Masham Parish information from Bulmers' 1890.


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

Wapentake and Petty Sessional Division of East Hang - Electoral Division of Masham - Poor Law Union of Bedale - County Court District of Ripon - Rural Deanery of Masham - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of Ripon.

This extensive and interesting parish comprises an area of 22,526 acres, and is partly in the Liberty of St. Peter's, but chiefly in that of Richmondshire. The surface is of a varied character. Towards the west, bordering on Nidderdale and Coverdale, it rises into bold fells and high moorlands which cover about one-third of the parish; and eastward of these it spreads out in gentle undulations with a rich and fertile soil. On the open moorland, about 9,000 acres in extent, the whole parish, except Burton, has right of stray.

The ancient parochial boundaries include the townships of Masham, Burton-upon-Ure, Ellingstring, Ellington, Fearby, Healey-cum-Sutton, Ilton-cum-Pott, and Swinton-cum-Warthermarske, comprising an area as above stated, and a population of 2,174. The parish was divided for ecclesiastical purposes in 1849, and the townships of Healey (except the portion called Sutton), Ellingstring, Ilton-cum-Pott, and parts of Fearby, Masham, and Swinton, with Colsterdale in Kirkby Malzeard, became, under Lord Blandford's Act, a distinct parish in 1856.

Masham town and township comprise 1,606 acres, according to the rate books; rateable value, £4,670; population, 1,071. The soil is light mould with gravel, on which, wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes, are freely grown. Samuel Cunliffe-Lister, Esq., J.P., D.L., Swinton Park, is lord of the manor and principal landowner; there are several freeholders and copyholders in the town.

The lordship of Masham includes the whole of the ancient parish, with the exception of Burton-upon-Ure, and has, from its vast extent and the numerous privileges conferred upon its owners, been designated a shire from a remote period. It comprises several manors, over which, the lords paramount of Mashamshire claimed and exercised forest rights, and still, in name, hold their forest courts.

The earliest mention of the place occurs in Domesday Book, from which we learn that there were in Massan (Masham) 12 carucates of land to be taxed, which in the Confessor's reign, had been held by Gospatric. The record also mentions a church, and we may, therefore, suppose that there was a resident priest. To this manor belonged the berewicks of Tuislebroc, the site of which has been forgotten, Swinton and Sudton. Sywardthorp, another place mentioned by the Norman Commissioners, has also disappeared from local nomenclature. It was situated near Sutton, and is supposed to have been one of the seats of Earl Siward, whom Shakespeare has immortalised in his play of Macbeth.

Gospatric, the Saxon owner of Masham, was evicted by the Conqueror, and his lands here transferred to Alan, Earl of Richmond. Another Earl Alan, surnamed the Savage, confirmed to Roger de Mowbray the lordship of Mashamshire with all its liberties and free customs which had been granted to Nigel de Albini, his father. Roger was a valiant soldier, and a munificent benefactor to the church, having founded and endowed in his lifetime no fewer than 36 religious houses. He conveyed the lordship of Masham to his relative, Walter de Buhere, who died without issue, and was succeeded by his sister and heiress, Emma de Buhere. This lady granted Mashamshire to Sir John de Wauton or Walton, as a recompense for "helping her to seek her lands in Normandy and England." This grant was confirmed by Roger de Mowbray.

Another Sir John de Wanton, great grandson of the grantee, received from Henry III. in 1260, a grant of free-warren for ever in all his demesne lands of Masseham, a weekly market, and a yearly fair "on the eve, the day, and the morrow of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Aug. 15th.) He died in 1297, leaving an only child, Joan de Wauton, his successor, who afterwards became the wife of Hugh de Hopham. She survived her husband, and in 1328, sold the lordship of Masham to Sir Geoffrey le Scrope, knight, a younger son of Lord Scrope of Bolton. He was a distinguished lawyer; he also served in a military capacity in the French and Scottish wars, and won no little fame in jousts and tournaments. In 1323 he was raised to the judicial bench, and appointed a judge of the Court of Common Pleas: and the following year he was promoted to the Chief Justiceship of the King's Bench. In 1327 he obtained a confirmation of the grant of Free Forest and Chase in all his demesne lands of Masham, &c., a weekly market on Wednesdays, and two annual fairs - one on the eve and day of St. Barnabas (June 20th), and the other on the eve and day of the Assumption of Our Lady. He died in 1340, leaving issue by his first wife, Ivetta Roos of Ingmanthorpe, five sons and three daughters.

