Northallerton Parish information from Bulmers' 1890.


Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.

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

This parish includes the townships of Northallerton, Deighton, Lazenby, Romanby, and High Worsall, comprising a total area of 10,259 acres, and containing, according to the census returns of 1881, 4,345 inhabitants. Of these figures, 3,367 acres and 3,692 inhabitants belong to the township of Northallerton. The soil is variable, but generally fertile; wheat, oats, barley, and beans are largely grown, but a considerable extent of land is laid down in pasture. The main line of the North Eastern railway passes through the township, as also does the Leeds and Stockton branch. The township is valued for rating purposes at £22,227. The manorial privileges are vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who, with W. W. P. Consett, Esq., R. H. Wrightson, Esq., Sir Henry Beresford-Peirse, the Earl of Harewood, John Hutton, Esq., Robert Hutton-Squire, Esq., and Marwood's devisees, are the principal landowners.

The town is situated on a gently rising acclivity, near the confluence of the Willow beck and Sun beck, two small streams which fall into the Wiske about a mile further west. It is distant about 16 miles from Richmond, Stokesley, Yarm, and Darlington, 8½ NW. of Thirsk, 32 N.N.W. of York, 50 from Leeds, and 221 from London. Though now but a small country town, depending almost solely for its prosperity on the agricultural produce of the district, it was formerly a place of some consequence, and may still be regarded as the capital of the North Riding. It is also the head of the wapentake or shire to which it has given a name. There is some doubt as to the origin of the name. In Domesday Book it is written Alvertune, Aluertune, and Alreton. Simeon of Durham, who flourished in the early part of the twelfth century, calls it Alvertona, and by other ancient chroniclers it is written Alverton. Gale conjectures that its name was originally Alveredtune - the town of Alfred, the renowned king of that name - which was afterwards softened into Alvertun and Allerton. But as there are several other Allertons in Yorkshire, it seems more reasonable to suppose that the name is descriptive of the situation of the several places. It is, therefore, probable that the Ellertons took their name from the alder, or eller, tree, which may have abounded here, as the Ackworths, Actons, Egtons, &c., did from the oak, and the Aghtons, Estons, &c., from the ash.

Though the name does not occur in any record older than the Norman Conquest, there can be little doubt that the town dates from early Saxon times, and that it arose, as Gale observes, "out of the ashes of an old Roman station, whose name we have lost." That the Romans had a camp or station here has been placed beyond the region of conjecture by the discovery of numerous and undoubted relics of Roman occupation. The site of the castrum, of which very little remains, was on the south-west side of the town, on a spot known in later times as the Castle Hills. It was circular in form, consisting of a central mound surrounded by high embankments and deep trenches, enclosing an area of about 20 acres. This shape was a departure from the canons of Roman engineering, which prescribe a square or rectangular form for their camps, and was probably introduced in the latter days of the empire, when discipline was relaxed, and the army largely composed of men from conquered nations, who adhered to their own national methods of fortification. Some antiquarians have ascribed the erection of this camp to the Danish period of our history; but the discovery of so many Roman coins and other relics of undoubted Roman workmanship, clearly establishes its Roman origin. In 1743, a Roman urn, containing ashes, was dug up here, and about 1788 another, containing several hundred Roman coins, chiefly of the later Emperors, was found by a man named Lawrence Leadley whilst ploughing in a field near the camp. Many of these coins were in a good state of preservation, and were circulated as farthings by the finder. They were known as Lawrie's Farthings. Spurs, both of the Roman and Saxon type, have been found here.

A portion of the camp was obliterated in the early part of the present century, and the ground converted into fields; and the greater part of the remainder was levelled in 1838, for the construction of the North Eastern railway, which passes through the site. During the progress of the work, the foundations of a building were laid bare, a Roman well, lined with dressed freestone, discovered about the centre of the hill, and many coins and curious stones found in other parts of the site. Among the latter was one bearing an inscription recording the presence here of the Sixth Legion; but, unfortunately, it contained nothing that could lead to the identification of the station.

Sir Thomas Saville, in a letter to Camden, conjectures that this was the Roman city of Camulodunum, and adds that the Bishop of Durham had a charter, in which "Parti de Camuloduno, continens iii leucas in latitudine, atque xv in longitudine, ab Edwino Northanhumbrorum rege episcopis Dunelmensibus conceditur." (A part of Camulodunum, measuring 15 leagues in length, by three leagues in breadth, was given by Edwin, King of the Northumbrians, to the Bishop of Durham.) He further says that the see of Durham, under this very charter, enjoyed the territory of Northallerton at that day and to that extent.* Camulodunum is frequently mentioned by Pliny, Ptolemy, and Tacitus, and as it occurs also on the coins of Cunobeline, king of the Trinobantes, whose territory is now known as Essex, it is most probably identical with Colchester in that county.

* Illustrium virorum epistolæ 1691, p. 9.

After the Saxons obtained possession of the district, we may suppose they made use of this camp for defensive purposes, and that under the shadow of its protection arose the present town of Northallerton, but its history is almost blank till the Norman Conquest. In A.D. 769, it was burnt by Beornredus, king of Northumbria; and 96 years later, when the Norsemen were ravaging the country, a sharp encounter took place here between King Alfred and five Danish kings with a mighty host. In a second battle the Danes were thoroughly defeated, and their kings slain. Peter de Langtoft, a monk who lived in the reign of Edward II., thus speaks of the struggle:-

"Tille Alfred our kyng com tythings starke,
That fyve kyngs and fyve earles ver comen of Denmarke,
Thatte wold on hym reune, and rove hym the coroune
With alle ther grete folk, ther lay in Alvertoune."

