BURNESTON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Hallikeld - Electoral Division of Masham - Poor Law Union of Bedale - County Court District of Ripon - Rural Deanery of East Catterick - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.

This parish lies westward of the river Swale, and in the rich and fruitful vale of Mowbray. The surface is an unpicturesque level, but the soil is fertile and produces good crops of wheat, barley, and turnips. The parish comprises the townships of Burneston, Carthorpe, Exelby-Leeming and Newton, Gatenby, and Theakston, whose united area is 7,411 acres, of which 1,185 acres belong to the township of Burneston. Its rateable value is £2,198. The inhabitants of the parish, who are chiefly employed in agriculture, in 1881, numbered 1,888, of whom 253 resided in the above township. The principal landowners are Villiers Dent, Esq., (lord of the manor); the Hon. Mrs. Dawson-Damer, eldest surviving daughter of the late Lord Rokeby; W. D. Russell, Esq., and Mr. W. Dovenor, Burneston Grange.

The village is pleasantly situated about four miles S.E. of Bedale. The Church (St. Lambert) is a large and ancient edifice, rebuilt in the Perpendicular style in the 15th century. It consists of a lofty clerestoried nave with north and south aisles, chancel, south porch, and a west tower surmounted by a spire. The building was thoroughly restored and refurnished by the Duchess of Cleveland, and a handsome east window of five lights inserted in memory of her husband William Henry, first duke of Cleveland. A three-light pictorial window on the north side of the chancel, subject, " I am the resurrection and the life," commemorates the death of Robert Russell, in 1876. There are also tablets here to the Carter, Harrison, and Elsley families, and two brasses to the Chaloners and Andersons. The lofty proportions, the sombre hue of its carved oak roof, and the elegant gothic arches of the aisles give the interior a very handsome and imposing effect. Some of the ancient dark oak pews remain. These, an inscription on one of them tells us, were added in 1627 at a cost of £50, left by Thomas Robinson, Esq., of Allathorpe. The font is octagonal with the date 1662 on one of its facets. There are six bells in the tower, three of which were added by subscription in 1874. In 1887 about £200 was spent in draining the churchyard and planting it with trees, and at the same time nearly an acre of ground was added, the gift of W. D. Russell, Esq., the patron of the living. The vicarage, valued in the King's Books (temp Henry VIII.) at £37 6s. 8d., is endowed with one-third of the great tithes of Burneston; the other two-thirds belong to G. J. Serjeantson, Esq., Camp Hill, and Charles Carter, Esq., Theakston Hall. Its present value is £480.

The Wesleyans have a chapel in the village, a plain brick building rebuilt in 1859, on the site of the old one.

A Free Grammar School and Hospital were founded here in 1680 by Matthew Robinson, M.A., Vicar of Burneston, an ancester of the late Lord Rokeby, who endowed them with a rent-charge of £43 5s. on a farm at Scabbed Newton. The building along, narrow, antiquated structure of two stories, formerly contained both almshouse and school, the master and usher of which had free apartments in the house. In 1852 the constitution of the school was altered, and separate premises were erected by subscription and grant from the Committee of Council of Education. The other property of the institution consists of 12 acres 3 roods of land at Carthorpe, purchased from 1795 to 1818, with various gifts, legacies, and contributions, and now let for £27 a year. There are five almspeople in the house, four women and one man, the youngest of whom has passed the allotted "three score and ten," each of whom receives 11/6 monthly, 5/- in July for coals, 2/- in September for a dinner, and 7/6 in January for a dress.

The Poor's Land, seven acres, at Exelby, was partly bequeathed by Richard Foes, in 1673, and partly purchased in 1780 with £80 benefaction money, and £73 10s. raised by subscription. It lets for £12 a year. The poor have also the rent of a gravel pit (£2 a year) and the interest of £100 saved from the profits of this pit.

CARTHORPE township (area 2,056 acres, rateable value £2,890) is chiefly the property of George John Serjeantson, Esq., J.P., Camp Hill; William Poole, Esq., Little Danby; Mrs. Ryott, Southport; and John Stead, Carthorpe. The land is generally low, and the soil partly clay and sand, except in the north west about Intake house where it is of a peaty nature, indicative of a lake or marsh in former times; its name too, Carthorpe - the thorpe by the Carrs - is corroborative of this. Some fields here bear the name of Boghills from the numerous little hillocks which they contain. These we are credibly informed, when levelled down, rise again in four or five years. The rise of the mounds is not gradual but sudden; the explanation of the phenomenon we leave to others.

