BULMER: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Bulmer - Electoral Division of Sheriff Hutton - Poor Law Union, Petty Sessional Division, and County Court District of Malton - Rural Deanery of Bulmer - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This parish extends westward from the river Derwent, and embraces within its limits a stretch of lovely and picturesque scenery. Though small and commercially insignificant, it must have been at an early period a place of importance, since it has given its name to the wapentake. It comprises the townships of Bulmer and Welburn, and the extra-parochial places called Henderskelfe and Hardyflatts are usually included with it. Its area, inclusive of the latter places, is 4,257 acres, and the number of inhabitants, 923. Of these numbers 1,577 acres and 231 inhabitants belong to the township of Bulmer. Its rateable value is £1,849, and chief owners are the Earl of Carlisle (lord of the manor), the Duke of Sutherland, the rector of the parish, in right of his glebe, and Mr. John Tate.

At an early period Bulmer belonged to a family of that name, who are supposed to have been in possession of these lands long before the "base-born Norman" set his foot on English soil. They had extensive estates in Yorkshire and Durham, and castles at Sheriff Hutton, Wilton, and Branspeth. The commissioners of the Conqueror thus enter this place in the survey which they completed about A.D. 1086:- "Lands of Earl Mortain, Bolesford wapentake. In Bolemere and Stidnvm (Stittenham) Ligulf and Norman had two manors of fifteen carucates to be taxed; and there may be eight ploughs. Nigel now has them of the earl." They further state that there was a priest and a church, and a mill worth two shillings. The whole was a mile and a half long, four quarrentens broad, and in the Confessor's reign had been rated at 100s., but was then only worth 40s. This great depreciation in value tells of the obstinacy with which the inhabitants defended their hearths and homes, and the maddened rage of the Conqueror who, in retaliation, gave the district to fire and sword. Bolesford, the name of the wapentake in Domesday Book, has disappeared from local topography without leaving behind the faintest memory of its site. It was a ford and, therefore, on the bank of a river, probably the old Foss. When or why the wapentake's name was changed to Bulmer is not known, but it appears under this name in very early documents.

Ligulf, who was the owner of the manor in the time of Edward the Confessor, is given as the remote ancestor of the Bulmers, in General Harrison's pedigree of that family. If this be so, then Ascitel or Osketyle de Bulmer, the first of the family on record, whose name bears unmistakeable evidence of his Saxon blood, was probably his son. Ascetel de Bulmer is said to have received a grant of Sheriff Hutton and other manors from the Conqueror,* but he was more probably only reinstated by subinfeudation in the lands which were already his by inheritance. Sir Bertram de Bulmer, who appears to have been the chief of the family, was a powerful baron and the owner of vast lands in Yorkshire and Durham. He stood high in the royal favour, and held, for many years, in the reigns of Henry I. and Stephen, the important and onerous office of sheriff of Yorkshire. Sir Bertram left an only daughter and heiress, Emma, who married Geoffrey de Neville, and these lands, with the castles of Sheriff Hutton and Branspeth, passed to that family.

*Gill's "Vallis Eboracensis," p. 107.

The village of Bulmer is seated on an eminence, 7½ miles S.W. of Malton. The church, dedicated to St. Martin, the soldier-saint, hermit and bishop of Tours, is a stone structure of considerable antiquity, apparently restored in the early Gothic period, but still retaining some traces of Norman masonry. The plan comprises chancel, nave, south porch, and square west tower of two stages, containing three bells, The chancel arch is pointed; the old screen separating the chancel from the nave remains, but is much disfigured by coats of paint. The old box pews have been removed, and chairs substituted. The font is hemispherical and large enough for immersion, In the north wall, near the pulpit, is the stone effigy of a knight templar, with hands uplifted over his breast in the attitude of prayer. His waist is girt with a baldrick, and at his left side is a shield, bearing a lion rampant, the cognisance of the Bulmers, to which family he probably belonged, "In the chancel floor is a stone inscribed round the verge "Hic Jacet dns Radulphus Bulmer miles * * * ppietur deus," with a shield charged with a lion rampant. Dnus Radulphus de Bulmer at the beginning of the 14th century; and a century later there was another Radulphus Bulmer, Knt., who, in his will, proved 10th May, 1406, gave his soul to God Almighty and his body to be buried in ye p'ish church of Bulmer. John Bulmer, rector of the parish, died in 1441, and was buried in the choir of this church. Charles Howard, third earl of Carlisle, was interred here in 1738, and removed to the mausoleum at Castle Howard in 1745. Another inscription on the floor records the death, in 1867, of the Rev. William Preston, who was for 61 years rector of this parish. The registers commence in 1571. The living is a rectory worth £360 per annum, in the gift of the Earl of Carlisle, and held by the Rev. James Gabb, B.A., who resides at Welburn. The tithes were commuted for land and a yearly modus, under the Inclosure Act, in 1777. The glebe consists of 210 acres.

