LOWTHORPE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


Wapentake of Dickering - County Council Electoral Division of Beeford - Petty Sessional Division of Bainton Beacon - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Driffield - Rural Deanery of Bridlington - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.

This is a long scattered parish adjoining Nafferton and Ruston Parva. It stretches from north to south about three-and-a-half miles, from east to west half a mile to one-and-a-half, and contains, according to the Ordnance Survey, 1,968 acres. The soil is a mixture of gravel and chalk, resting on chalk; and the chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, and turnips. The Hull and Scarborough branch of the North Eastern railway passes through the parish within half-a-mile of the village, at which point there is a station. The rateable value is £2,603, and the population in 1891 was 184. William Herbert St. Quintin, Esq., J.P., is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The Rev. G. E. Welby, of Grantham, and Mr. Cussons have also some land in the parish.

This place is mentioned four times in Domesday Book - once it is spelt Loghetorp, and three times it is spelt Logetorp. "In Loghetorp Egfrid had one carucate and a half to be taxed. Land for one plough." The value of this land, in King Edward's time, was eight shillings. In another place we read, "In Logethorp, Norman and Asa had two carucates to be taxed. Land for two ploughs. Game has there six villains and a church. Value eight shillings." The archbishop (of York) had here one carucate and a half, and the king had five carucates and a half. Some time after the Conquest the manorial estate came into the possession of the Heslertons, from whom it passed by marriage, in 1336, to the St. Quintins, and still belongs to the same family.

There is some uncertainty as to the origin of the name. Some, taking the modern spelling, assert that it signifies "the low thorpe," but, since low or law was applied by the Saxons to a hill or rising ground, the name might, with equal probability, mean the high thorpe. All names were originally descriptive, but, through our slipshod pronunciation, the original name is often scarcely recognisable in the modern form; and, besides this, the meaning of many of these early names has completely changed or been entirely lost. In the original form we have, generally, the most certain clew to its derivation. Lowthorpe, as we have already seen, was written by the scribes of Domesday Book, Logetorp and Loghetorp. Torp, or thorp, was applied by the Norsemen to a farmstead, and, subsequently, to the village which grew up around the farmstead; and L"g, in the same language, signified a law. From this, a writer in the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement infers that it was at Lowthorpe where the old Scandinavian rulers of the Burton (Agnes) Hundred held their annual "Thing," or Folk-mote, and promulgated their enactments. The spot from which the laws were read to the assembled inhabitants of the hundred is a large circular mound - probably an ancient British tumulus - now overgrown with trees, and known to the people of the district as Fox Hill, "apparently," says the above writer, "a corruption of Folks' Hill."

The village of Lowthorpe stands a little south of the Driffield and Bridlington road, four-and-a-quarter miles east-north-east of the former place, and eight-and-a-half from the latter. Hard by runs Lowthorpe beck, which is said to contain the finest trout in Yorkshire. On its bank stands a water-mill, erected in 1777, and now occupied by Mr. J. G. Frankish. The church of St. Martin is an ancient stone edifice, which, like many other country churches, was disfigured and mutilated by the cheese-paring policy of the churchmen of the last century, whenever the House of God required restoration. "Were they too poor," says a writer, "to keep it in decent repair, or had their piety sunk to so low an ebb that they did not care to do so ?" The church, as now used for service, consists of nave only, with porch and western tower, containing two bells. The chancel was unroofed at a so-called restoration a little over a century ago, and permitted to become a ruin. A few years ago there were growing within it three large ash trees, their summits rising above the ruined walls, but these have been removed. The piscina remains in the south wall, and a few ancient memorial stones find a resting place here. The most interesting of these is a massive tombstone, which is said to have been brought from the neighbouring church of Ruston Parva. On the top are the recumbent effigies of a man and his wife, with a tree springing from a root at their heads between them, sending out six branches on either side passing over the bodies, and each terminating in the carved head of a child at the margin of the stone. There are some memorial tablets on the walls of the nave. From one to Mr. Robert Newton, who died at the age of 57, we quote the following specimen of the tombstone literature of the last century

"Farewell, vain world, I've had enough of thee,
And now am careless, what thou say'st of me;
Thy smiles I court not, nor thy frowns I fear,
My cares are past, my head lies quiet here.
My wife and children whom I loved to see
Prepare yourselves in time to follow me;
Trust you in God and He will pave the way,
You need not care, 'tis all the world can say."

