LOW CATTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


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

This parish comprises the townships of High Catton, Low Catton, Stamford Bridge East, and Stamford Bridge West-with-Scoreby, containing 6,104 acres of land, lying chiefly on the eastern bank of the Derwent. The surface is generally level, but diversified with woodlands. The parish formerly included the township of Kexby, but this was constituted an independent parish in 1853. Under the Local Government Act for the election of County Councillors, the townships of High and Low Catton are embraced in the Melbourne Division, East Stamford Bridge has been assigned to Bishop Wilton Division, and West Stamford Bridgewith-Scoreby to that of Heslington.

The manor of Catton, which includes the two Cattons, East Stamford Bridge, Full Sutton, Newton-on-Derwent, and Wilberfoss, belonged in the time of Edward the Confessor, to Harold, Earl of the West Saxons, and afterwards King of England. After the Conquest, it was assigned to the Honour of Chester, and was held by the Percys, Earls of Northumberland. Elizabeth Percy, the only daughter and heiress of Josceline, 11th Earl of Northumberland, married Charles Seymour, Duke of Somerset, and subsequently this manor passed to her grandson, Charles Wyndham, 2nd Earl of Egremont. The third earl had three sons and three daughters by a lady who passed as Mrs. Wyndham, and to George Wyndham, the eldest son, subsequently created Baron Leconfield, he devised this and other manors, which are now held by his son, the present peer.

LOW CATTON township contains 1,340 acres, and had in 1891 a population of 166, an increase of 18 since 1881. It is valued for rating purposes at £1,803. The soil is loam and clay, and the chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, turnips, and beans. Lord Leconfield is the principal landowner; there are also a few small freeholders. The village is pleasantly situated on the eastern bank of the Derwent, eight miles east of York, and one-and-a-quarter south of Stamford Bridge station, on the York and Market Weighton branch of the North-Eastern railway. The church of All Saints, a dedication said by Archdeacon Churton to indicate a Saxon origin, is supposed to have been entirely rebuilt in the 15th century. It consists of a spacious chancel, with organ chamber at the north side, nave, north and south aisles, north transept used as a vestry, south porch, and an embattled tower at the south-west angle, containing three bells. The nave is divided from the aisles by arcades of four pointed arches resting on octagonal columns, but one arch in the south arcade has been built up. The east window is a handsome one of three lights, representing the Crucifixion, the Nativity, and the Adoration of the Magi; beneath it is a reredos of stone and encaustic tiles. The chancel floor is laid with the same kind of tiles, disposed in very beautiful geometrical designs. A brass on the north wall bears the following inscription "To the Glory of God. In loving memory of Henry Gardiner, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford, some time Rector of All Saints, Catton, this chancel has been restored by his sisters, Mary and Lucy, Anno Domini MDCCCLXVI." The west window is a memorial of John Wright, surgeon, and Sarah his wife, and represents Christ healing the sick. The font is circular, and old, and the massive oak door in the porch is also of considerable age. The seats are all of modern type, and will accommodate 300 persons. The register dates from 1592. A neatly laid out cemetery surrounds the church. None of the tombstones are very ancient. On one is the following epitaph

"Here lie interred Geo. Hardwick's two wives,
Jane and Elizabeth, both religious in lives;
In peace they departed, hope removed their fears;
Co-equal in ages, each 65 years.'

Mr. Hardwick, during his lifetime, was wont to visit frequently their graves, and on one of these occasions he found this line added to the epitaph, written, doubtlessly, by some village wag -

"But old Geo. Hardwick didn't shed many tears."

The living is an ancient rectory, the patronage of which descended with the manor from the Percys to the Wyndhams, and thence to Lord Leconfield. Its gross yearly value is £570, derived chiefly from 270 acres of glebe, allotted at the enclosure, in 1760, in lieu of tithes. The Rev. Herbert Boyne Labillin Puxley, M.A., Brasenose College, Oxford, was presented to the rectory in 1879. The old rectory, on the north side of the churchyard, is now a farmhouse; the present rectory stands a little south-east of the church.

