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HOVINGHAM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake of Ryedale - Petty Sessional Division and County Court District of Helmsley - Poor Law Union of Malton - Rural Deanery of Helmsley - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This parish comprises the townships of Hovingham, Aryholme with Howthorpe and Baxton howe, Coulton, Fryton, East Ness, Scackleton, South Holme, and Wath, having an aggregate area of 8,922 acres, and a population of 1,164. The surface is hilly, and the high grounds command extensive and richly varied prospects, reaching along the vale of the Rye, and terminating to the east in the lands near Scarborough. The soil is a variable mixture of clay, sand, and gravel, resting in some places on a substratum of rock. The extent of the township is 3,110 acres, of which, 2,671 are at present under assessment. The rateable value is £3,702, and the population in 1881 was 600. Sir William Cayley Worsley, Bart., is lord of the manor and principal landowner. The earl of Carlisle, and the exors. of N. C. Gold have some land in the township.

Hovingham is a place of considerable antiquity. The author of Vallis Eboracensis derives its name from houc (Brit.) a place of graves, ing a meadow near a river, and the Saxon ham a house, farm, or village, and tells us that Hovingham exactly corresponds with the descriptions given of the towns of the ancient Britons. A more probable supposition however is that the name is wholly Saxon, and that it merely signifies the ham or abode of an Anglican clan or sept, the name of which is expressed in the other part of the word. But though the ancient Britons have left no traces of their occupation of Hovingham, it is certain that the Romans had either a camp or villa here, which may possibly have occupied the site of a British village. A Roman vicinal way from Malton to Isurium (Aldburgh) passed through Hovingham, and there is reason to believe that there was a fort here for the protection of the road through the forest of Galtres. This fort, or camp, is supposed to have stood on the site now occupied by the hall and gardens; and when the latter were being formed in 1745, a bath, tesselated pavement, and other evidences of Roman luxury were discovered in good preservation. The bath measured 11 feet 11 inches, by 10 feet 9 inches, and was lined by a composition of various hard ingredients, grossly powdered and mixed up with hot run lime, but the internal surface was composed of a thin smooth covering. The roof was supported by brick pillars, and consisted of polished tiles, which at several places were perforated. The flues for conveying the warm water into the sweating room, and the fire-place were also found in a pretty perfect state; and about 70 yards from the bath, the workmen discovered another tesselated pavement, fragments of Roman pottery, and several coins of the emperors Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Constantius, and Constantine the Great, his son. At East Ness in this parish, in 1616, was found a sarcophagus full of bones, the covering bearing the following inscription:- TITIA PINTA VIXIT xxxviii ET VAL ADIVTORI VIXIT ANN xx ET VARIOLO VIXIT ANN xv VAL VINDICIANVS CONIYGIE T FILLS. This monument, the inscription tells us, was erected by Valerius Vindicianus to the memory of his wife, Titia, who died at the age of 38, and of his two sons Valerius Adjutor and Variolus, who died at the ages of 20 and 15 respectively. Vindician was probably the occupant of the Roman villa, to which the bath and tesselated floor above mentioned belonged; and that whilst in command of the fort or camp here he lost his wife and two sons.

It is not, however, until after the Norman Conquest that Hovingham appears in the pages of history; and it occurs first in Domesday Book, wherein it is recorded that "In Hovingham, Orm had eight carucates of land to be taxed. There is land for four ploughs. Hugh, the son of Baldric, has now there two ploughs, and 10 villeins having four ploughs. There is a church and a priest." Dependent on the manor were 15 berewicks. Soon after the Conquest, Hovingham was granted to Roger de Mowbray, who is supposed to have built a castle here, or more probably restored and fortified the house of its Saxon owners. Roger, who had received numerous manors on very easy terms, gave a portion of his lands to the endowment of religion. He founded the abbey of Byland, and gave to it the church of Hovingham, with the common of pasture in his wood there; and this, or another, Roger de Mowbray gave two carucates and seven oxgangs of land here to the priory of Newburgh. It is not known how long the estate remained in the possession of the Mowbrays, but the Worsleys were settled here, if they were not indeed the lords of the manor, in the early years of the 16th century. This family is a branch of the Lancashire Worsleys, who are said to be descended from Sir Elias de Workesley, lord of Workesley or Worsley in the time of the Conqueror. The immediate ancestor of the present owner of Hovingham was Thomas Worsley, Esq., who died in 1715. The grandson of this gentleman, also named Thomas, was M.P. for Calne, and surveyor general of the Board of Works in the reign of George III., from whom he received many flattering tokens of royal favour. His eldest son and successor died unmarried in 1830, and was succeeded by his nephew, William, third and eldest surviving of the 11 sons of his brother George, rector of Stonegrabe and Scawton. William married Sarah Philadelphia, fourth daughter of Sir William Cayley, Bart., and was created a baronet in 1838, and died in 1879. The present owner of the estate is his eldest surviving son.

