CRATHORNE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Stokesley - Electoral and Petty Sessional Divisions of Yarm - Rural Deanery of Stokesley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This parish contains 2,522 acres, and 247 persons; rateable value, £2,635. It is called in Domesday Book Cratorne, or Cratorna. The derivation of the word seems to be from the Norse language, kraka, a crow, and thorn, a thorn, i.e., Crow-thorn. There is a statement made in some histories of Cleveland that its former name was Baynarde; if so, it possibly may have been held under or granted by the Percys, of Kildale Castle (who seem, by marriage into the family of de Brus, to have become possessed of large tracts of land in this part of Northumbria soon after the Norman conquest), to a family named Baynarde, sometime between 1063 and 1290 or so, and thus have been called Baynarde's estate at Crathorne. In the latter part of the thirteenth or beginning of the fourteenth century, it seems to have passed into the possesssion of a family which took the name of the place, Crathorne or Craythorne, and the estate continued in the possession of this family till the reign of Queen Victoria. In 1844, Mary Augusta Rosalia Tasburgh, wife of Michael Clune, of Burghwallis, near Doncaster, Yorkshire (who took the name of Tasburgh), and daughter of George Tasburgh Crathorne, died possessed of this manor. She was the last of the Crathornes in direct descent. In 1845 their estate was sold by auction and purchased by the late Mr. William Dugdale, of Burnley, Lancashire. The present owner of all the land and houses in the parish (except the glebe, the Catholic chapel and priest's house, and High Foxton farm) is Mr. James Lionel Dugdale, grand-nephew of the above William Dugdale. The surface, except the Leven valley, is generally level, and the scenery along the banks of the river is well wooded.

At Crathorne, and also at Hilton, fully a century before any mention of the name of any member of the Crathorne family occurs, the family of Welford, in the humbler walks of life, was evidently settled, and still, to this day, are members of and living at Crathorne and Hilton. All through the middle ages their names are recorded as witnesses to deeds, sometimes spelt Wellfoot, Wellfoort, or Welford. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth they are now and then returned as "recusants," for not having adopted the reformed religion; and they still adhere to the Catholic church.

The village, with its whitewashed cottages nestling amidst orchards and gardens (for almost every cottage has its garden plot), and ornamented with chestnut trees, copper beeches, lilacs, laburnums, &c., is very picturesque, and is situated on the Northallerton and Thirsk road, on the western side of the vale of the river Leven (a tributary of the Tees), 4 miles S. by E. of Yarm. The eighteenth century house, built on the site of the old manor house, the residence of the Crathornes, pleasantly situated above the banks of the river at the eastern extremity of the village, immediately to the N.W. of the churchyard, was converted into cottages by the last resident of that family in 1808. Till about 1845,. one of the chief occupations of the people was hand-loom weaving of linen, but now, in these days of steam, there is not a single loom left, In the Leven valley, below the east end of the village, were formerly bleaching grounds for linen yarn and linen cloth. On the hill side, to the west of the present corn-mill, sloping up from the said grass holme formerly used as a bleaching ground, is a petrifying spring. Picton Junction station, on the North Eastern railway, is two miles, distant and Trenholme Bar station, one mile and a half from Crathorne. Graves says that Crathorne is remarkable for the longevity of its inhabitants. In 1881, in the village (not including any of the outlying houses), were living five people aged between 80 and 90, not to mention others between 70 and 80 years of age.

On November 16, 1878, during a great flood of the Leven, caused by the sudden melting of a heavy snowfall on the hills to the east, the one-arched, high-humped, mediaeval stone bridge, in the valley just below the east end of the village, was washed down and destroyed. In 1882, another one-arched stone. bridge was erected on the same site by the county authorities and the landowners.

