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GILLING WEST: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of West Gilling - Electoral Division of Gilling - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Richmond - Rural Deanery of Richmond West - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.

This parish formerly comprised the townships of Gilling, North Cowton, South Cowton, and Eryholme, but the two Cowtons and Eryholme now form separate ecclesiastical parishes, in no way subordinate to Gilling, except in the payment of tithes. The parish of Gilling is co-extensive with the township of that name, the area of which is 4,877 acres, and the population 872. It is valued, for rating purposes, at £6,585. The soil is loamy, and the subsoil sand and gravel. The landowners are J. T. Wharton, Esq., Skelton Castle (lord of the manor); Christopher Cradock, Esq., J.P., Hartforth Hall; George Thomas Gilpin-Brown, Esq., J.P., Sedbury Park; Rev. J. C. Wharton (glebe land), Gilling Vicarage; and Alderson's exors.

Gilling is a place of very great antiquity, and was, in the old Saxon times, the capital of the district afterwards called Richmondshire. It is now generally believed to be identical with the Ingethlingum, Gillingham, or Guethlin of the Saxon Chronicles, where the amiable and gentle Oswin, king of Deira, was basely betrayed into the hands of Oswy, king of Bernicia, by whom he was cruelly murdered in 651; and where, according to Bede, the royal murderer afterwards, in his moments of compunction, erected and endowed a monastery in expiation of his crime, charging the monks therein with the obligation of offering up daily prayers for the soul of Oswin, and also for his own. Trumhere, an Englishman and kinsman of the murdered king, was made the first abbot, but was afterwards appointed by King Wulphere, bishop of the Mercians. Two hundred years afterwards the monastery was utterly destroyed by the Danes under Inguar and Ubba, and not a stone remains to mark the spot where it stood.

In the closing years of Saxon England, Gilling, or, as it is written in Domesday Book, Ghellinghes, with all its towns and lordships, was held by Earl Edwin, who, with his brother Morcar, had resisted the tyranny of Tostig, and, later, endangered the stability of the Norman Conqueror's government. His baronial residence stood on Castle Hill, near Scales Farm, about a mile south of the village, but the last traces of the castle were removed about the beginning of the present century. The Conqueror confiscated the lands of Edwin and transferred them to his trusty follower, Alan Rufus, who, deeming Gilling Castle but an insecure protection against the assaults of the evicted and plundered natives, built for himself the castle of Richmond, The manor subsequently reverted to the Crown, and Henry VIII., by letters patent in 1519, granted it to Sir John Norton, Knight, as the twentieth part of one knight's fee, and a yearly rent of £25 11s. 7½d. The last of the family that owned the manor was Richard, the "fearless Norton," commemorated by Wordsworth, in his poem of the "White Doe of Rylstone." He was 75 years of age when the Northern Earls rose in rebellion against Elizabeth, yet such was his youthful ardour that he entered with eight or nine of his sons into the rash attempt to expel an oppressive and illegitimate queen from the throne. He escaped to Flanders, where he died A.D. 1585.

In the latter part of the 16th century, the manor and estate came by purchase into the possession of the Whartons, of Kirkby Thore, descendants of Gilbert Wharton, brother of Thomas Wharton, of Wharton, Westmoreland, ancestor of the Lords Wharton, the last of whom was created Duke of Wharton, but died an outcast in a Bernardine convent in Spain. The family residence was at Gilling Wood Hall, which was burnt down last century, and a farmhouse now occupies the site. The present owner is descended from Ann, the eldest of the daughters and co-heirs of Anthony Wharton, of Gillingwood, as related in the account of Skelton Parish.

The village of Gilling is pleasantly situated three miles N. of Richmond. The Church (St. Agatha) is an ancient edifice, and probably occupies the site of the Saxon abbey. It was rebuilt during the Norman period, and, though several restorations have taken place since that time, it still retains a few traces of Norman workmanship. It was restored and refurnished by the present vicar in 1845, In the north aisle was the chantry of St. Nicholas, probably founded by the Boyntons, former lords of Sedbury, who were buried in this part of the church. A black marble gravestone, sculptured in low relief, bears a Latin inscription in Old English text, intimating that beneath "lie Sir Henry Boynton, Knight, the last heir of Sudbery of that name, and Isabella, his wife, who died in the year of Our Lord 1531, on whose souls may God have mercy." On a gravestone in the churchyard is the following poetic effusion, recording "the mournful fate" of John Moore, of Gilling, who was shot from his horse whilst returning from Richmond Market, on the 10th of December, 1758

"Unto the mournful fate of young John Moore,
Who fell a victim to some villain's power,
In Richmond Lane, near to Ask Hall, 'tis said, -
There was his life most cruelly betrayed.
Shot with a gun by some abandoned rake,
Then knock'd o'th' head with a hedging stake,
His soul, I trust, is with the blest above,
There to enjoy eternal rest and love;
Then let us pray his murderer to discover,
That he to justice soon may be brought over."