The widow who erected the stone bursts forth in this elegy

"Sleep happy creature in thine urn,
My sighs, my tears, cannot awake thee;
I shall but stay until my turn,
And then, oh, then! I'll overtake thee."

We may here quote another epitaph from the slab over the grave of a man who was buried, at his own desire, in a field in the neighbourhood

"Stranger, whom curiosity has brought,
To view a grave in this sequestered spot,
Know that the Judge will ask, when time is fled,
What was our life, not where we lay when dead;
Then leave thy sins, embrace the ransom given,
And death to thee will prove the gate to heaven."

A church stood here as early as the Conquest. The present edifice is supposed to have been built in 1333, when the church, previously a rectory, was made collegiate by Sir John de Heslarton, who founded therein six chantries for six chaplains and three clerks, whereof two were to be in deacon's orders, and one a sub-deacon. The several chantries were to be called, first, the chantry of the Blessed Trinity; second, the chantry of the Glorious Virgin S. Mary; third, of the Archbishop of York and his successors; fourth, of the Chapter of York, the Dean and Canons of the church, whether dead or alive, and of Sir William de Ros, second lord of Hamlak; fifth, for the founder, his wife Marjory, and their children, and of Lord John de Hotham, Bishop of Ely; and sixth, of the founder's uncle. The stipend of each chaplain was to be 6½ marks per annum, payable out of the income of the church; of each of the two clerks 40 shillings; and the third clerk was to have his living out of the gratuities, perquisites, and alms of the parishioners, which heretofore had belonged to the parish clerk.

In 1364, Sir Thomas de Heslarton founded another chantry for the souls of himself and Alice his wife, and he further endowed the church with the manor of Lowthorpe and his mansion house in the village, to have and to hold in Frank Almoigne for ever. The chaplain of the said chantry was to receive 100s. of silver per annum for his sustentation with a competent habitation. This grant was confirmed in 1372, by John, Archbishop of York, who furthermore ordained that all the said priests should live in common, and have a common chest and seal. For their support he allotted two oxgangs of land at Harpham, and a moiety of the manor of Lowthorpe; and he furthermore ordained that the rector should preside over the college, that he should not have more than 20 marks per annum to his private use, each chantry priest four marks, and each clerk one mark. The college survived the general dissolution of religious houses until 1579, since which time no institution has been made. The revenues were alienated, and very inadequate provision made for the perpetual curate who thenceforth performed clerical duties. Torre in his MSS., gives the names of thirty rectors, commencing with Tho. de Thurkilby in 1228, and ending with Ric. Remyngton, who was instituted in 1579, on the nomination of John de Hotham, and was the last rector of Lowthorpe.

The church was then a large and handsome edifice, but it has been shorn of its beauty, and curtailed in its dimensions by so called restorations since that time. Some of these were recorded on a stone on the outside of the north wall of the nave, but the inscription is now illegible. In 1776, the roof was repaired at the cost of the parishioners, and the following year the church was paved and re-pewed, and the chancel contracted and painted by Sir William de St. Quintin, Bart., lord of the manor and patron of the living, who descended from the family of the Heslartons, by the marriage of Sir William de St. Quintin, to Constance, daughter of Sir John de Heslarton, founder of the chantries before mentioned. The nave was re-roofed and slated in 1860. The font is ancient. There is a cross in the churchyard, which is said by tradition to have been brought from the then market town of Kilham, during the time the plague was raging there, as the people were afraid to visit that place. The register dates back to the year 1546.

The living is a new vicarage, united with Ruston Parva, in the gift of W. H. St. Quintin, and held by the Rev. George Carey, B.A., D.D., Trinity College, Dublin. The net yearly value is about £100, including 48 acres of glebe.

The ancient lords of Lowthorpe had a mansion here, which was taken down in 1826. Lowthorpe Lodge, a handsome building in the Tudor style, was afterwards erected partly on the site, and is the occasional residence of the owner during the shooting season.

[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.