GREAT SMEATON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


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

This parish lies on the south bank of the Tees and abounds with beautiful scenery. It is partly in the liberties of Richmondshire, Langbaurgh, and Allertonshire, and comprises, inclusive of the chapelry of Appleton Wiske, about 5,000 acres, of which about 1,500 acres are in the Wapentake of East Gilling, 1,200 in that of Allertonshire, and the remainder in Langbaurgh. The inhabitants, who number 450, are chiefly employed in agriculture. By a Local Government Order, dated April 16th, 1879, Monkend, a detached portion of the parish, was added to the township of Croft. Great Smeaton includes the township of that name, and also that of Hornby. The former occupies about one-fourth of the superficial extent of the parish, and is valued for rateable purposes at £1,765. It had in 1881 a population of 192. Lieut.-Col. Godman is lord of the manor and principal landowner; and Sir E. Blackett, Bart., and the Rev. R Connell are also proprietors.

The village of Great Smeaton occupies an elevated situation near the source of the Wiske, and has long been celebrated for the extensive and beautiful views it commands of the surrounding country. The church, recently named St. Eloy, is an ancient structure, restored and enlarged in 1861, and consists of chancel, nave with south aisle, porch, and spiret containing two bells. The east window of three lights, on which is depicted the Crucifixion, is a memorial of the Rev. John Barry, a former rector. There are tablets to the memory of members of the Horsfall and Hewgill families, and one to Arthur Jackson Greer, Esq., of Thornton Lodge, who died in 1887. He was Deputy Surgeon-General, and served with the 21st Fusileers at the battles of Alma, Balaclava, and Inkerman; the siege of Sevastopol, the storming of the Quarries, and the attack of the Redan. The church will accommodate 155; all sittings are free, but subject to annual assignment by the churchwardens, suitable provision being made for the poorer inhabitants. The register dates from 1720. The living is a rectory, to which the vicarage of Appleton Wiske is united, in the gift of the trustees of the late Rev. S. T. Mosse, and worth £588 per annum. There are 40 acres of glebe land.

The educational affairs of the parish are under the management of a School Board of five members, established in 1873, for the united districts of Great and Little Smeaton and Hornby. The school, a neat building of red brick faced with white, was erected in 1874. It will accommodate 140 children, and has an average attendance of 54. There is also in the village a Working Men's Club and Reading Room, established in 1880. In the library there are nearly 1,000 volumes in the various departments of science and literature. Attached to it is a coffee house where, during the winter months, through the liberality of the Misses Horsfall, of Hornby Grange, all poor tramps and wayfarers are supplied with a bun and a cup of coffee free on presentation of tickets, which may be obtained at various places in the village.

About half a mile from the village is Smeaton Manor, a neat residence erected in 1877, the seat and property of Lieut.-Col. Godman.

HORNBY, a township in this parish, containing 2,110 acres and 258 inhabitants, is included in the Wapentake of Allertonshire. Its rateable value is £1,673. The principal proprietors are Sir Edward Blackett, Bart., and Thomas Garnett Horsfall, Esq. The other owners are Messrs. Porter and Grainger, of York and Langton (68 acres), and Mr. T. Flintoff (36 acres). The soil is a strong clay.

The village of Hornby stands a little south of the Tees, and about three miles. from Cowton station. The Wesleyans have a chapel here, built in 1835.

Hornby Grange, the seat and property of T. G. Horsfall, Esq., is a neat mansion, surrounded by beautifully timbered grounds and park. The estate formerly belonged to the Hewgills, by one of whom, General Hewgill, the house was rebuilt on the site of an older one in 1767. The estate was purchased by the father of the present owner in 1855.

APPLETON ON WISKE is a township and chapelry situated at the eastern extremity of the parish, and included in the Wapentake of Langbaurgh (West Division) and the Cleveland Division of the Riding. It comprises an area of 1,827 acres, is valued for rating purposes at £2,312, and had in 1881 a population of 331, who are chiefly employed in agriculture. The soil is a strong clay. The township is in the Petty Sessional division of Yarm.

This manor, with fifty others in the North Riding, was given by William the Conqueror to his friend and follower, Robert de Brus, lord of Skelton. The second Robert de Brus, son of the above, gave it with Hornby and other lands to St. Mary's Abbey, York, in the possession of which it remained until the dissolution of monasteries, when it was granted by Henry VIII. to Charles Brandon, afterwards Duke of Suffolk. Subsequently it passed through several hands, and early in the 18th century, was purchased by one of the Allans of Blackwell. On the death of the late Robert Henry Allan, Esq., his estates were vested for 21 years in trustees, of whom Sir Henry Havelock-Allan is one, for the benefit of the sons of the testator's nephew, General Sir Henry Havelock, who assumed the name of Allan. The revenues accumulated during this interval are to be laid out in the purchase of other lands in Durham and the North Riding, and at the expiration of the trust the whole is to be divided as directed. The following are also landowners in the chapelry, Robert Routledge, Esq., Mrs. Isabella Lincoln, Messrs. John Longbotham, Robert Clapham, and Francis Scott.

The village is situated near the Wiske rivulet, by which name it is distinguished from other Appletons in the same county, and is distant about 2½ miles from Welbury station. The linen manufacture was formerly carried on to a considerable extent. Forty years ago there were about 200 looms in the village employed in that work, but very little weaving is now done. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small ancient structure, consisting of nave, chancel, and porch. In 1875, chiefly through the exertions and liberality of Mr. Walker Stead, contractor, it was restored at a cost of about £300, when the square headed window in the east end, and the round headed wooden-sashed ones in the other parts of the edifice, were replaced by appropriate Gothic lights. At the same time a small window on the north side, which had been built up since the Reformation, was reopened, and the roof was raised, but the old Norman chancel arch remains intact. The living is valued at £165 per annum, and is held conjointly with Great Smeaton.

The Independents, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists have chapels here.

The educational wants of the chapelry are supplied by the School Board, which was formed in March, 1872.

CHARITIES. - William Morton, in 1734, left £20, the interest of which, 12s., is distributed among the poor. Though this chapelry has no claim to participate in Lady Calverley's charity, which was left by that lady in 1715 to the parishes through which the high road from Northallerton to Darlington passes, provisions are distributed among the poor out of this bequest by T. G. Horsfall, Esq., of Hornby Grange, but such distribution may at any time be discontinued without breach of trust.

[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.