The living is a vicarage, worth £1,000 a year, in the gift of the impropriator, J. T. Wharton, Esq., and in the incumbency of the Rev. J. C. Wharton, M.A. The Wesleyans have a chapel in the village, built in 1808, and there is also a good National School.

Hartforth is a hamlet and estate, the property of Christopher Cradock, Esq., J.P., whose ancestor, William Cradock, of Gilling, Esq., purchased the manor in 1720, for the sum of £1,200, and built the hall, the residence of the present owner. The Cradocks were originally settled at Kirkby Stephen, in Westmoreland, before their advent in Richmondshire, in the latter part of the reign of Edward I. The manor was long held by a family which took its name from the place. Johanna, daughter and co-heir of Sir Thomas de Hertford, married Sir Richard Tempest, and Isabella, the great granddaughter of Johanna, who inherited the estate on the death of her nephew without issue, married Richard Norton, Esq., of Norton Conyers. This and other estates were forfeited by the rebellion of Richard Norton, in the reign of Elizabeth.

Hartforth Grange is the residence of the Hon. Geoffrey Yarde-Buller, grandson of the late Lord Churston, and brother of the present baron.

Sir Thomas Wharton, Knight, of Edlington, in 1678, founded and endowed a Free Grammar School at Hartforth, for the education of 30 poor scholars belonging to the townships of Hartforth, Gilling, Skeeby, Aske, Melsonby, Carkin, and Layton. The endowment consisted of the school premises, and a freehold farm, of 118 acres, at West Rounton. On the death of Mr. John Lambert, the last master, in 1872, the school was closed by the Charity Commissioners,, and five "Wharton Exhibitions" founded in its stead, each of about £30 a year, and tenable for three years; preference being given to boys from the townships benefitted by the original scheme.

Sedbury is a hall and estate in this township, about 2 miles E. of Gilling, the property and residence of George Thomas Gilpin-Brown, Esq. The mansion is an ancient structure in the Grecian style, pleasantly situated in a well-wooded park. In the first half of the 15th century it came into the possession of Sir Christopher Boynton, by his marriage with Agnes, daughter and heir of Thomas Clarell, junior; and in 1463, Johanna Scrope, widow of Sir Christopher Boynton, son of the preceding Sir Christopher, obtained the license of the Archdeacon of Richmond, to have mass celebrated in her chapel or oratory in Sedbury hall, in a low voice, for one year. After the death of Sir Henry Boynton, "The last heir of Sydbery of that name," the estate was conveyed in marriage to the Gascoignes of Gawthorpe. It subsequently, about the year 1611, came into the possession of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, Baronet, by his marriage with Isabell, daughter and heiress of Sir William Gascoigne, and was, in like manner, in the next descent, conveyed to the Hon. Jas. D'Arcy, sixth son of Conyers, Baron D'Arcy, of Hornby Castle. Elizabeth, granddaughter of the above Hon. Jas. D'Arcy, married John Hutton, Esq., of Marske, and their grandson, Jas. Hy. D'Arcy Hutton, succeeded to the estate in pursuance of the will of his relative, Henry D'Arcy.

The Rev. John Gilpin purchased the hall and estate in 1826. He married Jemima, daughter and co-heiress of George Brown, Esq., of Stockton-on-Tees, and at his death was succeeded by his only son, the late George Gilpin-Brown, Esq. This gentleman assumed the name of Brown in 1854, in compliance with the will of his aunt, Lady Preston. He married in 1847, Louisa, third daughter of the late Hon. and Rev. Thomas Lawrence Dundas, and died very suddenly, November 28, 1889, leaving besides other issue, George Thomas Gilpin-Brown, Esq., J.P., the present owner.

[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.