Lythe Parish information from Bulmers' 1890.


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of Whitby Strand - Electoral Division of Lythe - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Whitby - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This extensive parish stretches lengthways about 10 miles, and crosswise, eight miles, and covers an area of 30,254 acres, inclusive of the sea shore. The surface is undulated, and the scenery in many places bold and picturesque. The parish forms part of the liberty of Langbaurgh, but was added several years ago to the wapentake of Whitby Strand. It includes the townships of Lythe, Barnby, Borrowby, Ellerby, Hutton-Mulgrave, Mickleby, Newton-Mulgrave, and Ugthorpe, containing a population of 2,095, but for ecclesiastical purposes, the six last named townships were, in 1868, formed into a separate parish. The township-fields or common-lands were inclosed in 1776-8.

The township of Lythe contains 5,347 acres, and comprises the villages of Lythe, Goldebro', Kettleness, and Sandsend, with a population of 1,182, rateable value, £3,603. The Marquis of Normanby is the principal landowner, and lord of the manor. The village of Lythe is situated about half-a-mile from the coast, at a height of 500 feet above the sea level, and evidently possesses a salubrious atmosphere, if we may judge from the instances of longevity recorded on the tombstones in the churchyard. Peter de Manley, one of the early lords of Lythe, obtained a charter in 1254, for a weekly market and a yearly fair, but both have been long discontinued.

The Church, dedicated to St. Oswald, was an ancient rectory, in the patronage of Lord Mauley, and was given by Robert Fossard to the Prior of Nossell. At the Dissolution it was granted to the Bygods, the then owners of Mulgrave. Upon the attainder of Sir Francis Bygod, in the reign of Henry VIII., it reverted to that monarch, who gave it to the Archbishop of York. In 1546, Robert, the then archbishop of York, ordained that there be a perpetual vicar in the parish church of Lythe.

The church stands on a considerable eminence above the sea, a little outside the village of Lythe, and can be seen from Whitby. It is a plain building of stone, originally in the Early English style, consisting of nave, chancel, south porch, and western embattled tower. Over the porch is a sun dial. The building, however, has been altered and rebuilt so many times, that it is difficult to make out much of its ancient style. In 1742, two small arches were replaced by one large one. In 1788 a gallery was erected, and in 1818 the church was roofed with slate instead of lead, and re-pewed. The tower was erected in 1796. The arch mentioned above disappeared in 1819, when the upper part of the north side, and the whole of the south side and porch were rebuilt. On the fly leaf of an early register is the following:- "In the yeare 1768, the top of ye steeple was taken down for fear of its falling upon ye church, and in ye yeare 1769, the remaining part was also taken down to ye foundation and rebuilt."

The interior of the church is oblong, with a flat ceiling. In 1870, the uncomfortable, old fashioned pews gave place to open benches, and at the same time a gallery was removed, In the chancel is a pew for the family of the lord of the manor, which has an entrance from the outside, and is fitted up with chairs, fire-place, &c. The burial place of the Mulgrave family is under the chancel, and on the church walls are numerous tablets to various of its members. Other families have also memorial tablets in the church. The central, east, and lancet window was inserted to the memory of the Rev. W. Song, a vicar of the church, who died in 1857. Two stained windows on the south side were presented by his widow. The organ and font are gifts of the Mulgrave family. There are two bells in the tower inscribed "Sanctus Oswal Dus," and "Gloria in altissimis Deo, 1682."

The Wesleyans have a chapel here which was rebuilt in 1882 at a cost of £320.

Mulgrave Castle. About a mile south of the village, in an extensive and beautifully wooded park, is Mulgrave Castle, the seat of the Marquis of Normanby. It is an elegant mansion in the castellated style, erected about the middle of last century by Catherine, duchess of Buckingham, natural daughter of James II., and wife of John Sheffield, duke of Buckingham and Normanby. Within the grounds are the ruined keep, two circular towers, and a few other fragments of the ancient castle or fortress, from which the present mansion borrows its name. This castle was erected by Peter de Mauley in the reign of King John, but tradition avers that two centuries before the Conquest, Duke Wada resided in a castle here which he had built. Tradition has preserved many stories of this Saxon princeling, but they are so interwoven with fiction, that it is impossible to pick out the bare unvarnished truth. He is represented as having been of gigantic stature, and two solid rocks on the summit of a hill hard by, standing about seven feet high, and 12 feet apart, have borne the name of Wade's Grave since long before Leland's time. His wife, Bell, was also of enormous size, and, according to the legend, carried in her apron the stones with which her husband made the causeway that still bears his name. (See Wade's Causeway, Egton parish).