Henry, his eldest son and successor, figured prominently in all the wars of Edward the Third, and in 1350, was summoned to parliament as Baron Scrope of Masham. Subsequently this branch of the family became known as the Scropes of Masham, Upsall, and Flaxtead. He died at the age of 76, leaving by his wife Joan (or Phillipa de Brien according to Mr. Grainge), five sons and three daughters. Richard, the third son, entered the priesthood, and was for a while rector of Ainderby Steeple. He was advanced to the episcopal dignity in 1386 as bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, and 12 years later he was translated to the Archiepiscopal see of York. He was the prime mover in the rebellion which bears his name, and was beheaded for high treason in 1405. (See page 60 ante.) Sir Geoffrey Scrope, the eldest son of Sir Henry, was slain in Lithuania in 1362, and Sir Stephen, the second son, thereupon became heir and succeeded to the barony on the death of his father. He obtained letters patent for other two fairs at Masham, to be held on the feast of St. Bartholomew (August 24th), and the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 8th). He fought as a Crusader in the Holy Land, and received his knighthood at Alexandria in 1365.

Henry Lord Scrope, his eldest son and third Baron, was one of the most illustrious men of his day. He was the friend and counsellor of Henry V., and also treasurer of the King's Exchequer. In 1410 he had the towns of Hampstead and Hendon in Middlesex assigned to him for the lodging and entertainment of his servants and horses during his stay in London. But shortly afterwards he played the traitor to his royal master and patron, and entered into a conspiracy to kill the King and place the earl of March on the throne. His fellow conspirators were the earl of Cambridge and Sir John Grey of Heaton. It is said by some historians that they received a bribe of one million livres from the French King for their treachery. The conspiracy was detected, and at the trial they severally pleaded guilty; Lord Scrope tried to exculpate himself by declaring that he had entered into it with innocent intentions, his object being to frustrate the designs of the conspirators; but this availed him nothing, and he was executed for his treason in 1415. His head was sent to York and placed over Micklegate Bar as a warning to all would-be-traitors. Shakespeare has immortalised his offence and his fate in Henry V., and represents the King as reproaching him thus:-

"What shall I say to thee, Lord Scroop? thou cruel,
Ingrateful, savage and inhuman creature
Thou, that didst bear the key of all my counsels,
That knew'st the very bottom of my soul,
That almost might'st have coined me into gold,
Would'st thou have practised on me for thy use?
May it be possible that foreign hire
Could out of thee extract one spark of evil,
That might annoy my finger? 'Tis so strange,
That, though the truth of it stands off as gross
As black from white, my eye will scarcely see it.

* * * * * * *

0, how hast thou with jealousy infected
The sweetness of affiance! Shew men dutiful?
Why so didst thou: seem they grave and learned?
Why, so didst thou: come they of noble family?
Why, so didst thou: seem they religious?
Why, so didst thou: or, are they spare in diet,
Free from gross passion, or of mirth or anger;
Constant in spirit, not swerving with the blood
Garnished and decked in modest complement;
Not working with the eye, without the ear,
And, but in purged judgment, trusting neither?
Such, and so finely bolted, didst thou seem.
And thus thy fall bath left a kind of blot,
To mark the full-fraught man, and best endued,
With some suspicion. I will weep for thee;
For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like
Another fall of man."
- Henry V., Act II., Scene 2.

Sir Henry married first Philippa, daughter of Sir Guy de Brien, and secondly Joan, widow of Edmund, Duke of York; but, having no issue by either wife, he was succeeded by his brother, Sir John le Scrope, to whom the barony and estates, forfeited by Sir Henry's attainder, were restored. Sir John stood high in the royal favour, and was sent on confidential and diplomatic missions to several foreign courts. Henry VI., in the tenth year of his reign, appointed him to the exalted office of Lord High Treasurer of England. He was buried in St. Stephen's Chapel, York, beside the body of his first wife, Elizabeth Greystock. His second wife, Elizabeth Chaworth, of Wiverton, by whom only he had issue, survived him, and took the veil a month after his death. He was succeeded by his third and eldest surviving son,