The village occupies a low situation about a mile S. of Burneston. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have chapels here, and there is also a public elementary school, the property of, and solely supported by Mr. Serjeantson. About half-a-mile from the village is Camp Hill, the residence of the above named gentleman. The estate and manor were purchased by the present owner's father, from the Rev. Mr. Lambert in 1796, and very considerable additions made to the mansion. The Serjeantsons have been settled in Yorkshire for more than 400 years, and for 300 years have held land at Hanlith. The present representative now, (August, 1888) in his 89th year, is the last of the family. In a portion of the village called Hall-garth is the shell of an ancient chapel, now used as a lumber shed and cow-house. Nothing is known of its history nor of the period of its erection, but Mr. Longstaffe assigns it to Saxon or early Norman times.

An ancient stone hammer was found at Breach House in 1856, and a few years ago three skeletons were discovered 12 or 15 inches below the surface at Howe Hill on the east side of Carthorpe.

The poor of the township have £3 a year, left by John Gale of Bushy, Hertfordshire.

EXELBY, LEEMING, AND NEWTON are three separate places, forming, conjointly, a township containing 2,439 acres, and 690 inhabitants. For rating purposes it is valued at £4,223. It is in Bedale union and Electoral division, and Northallerton County Court district, The manor and a large portion of the land belong to W. D. Russell, Esq., whose father, the late Capt. W. N. Russell, inherited this estate from the late dowager duchess of Cleveland (daughter of R. Russell, Esq.,) who died in 1861. Thomas Sturgess and Mrs. A. Bell have also estates in the township.

Exelby is a small village, about two miles E.S.E. of Bedale, consisting of a Wesleyan chapel and a few cottages.

Leeming village, three miles E.N.E. of Bedale, is so called from its situation on Leeming Lane, a portion of the old Roman road (Watling Street), which extended northwards into Scotland, The name, according to Dr. Stukeley, is compounded of two British words, Lhe Maen, signifying the "stony way," in allusion to the stones wherewith it was paved. A more probable origin is lime, which is here abundant, and which, in the old Frisian dialect of Yorkshire about the time of the Conquest, was called leahm. A chapel (St. John the Baptist) was erected here in 1424, and endowed with £2 17s. 3d. per annum out of the Exchequer. This edifice having become dilapidated, was rebuilt in 1839, at a cost of about £600, raised by subscription. It is a very plain brick building. The living, formerly a perpetual curacy, was constituted a vicarage in 1880, the district assigned including Leeming, Newton, and Londonderry. It is in the gift of the vicar of Burneston, and is worth £160 per annum.

There are also in the village chapels belonging to the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists, the former erected in 1844, and the latter in 1853, and enlarged in 1862.

The school belongs to the church, but was transferred in 1874 to the School Board, who pay one shilling a year as an acknowledgment. It is attended by 120 children.

Newton, or, as it is sometimes called, Scabbed Newton, is a hamlet about one mile S. of Leeming. Newton House, the seat of W. D. Russell, Esq., J.P., is a handsome stone mansion, surrounded by pleasant, well wooded grounds. It was rebuilt by William Henry, first duke of Cleveland, on the site of an older edifice. Londonderry is a village on the great north road, about two miles from Leeming Bar station. A neat lecture hall has recently been erected by Mr. Russell for the benefit of the inhabitants.

CHARITIES. - The poor of this township have the bequests of Ralph Cowley, in 1663, and Thomas Isles, in 1684, together amounting to £7 per annum. Isle's dole is given to the poor of Exelby only.

GATENBY (the by, or town on the gata or road) township, containing 849 acres, is chiefly owned by W. D. Russell, Esq., but Mrs. Shaw and Charles and Abraham Gowland have also land here. The hamlet is small and scattered, and situated on high ground on the west side of the Swale, 4½ miles E. of Bedale. Church service is held every alternate Sunday afternoon, in the Ivy Cottages, by the vicar of Burneston. The rateable value of the township is £1,145.

THEAKSTON township (estimated area, inclusive of woods, 919 acres) is chiefly the property of Charles Carter, Esq., J.P., Theakston Hall. The Grange farm belongs to W. D. Russell, Esq. The village of Theakston, i.e., the thatched town, is pleasantly situated, midway between Burneston and Exelby. Theakston Hall, the seat of Charles Carter, Esq., is a handsome mansion, surrounded by well wooded grounds. Mr. Carter succeeded his father, the late E. J. Carter, Esq., D.L., in 1863. He is a magistrate for the North Riding, and was formerly captain in the 68th Bengal Native Infantry.

[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.