After the Conquest the manor of Grif, as this place is called in Domesday Book, was granted to Nigel Fossard, and in the reign of Richard I., it was transferred by the marriage of the heiress of this family to Robert de Turnham. The issue of this marriage was an only daughter, Isabel, who married Peter de Maloloco, or, as the name was subsequently contracted, Mauley, who rebuilt the castle in the reign of King John. Such was the beauty of the finished structure and its situation says Camden, that he called it Moult-grace, but being "a heavy grievance to the neighbours thereabout," the people, by changing one letter, converted its name into Moult-grave, which it ever afterwards bore, In the war between Charles I. and the Parliament, this castle was garrisoned for the King, but was afterwards dismantled by order of Parliament. Its ruin has been precipated by the demolition of the walls for stones for the erection of farmhouses, but still enough remains to show its former strength and magnificence.

The castle and manor remained in the possession of the Mauleys for seven generations, when the line terminated in an heiress, who married Sir John Bigot; and, by the marriage of Dorothy Bigot, the estate was transferred to the Radcliffes. After passing through various other hands it came, about the year 1625, into the possession of Edmund, Lord Sheffield, Lord President of the North, whom Charles I. created Earl of Mulgrave. The fourth earl was advanced to the marquisate of Normanby in 1694, and the dukedom of Normanby and Buckingham in 1703, but dying without issue, in 1735, all his honours became extinct.

The title was subsequently revived in the person of Constantine Phipps, grandson of Catherine, duchess of Buckingham and Normanby, by her first marriage, with William Phipps, Esq., who was created Baron Mulgrave, of New Ross, County Wexford, in 1767, and in 1774 a lease of the Mulgrave estate was confirmed to him and his heirs for the sum of £30,000, and a quit-rent of £1,200 per annum. His son, Constantine John, second baron, and a distinguished Arctic explorer, was, in 1790, enrolled amongst the peers of Great Britain by the title of Baron Mulgrave, of Mulgrave. He died two years afterwards, without male issue, and the English title consequently expired, but the estates and the Irish barony descended to his brother, Henry Phipps, who was created a peer of England in 1794, and was further advanced, in 1812, to the dignity of Viscount Normanby and Earl of Mulgrave. He died in 1831, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Constantine Henry, the second earl, K.G., F.S.A. G.C.B., G.C.H., who was raised to the marquisate in 1838. He was a distinguished statesman, diplomatist, and politician, and an author of no mean pretensions. He married the Hon. Maria Liddell, daughter of Henry, lord Ravensworth, and died in 1863, leaving an only child, George Augustus Constantine, the present peer, P.C., G.C.M.G. The marquis has held several distinguished appointments; he was comptroller of H.M. household, 1851-2; treasurer from 1853 to 1858; Lieut.Governor of Nova Scotia, 1858 to 1863; Governor and Commander-in-Chief of New Zealand, 1874 to 1878; and Governor of Victoria, 1878 to 1884. He married Laura, daughter of Captain Robert Russell, R.N. His heir is the Rev. Constantine Charles Henry Phipps, earl of Mulgrave and vicar of Worsley, Lancashire.

The castle is now in the occupation of Lord Hillingdon. The prospects from the park are extremely delightful, combining the most varied and beautiful landscape, with a fine sea view.

Goldsbrough is a hamlet and small manor 1½ miles W. of Lythe. The grave of the giant Wade before mentioned is in a field on Mr. Stangoe's farm, near the village. A stone hatchet was found here several years ago, and later some urns of baked clay were discovered, in one of which were a bone and a jet ornament. Ancient coins have also been found, three of which are in the possession of Mr. Stangoe, whose ancestors have occupied this farm since the time of the De Mauleys.

Kettleness is a village on the coast, near the promontory of the same name. It was completely destroyed, along with the neighbouring alum works, by a subsidence of the cliff on the night of December 17th, 1829. The alum works were rebuilt in 1831, but the manufacture has been discontinued for several years.

The fossilized remains of an Ichthyosaurus and a Plesiosaurus were discovered here in 1857, embedded in the alum shale. Jet was formerly abundant, but very little is now obtained. A chapel-of-ease was erected here in 1872 at a cost of £300. The Saltburn and Whitby line passes through the village, and a station was erected in 1883.

Sandsend is another village in this township, situated on the shore of the bay, at the termination of the Whitby sands. Alum was formerly manufactured here, but that industry has been discontinued several years. There are two chapels in the village, one belonging to the Parish Church and the other to the Wesleyans.