In 1887-8, the church (All Saints') was all, except the north and south walls of the nave, rebuilt of stone, at the sole cost of Mr. James Lionel Dugdale, and a tower was added at the west end of the nave, and a vestry on the north side of the chancel. The nave, which ended with the west wall and had an open bell-turret above the west wall, containing two bells, was apparently built sometime between 1290 and 1320, on the site probably either of a Norman or Saxon church; but if there ever had been a Norman church, which is very doubtful, it had evidently been built upon the site of a Saxon or Danish church, as the Saxon or Danish gravestones found in pulling down the west wall in 1887 indicate. Both Saxon or Danish gravestones, dating probably sometime between 800 and 1066,. and mediaeval grave-covers, dating perhaps between 1100 and 1350, were found built into the said west wall as parts of the foundation, and as "throughs," window-sills, and lintels. All these stones (except one large Saxon gravestone and two fragments of a stone "narrow-house-of-death" belonging to it, which were sent to be added to the collection in Durham Cathedral library) were in 1888 built into the new walls of the church, inside, so as to exhibit the sculptures upon them. Above the inner doorway of the porch, entering the nave at the S.W., is a Saxon gravestone similar to the above, with Saxon strap-work pattern worked on both sides, the pattern of which is, on the inner side, cut through to make room for the door; this stone, apparently, had been placed here as a lintel when the church was rebuilt in the earlier part of the fourteeth century, and is. still left in the same position. The iron hinges and circular handle on the inside of the inner door of the porch are of fourteenth century workmanship, and have swung the church door ever since then. The chancel, pulled down in 1887, was a modern and unsightly structure, rebuilt in 1844. Above its east gable was a stone inscribed "I.P., 1688," probably indicating a rebuilding or repairing by John Pearson, who was then rector. One of the two bells, still good and sound, now hanging in the new tower, judging from its shape and make - a long pear-like shape - probably dates from about the year 1300, and therefore it must have looked down, amongst many other changes, upon the awful visitation of the black death in 1349 (temp. Edward III.), when probably one-half or two-thirds of the inhabitants were hastily brought to be laid to rest in the churchyard, where trenches were dug ready to receive them; as well as listened on the long winter nights to the bark of wolves sounding over the snow-clad wastes. The other bell, which only dates from 1702, is to be re-cast, and a third one added. The 1300 bell is uninscribed and undated; the 1702 one is both inscribed and dated,. "Gloria in altissimis Deo"., 1702. The rebuilt walls follow, as to the chancel, the style of late fourteenth century; and the lower story of the tower, like the south side of the nave, early fourteenth, and the upper storey late fourteenth century. The old window in the north wall of the nave is late fourteenth century, and the three windows of the south wall early fourteenth; so that the restoration (carried out under Mr. C. Hodgson Fowler, architect, of Durham) follows throughout the style of the dates of the preceding mediaeval church. The benches and other internal fittings are of oak. On the north side of the chancel, within the altar rails, is a sandstone recumbent effigy of a warrior in chain armour, supposed to represent Sir William Crathorne, Knight, who was killed at the battle of Neville's Cross, near the city of Durham, in 1346. In a vault on the north side, beneath the floor of the chancel, are interred the bodies of Thomas Crathorne, who died in 1815, aged 55 years; George, his brother, who died at Dieppe, in France, in 1825, aged 64; Francis, who died in 1833, aged 74; and the above Mary Augusta Rosalia Tasburgh, who died in 1844, aged 52. There is also said to be an ancient grave of the Bagots, who intermarried with the Crathornes, but its position is now forgotten. The living is an ancient rectory, in the gift of Mr. James Lionel Dugdale, and the rector is the Rev. James Alder Wilson, M.A. His three immediate predecessors were John, Ralph, and Ralph Grenside, the last two of whom possessed the benefice respectively 47 and 51 years. It is valued in the king's (Henry VIII.) books at £10 11s. 10½d., and is now about £270, arising from 248 acres of glebe, and £84 composition for tithes. There is also a rectory house.

The Catholic chapel, a plain brick building, overshadowed by some very fine copper-beech trees, was rebuilt in 1824, and was endowed by the late Ralph Crathorne with £30 per annum. The Crathorne family were throughout their generations Roman Catholics.

The present school of the village is a picturesque brick building, erected in 1874 by the late Mr. John Dugdale, father of the present owner, and stands at the S.W. corner of the village where two roads cross. It is under the management of a School Board consisting of five members. In 1769, Thomas Baxter, schoolmaster of Crathorne, left by will £100, the interest of which he directed to be spent on the education of the children of the poor of the parish of Crathorne. Of this legacy, £50 was lost by the insolvency of a person in whose hands it was lodged. To the remaining £50, the sum of £25, arising from several years accumulation of interest, was added, and in 1881, the Charity Commissioners issued a new scheme for the interest of the money to be expended in providing exhibitions or free scholarships to a certain number of the children of the poor of the parish, to be administered by five trustees, viz., the rector, the two churchwardens, and the two overseers of the poor.

Foxton consists of two farms, High and Low Foxton, on the east side of Crathorne parish, and forms part of the endowment of Kirkleatham Hospital..

[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.