PICKHILL: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Hallikeld - Electoral Division of Topcliffe - Petty Sessional Division of Wath - Poor Law Union and County Court District of Thirsk - Rural Deanery of Catterick East - Archdeaconry of Richmond - Diocese of York.

This parish lies between the Swale and the Old Roman road (Watling Street), now called Leeming Lane, and comprises the townships of Pickhill-with-Roxby, Ainderby-Quernhow, Holme, Howe, Sinderby, and Swainby-with-Allerthorpe, whose united areas amount to 5,006 acres, and population 637. The surface is pleasingly varied, and the soil fertile, In the first-named township there are 2,131 acres of land, and 282 inhabitants. Rateable value, £3,441. The chief proprietors are John Rutson, Esq. (lord of the manor), Newby Wiske Hall; William Daggett, Esq., solicitor, Newcastle-on-Tyne; Mr. R. T. Waddington, Kilgram grange; exors. of the late Mr. John Walker, of Mount St. John; Mrs. Reynard, Malton; and the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge.

The village is distant about seven miles from Bedale, and the same from Thirsk, and two miles from Sinderby station on the Leeds and Thirsk line. Pickhill and Roxby (anciently Rokesby) form one village, divided only by a small stream.

The church (All Saints) is an ancient edifice, supposed to have been erected some 700 or 800 years ago, and thoroughly restored both internally and externally, in 1877, at a cost of £3,000. The designs were furnished by the late Mr. Street, architect, who has scrupulously kept in view the salient features of the old church. Its component parts are a nave, with north aisle and south porch, a chancel, with a side chapel, and a tower, carrying a clock and three bells, one of which is inscribed - "This bell at Pickhall, Anno Domini 1584." The chancel is illuminated by three stained glass windows, the east one of three lights being especially beautiful. The pillars of the aisle have been denuded of their coating of imitation granite paint and now appear in their natural colour. The reredos is a very fine piece of oak carving, in three panels, with gable canopies. In the centre one is represented Christ falling beneath the weight of the cross, with two of the executioners near; in the one to the right is a third executioner, carrying a spear and dragging our Blessed Lord by a rope; and in the other panel are two figures, with hands uplifted in agony of sorrow. This reredos was presented by the Rev. Jackson Mason, late vicar of this parish, In the chancel arch is the stone effigy of a knight, in chain armour and cross-legged, which was found beneath the pavement at that spot during the recent restoration. There is no inscription, but the armorial bearings on the shield indicate, in the opinion of Mr. Longstaffe, the distinguished archæologist, a Neville. Alan Constable, of Richmond, gave Pickall and certain other lands, in marriage with his daughter, to Jollan de Neville. This Jollan was one of the itinerant justices of the kingdom in the years 1233 and 1239, and the effigy is probably that of his son, John de Neville.

In the wall of the choir chapel is still preserved the hagioscope, or slant opening, through which in Catholic times the officiating priest could be seen at the altar from that spot. The tower is open to the nave, and here are several tablets to the Harrison, Askwith, and Watson families, and one to Colonel Metcalfe Graham. In the wall near the tower are a number of marks, said to have been made by sharpening spears and battle-axes in the olden time, and they have the appearance of having been so produced. The churchyard is entered by a lych gate, bearing on the front and back of the wooden canopy Latin inscriptions, which formerly belonged to a parclose screen at the east end of the north aisle; here also is the old font, dated 1662. The living is a vicarage, rated in the King's Books at £5 13s. 4d., but now worth £180. It is in the gift of the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge, who are also the impropriators of the tithes. An estate of 21 acres of land at Sinderby was given to the church in 1590, the rents of which are to be expended on the repair of the fabric. In 1820 the trustees purchased an adjoining house and half an acre of land. The whole now lets for £30. There are also 22 acres of glebe at Pickhill, which produces about £70 a year.

The Wesleyan Chapel was erected in 1864, at a cost of £200, exclusive of the site, which was given by John Rutson, Esq. It will seat 200 persons.

The National School stands on the village green. It was erected in 1862, and is the property of the township. The lord of the manor contributes £5 a year towards its support, and the same amount is given by Trinity College. There is also an endowment of £3 6s. 4d. per annum, left by Thomas Durham, of Ainderby Quernhow, in 1865, for the education of poor children of that township.

A large artificial mound here, apparently raised for defensive purposes, bears the name of Picts' Hill, and an improbable belief prevails that the Picts defeated the Romans in battle at a spot, not far off, called Roman Castle. This mound is also known as Money Hill, but, though partially cut away for the construction of the railway, the traditionary hidden treasure was not found.

AINDERBY-QUERNHOW township derives its distinguishing adjunct from the querns, or millstones, obtained from the howe, or hill, in the parish. Its superficial extent is 527 acres, the whole of which, with the exception of a publichouse and two acres of land, is the property of, and farmed by, Mr. John Durham. It is valued for rateable purposes at £999, and contains 116 inhabitants. The village consists of Ainderby Hall, the Old Hall, Ainderby Villa, a Wesleyan Chapel, and a few cottages.

HOLME-ON-SWALE is a small township of 541 acres, included in the wapentake of Allertonshire, and forming part of the manor or graveship of Howe. It is chiefly the property of the exors. of the late Mr. John Walker, of Mount St. John, and is rated at £854. The inhabitants number 51. The tithes, present gross value, £160, are payable to Trinity College, Cambridge, In the hamlet are four or five fields bearing the name of Chapel Fields, where there are indications of the former existence of a chapel.

HOWE is a small township consisting of three farms and six cottages, comprising a total area of 397 acres, the property of Major J. I'Anson, J.P., of Howe Hall. It is included in the manor of Howgrave, and is valued for rateable purposes at £626. Population (1881) 49.

SINDERBY township, comprising 542 acres, is chiefly owned by Mr. William Dunning, Winton; Mrs. M. Hammond, Tanfield Mill; and Miss M. Kendrew, who purchased the manorial rights and 50 acres of land from her cousin, Mr. William Wilson, in 1882, for £3,000. The township contains 113 inhabitants, and is rated at £1,390. The Wesleyans have a small chapel in the village, erected in 1835.

SWAINBY-WITH-ALLERTHORPE is a joint township, containing 868 acres, the property and manor of Lady Dawson-Damer, who succeeded to the estate on the death of her father, Lord Rokeby. Rateable value, £1,109. Here Helewise, daughter of Ranulph de Glauville, founded a Priory for Canons of the Præmonstratensian Order; but, subsequently marrying the Lord of Middleham, it was removed, in 1215, to Coverham, and all traces of the building have long disappeared.

Allerthorpe Hall, now a farmhouse, is a large brick building, flanked on each side of the front by a round tower. Over the front door are a sun-dial and the date 1608, but no initial to tell the name of the builder. The estate extends into the adjoining parish of Burneston.

CHARITIES. - "John Bickers, of Pickhall, who dyed Sept. 4th, A.D. 1694," left £80, the interest thereof to be distributed among the poor in bread and cloth at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide. This money was invested in land at Leeming, and the sum of £100 was subsequently realised by the sale of timber on this land. With this sum was purchased £160 four per cent. bank annuities. The dividend, with the rent of a garth at Pickhill (£8 18s.), is given in bread every Sunday. Joseph Watson left by will, dated 1854, the sum of £300 to be invested in the three per cent. consols, and the income thereof to be applied for ever, one moiety for the poor of Howe township, and the other moiety for the benefit of the rest of the parish and the school at Pickhill.

[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.