Torre gives an imperfect list of the rectors, from Ric Deyvill, who died in or before 1248, to Thomas Pearson, who was presented by Queen Elizabeth in 1592. William de Percy, canon of York, was rector in 1248, and Thomas de Percy held the living from 1352 to 1356, when he was consecrated Bishop of Norwich. The same writer gives us, in his MSS, a list of testamentary burials, from which we select two or three. In 1401, Sir Thomas Ughtred, lord of Kexby, Knt., was buried in this church, and his son left, by will, £10 to put a monumental slab of marble over his grave. In 1404, John Sewell, of Catton, directed his body to be buried before the statue of the Blessed Virgin, and bequeathed his best grey horse, with saddle, bridle, sword-belt, and coat of mail, to go before his corpse on the day of his sepulture. In 1443, Rad. Federstane, of Staneforth Brigg, desired to be buried in the chancel of St. Nicholas ye Bishop - probably the north chapel or transept.

The School (mixed) is a brick building, with master's house attached, erected by Colonel Wyndham in 1841. There is accommodation for 61, and an average attendance of 39. It is under Government inspection, and is further supported by a yearly contribution of £10 from Lord Leconfield, and a rate levied on all householders in High and Low Catton, to which two townships the school is restricted.

Charities - The two benefaction boards in the church record numerous bequests, but each small in amount. Richard Gell, of Upper Catton, by will dated 1712, gave to the poor of that township 3s. per annum out of the rent and profits of a piece of ground called Nun Ings. By virtue of the Act for inclosing the manor and soke of Catton, this sum is payable out of the lands allotted to the heirs of Mr. Gell, in exchange for the said Nun Ings. The rent is now £3, and is distributed by the rector. Thomas Chapman gave (April ye 29th, 1750) to the church of Low Catton £1, the interest thereof to be paid yearly for ever to the bellringers on Christmas Day. The Rev. Henry Dealtary, June 22nd, 1753, gave £5 for the relief of the poor of Upper Catton. Four others of the Dealtary family left, by their last wills, the sum of £13 to the poor of the parish, to he divided as follows: to Upper Catton £8, Low Catton £2 10s., Stamford Bridge £1 10., and to Kexby £1 - " all which is bestowed in land and ye rent paid at 2 payments at Christmas and Easter and distributed to ye poor at them 2 times at ye discretion of ye trustees for the said land and churchwardens of this parish." Henry Lazenby, of Upper Catton, left by will to the poor of that township 20s., and the same sum to the poor of Low Catton. Richard Lofthouse, of Upper Catton, left £3 to the poor of the parish for ever. William Headlam, of Kexby, Esq., left 12d. per week to be distributed in bread among the poor of the parish. Several small sums, amounting to £12, have been given by various donors. The poor of Low Catton also receive 3s. 4d. per annum from Wood's Dole.

HIGH CATTON township adjoins that of Low Catton, and contains 1,679 acres, chiefly the property of Lord Leconfield, Petworth House, Sussex; John Canton, Deighton; Miss Tonge, Horsley; Thomas Coates, Full Sutton; Wm. S. Larcum, Gate Helmsley; and Thomas William Mitchell, The Mount, Malton. The rateable value is £2,333, and the population in 1891 was 193. The village is pleasantly situated on a slope, about one mile east of Low Catton, and one-and-a-quarter miles from Stamford Bridge. To the south of the village are five one-storey cottages, called the Land of Nod. It is a pretty little spot, but why saddled with this scriptural name is not very apparent, though we believe it has some reference to the sleeping apartments being on the ground floor. The Wesleyans have a chapel in the village, erected in 1806, and the Primitive Methodists built another in 1856.

From Primrose Hill, a farm in the occupation of Mr. James Townsley, a beautiful view is obtained of the western slope of the Wolds, with villages and towns in the mean distance.

