Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of East Gilling - Electoral Division of Brompton - Petty Sessional Division, Poor Law Union, and County Court District of Northallerton - Rural Deanery of East Richmond - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.
This parish, including the chapelry of Yafforth, contains, according to Ordnance measurement, 4,714 acres, and had, in 1881, 476 inhabitants, who are chiefly employed in agriculture. The soil is a strong clay; about one-third of it is laid down in grass; wheat, oats, and barley are the chief crops under cultivation. The township of Danby Wiske, containing 3,364 acres, is valued, for rating purposes, at £2,538, and has a population of 287.
Danby Wiske was formerly the lordship and residence of the Calverts, Lords Baltimore, who subsequently removed to Kiplin, in the parish of Catterick, and sold this property early in the 18th century. The proprietorship has changed several times since then. The present lord of the manor is the Ven. Archdeacon Cust, who is also the most extensive landowner, besides whom the following have land in the township, viz.:- The Rev. B. Connell; Mr. John H. Bowman, Belle Vue, Darlington; W. F. Webb, Esq., Newstead Abbey; Mr. C. M. Masterman; the trustees of the late J. B. W. Hildyard, Esq., Hutton Bonville; Miss Rawson, Nydd Hall; exors. of A. Fountain; H. Hollins, Esq., Mr. F. Hansell, Thirsk; Messrs. Braithwaite, Bedale; &c.
The village of Danby Wiske is pleasantly situated on the west bank of the Wiske, from which it has received its distinguishing addendum. This river, which forms the eastern boundary of the parish, has preserved, with very little change, its ancient British name of Uisge, that is "the water." The village is distant four miles N.N.W. of Northallerton, and a little over a quarter of a mile from Danby Wiske railway station on the main line of the North Eastern system.
The Church is an ancient Gothic edifice, but traces of an earlier structure may be seen in the old Norman doorway. Above this entrance are some figures carved in stone, and evidently the work of an early age, which have excited a great deal of attention among archæologists, by some of whom they have been pronounced inexplicable. The present rector has bestowed much thought upon them, and after carefully comparing them with drawings of ancient and somewhat similar sculpture, unearthed a few years ago in Assyria, gives the following explanation of them:- The central figure is the Angel of Judgment, holding, with one hand, a soul that has just been brought in, in chains, to receive judgment. In his other hand the angel holds a balance, in one scale of which are the good deeds of the deceased, and in the other scale are his evil deeds; the latter are heavier, and are weighing down the scale, and the prisoner is about to be sentenced, when the Angel of Mercy glides in, slips his finger under the scale heavily laden with sins, and, esing them up, causes the other scale to descend. Thus the good deeds seem to preponderate, and the prisoner is acquitted.
The figures, therefore, remind the congregation as they enter that a day of judgment is inevitable, that all souls will pass through the hands of the Angel of Justice, and that unless the Angel of Mercy (Jesus Christ) takes compassion on them, and helps and saves them, the evil deeds of this life will weigh so heavily against them as to insure their just condemnation.
The Church consists of a nave, with a clerestory, north aisle, chancel, south porch, and west tower, containing three bells. The font is ancient and massive. In the chancel floor are two inscribed slabs, covering the remains of George Baker and Gabriel Blakeston, former rectors of this parish, and also three white tablets, to the memory of members of the family of the Venerable Archdeacon Cust. The living is a rectory, valued in the King's Books at £9 3s., but now worth £425, with residence. It is in the gift of J. R. Evans, Esq., and held by the Rev. Robert Connell, M.A., B.D., King's College, Aberdeen, who succeeded Archdeacon Gust, in 1883.
The Wesleyans have a chapel here, erected in 1839, and there is also a school, a small low-roofed building, attended by about 37 children.
Streetlam is a hamlet about two miles west of Danby.
YAFFORTH township, situated in the vale of the Wiske, contains 1,350 acres, chiefly the property of Miss Rawson, Nydd Hall; C. M. Masterman, Esq., Mrs. Oastler, Saltburn; Mrs. M. Johnson, Broomfield House; and the trustees of the late Mr. William Lancaster. Its rateable value is £1,793, and the number of inhabitants 189.
The village stands on the west bank of the Wiske, 1½ miles W. of Northallerton. The Chapel-of-Ease, dedicated to All Saints, is of ancient foundation, but was rebuilt in 1870, at a cost of £1,600, the greater part of which was contributed by the Masterman family. It is a neat Gothic structure, consisting of chancel, nave, vestry, south porch, and square tower. The east window is a beautiful stained memorial of the Masterman family. It consists of three lights. The centre one bears representations of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection; on one side are the Conversion of St. Paul and one of the prophets of the Old Testament, and on the other, Abraham offering up his son Isaac and the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. There are also three stained glass windows in the chancel to the memory of members of the Dobson family. The reredos is a beautiful piece of work in Caen stone. It is divided into four recessed panels, on which are shown exquisitely carved representations of the Nativity, Baptism, Transfiguration, and Resurrection of Christ. An old octagonal font, bearing the date 1663, lies in the churchyard. The registers date from the 16th century. The curate in charge is the Rev. A. W. Denman, who resides at Little Danby house.
The School was built and endowed by the Masterman family in 1867 and 1868, for Church of England purposes, and is under the control of the rector of the parish of Danby Wiske with Yafforth. The endowment is composed of several sums invested in government consols of a total value of about £1,000.
The members of the United Methodist Free Church have a chapel here; a small brick structure built in 1868.
The Old Hall is an ivy covered building bearing the date 1614, but restored in 1887. It is tenanted by Mr. F. Atkinson, and occupied by one of his servants. There are several genteel residences in the village.
Near the river is a small cone-shaped eminence, called Howe Hill. It has the appearance of a huge barrow or sepulchral mound, and is supposed to have been used by the Romans as an outpost to their camp on Castle Hill, Northallerton. It is so trenched near the top that a thousand men might be placed upon it without being seen from below.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.