KIRBY WISKE, a parish in the wapentake of Gilling East, and liberty of Richmondshire; 4 miles WNW. of Thirsk. Here is a Church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, patron, the Duke of Northumberland. Pop. 197.
Near this village are traces of an ancient encampment and a tumulus in which human bones have been found. It is famous for being the birth-place of the celebrated Roger Ascham, third son of John Ascham, steward to the ancient family of Scrope, born 1515, and died in 1568. He was Greek Professor of St. John's College, Cambridge; instructor in Latin and Greek to Prince Edward and Princess Elizabeth; Latin Secretary to Queen Mary, and afterwards Latin Secretary and private Tutor to Queen Elizabeth, in the Greek tongue. - His principal works are Toxophilus, published in 1544, and the Schoolmaster, composed in 1563, and published after his death by his widow. -His works were published in 1 vol, 4to, 1761, by Bennett, with a Life and remarks upon him by Dr. Johnson. -Biog. Dict. -Life by Johnson.
It also gave birth to Dr. Palliser, Archbishop of Cashill, and Dr. Hickes Dean of Worcester, both men of eminent abilities. -Nichols. Dr. Hickes was born at a farm-house, called Moorhouse in the village of Newsham, in this parish, June 20, 1640, and educated under Mr. Thomas Smelt, in the Free Grammar-School at Northallerton. He was admitted Servitor of St. Johns College, Oxford, thence removed to Magdalen College, and afterwards to Magdalen Hall; and in 1664, was chosen Fellow of Lincoln College. He was made Chaplain to the Duke of Lauderdale, in 1676; who took him next year into Scotland, where he received the degree of D.D. from Sharpe, Archbishop of St. Andrews. He took the same degree at Oxford, and was promoted to a Prebend of Worcester, in March 1679-80; made Chaplain to the King in 1681; and Dean of Worcester in August 1683. At the Revolution, refusing with others to take the oaths, was deprived of his deanry in February following. -He continued in possession, however, till May; when reading in the Gazette that his deanry was granted to Mr. William Talbot, (afterwards Bishop of Durham) he immediately drew up in his own hand-writing, a claim of right to it, directed to all the members of that Church, and in 1691 affixed it over the entrance into the choir. From this time he was under the necessity of absconding, till May 18, 1699, when Lord Somers, out of respect to his literary character, obtained an order in Council directing the Attorney-General to enter a Writ of Noli prosequi, to all proceedings against him. He was a man of universal learning, deeply read in the primitive Fathers of the Church, and particularly skilful in the old northern languages and antiquities. His chief works are, Linguarum veterum Septentrionalium Thesaurus, folio; and Grammatica Anglo-Saxonica, 4to. He died in 1715 -See Nichols Literary Anecdotes -Biog. Dict. -Zouch's Sketches of Biogr. -Mag. Brit.
John Hickes, Dr. Hickes' brother, was also born here, but of different principles. He became a Presbyterian, and was deprived of the living of Stoke, in Devonshire, in 1662, for non-conformity. In 1685, he joined the Duke of Monmouth's army, for which he was executed. -Calamy. -Palmer.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]