londesborough, who is also lord of the manor; Sir Tatton Sykes, Bart., D.L.; Mr. A. Botterill, Garton-on-the-Wolds; Mr. R. Harrison, Driffield; Simpson Staveley Esq., Tibthorpe; Mr. W. Harrison, Tibthorpe; D. Dent Esq., Rispin Mr. J. Loadman, Helmsley; and Mr. J. Harrison, Tibthorpe, are the principal landowners. The village is situated about one mile west of Kirkburn, and five miles south-west of Driffield. The Wesleyan Methodists have a chapel here, which was built in 1823 and enlarged in 1850.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.