Sir Thomas Scrope, fifth Baron, who appears to have led a quiet and uneventful life. His wife is supposed to have been Elizabeth, daughter of Ralph, Lord Greystock, by whom he had issue four sons and three daughters. Thomas, the eldest, succeeded his father whilst still a minor. He was one of the Commissioners of Array for the defence of the Marches of Scotland, and was summoned to parliament from 1482 to 1492. He died in 1494, leaving, by his wife, Elizabeth Neville, daughter and heiress of the Marquis of Montacute, an only daughter, Alice, who married her relative, Lord Scrope, of Bolton. She inherited the estates, but, dying in 1501 without surviving issue, the barony and estates devolved upon her uncles, Henry, Ralph, and Geoffrey, in succession. Geoffrey was a Carthusian monk, and was consequently never summoned to parliament. With him terminated the male line of the Scropes of Masham and Upsall; the estates were divided among his three sisters, and the title fell into abeyance. In the partition, Mashamshire fell to the share of Margery, wife of Sir Christopher Danby, Knight, of Farnley and Thorp Perrow, and who, in right of his wife, became Lord of Mashamshire.

The estates continued in the possession of this family until 1833, when the late William Danby, Esq., dying without issue, left Mashamshire to his widow for her life, with a limited power of appointment in favour of the Affleck family, with whom the Danbys had intermarried. The widow married, secondly, Admiral Octavius Henry Cyril Venables Vernon Harcourt, whom she survived, and after her death the estates and lordship were purchased by the present owner.

The Town of Masham is pleasantly situated on the western bank of the Ure, or Yore, a mile above the confluence of the Burn rivulet, and is distant six miles S.S.W. of Bedale, 10 N.W. of Ripon, 12 S.S.E. of Leyburn, 18 from Richmond, 36 from Leeds, and 218 from London, The houses are of stone, well built, and are chiefly ranged round the spacious market-place, in the centre of which stands the shaft of the ancient market cross. The market, which is held on Wednesday, is of very little importance; and a fair is held on the 17th and 18th of September for sheep, horned cattle, and pedlary. This is one of the largest sheep fairs in the kingdom, from 30,000 to 40,000 sheep being usually exhibited. The town is chiefly supported by agriculture, and two breweries, which give employment to a considerable number of hands. The river passes close to the town, and affords excellent sport to all lovers of the rod and line. Salmon, trout, pike, perch, and grayling are plentiful. The river is crossed by a good stone bridge of four arches, and the road leading thence to the town is bordered by a row of trees on each side. Near the entrance is a handsome fountain, erected as a token of Mashamshire loyalty on the occasion of Her Majesty's Jubilee (1887). Gas Works were built in 1858 by a company of shareholders, whose capital was raised in £5 shares; and about the same time works were erected for supplying the town with water. The government is vested in a Local Board of ten members, formed in 1862. The town is in connection with the North Eastern system by a branch line from Ripon, which terminates here. This line was opened for traffic on the 10th of June, 1875, with great feasting and rejoicing

The Church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, dates from Norman times, and though it has undergone subsequent restorations in later styles, it still retains intact a few traces of Norman masonry. An earlier Saxon church occupied the site, but when or by whom it was erected is not known. That it was founded soon after the conversion of our Saxon ancestors is an inference which may be drawn from the name Masham, or Mass-town, which would fittingly designate the place when it possessed the only church in the district. During the recent restoration, many stones and sepulchral slabs of undoubted Saxon workmanship were found built into the walls, and are supposed to have belonged to the original edifice.

Nigel de Albini, about 1135 A.D., presented this rectory to his kinsman, Samson de Albini, and Roger de Mowbray, son of this Nigel, granted the churches of Masham and Kirkby Malzeard, reserving to Samson de Albini his rights therein, to the Priory of Newburgh for ever. But the Canons of that house being unable or unwilling to accept the conditions, the grant lapsed, and Roger de Mowbray, by another charter without date, gave the said churches to Roger, Archbishop of York, and his successors for ever, in pure and perpetual alms, "so that they may henceforth be a Prebend in the Church of St. Peter, York." In 1278, Bogo de Clare, then prebendary, appropriated the rectory to the support of the prebendal stall, and Masham was thenceforth served by a vicar. The Prebend of Masham was the richest in York Cathedral, and its churches were exempted from all archidiaconal claims, payments, charges, services, and Visitations. In consequence of this exemption, an ecclesiastical court, known as the "Peculiar Court of the Prebend of Masham," was established in 1503, which took cognizance of all ecclesiastical crimes and misdemeanours, granted probates of wills and administration of persons dying within the limits of the prebendal manor, marriage licenses, &c., &c.; but recent Acts of Parliament have deprived it of nearly all its powers and privileges, and it now exists in little more than name. Masham enjoyed its prebendal honours until 1546, when the Prebend was dissolved by royal license, and made a lay-fee, which was granted to the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge, who have since been the patrons of the living and the appropriators of the tithes.

