Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of East Gilling - Electoral Division of Croft - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Darlington - Rural Deanery and Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
This is a small parish lying on the south bank of the Tees, and comprising a little less than 1,000 acres. The rateable value is £1,953, and the number of inhabitants 178. There is a bed of limestone, and limekilns have been erected convenient to the Merrybent & Darlington Mineral branch line, which passes through the parish, The manorial rights belong to Theodore Fry, Esq., M.P., who is also the largest landowner; the other proprietors are Messrs. Forster, Mrs. Mercer, Miss Scurfield, Hurworth; Mr. J. Thompson, Hurworth; and Mr. C. N. Coates, Stapleton.
The village is small but neat, with a green in the centre, on which four trees have been planted in commemoration of the Queen's Jubilee. It is distant 3½ miles W. by S. of Darlington. The church, of unknown dedication, is a plain stone structure, rebuilt in 1828. The one that previously occupied the site was built by the Rev. Dr. Robinson, Bishop of London, to whose memory the east window has been filled with stained glass, representing Christ's sermon on the mount and St. John the Baptist preaching in the wilderness, above which is the crucifixion. On a tablet beneath is the following inscription, giving an epitome of his life "In Memory of the Right Rev. John Robinson, D.D., born at Cleasby, A.D. 1650, and a liberal benefactor of this church and parish; he served the Crown with distinction as Ambassador to Sweden, 1683-1708; Lord Privy Seal and first plenipotentiary to the Congress of Utrecht, 1712; and the Church as Dean of Windsor, Bishop of Bristol, and afterwards of London, buried at Fulham, 1723; also of his brother, Christopher Robinson, born at Cleasby, 1645, who, settling in Virginia, married Katherine, daughter of Robert Beverley, of Beverley, in Yorkshire, and left many descendants. This window is dedicated by the family of the late Sir John Beverley Robinson, Bart., C.B., of Upper Canada, and the great grandchildren of Col. Beverley Robinson, son of the aforesaid John Robinson and Katherine Beverley, A.D. 1878." Another tablet is to the memory of the late Rev. J. H. Coombe, "erected by friends, in token of the esteem felt for him after 33 years' labour in this parish. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Ripon, valued at £188, including 100 acres of glebe, and in the incumbency of the Rev. Richard H. Taylor, B.A. The registers date from 1712.
The Vicarage House was built by Bishop Robinson, and his coat-of-arms appears above the door. The same benevolent prelate founded a school and endowed it with 16 acres of land, for the free education of six poor boys. A Friends' Day School was erected by the late Thomas Pease, Esq., in 1848, but the two are now merged in one, conducted as a British School, and held in the premises of the latter. The Methodists hold a service in the school every Sunday evening.
In 1731 Letitia Cornwallis bequeathed £100, now increased to £358 15s. 5d., three per cent. consols, for the relief of poor housekeepers of this parish.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.