BARNBY township comprises an area of 1,588 acres, the property of the Marquis of Normanby. It includes the hamlets of East and West Barnby. Rateable value, £1,700; population, 196.

BORROWBY is a small township containing 710 acres, chiefly the property of Captain E. H. Turton, Upsall Castle; The Marquis of Normanby owns one farm, and also claims the manorial rights. Rateable value, £376; and population, 88. The village consists of a few scattered houses, situated 5½ miles N.W. of Lythe. Dale Houses is a secluded little hamlet, situated at a point where the townships of Borrowby, Hinderwell, Roxby, and Easington meet, and in each of which it is partly situated.

ELLERBY is another small township, chiefly the property of the Marquis of Normanby. Its rateable area is 759 acres; gross estimated rental, £644; and population, 83. The village is pleasantly situated on the Whitby and Guisborough road, about one mile from Hinderwell station. There is a Mission Room here in which service is held by the vicar of Ugthorpe; and also a Board School, built in 1875, at a cost of £334;

HUTTON-MULGRAVE township contains 1,858 acres of rateable land, and 664 acres of waste and moorland. It is valued for rateable purposes at £1,127, and belongs solely to the Marquis of Normanby. The houses are scattered over the township, which lies about five miles W. of Whitby. The population, in 1881, was 55.

MICKLEBY. - In this township there are 1,340 acres of land under assessment, of which the rateable value is £1,127. The population at the last census was 170. The Marquis of Normanby is the principal landowner; and there are, besides, several freeholders. The village is situated seven miles W.N.W. of Whitby, and is said to have formerly been so large a place that it was named par excellence Mickleby, or Large town, but it is more probable that it was originally the by or homestead of some Dane, named Michael. The Congregationalists and the Wesleyans have each places of worship here.

NEWTON-MULGRAVE township, comprising an area, including woodlands, &c., of 2,196 acres, chiefly the property of Captain E. H. Turton. Rateable value, £939. The houses are scattered over the township. On one is inscribed "Newton Mulgrave Town." The inhabitants number 80.

UGTHORPE township contains 1,807 acres, exclusive of woods and moorLand, belonging chiefly to James Hindson, Mrs. H. Murray, George Andrew, Mrs. H. Featherstone, and the trustees of Joseph Campion. Rateable value, £1,682; and population, 241. Ugthorpe also gives name to an ecclesiastical parish, formed in 1868, comprising the townships of Ugthorpe, Hutton-Mulgrave, Mickleby, Ellerby, Newton-Mulgrave, and Borrowby, with a population of 749.

This place, spelt Ughetory in Domesday Book, received its name from the oak which once grew so plentifully here, ug being one of the Anglian forms of the name of that tree, or it may be from the personal name Ughe or Uggr, and thorp, a village. Before the Conquest it belonged to a Saxon nobleman, named Ligulph, who also possessed lands at Normanby and Kildale. It afterwards came into the possession of the De Mauleys, one of whom gave lands here to the Abbey of Whitby.

The village is picturesquely situated near the moors, about eight miles W.N.W. of Whitby. The church (Christ Church) is an elegant structure, in the Decorated Gothic style, erected, in 1855-6, at a cost of £2,000, exclusive of the site, which was given by Mr. James Hindson, of Ugthorpe. It is cruciform in plan, consisting of chancel, nave, with north and south transepts, and a light octagonal spire, rising from the west end gable. A light ornamental screen, of wood, separates the chancel from the nave, and above the Communion table is a beautiful reredos, ornamented with symbols of the four Evangelists. The pulpit and font are of Caen stone, neatly carved; the latter was the gift of the Ven. Archdeacon Churton. The east window is of three lights, In the centre one is depicted Our Lord blessing the cup; in the north light He is represented bearing His cross, and in the south light He appears as the Good Shepherd. In the tracery He is represented seated on a throne, surrounded by angels. In the south transept is a three-light stained glass window, to the memory of the Rev.. Mr. Long, and Alice, his wife, through whose exertions chiefly the church was founded and endowed. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, worth £120, and held by the Rev. W. Askwith. The Vicarage House was built in 1869, towards the cost of which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners gave £1,400.