The Church is a handsome edifice, consisting of nave, with north and south aisles, chancel, north chapel, south porch, and tower, surmounted by an octagonal spire. During the prevalence of a terrific thunderstorm, on the 27th of July, 1855, the upper portion of the spire was struck by the lightning, and so seriously damaged as to necessitate its reconstruction. It was accordingly taken down and rebuilt the following year, at a cost of about £300, which, as the "Four-andTwenty" had refused to bear either the whole or any portion of the expense, was defrayed by public subscription. The lower part of the tower is of Norman date, and still retains its round-headed doorway; but the rest of the structure is in later Gothic. A thorough restoration was commenced in 1860, and completed in 1867, at a total outlay of about £4,000. The square-headed windows have been replaced by others of Gothic form, which accord with the general style and character of the edifice; the whitewash has been removed from the walls; open benches or stalls substituted for the old box pews, and an elaborately carved pulpit and reading desk for "the unsightly tubs which previously disfigured the church." The chancel was restored in 1882, when a handsome reredos of white alabaster and coloured marble was erected by Lady Lavinia Bickersteth, in memory of her aunt, Mrs. Danby Harcourt, of Swinton Park. It is divided into three panels enclosed in Gothic arches, crocketed, and resting on coloured marble shafts. In the centre panel is a representation of the Crucifixion, finely carved, and on either side the Annunciation and Birth of Christ. Three of the windows are filled with stained glass, the others with cathedral glass. The east window, representing several incidents in New Testament history, was presented by the late Admiral Harcourt. One above the priest's door was given by John Fisher, Esq., in memory of his wife, who died in 1858, and the third is a memorial of the late William Burrill, Esq. Many generations of the Danbys lie buried in the east end of the south aisle, and there are several handsome tablets to their memory; but the most elaborate piece of funereal sculpture is the monument of Sir Marmaduke Wyvill, Bart., who erected it in 1613, four years before his death. It is of alabaster, and bears the reclining figures of Sir Marmaduke and his wife Magdalen, daughter of Sir Christopher Danby, Knt., and below on the dado are their six sons and two daughters. There is a, brass to the memory of Christopher Kay, who was buried on the 23rd of October, 1689, and Jane Nicollson, who was interred on the 4th of June, 1690. Beneath is the following acrostic inscription:-
RAISED . AGAiN . iT. WiLL . I . TRYst
OMIT. THOSE . THiNGs . Which triual are
PRISE . THAT We. WiLL Indure
HanGe . not your Mind . on secular things
Each one . doth . fade . apace
Riches . the Chief . of We . hath wings
Keeping. no. Certaine . place
Adict Your. selues - unto - his Conuersation
You 'l: purchase . heauen . for your Habitation

There are also monumental tablets to members of the families of Hardoastle, Baines, Wrather, Morton, Harrison, Batley, and Fisher; and also to the memory of Admiral Harcourt, who died in 1863. Against the west wall is a handsome brass to Thomas Mallaby, bellhanger, who died in 1885, erected by his fellow townsmen.

The font is modern; the old one was discovered a few years ago in a cowhouse, where it had been sacrilegiously converted into a urinal. The tower contains a fine peal of eight bells, two of which were added in 1862, and a clock. The organ was the gift of the late William Danby, Esq., who left a rent charge of £30 a year on lands at Warthermarake, as an endowment for the organist. In the churchyard is a singular sculptured cylindrical stone, apparently Norman, which is evidently a portion of an ancient cross. Around the top are figures of Christ and His Twelve Apostles, much obliterated, and below are figures on horseback, and the adoration of the Magi. The Blessed Virgin is represented seated in a curious chair. The registers date from 1599. The living is a vicarage united with Kirkby-Malzeard, worth £538, including 13 acres of glebe, and held by the Rev. George Martyn Gorham, M.A., who is also rural dean. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for rent-charges, the rectorial for £941, and the vicarial for £236.