EAST STAMFORD BRIDGE is a township containing 1,122 acres of land, and lies on the eastern side of the Derwent. It belongs chiefly to Lord Leconfield, lord of the manor; William Darley, Esq., J.P.; the exors. of J. Saltmarsh; and Mr. John Kirby. The soil is loam, clay, and sand, and the chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, and turnips. For rating purposes the township is valued at £2,743; the population in 1881 was 399, and in 1891, 383.

This place, called in old writings Staneford, received its name from the ford, which here crossed the river before the erection of the bridge. The old Roman road from York to Flamborough crossed the Derwent at this point, and another one, known in later times as Wade's Causeway, branched off, passing through Malton to Dunsley. As the Romans carefully guarded the fords and bridges, by which their roads passed over the rivers, it has been thought by some antiquaries, Drake amongst others, that the station Derventio, which all writers agree was somewhere on the banks of the Derwent, stood in close proximity to this ford. It was, according to the Antonine Itinerary, seven miles (Roman) from Eburacum (York) which agrees with the distance of Stamford Bridge. Derventio was a station of some importance, with a body of troops (called in the Notitia Derventionenses) permanently settled at it, which would be provided, we may be certain, with its villas, baths, and all the accessories of Roman refinement and luxury. But not a trace of any of these, nor of the camp itself, has been discovered here, and the only Roman relics that have been met with have been few and insignificant, and not at all indicative of any permanent settlement. Other writers assign the site of this station to Malton, further up the Derwent, where there is a well-defined Roman camp, and where numerous Roman remains have been found. Its distance from York, however, does not accord with that given in the Itinera, unless, as some of the writers assert, the vii. should be read xvii., in which case the distances would nearly correspond.

But Stamford Bridge possesses historical interest which lies beyond the limits of dispute. On the 23rd of September, 1066, there occurred here, one of the most sanguinary and decisive battles ever fought on English ground. Harold son of Earl Godwin, had, by the voice of the Witan, succeeded to the throne after the death of Edward the Confessor. Tosti, his brother, who had been degraded from his earldom of Northumberland and banished the kingdom, had, or conceived he had, a just cause of revenge against Harold for the desertion of his cause. He sought and obtained the assistance of Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, who accompanied him to England, with a fleet of 300 sail. They landed on the coast of Yorkshire, sailed up the Humber as far as Riccal, where they debarked, and proceeded towards York. The Northumbrian levy, hastily collected by Edwin and Morcar, encountered the invaders at Fulford, and after a severely contested fight, was defeated. Hardrada then advanced with his army to York, which opened its gates to him. Harold, apprised of the invasion, led the English army by rapid marches from the south into Yorkshire, to oppose the invaders. They met at Stamford Bridge, and immediately began preparations for the battle. The Norwegian drew up his warriors in a compact but hollow circle. The royal standard, very appropriately called "The Land Ravager," occupied the centre, and the spearmen were ranged around the circumference. Surrounding the whole was a line of spears, firmly fixed in the ground, and pointed outward, in an oblique direction. Harold, desirous of accomplishing his object without the hazards of a battle, if possible, sent a message of conciliation to his brother, offering to re-instate him in the earldom of Northumberland if he would withdraw from the field. "Last winter," replied Tosti, "such a message might have saved much bloodshed, but it now comes too late; and were I to accept it, what terms do you offer to the king, my ally?" "Seven feet of English ground, or as much more as he may be taller than the rest of men," was Harold's answer. Tosti scorned to abandon his friend, even though by doing so he might have regained possession of all his broad lands. The battle began, and for a time, the enemy, in their firm array, withstood the onslaught of the superior numbers of the English. Had they maintained their compactness, they might have foiled, even with their lesser force, all the tactics of Harold, but a feigned retreat of the English seduced them to break their ranks, and give pursuit. They were outmanoeuvred. The English immediately reformed and fell upon them, killing Hardrada in the first attack. The passage of the bridge, say the Northern Chronicles, was, for three hours, defended by a stalwart Norwegian. In vain did they hurl at him their javelins. He still maintained his position until he was pierced from beneath the bridge by the lance of an English soldier, driven upwards through the wooden structure. Tosti soon after fell, with the flower of the Norwegian and Flemish army, and so great was the slaughter, that, 60 years afterwards, the ground was still whitened with the bones of the slain. Harold tempered his victory with mercy, and Olave, the son of Hardrada, who had accompanied the fleet to England, and had remained on board in the river, was permitted to return to Norway, taking with him the remnant of the Norwegian army, in 20 vessels allotted to him out of his father's fleet.

