Wapentake of Allertonshire - Electoral Division of Osmotherley - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Petty Sessional Division of Northallerton - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Rural Deanery of Northallerton - Diocese of York.
This parish, sometimes called Sigston Kirby, lies eastward of Northallerton, and includes the townships of Kirby Sigston, Sowerby under Cotcliffe, and Winton, covering a total area of 3,420 acres. The population, in 1881, was 238, showing a decrease of 44 since 1851. The soil is clayey in places, but generally fertile, producing good crops of wheat, barley, oats, and beans. It is drained by the Codbeck, which winds its way through the parish.
The township of Kirby Sigston comprises 1,242 acres, and 101 inhabitants. Its rateable value, according to the last assessment, is £1,068. The principal landowner is Mrs. Slingsby (the lady of the manor), Scriven Park, Knaresborough; the other proprietors are Messrs. Yeoman, Osmotherley; Mr. William Harker, Kirby Sigston; Algernon Charles Heber Percy, Esq., Hoduct Hall, Market Drayton; the trustees of the late Mr. James Clark; and George Frederick Marwood, Esq., 2, Plowden Buildings, Temple, London.
Though there is now no village bearing the parochial name, there is reason to believe that one formerly existed, but how or when it disappeared is not known.
The Church (St. Lawrence) is an ancient stone building, originally erected about A.D. 1100, and though frequently altered and restored since then, it still bears traces of Norman construction. It consists of chancel, nave with north aisle and south porch, and a western tower, with battlements and pinnacles. The tower is a modern addition, and encloses the older bell turret. There was a chantry in the north aisle, but its founder is not known. In 1382 it belonged to William Plays, passing afterwards to the Pygot family. The old piscina remains in the chancel, and some fragments of ancient glass in the east window, representing the arms of Wassand, Colville, and Sigston. In the chancel is the recumbent effigy of a female, and above this, on the wall, is a white marble tablet, inscribed as follows:
"Here underlieth interr'd the body of Thomas Lascelles, late of Sowerby, gentleman,
Whose artful hand, by Light's Great Author bless'd,
Blindness remov'd, and cataracts suppres'd:
From films and clouds so clear'd th' obstructive sight,
That men born blind beheld th' amazing light.
He died December 31st, 1705, aged 73 years."
Other members of the family also lie buried in the chancel; Francis Lascelles, of Stank Hall, from whom the present Earl of Harewood is descended, died in 1628, also his grandson, Francis Lascelles, Esq., who was a colonel in the Parliamentary army and M.P. for the North Riding, who died in 1667, are interred here. The font bears the date 1662. A more interesting relic of antiquity is the fragment of a Celtic cross, found by the present rector, walled into the stable in the churchyard. The register dates from 1574, and the list of rectors is complete from the year 1100. The gross value of the living is £635 (the commuted tithe rent-charge), and the net income about £500. It is in the gift of Mrs. Slingsby, and held by the Rev. Charles Slingsby Atkinson, B.A.
The School is a small building erected about 1846, and has an average attendance of 28.
Sigston Smithy is a small hamlet half-a-mile east of the church. Not far from this place is the moated site of a castle, which, in 1324, belonged to Sir John de Sigston. It was called Berford in those days, and subsequently came into the possession of a family named Plays, afterwards to the Colvilles of Arncliffe, from them to the Mauleverers, from whom it was purchased by Thomas Pygot, and thence passed to his daughters and co-heirs.
SOWERBY UNDER COTCLIFFE township contains 812 acres, and is situated about three miles east of Northallerton. The landowners are Messrs. W. T. Parkin, Bell & Tutin, Sowerby under Cotcliffe; J. Wynne-Finch, W. W. P. Consett, George Barker, and Mrs. Weighell. The rateable value is £703, and the population 49. The old Roman road leading from Thornton-le-Street to Sockburn, on the Tees, passed through the township, and, about 80 years ago, during the construction of a new road, the workmen discovered part of the old strata, which was almost as hard and perfect as when it left the hands of the Roman road makers.
WINTON township includes the hamlets of Stank and Hallikeld and comprises an area of 1,366 acres, belonging chiefly to Mrs. Selina Powel, daughter of the late Thomas Frewen, Esq.; the Earl of Harewood, and Mrs. Hodgson. Its rateable value is £986, and population 88.
Stank Hall, now a farmhouse, was formerly the seat of a branch of the Lascelles family, whose arms, with the date 1585, are carved in stone on the north end of it. In 1628 it was the residence of Francis Lascelles, Esq., and is now the property of his descendant, the Earl of Harewood.
Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.