The management of the church as far as relates to the maintenance of the fabric is vested in the "Four-and-Twenty," "Elders," or "Sidesmen," who were formerly empowered to assess the whole parish to carry out any reparation of the nave, aisles, and tower, deemed necessary. This body is a sort of Select Vestry and claims to have existed from time immemorial. It is probable, however, that its origin was subsequent to the Reformation. The churchwardens rendered to the Four-and-Twenty an account of all moneys received and expended by them in their office, and the latter body allowed or disallowed such accounts as seemed expedient, and exonerated the churchwardens from rendering any account elsewhere. If any parishioner or inhabitant refused to pay any rate assessed upon him, or any sum of money due by him for burials, then the churchwardens, by warrant made by the Four-and-Twenty, distrained the goods and chattels of such person for the amount claimed. There is in existence an old book of accounts of the churchwardens from A.D. 1540 to A.D. 1677, which contains many curious entries relating to prices paid for work done and articles purchased.

There are chapels in the town belonging to the Baptists, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists. The Society of Friends had formerly a meeting house here, but the building is now used by the Primitive Methodists.

SCHOOLS. - The earliest provision for educational purposes was the bequest of Isabel Beckwith, of Well, who, by will dated 14th June, 1735, left the sum of £100 for the benefit of a Free School at Masham for teaching five poor boys, preference being given to such as bear the name of Beckwith. Oswald Coates, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, but previously of High Burton, officer of excise, by will in 1748, bequeated £520 towards the founding of a Free School for the education of twenty poor boys and ten poor girls resident in the parish. In 1755, the sum of £200 was left by Ann Danby for the support of a Free School, and five years later, William Danby, Esq., gave for the same purpose £225, together with a yearly rent-charge of £10 issuing out of lands at Hutton Magna. He also built the School-house and cottage adjoining for the residence of the master. These several sums were invested in rent-charges and land, and the income applied to the support of a Grammar School and a Free School. The endowment of the former amounts to about £50 a year. There is an average attendance of 25 children, whose parents pay for their education.

The Free, now the National School, adjoins the Grammar School, and with that structure was rebuilt by the late Mrs. Danby Harcourt in 1834, but both buildings have been much enlarged and improved since. It is endowed with £36 a year, and has an average attendance of 120.

Mrs. Danby Harcourt's Charity school, erected by that lady in 1854, is a neat stone building, containing in addition to the schoolroom, apartments for the mistress. It is endowed with £666 13s. 4d. three per cent. consols, for the education and clothing of twelve poor girls. The mistress is also at liberty to take twelve girls as pay scholars.

The Mechanics' Institute was erected by subscription in 1856, in memory of the Rev. Thomas Riddell, M.A., vicar of the parish. The library contains about 2,500 volumes of standard and popular works, and the reading room is well supplied with the leading newspapers and periodicals. The total cost, including caretaker's cottage, was £813.

CHARITIES. - In addition to the Charity school above mentiened, the late Mrs. Danby Harcourt built and endowed six neat Gothic Almshouses in 1853, for as many poor persons, and invested the sum of £2,650 in the three per cent. consols for their support. Each inmate or married couple receives 5s. a week. In 1858 a suite of four Almshouses of a similar description was erected by the late Admiral Harcourt, for the reception of four poor men or women. The endowment consists of £1,775 in the three per cent. consols, and the weekly allowance to each inmate is 5s.

John Hutchinson, by will, in 1719, left a rent-charge of £2 to be divided equally between the poor of Masham and Swinton; and Mrs. Marsden, London, a native of Masham, gave in 1842 the sum of £220 in the three per cent. consols, for the benefit of the poor of the parish.

BURTON UPON URE township, containing 2,021 acres, including 45 acres of water surface, is situated on the left bank of the river, and as before stated, does not form part of Mashamshire. It is valued for rating purposes at £2,190 and had in 1881 a population of 152. The soil is clay resting upon gravel, and produces good crops of wheat, barley, oats, and turnips. This township is included in Leyburn County Court district. The boundaries were recently rearranged, and the detached farm of Ilton Grange transferred to Swinton.