The village is situated on both banks of the Derwent, but mostly on the east bank, eight miles from York. The York and Market Weighton branch of the North-Eastern railway passes within a quarter-of-a-mile, at which point there is a station. The line is carried over the river on a viaduct of 15 arches, the centre one being iron and the rest brick. A little above this the road crosses the Derwent on an ancient stone bridge of three arches. This superseded an older one of wood, the foundations of which may still be seen about a hundred yards higher up. The river here falls about 12 feet, and to enable boats to ascend to Malton, a channel with locks has been cut to avoid the obstruction. The village is well built, and contains several good shops. A chapel-of-ease, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was erected in 1868, and consists of chancel, nave, with bell turret over the chancel arch, and north porch. The interior is neatly furnished for the accommodation of 200 persons. The curate-in-charge is the Rev. Alfred York Browne, M.A., St. John's College, Cambridge, who resides at the Manor House, on the opposite side of the river.

There are two Nonconformist chapels here, one belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, erected in 1828, and the other to the Primitive Methodists, built in 1866. The school was originally founded in 1787, by Christopher Wharton, Esq., who bequeathed £600 for the purpose, and the school-house was erected by his widow in 1795. The present premises were built in 1871, for the accommodation of 90 children; average attendance, about 60. The endowment produces 18 guineas a year, for which 18 children are free. There is a good library and reading room in the village, well supplied with daily and weekly papers. The Police Station, which is also the constable's residence, is an occasional Court House, for cases to be heard, tried, determined, and adjudged in pursuance of the Summary Jurisdiction Acts.

There are some neat residences. Burtonfield House, the seat of William Darley, Esq., J.P., is a modern building, standing in a pleasant park, surrounded with plantations. In some gravel pits on the estate have been found several human remains, supposed to be those of soldiers slain in the memorable battle between Tosti and Harold. Beechwood House is the residence of Mrs. Saltmarsh; and Burtonfields, an ancient farmhouse, is the property of Mr. John Kirby, the celebrated breeder of coaching horses and Cleveland Bays. - Flora, a brood mare belonging to Mr. Kirby, has carried off 20 first and two second prizes since 1874, at the principal Agricultural Shows of the country, including "The Royal" and "The Great Yorkshire."

WEST STAMFORD BRIDGE-WITH-SCOREBY form a joint township containing 1,945 acres of land lying on the west bank of the Derwent. It is in the Ouse and Derwent Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division, and the Poor Law Union and County Court District of York. The soil is mixed, and the chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, and turnips. The rateable value is £2,069, and the population in 1881 was 150. The Earl of Londesborough, who is lord of the manor, and Sir James Walker, Sand Hutton Hall, are the owners of the land. A portion of the village of Stamford Bridge is situated in this township. The inhabitants attend the church at East Stamford Bridge. The tithes amount to £4 10s., and are payable to the rector of Catton. There was formerly a fair, for cattle, horses, &c., held here on the 1st and 2nd of December, but it is now almost wholly devoted to pleasure.

SCOREBY, consists of several farms. The district is well wooded, and affords excellent shooting. The land belongs to the Earl of Londesborough, by whom it was purchased in 1850, from the representatives of the late John Wood, Esq., M.P. for Preston.

Relics of antiquity have been occasionally unearthed in the township. About a mile below the viaduct, in a field by the river side, foundations are frequently turned up which appear to have been an ancient village. Fragments of ancient pottery have also been found, and Mr. S. Young, farmer and bailiff to Lord Londesborough, has in his possession a quern, or hand mill, also a still more primitive one, in which the corn was pounded, and a piece of meteoric ironstone, about one cwt. in weight, found about four feet below the surface.

[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.

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