These are the only two events recorded of the place in Saxon times, but after the Norman Conquest its name is associated with some of the most notable incidents of history.

In 1069 the Conqueror, enraged at the murder of his henchman, Robert Cumin, whom he had appointed to the earldom of Northumberland, sent an army to avenge the death of his trusty follower. But when this army had reached Northallerton, it was enveloped in a darkness so dense that one man could scarcely perceive his comrade, nor were they able by any means to discover which way to go. Whilst in this state of bewilderment they were told by someone that the people of the city of Durham, whither they were going, had a certain saint who was always their protector in adversity, and none might offer them an injury without meeting with a severe punishment. The army, having either too much piety or prudence to think of waging war with heaven, returned to York, where William joined them, and led them back again through Northallerton to Durham, reducing the town and district by fire and sword to a horrible desert; and when the Domesday Survey was taken, a few years afterwards, Northallerton was still in the same deplorable condition.

From that ancient record we also learn that the manor of Alvertune, containing 44 carucates of land, was held, in the reign of Edward the Confessor, by the Earl of Mercia, who held there 66 villeins, or bondmen, with 85 ploughs. There were a meadow, of 40 acres, and a wood and plain, five leagues in length and the same in breadth, The manor also included the following berewics, or dependent manors, viz.:- Brettebr, Smiletune, Sowbr, Smiletune Parva, Kirkby, Corktune, Landemot, Bergbi, Gristorentun, Romandebi, and Jarorbi. William's son, and successor, Rufus, granted the manor of Alverton to William de Carilepho, Bishop of Durham, and it continued to form part of the patrimony of St. Cuthbert until 1836, when it was transferred to the newly-instituted see of Ripon. In 1857 the trust was vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and is now administered by them. But to return to its ancient history -

In the civil war between King Stephen and Matilda, David, King of Scotland, espousing the cause of his niece, led his large and undisciplined army of freebooters across the border. The "ferocious Scots" ravaged Northumberland and Durham, sacking and burning towns and churches, and inflicting the most inhuman cruelties and indignities upon the defenceless inhabitants. Gloated with the spoils of their barbarity, they advanced still further southward and encamped before the very gates of York. In this emergency Thurstan, the aged Archbishop of York, assembled the northern barons and exhorted them to fight for their families, their country, and their God. On hearing of this armament the Scots retired from before York, and the barons, with their followers, ranging themselves under the command of Ralph, Bishop of the Orkneys, the aged archbishop's deputy, Walter L'Espec, and William de Albemarle, advanced towards the north. The two armies met on Cowton Moor, three miles north of Northallerton, on the 22nd of August, 1138, and the battle which followed is known in history as the Battle of the Standard (For fuller account of this victory see pp. 53 and 388).

The Castle of Northallerton is supposed to have been erected about this time, by Galfrid Rufus, Bishop of Durham, for the protection of the town and neighbourhood. Bishop Galfrid died in 1140, and Cumin, a Scotchman, who had been chaplain to the bishop, usurped the see of Durham, and, with the aid of his nephew, maintained possession of it for about three years, against the legally elected bishop, William de St. Barbara. Being at last compelled to surrender, he threw himself on the clemency of the bishop, and received pardon of his offences. His nephew met with the same leniency, and obtained a grant of the manor and castle of Northallerton, instead of the punishment which he so richly deserved. The castle was greatly enlarged about the year 1173, by Hugh Pudsey, the succeeding bishop of Durham, and garrisoned by a body of Flemish soldiers. This act irritated the king (Henry II.), who had grave reasons to doubt the bishop's loyalty. Pudsey was permitted to compromise his treason by the payment of a heavy fine, and the surrender to the king of all his castles. Henry, from motives of policy, ordered the demolition of the castle of N orthallerton, and it was accordingly razed to the ground, in 1177. The fortress stood on the bank of the Wiske rivulet, on the west side of the town.

The Bishop's Palace. - Out of the ruins of the castle, and probably on the site, was erected a few years afterwards an episcopal palace, which, for several centuries, was the occasional residence of the bishops of Durham. Leland, writing in the reign of Henry VIII., says, "At the west side of Northalverton, a little from the chirche, is the Bishop of Dyrham's palace, strong of building and well motid." One hundred years later the palace lay in ruins - "a receptacle for bats and buzzards, owls and jackdaws." Every vestige of the ruin disappeared before the advent of the present century, and the site has been converted into a cemetery, but the moat may still be traced on the outside of the boundary wall.

During the inglorious war waged by Edward II. against Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, Northallerton was given to the flames by the Scots, in an incursion, in 1318, and Ripon only escaped the same fate by the payment of 1,000 marks. But Northallerton's troubles arose not alone from the Scots. There lived, about this time, Sir Goseline Denville, descended from an honourable ancestry at Northallerton. He appears, from the notices of him in the ancient writers, to have been a sort of military Robin Hood, with 200 men under his command, habited in the garb of friars. Like his prototype, he preyed only upon those who "had enough and to spare," and seems to have had a special fancy for helping himself to the goods of the church. With this band of desperadoes he attacked and rifled the bishop's palace, at Northallerton, but was subsequently captured, after a sharp conflict, by the sheriff and 500 men. He was executed at York. Northallerton was several times visited by royalty in the reigns of the first three Edwards, and the Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII., spent one night here (July 18th, 1603), when on her way to the Scottish capital to be married to James IV. The brilliant display along the route of the journey has been quaintly described by John Young, the Somerset Herald, who accompanied the princess. James I. passed through the town on his way to Scotland in 1617, and his unfortunate son, Charles I., spent a night here,* a prisoner, on his way from Newcastle to Holmby. It was also at Northallerton† that the English Commissioners paid over to the Scots the first moiety of the £200,000, for which sum they had contracted to deliver the king into the custody of the Roundheads. This sordid and base transaction, though the work exclusively of a mercenary army, stamped the whole nation of Scotland with infamy, and, for years afterwards, was a subject of reproach to Scotchmen:

"Traitor, traitor Scot,
Sold his king for a groat."

