Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Dickering - County Council Electoral Division of Flamborough - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Bridlington - Archdeaconry of East Riding - Diocese of York.
This parish, also written RIGHTON, comprises 1,818 acres of land, lying on the coast between Filey and Bridlington. The soil, inland, is wold chalk, and the subsoil chalk; nearer the sea the soil is a strong clay, and the subsoil clay. The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley, peas, and turnips. Limestone is abundant, and is quarried to some extent. The whole parish forms one township, of which the rateable value is £1,809, and the population in 1891 was 252. Mrs. Tyssen Amherst, of Didlington Hall, Norfolk, only daughter of the late Admiral Mitford, is lady of the manor and one of the principal landowners; the other proprietors are Henry Strickland Constable, Esq., of Wassand, near Hull; Mr. Thos. Cranswick, Rudston; Mr. Joseph James Beauvais, Bridlington, and the vicar of the parish.
The village is small, and stands on the Bridlington and Scarborough road, five-and-a-half miles north-west by north of the former place. At this point the road passes over a spur or offshoot of the Wolds, and from its lofty position the village was appropriately named, by our Anglian forefathers, Rigg-ton. In Domesday Book it occurs four times, and in each case the Norman scribe has substituted "c" for "g" in the first syllable.
The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is a plain but interesting old edifice, consisting of chancel, nave with a north aisle, south porch, and low western tower containing two bells. The tower is of brick, and is supported on circular arches resting on heavy square piers. The north aisle is early Norman, and the three arches that divide it from the nave belong to the same age. The chancel arch is also circular, and the entrance doorway is of the same style, with plain mouldings. The chancel was restored by Sir William Strickland, in 1831, and the south side of the nave was re-faced with brick about the same time. The outer casing of the north side fell a few years ago, and was rebuilt with cobble-stones from the shore. In the wall of the chancel is a hagioscope or opening, which passes in a slanting direction to the north aisle. The original purpose of these slanting apertures, or "squints," as they are vulgarly named, has been variously stated. By some they are said to have been used for confessions; by others they are supposed to have been appropriated to lepers, who could there witness the sacrifice of the Mass apart from the rest of the congregation. The font is a choice specimen of very early work. It is square, having a cylindrical pillar with base and capital at each angle, and the sides sculptured with diaper-work of different patterns. The tracery on one side, it is said, is found only in the Catacombs of Rome, and on another side the pattern is similar to some of the diaper-work behind the stalls of Canterbury Cathedral. The oldest of the two bells in the tower bears the date of 1012, and the other that of 1675. The edifice is in a dilapidated condition, and strenuous efforts are now being made to raise the funds necessary for its restortion. The register dates from 1559. The church was formerly appropriated to the monastery of Bardney, in Lincolnshire, and the living became a chapelry under that house. At the Reformation the impropriate tithes passed into lay hands, and now belong to Henry Strickland-Constable, Esq., the patron of the living. The vicarial tithe was commuted in 1820, for a rent-charge, present value £95. The benefice is a vicarage, gross value £266, including 77 acres of glebe, with residence, and held by the Rev. William Rowley, of St. Bees.
The Wesleyan Chapel in the village is a plain brick building, erected in 1818, and enlarged in 1857. It is neatly furnished with pews, and will accommodate about 100. The Primitive Methodists have also a chapel here, which was formed out of a cottage in 1870.
The educational affairs of the Parish are managed by a School Board, formed in 1875, for the united district of Reighton and Speeton. The following year the present school was erected for 80 children, at a cost, including schoolhouse, of £1,100. There is an average attendance of 58.
REIGHTON HALL, formerly the residence of the Stricklands, is a large brick building, erected in 1810.
In a field adjoining St. Helen's lane, near the village, are the remains of extensive foundations. They are supposed to indicate the site of an ancient monastery, but this is open to doubt.
Flint arrow-heads and stone celts or battle-axes have been frequently found in the district, and on the glebe land is a mound, which is thought to be a howe or tumulus of the ancient Britons.
From different parts of the village and churchyard there are some splendid views of the Wolds, and of the coast about Filey and Scarborough.
Reighton and Speeton School Board - Members: Mr. Matthew Cranswick, chairman; Mr. Robert Crowe, Mr. Joseph Holtby, Mr. Richard Mayman, Mr. Wm. Wilson; Charles Gray, clerk. The Board hold their Meetings at the School-house on the third Monday in each month.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.