The Wesleyans have a chapel in the village, erected in 1842; and there is also a well furnished school, built by the Earl of Carlisle, in 1840.

On Bulmer Hill, about a mile from the village, is a monumental column, erected by public subscription in 1869, to the memory of George William Frederick, seventh earl of Carlisle.

WELBURN. - This township, comprising about 852 acres, is chiefly the property of the Earl of Carlisle; William Coulson, Wetherby; and John Teasdale, York. Its rateable value is £1,718, and the population 560. The soil is various - limestone is quarried and burnt for building and agricultural purposes. Castle Howard railway station is in this township.

The village is distant 5½ miles S.W. from Malton, and 1½ from the station. The Church is a neat edifice in the Early English style, erected by subscription, and consecrated in 1865, the late Earl of Carlisle being the principal contributor. It consists of nave, chancel, north and south transepts, and a tower, surmounted by a spire. Several of the windows are handsome stained glass memorials of the Howard family. The sittings are of oak, and will accommodate 300 persons. The church is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, and is served by the rector of Bulmer.

The Wesleyans have a chapel here, built in 1825; and there is also an excellent school, attended by 120 children.

About a mile east of the village is the Castle Howard Reformatory, belonging to the society for the reformation of juvenile offenders convicted of crime. The district included in the scope of the society embraces the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire, the town and county of the town of Kingston-upon-Hull, and the city and vicinity of York. It was erected in 1855, and enlarged in 1867 at a cost of about £800. It was further enlarged in 1887 by the addition of a wing, comprising a large dormitory and a suite of offices, all heated by new hot-water apparatus, at a cost of upwards of £600. Attached to the institution is a chapel, built in 1868. The east window is a stained glass memorial of the seventh earl of Carlisle, inserted by his sister, the Hon. Lady Taunton, in 1878. The reformatory is supported partly by voluntary subscriptions, and is under the management of a committee, The Rev. Richard George Fish is the superintendent. There are about 80 inmates. Attached to the reformatory is a farm of 100 acres, cultivated by the boys, chiefly by spade husbandry. From the report of the committee, issued in 1888, it appears that upwards of 500 boys have passed through the school, and of this number "more than 90 per cent. have, so long as they have been traced, turned out honestly."

The Roman road from York to Dunum Sinus, near Whitby, passed through the township, and a few Roman relics have been found in the locality, but nothing of importance.

Hardy Flatts, containing 21 acres, is a small extra-parochial place adjoining.