Having obtained the ascendancy, the parliament abolished episcopacy, and sold large portions of the lands in Allertonshire and elsewhere belonging to the see of Durham. The manor of Northallerton was sold to William Cave for £1,463 6s. 8½d.; divers lands in the township were purchased by John Wastell and James Danby for £102 10s.; and the said John Wastell and Henry Darley became owners of the borough for £237 3s. 2d. At the same time the borough of Durham, with the adjoining suburb of Framwellgate, was sold for the sum of £230.

* The king's sojourn was at the Porch House, the seat and property of the Metcalfes. This historic building was erected by Richard Metcalfe, in 1584, in the Elizabethan style, but it was modernised and spoiled in 1784. † So says Lingard. The receipt was signed at Northallerton, but there is reason to believe that the money, which was made up in bags of £1,000 each and conveyed in 36 wagons, was delivered to the Scottish Commissioners, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where Charles was detained.

There is little more to record of the "drum and fife" history of Northallerton. When the Commonwealth finally collapsed through the death of Oliver Cromwell and the abdication of his son, Richard, the parliamentary forces under General Lambert were disbanded here, and Lambert retired into private life. During the rebellion of 1746 the English army, under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, whose cruelties after the battle of Culloden obtained for him the nick-name of "the butcher," was for some time encamped here.

The Franchise. - Northallerton was formerly a parliamentary borough. Its first representatives were John le Clerk and Stephen Maunsell, who were elected to the parliament of the 26th Edward I. (1298); but for some reason or other no subsequent return was made until 1640, when the privilege was again resumed by order of the House of Commons. Twenty years later, Francis Lascelles, Esq., a member for this borough, was discharged from being a member of parliament, because he had sat as one of the judges on the trial of Charles I. The franchise was vested in the holders of 204 burgage houses, most of which belonged to two owners, who had thus the patronage of the borough between them. By the Reform Act of 1832, all pocket-borough privileges were swept away, the franchise extended to £10 householders, and the boundaries of the borough enlarged so as to include the townships of Romanby and Brompton. The borough, by the same Act, lost one of its representatives, and by the Reform Act of 1885, it was deprived of its remaining member. The last M.P. for Northallerton was George William Elliot, Esq., who sat in the conservative interest.

THE TOWN is situated in the midst of a rich agricultural district, close to the main line of the North Eastern railway. Langdale, writing in 1791, says:- "The town was never incorporated, neither is there any particular manufactory carried on therein." But it appears to have formerly enjoyed a distinguished reputation for the particular manufacture, if we may be allowed the expression, of "strong ale." Giles Morrington, a local bard, in his "Poem in praise of Yorkshire Ale," written in 1697, says:-

"Northallerton, in Yorkshire, does excel
All England, nay all Europe, for strong ale."

The manufacture of tarpaulin and brattice cloth was commenced in 1876, and the company recently reorganised and registered under the Limited Liability Companies' Act, is now erecting a new mill for the manufacture of linoleum. The other trades are enumerated in the directory.

The town consists chiefly of one long irregularly built street, a large portion of which is occupied by the spacious Market Place. The market (Wednesdays) is held by prescription, and is mentioned in an inquisition taken in the 7th Edward III. (1334), but probably dates from a much earlier period. In this inquisition it was found that the market and fair, with all the profits thereof, were held of the Bishop of Durham in fee by the inhabitants, at an annual rent of 40 marks of silver (£169 10s.) In 1871, the "Northallerton Markets and Public Improvements Co., Ltd.," was formed for the purchase of all the Market Rights, Tolls, Toll Booths, Shambles, and Market Cross from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who held them in trust for the Bishop of Ripon. The Toll Booth, Shambles, and Market Cross* were removed, and the present Town Hall erected in 1873. This is a substantial brick building with stone dressings, built from the designs of Mr. Ross, of Darlington, at a cost of £3,600. The lower floor is occupied by the market house and shops, and above is a large hall, with anterooms, let for concerts, public entertainments, &c. It will accommodate about 700 persons. Fairs have been held in the town since A.D. 1200, when permission was given by King John to Philip de Poictou, Bishop of Durham, to hold two yearly; another was granted by Queen Mary, and a fourth by James I. These fairs are held - February 7th, for horses only; February 14th, for horses and horned cattle; May 6th and 6th, for horses, cattle, sheep, and leather; September 5th and 6th and October 3rd and 4th, for horned cattle and sheep. A cheese fair was formerly held on the second Wednesday in October, but this has been wholly abandoned, and those for cattle are gradually dying out, in consequence of the facilities which farmers now possess of disposing of their horned stock at the fortnightly stocks marts, of which there are two at Northallerton, sales being held every Tuesday alternately.

* The Market Cross was sold by auction, on the 20th August, 1873, to Mr. P. Hindmarch, for £5; by whom it was presented to W. T. Jefferson, Esq., and now stands in the field behind his house.

The town is fairly well paved and lighted with gas. Its government is vested in a Local Board of Health, formed in 1851, whose jurisdiction also extends to the township of Romanby.