Hovingham Hall, the seat of Sir William Cayley Worsley, Bart., J.P. and D.L., is a handsome mansion of stone, in the Italian style, built and designed by Thomas Worsley, Esq., surveyor general to the Board of Works. It consists of one principal block with a gabled north wing. This front has a pedimented centre, and the west front is relieved by an arcade of rustic arches. The approach from the village is through a pedimented archway of stone, bearing the motto Virtus in actione consistit (Virtue consists in action), and leading into a hall called the riding school, 96 feet long by 36 wide. Through the riding school carriages pass to the vestibule, 36 feet square, with a semicircular groined masonry top, resting on columns of the Tuscan order. On each side of the vestibule is a large entrance hall. There is a fine collection of works of art, many valuable pictures, and a good library. The pleasure grounds, gardens, and park cover an area of about 200 acres.

The village of Hovingham is pleasantly situated in a richly wooded district, with a station on the Malton and Thirsk branch of the North Eastern railway, 8 miles from Helmsley, 9 W.N.W. of Malton, and 17 N.E. of York. A charter for a market was granted in 1222, and renewed by George II., in 1740. The market was held on Wednesday, but has been discontinued since the opening of the railway to Helmsley. The fairs, which were granted by the same charter, have also been abandoned.

The church (All Saints) is a very ancient foundation, but, with the exception of the tower, was rebuilt and a south aisle added in 1860, by Marcus Worsley, Esq., in memory of his wife Harriet, who died in 1858. It consists of chancel, nave, with aisles of four bays each, organ chamber, south porch, and a west tower, containing six bells and a clock. Three of the bells were added in 1878, and at the same time the three old ones were re-cast and re-hung, the total cost being about £600, which was raised by public subscription. The lower part of the tower is early Norman, and built into the exterior of the south wall is an oblong stone, bearing eight figures in relief, with glories encircling their heads, in as many arched panels. It is supposed to represent the Annunciation, and is evidently the work of a very early period, probably Saxon. Several of the windows are filled with stained glass, and on the walls are monuments to different members of the Worsley family, whose remains repose in a mausoleum on the north side of the church. The register dates from the year 1700. The living is a new vicarage worth £200 a year, including 14 acres of glebe, in the gift of Sir William Cayley Worsley, Bart., and incumbency of the Rev. Robert John Thorp, M.A.

A short distance from the church is the cemetery, 1½ acres in extent. The land was given by Sir W. Cayley Worsley, in 1882; and the inclosure wall, with its iron palisading, was erected at a cost of about £350.

The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have places of worship in the village.

The Church of England school is a handsome stone building, with master's house attached, erected by Lady Worsley, in 1864, and enlarged by the addition of a class-room in 1888. It will accommodate 150 children, and has an average attendance of about 100. The Rev. John Greaves, rector of Thorp Bassett left, in 1808, the interest of £200 in the navy five per cents., for the education of twelve poor children in the township of Hovingham; and Mrs. Frances Arthington, in 1716, left £20 for the education of four poor children of the same township.

At the entrance of the village, on the Malton road, are four almshouses, erected in 1870, by Lady Worsley, for as many poor widows, and supported by her ladyship. There are also charities amounting to about £12 a year, which are distributed among the poor parishioners.