Burton is mentioned in Domesday Book, and at the time of the Survey it was a berewick belonging to the manor of Well. Subsequently, but the precise date is not known, it became divided into three distinct manors, and so remains to the present time. High Burton estate and manor came by marriage to the Wyvills in the 16th century, and continued in the possession of this family until sold by the late Marmaduke Wyvill to Timothy Hutton, Esq., of Clifton Castle, from whom it has descended to Sir John and Lady Cowell.

Burton House, anciently the seat of the Wyvills, and at one time the residence of Mr. Prest, who had a large flax factory here affording employment to a number of hands, till about the year 1842, when it ceased to be worked, and was shortly afterwards raized to the ground. A mill had occupied the site from the time of Roger de Mowbray, first as a corn mill, then a worsted, and lastly a flax mill. The house, now the residence of Mr. James Carter, is surrounded by neatly laid out pleasure grounds, and retains many other traces of its former grandeur.

Aldbrough Manor and estate, including Greens and Nutwith Cote, is the property of John Timothy D'Arcy Hutton, Esq., Marske Hall, The monks of Fountains possessed lands and had a grange at Aldbrough, which were seized by Henry VIII. at the Reformation. About the end of the 16th century, Aldbrough was sold to Sir Roger Beckwith, and it was purchased from this family by an ancestor of the present owner soon after 1743. The hall, situated on the banks of the Yore, about two miles from Masham, is a handsome stone building, consisting of a centre and two wings, refronted about 20 years ago.

Near Aldbrough Hall is the site of a castle* founded by William le Gros, earl of Abemarle, who, in 1138, was created earl of York for the valour he displayed at the battle of the Standard.

* Mr. Fisher, in his History of Mashamshire, disputes this very generally received opinion, and says that the castle founded by Le Gros stood at Aldburgh, in Holderness.

Nutwith Cote, the residence of Mr. Thomas Phillips, is an ancient house, and has evidently once been the abode of some person of consequence. The walls of one room were hung with Spanish leather, bearing embossed devices and figures of angels, bacchanalians, grapes, &c., in gold, but a portion of this has been removed, and the remainder is hidden beneath coats of paint and paper. The house belonged to the Beckwiths, and was at one time the residence of Sir Patrick Mackie, a lieut.-colonel in the Scotch army, who died here in 1647. There was formerly a comb manufactory here; and upon the common is the site of a Roman camp.

The estate and manor of Low Burton belong to the trustees of the late William Barningham, Esq., of Pendleton, near Manchester. The hall, now a farmhouse in the occupation of Mr. John Exelby, is a curious old building, to which a Catholic chapel and burial ground were formerly attached.

Stone coffins and weapons of ancient warfare have been found in the township, and about 75 years ago some ancient earthenware vases, or urns, were found at Low Burton, but unfortunately were not preserved.

Masham station, the terminus of the Ripon and Masham branch of the North Eastern railway, is in this township. It is a commodious and substantial brick structure, and the most convenient station for visitors to Jervaulx Abbey and the beautiful woods and walks of Hackfall. The present obliging and courteous station master, Mr. Joshua Tennant, has discharged the duties of that office since the opening of the line.

Ellington (High and Low, or Over and Nether) are two small villages contiguous to each other, forming a joint township, about 2½ miles N.W. of Masham. The total area is 1,861 acres; rateable value, £1,727; and population, 89. This township is in the Leyburn union and county court district. The soil is gravelly, and the surface well wooded.

Domesday Book records that there were in Ellintone "six carucates to be taxed." Subsequently, the manor came into the possession of the Wauton, or Walton, family; thence it passed to the Scropes, of Bolton, from whom it was purchased by Sir Thomas Danby. After the death of the late Mrs. Danby Harcourt, this and other estates were bought by S. Cunliffe Lister, Esq., the present owner and lord of the manor.

There was, in pre-Reformation times, a chapel-of-ease at High Ellington, the ministerial duties of which were supplied by the monks of Jervaulx. It stood near the house occupied by Mr. Mason Verity, and the ruins were utilised in rebuilding that house a few years ago. Gravestones have been occasionally dug up near the site. The Wesleyans have a chapel here, built in 1877, at a cost of about £300.

Sutton is a small hamlet in this township, 11 miles from Masham.