The Church, dedicated to All Saints, is a large handsome structure, exhibiting, in the variety of its architecture, the restorations of different periods. The original edifice, of which not a vestige is now visible, is supposed by Dr. Stukeley and others, to have been erected by St. Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York, about the year 630. Its dedication to All Saints is also advanced as an argument in favour of its Saxon origin; but more tangible and conclusive evidence was brought to light during the restoration of the church in 1883-4, by the discovery of a quantity of crosses and stones of undoubted Saxon work. This early edifice was replaced by another in the Norman era, built probably soon after the manor came into the possession of the bishops of Durham. This Norman church was destroyed by the Scots when they sacked and burnt the town in an incursion soon after the battle of Bannockburn. In the restoration which followed, the north arcade, with its massive Norman piers, was incorporated in the new work. The tower was built or rebuilt by Bishop Hatfield of Durham, about the year 1360; and some time later, Bishop Neville, who held the episcopate from 1438 to 1457, inserted the great five-light window in the south transept. Subsequent restorations and alterations took place, but these were not always effected with the best of taste. The chancel having become very dilapidated, was taken down in 1779, rebuilt in the style of the period and covered with slate; and six years later we have a painful instance of churchwarden parsimony and spoliation in the last century. The fabric required some repairs, and to effect these at the least possible expense to the pockets of the parishioners, the fine open-timbered roofs of the nave, aisles, and transepts were taken down for the sake of the lead, and a monstrous slated roof of one span substituted. The lead, weighing 19 tons 16 cwts. 3 qrs. 24 lbs., was sold for £320 15s., and "this wholesale spoliation and vandalism," says the Rev. J. L. Saywell, in his Annals of Northallerton, "reduced a debt of £382 10s. 5½d. to £7 17s. 1½d." In 1883-4 the nave, aisles, tower, and transepts were thoroughly restored, under the direction of C. Hodgson Fowler, architect, Durham, and the following year the chancel was rebuilt in the Perpendicular style; the total expenses incurred having been about £6,000. The church is cruciform in plan, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, south porch, and tower rising from the intersection of the nave and transepts. The arches and piers of the north aisle are Norman, the south aisle and transepts are Early English, and the chancel and tower Perpendicular. In recesses in the walls of the transepts and aisles are preserved the old sculptured stones, crosses, &c., discovered during the restoration. A new organ was added in 1887, at a cost of £700, built by Wordsworth of Leeds, The font is a plain octagonal bowl, bearing the date 1662, and the initials of the churchwardens at that time. The oldest and most interesting monument is the tombstone of Mark Metcalfe, who was vicar of Northallerton from 1561 till his death in 1593. There are also tablets to members of the Bedingfield, Crosfield, Mitford, Rigge, Booth, Leighton, Peat, Todd, Walker, Walton, and Ingledew families. There are eight bells in the tower, two having been added in 1871 to the original peal of six, one of which is supposed to have belonged to Mount Grace Priory, and now known as the Curfew Bell, from being rung every night at eight o'clock. Another, called the Shriving Bell, is believed to be of still older date. A new clock with two faces was presented in in 1885, by William Emmerson, vicar's churchwarden that year. The living is a vicarage, gross rental (with Deighton), £750, in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, and held by the Rev. B. C. Caffin, M.A., surrogate and rural dean. There are 165 acres of glebe. The rectorial tithes, present value, £349, belong to Sir Henry Beresford-Peirse; whose ancestor, Henry Peirse, Esq., purchased them from Edmund Prissick, Esq., to whom they had been sold by the Earl of Ailesbury.

The list of vicars is very complete from the early part of the 13th century. Of these we may mention two, Dr. John Fisher, who held the living from 1491 to 1494, and was afterwards elected bishop of Rochester. He was the friend and counsellor of Henry VIII., and assisted him in writing the tractate against Luther, which procured for the king the title of "Defender of the Faith." He was an uncompromising opponent of Henry's divorce, and marriage with Anne Boleyn; and after the king had thrown off the papal yoke, refused to acknowledge his supremacy in ecclesiastical affairs. For this he was imprisoned, and beheaded on Tower Hill, 22nd June, 1535. Dr. Townsend, author of a Chronological arrangement of the Bible, was appointed vicar in 1826, and resigned in 1839. In 1852 he visited Rome, and had an interview with Pius IX. touching certain reforms or changes which he ardently desired to be made in the Roman Catholic Church, the abolition of clerical celibacy amongst other things.

Chantries. - There were formerly two chantries in the church of Northallerton; one was dedicated to St. Lawrence, but its founder is unknown. At the Dissolution its revenues were valued at £4 3s. 4d. The other was established in 1476 by Richard Moore, who left certain lands, &c., to the hospital which he had founded, for the payment of £4 13s. 4d. a year to a chaplain for the said chantry.

There was also a Guild or Fraternity in connection with the church. This appears to have been a purely religious association, and in 1441, Cardinal Kemp, Archbishop of York, granted an indulgence of 100 days' relaxation of penance, to all such as liberally contributed to the support of this body.

Ancient Religious Houses. - On the site now occupied by the Fleece Inn, and the two houses adjoining, there stood in old Catholic times an Augustinian Friary. This house was founded by William de Alverton, who in 1341, gave to the Austin Friars, eight acres of land in the town, to build a church and habitation thereon. This order was a mendicant one, and consequently forbidden by its rules to possess any property except the monastic buildings and the ground on which they stood. These monks were generally styled, from the colour of their habit, the Black Friars.