HENDERSKELFE, comprising 1,705 acres, is also reputed extra-parochial. It is valued for rateable purposes at £1,403, and contains 132 inhabitants. The whole township is the property of the Earl of Carlisle, whose magnificent residence, called Castle Howard, forms its chief attraction. Hinderskelfe, as it was anciently called, belonged to the barons of Greystoke, in Cumberland, by one of whom a castle was erected here in the reign of Edward III. This line eventually terminated in an heiress, Elizabeth de Greystoke, who, on the death of her grandfather, in 1487, inherited the entire baronies of Greystoke and Fitzwilliam, a moiety of the baronies of Bulbeck and Wemme, a fourth part of that of Montfichet, a third of a moiety of that of Morley, or Morpeth, and also of the manor of Hinderskelfe. The heiress was a minor at the time of her father's death, and was placed under the care of the Cliffords, of Brougham Castle. She was probably intended to be the wife of one of that family, but Thomas, Lord Dacre, of Gilsland, contrived to carry on a secret amour with the young heiress, and by preconcerted arrangement between the two, carried her off during the night, and married her. He was a doughty warrior, and for seventeen years previous to his death was Lord Warden of the Marches, an office in which he exercised very considerable vigour. The third in descent from this Thomas, was George, baron of Greystoke and Gilsland, who was five years of age when he succeeded to the estates on the death of his father. His widowed mother afterwards became the third wife of the Duke of Norfolk, but died shortly after. The infant heir survived his mother only one year, when he came to an untimely end through a fall from a wooden horse. He left three sisters, who thus became coheiresses of the two baronies and the other possessions. Being minors the duke, their stepfather, obtained a grant of their wardship, with power to dispose of them in marriage. To secure their broad acres in his own family he married them to his three sons by his first two wives. Elizabeth was married to Lord William Howard, the duke's third son, and received as her share Naworth Castle, and also the castle and manor of Hinderskelfe. Lord William has acquired imperishable fame by the vigorous measures he pursued against the mosstroopers that infested the border-land; little mercy was often shown to the luckless freebooter that came within his clutches, and

"Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still
Call noble Howard 'Belted Will.'"

Lord William, having embraced the Catholic religion, was an object of persecution during the whole reign of Elizabeth; he was constantly subjected to trumpery charges of treason, was imprisoned in the Tower, and his estates sequestered, which he had to redeem by a payment of £10,000. In the first year of James I. he was restored in blood, and was appointed king's lieutenant and lord warden of the Marches. Much of the glamour which legend and story have thrown round his name has been removed by the researches of Mr. Ornsby, and though we may regret the demolition of so many of the tales we had been accustomed to believe from our childhood, his character, when "stript of its legendary aspects, stands out greater, grander, deeper, and more lovable than one ever imagined." Though his administration of law on the borders was sometimes stern and severe, yet he was no cruel oppressor. He was a man of literary culture and of refined pursuits, a brave and daring soldier, and a model of chivalry.

He died in 1640, and was succeeded in the estate by his grandson, Sir William Howard, who, dying shortly after, was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Charles Howard, who was the recipient of many royal favours. He seems to have played a somewhat promiment part in the restoration of Charles II., for which he was better rewarded than many other noble royalists who suffered heavily for their loyalty to the Crown. He was created in 1661 Earl of Carlisle, Viscount Howard of Morpeth, and Baron Dacre of Gilsland, honours borne by his descendant, the present owner of Castle Howard. Whilst fixity and integrity of principle marked the conduct of Belted Will, tergiversation characterised the actions of his great grandson. He was a Commonwealth man whilst Cromwell was in the ascendant, and, as commissioner for the northern counties, was busily employed in securing and imprisoning all those who were not favourable to the Protector. In a letter to Cromwell he says: "Besides the greate tyes of conscience, honour, and gratitude, I have a particular one, which is love to your person, and thatt I can say with bouldness is soe harty, thatt noe man thatt serves you hath more." He held several important offices under government. He married Anne, daughter of Edward, Lord Howard of Escrick, and, dying in 1686, was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward, second earl, who died in 1692, leaving one son, Charles, who became third earl. This nobleman filled the high offices of first lord of the treasury, constable of the tower, and governor of Windsor Castle.