About a mile west of the village are Hovingham Spas, which were formerly much visited by invalids during the summer months. The present proprietor, Sir William Cayley Worsley, Bart., erected handsome baths, pump room, and villa for the accommodation of visitors, but very few persons now visit the spa. There are, or rather there were, three springs of water within a short distance of each other, but very dissimilar in character. The water of one is of a sulphur-sodaic character, of another, strong chalybeate, and the third was pure rock water, but this has ceased to flow of late. The waters are used both externally and internally, and are said to be beneficial in scorbutic diseases, gravel, general weakness, &c.

ARYHOLME-WITH-HOWTHORPE and BAXTONHOWE form a township, consisting of four farms, having a united area of 690 acres. Its rateable value is £439, and population, 41. The Earl of Carlisle, who is lord of the manor, and Valentine Kitchingman, Esq., Slingsby Hall, are the sole owners. The soil is sandy, and the chief crops oats and barley.

COULTON is a township of 1,067 acres, lying south west of Hovingham, and in the Whitby division of the Riding. It is in Helmsley union and county court district, and Ryedale petty sessional division. Its rateable value is £811, and the population, 131, who live in scattered farmhouses. Hugh C. Fairfax Cholmley, Esq., Gilling Castle (lord of the manor), and George Wilson, Esq., Grimston Hall, are the principal landowners. The soil is sandy, and chiefly devoted to the growth of oats and barley. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship here, and there was formerly a chapel-of-ease, which stood in Chapel Garth, now a field, but no remains of it are in existence.

FRYTON is a township in this parish, situated about 1½ miles E. of Hovingham. Its estimated extent is 1,297 acres, and its rateable value, £1,285. The Earl of Carlisle is lord of the manor and sole owner. The township comprises three farms and nine cottages, containing 93 inhabitants. The soil is in parts clay and limestone.

EAST NESS township comprises 670 acres, and was, by a Local Government Order, March 25th, 1887, amalgamated with the adjoining township of West Ness, in Stonegrave parish, for all civil purposes. It is situated about three miles N. of Hovingham, and is in Kirby Moorside union. William Kendall, Esq., Ness Hall, is sole owner and lord of the manor. The soil is very fertile. The Roman road passed through Ness, and here was found the stone sarcophagus, containing human bones, mentioned at page 714. East Ness is in the Whitby division of the Riding.

SCACKLETON. - This township comprises 1,460 acres, and is in the wapentake of Bulmer and the petty sessional division of West Bulmer. It is valued for rating purposes at £1,270, and in 1881 had a population of 165. W. H. Garforth, Swinton Grange, near Malton, is lord of the manor and owner of the principal estate. The old hall, or manor house, is now converted into a farmstead, and occupied by Mr. William Foxton. Hovingham Lodge is in this township. It is the property of Sir W. Cayley Worsley, and the residence of Edward Sydney Horton, Esq., a member of a good old family, one branch of which settled at Howroyde, in the West Riding, about the middle of the 17th century, and another at Chadderton, in Lancashire, in the latter part of the same century. The village of Scackleton is situated about four miles S. of Hovingham. A new school was built in 1866, by W. H. Garforth, and is supported by that gentleman and voluntary contributions from the farmers. There are 52 children on the books. A Primitive Methodist Chapel was erected in 1888, at a cost of £220, exclusive of the site, which was given by W. H. Garforth, Esq.

SOUTH HOLME is a township in the parish of Hovingham, situated on the south side of the Rye, 1½ miles from Slingsby Station and nine miles W.N.W. of Malton. Its estimated extent is 843 acres; rateable value, £1,016; and population, 84. The soil is clay and loam. The principal owners are Valentine Kitchingman, Esq., Slingsby Hall; William Franks, Esq., Helmsley; and Col. Peckitt, who is also lord of the manor.

WATH is a small township a mile S. of Hovingham, comprised in one farm, containing 350 acres, the property of the Earl of Carlisle. It is rated to the poor at £267, and had in 1881 only 11 inhabitants. Here is the site of an old. hall, supposed to have been one of the seats of the Mowbrays, former lords of the manor. The only remains now left of it is a fragment of wall, 4 feet high and 3 feet thick; but when the author of Historia Rievallensis wrote, the foundations could be traced extending from east to west 100 yards. The park wall, he tells us, enclosed from 300 to 400 acres. Just above the fragment of wall is Dion's Hill, which commands extensive views of the surrounding scenery.

[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.