There was also in the town a convent of Carmelite or White Friars, an order introduced into England from Mount Carmel by Lords John Vesci and Richard Grey about the year 1240. Their rule was founded upon that of St. Basil. In summer they rose at four o'clock in the morning, and in winter at five. Each friar had a coffin in his cell, in which he slept on a pallet of straw, and every morning he was called upon to dig a shovelful of earth from his grave. They are said to have crept on their knees to prayers, and to have imposed upon all a strict silence from vespers till break of day. They had two meals a day, but were forbidden to taste of animal food; and they were wont to fast from the feast of the Holy Cross till Easter. This severity was relaxed by Pope Innocent IV., who permitted the brethren to eat flesh meat.

This convent was founded during the episcopate of Bishop Hatfield (1345-1381), but whether by the munificence of that prelate or of Edward III. is not certain.* It was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and stood on the bank of the Sun beck, at the east side of the town. This was one of the last monasteries dissolved by Henry VIII. The deed of surrender is signed by Wm. Wommefraye, warden, (the prior probably refusing to append his signature) and nine friars. They were a mendicant order, and had no possessions except the monastery and the grounds in which it stood. The site was granted by Edward VI. to Richard and Henry Vavasour, and still bears the name of the Friarage, though every vestige of the buildings disappeared long ago. It new belongs to W. T. Jefferson, Esq.†

* Mr. Saywell, in his "History and Annals of Northallerton," gives an extract from a MS. in the College of Arms, from which it appears that John Yule, a London merchant, gave to Edward III. a site near Northallerton, on condition that he (the king) built a house for the brethren of the Order of the Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel, which he did; and that Lord Ralph Neville built them a church at his own cost.

† Whilst some labourers were recently employed in levelling the Friarage grounds, they found, about 4 feet beneath the surface, a large freestone flag, covering two perfect human skeletons lying side by side, and in a good state of preservation. Several tessellated tiles were also found, which had probably formed part of the floor of the convent chapel.

Hospital of St. James', Romanby. - This charitable institution was founded by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, in the latter half of the 12th century, for a master, three chaplains, four brethren, two sisters, and nine poor persons. For its support were assigned the churches of Thornton-le-Street and North Otterington, the town and mill of Ellerbeck, eight oxgangs of land at Otterington, and half a plough-land at Romanby. As the possessions of the hospital increased, its benefits were extended. "Beds were provided for thirteen sick or infirm poor, who were to be tended humaniter, and provided with delicate and tempting food until health returned, or death released them from their earthly suffering. Day by day, at eventide, thirty poor persons were relieved at the gate with half a loaf of bread each and a mess of pottage. If any were too weak or infirm to proceed on their journey, or to get back to their home, they had a night's lodging given them in the hospitium alongside the gate‡ The hospital was dissolved in 1541.

‡ Saywell's "History and Annals of Northallerton," appendix, p. 23. when its net yearly income was £56 2s. 2d. The site was granted, according to Langdale, to Thomas Barton, of Whenby, but being afterwards exchanged for other lands, it became part of the endowment of Christ Church College, Oxford, and thus what was left for the benefit of the poor has been appropriated to the education of the rich, The hospital stood about a mile from the town, on the York road, and the farmhouse which now occupies the site still retains the name of Spital.

Another benevolent institution, which fortunately was not entirely swept away at the Reformation, was the Maison Dieu (House of God) Hospital, founded in 1476 by Richard Moore, a draper in the town, for thirteen men and women, who were to "find two beds for poor wandering travellers for one night." It was amply endowed with lands and houses, but the charity was robbed of many of these, and all that now belongs to it of its ancient possessions are two plots of land, one containing about 12 acres, and the other 3a. 1r. 5p. The hospital stood on the east side of High Street, near the church, but it disappeared long ago, and in its place two Almshouses were built in the latter part of last century. They are occupied by poor widows belonging to Northallerton, each of whom receives £8 a year and a ton of coals. The benevolent and pious founder directed that the beneficiaries should, morning and evening at the hour of six, say fifteen Pater Nosters, the same number of Ave Marias, and the three Creeds in honour of the Passion of our Lord, and also to pray for the soul of Richard Moore, and all benefactors.

Grammar School - The earliest provision for education here was the Grammar and Singing School, taught by the chantry priests, of which John Podsay was appointed master in 1327, by the Prior of Durham, The present Grammar School is undoubtedly the same, though it appears to have been refounded by the Crown after the dissolution of chantries, and receives £4 11s. 9d. out of the Crown rents in Yorkshire. It is also endowed with 3 acres 3 roods of land, and a yearly rent-charge of 20s. out of Eshall's charity. It is free for four boys, the children of poor parents belonging to the parish of Northallerton. Though but poorly endowed it posseses several university advantages; five scholarships at Peterhouse, Cambridge, of £10 a year each, failing applicants from the school at Durham, and also contingent interests in 12 exhibitions of £20 per annum, at Lincoln College, Oxford, The master is appointed by the Dean and Chapter of Durham, The school premises were rebuilt by subscription in 1777, and enlarged by the late Mr. Jonathan Horner in 1844. Though the poverty of its endowments does not permit it now to compete with the more richly endowed schools in various parts of the county, it formerly enjoyed a wide-spread reputation. and was the alma mater of many eminent men. Amongst them were Roger Ascham, Latin secretary to Queens Mary and Elizabeth, who was born at Kirby Wiske; Robert Grey, D.D., born 1610, Canon of Durham and rector of Bishop-Wearmouth, where he died, upwards of 100 years of age; Thomas Burnett, LL.D., a learned and elegant writer, who was born at Croft in 1635, and was Master of Charterhouse in London; Thomas Rymer, F.S.A., author of one of the most valuable of our historical monuments, the Fœdera, born at Appleton upon Wiske in 1692, and was appointed historiographer to William III.; George Hickes, D.D., born at Newsham, in Kirby Wiske, in 1642, and afterwards chaplain in ordinary to Charles II., and Dean of Worcester. He was the author of several learned works; Dr. William Palliser, born at Kirby Wiske in 1644, was appointed Archbishop of Cashel in Ireland; Dr. John Radcliffe, the eminent physician and founder of the Radcliffe Library at Oxford; Rev. John Kettlewell, M.A., born at Lowfields, in Brompton, 1653, author of several controversial works, and founder of the charity that bears his name; Sir John Scott Byerley, F.R.S.L., and Thomas Byerley, his brother.