SWINTON WITH WARTHERMARSKE township contains 1,670 acres of land on the south bank of the river Burn, and about one mile from Masham. It is valued for rating purposes at £2,130, and in 1881 had 162 inhabitants. The soil is gravelly, and the subsoil sandstone; the crops are chiefly wheat and pasture. S. Cunliffe Lister, Esq., is lord of the manor and sole landowner.

The Scropes, lords of Masham and Upsall, were formerly the owners of Swinton; and from this family it was conveyed by the marriage of an heiress, in 1517, to Sir Christopher Danby, knight. After the death of the late Mrs. Danby Harcourt, the estate was purchased by the present owner.

Swinton Park, the seat of Samuel Cunliffe Lister, Esq., J.P., D.L., is a spacious and elegant mansion, evolved by alterations and additions out of the old hall of the Danbys. It is in the Tudor, or Castellated Domestic, style, with two embattled towers flanking the central block on the eastern and western sides. The mansion is now undergoing extensive alteration and enlargement, which will somewhat change its exterior aspect. The park, containing about 300 acres, is well wooded and stocked with deer. The scenery in and around is extremely beautiful.

Mr. Lister is the son of the late Ellis Cunliffe-Lister, Esq., M.P., of Manningham Hall, Bradford. He was originally intended for the Church, but his youthful bent was towards a mercantile career, and he was accordingly placed in the counting house of Messrs. Sands, Turner, & Co., Liverpool. Soon after attaining his majority, he, in conjunction with his elder brother, commenced business at the Manningham Mills; and, by his perseverance, enterprise, and inventive genius, the concern became one of the largest and most important in the kingdom. He directed his whole attention to devising machinery wherewith to supersede hand labour in all the preparatory processes of the textile manufacture. There were many others working in the same field, and amongst them Mr. Donisthorpe, whose combing machine attracted the attention of Mr. Lister, and the latter purchased the invention. To this he added many of his own improvements, ultimately producing a machine that stood without a compeer, and soon amassed an immense fortune. But his active mind could not rest satisfied with what he had accomplished; he longed for other difficulties to surmount. Accident threw one in his way. Seeing a pile of rubbish in a London warehouse, he enquired what it was, and was informed that it was "silk waste." This, he further learned, was incapable of being worked up, and was, therefore, sold as "rubbish." Here was another field for investigation, at which he worked for years, and eventually succeeded in producing machinery and processes which could transform the hitherto useless waste into fabrics that could vie in appearance with materials manufactured from the perfect cocoon. The difficulties he encountered before success finally crowned his efforts would have discouraged most men; but he worked and worked with dogged perseverance, even in the face of repeated failure and heavy losses, which few men could have sustained. He spent £360,000 in perfecting his machinery for manipulating the silk waste before it returned him a single shilling. But the return since has been most ample, his income being, it is said, not far short of £200,000 a year. Bradford erected a statue to him in 1875, as an expression of gratitude for the benefits derived from his inventions and enterprise. Mr. Lister has invested extensively in land in Wensleydale and other parts of the North Riding in recent years, and now owns more than 400,000 acres, for which he has paid upwards of £850,000.

The monks of Fountains had a corn mill in this township, and in some old documents, mention is made of a fullers' mill at Swinton about the year 1630.

CHARITIES. - The poor of Swinton receive 20s. a year out of Hutchinson's Charity, and the interest of £12, left by William King. A rent-charge of 5s. a year was left by - Bartlett; and there is a plot of land, called "Poor Boys' Closes," containing 4a. 3r. l6p., the rent of which is applied in apprenticing poor boys belonging to this township.

ANTIQUITIES. The ancient Brigantes and Romans have left many traces behind of their occupation of the district. The remains of the former consist of Kistavaens, or rude stone coffins, found in an extensive ridge or hill of gravel, in a field called Marfield. This ridge stands 10 or 12 feet above the adjacent ground, and may possibly, as a writer in the archæological Journal suggests, have been originally raised as a tumulus for sepulchral purposes. The coffins contained human bones, which had evidently belonged to a people that did not practise cremation. The Roman road from Catterick passes close to Marfield, and traces of camps are visible in Swinton Park and Roomer Moor, In the former, a very remarkable gold ornament, resembling a bow with terminal cups, was found some years ago.

[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.