About this time the castle of Hinderskelfe was destroyed by fire, and he built on its site the magnificent pile since known as Castle Howard, which thenceforth became the principal residence of the family. He was one of the original members of the Kit-Kat Club, and is mentioned in Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors as "a poet of no mean ability." Henry, fourth earl, his eldest son, married for his second wife Isabella, daughter of William, Lord Byron, and great aunt of the poet. He died 1758, and was succeeded by his son, Frederick, fifth earl, who was distinguished for his literary abilities and aesthetic taste. He was the author of several dramas and a volume of poems, and was a contributor to the Anti-Jacobin Review. He was K.T., K.G., P.C., F.R.S., treasurer of the household, 1777; first. commissioner of trade and plantations, 1779; and lord lieutenant of Ireland, 1780-2. His lordship married the Lady Margaret Caroline Leveson Gower, daughter of Granville, first marquis of Stafford, and died in 1825. George, sixth earl, his eldest son, was K.G., P.C., F.R.S., and lord privy seal, 1827-8 and 1834. He married in 1801 Lady Georgiana Dorothy Cavendish, eldest daughter of William, fifth duke of Devonshire, and died October 7th, 1848, the countess. Surviving him 10 years. He had issue six sons and six daughters.

George William Frederick, his eldest son, succeeded to the titles and estates. He was a K.T., K.G., P.C., an orator, a statesman, and a man of letters, and equally esteemed for his private virtues and amiability of character. He was, whilst Viscount Morpeth, twice returned to parliament for the whole of Yorkshire, and four times for the West Riding. In parliament he introduced and carried not less than 13 bills, including the Irish Tithes Bill, Irish Municipal Bill, and the Irish Poor Law Bill. He was chief secretary for Ireland, 1835-41; chief commissioner of Woods and Forests, 1846-50; chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, 1850-2; lord lieutenant of Ireland, 1855-8, and again 1859-64. He travelled in the East and in America, and published a narrative of his Eastern wanderings. He was also the author of several poetical works, and lectured on the poetry of Pope and Gray. He died in 1864, and statues and monuments have been erected to his memory in Dublin. He was never married, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving brother, the Hon. and Rev. William George Howard, rector of Londesborough. He died on the 29th of March, 1889, at the age of 81, but had never been able to fulfil the duties of his high position, in consequence of a mental affection which developed itself some years previous to the death of his illustrious brother. He was never married, and was succeeded in the title and estates by his nephew, George James Howard, Esq., the only son of the Hon. Charles Wentworth Howard, and Mary, second daughter of Lord Wensleydale. He married in 1864 Rosalind Frances, youngest daughter of the second Lord Stanley of Alderley, and has issue six sons and four daughters. It is a singular fact in connection with the earldom of Carlisle, that for seven generations, extending over a period of two centuries, the title and estates had descended in a direct line from father to son until the death of the seventh earl, in 1864, when the first break occurred. Speaking of the illustrious house of Howard, a writer in "Abbeys, Castles, and Ancient Halls of England" says, "If the house of Howard is not as ancient as many another English family of whom noble representatives are still extant, such has been its history, the blameless character of its great chiefs, and the splendid alliances it has contracted, that its influence has grown from generation to generation until it came to claim precedence over every other noble family of Britain, with the exception of the Royal Family."

Castle Howard, the principal residence of the Carlisle branch of the family,. is one of the most magnificent mansions in the kingdom, combining the most exquisite beauty of detail in all its parts, both within and without, with luxurious comfort and elegance. It occupies the site of the ancient castle of Hinderskelfe, which was accidentally destroyed by fire, and was erected between the years 1701 and 1781, from the designs of Sir John Vaubrugh, the architect of Blenheim House, which it closely resembles, The south front is the most imposing in appearance. It is 323 feet in length, and consists of a centre and two wings, of lower elevation. The centre presents a pediment and entablature, supported by fluted Corinthian pilasters, and is approached by a grand flight of steps. The north front consists of an elaborate centre of the Corinthian Order, surmounted by a cupola, and flanked on either side by extensive wings. Here occurs the only glaring architectural incongruity in the whole fabric. The west wing, of later date, was erected from a design of Sir James Robinson, and presents a marked contrast to the elegant style of the east wing.