Other Churches and Chapels. - The first Nonconformist place of worship erected in the town was built by the Society of Friends in 1695, but it has long been disused and converted into cottages. The Wesleyans erected their first chapel in 1796. This was superseded in 1865, by a more commodious structure in semi-Gothic style, built at a cost, including minister's house and school, of £3,250. The old chapel was purchased by the Baptists. The Congregational Chapel was erected in 1819, at a cost of £2,000, the greater part of which was contributed by Mr. George Hammond, who also gave £1,000 for the erection of a house for the minister. Mr. Hammond was born of poor parents in Northallerton, and whilst still a youth he made his way to London, where he obtained employment in the warehouse of a cheesemonger, who ultimately declined business in his favour. By a long life of industry, he amassed a fortune of £150,000, and died in 1839, aged 85, leaving about £85,000 to various religious and charitable institutions. The Primitive Methodists purchased the old theatre, and converted it into a chapel in 1832. This building served their purpose until 1889, when a new chapel was erected on a more suitable site. It is a neat brick building with freestone dressings, in the Queen Anne style, all the woodwork being pitchpine. The chapel will accommodate 300, and the school 200; there are besides, classrooms and a large vestry. The total cost was nearly £2,000.

The Catholic Church is a plain brick building, served from Aiskew, Bedale.

Schools. - The Grammar School has been noticed on a previous page. The National School was built in 1843, at a cost of £917, exclusive of the site, which was glebe land, and enlarged by the addition of two classrooms in 1886. It receives £20 a year from Kettlewell's Charity, and £4 4s. from Raine's. There is an average attendance of 120 boys, 84 girls, and 92 infants. The Wesleyans have also a day school (mixed), opened in 1871, and attended by 157 children.

The Mount (a preparatory school for the public schools) was established by the Rev. E. Bittleston in 1864, and has been conducted by the present principal, Edward de Lanoy Little, M.A., since 1873. The house, which is surrounded by extensive and pleasant grounds, will accommodate from 40 to 50 boarders. About twenty-five scholarships have been won at the public schools by pupils from this school since 1873.

The Sessions House and Gaol for the North Riding were erected in 1780, on a piece of waste ground granted by the Bishop of Durham conditionally, that the bishops' courts* should be held in the Court House to be erected thereon in perpetuity. The buildings have been much enlarged and improved since their erection.

* The Court Halmot and Courts Leet and Baron are held after Easter and Michacimas, when then usual business is transacted, such as receiving fines and surrenders, admitting copyholders, &c. The chief officer of this court in former times was called the High Steward, who was usually a person of distinction, and had generally a deputy under him. Sir George Conyers, Knight, held the office in 1545, the earliest date on the extant court books. Amongst his successors in that office were Sir George Bowes, Knight; Thomas Layton, Esq.; Sir Thomas Cecil, Knight; Sir Robert Cecil, Knight; William, Lord Burghley; Fletcher Norton, Esq. (afterwards Lord Grantley); Henry, Earl of Harewood, 1822; and Henry, Earl of Harewood, 1841. The office was abolished upon the death of the latter nobleman in 1857. In 1611 occurs the first mention of Learned Steward (generally a barrister), and from that time till its abolition the office of High Steward was merely an ornamental appendage. The present Learned Steward is Alfred De Bock Porter, Esq.

Adjoining the Court House are the offices of the Chief Constable of the North Riding, the headquarters of the North Riding Constabulary, and the police station, erected in 1880 at a cost of £1,600.

Register Office. - In pursuance of an Act of Parliament in 1736, "for the public registering of all deeds, conveyances, wills, &c., that shall be made of, or that may affect, any honours, manors, lands, tenements, or hereditaments, within the North Riding of the County of York," the magistrates selected Northallerton as the most central and convenient place for such office. The Registrar was elected by the freeholders of the Riding possessing estates of the yearly value of £100 or upwards. By an Act of Parliament passed in 1884, called the "Yorkshire Registries Act," the appointment of Registrar was vested in the Justices of the Peace, and subsequently, on the 1st April, 1889, it was transferred to the jurisdiction of the County Council, subject to the approval of the Lord Chancellor. The Act of 1884 was amended in 1885. The present Registrar is Charles Edward Leake Ringrose, Esq.

The Gas Works were erected in 1835, by Messrs. Malam and Parker, and in 1870 the works were purchased by the Northallerton Gas Consumers Co., Ltd. In 1884-5 the premises were enlarged and additional plant laid down at an outlay of about £4,000.