The Catholic church, dedicated to St. Ann, is a neat Gothic edifice, erected, by subscription, in 1855, at a cost of £1,500. it consists of a nave, with side aisles, chancel, and a tower at the north-west corner. Two arcades of pointed arches, resting on cylindrical piers, with moulded capitals and bases, separate the aisles from the nave, and a neatly executed set of altar rails, the gift of Miss Fletcher and other friends, in memory of the Rev. Dr. Fletcher, of Durham, stretches across the front of the sanctuary. This is the most ornate part of the church. The walls are resplendent with gold and colours, which bring out more vividly the beautiful carving of the altar and reredos. These are of Caen stone, and were the gift of the late Bishop Briggs; and the pulpit, which is also of carved stone, was presented by William Myddleton, Esq., of Myddleton Lodge. Four handsome statues were added in 1885, at a cost of £22, representing St. Joseph, with the Infant Saviour, the Sacred Heart, St. Francis of Assisi, and Our Lady of Lourdes. Several very beautiful stained glass windows adorn the sacred edifice. That above the altar bears in its centre light a representation of Our Blessed Saviour, enthroned, and in the act of instituting the Blessed Sacrament, and in the side lights are figures of the Blessed Virgin and St. Ann. The windows on the north and south side of the sanctuary are memorials, of recent insertion, to Charles Leeming, Esq., of London, Mr. M. Snowdon, of Whitby, and the late Father Rigby. The west window of the nave contains a delineation of the "Fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary." Three of the mysteries are represented on each of the four lights, and three in the circles of the tracery, the groups being connected by the branches of a rose tree, which is carried throughout the window. The various groups in this window were given by individual benefactors.

In the churchyard, near the chancel, is a beautiful monument over the grave of the late Father N. Rigby, erected by the congregation. The reverend gentleman had charge of the mission for the almost unprecedented period of 55 years, when he retired, but continued to live at the presbytery until his death, which took place three years afterwards. His urbanity and gentleness of manner endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. He was a native of Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, and was educated at Ushaw College, where he had for one of his fellow students the celebrated Cardinal Wiseman, with whom he afterwards maintained a close friendship. That exalted ecclesiastic visited Ugthorpe in 1857, and preached at the re-opening of the church after the decoration of the sanctuary.

Father Rigby was a man of considerable literary attainments, and his writings, though chiefly confined to sermons and controversial pamphlets, show a wide research as well as a great depth of reasoning.

Ugthorpe is one of the oldest Catholic missions in the county, dating from the time of the Very Rev. Nicholas Postgate, D.D., who was executed at York in 1679, in the 83rd year of his age, for saying mass and exercising his priestly functions. He had laboured 50 years on the mission, and his sole offence was that he had baptised a child. Thomas Ward, who was born at Danby Castle in 1652, and became a Catholic later in life, alludes to Father Postgate in a footnote to his poem called "England's Reformation." He says: "His (Postgate's) cell was upon a lingey moor, about five miles from Whitby. An exciseman, in hopes of getting twenty pounds (which he never did), apprehended him at Whitby; he was condemned at York, where he suffered, not as a plotter, but only as a priest. I knew him well." It appears, however, that the exciseman did receive some reward, for at the Quarter Sessions held at Thirsk, April 29th, 1679, the sum of three pounds was awarded as a gratuity to John Reeves, the gauger, late of Whitby, towards his charges at the Assizes in presecuting Nicholas Postgate, by him apprehended and taken, and upon his prosecution there found guilty of being a Popish priest. "Reeves did not," adds a writer in the "Whitby Gazette," "long enjoy the wages of treachery, as he perished miserably by his own hand." From that time there has been a continuous line of priests, who have ministered to the spiritual wants of the Catholics in this moorland district. During the operation of the penal laws against Catholics, they passed under assumed names, and travelled about in various disguises, saying mass in lonely and out-of-the-way farmhouses and cottages, and hiding in a secret chamber or recess in the house of some friend when danger was near.* A more tolerant spirit began to prevail towards the middle of the 18th century: the fires of Smithfield had burnt out, and the scaffold was no longer reddened with the blood of men whose only crime was that of being Catholic priests. In 1678, a room was fitted for a chapel, and in 1812 a more commodious structure was erected. This was superseded by the present church, and is now used as a school.

* One of these hiding places, formed in the thickness of the wall, may still be seen in Ugthorpe Old Hall, now a farmhouse, where priests were frequently secreted in troublesome times.

A Middle Class Boarding School was erected by the late Father Rigby in 1868, and opened, two years later, by Cardinal Manning. It stands in an open and healthy part of the country, and has been planned and furnished on the most modern and improved principles. There is accommodation for 80 boarders. Not meeting with sufficient support, it was closed about six years ago, but it is proposed to re-open it again very shortly.

There is also a National school in the village, attended by about 24 children.

CHARITIES. - The poor receive £4 a year out of Wooddell's Charity, noticed under Loftus; £1 5s. 8d., the interest of £40 left by Jane Bellwood; and four small rent-charges amounting to £2 10s.

[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.

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