From this front is the entrance to the Great Hall, a handsome finished apartment, 85 feet square and 60 feet high, and terminating in a cupola, which rests upon arches supported by Corinthian columns. The top of this dome is 100 feet from the hall floor, and on the interior is represented the Fall of Phaeton, painted by Antonio Pelegrini, and on the walls are allegorical paintings by the same artist. Round the hall, raised on pedestals, are statues and busts of Roman emperors and mythological characters. The Tapestry Room, 26 feet by 22, is hung with Brussels tapestry, after the designs of Teniers, and contains a very elegant chimney-piece, supported on Corinthian columns of Sienna marble. Here are busts, cabinets, and decorations, in precious stones and antique marbles. The Dining Room, 27 feet by 23, is superbly furnished with several valuable paintings, busts, and ornaments, in porphyry and Sicilian jasper. The Saloon, 34 feet by 24, contains several very fine pictures and sculptures, &c., and on the ceiling is painted a representation of Aurora, The Drawing Room, 27 feet by 23, is most elegantly furnished and decorated. Antique bronzes and slabs of alabaster and porphyry also add their charms.

The Museum contains a rich and varied collection of antiquities, antique marbles curiously inlaid, busts of Roman emperors and poets, sepulchral urns, and a cylindrical altar said to have stood in the Temple of Delphi. The Gallery, 160 feet by 20, is stored with valuable examples of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art.

The foregoing are the principal apartments usually shown to the public. Above these are numerous handsome rooms, gorgeously furnished, and elaborately decorated.

The collection of paintings is both large and costly, but our limited space permits only the mention of a few of the most noteworthy. First amongst them is Annibale Carraci's celebrated "Three Marys," one of the most admired pictures in the Manchester Exhibition of Art Treasures in 1857; the "Entombment of Christ," by Ludovico Carraci, both purchased from the Palace Royal, Paris, during the Revolution; "St. John the Evangelist," by Domenichino, the finest example of that artist in existence; the "Nativity," by Tintoretto, and a "Butcher's Dog and Three Cats," by Titian.

The grounds are an extensive and beautiful intermixture of garden, lawn, lake, and forest, adorned with groups of statuary, elegantly furnished summer houses bearing classic names, and memorial columns, commemorating events in the annals of the Howard family. The park, including the pleasure grounds, extends over 1,500 acres, and is richly wooded and stocked with deer. It contains several beautiful lakes, and is intersected by avenues shaded by lime trees. About half-a-mile eastward from the mansion is a beautiful summer-house built after the style of an Ionic temple, with four porticoes, and surmounted by an elegant dome. In niches over the doors are busts of Vespasian, Faustina, Trajan, and Sabina. The floor is disposed in compartments of antique marble of various colours. The exterior is adorned by statues representing Grace, Faith, Hope, and Charity. This is called the temple of Diana. In another part of the grounds is the temple of Venus. The dome which surmounts it is supported by eight circular pillars, with open spaces between them, and on a pedestal in the centre stands a statue of Venus. The mausoleum, incidentally mentioned on a former page, stands on a gentle eminence a little distance beyond the temple of Diana. It is a circular building about 30 feet in diameter, surrounded by a handsome Done colonnade of 21 pillars, and crowned by a dome, the highest point of which is 69 feet from the floor. The cornice supporting the dome rests on eight Corinthian columns. The basement contains 64 catacombs, built under groined arches. Over the vault is a circular chapel.

Opposite the entrance gates from Welburn stands a stately obelisk, 100 feet in height, and 25 feet square at the base, erected in 1714, bearing inscriptions commemorating the victories of John, duke of Marlborough, and the erection of Castle Howard, and the formation of the woods, pleasure grounds, &c., &c. Another monument deserving of notice is the Pyramid, about half-a-mile south of the mansion, erected to the memory of William Lord Howard, third son of the Duke of Norfolk, the "Belted Will" of Border history, and ancestor of the Castle Howard branch of the Howards.

At the south entrance to the park is the Guest House, formerly an inn, but now converted into a convalescent home for young women.

In August, 1850, Her Majesty Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales, Princess Alice, and Prince Alfred, visited Castle Howard on their way to Balmoral, and spent two nights here. As a souvenir of their visit each of them planted a tree in Lady Mary Howard's garden.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.