Cottage Hospital. - On the 11th of October, 1877, a Cottage Hospital, with accommodation for four male and four female patients, was opened, chiefly through the liberality and exertions of John Hutton, Esq., of Solberge. The premises selected for the purpose was Vine House, so named from the gigantic vine which formerly covered its walls and bore immense quantities of grapes. The stem was 3ft. 11in. in circumference, and the branches covered 139 square yards. It was the largest vine in England. The house, which stands on or near the site of the Carmelite Friary, was formerly the property of Robert Raikes Fulthorpe, Esq. The Quarter Sessions were held here from 1720 to 1770, when they were removed to the old Toll Booth.

The Cemetery. - The churchyard having been ordered, by the Secretary of State, to be closed, the moated site of the ancient palace of the bishops of Durham was purchased by the burial board in 1856, and suitably laid out for the purposes of a cemetery. Two neat mortuary chapels were erected for Churchmen and Nonconformists respectively. The extent available for interments is la. 2r. 34p., which is divided into 3,122 grave spaces. There have been about 2,400 burials since the opening.

Northallerton Poor Law Union was formed in 1837, and comprises the following parishes and places:- Ainderby Steeple, Appleton Wiske, Birkby, Borrowby, Brompton, Cotcliffe, Crosby, Cowton East, Cowton South, Danby Wiske, Deighton, Dinsdale Over, Ellerbeck, Girsby, Gueldable, Harlsey East, Harlsey West, Hornby, Hutton Bonville, Kiplin, Kirby Sigston, Langton Great, Langton Little, Landmoth-cum-Catto, Lazenby, Leake, Morton-on-Swale, Nether Silton, Northallerton, Otterington North, Osmotherley, Over Silton, Romanby, Rounton West, Smeaton Great, Smeaton Little, Sowerby-under-Cotcliffe, Thimbleby, Thornton-le-Beans, Thrintoft, Warlaby, Welburn, Whitwell, Winton, and Yafforth. The total area included is 68,509 acres; rateable value, £126,000; and population, 12,053. The Workhouse, a large brick building on the east side of the town, was erected in 1856-7, at a cost of about £5,000. There is accommodation for 120 inmates.

CHARITIES. - The Rev. Francis Kaye, vicar of Northallerton, in 1624, bequeathed a yearly rent-charge of £10 out of land in Danby Forest, for four poor widows of Northallerton and Brompton. In the 17th Charles II, John Eshall left two yearly rent-charges, payable out of a farm at Catto, viz.: 40s. to the poor, and 20s. to the Grammar School. Elizabeth Raine, in 1737, left two closes, called "Yarn Acres," in trust for the poor, the rent and profits to be distributed as follows:- 20s. to be given yearly, on Christmas eve, to the poor of Romanby; 40s. to be applied yearly towards the education and clothing of four poor children of the township of Northallerton; 30s. worth of bread to be distributed on Christmas eve, 15s. worth on Easter eve, the same quantity on Whitsun eve, and twelve-pennyworth every Sunday to the poor attending church. She further directed 12s. 6d. to be laid out in gloves for the minister and churchwardens. The sum of £100, given by Archbishop Palliser and others, was expended in 1788, in rebuilding the Maison Dieu Hospital. The Rev. John Kettlewell, in 1694, bequeathed Lowfield farm, in Brompton, containing 83 acres, for charitable purposes in the townships of Brompton and Northallerton. Dame Mary Calverley, widow of Sir John Calverley, bequeathed, in 1715, the sum of £1,500 to be placed out at interest, and the dividends to be distributed amongst the poor residing in the parishes between Darlington and Northallerton. Both these places are included at the discretion of the trustees.

EMINENT MEN. - Edmund Gheast, or Guest, was born here in 1513, received his education at York school, and eventually became a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. He obtained various preferments in the church, and in 1560 became the first Protestant bishop of Rochester. He was also Almoner to Queen Elizabeth. In 1571 he was translated to Salisbury, and died in 1577.

Mr. James Langdale, the author of a small History of Northallerton and a Topographical Dictionary of Yorkshire, was for many years a printer and bookseller in Northallerton. He died in 1828, his death being occasioned by the carelessness of a sleepy driver, whose cart collided with Mr. Langdale's gig, which produced so severe a shock as to rupture a vessel in the region of the heart.

Chris. Jas. Davison Ingledew, Esq., author of the "History and Antiquities of North Allerton," was born here in 1833. His father was Chris. Ingledew, Esq., of Newcastle-on-Tyne, who married Lydia, sister of Robert Davison, Esq., of Northallerton, the most eminent lawyer of his day between York and Durham.

Sir Hugh Smithson, Bart., was born here in 1712, his mother having been unexpectedly taken in labour whilst on a visit to her relative, Robert Mltford, Esq. Sir Hugh was a handsome man, and made a fortunate marriage by espousing the lady Elizabeth, only surviving child of Algernon, duke of Somerset, on whose death he succeeded to the earldom of Northumberland, which had been conferred upon his father-in-law in 1749. He thereupon discarded, by Act of Parliament, his plebeian name of Smithson for noble Percy, which his descendants have ever since borne. Subsequently he was made a Knight of the Garter, and elevated to the dukedom.

Last, but not least, among Northallerton's Worthies, was Miss Anne Crossfield, who died here in 1765, at the age of 42. She wrote a descriptive poem on the Castle Hills, and a poetical epistle to Allan Ramsay, the Gentle Shepherd.

LAZENBY, formerly extra-parochial, is now a township in the civil parish of Northallerton, to which it was added in 1867. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Wiske, half-a-mile from Danby Wiske, and is under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of that church. It contains 778 acres of land, solely the property and manor of the exors. of the late J. R. W. Hildyard, Esq., and is valued for rating purposes at £4,269. The whole township is divided into two farms, and contains six houses, in which there are 44 inhabitants. The main line of the North-Eastern railway passes through the township, and Danby Wiske station is within its boundaries.

