MYTON UPON SWALE: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Bulmer - Petty Sessional Division of West Bulmer - Electoral Division, Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Easingwold - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This is a small agricultural parish, containing 1,659 acres of rich fertile land, in a high state of cultivation. It is intersected by the Swale, and bounded on the south and south-west by the Ure. The gross estimated rental is £3,126; rateable value, £2,885; and the population, in 1881, was 189.

The whole parish forms one estate and manor, the property of Major Henry Miles Stapylton, J.P., D.L., whose ancestors have been resident at Myton Hall since the reign of Charles I. He succeeded his father, the late Stapylton Stapylton, Esq., in 1864, and since then has expended a very considerable amount of money in improving the estate, by the erection of new buildings, &c. Those on the Home Farm, rebuilt about 20 years ago, are, perhaps, scarcely equalled by any farmstead in the country.

The Stapylton family is one of great repute and antiquity in the county. They take their surname from Stapleton-on-Tees, where they possessed lands previous to the Conquest. The first of whom any record has been preserved was Heryon, or Herman, who held the manor of Stapleton in 1052, and was father of Alan de Stapylton, who was living in 1080. Sir John, his grandson, was lord of Stapleton, and comptroller of the household to King Stephen. Sir Miles Stapylton, Knight, the next in descent, fought under the standard of the Cross, in Palestine, and, on his return, married Pendoras, daughter of the King of Cyprus. After three descents came another Sir Miles, who distinguished himself in the wars of Gascony and Scotland, in the reigns of the first and second Edwards, and was summoned to parliament, as a baron, in 1313. His son, Sir Nicholas Stapylton, second baron, was summoned to parliament in 1342. He married Sibill, a niece and coheir of Peter de Brus, who brought him the manor of Carlton. He was involved in the insurrection of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, and was fined 2,000 marks to save his life, but the fine was remitted by Edward III. in the first year of his reign. His son, Sir Miles, third baron, was one of the first knights of the garter. He was a warrior of repute, and was high sheriff of Yorkshire in 1353, again in 1355, and also for the five years following. Of another of this family, Sir Bryan Stapylton, K.G., it is related that "the King of England and the King of Cyprus being present, he fought with a Saracen, faith for faith, whom, by the grace of God and his valour, he did kill. For which cause he did desire for the reward of his valour, of Edward III., then present, nothing else but that he and his heirs, in memory of the victory, should carry for their crest the head of a Saracen." Sir Robert Stapylton, of Wighill, Knight, when high sheriff of Yorkshire, in 1581, met the judges with seven score men, in suitable liveries. He was, according to Camden, "a person well spoken, comely, and skilled in the languages, with scarce an equal, except Sir Philip Sidney, and no superior in England." Bryan, third son of Sir Robert, was Receiver-General in the north for Charles I., and seated himself at Myton. From him the Myton branch of the family is descended. His son, Sir Henry, was created a baronet in 1660. Sir Martin Stapylton, eighth baronet, died, without issue, in 1817, and the title became extinct, but the estates devolved upon his nephew, Martin Bree, Esq. (son of his sister Anne, wife of the Rev. John Bree), who assumed the surname and arms of Stapylton only. The present owner of Myton, his grandson, was high sheriff of Yorkshire in 1876.

The village of Myton (Mitune in Domesday Book) is pleasantly situated on the Swale, a little above its confluence with the Ure, and is distant about three miles E. of Boroughbridge. The low-lying meadows near the village was the scene of a sanguinary conflict between the English and the Scots, on the 12th October, 1320. Pestilence and famine were desolating the northern counties of England, and the king (Edward II.), at the head of 15,000 men, was vainly attempting to recover his lost laurels before the walls of Berwick-on-Tweed. Whilst the English were thus engaged with the border town, the Earl of Murray and Lord Douglas, two of Bruce's most famous generals, led a force of 15,000 picked men across the Solway, and ravaged the country to the gates of York. Indignant at the insult thus offered to the city, William de Melton, the Archbishop, hastily assembled an army, composed of priests, canons, monks, husbandmen, artificers, and others, to the number of 10,000, and with these undisciplined troops he went in pursuit of the enemy, which he, unfortunately, encountered at Myton. The battle was short and decisive; the English were ignominiously defeated, and between 3,000 and 4,000 either perished on the field, or were drowned in attempting to escape across the river. The engagement was long remembered as the White Battle, in consequence, of the number of ecclesiastics that fell fighting on the field, clad in full canonicals; and by Scottish writers it was facetiously named the Chapter of Mitton.

The Church (St. Mary) is an ancient Gothic edifice, said to have been built of stones taken from the ancient Isurium, now called Aldborough. It was thoroughly restored, in 1887-8, from the designs of Hodgson Fowler, Esq., of Durham, at a cost of £1,200, and was reopened by the Archbishop of York on the 4th April, in the latter year. It consists of nave, with north aisle, chancel, tower, and porch. The east window, given by Mrs. E. C. Munby in memory of her sister, Louisa J. Mathews, is a beautiful specimen of the glass stainer's art, from the studio of Mr. C. E. Kempe, London. Two large and beautiful paintings, representing the Crucifixion and Resurrection, by C. H. Schwanfelder, hang against the north wall of the chancel.

The church and manor of Myton, with the mill, pool, and fishery, were given, at an early period, to the abbot and monks of St. Mary's Abbey, York, who, thenceforth, received the tithes, and appointed a vicar to discharge all the clerical functions. At the Reformation his stipend was £6 per annum - worth about £60 of present money. The living still remains a vicarage, the patronage of which has been vested in the Archbishops of York since the dissolution of the abbey. The yearly income is returned in the Diocesan Calendar at £150, with residence, The Rev. Samuel Slinn Skeen is the present vicar.

In the year 1820, the remains of the famous Roger de Mowbray, lord of Thirsk and of the vale which now bears his name, were removed by the late Martin Stapylton, Esq., from Byland Abbey, where they had reposed for six centuries, and reinterred in the church of Myton; but they were again transferred, a few years ago, to their original resting-place in the nave of the abbey church.

The village School is a small brick building, erected, in 1847, by Mrs. Margaret Stapylton, of Myton Hall. It is attended by 30 children (girls and infants), and is chiefly supported by Major Stapylton. It receives the interest of £60, left by William Melmerby, of Ellenthorpe, in 1802, for the education of six poor children. The poor also receive 20s. a year, left by a person named Glauber.

There was formerly a ferry over the Swale here, which belonged to St. Mary's Abbey. A bridge, the private property of Major Stapylton, now crosses the river. It is open to the public on payment of a toll.

[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.