Lazenby formerly belonged to the Conyers family; subsequently it came into the possession of the Peirses of Hutton Bonville. The Hall, once the residence of these two families, and now occupied by Miles Langthorne and Sons, farmers, still retains a few traces of its former embellishments. One room on the basement appears to have been a chapel.

DEIGHTON is a township and chapelry in the parish of Northallerton, containing 2,069 acres, solely the property of James Emerson, Esq., Easby Hall, who is also lord of the manor. The rateable value is £1,232, and the present population, 125. The soil is chiefly a strong clay, and the crops, wheat, oats, barley, and turnips.

The village is situated 6½ miles N. of Northallerton, and 1½ miles from Welbury station, on the Leeds and Stockton branch of the North-Eastern railway. The Church is a small stone building in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, nave, porch, and an embattled west tower containing two bells. It was erected in 1715, but an earlier church occupied the site, some remains of which are supposed to be traceable in the present chancel. Deighton appears to have been a rectory in mediæval times, as shown by the following entry in an old list of burials at Mount Grace priory: "William Ainthorp, rector of Deighton, by will proved in 1432, desired to be buried in St. Mary's church, Mount Grace, and gave thereto a chalice of silver and 12 silver spoons. In 1456, Sir James Strangwayes obtained leave to appropriate the church of Deighton to Robert, prior of Mount Grace. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Northallerton. The vicar receives a yearly modus of £108 10s. in lieu of tithes. The impropriate tithes, commuted for a rent-charge of £200, belong to Jas. Emerson, Esq.

The National School, a brick building with teacher's house adjoining, is the property of James Emerson, Esq., who grants its use, and also contributes £15 per annum towards the stipend of the mistress. Average attendance, 25.

At the west end of the village is the moated site of some erstwhile castle or fortified manor house, of which nothing is known. The ditch, which is large and deep, encloses a square piece of land nearly four acres in extent. The drawbridge was removed about the end of last century.

The present Manor House, the residence of John J. Emerson, Esq., stands about three-quarters of a mile west of the village, and commands extensive views of the surrounding country. It is a red brick building erected in 1875.

ROMANBY is a township containing 2,469 of land lying on the outskirts of Northallerton, and was, till the disfranchisement, included in that parliamentary borough. Its rateable value is £9,629, and the population in 1881 was 414. The landowners are John Hutton, Esq., Sowber Gate; Robt. Hutton-Squire, Esq., Holtby Hall; Wm. Warcop Peter Consett, Esq., the Dean and Chapter of Oxford; R. H. Wrightson, Esq.; Ainsley's trustees; Mrs. E. D. Lambton; Mrs. Walker, Maunby Hall; Geo. Marwood, Esq., Busby Hall, Stokesley; exors. of Mrs. Sherwood, Bedale; and the Earl of Harewood.

The village stands about half-a-mile from Northallerton, and dates from a very early period. It is mentioned in Domesday Book as Romundebi, a name probably derived from its Danish founder or proprietor. The Roman road leading from York by Easingwold, Thirsk, and Thornton-le-Street to Catterick, passed through the village, from which circumstance it is supposed by some persons to have derived its name. This, however, is open to grave doubt, for as Langdale observes "similar circumstances would have given the same name to other places. * * * But this is so far from being the fact, that there does not appear to be any other village of the same name throughout the kingdom." Near the village were formerly extensive entrenchments extending to Castle Hill at Northallerton, but these were levelled during the construction of the railway in 1838, A hospital, dedicated to St. James, was founded here in 1155 (See page 527), and a chapel or chantry was established by order of Randulph, prior of Durham, in 1231, the chaplain whereof received half a silver mark per annum for his stipend. This chapel was destroyed by order of Cardinal Wolsey, after his elevation to the see of Durham, the materials sold, and its revenues appropriated, but whether by the king or the cardinal is not stated. The present church, dedicated to St. James, is a substantial stone structure erected in 1881-2, at a cost of about £1,680, from the designs of Charles Hodgson Fowler, Esq. It consists of chancel, nave, porch, and spiral turret containing one bell. Some of the stones of the old chantry were recovered, and have been used in the erection.

The National School was built in 1874, to accommodate 80 children, and has an average attendance nearly equal to its capacity.

Northallerton railway station is in this township.

HIGH WORSALL is a township and chapelry, comprising 1,576 acres, lying on the south bank of the Tees. It is detached from the rest of the parish, and is in the Cleveland Division of the Riding, the Petty Sessional Division of Yarm, Poor Law Union of Stokesley, and County Court District of Stockton. It is valued for rating purposes at £1,027, and had, in 1881, a population of 81. The soil is a strong clay but generally fertile. Edwd. Simpson and the trustees of Edmund Stead are the principal landowners, Messrs. Stead and Simpson having purchased the estate from Thomas Wayne, Esq., in 1870.

The village is pleasantly situated on the south bank of the Tees, 12 miles N. of Northallerton. The church, dedicated to St. John, is a small plain building rebuilt in 1719, on the site and out of the ruins of an older one. It was formerly a chapel-of-ease to Northallerton, but in consequence of receiving a grant of Queen Anne's Bounty in 1720, it became parochial. The living is a new vicarage, worth £77, including 30 acres of glebe, in the gift of the vicar of Northallerton, and usually held by the curate of Yarm. This benefice was held for many years by the Rev. John Graves, author of a "History of Cleveland," published in 1808.

[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.